I don’t really get starstruck.
In nine years of producing The Marquee, I’ve had the very fortunate opportunity to meet — or at the very minimum talk on the phone with — many of my musical heroes. And, if I’ve learned nothing else, I’ve learned that almost every musician I meet, even some of those heroes of mine, are relatively normal people, albeit creative ones, with a hell of a cool job.
The possible exception to that was when I met Doc Watson many years ago at RockyGrass. He turned me down for an interview that day, but did so with such grace and kindness that I most certainly didn’t take it personally and I walked away giddy at having had the chance to at least shake his hand.
But these days, while I may be stoked to bend the ear of a Black Crowe, or meet a founding member of the Grateful Dead, it’s not a starstruck moment for me. It’s my job.
So when I had the chance to talk with Robby Krieger of The Doors on April 20, I looked at it as just another interview. I know my Doors history. I own a couple of Robby’s solo albums. I had done my research and I was prepared.
We hopped on the phone and I told him how I was very appreciative of his time and that I’d try to keep it short for him. I also told him that growing up in the ’80s in Philly, I had been — as we all were, it seemed — “issued” my copy of The Doors’ self-titled debut, when I turned 13, almost as if we were being given membership cards to an elite society.
I listened to that cassette so many times that it became one of those ever-lasting albums for me. Drop a needle anywhere on that album and, even if it’s been 10 years since I’ve heard the song, I’ll immediately remember every note, every word, every little nuance.
I specifically remember at the age of 14, playing “The End” on a Sony Sports Walkman as I rode a beach cruiser — illegally — on the cart path of a golf course, near where my family was vacationing. “Ride the snake” took on new meaning that evening, as I wove and dove over the path’s contours. I honestly can hardly think of any other time in my life when I was so connected to a song, so lost in the moment. I’ll never hear that track without remembering that bike ride. And here I was, on the phone with the man who wrote that guitar solo (which by the way, was listed among the Top 100 Guitar Solos of all time by Guitar World).
But, when I hopped on the call with Krieger it didn’t even phase me. Not until the very end. Having asked all of my questions, even checking with Robby to see if there was anything I had missed, I thanked him for his time and prepared to hang up. But right then, Robby, who had asked that I make sure to plug the 40th anniversary re-issue of L.A. Woman (mission accomplished), said something that stopped me in my tracks. He said, “See you at the shows.”
It’s a common enough expression, and I know that he had no idea that it was the phrase I have used to close every editorial over all 111 issues of The Marquee. But suddenly, there I was, starstruck all over again. It was wonderful. Thank you, Robby.
See you at the shows.