Okay so where did i leave off? Oh yes sitting in a field at a tiny little festival when the craziest thing in the world that ever happened to me happened. You should probably be sure to read Part One or you wont have a clue what i am talking about.

But the one that will stick in my mind forever the rest of my life as the best thing so far that’s ever happened to me, the coolest  one, was the shock of that day in that tiny little festival in Kent.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Now i have had some extremely cool stuff happen to me in my lifetime. been backstage at about 400  rock concerts. Danced with  Baryshnikov, met Cyd Charise, Kirk Douglas,Marge Champion, Liz Taylor,  Cher, Nanette Fabry, Spoken on the phone with Fred Astaire, and that just what i can remember at the moment off the top of my head.I’ve met and known and been friends or lovers with people in rock and roll most people would kill to spend five mins with. Been in a twenty year relationship with living legend Eric Burdon which i have since written a very well received book about http://www.evenrockandrollhasfairytales.com

serna

But if  ever asked  what the coolest thing that ever happened to me the first thing i would say is the day Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford   gave me the biggest shock of my life and  turned the worst day of my life into one of the greatest. Although talking to Fred and meeting Misha was  amazing,  But i orchestrated  all of those other things. i made them happen.

Glenn and Chris  were just… sprung upon me

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So if you’ve gone back and read part one, you probably get  that if it wasn’t bad enough  i had already mythologized glenn and Squeeze  to  completely unrealistic( but i think pretty well deserved proportions)  when i was just a kid , having them appear like genies from a bottle  on that day in Kent in 2007 was too much to believe, My friend Simon said he was worried i might have thought i was having a hallucination and thats what it felt like. Like the whole thing was a practical joke or some crazy dream.

SO on, that day, do you think THAT’S the day i would have the nerve to speak to them?

My god i didn’t say a word to anyone the entire weekend. My brain just kept saying over and over ” I CANT BELIEVE THAT JUST HAPPENED”  and so that’s all that would have, and did ,come out of my mouth for a week. That certainly made them even more intimidating not LESS for gods sake. I hid from them the entire festival terrified of what nonsense would pour out if i accidentally made any actual contact.

thanks to that day,  instead of being the most miserable human being on the planet when it came time to go home there was the biggest smile you’ve ever seen on my face and it didn’t go away for months every single time i told the story and comes back each time i think of it to this day. And 6 days or so later with my family sitting in the arena in Virginia  when Squeeze took the stage  no one cheered louder or was happier than me .  The last thing i expected when i came home from my trip.

The next couple of years were great, my kids grew out of the obnoxious stage that was driving me crazy, i was still going to London when i could and Squeeze was still  a regular  part of our lives. I took the whole family to a gig at The Rams Head, And when we were all in the car arguing about who got to pick the music the Squeeze  CDs always won, because every single one of the family had no  no objection to a single song on them, enjoyed it and sang along.

My last trip to London was Feb 2099 and  in 2010 i started seriously writing almost 24/7  from then until… well, i still do.

I paid no attention at all to concerts and albums and  who was coming to town while i worked on my book. But when i did get the rock and roll itch ,  once i finished the book last year guess who was coming to town ( how DO they DO that?) Sure enough, in just a few weeks Glenn was going to be at The Rams Head a couple hours away. So i bought four tickets  to take the family.

I joined a facebook group for Squeeze and so i was really excited about the gig and met the lovely Jane Johnson a huge Squeeze fan and very soon we became friends. My then  14 year old son Ian, who is mildly autistic was really excited about the show.

But unfortunately two days before the gig i had to have an emergency gallbladder removal so we all had to miss it and it was such a disappointment Especially laying on the couch afterwards in pain  and miserable hearing everyone in the squeeze facebook group talking about how fantastic the gigs were. it was really depressing the whole next year hearing about all the wonderful  events and shows and seeing the pictures and videos while i was getting better of all the fantastic squeeze stuff going on in the USA and UK i had missed out on. SO WHEN TICKETS FOR THE SHOWS THIS WEEK WENT ON SALE FOUR MONTHS AGO I WAS ECSTATIC!

AND NOW… drum roll please  at long last we finally get to  the shows THIS WEEK im theoreticlly blogging about. lol

Once again bought four tickets to Glenn  at the Rams Head the instant they went on sale.

In my excitement  i didnt realize it was the Rams Head in Annapolis Not Baltimore and it was a 21 and older only show until the week before the gig. So neither of my kids could go  and i had to let them down once again. It would just have to be me and my friend Elizabeth unless we could find someone to take the other two tickets.  Knowing Jane was in contact with Glenn and his people somehow  i asked her if Glenn had the power to say my 15 year old could come, despite the club rules and at Jane’s insistence that i must get over my terror of  speaking to Glenn( i had told her all about how i was terrified of him) i asked if  maybe we could get  backstage to see Glenn.

This time i was really GOING TO DO IT! SAY SOMETHING Anything to him. for the first time in my life . after 35 years AND NOT SOMETHING STUPID. Hopefully .

The day of the show arrived but i had no confirmation that Ian would be able to go and to get to Annapolis from Germantown on public transport was a feat i had never attempted, which i knew would take most of the day so it would just have to be me and Elizabeth and two empty chairs.  Five and a half wretched hours after  3 pm when i left my house  i arrived completely shattered at the gig  in Annapolis Monday night at 8: 20   and so i  had already missed most of the first half.  But i walked in the door just as he started one of my fav songs Messed Around which i would have been heartbroken to have missed so I got very lucky in that respect.

I asked about my four  purchased tickets, and expected  to use the  single ticket i purchased of the four which was the only one that i needed and was given an envelope. When i opened it up there was a complimentary ticket for me,  one for my daughter and one for my son , making an exception to the 21 plus rule, on orders straight  from team Glenn thanks to Jane! Now i had seven seats, but no kids, and for one friend but I so much appreciated her help , Glenn’s kindness and the gesture. It all was making me feel i  just might just be able to do it!

here is a bit of Glenn for you. So talented! So Nice!  So fun !…. SO SCARY ? lol

Turns out they had sent me a message but i had already left for the gig, since it was so far away and  without  the kids since i wasn’t 100 percent sure they would be able to get in.  Ian and Roby would have lost their minds  anyway on the godawful over five hour trip on public transport to the show if i had brought them so it really was for the best in the end. I find Elizabeth and we settle in and Glenn is marvelous, as always.  Watching him alone on the stage reminded me of the very first time i had seen him and my chin had dropped so far it had rendered me perpetually mute, at least when it came to him. Curls no longer golden,  body more grounded,  as he played, now longer the light- hearted, fluffy, bands  pretty- boy, the golden angel in white, finger fluttering ,  He and the guitar were more like Fred and Ginger  these days then a teennager capturing butterflies. I’ve never been very good at remembering the set list or taking notes on each song when its a show that enthralls me, but Glenn was  in fantastic form, funny, brilliant and as always his talent just  overwhelms me. I just get spellbound. A mix of old favorites and newer material, a little goofiness and loads of fun. This is an old gig but i haven’t found any videos yet of the shows the last two days.. And i love this song

Before i knew it the show was over and after 35 years  at last the moment had come. I had to talk to Glenn.  At least to say thank you, if nothing else . There was no way out of it this time!

While standing in line a beautiful , dark haired, tall English girl said “Hello”, how are you? and taking a guess i figured she was part of his entourage so i said to her” Hi, I’m Sherry, Jane’s friend”  And she immediately sprung into action. apologizing for us getting the message too late and running off to bring me  a free mug and  free copy of his  wonderful new album  Happy Ending.  Just then Elizabeth shoved me “GO! Now’s your chance! Go talk to him!”

So after 35 years and all of this,  hearing my  story… what the hell  do you think i was i supposed to? or going to say?

fuck if i knew.

By now i bet the curiosity (boredom) is killing you so  mercifully i will put you out of your misery.

Well… i said thanks and explained why Ian couldn’t make it and he autographed the album for him. i knew i only  had the  approximate three minutes  typical and appropriate for a meet and greet.  So i gave him the condensed version of this entire saga consisting of  summing it up in about ten sentences. which probably came out , without the appropriate context, as complete gibberish. Then quite rudely, but at least sheepishly,  asked if maybe i could have a comped ticket, just the one, for myself, for the next night since i had missed the first part of this show, which  he immediately and cheerfully agreed to (and actually did) and then we were out the door and in the car.

I DID IT!AND TO MY SHOCK I SURVIVED IT! And managed to not quite to make a complete ass of myself!  after all this time i finally  had the nerve to talk to him, and i didn’t mumble and drool but i probably did, as i feared, just try to give him too much information  too fast to comprehend, but there was  such an awful lot i wanted to say…. so instead said it all here.

And hopefully if i get this into the right hands he will get it and maybe even be kind enough to  take the time to read it . So maybe  he will be able to figure out what the hell i was talking about. and then, at last, he will know all the stuff I’ve always felt and always wanted to say.

