As part of our UK tour supporting Symposium and A we played a few universities. Bradford and Manchester spring to mind.
At the Manchester gig, things had been a bit tense between band members. It had started off well with a game of football outside with the other bands and some of the crew but soundcheck hadn’t gone well and I felt (and I’m sure the others did) we were getting outplayed every night.
The gig went fairly well aside from some technical issues from my Fender amp. I’d bought it just before the tour as I wasn’t sure how my reliable my old Vox AC30 would be but it just didn’t ever seem happy at anything other than about 7 out of 10 on the volume which wasn’t conducive to a harmonious band.
By the end of our set I was in a particularly bad mood. Technical issues are always frustrating but, long days of trying to work and tour, a lack of recognition from the management companies we were courting and mixed messages from our producer had all taken their toll.
Nothing was going to save the evening for me except maybe a few beers and a quiet corner to weep in. But then, after a few beers, I had one of those moments that makes you feel like it’s all worth it. A young lad found his way backstage where Graham and I were chatting and he just launched into praise for our set. Full on fan boy praise. The only issue with all the praise was I kept missing bits of it. Backstage when A are playing is not a quiet place!
After I’d been basking in the glory of this highly intelligent, perceptive young man’s critique (he’d loved my guitar parts the most, of course) he asked me to sign a CD for him and one of my plectrums. Well of course he could have a plectrum!
As I was finding a Sharpie to sign the CD he was telling me something about Billy Joel but the drums were making it so hard to hear him I wasn’t entirely sure what he was on about. There was also something about a guitar. I couldn’t see the connection here as I’m pretty sure Billy Joel is best known for his piano playing.
The next thing I knew this lad was brandishing his necklace around. A necklace featuring a plectrum as it’s centrepiece.
Within moments the original plectrum was ripped from the necklace and thrown down the stairwell. The lad then loudly proclaimed us a better band than Green Day and started to try to affix the new plectrum I had just given him to his necklace. It was of course at that point all the misheard sound bites of the past few minutes pulled together into whatever the audio equivalent of focus might be.
So, there are 2 points to this particular story.
Firstly, if you are going to replace your musical heroes, hang on to the memorabilia, maybe put it in your pocket, you never know…
Secondly, I’m truly sorry to that young lad. We did go to look for the plectrum a few minutes later but the security wouldn’t let us down to the bottom of the stairwell.