Most R&R fans don’t really know what happens back stage; can you tell us a little about your experience?
That’s a really tough question right from the start. Wow! Way to start with a bang!
Mainly because it takes me most of the book to truly give you an accurate picture of what the real world behind the scenes at a concert is really all about. I think most people imagine they do know from the sensationalized stories about oversexed rock stars surrounded by giggling, wiggling, gorgeous young groupies willing to thrill every boy in the band, and how marvelous it all is for everyone involved.
Books and magazine articles all blasting full volume the same message “My life is a non–stop party because I am wonderful, I am A STAR (or I sleep with them) don’t you poor boring ordinary people wish you were me?”
But the reality is very different and I wanted to show what I quickly discovered really happens behind the scenes when the “glamorous world backstage” becomes the one and only world you want and must have, and then turns into the only one you know. You have no choice but to convince yourself you are living the dream, every boy or girls ultimate fantasy; because when you stop believing in it, even for a moment and really look round at what is really going on, let the illusion suddenly be stripped away, you awaken to find everything you ever dreamed of only existed within the dream.
Because the reality wasn’t the place you had been promised in the fan magazines and the people there are not the people you thought they were or you really want to be with, and they certainly aren’t the people you think they are or the kind you want to turn out to be.
In your book, Even Rock and Roll Has Fairy Tales, you have a relationship with #EricBurdon (The Animals)—that’s interesting! Would you mind sharing a little about that?
Would you mind terribly if I used a quote from the book to answer this question? To tell you I would just be re-writing this same thing, and I think in the book I do tell it much better….
“When I first met Eric, I had just turned eighteen and he was in his late thirties. He hadn’t had any hits on the radio lately, or built up much of a career touring in the states at that point in time. I guess you might say he was in a bit of a slump. It was nothing like the days on the road when he was a star of one of the biggest bands in the world. However, times had changed, and so had popular music. Punk and disco were not his forte or his friends, and they were not my taste either. I did not buy those records or know who any of those people were, but I sure knew who he was. His original band was one of my top groups ever. Nevertheless, he was still gorgeous, extremely sexy and very talented- even if the fickle fans of the top forty American AM radio seemed to have forgotten him temporarily. Dark shaggy hair, fantastic smile, that sexy soft English accent combined with his fame, charm, outspoken personality and big, rich powerful, soulful voice he had a powerful presence, impossible to overlook or ignore whether presented in a stiff suit, silk shirts, fringe and fur, denim and leather or tie-dye. He was accustomed to living the life of a rock and roll legend, playing everything from the hottest clubs to the biggest stadiums as he had since he had his first hit record just out of his teens.
He had always seemed pretty stiff, quite serious, very hard and tough, when I had seen him in pictures in fan magazines or on TV however, he was much softer than I ever expected or imagined at the time I met him. He was charming, lighthearted and joyous. Playful and mischievous, with a certain impish quality that could completely disarm you, which women all over the world found irresistible.
Notorious for his very bad attitude and very big mouth and infamous for the celebrated company he kept and their well-chronicled, inebriated antics. He had been living and loving a lifestyle of extremes and excess, which almost managed to overshadow his talent, which was, quite formidable.
Enter the Shiny Happy Sherry Fairy. Landing right on cue, front row and center.
Right where I could get a good look at him and be sure he got one of me. Just a naïve little freckle-faced redheaded American kid from the suburbs, who somehow ended up in just in the right or the wrong place as Eric that particular night. Done up like a birthday present in a pink flowered sundress and white hair ribbons and a pair of sky-high heel platform sandals. Clearly, it was a match made in rock and roll heaven. I was struck completely deaf, dumb, blind, and stupid by the size of the stars he put into my eyes. He had stayed there for all these years even though I had called a halt to my years as backstage teen queen and gave the whole ridiculous scene up over 15 years ago.”
This isn’t a “tell all” book, but rather, a story chronicling your adventures. What was your favorite part of this book to write? And why?
I originally wrote this story as a creative nonfiction short story assignment for a beginning writing class. The professor loved it so much she insisted I must turn it into a novel. So to her great shock, and even more so, my own, I sat down at the keyboard without moving for over 14 months and I did. Not only wrote it but published it, promoted it, and no one is more surprised than myself at the readers reactions, the critics enjoyment, the warm public reception and hopefully, it’s increasing success.
I really enjoyed writing the original short story version I did for class, I could play it up for all the laughs I could get and that was good fun. However I realized if I decided to turn it into a novel that wasn’t good enough, I had to really dig deep inside to tell it the way it should be told and that was going to be a very emotional and challenge experience. To find out what, if anything made this a story worth reading, a story that was interesting to anyone else but just me. What about my story separated it from anything that had been done before or like anything by anyone else.