The next show was fantastic too. at a cool little place I have never been called Jammin Java way out in Virginia but nothing near the nightmare to get to  that Annapolis had been.I had sent some pics of the festival to his facebook page earlier in the day and the same girl  from the night before showed me he had received them.  I said something about how shy and nervous Glenn made me and she said” Hes just a normal regular guy. just like anyone else”

and i didnt say it but i thought, ”  yeah, just a guy.  one that has profoundly effected us and been the soundtrack of  most of my life and has more talent in his pinky then ninety percent of most of the so called artists out there today and one of a band that i consider the best there is and as a writers, i consider  to be some of  my idols. but its no big deal.  other than that,  hes just like everybody else” and the line kept ominously  moving closer. To get out the door i had  no choice but to pass Him again. I muttered something or other along the lines of Thank you for  making my favorite music since i first heard it 35 years ago and  then raced  to catch the last  subway train of the night to spend  two hours on public transport getting home. I was home by one and in the hours since then i have  i worked on fixing part one which i did in a rush yesterday because i had to get to the gig and finishing part two today.

If Glenn ever reads this it will be such a relief. Because once he knows all these things I’ve been carrying around i  always wanted  but never knew how or  had the nerve  or time to say to him and when he does  from now on all i will ever  have to do after the show is give him a big smile knowing he knows and just say with joy and confidence and no fear  at all, all that’s left to be said now…

“Hey Glenn, GREAT GIG!”

and then maybe someday we could have a relaxed normal friendly  conversation for a few mins. because that would be pretty cool.

And if he were pass this post to or  a brief message  along to the Beautiful Boy i would greatly appreciate it  .  I told Glenn his name. I hope he remembers it.

 

Hi Beautiful Boy  and surprise! i bet you never expected this ! Remember me?

001 (7)

here  is what i look like now, i wonder what you do?  Best wishes to you and your family and i hope you’ve had and are having a wonderful  life. I  still think of you fondly whenever i think of Squeeze and the one thing i’m really sorry about is i didn’t  get  to say goodbye and i  really  regret now  i never had a picture to  remember you by . if you want to contact me here ( any comment made wont show up publicly until i see it and unless i approve it) i would love to have an old snapshot  from  way back in those days, especially before you got all your curls cut off lol and to say  hello. Luv,Sherry

a648056562_508517_9540

After going backstage at Squeeze at least 20 -30 times in 35 years I finally worked up the courage to say hello to Glenn. After his amazing gig at The Rams Head last night Crazy? I know! The Sherry Fairy, Rock and Roll Teen Queen being too frightened to talk to anyone for the first time ever. especially one of the nicest , friendliest guys you could ever hope to meet. so… why? and what did i finally have to say after all this time? well believe me it wasn’t easy to cram all i wanted to say into a three min meet and greet. but i gave it my best shot. maybe its best if i start at the beginning while i have all the time in the world to explain why it is how it was

its usually is a good place to start. this is me . About  1979-1980.

i first saw Squeeze as a warm up act for Elvis Costello in College Park Maryland that year. two things happened that night, i cant remember in what order but i will start with the concert because its probably much  more interesting to you. When Squeeze came on stage i was mesmerized and by Another Nail for My Heart i was awestruck.

I loved their music so much  from the very first moment of each successive song , something that had never happened to me  in all the gigs i had ever been to so far and i had been to hundreds by then. Glen with his olden curls in a white suit was shining like an angel on the stage. he moved like no one i had ever seen. up on his toes as if any moment he would levitate right of the stage, as if  he were doing the best he could just to cling to it with the tips of his shoes    the single white spotlight was doing its best to draw back up into the heavens where he belonged. He was stunning to look at and amazing to watch. his hands flitting and fluttering across the guitar like butterflies doing tachi and constantly drifting off and away from him as he strummed, then having to be dragged back for the next notes. i was a little too young for a bad case of Beatlemania, but when i saw Squeeze was so overcome by their talent and how their music spoke to me i think it must have been what it felt to see and hear Lennon and Mccartney for first time for me .  And i have always felt that way about the band .

So no matter how many times ive been backstage or had the opportunity to speak to any of them i was sure there were only two possible outcomes. I would  be so nervous i would blurt out a whole bunch of stuff like this which would make me sound either obsessed or insane about how much they had come to mean to me as the years went by or i would stand here like Beeves and Butthead only able to drool and repeat like an idiot” hu hu uh huh I  really like your band” and one was too much and the other too little ( and moronic lol) so in all these years until last night i’ve gone out of my way never to speak to them. i was just too shy around them and too intimidated by their talent.

The second  thing that happened was i fell  from 90 floors high into a mutual case of lust at first sight with  Beautiful Boy on the crew. So much so when they left that night I went with them. There was no possibility  or doubt on either part that he would leave without me or I would let him go. I had to go home eventually because i had left with no more than the  adorable tank top  on my back and a pair of tiny shorts and with him living out of a suitcase there really wasn’t enough wardrobe for two, although i did look pretty cute in his shorts and tee shirts. But mainly because it really isn’t very nice or fair the other boys living on the bus for us to be carrying on constantly(we couldnt keep our hands of each other) and or B.Boy have his very own carry-along own dress up doll when  no one else did.

I tell you this for two reasons. because  this  relationship carried on for many years  and thats why i was lucky  enough to see elvis costello and a few other bands AND BEST OF ALL SQUEEZE very often many different times and places from knowing him and he rest of the crew through him and because maybe, just maybe… someday he might read this. when i stopped going backstage because i had a serious real -life everyday local boyfriend and then married him i pretty much  quit going to concerts at all. And of course that meant quitting my beautiful boys too.

Who wanted to sit in the boring old audience and go home at the end of the show? the only way to forget that world and those friends and that part of my life and not miss it was to forget all about its existence. but i still went to see Squeeze. I just bought a ticket and never ventured backstage  and  never asked if he was here. the last time i saw him we didn’t know it would be the last time so we never even got to say goodbye. so if  he gets a chance to read this someday  i want i to know that sherry from washington still thinks of him  when i think of Squeeze just like i am now and i did miss him when it was over and hope he is happy and doing well . so here’s  three tears for you B. Boy, one  of sadness for the goodbye we never got, one of joy if you are reading this and even just for a moment remembering me and one of regret and sentimentality for the end of the old days and the good times,

So thats enough about that, it was just to explain how i was lucky enough to see them backstage so often.

They were always so NICE  too, everyone spoke of how kind and friendly Glenn was, why did i still feel terrified to say a word to him? As time went on they and their music started to mean more to me as the years passed.  i was only buying the albums or  going to see a few of my special favorite bands where i had really good friends nick lowe, tom petty, ian hunter,  and of course Eric Burdon www.evenrockandrollhasfairytales.com and Squeeze, once i gave up the rock and roll lifestyle  for being a wife, a mother and teacher, and  running my own business. but somehow whenever i needed  a break , whenever I got that rock and roll itch Squeeze was there somehow to scratch it. Coming to town or putting out an album of some sort,  turning up for a gig whenever i needed a show. and when i reached for my records i always played all the Squeeze first . i got to  take my ten year old son to a Squeeze show 15 years ago and they couldn’t have been nicer to him.

My Jayme’s always been a superstar, he an actor in LA now  but even  at ten  i could let him do all the talking lol. I was never fanatical ,only a fan and i’m sure here was all sorts of drama and music  and make-ups and breakups  i missed  out on knowing anything about, and i couldn’t for the life of me tell you the dates of the gigs or the album releases, but i always had theirs  when they came out even when i wasn’t buying anyone elses and could play them for hours and they always made me happy.

About ten years ago when he kids were big i started spending a lot of time at my best friend Simon who lived in  in London’s flat. it was the time of my life! no responsibilities, just pubs, clubs, gigs, shows, galleries, festivals, restaurants,  even west end shows every now and then.  a very far cry from the boring suburban maryland town where i lived with a crabby autistic preteen and four just-become adult know- it- all s whose favorite sport was ganging up on mom and reminding her constantly of everything she did wrong every min of the day. i loved living in London almost half the year . two months at home, one month in London.   i had loads of friends at my  home away from home and i adored Simon. he was like one of the family.  we had the best fun! we went to the stonehenge solstice and camped and then to glastonbury every year, we even braved the mud to see Glenns show in a tent about a million miles from ours.

But i want to tell you about  the summer of 2007. things had been really rough at home, so i took i said fuck it and spent almost  the whole summer in london! seven whole weeks of pure bliss, friends to do things with, underground clubs where every  one knew me, and the greatest gigs and best things to see and do in the most exciting city in the world. we did Stonehenge , we did Glastonbury and before i knew it, time to go home came and i wasn’t happy about it. Not at all  .The only thing that gave me any joy was knowing a week after got home i had pretty good seats at Wolf Trap Park in Virginia to see Squeeze touring together for the first time in ages! if  i hadn’t  i’m not sure they would have been able to  drag me on to  the plane home.

I was exhausted from the non -stop excitement and not feeling well and Simon said,” Come on,   its your last weekend here. Come with me out to Kent for this  40 year anniversary of the summer of love festival.”  His band The Green Ray were playing there, with Barry Melton, “Please don’t stay in the flat  alone and get even more depressed.”

So very reluctantly and feeling very sorry for myself we got in the car on Saturday morning  and left.i didn’t want to think about catching that plane back   to my dull world and my real problems but it was all i could think about.

