Best music memories, glimpses of rock star lives in 2013

Posted on January 9, 2014


Afroman attends the 2001 Radio Music Awards at the Aladdin Resort and Casino October 26, 2001 in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Jason Kirk/Getty Images)

Afroman attends the 2001 Radio Music Awards at the Aladdin Resort and Casino October 26, 2001 in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Jason Kirk/Getty Images)

Some of the best songs written are about adventure — seeking it or experiencing it on the road touring — not glamorizing wealth based on possessions.

But it’s no secret that musicians of any genre must pay their dues and prove themselves to the music industry, putting in hard work with tiresome hours and a penniless existence. The same goes for the journalists covering their work, we who identify more with “We’re An American Band” than “Material Girl.”

The coveted assignments and unpredictable adventures are a huge reason why I hunger for the job, tossing materialism to the curb and collecting poster-worthy memories rather than a new pair of boots.

Unlike covering or interviewing political leaders, actors or athletes, the bedazzled life and mischievousness of live shows and touring musicians — especially rock stars — mystifies and entices even the smallest of dreamers wanting insight into their wild world.

2013 blessed me with a lot of priceless music endeavors that made it difficult to decide on the top moment, excluding missing the opportunity to photograph Willie Nelson because of car troubles and getting kicked out of Warped Tour by security due to poor communication by their PR company.

At first I thought the Afroman show — the small-level, always high rapper — could have made No.1 with the misbehavior that occurred throughout that night. The ordinary spring Sunday slammed my low expectations for the gig when 20 or so of my friends attended. Among them was one of my younger, drunken friends who persuaded, even dragged, Afroman to come back to her house where we ended up partying with the Palmdale, Calif., native.

Maybe the best moment was watching Bush’s vocalist Gavin Rossdale being swarmed by eager fans after he ran out into the audience. Although it was predictable, enough panic ensued that the band had to quit playing the song until security could breach the wall of fans.

Perhaps it was the rather awkward moment during Mayhem Festival when I was conducting an interview with Five Finger Death Punch bassist Chris Kael when guitarist Jason Hook walked up and started hitting on me, in front of my boyfriend.

It could have been the hangout with Battlecross bassist Don Slater after my in-person interview at Mayhem Festival. We sat in the lawn after I photographed Mastodon and talked favorite bands with a Wisconsin Pabst Blue Ribbon, watching a man in a wheelchair crowdsurf.

Squashed into the photo pit in front of the stage, I’ve also gotten used to being an arm’s length away from the musicians on stage, getting sweat droplets, spilled water and alcohol from their bottles in my hair and on my camera, persuading the eyes of Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Tom Petty or Justin Timberlake to look into my lens.

Although all equal contenders for best metal moment, the top horns have to go to my in-person interview with Rob Zombie.

It wasn’t the fact that everyone stood straight and silent as if the president walked into the press room when he walked over to me, or that I remained completely calm and professional while conducting the interview. It was the fact that my hours of preparation appeared evident when he actually gave a sense of relief and amusement that I wasn’t another stagnant, reiterating interviewer that proved most satisfactory.

Amid the music journalism quests, I also fit in several shows strictly for entertainment that were equally unforgettable from an attendee’s point of view. Trips to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s exhibits and Petersen Automotive Museum, which houses rare cars featured in Van Halen and ZZ Top music videos, could’ve topped my 2013 list too.

Looking ahead, 2014 will already have another contender for best music moment with plans to attend a rare concert titled Cinquanta — a 50th birthday for Maynard James Keenan featuring performances by two of his bands, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer, at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles on May 10.

2014 could metaphorically break my back, but I’ll feel richer pocketing music memories and breaking bank on my own professional autobiography than wearing or driving a replaceable object.

Original link for the published article with the Journal & Courier newspaper:

Posted in: "Rock It" Column