Creative Determination: A Pathway To Idols

       We all have our idols, those we look up to, admire and sometimes emulate.  Many times they act as our guidance, our support,  or in some way shine the flashlight that illuminates our dark and unseen path. My idols come from all walks of life, some as close as to be within my own family, some are of the rich, famous and usually unapproachable. Many of my idols are musicians.   They speak through their lyrics and this is how we get to know them, to connect and share beliefs and experiences.   This post is about some of my idols, how I got to meet them and what I took from those amazing encounters.

      My lifelong concertgoing started when I was 14, Elton John at the incomparable Syracuse War Memorial, a place where my young musical memories started and to this day, a place that holds a special room in my heart. This small icon made of stone, glass and tile would set me on my path of finding solace and strength from the unparalleled experience of connecting live with a musician that through their words spoke to my spirit and soul. That first show of watching Mr. John strut out in his signature big glasses and long robe, which was his attire in his early career, opened a door for me of  fun, excitement and adventure, adding priceless memories to my life.  I became hooked on this “drug” then and at 62 have not given it up, and never will, it is an innate part of who I am. Over the years, my girlfriend and I, sometimes just her and I, sometimes with others in tow, would see a multitude of famous musicians, all in their prime, all well known and at the top of the charts.  My partial list as I recall, some I know are left out, forgive me: Elton John, Alice Cooper, Three Dog Night, Grand Funk Railroad, Ten Years After, Badfinger, Rod Stewart and The Small Faces, J. Geils Band (numerous times)  Southside Johnny and the Asbury Dukes, Uriah Heep, Grateful Dead, Bad Company, Sonny and Cher ( this one my Dad working as police security, got us stage side) I know I am missing some, those were just at the War Memorial where it all started, many more were to come.

      I like most people, never thought much about meeting any of my idols, but in 2001, the first chance came to me.  I had entered a contest online on ” Why I would like to meet Bad Company. ” Contestants were asked to write out why and what it would mean to them, lo and behold, I won!  The show was to be  in Chicago at the Tweeter Center, a wonderful place and a city that had special memories as my husband and I had taken our honeymoon there.   At the time, I was very sick with a flu, even had missed some days of work at my new job.  This was very unusual for me, but I had laryngitis and was an office manager, how do you run an office if you can’t talk?  I was so ill my crazy mind even wondered if I could make it.  I then thought, “Are you daft, this is Paul Rodgers!” I gathered my strength, we took the kids to their Grandparents Klukiewicz, and off we drove to our adventure.  After the concert, we were taken to the backstage meeting room with Dawn, the woman who had put on the contest, along with a small group of others.  I was extremely, nervous, I saw Dave ” Bucket” Caldwell, who we met later, then in walked Simon Kirke. I knew others would jump in front of me and take up his time if I did not act fast so I quickly walked up to him and introduced myself, my husband not far behind. We talked for about 20 minutes, he was very kind and humble.  We then asked where Paul Rodgers was, he said Paul was meeting very few people but that he would find him for us as we had driven 11 hours.  I told him as fans, that was nothing but he was quite impressed by it.   He tracked down Paul, came and waved us to follow him, and in we walked to this tiny back room to see Paul Rodgers himself.  I was quite starstruck, barely able to speak, but as the time went on, I did manage to talk and got to hug Paul twice, which he enjoyed so much he wrote me a special autograph about it!  He was extremely warm and kind to my husband and I, nothing pretentious or phony about him, a true legend.  He listened to us patiently as we excitedly told him we have been fans since Free. I proudly told him Free is and always will be my favorite band. We even  found out later, he took my husbands advice when he told him he had been a DJ in college and that in his opinion, Paul should hand out his ” Now and Live” cd at concerts as it is such dynamite.  We read in later weeks he was doing just that! We had taken a picture with Simon and Dawn, but were so starstruck that we forgot to take one with Paul Rodgers, but we did get great conversation and wonderful autographs.  After we left Paul, we hung out with Simon for about an hour longer just chatting and enjoying the moments. Both of these men were true gentleman and humble despite their worldwide fame.

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    My next Rock and Roll Fantasy came in 2009, when as a fan of Extreme, I learned they were appearing on VH1’s, That Metal Show, with Eddie Trunk, filming in New York City.  Again, it involved sending in a request to be in the audience and meet the guys afterwards.  They asked for pictures, I suppose to make sure we were cool and hip enough looking. I sent my daughters and I in as we were going to go. We were accepted but due to school, she was unable to go, my husband took her place.  What fun that was!  We saw a couple good shots of us that are in the show when it aired, we were famous!  I even got Nuno to wave at me from the stage.  I was on cloud nine.  It was Valentine’s day so I had bought some PETA chocolate candy to give to Nuno.  After the show there was a line, which again, I had to really push my way in as there is only so much time allotted, and other fans will if you don’t.  At these events you need to claim your spot quick,  I had to grab my husband by the collar and pull him next to me in line which was quite funny to onlookers. When my turn came, again, I was quite speechless.  I told Nuno what an honor it was to meet him, he took a great picture with me, and thanked me very much for the candy.  He also signed my favorite CD of his, LOVE, in the exact spot I asked him to.  I am a bit of a control freak, it HAD to be written a certain way as I knew I was going to frame it!  We met Eddie Trunk and Jim his cohost who were also great down to earth people.  We still have our That Metal Show tee shirts as another momento. 