We arrived and a lot of good friends with the band were there which of course only made me feel even sorrier for myself  because i knew all this great stuff  like this day would be carry on without me, as normal for London, once I was gone

It was a beautiful day and the festival was tiny little thing , like a backyard barbeque, with a couple of bands and maybe a hundred people (though they were so spread out it seemed like much less) in the yard of someones beautiful old home. i was completely drained from all of the non-stop partying the whole seven weeks and basically just being a miserable git so I climbed into the back of the band car  for a private pity  party, table for one. Simon gave it his best shot he came and pulled me out to see a beautiful double rainbow but even then i was still sulky . this was undoubtedly going to be the worst  day of my life.

Then, i heard Simon say , a his voice sounding a bit funny… “Now I’m going to tell you something and at first you are going to think that its a very cruel joke then when you realize its not you are going to flip out. are you ready?” i nodded my head morosely. he made me look up the hill.” Now stay calm because i know what a wreck you are his weekend but you see those two caravans pulling up? well inside one of them is Glenn Tilbrook and in the other Chris Difford. they really are here, i’m not fucking with you and i think they are going to do a set and stay for the festival.”

I’m sure you have heard the term my mind was blown. Well you will never truly comprehend it until it REALLY DOES happen to you! A week from now they were going to be in an arena  down the road from my house in america ! i had proof! i had tickets for the family!what the hell were they doing here?

And all of he sudden he worst day of my life turned into the best.

and ever since then i’ve found it really hard to ever feel sorry for myself again. because once you’ve been sitting in the middle of a field out in the middle of nowhere and your favorite band magically appears and plays just for you, when you need it most, its pretty hard not to know your life is, and  has been absolutely amazing! now its time to go to Glenn’s other show  tonight!  In Virginia. So i guess there will have to be a Part Two tomorrow!

Simon and the back of  my very blown mind, Coming soon Part 2hawkhursta

Once upon a time… there was a band that had to try to please everyone… did they please anybody?

First of all, you have to understand that I LOVE THIS BAND. In the way only a 15-16 year old girl can when she finds a band that is the” love of their life” and grew up playing all their early albums non-stop, till they were worn to nothing and we had to buy new copies. They literally changed my life because the one and only reason my best friend Nina and I started trying to get backstage at every single gig that came to the Capitol Centre was to be ready for Queen to get there. So we would know just how to meet our idols. It was all just practice for the big event. At first, at least. I had no way of knowing then that going backstage and becoming a part of that world  was going to be my life for the next 7 years or so and change me whole perception of who I was and what I could be. No more shy awkward little junior high school punching bag. No more was I the girl that the ugliest boy in school  became offended because a rumor started we were dating.  No more was I the girl the entire neighborhood picked on and despised. Once I found out that guys like Roger Daltry thought I was just fine. A lot of women had their self- esteem destroyed by what went on backstage during those years but I took no crap from no one and I actually came out of it feeling like a person of value with something to offer. So if it had not been for Queen who knows who I would have turned out to be? Probably what I started as before they came along, a depressed, abused, powerless, vulnerable, naive worthless kid who would have latched on to the first  bully that paid her any attention at all and ended like a lifetime movie of the week  .  So to say they were important to me is  the understatement of the century.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We saw them for the first time at Cole Field House at George Washington University. Fri Feb 4th 1977.  Just a college gig, with Thin Lizzy opening. It was our very first rock concert and just before they become wildly popular in the states  . We knew all about them already, of course, but that’s because we had just discovered rock and roll and loved the English bands, especially the glam bands. We first started watching rock and roll on TV when I discovered the Kinks and we took great pride in owning every fan magazine with our favorite Brit bands and only shopping in the import record stores, but nothing had prepared us for THE REAL THING! Freddie, Roger, Brian, and John in their full glory at the height of their creativity scratching and clawing their way to be nothing less than biggest band in the world. And even though I spent quite a bit of it making out with Scott  during the concert, I kept my eyes open every minute of the show and the make out session (what? You never heard of multitasking? lol) And it was incredible.

adatr_1

Our next concert would be Led Zeppelin at the Cap Centre and that was it! From that moment onward we would hitchhike around the beltway if necessary, across 6 lanes of traffic to get to every big gig by noon to study how this whole” meeting the band” thing was done. The first time Queen came back to the Capitol Centre  it was the same year Tue 29th Nov – 1977  The Day of the Races tour was continuing and growing to stadium size and stating to set records. Of course we only caught a glimpse of them in their limos as they drove past us into the backstage area but by then we had learned a thing or two so we left the gig early and were waiting in the car when their limos rushed out and we followed them all the way into Downtown DC (giggling and screaming) although they did their best to lose us , until they got to some Japanese restaurant and we refused to budge from out front until they came out again so we could follow them to the hotel. Luckily for us Queen turned out to be creatures of habit and once we knew where they were staying  we could head straight for the hotel every time and if we were lucky beat them there. So we always got to see them pass through the lobby. Nina isn’t in this picture. i think she must have been holding the camera. It took quite a while for them to come back because now they were  massive all over the world.

queen.

394602_10151538735341563_828544147_n

But then it was announced!  They were coming back! 6th Nov 1978 to the  Capitol Centre~ on MY 18th birthday!

ihohyp90y9

We knew where they were staying, we had a ride and crazily enough we got backstage passes!  Crystal ( Chris Taylor , Rogers drum tech and MUCH MORE) loved my black and white striped leotard, black mini skater skirt and black and white striped  over the knee leg warmers  so he said he” couldn’t leave me outside in that fabulous outfit” and gave us all passes  get in to the outer edges of the backstage! Everything couldn’t have been more perfect. It felt like the luckiest  night of my life. Right up until this moron friend of ours who had promised to chauffeur us around all night told about three hundred little girls all wearing I love Roger Taylor buttons (while we were indoors backstage and he had to sit in the parking lot waiting) the one thing we knew that nobody else did. What hotel they were staying at. Because we had passes we didn’t slip out of the show early, hoping to see the band while they were inside the arena, where no one else could get at them, now the secret was out and was spreading like wildfire but  they were just too well guarded for that. I got a body-guard to take a few pics of Freddie we had taken that we were especially proud of into the dressing room and he came out with two words from her highness. “Not bad” A bit rude, but what the hell we would take it. By the time we got to the hotel the crowd of girls who had been outside the back door while our ride John was showing off and running  off at his big mouth had all beaten us there and had packed the lobby of the hotel full to bursting. I started to walk inside but when I saw the throng I knew any chance of a moment or two just to connect with Roger, or even more, hopefully,  was now impossible so as the band entered and he was surrounded I just turned my back and dejectedly started to walk away .

All he sudden I hear this shouting above all the din of dozens of squealing girls surrounding their idol.

In a very familiar voice ” ROGER!” screamed Nina ” ROGER TAYLOR! TURN AROUND RIGHT NOW AND LOOK AT ME! I SAID  NOW!”  Well by now the entire hotel was staring, mouths gaping open at Nina- she pointed her finger at my departing back.  I had yet to have the courage to turn around and she said (Once again extremely disapprovingly at the gob smacked Mr Taylor and company)

” MY BEST FRIEND SHERRY LOVES YOU MORE THAN ANYTHING IN THE WORLD AND ITS HER BIRTHDAY AND YOU ARE GOING TO TALK TO HER! The or else was a given.

By now even I had to turn around, there was no other option,  just to see every eye in the place gawking at me.  Roger said graciously “Why of course. Come here Sherry.” wiggling a finger at me like  dangling tuna at a frightened kitten.   An aisle started to open like the parting of the red sea in a direct line between Roger and I and spread to about 12 foot wide, my hopes of having a private moment when our eyes met and we fell madly in love were hopelessly dashed by this point and this is the last place in the world I want to be now. I began slowly walking towards him totally mortified, eyes down cast. the room was waiting to see what would happen when I got there, like an obedient little peasant girl . I’m standing now, right in front of him, eyes still downcast and he actually puts his hands on his knees and bends over to look me in the face, and says in the  voice a clown says to a timid three year old at a loud birthday celebration surprise… “So it’s your birthday is it? And us how old is it you are then today? (the words little girl never spoken, but they might as well have been, they hung so heavily in the air) ” Eighteen” I mumbled, absolutely humiliated, terrified he was going to pat me on the head before this whole ordeal was over at long last. “Well, happy birthday to you!” and he stuck his hand out with his elbow bent like you would to a kindergartner at graduation. I took it, shook it and ran for my life. Once again he crowd of girls started squealing and giggling as they closed back in on him while he signed autographs but by then I was halfway to the car. I will never be able to thank her enough though, and we laughed hysterically the whole ride home!

Sat 23rd Aug 1980 – USA, Baltimore, Civic Center was their next show. I had a ticket and a ride arranged but from a friend who was a pathological liar. So when he time had come for her to pick me  after an hour or two, i knew she wasn’t coming and ha never intended to and  I wasn’t surprised at all it had happened. And I was still a bit wobbly from the last show. But that was the last time I ever spoke to her. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Should have been done long ago. two long years pass before they come into town again.

