Thursday night I went to the Rock Bottom Remainder show at the Electric Factory in Philly. First, let me say, I was mildly devastated that my only idol besides Stevie Nicks, the effervescently brilliant, Stephen King, was not there. According to Mitch Albom's wife, he's not been touring much since his terrible accident a few years ago. That said, it was a fun evening. [When life hands you Stephen King-less lemons, you make Amy Tan lemonade.]
Here I am in the car on the way to the show. Can you tell how nervous I was? No? Okay, well never mind. [I was a nervous wreck. At that point, I still thought Stephen King was in my immediate future.]
My sister, Sharon, who had flown in from Denver at the last minute to help me through a very difficult time [can you say, "understatement?"], along with my awesome son, Adam, joined me in this adventure. Adam's a punk-rock drummer sporting a brand new killer tattoo, so he fit in perfectly with all the geeky writers in attendance.
The pre-party included an open bar, passed hors d'oeuvres [don't ask me how long it took to google the correct spelling on that], as well as a nice spread of food including chips, salsa, guacamole, and an assortment of chocolate goodness. To give you an idea of how crappy my week's been, I didn't eat any chocolate. Not one bite. Crazy, right? I did, however, have my first cocktail in nearly a year. I sipped it slowly over three hours, so no buzz occurred, but it was more of a declaration of independence than an attempt at getting drunk.
I'd hoped to meet Jen Weiner, but she arrived a bit late and went straight up on stage. (Sorry this picture of her is so dark - my camera takes horrible far-away-in-the-dark pictures.) She rocked it big time, and has a terrific sense of humor. Also on stage were Scott Turow, Mitch Albom, Ridley Pearson, Dave Barry, Roy Blount, Jr, Kathi Kamen Goldmark, and Amy Tan. They are a funny, talented, group of writers masquerading as musicians. Actually, a few are pretty damn good musicians, like Mitch Albom, for example, who in his early years played in numerous bands and attended the Berklee College of Music.
Their best songs were the few originals they threw in. One was called, "I'm In Love with a Proofreader" she's got a big dictionary, real good grammar, and never says between you and I and a song where the chorus was, all you reviewers can kiss my ass!
Amy Tan and Scott Turow get the award for most outrageous. Amy came out in a big, blonde, Debbie Harry wig and performed "One Way or Another" (you can see her in the pic above on the left). She also did a hysterical dominatrix version of "These Boots are Made for Walking." Scott Turow did a few songs in a clown wig and Cubs baseball shirt that hung past his knees (next to Amy in above pic). The guy is certifiably hilarious. Mitch Albom did an Elvis impersonation good enough to score him a job in a chapel in Vegas.
Here are a few pics of me and Amy Tan (above) and me and Mitch Albom and his lovely wife, Janine, who also has a terrific voice.
Speaking of Stevie Nicks, when I met Mitch we kind of got into a friendly tiff over the talent of the lovely Ms. Nicks. I said (and Mitch's astute wife agreed) that no musician is more talented. He disagreed but, in the interest of not being pummeled by two devout Stevie fans, let the subject go. I turned to my sister and said, "I can't believe I'm arguing with Mitch Albom about Stevie Nicks." [Life is full of unexpected strangeness these days.]
I told AA that, besides selling my book for enough money for me to cohabitate with Rick Branson on his private island, I also want to be a part of this band in a couple of years. When I told Mitch's wife I was a singer/songwriter for over 30 years, she told me I couldn't be in the band because, "only people who suck" can join. I told her I'd work on that.
All in all, given the week from hell I've had, it was a great night. And the best part was that the proceeds went to the Philadelphia Free Library. Music and writing together; it doesn't get any better than that.