Monday, August 21, 2006

Just Got Lucky

In late February of '88, instead of going to an Aerosmith and Dokken concert, I was on lockdown at a New Orleans hotel waiting to be shipped off to USAF basic training. In an effort to keep us out of trouble or make any last minute decisions to go AWOL, we weren't allowed to go out the night before we left. As much as I hated to miss that concert, I knew the time had come for me to leave all of that wildness behind and become a serious member of society.

Early the next morning, a small group of about 10 girls were shuttled off to the airport and arrived way too early for the scheduled afternoon departure. It was the first of many hurry up and wait scenarios that would soon become a more common occurance than Robert Downey, Jr going to jail for drug charges.

The recruiter designated me as the group leader, which meant it was going to be my fault if anyone didn't make it from point A to point B. I would like to say it was because of my extraordinary leadership skills, but mainly it was because my last name began with a “C” and I was the oldest, at 21.

Aside from basic greetings, not much else was spoken as nervous tensions took over our minds about what was in store for us later that day. So there I sat, people watching, when I noticed this guy with long, wild hair, faded jeans, and snake-skinned, high-top tennis shoes breeze through the front doors of the terminal. He confidently moved through the crowd as he made his way down the concourse.

The sound of my jaw hitting the floor echoed throughout the airport. I grabbed the wrist of a girl who sat next to me and through a clenched whisper I asked, “Do you know who that is? No, who? Come with me!"

In seconds, we were on our feet and hot on his trail. Hey, there were no stalking laws in effect, yet, alright. Luckily, he went into a lounge and met up with some other guy. We followed and found a couple of seats at the bar to casually observe and plot. But first I had to explain to the girl.

Me: That's George Lynch
Her: Who's Geoge Lynch?
Me: The guitar player for Dokken.
Her: Who's Dokken?
Me: rolled my eyes and shook my head

Considering most people around here weren't into heavy metal that much, I believed I was the only person in the entire place that recognized him. Of course having had his image plastered to my bedroom walls for years helped the instant recognition.

Drinks in hand, we decided to just mosey on over and introduce ourselves. We tried not to make a big fuss mostly because I didn't want anyone else to cash in on that action. Greedy? Hell yea.

Initially he seemed a little nervous but after he figured we weren't going to scream like Beatles fanatics, he invited us to join them. For the next hour and a half we hung out, had a few drinks, and b.s.'d about different things.

He asked if I enjoyed the concert. Didn't go. How long have we known each other? Both of us looked at our watches at the same time - they laughed. His favorite music at the time? Gene Loves Jezebel. I asked if he thought Lita Ford was hot. He didn't think so, but he did say Patricia Arquette was cute after having met her on their Dream Warriors video shoot.

He told us about having been wired up to be Aerosmith's Angel and was flown around the arena during their performance of that song. His friend turned out to be a photographer for Circus Magazine, which I thought was double-cool since that’s where I got most of my wallpaper from in the first place.

He was taken with my southern accent and politely asked if I would call him Darlin' the whole time. Hell, I would've called him Daddy if he wanted me to but I refrained from behaving too much like a groupie. I gave him a reasonable amount of smart-assed remarks, typical of my personality, just to cut him down to normal size. It worked.

He teased me about joining the Aeroforce and joked about going back to L.A. with him instead of Texas. Oh, how I wished - but a little something about a court-martial kept my head straight. He assumed my favorite song of theirs was Alone Again and seemed very surprised when I told him my favorite was When Heaven Comes Down and Turn on the Action.

Needless to say, having that opportunity was great. They were very gracious to let us hang out with such a familiar ease. He didn't turn out to be Mr. Scary afterall, more like Heaven Sent to me. Even though I didn't get an autograph or a picture, when his flight was called he asked me to walk him to his gate and that is when I got something far better than either one: the best goodbye kiss ever. I thought I was going to faint right there on the spot. Sigh.

It goes without saying; the first week of basic training still remains a blur to me to this day. Partly because of fear and culture shock and partly because of the lingering thrill of meeting a rock star for the first time. Although the drill sergeants terrorized me, they had no means of torture greater than the agony of not being able to brag to anyone about what happened to me at the airport.

I couldn't have dreamt of a better start to my military career. As much as it would make a good story to say that event was symbolic of trading the wild lifestyle for the wild, blue yonder, well, that would just make me a bigger liar than the recruiter.

Everyone knows you can't kill a rock and roll heart.


Blogger Metal Mark said...

Great story, OMW. I saw Dokken in 88 and Lynch Mob in 92. The only sort of big name musician I have met is Joey Belladonna like two years ago. I got to talk to him while my friend interviewed him. We talked about his time in Anthrax, but also about the 80's and Van Halen, Aerosmith and a few other things.

8:10 PM, August 21, 2006  
Blogger OnMyWatch said...

Cool. That must've been a great interview. I saw Anthrax open for Ozzy in Denver for the No Rest for the Wicked tour.

Was Lynch Mob any good? Never got around to following that band.

This was a random, fun time that I couldn't have planned any better. I've met a few others, maybe I'll write about them too one of these days.

8:26 PM, August 21, 2006  
Blogger JohnB said...

Awesome! ...that's all I can think of right now!

10:41 PM, August 21, 2006  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Onmywatch-Lynch Mob were good, but no Dokken.It's a shame George and Don couldn't get along because they close to being really big after "Back for the attack".

3:53 AM, August 22, 2006  
Blogger OnMyWatch said...

John - awesome is a good word for that experience for me.

Mark - yes, Back for the Attack was great. Too bad they broke up.

6:01 AM, August 22, 2006  
Anonymous Milred said...

That was such a sweet story. I could just "sigh" with you!!

6:37 PM, August 22, 2006  
Blogger OnMyWatch said...

believe me, woman, you would have!!!! :)

7:27 PM, August 22, 2006  

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