You know how you have this opportunity to do something cool, but for whatever reason you chicken out, or you choke, or you second guess yourself and end up deciding it’s stupid? That’s how I feel right now.
I’m sitting in the Philadelphia airport, blogging because I’m irritated with myself and because our connecting flight to New York City has been delayed by an hour and fifteen minutes. I’m stuffed on a fat slice of Sbarro mushroom pizza and fountain Pepsi from the food court, listening to a very agitated New Yorker yell at the U.S. Airways rep over the flight delay, wondering why I didn’t just ask the kindly, 60-something-year-old man who sat beside me on the plane for five hours for a picture. After all, he would have said yes.
We talked for over two hours on the flight from Seattle to Philadelphia. I got schooled in classic rock and what it was like to have a hit album in the 1960’s. He confided he hadn’t done any vocal exercises in two days and has five straight days’ worth of shows coming up in Philly, the last leg of a spring/summer tour, before returning to his home country of England in two weeks. We chatted about the book he was reading that he complained was too intellectual for him (Jon McGregor’s If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things) and he regaled me with stories of life as a rock star and what it was like to record Odessey and Oracle at Abbey Road Studios in room 3, while The Beatles were next door in room 2 doing their thing.
He wasn’t quite Mick Jagger, but he said Mick’s a nice guy. His bandmate toured with Ringo Starr two years ago (who, incidentally, was sitting beside Steve). He asked me if I’d heard of Tom Jones and said he was a helluva funny guy. Plane rides are usually hideously boring for me, but not today’s. Because today I got to meet Colin Blunstone, lead singer of The Zombies.
Vaguely familiar, right? To this chick who’s just getting into classic rock, I had heard of The Zombies, but couldn’t quite place any of their songs. I surreptiously checked through my iPod to see if I had any downloaded. No such luck. And then he named off a couple of their hits, and I said, “SERIOUSLY? Like, way cool, dude!”
He laughed. Politely. And then offered to write down the names of their songs so I could download them from iTunes. I did not tell him I steal 99% of my music from LimeWire.
Colin didn’t seem to mind that he was a star before I was born, and he was happy to answer all my questions which I fired at him in scary succession. Maybe it’s the aging rock star thing, maybe he misses having women hanging all over him thinking he’s cool (and I wasn’t the only one – the lady beside me with the baby was making eyes at him, as was the pretty flight attendant who was overly attentive). But he was the epitome of graciousness, and I really wish I had asked for a damn picture. The camera was in my bag, the battery charged, the memory card empty.
Because it’s not every day you meet an artist who’s talented enough and lucky enough (and yes, both are required) to make his mark in the world.
Thanks, Colin, for the unexpected inspiration. And also for the lesson that you’re never too old to be a rock star.