Relics 3: Finding My Marbles

Relics Script Poster

So here I am once more, rolling out some relics from my playground of yesterday … and … er … of today too, actually. And probably tomorrow come to that. (It’s never a good thing to grow up too much.) Anyway, here are some images to accompany some of the more anecdotal parts of Words and Music and other things that came to mind as I jotted down a few notes. This game is most certainly not over!

A Matter of Life and Death
Maiden A Matter of Life and Death passTo some fans – ususally teenagers, but sometimes middle-aged obsessives too – getting backstage at a show by one of your favourite bands can seem like a matter of life and death. How we strive for all we are worth to breach that final frontier. In Words and Music I recount the tale of a meeting with Steve Harris. I was tongue-tied. The moment was signficant for me. Steve, of course, will have no recollection of it. But here’s the pass that got me that far.

I had a bit more luck with Adrian Smith, who popped into the lounge where we were sitting to meet up with an old friend of his. I let him finish his chat, and as he got up to leave I moved towards him. “Adrian, will you sign the album for my daughter?” I asked.
“Sure, what’s her name?”
“Dave!” shouted some wag from the next table. I laughed. Would I really pull that stunt?
“Alys,” I said, acknowledging the joke, and Adrian duly signed.
My cousins and I also posed for a photo with him – the type that rock fans love putting on Facebook – though in this case I still haven’t actually seen it.

Nicko also popped in, wearing a bath robe and a big smile, but he didn’t stick around for long.

Maiden Final FrontierThere is another event that does stick in my mind from that evening. As we relocated to an upstairs bar, the youngest member of our entourage (who shall remain nameless) spotted a stack of cans in an apparently empty room. As he reached in for a ‘complimentary’ beer, he became aware that he was being watched. He looked up and saw the collective eyes of the support band on him. He had inadvertently invaded their private space. “Who are you?” he asked calmly.
“We’re Trivium,” said one of the band, “and who are you?”
“I’m Jesus,” he said, picking up a can and legging it down the corridor. Is it any wonder that so many bands guard their backstage privacy so fiercely?

If you’ve read my earlier blog (Drawn by Quest for ‘Arry), you’ll know that undetered I went back for another crack at Harry on The Final Frontier tour. I’d sent him some book extracts and was hoping to get a comment. I didn’t get a comment. But I did get a dodgy photo!

Hang Cool Teddy Bear
Meat Loaf Hang CoolAnd speaking of backstage passes, here’s one from Meat Loaf’s Hang Cool Teddy Bear tour. I reported on this gig, or, at least, what was most significant about it to me , in the “This guy could use a hair cut” blog. Suffice to add that the entire band, including singer Patti Russo and the man himself, were exceptionally friendly and a joy to meet. As noted elsewhere, drummer John Miceli was great with the kids, Meat was ‘good value’ and guitarist Paul Crook has since done a Q&A for this very website. Hang cool guys!

Steve Morse – Monster of Rock
Steve MorseCaptain’s log, 2006 AD, and we’re in Milton Keynes for the relaunched Monsters of Rock Festival. Deep Purple are headlining, with Alice Cooper, Journey, Queensryche, Thunder, Ted Nugent and Roadstar making up a fine bill. It was a beautiful day and a wonderful event. Purple were magnificient – a great, great performance from the first note to the last. There was a great band vibe – a joy and togetherness that has characterised their live shows in recent years. And, as much as I miss Jon Lord, I’d never seen fingers move as fast as Don Airey’s in his solo spot. (He even threw in a few snippets of his ‘Mr. Crowley’ intro!) With the help of our Classic Rock subscriber  ‘queue jumping’ pass we also got into the signing tent to meet Steve Morse. He signed the picture you can see here, and he signed a wedding card for my cousin Jon and his wife. (Jon is a big Purple fan, but couldn’t make it to the Festival.) Steve also commented on my wife’s rather revealing summer attire. He was out of luck though – she was hoping to get sacrificed by Alice Cooper.

Marillion – Access Most Areas and a bag of marbles
Marillion marbles!Having rediscovered Marillion after a hiatus of about 15 years (maybe more), it was a thrill to be one of the winners of the Marbles ‘Golden Mug’ competition. You entered the competition simply by ordering a Marbles coffee mug. A small number of the mugs, packed entirely at random, were golden (bright yellow in fact) and included a winners slip that gave you a selection of prize options. The winning mugs also contained a bag of Marillion marbles (see photo). We (my wife and I) opted for the soundcheck/gig/aftershow tickets for a Marillion gig of our choice. We chose the first night at the London Astoria on the Marbles tour – check out the Tobusaurus Wrecks blog for a Pete T. photo from that evening.  (I also saw them in Newport two days earlier; the first time I’d seen them in about 20 years. They were in stunningly good form – well-rehearsed and note perfect, with a set list that took you to emotional breaking point and kept you there through a series of h-era classics and rousing encores.)

Relics Marbles passWell, we got the soundcheck and AAA passes okay, and being in the venue early also meant we could stroll down to the front row just before the doors opened. This is where we met Antonis from Cyprus and Monica from Portugal – who were rather surprised that they’d queued outside for hours only to find that others, like us, were already inside the venue and in pole position. I’ve not seen Monica since, but the connection and friendship with Antonis has endured. Great gig – filmed for the Marbles on the Road DVD, and we can be seen (briefly) occasionally, enjoying ourselves at the front. Unfortunately, though, there was no aftershow – there was a strict curfew as Marillion and fans were cleared out in preparation for the regular Saturday night gay disco. By way of compensation, we were given soundcheck passes for the Bristol gig on the Somewhere Else tour – a review of which appeared in a later edition of The Web Magazine. (We are refered to in that review as “a young couple from Cardiff”, which flatters me somewhat.)

Tenacious D
There’s not very much Tenacious D in Words and Music, save a couple of passing references to Jack Black and Wilderbeest, but that’s probably an oversight. Check out the photo below.  “Michael, We Love You!” “Michael, Party!” I could tell you that Jack and Kyle gave this to me as a token of appreciation for my contribution to their first album, or about the time I partied with the D over a long weekend in Vegas. Or I could tell you that I had a small part as an extra in the cafe scene in The Pick of Destiny. Actually, my sister got me this photo and got Jack Black and Kyle Gass to sign it. I’ve never met either of them. It used to hang over the stairs in my old house. It was the last thing I’d see every morning as I left the house for work, and it always used to make me smile. It’s good to maintain a sense of perspective!

Tenacious D

And finally …
That big cardboard Script jester I got from Spiller’s Records and forgot to photograph for Relics I? Well I’ve finally managed to dig it out and do the honours. Now if only I could find that giant Fugazi poster …

The Script Jester

Relics 1: And Don’t Forget the Joker

Relics 2: Programmes That Can Be Read


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  1. Richard Taylor – British Lion | Words and Music

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