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  • Anyone worked with any famous names? Got any backstage gossip to share?

    My Duo got a regular local gig just over a year ago at a large Hotel in a chain as those of you who 'know' me will remember.
    That one gig led to two a week there and to two a week at another Hotel in the chain and we also do odd gigs at a third one when we can fit it in the schedule.

    A couple of the jobs had us on the bill the same night as some big names and it got me wondering if any of you guys have come across any in your careers?

    We work the lounge which is next to the auditorium in the Hotels so we aren't exactly the support act but we get to see them perform and we get to hear the backstage gossip - about what they behave like towards people and what their rider requests are. And we get to meet their crew and back up singers, musicians etc in the 'staff' dining area.

    An act called Russell Watson for example......demanded, among other things, a red apple and a green apple, chopped not sliced. Er, the apple would have gotten discoloured by the time you arrive, so why not bring your own apple and chop it when you are ready to eat it????

    He was aloof with staff and would only meet Management. Insisted on being driven from his room to the backstage area so he wasn't seen until his show.
    His pianist refused to eat dinner in the 'staff' room where us Musos get fed, "in case I get recognised." Yeh, right.

    They did a sound check of an hour and a half when the act is only 50 minutes and made everyone run late.

    Then Billy Ocean came with his Band. He was lovely to everyone, stayed overnight, used the Spa area and coffee bar and was happy to chat to everybody. His Sound and Light Techs allowed me and my partner to sit with them behind their consoles and watch Billy's show from the back of the room with them.

    Denise Pearson [ex of Five Star, a sort of British Jackson 5 in the 80s] came and was also lovely to everyone.


    Next up we will be working with Russell Watson again - let's see if he's any different and in September Jay, Merrill and Jimmy Osmond. I expect them to be nice guys. Let's see.


    The most vile person we came across wasn't even famous. He had won a tv show called 'Stars In Their Eyes' - where people are dressed up to look like an artist and then they sing a song and impersonate that star. He was being Chris De Burgh.
    We did a charity show one night......us, a comedian and this Chris De Burgh guy.
    He arrived in the backstage area after the rest of us. I was sipping a glass of water and he looked at me and said "I'd really like a drink of water." It was phrased in a tone meaning........will you get me a glass of water.
    I must look like the hired help or something.
    I just smiled politely and said, oh I got mine from the Bar.

    Then, there's a guy who does a Cliff Richard tribute act.
    We stayed at the same B&B as him years ago, and he was at breakfast one morning.........not only does he look like the real Cliff Richard and sing like him but he actualy sounds like him when he talks as well! A total clone...........and he maintained this all the time so we don't think he was actually faking.........he really IS like Cliff Richard.



    So, come on guys.............it's dead around here.
    Share your backstage gossip stories........................
    www.smoothduo.co.uk

  • #2
    I once sang a duet with Tom Jones... well, he was on the radio and I was on the toilet but it all counts right?
    Cheers Steve
    my website http://www.macthehat.com/

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    • #3
      Define "famous". And "worked with".

      I once did a pick-up gig for a week playing keys behind the Marvellettes. Pretty sure all of the girls up front were far too young to have actually been anyone who sang on any of their hit records though.

      And I once was recording in a studio and in the next room over were people working on a Smokey Robinson album. They come over and say they need somebody to lay down an organ part and wonder if I'll do it. Sure! They said they liked my playing and paid me for my time once all the proper paperwork was filled out. Smokey wasn't there, and when the album comes out my name isn't on it nor is my organ part, but at least the check didn't bounce!

      With my bands I've opened for (or followed) all sorts of famous or semi-famous acts over the years. Biggest one probably being Blue Oyster Cult. I think I shook hands with one or two of the guys from that band backstage. Not sure. They all start to look the same after awhile.
      Last edited by guido61; 06-26-2014, 04:43 PM.
      _________________________________________________
      band websites:
      http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
      https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
      https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
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      • #4
        I've worked with and/or have met lots of famous people. If you've been around long enough that happens. I just did a gig last weekend where the guys in the band were all "A" listers. They had worked with everyone from Gil Evans, to Van Morrison.

        Most of the "famous" musicians I've met have been very nice but some were nicer than others. Here's a few stories I might have told before. About twenty years ago we were the warm-up band for Al Stewart, who also had the great guitar player Peter White in his band. Al was super cool and would hang in the dressing room just chatting about whatever. He also told us to help ourselves to the band's rider, as they couldn't possibly eat all that food.... A marvelous guy, and a fine sounding band.

        Around that same time we also shared this huge dressing room area with Tower of Power. Most of the guys were pretty busy prepping for the show and so on, but Rocco had just purchased a new bass and was showing it to me. I actually got to play it. Although I'm mainly a guitar player, that was quite a kick.