Sun 25th July 1982 – USA, Washington DC, Capital Centre Hot Space Tour –

001

By then we were experts at getting backstage at everyone but we had never been able to get a crack at getting any closer to Queen, they were just too tightly secured, too well guarded. and by we i mean me and my new partner in the rock and roll game, the other Shari, 50 percent of the now ” The Infamous Sherry and Shari”

” Able to leap restraining barriers in one mighty stiletto’ed hop, to get to where we had no business being with a single bound. We were only happy if we got inside every single show that came into town free. We approached it single-minded, and  as a science. We made friends with every crew we could, every gig, every tour, and found out when and with what band they would come back to town. We would get the names of their friends on other tours to watch out for, and to ask for personally. We flirted unmercifully with every person working every door, and every goon operating security at every local event. We made friends of every union stagehand, chatted up every truck driver, T-shirt shirt man, all the sound-men, and the entire lighting team. We sweet-talked every gaffer, rigger, and roadie in sight and cozy-ed up to every regular hotel employee at all the hotels the bands were always booked into. We flattered and fussed over every limo driver for a hundred miles around. We made sure we knew everyone and made sure we were known and appreciated by every promoter as well behaved and worth having around, not sleazy, low-class troublemakers. To find out where the best parties were going to be, we did detective and surveillance work that would have made Phillip Marlowe proud. We learned to contact the band’s A & R person at the label in New York or L.A. in advance to see if we could sweet-talk our way onto “The List.” Eventually, somehow we’d manage to schmooze, sneak, or scheme our way in every single time. They all soon learned there was never any hope of us doing sexual favors for passes for any show, like some of those girls at the back door, but you could always count on us to show up at 10 am, bringing fresh baked cookies or a homemade meatloaf for lunch, in order to keep the bored, exhausted boys who lived on the bus company and entertained on a long, hard day and night out here in the middle of suburban nowhere somewhere in Maryland, or Virginia or Washington D.C or Baltimore. Happy to get out a needle and thread and put a button back on their favorite shirt, or run an errand they hadn’t gotten around to, or spend the afternoon before the gig at the hotel doing their laundry. Even better, we invited all our available girlfriends to come down to the gig at show time if they were willing to give them passes too.  Most of all, we truly cared just as much or more about our friendships with the roadies as we did about meeting the bands. That was what made all the difference, made us special. We had a genuine desire to get to know them because they were much more interesting than the local boys our age could ever be, and we really wanted them to have a nice time while they came to town. It was always appreciated when someone would let us in free or give us a pass, and we made sure they knew it and treated them decently so we got the same appreciation, treatment and respect back. Now, I’m not trying to say we didn’t partake and participate in all sorts of notorious backstage naughty-girl behavior; our shenanigans were just about as well- known as our courtesy and our kindness. After all, I did say we were fairies, not angels. But we had a certain set of morals and high standards and ethics when it came to our behavior and reputations, and a limit to how much bullshit we were willing to tolerate. We grew to be known as people you should be kind to, look out for, and take care of when you came to our town.”  from  Even Rock and Roll has Fairy Tales: The Flight of the Sherry Fairy by Sherry Carroll https://www.amazon.com/Even-Rock-Roll-Fairy-Tales/dp/1502490471

So you can imagine our shock when fairly early and easily we scored VIP passes and got into the show! And before it’s over we had the golden ticket. We were invited upstairs to party inside the Hotel where the band was staying! Unfortunately when we got to the party it was only the crew. And even though we made sure to get names and make friends with the people certain to be able to get us passes with no problem, forever after, those the very closest to the band, little did we know, even if they might have had an Inkling, there would be no more next times in Dc. Soon Freddie was gone. And Queen, as we knew them could never tour again.

10001561_641780489226833_220810399_n

Moving ahead to  September 03, 2006    Queen was coming to the convention center with Paul Rogers. By then I wasn’t going to concerts at all anymore but my kid brother who I had turned into an even bigger Queen fan than I ever was, if that were possible, and had never seen them and  I thought should have a chance so I bought him two tickets . At the last minute he was unable to go, so rather begrudgingly, just to keep them from going to waste my husband and I went. And it was all right, I was in the audience just listening , not even feeling it, not even being aware or shutting down any emotions over this being a “ Queen” gig and Freddie being gone . Until, I don’t know, something happened when Roger started to sing Radio Ga Ga. A tune I had never particularly cared for in the past because it was passed the time when Queen music had been able to affect me  because it had changed so much. And I really listened to it. And it really sunk I was here, with Roger and Brian and I began to weep and just cried  like baby the entire rest of the show.

When Queen announced that they were going to come out of retirement  and  tour this summer as Queen with Adam Lambert I wasn’t as thrilled as you might have expected. I figured it would be some big stadium gig where I would pay hundreds of dollars to see them look like ants and after all the other, so much better experiences, it could only be a bitter end to a tragic tale. I had my crazy little memories; they were good enough for me. I could watch them on you tube in their prime doing anything I wanted to see. I didn’t need to be one of 200,000 people in the audience of a football stadium.

But something crazy happened on a Wednesday night in March. I got an email with advance ticket sale password to get Queen tickets 24 hours before the general public  at MERRIWEATHER POST PAVILION.  A tiny little nowhere venue, a place where I could be closer to, or have better seats then I ever had in my life to see Roger and Brian one more time in my lifetime, or theirs. If I could be one of the first ones on line to purchase online at 9 am in the morning the day the pre-sale began.  And a feeling stated to wash over me. One I had not had about a concert in 20 years. It kept building and building until it could not be ignored.

I didn’t know if I was going to be able to do it, but dammit I was going to give it all I got to try.

I called my kid brother to see if he is keen. I knew one person could get at least six tickets if they got though and he was all  excited for it. The night before I started getting so nervous and excited I knew there was no way I was going to be able to sleep. I logged on the ticket site just to see if by some fluke the pass word would work early and almost had a sheer heart attack myself. The tickets down in front were 295.00 dollars each. Well, I’m sorry but I don’t even have a proper job , I’m  a writer, a starving artiste,  and the only way I could, or would spring for three hundred dollar tickets to see anybody Roger Taylor would have to be playing the drums from my lap.

And I could see AmEx members had an even better pre-sale deal where their tickets were on sale already. So the odds of their being anything left by the next morning worth having were slim to none. Luckily I’m the kind of girl who finds the words ” it’s impossible” to be just the challenge I need to be the one person who can actually manage to  pull it off. After sitting at the computer all night debating would I be willing to pay the 295? I could get one just the one? Or if all that was left was us all sitting on the grass on the lawn for fifty bucks  a million miles away was it worth going at all?

I suddenly realized while prowling the venue site that the expensive seat weren’t even seats! They were paying for the privilege of standing up all night smashed up against the stage something I hadn’t had any interest at all in doing since long before I turned thirty. But the SEATS were about  180.00 dollars each and every seat in Meriwether is a winner, not a dud in the bunch. Maybe, just maybe, I could get us three of those. But by now its 2 am and my banks are all closed and the tickets go on sale at nine am and I have to get every single penny I have out of every account, off every credit card and have it all in one place and be back in my seat at the computer not one min later than 8: 50 the next morning. I moved everything I had electronically into the checking in one bank and everything I had electronically I could into the checking in the other other. now all I had to do was get up the next morning, hit one bank and wipe it out, hit the other and drop it all in and have it all in one place on one working credit card.

The problem was I had to do it all by taxi cab. During rush hour. As soon as my banks opened and be back on time or it was all for nothing.  I’ve pulled off much crazier schemes plenty of times ( see Ian Hunters Birthday Post) but I hadn’t done it in a long time. And with every hour that passed it was getting more important to me that I get in, no matter what, if there was any way humanly possible.

At 7:00 am after being up all night I was ready for the plan to commence, Luckily one of my banks opened at 8 am and the other 8: 30 if I had the money out of the eight am one and could get it to the 8:30 one he moment the doors opened I could be home at 8: 45 .  Called the cab company and there were no cabs at all for an hour. So I jumped on the first bus that took me straight t my first bank. There at 8:05 money removed to the last dime and right next door to a cab stand. Surely phase two would kick off any min. but stood and I stood and I stood the cab stand in the freezing cold as the minutes ticked past and no cab was to be found. Until 8: 36. I leap in like the police commandeering a car and scream at the driver” We have to fly like the wind or all is for naught!  GO!” and bless his little heart he does and I have all the money I could beg borrow or steal in one bank and on one working credit card and am home by 8: 55…  For the HARD part.

My heart is pounding, my adrenaline pumping, I’m buzzed to the gills, wired to the max,  and this is not something I am going to fail at.  And when I’m that determined I rarely do. The minute he clock hits 9 I am frantically logging into the site, and I keep getting offered great seats ( OMG THERE ARE SOME LEFT) but every time I go to pay I get booted out of the system from so many people trying to use it at once and every time I log back in the tickets are further back. Soon there will not be any further back to go and I start to resign myself to the possibility of failure. But at last the machine doesn’t boot me out of the system , and I’m so relieved to have gotten seats at all I spend the 180.00 I had leftover to put back into all the accounts to last the rest of the month on  a  fourth ticket! I HAVE THEM! They are mine!

And immediately I burst into tears and fall apart at the seams for the entire weekend. I did not  realize how much it meant to me and how much emotion I was holding back until I had them in my hand and was sure I would get in. so you can imagine  how special it was going to have to be for me, and for all different ranges of Queen fans, Old timers like me, and some who never thought it would be the same without Freddie, those who only knew Queen from the eighties with iconic stash Freddie, people wanting them too succeed, people go expecting them to fail… how in the world were they actually  going to pull this thing off? But I didn’t care. I didn’t think about that just then. I was going to see Brian and Roger again. That was the only thing that mattered to me.

scan0006 (2)

And by the way, my kid brother reimbursed me for not just his girlfriends but for my ticket as well, which I never expected. Really nice thing for him to do. So I wanted to make a point of pointing it out. That left me with one to give away or sell. I figured by the show time came, if I couldn’t find the perfect person to take it I could probably sell it for enough to cover the three original tickets.