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     The next pathway again, led to Extreme.  I am a huge fan, Nuno is to me THE best guitarist on the planet, as well as a great singer and songwriter.  They are one of the best live bands I have ever seen, pure raw energy and talent.  They were going to film a live DVD in Boston of their concert at the wonderful House of Blues, so of course we said, ” Let’s Go !”  The show was amazing, they also had a show the night before at Hampton Beach Casino in New Hampshire that we attended, and met them afterwards in the parking lot.  I was able to talk with Gary and Nuno, both so humble kind, and Nuno is quite funny, in a sarcastic way.  The DVD show was a total blast. Again, we managed to get on film for a few seconds being right up in front.   My blond curly hair at that time can be seen bopping around, it was SUCH fun.  I still have a black towel Nuno tossed into the audience, its around my neck in photos, a real-time concert memory!

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     That year, 2009, was amazing in that we met Extreme, during the summer, again at Hampton Beach Casino, a great venue for concerts, we saw Paul Rodgers solo show where my son and I got to meet the fantastic Lynn Sorenson, Paul’s bassist at the time.  I had called to him as he walked by, he came over and kindly took a picture with my son and I, too bad my husband had the flash off, but it is still a good picture and great memory.

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      Later that year I met the man that has been my idol for decades, Jackson Browne.  Now this one took some doing but me being the never say never creative thinker that I am, made it happen.  We had tickets to his show in downstate New York, I had seen Jackson numerous times, I lose track of what number this was.  I kept up with his page and saw that it was also a political fundraiser for a local politician in that area running for Senate.  It mentioned that there was a meet and greet after the show, the cost was quite high.  My wheels got turning.  I called the number from his page listed for information and talked to the campaign manager.  I expressed what a fan I was, that we already had tickets, and that we would be willing to pay extra to be included in the meet and greet.  It was a tough sell as we have a budget and I could only offer him what was within it, my angle to him was, “This was a fundraiser yes, you might not be getting the big bucks the meet and greet cost those that got it from the get go, but you will be getting a decent donation and isn’t that what this is all about?” He couldn’t argue with my logic, and we were in!

After the show, we spent almost two hours with Jackson as it was that long and you could stay as long as you want.  I spoke to him about his music, politics, how I admire him to the core, how his music has spoken to me in so many ways, for so many years.  I do believe he is the best lyricist of modern music, bar none. He truly has an aura ahout him you can feel.   He was like my “Jesus”, he has this ethereal calm and other worldly peace that you just feel soothed in the presence of.  We walked out with him and a few of his staff plus a couple other fans, it was absolutely a dream.  Later that night, I had not slept, was dehydrated, still nervous and could not believe I had met him, I got home took two Aleves (which you should not do) along with my sleeping pill.  Needless to say, I woke up heart racing feeling faint, we called 911, I spent a few hours in the hospital.  I tell it as almost being  “Death by Jackson”, though not that dire, it was a bad reaction to the above actions.  A true night I will never forget, as they all were.

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     I continue to go to concerts, will for the rest of my life as long as I am able, as to me it is like nothing else.  The feeling of sharing music you love, with the artists you admire, and others who feel the same, is one big euphoric event that once you experience it, you want to do it again and again.  It is uplifting and has always brought me great joy.   Our idols are just people like you and me, but they have talents that bring us together, give us memories to last a lifetime.  It takes attention to detail, perseverance, creative thinking and just the right touch of pushiness to reach these many times unobtainable people, but it can be done.  Create some determination, your idols are waiting.

These two poems came to me not long after our lovely night at Extremes DVD filming.  It was such a phenomenal time, my brain was working overtime.  Though I have been to countless concerts, I was never a “groupie”, but I understand the mindset of where true groupies come from.  The first one was inspired by Gary and Nuno, told from a groupies point of view.   The second one comes from my great attraction to any wonderful voice, it was inspired by Nuno’s marvelous soothing yet seductive croon.  I phrase and put my words together in ways that hopefully help the reader flow through the poem  with the correct pauses I want.   It just comes to me that way, and I write it.  I was never formally taught, its just natural. Enjoy. 

Heaven On Four Wheels

Let us in

your den of sin

including him.

My, My,

with that addition

don’t even try

to erase

my ear to ear

grin.

No need to look farther

No need to wish harder.

You take one side

I the other

no preference, though

I may prefer the left

as is closer to the heart

of the man

the god

the ethereal Angel?

Maybe best to combine

the former and the latter

leave the middle out

as is the one that seems

to cause the most trouble, sometimes.

Lest not forget

our circle maker

our nightdream chaser

our sunshine keeper,

Two a couple

three a crowd

four a wall.

No one enters

noone leaves

Heaven on four wheels?

You’ve got yourself

a deal.

Sex Through a Microphone

Pied Piper, work your magic

the mic set low

softly start

your grand crescendo.

Paint with your musical art

Seduce with your musical passion

Leave me breathless

Leave me spent

Leave me touched

by sex through a microphone.

Innocent

unarmed

Helpless in its onslaught

I close my eyes,

bring up the image

all eyes and lips

Vulnerable yet erotic?

Strong yet delicate?

All at the same time.

Quite the package…fret not withstanding

How sweet.

What just happened

was somewhat sudden

The notes were sweet

The voice like velvet

I touched the tuner

and once again became

A victim of your sensuality

and your ability to perform

Sex through a microphone.

With quickened pulse

I took my stance

Parted lips, familiar touch

I braced myself

for sex through a microphone

My knees are weak

My thoughts are scrambled

Can I speak, not likely

I just had

Sex through a microphone

All images and writings property of Shelley Ann Klukiewicz Copyright (C) 2018 Thoughts from Outside the Box. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Author: shelleyanne56

Copyrighted 2018 Thoughts from Outside the Box. Shelley Ann Klukiewicz. All rights reserved.

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