        Even further back than that, was when Joe Cocker came into a club I was playing in and sat in with the band. It was kinda like out of the Unchain My Heart video (it predated it). I suspect he might have done stuff like that in the early days.

        It's important to try and treat everyone with respect. Some newcomers rise to fairly significant positions, and can help or hurt your career. Even folks that have most of their "success" in the past, can still be of benefit, as well as a source of wisdom and perspective.

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        • #5
          I too have met a ton of famous musicians over the years. Most through my position working as a buyer for Tower Records than as a musician, however.

          Nicest guys I ever met from the Tower days were the guys from Bon Jovi. Most especially because this was when they were at the top of their fame and they had no reason to even talk to a guy like me, but they were very, very cool.

          Also had Rob Halford from Judas Priest come up and sing "Livin' After Midnight" with my band one night many years ago. Never been a Judas Priest fan, but MAN that guy has a powerful voice! He was also hanging out with Ronnie James Dio that same night who was on tour and in between shows and declined to get up and sing with us. But he gave us all tickets and backstage passes to his show the next night. Very much the gentleman!
          _________________________________________________
          band websites:
          http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
          https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
          https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
          http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

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          • #6
            An act called Russell Watson for example......demanded, among other things, a red apple and a green apple, chopped not sliced.
            From what I understand, odd things are put in riders to make sure that the riders have been read and executed. If the chopped apples didn't show up, maybe they also aren't getting the monitors that were in the rider.

            I never worked wth any really famous people. I've met a few, and have worked with musicians that were side men for someone more famous. I also played in a few bands that opened for name acts, but that was all long ago and nothing really noteworthy. Probably the most well known celebrity I've met was George Carlin who was staying at the same hotel our band was playing at in Warren, Michigan.
            BD

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Bob Dey View Post

              From what I understand, odd things are put in riders to make sure that the riders have been read and executed. If the chopped apples didn't show up, maybe they also aren't getting the monitors that were in the rider.
              This is one reason why weird stuff shows up in contracts, usually not expensive, but seemingly idiosyncratic, like the m&m's thing.

              Famous people...I generally don't like to drop names, but yes, plenty...LA is the place for this...
              in brief:
              the 'King of Surf Guitar', brief stint in back up band..demanding but fair.

              The true Father of Rock and Roll, 2 nights, pick-up band, spoke of himself in the third person...never spoke to us directly, but occasionally nodded and smiled in our direction, called his songs in different keys both nights to keep us awake.

              Well known smooth jazz soprano saxophonist, did not play with, met while I was in the road case biz (also did cases for Yanni, Michael Jackson, The Eagles, Counting Crows, Neil Diamond...and so on, usually met their road managers or personal assistants) The saxophonist was an old friend of my boss, and stopped by...very nice, consummate professional. Funny but long story about this I have told before here at HC.

              Several members of the Carson-era Tonight Show orchestra who moonlighted with a well known 'local wedding band' that I was a fill-in with.

              Opened for the Charlie Daniels Band (did not hang out, separate dressing areas), and for War, [the harp player at the time was friend of an old friend, so we hung out]

              When I was in the Loudspeaker industry, briefly, I worked with the late great Dan Armstrong, a pleasure to be around, brilliant...he set me up as the contact man for the guitar tech of a touring major British rock band from the 60s, who's primary guitarist/songwriter is known for drug issues, who was using Dan's signature speaker enclosures which my employer at the time was manufacturing...mainly I spoke with the guitar tech but I did get to speak to the guitarist on the phone from Japan one morning...he was not happy, but I took care of him. Years later, Dan wandered into a rehearsal session of my band because our bassist at the time owned serial number 3 of Dan's basses (not a clear one), and had know him for over forty years...small world. Dan looked at me and smiled. We got to talk while we were on a break....and he asked why I wasn't using my Vibrolux anymore (he remembered, he had me bring it to him to model back in the day) He passed away not long after that...a great loss to the industry.

              Some current well known blues guitarists and classic rockers, usually jamming, and a host of old blues musicians, most of whom were gracious, if incoherent
              "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminent period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

              Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'

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              • #8
                When I lived on SoCal (I can call it that since I no longer live there), I crossed paths with a number of celebrities at various times. In no particular order...Tim Allen, Jack Palance, Saxophonist Tom Scott, the Nelson twins, and a bunch more that I can't remember.
                Michael D. www.mdlmusic.webs.com "I'm tired of rock-and-rolling Let's get married, Honey, let's go bowling" --Martin Mull

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by MDLMUSIC View Post
                  When I lived on SoCal (I can call it that since I no longer live there), I crossed paths with a number of celebrities at various times. In no particular order...Tim Allen, Jack Palance, Saxophonist Tom Scott, the Nelson twins, and a bunch more that I can't remember.
                  ...and even me one time
                  "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminent period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

                  Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Yup, Saugus Swap Meet. Ah, those were the days...
                    Michael D. www.mdlmusic.webs.com "I'm tired of rock-and-rolling Let's get married, Honey, let's go bowling" --Martin Mull

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                    • #11
                      When I was a kid, we got a spot on the Jerry Lewis Telethon and played right before the Dave Brubeck Quartet - Paul Desmond was very encouraging to me even though I was really lousy back then.

