One of my long-time friends gave me a letter that I had written to her back in 1992 after I had met my guitar hero (right up there with Yngwie!) PAUL GILBERT for the very first time.
She figured it could be cool for me to have it now, all these years later, and maybe use it as material for my blog.
If she hadn’t given me this letter, I wouldn’t have remembered that I even got a kiss from Paul GIlbert (a very innocent one, but hey – still)!
FROM A TYPED LONG LETTER (over 20 pages!) after meeting MR BIG
at Circus, Stockholm, Sweden…..
April 29, 1992 (bits and pieces, that letter was crazy long! Slight changes also so that it makes better sense. :))
I couldn’t sleep, I had only ONE thing in mind: I HAD to meet Paul Gilbert. When I called my friend Lena she had suddenly changed her mind and didn’t even want to go! She said she had already seen and met Mr Big. She had tons to do, had no money and a whole bunch of bad excuses. I told her to cut the crap, get off her ass and tag along! She did. :-)
When we got to Circus (the venue) a limo with tinted windows pulled up just as we arrived, it was the band.
There were lots of fans there and the security guys exaggerated their attempts to keep people away from the car. So when Eric Martin stepped out, he grabbed one of those red roadsides and started yelling into it, making fun of the security guys: “Alright alright people! Move it, move it!”
The guards didn’t find it amusing, but he was just laughing at them, with that boyish smile of his.
[Jumping to the part where we are hanging out after the show, trying to figure out how to meet the band…]
We met Helen from WEA and a girl I knew, asked her to leave a message for Billy Sheehan. She had met him in the States and he had told her that she should look him up anytime & anywhere and he’d get her in on the guest list. So – she asked Helen to just give him the message.
Helen looked reluctant, saying something like “yeah, maybe“…. But probably not. She would be back “in a minute“. When she came back, she said she would catch BIlly AFTER the show. Yeah – right.
Oh and by the way, I found out that Paul goes to the same hairdresser as Vixen. Not that it has anything to do with anything, but, just a bit of trivia.
ANYHOO…… After the show, it was the same old shit as usual, security kicking everybody out, clearing the premises. I was convinced that I would have to accept that I would NOT be meeting Paul GIlbert this time. Yet I didn’t want to leave.
We told the security people that we were waiting for Helen from WEA, so they let us stay. Helen finally came out, shrugged her shoulders and just left. Not that I expected anything different anyway, but it was worth a try.
Lena was tired and wanted to go home. I didn’t, so I just went over to the groupie-section and joined all those chicks. I might as well sit there and wait.
Then a MIRACLE happens…!
A guy from EMA Telstar (concert promotor) walks up to the bunch, barely looks at anyone because he’s got his nose in his papers, and goes: “Would you follow me please!” and waved for us to follow him. We just walked STRAIGHT IN – without passes!
Apparently they didn’t expect anyone to be sitting there without a pass, so they didn’t even check!
I was super excited and whispered to Lena: “Can you believe that we are on our way to meet Paul?!” She just yawned and said she wanted to go home. Very inspiring indeed.
We were shown to this corridor and given free beer. A lot less groupies than usual by the way. Not like Skid Row’s backstage area. Mr Big only had maybe 10 groupies and they weren’t as slutty as Skid Row’s.
Pat came down and greeted everybody with a smile: “Good evening, ladies!” One of the girls yelled: “Nice ass!” – and he strutted his stuff all the way to the dressing room haha!
Up next, was Billy, who looked dead tired after the show. He stopped, looked at everyone and went: “I’m feeling better already!”
He walked on. “If you follow me, ladies….” and suddenly he had ten chicks following him like a tail. He yelled through the dressing room door: “ARE YOU DECENT??” and got a loud “YES!” from Pat, we all walked in. There was only Pat in there – and lots of food and drinks.
Eric walked in, mr Hyper! He was singing, joking, just attracting attention. I don’t know why, but I started talking with him and I asked if he wasn’t worried that people would start thinking of Mr Big as a ballad-band, because they released two ballads in a row as singles?
– Don’t you want us to be successful? This is obviously what people want to hear. We released “Daddy, brother…” and “Green Tinted Sixties Mind” as singles, so we’re not a ballad band!
He kept going on and on about it, I never meant it THAT seriously, it was just a thought.
