I grab Rich’s arm and SQUEEZE as to prevent any verbal expression that would draw attention to who I know it is… One of my ALL TIME guitar heroes . <GASP>
Joey Alberto Santiago. A man whose music I have worshiped for the last 14 years, since that first time I played Doolittle in the tape deck of my ‘94 Toyota Camry, stands before me. He is a magician that can make his guitar speak in a shrieking, tortured, wailing, emotional musical language that compliments the obtuse, subversive, abstract lyrical poetry, and the raw, focused, primal screaming of Black Francis.
Rich understands the squeeze and takes a hard turn with me. In the 7 times I’ve seen the band since 2005, I have never been fortunate enough to see a Pixie outside of the green room/tour bus/back stage in the wild.
Executive decisions have to be made in a matter of precious seconds. It is my ONE CHANCE to talk to a hero of mine. I would regret it forever if I didn’t try. I go for it.
He turns and sees this DERP(me) standing before him. I assess the situation.
The weather report is not good.
(My appraisal of) his face says, “Dude- I’m so just trying to smoke a quick cigarette right now without anyone noticing me so that I can go back inside where it is warm. I gotta play in 30 minutes. Please don’t bother me.”
I really don’t blame him at all. Like any good smoker who can’t smoke inside, it is never too cold to go out and have a cigarette.
A valuable lesson that I’ve learned when meeting people of note: It is important to realize that your special one moment in time with them is just one of a million of their seconds. Who knows how they are feeling in that day, hour, minute, etc? Don’t take it personally.
At this point, I kinda wish I could abort the mission, but it is too late to retreat.
My legs carry me towards him as my brain sends signals to my mouth piece to speak. My mouth opens and nothing comes out. I have NOTHING to say. I ask my closest companion, my Brain to send me stuff to say. As die hard fan, there is million things to say, and Brain doesn’t send me any of them. Maybe that is a good thing?
He waits for me to talk. Brain scrambles to put a sentence together. He sends me the wrong sentence, “Thank you so much for a great show.” Stupid Brain!
My tongue, the unsung hero, catches it before it can leave my mouth. Cunning Tongue!
Instead, I say, “Looking forward to a great show tonight.” Or some variation of that… Joey nods. I think he says, “Thanks.” I can’t really tell because I know I have already fucked this up.
I walk away. Joey smokes on, not being noticed.
I die, as I try to deconstruct this exchange that probably lasted all of 30 seconds?
During the show, in between moments of musical ecstasy, I think about what I could of (or should of) said. As I write this, I think I should have walked up right behind him while he was making out with the brick wall and whispered, “Rock me Joe,” and just continue on nonchalantly. I don’t really know. It would have made for a much better story than this one. What would you have said?