So you may be asking yourself right about now ” When the hell is she actually going to get to the review of the show?”  Excellent question. I’ve been trying to get there since I  started this and still haven’t made it have I? Maybe I better let this be part be the prologue, part one and the concert itself be part two. Not that it does you any good if you have read this far already might as well tough it out to the end lol

The day has arrived . It’s Sunday June 20, 2014. I was supposed to spend all sat resting but of course I couldn’t possibly sit still so I spent the whole day and night cleaning the house. I’ve never even more ready for a concert in my life! My hair is professionally done a fetching combination of blood red with streak of cobalt blue, my fake fingernails painted like beautiful blue butterfly wings. There was a close to last minute crisis about my dresses not arriving by show time but I decided to make due with a silver and black Gothic ball gown! After all there is no such thing as too glam for Queen or even too over the top. The sky is literally the limit!

I’ve taken to creating and collecting dolls the last few years and I made a lovely set of Queen with not one but two Freddie’s I was determined to take on that off chance I could slip past Queen super security but fairly sure that I couldn’t. If I could not get near them as a gorgeous teenage girl the odds of me doing it as a middle aged nut with a basket full of creepy weird large queen dolls were not going to be much better, but one can always dream. And I enjoy the hell out of taking my Queen out for photo ops and I thought the rest of the fans might  get a kick out of seeing them as well.  If I had been going on my own or had my own transport I would have been up at the gig working on it at ten am when the crew was fairly relaxed and there was no union security but I figured by the time the doors opened at show time all I could do was give it one last desperate shot.

To my brothers misfortune his girlfriend  didn’t feel well enough to go see a band that she just wasn’t that crazy about ,  and so to my great delight my adorable daughter agreed to go in her place! I was thrilled to  bits. I had wanted her to go all along and she kept saying no, more firmly the more I  cajoled begged and  insisted but by the evening of the show she hadn’t arranged anything better to do and decided she was keen after all!

There was an almost catastrophe the day before when I didn’t realized the tickets had already been mailed to us and I finally  found them by accident at the last minute so as concerts go, this was having a less than average number of  screw-ups in advance so of course I was terrified.  So far nothing had gone terribly horribly wrong. That’s a bad sign when it comes to a road trip in my world. I get dropped off at my mom’s in Baltimore where my brother lived about 1 pm and somehow four hours just did not seem time enough to get ready!

But finally at 5: 30 he shows and we are off to the gig where the doors open at 6: 30. I hadn’t been to Meriwether in thirty years and  forgot how much walking there was to do from parking lot to seat, but adorable daughter cheerfully gave a hand whenever necessary  at getting to our seats with a heavy basket of huge goth queen dolls that probably weighed almost as much as she did. And I was right, the fans loved them. They were petted and posed with and passed all around us so people could get pics. And Roby, the adorable daughter didn’t mind a bit trotting over to the other side of the venue to the closest spot you could get to the backstage for a Hail Mary play before show time. At one point I spotted a beautiful girl with long dark curls  and a smoking hot bod covered with enough official laminated credentials as most of the crew put together and she came when I called her over. She couldn’t have been nicer and said leave the dolls here and  I will be right back and show them to the band, but it was ten mins until they were due on stage and I loved them too much ( and they cost way too much money) to make to let them out of my sight the entire show, on the off chance they got to Brian and Roger, and then back to me safely after the show and I knew the security guard would or take responsibility or guarding them for us until we got back, so we wisely decided since it was minutes to show time to head back to our seats so we wouldn’t disturb anyone coming down the aisle once the show started. I had just enough time for a few snaps of my own with the dolls

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Before  a cloud of  white white fog started to rise off the stage and the unmistakable sound of brains guitar started to fill the air.

The whole place went nuts and the show HAD BEGUN! It kicked off with some early Queen! How delightful, and wisely none of it song too identified as Freddie’s. I must admit by the time they broke into The Seven Seas of Rhye I was violently shaking my poor daughter by both shoulders shouting  PUT BEFORE ME WHAT IS MINEEEEEEE the SEVEN SEAS OF RHYEEE but then I took pity on her and gave her a break due the terrified look on her face and tuned her loose. Since she will probably be the one to pick out my nursing home I thought it best if I not appear any more senile than already am.  Adam Lambert was doing a fantastic job vocally and physically but even though I was totally caught up in it and enjoying the hell out of every min there were already a few things starting to stick in my craw. Rogers drum kit was so low and so far back it almost felt as if he were intended to be in  the parking lot out back  behind the venue. And there was no volume on his mic.   Plus Adam could not stand not to be in very single frame of the big screen cameras. So it seemed every time Roger was finally appearing in close up about 40 foot tall on the screen doing some fab drum parts Adam would leap in the frame and the camera would shift to him!  or he would us the time Roger was playing to elicit screams out of the audience drowning out everything Roger was doing.

I don’t know if it was vanity or choreography or if he was just not a seasoned enough a musician or  accustomed enough to being in a band with musicians of his caliber but he didn’t really seem to get that the drums are actual MUSICAL instruments and not just a beat to gyrate your hips to, to make the audience squeal like stuck pigs and  seeing Roger play them is a very large part of Queens appeal. It was not the time to prance across the stage or do the can-can and shout out some nonsense that  would get the crowd screaming and rowdy, it was completely  unnecessary  and unwanted, there was absolutely NO need to do something ” interesting” so people wouldn’t get bored, We were watching Roger! there is absolutely nothing boring about that! For some of of us he was 50 percent of the reason we were there so STFU and get out of the spotlight when he is in it Adam. Roger seemed to be not anywhere near as highlighted as a star should be… where was the huge drum risers we were used to ? covered with flashing lights? if there weren’t for the few moments he was on the big screen you would hardly have known he was there at all!

And during  all the songs Brian and Adam were out front clearly having the  time  of  their lives ,Brian giving Adam some whispered stage directions, or musical cues, the two of them laughing and chatting between the songs, even during them! and don’t know about Rogers feelings but I was having real pangs of jealousy for him. I didn’t come here to see the Adam  and Brian show, I wanted Roger to be the one out there, laughing and smiling and chatting with Brian, like it had been with Paul . It was the Roger and Brian show then, the loss of Freddie was still so fresh and they clung to each other and sang their songs with Paul  just helping out when absolutely necessary. I was hoping for much more than a stadium gig  in a small venue, so polished and rehearsed and designed to highlight the thing in the show i had the least interest at all in seeing, Adam.

It was so very sweet though, there were moments Brian was so clearly moved by the reception he was getting and the energy coming back and how the crowds knew every word to every single song you could feel the love coming right back  at us in waves and on many an occasion he had to wipe a tear from his eye.

At the time it felt like Brian and Roger did almost nothing together, of that sort of thing for this show  and Roger got slighted and had almost no opportunities to sing and certainly it is true he had very few to sing. but to be fair before I wrote this tonight I watched the whole show one more time and there was a good 45 mines at the start of Brian and Roger interacting and Roger  did sing  one song The Days of our Lives , but not even” I’m in love with my car” or “Drowse” or” Tenement Funster”

It just few by so quick at the time and so close to the start that it seemed  those moment o f Brian and He together just lasted no time at all.

Rogers son Rufus came along to fill in on the drums when needed but it gave me the same feeling as the last  Indiana Jones movie, that were trying to phase the real Indy out so they could sneak in a new young fresh one and I didn’t like it any better with my fav band then I did it a fav movie!  The  second half of the show got even  flashier than the first and that’s when it started to annoy me a bit because they were doing more songs that were too well associated with Freddie  but in all fairness, there were also moments, quite wisely they had left out just for that reason.  For instance he did Fat bottom girls but ended it without the classic bicycle race ending Freddie did so well.

One thing I kept trying to remind myself   the second half  was Queen are consummate musicians and perfectionists and their shows so elaborately designed with such dramatic special effects that they must be choreographed and blocked out like a Broadway show. Believe me If there is going to be a shooting plume of fire and brimstone directly behind your back  during your solo your butt better be  standing right smack in the middle of the electrical tape x put there to tell you just where to stand  or the results could be very unpleasant indeed.

I guess I was us hoping for something a bit looser, a few flubs or bloopers, something more intimate, it being a smaller venue. Roger and Brian to look at each other and share a grin but I guess when you have been playing together as long as they have they are its  a well-oiled machine as they don’t really have to have  that eye contact or little visible  telepathic moments  between them to be playing in perfect sync.  Now, keep in mind I’m still really enjoying the show, they’re Queen songs performed beautiful by Adam Lambert and I was doing just fine with that. UNTIL they go to Radio Ga Ga. AND  Adam began to sing it instead of Roger.

