Friday, January 7, 2011

Get Your Boots On

As I have stated before, I worked at Magic Mountain during my college years. I was the stage manager for Showcase Theater, and hosted many a band.
On this particular night, a little-known British band called King was making their US debut as well as starting a longish tour. They had two huge hits in the UK with "Love and Pride" and "Won't You
Hold My Hand Now." They also had a sponsorship with Doc Martens. The lead singer Paul King was easily 6'2", and he wore these red or yellow suits with short pants and red Docs...the whole thing made him look
like a demented Jethro Bodine. He was supposedly really very shy too, to the point of their road manager -- a gregarious blond who introduced himself as Steve-O -- warned me about Paul's shyness.
Funnily enough, I didn't find him shy; he seemed honest and friendly as he grilled me about what he could expect on American soil. We talked so much, I forgot to make sure there was water on the stage. (This theater was a traditional style, meaning it had a proscenium, which is the wall that separates the stage from the audience. In fact,
this stage had a double proscenium, which created a little alcove on
either side of the stage between the audience and the band… Okay, Tech
Theater time is over now.)
Soooo, as I was rushing to set the water and beer in the alcove, I heard the lighting designer say over the two-way radios that the curtain was going up. Shit! I was on stage and the show was starting!

I was trapped as I jumped into the little crawlspace. It wasn't a
matter of sneaking out in the dark. Sadly, the stage was lit up like
the sun. Most of the band noticed me right away, sitting on the floor
in that tiny space, sulking. I had to turn the 2 way radio off once I let my
staff know where I was holed up. Four or five songs in, Paul noticed
me. Frankly, it was apparent he worked hard not to laugh, point or
throw water. The show was awesome, as clearly I had the best seat in
the house. Well, that is until the encore…ah, yes. Sir King came to
get water, looked me right in the eyes and whispered into the dark, "I
would take your tool belt off if I were you." The look on his face
held utter mischief, and I'm not too proud to say that I was scared…

I heard the opening strains of "Won't You Hold My Hand Now" and
looked up… Yep, he was standing right there in front of me with his
hand outstretched. OH, HELL NO! I tried to plaster myself against a
wall, but he just reached in, grabbed my arm, and pulled me out to the
center of the stage. I couldn't really fight, because that would make
the show look stupid. "Jethro" proceeded to kneel (I am only 5'2") and
sing to me, all the while firmly holding my hand. I wished that I
could have melted into the floor. It was not my best moment. Finally,
I accepted the whole rigmarole and enjoyed myself. I do believe I even
stomped a few dance steps up there with him.

After the show, everyone in the band hugged me as well as made fun of
me. They loaded me up with swag (which I still have). Then Paul came
by, thanked me for being a good sport, and asked if I would work some
of their California gigs. Sadly, I was right in the middle of a
production at school and couldn't leave. So they went on their way.
The band broke up two years later, I was sad to find out. Paul has
been in and out of the limelight as a model and a solo artist, but I
never did forget that day.

These are heavy times.
So won't you show your hand?

Special thanks to Amy Kinard for helping me to remember....;) thx!