Sunday, August 9, 2009

Exit Music

Back in the day, I worked for Bill Graham in New York City...not Billy Graham, but Bill Graham the rock impresario of the '60s. He was and remains a guiding force for me, someone who always knew the difference between good and evil, always recognized the the right way to do something, and he could elicit your opinion in such a way as to make you think you were a trusted advisor. And you were.

He produced weekly rock concerts, Friday and Saturday nights, 8PM and 11:30, three acts to every show, uncanny quality at every turn, week in and week out. The jobs were at an escalating level, from usher to ticket taker to box office.

I was teaching school all the time I worked for him, and so getting up and getting psyched every Friday and Saturday night after a full work week required effort. Part of getting dressed and ready for the show was my exit music. It was Gimme Some Lovin' by The Spencer Davis Group, fronted by Stevie Winwood.

Five years later, with seemingly no professional experience, I found myself on the road with Alice Cooper and Suzi Quattro, working as the tour accountant and assistant costume manager. Suzi opened the show, and then the roadies did the set change. There was house music during the set change, usually Supertramp or Average White Band. But we always knew when the change was finished by the start of Elton John's The Bitch Is Back, our signal to finish laying out the dancers costumes and find our places onstage.

Each of these songs sits on my ipod, and my heart involuntarily beats a little faster each time one of them comes on. Old habits die very hard sometimes

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