Personal Encounters With Celebrities
Zakk Wylde is a kick ass dude.
My 13 year old cousin has been playing guitar for probably about 5 years now, and last year when Ozzy came to town, Zakk was doing a demo at the long guitar shop, like in every other city they played. I'm guessing they had a deal with Epiphone, because every stop, they'd give one away to one lucky kid in the crowd. On this day, my cousin was that one lucky kid. so he's standing there beside zakk wylde looking at a wall of guitars, and he can pick any one and he points at a Zakk Wylde signature model (the cream and black bullseye, the Gibson one.
So Zakk goes over and grabs it off the wall and passes it to him, and then some guy (guessing one of his staff) informs Zakk that my cousin can't have that one, adn the conversation goes like this.
guy - "He can't have that guitar, it isn't covered"
Zakk - "Let the kid have the fuckin guitar"
guy - "No, we can't"
Zakk - "Fine, I'll pay for it myself"
Zakk wylde then walks over to the counter and pays for the guitar himself, out of his own pocket.
The Pole Of Justice
I`m a music journalist, and I`m old. I`ve got a million stories.
Generally, if you treat them like people (i.e. don`t get starstruck and babble at them) and don`t force a meeting, they`re not just nice, but thankful to have normal interaction.
Henry Rollins and I had a two hour conversation about Funkadelic and Gang Of Four. This was before I was writing, he just happened to come into the record shop I worked at while I was playing "Cosmic Slop." At no point did we discuss his music.
Eddie Vedder. I actually really dislike his band`s music, but he`s a stand up guy.
Danny Elfman. Great, great guy.
Nick Cave. Once you realize he`s not aiming his snarky sense of humor at you, he`s the most personable man on the planet.
Hardcore music geeks might know The Flower Travellin` Band. All of them are really, really, really nice. I get text messages from Ishima-san (guitarist) every once in a while, still.
Sonic Youth chilled in my van once during my brief tenure as a roadie.
Nirvana: Krist and Dave, golden. Kurt...too fucked up to realize anyone was in the room with him.
I didn't realize Robin Williams was such a nerd until I saw him come into a comic book store on 18th & Geary. He almost had a full beard, was wearing an orange rain coat, and darted immediately for the superhero comics (he loves Superman and Batman). I didn't even know it was him until the store owner greeted him by saying "good afternoon Mr. Williams". Apparently he is a regular but he goes incognito like that every time he gets an urge to nerd out.
I also saw Santana smoking weed at a memorial concert for Chet Helms, backstage in Golden Gate Park. He admittedly is less proficient at playing unless he's stoned as hell. Yeah I know we all know he is a stoner but it was kinda cool seeing him in the process of getting baked. Considering this was like 2 years ago and the dude is over 60 now.
Not a personal encounter, but my dad and I met a guy in the parking lot after going to see Neil Gaiman during his Graveyard Book tour that had gotten him to sign a human femur. Apparently, he and his brother-in-law were putting together a literary skeleton, and they had gotten signatures from Alan Moore and Stephen King on different bones, among several others. A pretty awesome project, if you ask me. The guy was even handed Neil's cell phone while he signed the bone, and talked to his publisher, who informed him that The Graveyard Book had made it to #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List. So that guy and my dad and I were probably the first people outside of the author to hear this news.
Andre 3000 -
I get to see this guy all of the time at the restaurant I work at, and I must admit that I'm smitten. He's incredibly dignified, yet highly respectful to the people he speaks to - no matter who they are - and unlike other celebrities I have to deal with, he doesn't act "entitled". Also, he always wears the most AMAZING clothes. If he wasn't a celebrity, he would just be some awesome neighborly dude with great taste. I wish I had the balls to go beyond "small talk" with him.
Robert Downey Jr. is absolutely hilarious in person. I met him on the red carpet of the premiere of Iron Man in Sydney, and when the pen I gave him didn't work, he bitched at me in a suitably hilarious fashion, clearly fooling around. I was so in awe that he was actually in front of me that I must have looked upset, because he grabbed my hand and asked me if I was okay.
He's also really short.
I went to Woodstock '99 when I was fourteen, and while standing around drinking our my cousin and I noticed three guys running by. They were all naked and covered with paint, and for some reason people seemed very excited when they got high-fives.
As the guys neared us and we gamely stuck out our hands, my cousin shrieked, "Ohmygod, is that FLEA?"
Sure enough, it was Flea, Anthony Kiedis, and some other guy from RHCP. (I'm not a fan, really, so I'm sorry I can't be more specific.)
They slapped us five, and we were laughing at our paint-covered hands when I dimly heard, "I love that kid's fucking hair!" (My hair was pink at the time.)
All of a sudden, two arms wrap around my middle and I am lifted up in a giant bear hug. I look down-paint on the arms. My mysterious assailant puts me back on the ground, and I turn around in shock and awe. Yep, Anthony Kiedis.
I was about 13 and saw Weird Al Yankovic walking across the street from me. I lived in a small town in Canada so I was pretty surprised. This would have been right around his 'Amish Paradise' days and I was a big fan, so I waved and yelled: "Hi Weird Al!"
He sees me and waves back madly, yelling: "Hi guy I don't know across the street!"
Then we just both kept going our separate ways. I hear he's a ridiculously nice guy to talk to as well, so that's nice.