While he was talking away, I saw Paul’s shoes walking in our direction, and next thing I know, he’s standing right next to me. Lena gave me a look and a wink, as if to say “THERE he is!” Geeezuz.
Suddenly Eric yells:
– ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME? with a “what the fuck“-smile.
Lena quickly leaned over to Eric and explained: “GOD just entered the room…!”
Eric looked at me – looked at Paul and yeah, he got it! He gave me a wink and a smile and left.
I was shaking like a leaf as I was trying to get my Racer X-CD’s and the “Guitars That Rule The World”-CDout of the plastic bag .
I walked up to him, he greeted me cheerfully and started talking. A lot! I had had this idea that he was a shy type of guy, but… far from it!
He hadn’t even SEEN the “Guitars That Rule The World“-cover before! So he was very curious. He had only heard Zakk Wylde’s song on that album and said he liked it.
Then he saw that godawful pic of him and Billy and just laughed out loud. People were turning their heads just to see what was going on. He held the pic up in the air yelling: BILLY!! HAVE YOU SEEN THIS??! JESUS CHRIST!!!
He wanted to know if I REALLY wanted that horrible picture signed, and yeah I did – so he signed it, but giggled for minutes after that. He gave me a pick as well.
I told him that I loved his little tune, and he said thanks, and explained that it was mostly meant as a joke, to make fun of that whole guitar-hero myth. I asked if he would ever consider playing it live, and he replied that it would be almost impossible because the song consisted of 5 different solos mixed with acoustic guitar,
I laughed and said: “Hey, people call you a genoius – you should be able to rearrange it and play it live!”
He laughed, said it was a fun idea, he would definitely consider it and see what he could come up with. So – if he ever DOES play it live, I will know where he got the idea from. ;)
Lena started talking to Paul, so I went over to Billy Sheehan instead. What a super-nice guy. He shows a genuine interest in every single person he talks to. He was very down to earth and easy to talk to. I asked him if it was possible to get a pass for Copenhagen as well and he said it could absolutely be arranged.
He was so impressed that I was going to see them twice… If he only knew how many times I’ve seen Skid Row…!
Went back to Paul after a while, cause none of the chicks gave a shit about him, so he was alone. Perfect – for me.
I asked a little about his education, considering he became a guitar hero already at the age of 16. He said that he finished high-school and after that he’s been educating himself to the best of his ability.
Then he got up with a smile on his face and went to get his bag.
– I’ll show you what I’m reading right now!
I thought it would be something silly, cause he had that look on his face, but it turned out to be a book about PHYSICS!
– I NEVER thought that you’d be reading a book like this! I said with eyes as big as plates.
– Well… I haven’t finished it yet, but…
His attitude was that, just because you’re a musician, it doesn’t mean that you have to be STUPID.
I asked him what kind of music he was listening to. Once again, he walked over to his bag, grabbed another bag and handed it over to me.
– You can see for yourself. I think I’ve got everything in there.
There was some “J.O Bach” (not J.S Bach!), Dee-Lite, AC/DC, Motown soul… All kinds of stuff. He wasn’t kidding when he said that he had “everything”…!
I asked him about his opinion of female musicians.
– Bonnie Raitt is one of my favorites. And Lisa, from Wendy & Lisa, Have you heard her?
I nodded and he was just about to ask me if I had heard this song…but I had to stop him there cause I didn’t own her record, unfortunately.
He loved Lita Ford (yey!!) and his favorite Lita-song was “Gotta Let Go“. And he liked Diana Ross as well.
Kept asking him stuff like there was no tomorrow! I wondered howcome he stopped writing for Guitar Player, and he just said he didn’t have time and that he had run out of ideas. He looked surprised, probably didn’t expect someone like me to be reading Guitar Player.
The band had to leave, so he got up and was about to give me a hug, when I jokingly said that if he hugged me, I would probably drop down dead. So he kissed me instead!
Uhhh – YES, I definitely hit the ground right after that. Lena went: “Miracles DO happen, huh?”
Jesus, yes – you could say that.
[there was a part two of this letter too – a LONG part two, but I will spare you.
Billy remembered the passes for the Copenhagen show the next day, bless him. :)
And yes, I met Paul there too. Awesome guy! I’m still a big fan of his – he rules!]