FAMOUS A**holes I HAVE KNOWN. . . chapter 11 . . . ©Tommy Mandel


 At the MTV awards one year, I was sitting next to Kurt Cobain in the
picnic tent, and he had his infant with him.  There was also this Harpie
with zits, overweight, lookin like a fugitive from an antique clothing fire
sale (or a post partum victim) white hair glaring, sitting with him.  To
break the ice (and generation gap,) I took out pictures of my daughters and
we began talking a bit.  He was cool then, a spark of common interest
lighting in his pale liquid blue eyes.
   Then Axl walked into the tent. I knew it wasn't Meatloaf cuz of the
bandana.  So ole Harpie next to Kurt goes, kinda teasingly too loud, "Hey
Axl, comere and look at my baby."  It got a little quieter in the loud tent.
No response from the Axe.
   So she goes, a bit louder and more whiney, "Hey Axl, this baby looks just
like you."  I cringed.  Kurt cringed. Necks crained.  No response from the
   "Hey Axl, this kid has your genes." (I'm not making this up.)
    Finally Kurt goes, "Woman, please!" just as Axl approaches the table.
Axl and Kurt exchanged one liners, probably
   A:"Donít talk to her like that."
     K: "Hey, lighten up, " or something to that effect - in truth they spoke,
like all SuperHeroes do, on a wavelength inaudible to a mere mortal like
myself.  The next thing I heard and saw, was Axl take a step back, point
his finger at Kurt and go, "I'll put you in the pavement, boy," and then he
was gone.  Maybe Axl didn't like not being the biggest cheese. I dunno.
  So then Kurt just sorta groans and sinks deeper into his self, and ole
Harpie smiles and gloats, "Well that was a Real Rock Moment."  That's why
I'll never ever look at or listen to that chick or her product. Glory hound,
media wannabee, smartass a whip, but smells like last week's milk to me.
 Later that night, I bathed in a doleful unseeing look from a
bespectacled Eric Clapton, who had just lost his son.  I also heard that
Nirvana's bassist had thrown his bass high  in the air at the end of their
tune, and been hit on the head with it a few seconds later.

 Guns and Roses' rendition of November Rain  with Elton John on 2nd
piano was made even more gothic by the fact that Axl's entire grand piano
had to be tuned down a half step to B because he could only play the song
in C.  I was told by one of Eltonís roadies that Slash coudn't (or wouldn't)
tell Elton the chords to the song because, "Hey man, I don't know chords -
I only play these notes. . ." But my guess is that he was misunderstood.
His part was probably non-chordal-tone notes over harmonies of an
ambiguous enharmonic nature, and he didnít want to get too intellectual
with the dude.
 At the same show, someone put a piece of black tape over the front
foot of the "R" on Elton's ROLAND Digital piano, instantly making Elton's
internationally broadcast performance a statement of solidarity with the
country that brought us Fredrich Chopin, piano's finest composer of all
time, and Klbasa.
 Saw Vanessa Williams up close in the same picnic tent as the sun
was setting.  Her smile was bewitching. Would have given alot to have
seen her perfect face underneath the clownish masque of TV makeup
someone had inflicted upon her. Sigh. 

        My advice to young talent: keep a low overhead: the less
        money you need per month, the longer you can hold on
        to your dream. Play with your heart. But take ANY gig that
       keeps you playing- you never know where a gig might lead
       you, but it'll probably be closer to where you wanna be than
       where you are now. (*Exception- beware of "pals" offering
       you remote road gigs to get you out of town and out of
       competition for gigs they want!*)


"What am I . . . a Pariah?"

         -Keith Richards to Jim Gregory, Little Steven and Nils Lofgren, in
the E Street Band's dressing room before a Meadowlands Springsteen
show, wondering why they never pick up a phone and call him. 

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