The Bobby Rock Newsletter #66 (7-9-22) - After the Fame
The Bobby Rock Newsletter #66 (7-9-22) - After the Fame
Checking in from the road today, somewhere between Tennessee and Kentucky. “The Dream,” as we like to refer to it, is alive and well out here. Thanks again for joining me this week, and I hope all is well with you guys. Let’s hit it!
In This Issue:
- Mini Gallery from the Past 24 Hours - A few sights from the road...
- New book preview: "After the Fame…" Part 2 to last week’s study on the perceptions of fame, and what it’s like when the tables of fan vs performer are turned.
- Drum Vid Vault: Something new for our ongoing expansion of vid archives… Sniffing the inside of drums! (It’s a drummer thing, if ever there was one…)
Mini-Gallery from the Past 24
Cool hotel in Bristol, VA this week. This is the birthplace of country music, so this music-themed hotel offered room keys that looked like cassette tapes:
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Last night's post-show run had me literally straddling the border of Tennessee and Virginia in Bristol. Check social for the running vid...
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Have I mentioned lately how much I fucking LOVE playing arenas? This is where it all began for me. It will never get old. Trust me. (With Lita Ford tonight, opening for Poison.)
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And the drummer's view...
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Occupational hazard (from soundcheck): Sometimes a knuckle might catch a rim or a cymbal in the heat of battle. But we will leave the blood on the stick for good luck!
Here’s a part 2 to last week’s excerpt from my upcoming book, which is a follow-up to The Boy Is Gonna Rock:
Will Drum For Food:
Surviving the Nineties with Clubs, Campgrounds, Clinics, and Credit Cards
This memoir focuses on the Nelson hey-day, on through a decade-plus of my pursuits as a drumming educator and solo artist. It delves deep into the creative, philosophical, and business aspects of surviving and thriving in both of those very different musical/cultural worlds and, as you might imagine, there are plenty of stories to tell!
The book also explores the wide-ranging nuances of success and fame as a desirable cultural directive and, of course, my varying vantage points of it through the years.
Last week (see Issue #65)… I discussed my ill-fated attempt, at 17, to meet Neil Peart at his hotel room… and how the experience would shape my resolve to handle the perils of fame and fortune with extreme generosity, should I ever be so lucky to experience a taste.
This week, we jump ahead a decade and see what happens when I’m put to the test on the Nelson tour of ’91.
As usual, this is an unedited, first-draft preview. Enjoy…
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After the Fame
So exactly ten years later, there I was, seven weeks into the “After the Rain” tour with Nelson. Fans abounded!… in hotel lobbies, outside the venues, at truckstops… always there, with vinyl and/or mags to sign and Instamatic cameras at the ready. And sure enough, I didn’t really mind. Why would I? I was living the life, experiencing all the shit (and then some) that my 17-year old self could barely have imagined.
Yes, Nelson was often in 16 Magazine!
And then, as the tour wore on and the weeks began to transition into months, signing stuff became an inextricable part of daily life. Of course, in terms of volume, it was way different for us band guys than it was for the twins. These motherfuckers always had to have security around and a tour manager prompting things along. For us, not so much. But still, on an occasion or two, I would catch myself in a subtle sigh, perhaps even navigating the slightest bit of fatigue… and I would remember the Peart incident immediately.
One afternoon, the bus pulled into a hotel somewhere in Utah. We would have less than an hour in our rooms before we had to be back on the bus to get over to soundcheck. Brett Garsed and I were jonesing to get in a workout, and we heard there was a gym next to the hotel. Hooray! If we hustled, we would have just enough time to squeeze in a quick pump before soundcheck.
The hotel was situated next to a mall—virtually connected to the mall, actually—and as it turned out, the gym was clear on the other side of it. Oh shit. This meant we would have to traverse the length of the mall to get to the gym. Fuck! Kids would be everywhere, especially if they figured out we were staying at the hotel. Furthermore, after consulting the staff, our tour manager confirmed that there were plenty of fans around the area, and unless we wanted to spend our valuable hour around the hotel signing autographs, we should go straight to our rooms, then straight back down to the bus. Fuck!
As we were getting off the bus, I could feel myself getting testy.
"Man, we gotta train! This is bullshit!” I said to no one in particular. I thought of the Peart experience for a moment, but immediately justified that this was different.
