Friday, February 7, 2014

M.O'C, Artist to the Stars (without them knowing about it)!

At this point in my illustrious career, instead of waiting to be commissioned, I've decided to just go ahead with a few dream gig poster pieces I've always wanted to do (I'm only going to be around for so long).
One of these projects was doing art for a band I heart, Cheap Trick.

About 100 years ago (early 90s) Rick Nielsen gave me a call to ask if we could get together backstage at the Vic Theatre to talk about me doing something for Cheap Trick (spoiler alert- I said "yes"). I have no idea how he heard of me. Of course I felt like quite the hot shot before the show with my fancy backstage pass as the Vic security staff ushered me though the iron gate entrance to the Vic caverns to meet Rick.
Again, being so long ago, before I had any books out, I just lugged a bunch of original paintings for him to glance at.
He was as nice as could be, but nothing ever came of it.
Fast forward over 20 years later. All my contact information for Rick, the management company and whoever else was forgotten, but seeing they'd be playing at the Star Plaza Theatre, only an hour away, gave me the deadline motivation to finally just go ahead and work something up with the not really firmed up plan of showing it to them at the performance.
Now, what to draw? I couldn't do something with the 4 iconic members of the band since Bun E. Carlos had left, but the iconic guitars lit the idea lightbulb. First I sketched out a girl dressed as Rick with the cap and sweater playing guitars, but that wasn't working. Then I switched to using the gals that I've been drawing in a series of tattoos inspired by vintage Lil St. Cyr lingerie advertising.
Eureka (at least to my way of thinking)!
The night of the big event Alyson and I booked the luxury package of room, food and 3rd row tickets at the Star Plaza. I had 2 large glossy posters made of the art under my arm as I glanced around before the show looking for a door marked "Back Stage."
fyi There isn't one.

We loved the concert (which seemed to be populated by my high school graduating class), and I enjoyed the "shout out" from Rick as he pointed at us and gave me the thumbs up (I'm assuming because I happen to have lucked into quite the hot sexy wife.
Unless he was giving HER the thumbs up for snaring an elderly bald husband. Yeah, that's must be it!).
Well, Rick was pointing to a lot of people in the audience, and of course he didn't know who I was.
I briefly had the urge to shout from the audience, "I WAS THE GUY YOU MET ONCE FOR THREE MINUTES AT THE VIC TWENTY FOUR YEARS AGO!!!!! REMEMBER?????!!!!!!!!!!" but decided against it.
As my last chance, I went to the front of the stage for the encore. Just as they finished and Rick walked by, I yelled something and held out the art to him. Rick took them, looked perplexed, then realized they had something to do with Cheap Trick, nodded, and walked off stage.

Now all I have to do, I explained to Alyson matter-of-factly with a dismissive wave of the hand, is wait a few minutes for it to dawn on him who I am and how awesome the art is.
Then an excited Rick will come back out and the six of us (Alyson, me and Cheap Trick) will be hanging all night discussing how I'll be doing all their CD, t-shirt and promotional illustrations. The evening would obviously wrap up in a jam session where I'd be playing the drums on Surrender.
After an hour waiting, we were asked to leave the theatre.

Well, at least I know he saw them! :-)

Others checked off the list?
Ace Frehley and The Amazing Kreskin.
Next to do? Alice Cooper and Don Rickles!

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