What would you do if you had a chance to meet your hero(es)? I recently had the opportunity to come face to face with mine. Now I’ve met a lot of celebrities – super celebrities even – and I’ve always managed to maintain my composure. They are just people after all – just like you and me – you know, for the most part.
Turns out, when you get to meet somebody that has really influenced your life, or even maybe changed the course of it, you can get a little tongue-tied. So I found myself in a random scenario (ok not that random really, but I can’t really disclose where I was or why I was there – Hollywood is secretive like that – yep, I know who’s gay)…anyway, “random scenario” I had the opportunity to meet “Def Leppard”. Now to some that may not be such a big deal. But insert your “x” where “Def Leppard” is and you might understand – maybe Julia Child changed your life (yes, I realize she’s dead) – but you know whoever it might be (hell it could be Justin Bieber for all I know).
I guess I have to explain why it was so amazing for me. I only listened to AM radio as a kid and my parents listened seemingly exclusively to talk radio. My mom would iron for hours listening to Harvey- something … Paul Harvey (that’s it). I only got one radio station on my AM clock radio. I grew up listening to Imus in the morning (Imus in the morning 66 W – N – Beeeee – C – oh yeah, I remember the theme song) and then Howard Stern while I did my homework in the afternoon.
I thank Craig Moody (my junior high music teacher) to opening up my world to some fantastic music – I think everyone that had Mr. Moody as a teacher thanks him. He played an instrumental role (pun intended) in every musician from my home town’s life. Mr. Moody also gave me my first singing solo (when the other soloist’s voice started to do that “Peter Brady” thing and he needed someone to fill in – at least that’s how I remember it). Mr. Moody really gave me confidence as a singer.
Come Sunday mornings, my lil’ AM clock radio abandoned talk radio for a couple hours and played Casey Kasem’s Top 40 Countdown (which I now equate to kids listening to the “Little Orphan Annie” radio program before there was TV). One morning Casey introduced a new UK band to the charts with their “sure to be a hit song” “Photograph” – it was none other than “Def Leppard”. This was about the same time that Mtv came bombarding down like a bolt of lightening into our TV set, (you know, back when Mtv was all about videos). So not only was I finally hearing some amazing music, but there was this whole visual world of it too.
It wasn’t, however, till 1987 when I was at a “Def Leppard” concert with my friend, Jessica, singing their entire catalog at the top of my lungs when she turned to me and said – “you’re a really good singer – you should do this for a living”. And that’s where it all began…I’ve been a singer ever since – I’ve had a record contract – beer sponsorships – the whole thing.
So cut to present day … here I am … in a room with “Def Leppard”. What the hell do you say to people that changed your life? I think I said something to the effect “you guys changed the course of my life.” Sigh…alas, that’s the best I could do. But then I got to listen to my heroes tell me what the band meant to them and realized (even though I’d probably learned it all in Rolling Stone) that they wanted to share their personal stories with me – and that somehow made the whole encounter even more exciting. At one point I was literally choking back tears (thankfully, my boyfriend said he never knew it, so hopefully nobody else knew either).
If I had the chance to do it over again would I say something more eloquent? Probably not – but I’m already practicing my speech on the off chance I’m ever in a room again with Chris Cornell.