I’m sorry that just plain wrong, no matter how you try to look at it. What is this kid? 25 years old or something? Hes probably never even owned a vinyl record in his life!  What does he know about laying in bed at night listening to a radio serial because you don’t have a telly yet? or hiding a tinny old radio under his pillow to listen to a bunch of static on am or pirate radio? Does he even know who Wolfman Jack or John Peel is? Does he even know who John Deacon is  for gods sake? and that really bothered me, especially considering how much it touched me the last time. And all week  it bothered me more and more and I think it was the one big terrible flaw in a show  that really  was as close to perfect as anyone could have gotten it under the circumstances, So many people to please, so many people expecting so much, so many that would be so easily upset, striking a balance being so incredibly hard.

but  the next  thing you knew there was Freddie fifty feet tall singing Bohemian Rhapsody then a single encore, We will Rock You and We are the Champions and then it was over, and they were gone.

Just as always, I figured the band had taken off before the crowds knew the show was over, but the rest of  my little group were very cool and accommodating and had no trouble taking the dolls back over to the backstage area to see if the black haired beauty from MTV came out to find us. And surprisingly  she did!

Even though the band was long gone she said she would take pics of the dolls to show them but only snapped a few before she was called away, although she said she  would come back. We were just about to give up when a very nice man came out and said she had sent him and the first thing he did was ask for our contact details and hen take about 5-6 shots of he dolls for her, even though I not sure if he knew what he was supposed to be doing with them. And I was so pleased that she had been so kind and thoughtful and sincere as to follow through on it all, especially when she was clearly insanely busy, I was perfectly happy to call it a night and head for home.  It took us ages to get to the car and adorable daughter carried the dolls most of he way. We kept having to stop stop  so people could play with them. It was really all a person could ask for and more.

The rest of the week I spent  resting on the couch, ice pads on my knees in terrible pain from taking a ridiculous number of steps up and down, so many times when I wasn’t used to it,and watching snippets of Queen gigs from this show and over the years and began to pick the show apart. Which is why I found it in full tonight and watched he whole thing start to finish without the distraction and it being live and there being a huge screaming crowd  BEFORE I wrote this and I really hadn’t been fair to them with my bitching during the week, comparing them to the Queen shows of old, and the first shows without Freddie. The whole show had just all happened so fast and there was so much to take in and remember while it was happening.

But tonight  watching it I also remembered how hard Queen had it creating this show in the fist place. Trying to find away to please everyone,  replace someone who truly was irreplaceable, which was really a task that was so close to impossible the fact they gt anywhere near it at all is astounding  .

The only real moments I truly still hated ( and there could have been dozens) was  Rogers almost complete absence from Radio Ga Ga vocally and visually which I just can’t comprehend .  It would have  been  the absolute highlight of the show for me. But you can’t please everyone and they come as close as anyone could have gotten . So God Save whats left of our Queen.

It was a marvelous evening and a beautiful ending? I don’t know . They are back in the studio. There may be more happily ever after to come. .. Maybe. and maybe not, for me.

If the next Queen gig is Adam Lambert and Rufus Taylor on drums and couple of nameless faceless musicians and Brian and its selling out massive stadiums you know I will not be there. I will be doing what Roger will most likely be. Watching it the next day on YouTube with big bowl of popcorn and that’s okay by me.

I never did hear anything from Queen Management about the dolls so I guess they never saw the pics but I don’t really  mind in the least. Queen have always been the big fish that got away and it only makes me love them more. What would have I had to say if I had been ushered back gate for Brian and Roger to pose and autographs my dolls? Or if I were to get some kind of lovely thoughtful note from the band?  I’m quite sure it would be more than I could take . I wouldn’t give clue what to say back and  don’t think i ever want to be in the position to have to worry about that.

It would be the one and only thing in my lifetime that could make his girl speechless!

If you want to see the show and decide for yourself there are lots of clips on you tube. i hope this one works   Enjoy

The Ramones were the first American band I fell in love with.

561235_487715417909538_785541634_n

I had just recently discovered rock and roll, I was always a quirky kid, a classic movie fan and Broadway musical snob I would rather watch Fred Astaire or dance in a show than go to the mall and listen to “popular music” But then a girl I met in my first (and pretty much only) year of high school who had been living in England turned me on to the Kinks, Bowie, Mott the Hoople , Sweet, T-rex then MY BAND forevermore early Queen. I was a glam fan, no doubt about it. They were theatrical enough to thrill the theatre buff in me and raw and raucous enough for my raging teenage hormones. We took great pride in never shopping at Waxie Maxies. We only went to the import store to buy the one record a week we could afford with our allowance. When the whole punk thing started  in England we just weren’t feeling it. It didn’t strike a chord with us little white girls living in the suburbs of Nowheresville USA.  Where were the suits and the platform boots?  Oh dear oh my o my-o my-o .  We didn’t want to start a riot or  cut ourselves with broken glass. We were well fed and “comfortable”   and cringed at anarchy and blood and didnt want to tear up our clothes, they were cute and  we didn’t have much money for those either and we sure as hell didn’t want to be sticking safety pins through our  bubble gum pink  glossed lips. But then, there were the Runaways and the Ramones.

They looked like us and the guys we went to school with, they wore the kind of clothes we could afford, their haircuts looked like ours, as if they had cut it themselves because they couldn’t afford to go to the salon because they would rather buy records, concerts tickets , and party.

10177340_456028244529403_8800346936770666032_n

They sang about stuff we could relate to, they were cartoon characters of us, bigger and brighter and more crazy and colorful than we could ever be but they felt like next door neighbors and best friends. They dreamed the stuff we dreamed and then went out and did it! We didn’t have any money when they came to Warner Theatre together to buy tickets but we snuck in the theater at 5pm and saw The Ramones do their sound check. When security found us they tried to throw us out but the band told them to let us stay. So we got to see the show after all! After the show Joan Jett was standing backstage cigarette in one hand, Jack Daniels bottle in another. I said to her “So is it true  you are from Rockville? So am I.” She threw one arm over my shoulder like we were the best of friends and said” Yeah I’m from Rockville doesn’t it SUCK? I said “Yah it does” and she took a swig and said laughed” It sucks SO bad” and she passed me her bottle of jack to have a big swig. I had never had it before and it was all I could do not to choke as I sucked it down but I didn’t want to let Joan down.  Cause she could have been me, or be me someday.  The Ramones were the guys who showed up to play a gig at your house when your parents were out of town, the guys you might find in your garage practicing until the neighbors called the cops .

They weren’t “grown-ups “or rock gods or guys twice our age in sequins and spandex or lame.  They were what they were. They were us.

10294415_682770465117849_2355536141355856878_n

As it’s always been said  “They were real. You always knew what time of day it was with the Ramones”   Who’s going to tell us now?  Or the kids today? Lady Ga Ga? Britany Spears?  Justin Beiber? Some may say our time has come and gone and it ain’t ever coming back. But as long as the last one of us is still here, although we are all going faster and faster and there are less of us all the time our time will always be now, as long as we always remember them.  And even more important  we remember us. We are still here. Just older and wiser, and it hurts to head bang all night and we may make that noise our dad used to make when we have to stand up to fast when we get out of a comfy recliner. Never forget that kid isn’t who you used to be. It’s still and will always be the REAL you. Before the world, and your parents, and your school, and your job and your Dr. told you who you were supposed to be.

“It wasn’t just music in The Ramones: it was an idea. It was bringing back a whole feel that was missing in rock music – it was a whole push outwards to say something new and different. Originally it was just an artistic type of thing; finally I felt it was something that was good enough for everybody.” – Tommy Ramone, 1978

Goodbye Tommy. We miss you all. Long live The Ramones!  Gabba Gabba Hey!

198337_10151333559271563_835540915_n          I was partying with Ac/Dc in Baltimore about two weeks before poor Bon died and he looked just awful then. So it was no big surprise to me, but a tragedy none the less. They had a case of Jack Daniels and there was only about 20 of us hanging out in the suite at the Hilton downtown but they had managed to smash every soda machine on every floor to get” free” mixers for the all that booze.

As the party broke up around 11 am so they could go get on the bus I said ” Y’all are gonna get in some big trouble for those destroyed soda machine you know. the Hilton don’t dick around when it comes to this sort of  foolishness”

Bon stood there knee-deep in pile of smashed and half full  crushed soda cans and empty Jack Daniels bottles that literally covered almost every inch of the ruined carpet and  he said wide-eyed and with  complete innocence ” How will they know it was us? ”

RIP You Lovely Madman! You are sorely missed!

” 9th July 1946, Born on this day in Forfar,  Scotland, Bon Scott (Ronald Belford Scott), singer with AC/DC from 1974 until his death in 1980. He was brought up in Kirriemuir before moving to Melbourne, Australia, with his family in 1952 at the age of six. Having arrived from ‘Bonnie Scotland’, he was dubbed ‘Bon’, and the nickname stuck. After a night of heavy drinking, Scott was found dead in the backseat of a friend’s car in South London on 19th February 1980, the cause of death being subsequently listed as ’acute alcohol poisoning .” More on Bon http://www.thisdayinmusic.com/pages/bon_scott   10501941_10154289492955167_2702438503759806414_n

CHAPTER ONE: THE FLIGHT OF THE FAIRY  

By the time the sun started to rise over the Great Lakes I had almost managed to convince myself that maybe I wasn’t crazy after all. Stressed? Sure. Way too old for this nonsense? Okay, you got me there! Thirty-eight was way too old and it was way too late to run away from home, so that was a very good possibility. Exhausted? No, not just yet, still a bit too soon and too early in the trip. I was bound to get that way at some point, but I would worry about that when it happened. At the moment, I was having fun. That was the important thing. The most fun I had had in years.