There were dozens of books by girls glorifying their days at the back door and the has- been or wanna-be boys in the bands, and they were all selling the same pathetic thrills, exaggerating their exploits and crowing over their conquests, busy giving the “nobodies “ out there the thrills they thought was all they wanted , to get the same old song and dance, sex and drugs and rock and roll, of which had been told a thousand times before and was to be expected from that sort of crap. Bragging about hangovers and heroin habits, cocaine, cash and celebrities, limousines, liquor, limelight, and luxuries, all the women, of course and wild orgies galore. They weren’t shocking or even interesting to me, it was all so commonplace. Predictable, ordinary, unimpressive, and unoriginal, the same boring backstage business as usual, same old “sluts r us” stories, identical interchangeable band after band, year after year, behind every backstage door all over the world, I worked very hard to NOT do that.
I had never read one that told it like it really was. At least when you lived in a boring suburban place like Maryland, where there was nothing to do and nowhere good to go which is what 75 percent of being on the road is really like. I worried constantly “How much of it truly interested or mattered to the reader? Was the only thing the public wanted to hear variations of the same sexy glamorous Rock Stars Adventures in Excess instead of the truth, which often is not sexy and glamorous at all, compared to versions by pretentious posers? What more could I offer? What was so different about my experiences, to make it worth writing about at all? Which aspects, if any, of my story would truly enlighten interest and engage a reader? Could my very unusual life and experiences reach and touch others and resonate within those who had lives nothing like mine at all?”
I don’t believe a reader can be captivated by a story unless they feel deeply and truly come to care about the outcome and the storyteller and the only way that was going to happen was if I was passionately, brutally honest and open, defenseless, unprotected and completely exposed. I had no interest in telling the same old backstage sleeping with stars stories, no desire to be a sleazy stereotype or just another cheesy rock and roll cliché.
If I was going to do this, I was going to have to go back to the very start, and become that child again, see it all through those innocent eyes that had no idea how the whole thing would eventually end, so as it all unfolded over the years it would be just as much of a surprise to me as it was the reader.
That part was really hard. I had to feel everything I felt then with no reservations, the joy, the excitement and go through the pain of growing up all over again and learning it all the hard way as time went on, concentrating on how I felt in each moment as if I had no idea what was going to happen next.
I had to forgive Eric and fall for him again, just as I had as a teenage girl which wasn’t easy to do because when I started the book I had hated him so much I couldn’t look at a picture or hear a song or watch a video of him for 15 years. But I couldn’t write the story without looking and listening and thinking about him and the old days constantly.
What does Eric Burdon think of your hilarious memoir?
I’m quite sure Mr. Burdon does not find the fact I wrote this book funny at all! When he read it, which I’m fairly sure he must have, he’s certainly aware of its existence, he has been confronted about it in the press often enough. I’m also fairly certain that he found it nowhere near as entertaining or half as amusing as the readers do and I did! but I suspect deep down beneath any outrage he might secretly be rather pleased with himself, at the ripe old age of 72, to be in the news for a juicy sex scandal, the star of a steamy rock and roll teen queens dreams, reminding the public how gorgeous, charming and sexy he was, how women all over the world once worshipped him, and why he was considered a legend off the stage, as much as one onstage, back in the day. Although he would never admit it to you, me or himself. LOL
This is a very funny interview with Eric, because they confronted him about my book and my fans took over the comment section and made it all about ME!
What types of positive and negative attention have you received since publishing this book?
To my great relief and delight I have received no abuse or harassment from anyone! No rabid Eric fans, No infatuated female fans, not a soul nor a troll has given me the slightest difficulty or grief and I have only received warmth, support and affection from both the readers and the critics. No one who has heard or read anything about me or my book has accused of being untruthful and attempting to try to deceive the public, by making any or all of it up or accessed me of pretending this all happened when it did not, or claimed in reality I never knew or was with Eric at all. At least not to my face! And not anywhere I have seen in print. All Eric has said on the matter is he has no idea who I am, which is of course what he would say and he’s not fooling anyone. If there were skeptics before they read my story, they weren’t any more by after. I actually expected to be called a liar or obsessed or crazy or worse when I published it and was braced for the worst and prepared to have to defend myself with all my might from a barrage of attacks but so far no one I am aware of has questioned my credibility. It was such a relief not to have to prove myself to anyone, and not to have to put up a huge battle to defend myself. I suppose the story is so detailed and so complicated, and so strange, amazing and bizarre they must conclude no one could make a story like this up, no matter how hard they tried. All and all it has been a pretty wonderful and amazing experience
In an average day, how much time do you spend writing?
I write obsessively from the moment I wake up until I go to sleep. Many a day I wake up at 5pm in the same clothes from the day before, after writing non-stop for days, still on the couch, shivering, with no blanket, my laptop still on lap, then after removing any ferrets that have taken up residence under or around me, shooing the birds off my head and picking the majority of the birdseed out of my hair, I start typing again. I have so many stories to tell and so little time left to tell them in, I don’t mess around, I must work all the time. I’m not getting any younger and I’ve put some serious wear and tear and quite a bit of mileage on this poor old beat up physical machine that will have to haul my typing finger the next ten or twenty years. And because I’m just learning , and constantly studying how to get better at this “writing stuff” I have been known to spend four or five hours on the same ten sentences until I have them absolutely perfect. So you can imagine how long 50,000 plus words took me to complete!
