It’s Sunday morning, I just got up after a nine hours of log-like slumber and I feel great! This year’s Kihncert was one of the best ever and my band played particularly well. I don’t know what it was- a fresh set list, a new keyboard player (Chris Reiger from Eddie & The Tide), good rehearsals, a fun attitude, or what, but the vibes on stage were fantastic. Robert Berry was bouncing around like an 18 year old at his first gig! Ry was scorchin’ and Dave Danza was as solid as a rock. As a whole, I’d say the band was the best they’ve been in ages. We got a ton of compliments, not only from the staff and backstage partners, but from the other musicians. Steve Miller said Ry was incredible.
Speaking of Steve Miller, I got a chance to sit down and talk to him backstage and he was super friendly (as always) and we talked about a million things. During the conversation he told me a great Keith Richards story. I was telling Steve how good Keith’s autobiography “LIfe” was and he said he’d been meaning to listen to it (audiobooks, my friend) but now that he’s heard how great it was he would start that very night on the bus driving away from the gig. “By the way, I once met Keith Richards,” he said, “do you want to hear the story?” I said, “Of course.” Steve told his tale and I listened in rapt attention. He had just landed his private plane at an airport in Canada. The plane that landed just ahead of them was Keith Richard’s private plane. The pilot radioed that Keith would like to meet Steve and would he be into it? Five minutes later they were standing on the tarmac of the runway in the middle of the afternoon shaking hands. Steve said seeing Keith in the daylight was something like seeing Dracula out of his coffin on the beach in the noonday sun. He said Keith looked like death warmed over. He said he looked a hundred years old and his skin was greenish. Keith Richards in the daylight would scare the crap out of anybody. Steve was cool and they had a nice conversation and then both got back on their planes and went off in different directions. Now, you have to understand, Steve is one of the mellowest guys in the world and would never say anything bad about Keith (no working rock musician would) and he was just reporting the facts. The truth is- Keith is scary! The man’s an icon, but he’s frightening in the wrong subtext. And by the way- his autobiography is incredible and you should definitely read it immediately.
A note about Chris Reiger on keyboards. Chris is an old friend from Eddie & The Tide. Dave Medd (our usual guy) also plays for the Tubes and he was off in Europe for a big tour. Chris stepped in and did an excellent job! The man can play. Also he was very pleasant to hang with back stage. I’m sure we’ll use Chris again.
The KFOX crew were hanging out and broadcasting from the backstage area. Big Rick and Laurie Roberts got to interview Steve miller on the air and it was excellent. Lauire told me a story about how she MC’d a show for KOME back in the day with Pat Benatar and Earthquake! Wow! Talk about memories. John Doukas, lead singer for Earthquake, was a wild man and climbed on top of the speakers. Pat Benatar had just released her first record and she was hot as a pistol! Here we were all these years later and Pat is still going strong. She looks pretty good too!
Speaking of back stage- I saw a lot of old friends there. We talked about Bill Graham and how much we missed him. Bill built the Shoreline. I was talking to the caterers who prepare the food and they were saying that Bill always stopped by at every gig and checked up on them, walked through the kitchen and said hello to everybody, sampled the food, made sure they didn’t need anything. That’s the way he was. Bill really cared. Bill knew all the roadies, lighting guys, stage hands, and the musicians. He used to stop in every dressing room and check with every band before the show. “Do you need anything? Is everything OK?” Yep, Bill was a perfectionist who loved his job. His portrait still hangs backstage at the Shoreline- stage right. It’s the first thing you see when you walk off the stage.
There is a special feeling at the Kihncert that doesn’t happen anywhere else. I can’t describe it, but it’s wonderful. The audience and the performers actually bond. You absolutely must experience it someday! Maybe next year?