    The Shiny Happy Sherry Fairy takes flight again! And I loved every moment of it.

    The closer I got to my destination, the more convinced I was that this was the right choice. With every mile I left behind me, I could feel myself becoming more exhilarated. There was no mistaking it!  Magic was in the air. Or maybe it was out there waiting just for me, around the next corner, all this time. Okay, more like hundreds of miles away. Wondering what the hell had taken me so long. I was getting closer every minute I could already feel it. I was sure it had begun to feel me. Approaching rapidly and relentlessly, running years too late, but inevitably one of these days bound to arrive.

    I guess it was a somewhat reckless decision on my part, at close to 10 p.m. on a perfectly ordinary Thursday night, to take off on a long distance road trip to see a man in a band; just like back in the good old days when I was young and foolish, with no real life, no actual responsibilities, and no fear or common sense at all. In this case, this band featured my old flame, Eric Burdon, sinner, singer and front-man extraordinaire, formerly founding member of one of the world’s greatest classic British invasion bands. My very favorite man of all the men who made music in any band I had ever seen or known, and the reason I was spending all night tearing wildly down the highway in the family minivan headed for a weekend-long festival, hundreds of miles from home.

    The morning light (what little of it there was, so far) had emerged above the horizon, as pure and bright as liquid silver, sparkling, shimmering, and pulsating. I had never seen anything quite like it before, and I am sure I never will again in this lifetime. Gentle but relentless mists of rain had been thoroughly drenching the van for hours, providing a damp silent cloud that muffled and masked every exterior sound. A thick, dense fog was slowly emerging from the mirror-like surface of the lake. Steam lifted from the highway in the rapidly rising late July morning heat. The tires were kicking out a spray of fine water vapor almost as high as the windows.

    It was impossible to tell anymore what was sky, air, water, or ground and exactly at what point they separated, started, or stopped. Everything around me was in shades of grey, but in every conceivable texture, consistency, and variation. The whole world had turned into a soft, out-of-focus, black and white silent film. It was all so extraordinarily strange for someone so unfamiliar with the phenomenon and far from home, yet somehow perfectly appropriate and exquisitely beautiful.

    I am the only thing in full, vivid, glorious Technicolor. When the sun finally does manage to creep its way through the fog from the lake and take a quick peek over the horizon, I can tell it is embarrassed to show itself because it cannot begin to compete with my heat, outshine my colors, or ever hope to melt my wings. I fly high tonight on old memories and new dreams, fueled by unforgettable emotions, promises from the past, and cheap truck stop speed washed down with huge Styrofoam cups of powerful, lukewarm black coffee.

    I almost wish I were chain smoker.

   There should be a cloud of aromatic silver smoke swirling inside the van as well, intoxicating me, with the scent of the thrill of ever distant, unfamiliar air that meant freedom. Sucking it down, drawing it in, as if I need it just to keep breathing. Trailing flaming sparks and blackened ash, more like gunpowder than fairy dust as I soar along the highway. Firing up a new fresh buzz and frantically stubbing out the drained remains of the old one, with cotton-candy-colored chipped and chewed fingernails as each minute and mile passed, the tray filled to overflowing as the spent remnants tumbled out all over the carpet.

    It certainly would have suited a character in the divine melodrama currently featured. However, in this reel I was cast and costumed to be the Glamorous Starlet.     Certainly not destined to be the Figure of Tragedy or the Villain but quite likely, the occasional Comic Relief. So my nails were quite expertly manicured in the pink French tip style; it was, after all, a special occasion.

    In reality, in all these years I had managed to escape ever becoming a slave to the filthy, disgusting habit of actually sucking down cancer sticks. I always felt everyone should have one bad habit they could not or would not ever indulge in, and smoking always seemed out of them all to be the least fun. So long ago, I swore out of all the vices it would be the one I would forever do without. I had tried most of the others at one point or another in my life and they were all a lot more fun than tobacco, believe me.

    I didn’t really care that I hadn’t been able to reach Eric to warn him I was coming. I didn’t even know myself until a few hours before I left. I had done it before, more times, than I could remember since we had first met twenty years ago, and it had always worked out just fine every time. He was always gracious and appeared happy to see me, even when he never expected me to be there. We shared some very good times that way for a long time.

    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 solo career touring in the States. 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 in 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, The Animals was one of my favorite groups.

     Nevertheless, he was still so gorgeous then, extremely sexy and extraordinarily talented even if the fickle fans of the Top 40 seemed to have lost interest. Dark shaggy hair, fantastic smile, that sexy soft English accent combined with his fame, charm, outspoken personality and big, rich, soulful voice. He had a powerful presence, impossible to overlook or ignore whether packaged for market 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 everywhere from the hottest clubs to the biggest stadiums just as he had since he had his first hit record barely 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.

donna9m

 

  A perfect landing right on cue, front row and center.

   Where I could get a good look at him and be sure he got one of me.

Just a naive little freckle-faced redheaded American kid from the suburbs, who somehow ended up in just 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–heeled 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.

    But I had called a halt to my years as backstage teen queen when I was 22 and gave the whole ridiculous scene up over 15 years ago. I had just had enough. The time had come. 

    Rock and roll is a cold, ugly business and was bound to break your heart, ruin your life, steal your spirit, and destroy your soul sooner or later, inevitably.

   If it did not kill you first.

    However, odds are it would do them all eventually, if you did not get out when you had the chance, or if you were not very smart, very tough, very lucky, or very careful.

   Deep down, I suspected I was just not enough of any of the above.

   In fact, I was sure of it.

   By almost twenty-three, I was ready for real men, not immature egomaniacs with drumsticks, microphones, and guitars, and their debris of damaged hearts and hotel rooms with skeletons scattered in every club, closet and cupboard in every corner, all over the world. Fed up with being one of the beautiful fragile young creatures constantly mooning over them, swooning at the sight of them, left behind when they went, secretly stashed away or blatantly paraded beside them before being worn out, used up, well fucked and then fucked over, destroyed and discarded. There were always plenty more, waiting.

    Eric couldn’t seem to understand why I had such a problem with all this. It was all he had ever known for a long time. He had been doing it almost his whole life, but I wanted something different for me and mine. So he did kept doing what he knew how to do best, what he always did, stayed on the road, living his life, wherever or whatever that was to be after.

    I made the decision to completely change mine.

   Decided to go home, find myself a real man, a good one, and settle down, get happily married and try never to look back. I just forgot all about those days, stopped caring about that world and made a new one of my own. I went to the local University and got a degree in Education, bought a big house in the suburbs, opened a private pre-school, filled it with kids, love and laughter. Gave up the men and music, the makeup and miniskirts, the drugs and the decadence, the hard living and easy dying and traded it all in for self-respect, security, safety, and sanity. I paid my dues and earned righteousness and responsibility and bought a ticket to ride on the “American Dream”

    I worked my way up to the dizzying heights of the very pinnacle of suburban success and earned my rightful place in the real world and proper society. Became a shining example of proper modern womanhood, a wife, mother, business person, you know, what they call a “role model.”  Just another one of the cold, grey, stone pillars of virtue that support and protect the community and make the “real world” go endlessly round. My whole life revolved around my job, house, husband and family. I completely lost interest in rock and roll. I had outgrown it. I was uninterested and unimpressed and no longer a part of it.

     I wouldn’t even buy a record or go to a show except to see Eric or a few other really good friends, who I still kept in touch with. I just wanted to have nothing to do with all its nonsense.

    Looking back, to him then, I think that must have been my appeal.

   Through the years, I went to every gig to see him. But I always came home just as soon as it ended. With Eric and me, it wasn’t really safe to do anything else. Our unlikely association had now gone on for over twenty years, which was quite surprising, to us just as much as anyone else, because our lives were so very different. Especially since the average length of most of his relationships with girls on the road was lucky to be room service breakfast the next morning.

   I always felt I had spent the last 15 years of my life in disguise.

plain

Hiding behind huge owl-ish schoolteacher glasses with my wild red hair and big, bold personality kept well in check. Constantly covert, controlled, restricted, constricted, and well-contained. Living with the choice I had made to be non-threatening, unappealing, uninteresting and innocuous in order to conform, progress and succeed because it was appropriate for my station and position in this place and time, for the life I had chosen to live from now on.

     Surprisingly, as it turned out, I loved it. Even though I spent every single minute all those years, busting my ass every single day, overworked, unappreciated, undervalued, and covered with multicolored crayons, apple juice, and baby spit. I adored the children I took care of; it was the parents, the childcare administration, the community and the monotony I could not stand. I was happy doing it all for a very long time.

     Until one day, for no one explosive or explainable definable reason, I just was not happy at all anymore. Call it a mid-life crisis, or the fifteen-year itch, or some form of temporary insanity. All I knew was it was time to do something else. Something different, I just had no idea at all what that could be.

      I think the last straw was on the day I had changed my three hundred thousandth dirty diaper, in the week that four different mothers had “forgotten” their checkbooks on payday, in a month that I hadn’t left my house where even once, in the year I finally knew my marriage was over.  I tossed the last diaper I would ever change in the can and said out loud to myself.