"This is fucked up,” I said in frustration as we were all pouring out of the bus. “We are not able to do something we need to do because of all these kids!"
One of the twins looked over at me, unaffected. “Welcome to my world,” he said.
And yet, Brett and I were determined to make this workout happen. Once we dropped off our bags in our respective rooms, we hit up the hotel staff about our predicament and asked if there was a “road less traveled” to the gym. Sure enough, there was. The concierge led us down a couple different hallways, through the kitchen, and past a few other obscure Spinal Tap-like twists and turns in the inner workings of the property. And then, just like that, we were led out of a doorway and into the main mall area…. but now only a quick walk to the gym.
“Great! But how do we get back?” I asked.
“Uhhh, well… I’m afraid you’ll have to walk back through the mall, I’m sorry to say,” the concierge told us.
“We’ll deal with that then. For now, let’s bolt, Holmes,” I said to Brett.
With Brett, during my last trip to Australia...
Sure enough, we made it to the gym without much fanfare (so to speak), and I had a chance to reflect on things while we were lifting. Plus, it helped that Brett was much more unaffected about the whole thing. I don’t think I ever saw him lament about having to engage in any kind of interaction, ever. So we finished our workout, put our heads down, and started heading back to the hotel with a deliberate stride.
We encountered a few clusters of fans along the way, but these were cool kids and quick signings. No problem. And then about three-quarters of the way across, three excited teenage girls came trotting toward us in their Nelson swag with their vinyl and magazines in tow. They were very sweet. We signed their stuff, then one of them had both Brett and I sign her jeans. Less than two minutes later, we carried on, no big thing. And then suddenly, a profound revelation struck me.
I turned to Brett as we were walking and said, “Ya know, Holmes, this dealing-with-autographs thing is not going to last forever.”
“Oh, I know,” he replied. “That’s why I try to sign each one as slowly as possible,” he joked, as he “air signed” his signature in a deliberate, exaggerated fashion. “Just trying to enjoy every moment of it while anyone still gives a shit about me.”
Spoken like a true Aussie Zen master. We both busted out laughing.
"True, indeed!” I said. And we made it back to the bus with five minutes to spare.
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What a difference a decade makes, as far as how we might perceive the proverbial price of fame. When fame is coveted, or at least regarded as an invaluable watermark for your progress toward "world domination," you would pay most any price to have it and, therefore, you cannot understand why someone who is already where you want to be might resist the idea of paying their penance for their followers on a regular basis. But, of course, this is not how humans generally operate, no matter how grateful they might be for their good fortune. We acclimate quickly. We redefine our parameters, especially when one’s personal sanity and mental bandwidth are to be considered, and we essentially transition into a “new normal” where perceptions evolve radically once we step beyond that mystical veil of our initial, uneducated projections.
In time, though, especially if the mega bright spotlight of mainstream adulation and attention has softened, you can more easily find a balance with it all. I’m older. My peeps are older. And I enjoy getting acquainted (or reacquainted) with folks from various parts of our musical journey together.
Drum Vid Vault: Sniffing the Inside of Drums….
It’s a "Drummer Thing”
My extensive collection of drum-based video clips are not restricted only to practice sessions and shows. I will occasionally capture a moment here or there just for the sake of documentation. Such was the case during a recent head-changing of my Alpha kit. I recorded at least two different vids that offered a “behind the scenes” reflection on my fascination with the inside of a drum…. the guts of it, if you will, and the various aromatic hues they can have of either chemically, woodsy, musty, or some combo thereof. The textures and visuals are another aspect of savoring instruments that I’m so used to hearing, but not so immediately “in touch” with the inside of the shells where the sound actually originates.
Yes, as mentioned in both of these clips, I’m pretty sure these vids would clearly be most of interest (if at all!) to drummers… period. But in the interest of full disclosure to all aspects of the instrument that fascinate me, here ya go...
My 40-piece Alpha Kit is based around a Radial Bridge kit that Steven Volpp built for me back in the 90s during the Peavey drum days. This vid was originally texted to him during a recent head-change:
And right after that, a 60s-era Rogers kick drum from my Alpha kit gets the "treatment"….
Thanks again, everybody. Connect next week!
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