Because I write non-fiction and have been to at least 500- 600 concerts throughout the years I never run out of material and so I never have writers block, Eric’s story is just one of hundreds.
However many of the most interesting gig experiences are best done just as anecdotes/ short stories so I have decided to put them up as blog entries, distilling them down to only the really significant parts of the experience rather than trying to stretch them out with a bunch of filler that really isn’t essential to the story.
I am loathe to gossip about really nice people I respected and liked and knew well all these years like Huey Lewis, Ian Hunter, Nick Lowe, Robin Zander, Kevin Cronin, Paul , Grace and The Starship, Spencer Davis and so many others, SO when I tell the stories about my favorite musicians and people it will be in my “fictional” epic rock novel Series now available on amazon.com called http://www.TheAmazingGracelynn.com
Fictional in this case really only means “a whole bunch of true stories just with a lot of fake names” The identities of the stars involved just disguised (some better than others) depending on how fond I was of them and if it’s a tale of extremely admirable behavior or exceptionally bad.
If you have been an absolute villain, you will be shown to be one in my story and don’t be surprised if it isn’t that difficult for a music fan to work out who you really are. Believe me boys; there are a few of you that should be very worried. You know who you are. LOL
You’re an indie author, currently. Have you ever considered traditional publishing?
I considered trying to go the route of traditional publishing but it takes years from start to finish getting a book on the shelves that way, if you can manage to get an agent or publisher at all in the first place. I knew that as a new writer, with no credentials convincing someone to take a chance on me would not be easy and frankly I really did not want to start off every morning with an inbox full of emails telling me, “No thank you, get lost, not interested, you suck.”
I found that many publishers/agents were immediately frightened off by the fact this was a true story about a living person and they didn’t want to risk leaving themselves open to litigation. But I knew I was safe from anything like that because one, it was all true and I could prove it and pass a polygraph with ease and two, because I studied the laws associated and followed very strictly what would and would not be considered defamation or invasion of privacy.
It was very important to me as well, because of my own personal ethics and principals that I tell the story in such a way I could live with myself and not feel I had betrayed his” expectation of privacy” in certain matters and certain places. I knew I was in for dozens or hundreds of rejection letters for months or years before I got a book deal, if ever. And in this case neither Eric nor I will be around much that much longer and neither will most of his biggest fans, I didn’t feel like I had that much time to waste. I wanted the book on the shelves as soon as possible so I decided to self-publish and it was a very good thing I did as well.
Who knew that when I started a book about myself and a washed up superstar almost two years earlier that almost the exact same moment I finished it he would have one of the biggest comebacks in rock and roll history and become one of the hottest acts in the business, with an album in the top ten records of 2013? He has admitted to having the best year of his career last year and this coming one is looking just as good for him, if not better. Which works out pretty good for me too, so you won’t catch me complaining. http://www.evenrockandrollhasfairytales.com
Is there another book in the works?
Always! I never stop working. I am merrily toiling away as fast as my fingers can fly on the massive new series of years the life of The Amazing Gracelynn
with all the dirt on every band and from every show, just with paper bags over their heads, so you can enjoy the stories, with the faces and names concealed and with the extra added bonus have all the fun of playing “ I bet I know who that is…” while you enjoy the books LOL Book Three Goodness Gracelynn! will be out by the end of November 2015 www.theamazinggracelynn.com
I am working with a really amazing young artist in Spain, Camille O Hyde . I fell in love with her work when i saw a picture she did on a Queen Fan page http://camilleohyde.bigcartel.com/
The paperbacks are fairly short, and quite inexpensive but i wanted to cover only one year at a time but they are a gorgeous and i wanted people to be able to build a collection. ! I would recommend buying the first two at the same time, otherwise the shipping is almost as much as the book, and that way you get two books for the same postage! In one package! And since book one talks place from the time she was ten to sixteen it doesnt really get HOT until book two! Where she discovers going backstage and turns into a kid in a candy store
I have a fictional long/short story I just published as an introduction to my work for new fans, a bargain at 99 cents, as a “try before you buy” for the cautious purchaser who won’t commit to purchasing a whole novel unless they are sure they are going to love it!
and I will be posting the true rock and roll stories regularly on my blog shinyhappysherry.wordpress.com
I have an old school classic gumshoe detective story “Senseless Tragedy” coming out soon, which was a fun change of pace and I’m very pleased with the results. Ive always been a huge fan of that sort of thing! Find out more at http://www.amazon.com/Sherry-Carroll/e/B00E5L5MWG/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1445629748&sr=8-1
Thank you so much for your time. That was really fun
No, thank you, I really enjoyed it too! Hopefully you will be reading ( and hearing) much more from me!