    ”That’s it. I’ve had enough! I would rather shovel coal or kiss the devils ass daily or flip burgers with my bare hands at the McDonald’ s in Hades for the rest of eternity then do any of this one single minute longer! I QUIT”.

    And sure enough, I did, at the end of that week.

    And that was about six months ago.

     As I got ready to go “The Animals Greatest Hits” on old vinyl blasts, crackle and hissed through my cheap, crappy, boring, affordable old respectable suburban married type people’s stereo speakers. Nothing like the equipment I used to have back when I was young, single and foolish with plenty of spending cash, and music, and, the men who made it and nothing else was my very reason for living. I made sure to sing along with every single song, completely off key and with ever growing conviction and even greater enthusiasm, getting increasingly louder and out of tune, while I do the electric boogaloo around the bedroom in my old grannie panties.

    Eric and I do a duet. We are bloody marvelous! We always were, even if I do say so myself. And I think even he would have to agree. I opened the windows wide to make sure the old prune next door can be sure not to miss a note.

   I dug through the disorganized mess on the floor of the closet of our bedroom. What a mess, a complete disaster, all these things that were scattered haphazardly and left behind when he left with all of his, and I still hadn’t sorted it all out yet these many months later. No, I guess I mean my bedroom now. Wade my way through a huge pile of ugly smelly old worn out old sneakers. I hadn’t bought any other shoes for as long as I could remember. The same ones I had worn every single day for the last 15 years when I finally dragged myself out of bed at 6 am in the morning and threw on the nearest semi-clean tee shirt I could find with my eyes still half closed, hopefully without too much grape jelly or baby formula stains all over it. And didn’t get to take off until frequently way after midnight when I finally collapsed into bed in exhaustion. There they were, thank God! I was starting to panic! My favorite tall black leather boots. For a minute I thought that it just might be possible in a moment of madness I could have foolishly decided they were no more than some sort of obsolete garbage and just carelessly and callously given or tossed them away.

     But no, not gone, just out of sight and definitely way out of my mind. Just like me these days, evidently.

     There once was a time wearing anything else would be unthinkable!

     They were my prized possession. Now look at them, all roughly mistreated and miserable. Just shoved in there, and evidently completely abandoned, stuck down at the bottom underneath a bunch of old dirty everyday crap, no longer a priority much less a necessity, just weighted down now,  helpless, useless, smothered, overwhelmed and overpowered. Exiled by the others for being strange and different and therefore (until now) banished! They had clearly hit very rock bottom, reduced to pathetically cowering in the very back of the deepest darkest of corners. What a crying shame! This is footwear that lives to see and be seen! With their mile-high chunky heels, the corset lacing in the back and the silver three inch embossed square buckles and studs!

      Oh dear, looks like I better give them a good polish first though, since they too are quite old and dull these days and seem so close to worn down and out and have apparently become  just a bit too much their owner these days, both  looking and feeling pretty lackluster. I cradled them in my arms and then lovingly rubbed every inch of their dried out wrinkled old hide with moisturizing, nourishing beeswax.

     “Poor babies, you’re a mess! How could I have let such a thing happen? You are in need of some serious help if you ask me! All you really need is just a little time and attention, somebody to notice you and take you out and take care of you and show you a good time! That will really sort you out, wont it? “

    “Well, let’s get right to work, I just hope that it’s not way too late to save you!”

     And they came up a treat, bright and shiny as new; I thought that was a very good sign. Clearly they were just as fed up as I was of being bored and neglected, cooped up, crushed, and falsely imprisoned! And were just as thrilled to no longer be forgotten and buried alive just hoping and waiting for the wonderful day they get a well-deserved and  long overdue chance to “that thing they do”  once again before they go off to the Great Shoe store in the Sky.

     Now what? I had almost forgotten how all this was done. I glared at my reflection in the dressing room mirror, and it stared just as rebelliously and defiantly back.

   “Oh, so that’s how it’s going to be, eh?”

   “Ok, you scoundrel, I accept your challenge! En grade! And may the best man win!”

    With great trepidation I lured the rabid red badger that lived on my head and pretended to be hair out of the rubber restraints of its perpetual ponytail prison. It had grown almost comatose out of sheer boredom and inhumane levels of neglect over the last 15 years. I unleashed it, grabbed a tight hold on it, and violently shook it and shocked out of its slumber, then jumped in the shower and squirted steaming then ice cold water all over it, moussed it and mussed it, spritzed it and sprayed it, until at long last it showed some renewed signs of life. Then fried it, dyed it, baked and burned it and teased and attacked and tormented it with no mercy until it was once again a scary wild out of control dangerous beastie.

    Once I had its full attention I laid down the ground rules.

   “Ok, I don’t like you, and I know you really hate me, but can we at least try to cooperate with each other for just a couple of days? It’s really important! And by the way it’s nice to have you back, I really have missed you, you evil soulless mean furry critter!”

     I thought I heard it growl just a little bit but it didn’t try to devour or  strangle me, so I took that as agreement to the truce and a halfhearted promise to at least make some attempt to behave.

    Eventually, I managed to track down my favorite fab bunny-soft slate grey suede miniskirt with the white stitching. In a box in the attic that said “SHERRY’S USELESS CRAP” in great big black definitive letters written with permanent ink.

  “That’s what you think you silly box, what do you know?”

    I fling the contents of my underwear drawer around the room and finally decide to shimmy into slinky black and white zebra striped demi- bra trimmed with frilly hot pink lace and of course, just a FEW tasteful and strategically placed sparkly pink sequins. After all, I grinned, I wouldn’t want to look like some sort of cheap floozy! I always had plenty of nice sexy things like this fairly close at hand, always and forever still worth the investment. Just in case. Of what, I wasn’t sure. That was my little secret. And of course, the mysterious Victoria’s.

    Now… for the top? I think maybe a fairly conservative white silk button up blouse just sheer enough that if you were really trying you could you could just catch a little hint of what wonders may be hiding beneath the thin fabric. Add a plain silver braided chain almost a choker with heart shaped tiny locket I got from my grandmother, one of my favorite things that I saved for only the most momentous of occasions when I could use all the luck I can get. And the charm bracelet I had from childhood just to be whimsical, dangling dozens of little mementos of times and places of things worth immortalizing in a jingly silver-plated miniature form.

     I am ready. At least as ready as I will ever be, this is as good as it’s going to get. But is one ever really ready for something like this? You may be fully prepared… But ready?  Who knows!  There’s only one way to find out.

    All I need to do now is grab my leather jacket, lock up the past, and leave my real life and real world behind far behind and actually really start doing it.

    That’s the hardest part. And after that?  Well whatever happens, just happens!

    I check out the final results in the bathroom mirror. It’s a bit friendlier. I don’t even have a full length one in the bedroom where I always dress. And I wonder at exactly what point, on what day did I stopped really caring at all what I looked like? No wonder my reflection was none too fond of me. I didn’t really blame it at all. I wasn’t too thrilled with myself either. Thank god, that girl from the past that these clothes truly belonged to and the one I am now seem to still be approximately the same shape and size. Even though that may be the one and only thing they have in common. And somehow tonight, it’s all a perfect fit!

     Chasing all those little kids around all these years seems to have had some advantages. Although at the moment, at least, I certainly can’t for the life of me remember what a single one of them was.

     Tonight, by some miracle, the two of us, who I was and who I am  now  seemed to have somehow managed to  come together in the end. Smoothly and seamlessly, without too much effort, making some strange brand new girl I’d never seen before!

     One I guess I better get to know and get used to. And fast! 

If I was going to take her out for a test drive, especially under these circumstances!

I checked out the finished product.

4

    Hmm…not bad, not bad at all, in fact, I conclude, a rousing success!

   “Take that you bitch!  VICTORY IS MINE!”

    I stuck out my tongue and gave the dressing room mirror the finger.

    The look was quite retro, I know but with a few modern stylish touches, definitely vintage, rather than antique. The perfect blend of classy and sassy, both dead cool and yet somehow, hopefully, still totally hot. Let’s just hope and pray that just goes for ME too!

No more excuses, or putting it off.

It was definitely long past time to go.

    My showing up (with zero notice, no warning) pounding on his hotel room door tired, wired and just a bit of a mess, a mangy stray puppy dog on the back porch demanding to share his finest steak dinner, with no real clue what I was doing there or why I was doing it, was so bloody typical, and just like us in the old days, it was perfectly priceless and going to be totally worth it!

   Or so I hoped.

  One never really knows for sure about this sort of thing. 

  But you won’t ever find out, will you? 

  Unless you are ready and willing to actually take a chance and make that choice, whenever it is, when you are offered the option. My best advice?  Once and awhile, just pick the one you would have to be crazy to choose, whatever it may be. Just fling yourself headlong into the cosmic storm and let it spit you out where it may.  And hope the universe will somehow provide and take care of you. 

   And Do it fearlessly or not at all.

  You may disagree.  And perhaps you should, and you might be turn out to be right.

  Decide for yourself.

  After you hear my story.

GET YOUR COPY AT AMAZON.COM
http://www.amazon.com/Even-Rock-Roll-Fairy-Tales-ebook/dp/B00KTFUYLQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402098121&sr=8-1&keywords=even+rock+and+roll+has+fairy+tales