                      Back in the 1960s we did warm up for lots of famous groups, Association, Kingsmen, Four Seasons, Bob Seger, Rick Derringer (McCoys) etc., and eventually many of the Motown Acts. Motown was talking about signing us up, but our manager wanted us to get paid more than scale so negotiations broke down and The Sunliners got the gig - changed their name to Rare Earth.

                      I was also playing in a bar when Eric Burdon and his drummer came in. The Animals were doing a US tour and he jammed with us. After our club closed,Eric and a few of us went to a Black club and jammed a couple of hours, and when that closed we went to a bottle club and jammed for a while.

                      In the 79s we were the house band in a big hotel where previous top40 bands played, Little Anthony, Shirells, etc.

                      Most people were very nice to us, treated us like peers, and gabbed backstage about usual musician stuff.
                      Bob "Notes" Norton
                      Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
                      Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box and add on styles for Microsoft SongSmith
                      The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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                      • #12
                        Oh I forgot to mention. We were contracted to back up Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon in Michigan. We had a good bass player, but had trouble learning things by ear. He compensated that by memorizing everything almost instantly. So I would figure the bass parts out and show them to him. I was blessed with a good ear.

                        So when Freddy came to rehearsal, he played a recording of what he wanted us to do, I picked up the bass and showed the line to the bass player. Freddy pointed to me and said, "You! You play bass. The bass is more important than the saxophone." So I can go on record as playing bass for Freddy Cannon.

                        Another road story.

                        We played the song "Louie Louie" back in the mid to late 60s. The hit Kingsmen version had very unintelligible words. There was a rumor going around that the words were "dirty" (in the vernacular of the day).

                        Any while touring the country in a rock band, each region had a different version of the "dirty words" and I had some fun collecting the various of them (I sang lead on it in our band).

                        One day we warmed up in concert for the Kingsmen so I asked them about the words. They replied that there were no dirty words at all, and that the singer just mumbled. They added that they knew about the rumors, and their manager just told them to say "no comment" because the records were selling and making them money.

                        I learned later the FBI actually investigated the song. Spent a few million dollars on it and the final outcome was, "we can't understand the words so we don't know if they are dirty or not."

                        The funny part about that is that if you listen to the original Richard Berry recording and write the words down, you can hear Jack Ely of the Kingsmen mumbling the correct words. That could have saved the taxpayers a few million dollars.

                        Notes
                        Bob "Notes" Norton
                        Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
                        Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box and add on styles for Microsoft SongSmith
                        The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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                        • #13
                          Actual Lyrics to Louie Louie Looweeloowhy ono sadday we gowgow yeh yeh yeh yeh yeh sadday looweeloowhy oh bebay sadday we gowgow Ayfain liyelkurwl away onee eektatsh ahip oconstalee ale wine **************** wine all alowe eenever acow aamay gitome Aloowee loowhy nanananana heywegowgow Oh no addeeloowee loowhy oh bebay heddeweegoddegow Wenite andayo afaildefee kaykogorld ocontoflee a on ay **************** awayteedair agul ayrow mowinherrair Aloowee loowhy oh no heddewegowgow ya ya ya ya ya sadday loowee loowhy oh bebay heddeweegowgow OWKAYLITSGITITOOWERITENEOW teey.... teteeynow ingamymoowabow theymuppeelow they peepeealow theypayinarhear my artegen aymebber ay mebbelayergen Looweeloowhy ono sadday we gowgow yeh yeh yeh yeh yeh sadday looweeloowhy oh bebay sadday we gowgow Ayseddewegoddegownow Beybeeconnoweekot Etco!
                          Michael D. www.mdlmusic.webs.com "I'm tired of rock-and-rolling Let's get married, Honey, let's go bowling" --Martin Mull

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                          • #14
                            Exactly!!!

                            You could have saved the taxpayers and the FBI a lot of money
                            Last edited by Notes_Norton; 07-01-2014, 09:42 AM.
                            Bob "Notes" Norton
                            Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
                            Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box and add on styles for Microsoft SongSmith
                            The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You forgot the guitar solo!!

                              Last edited by daddymack; 07-01-2014, 10:23 AM.
                              "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminent period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

                              Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'

                              Comment









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