Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Brushes With Celebrities

Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Well, I've finally returned from my trip to Indiana! It was so nice to be there with family and I hope to visit again soon. While I was there I was having a conversation with our sister, Brandy, and somehow we got onto the topic of PRINCE. I asked her if she remembered when I met Prince and she said she had never heard the story. So, I feel compelled to write about my brush with "The Purple One".

I was 19 and Prince was the hottest, sexiest thing going. Purple Rain was on the big screen and everyone was begging to hear his songs. The band that I was singing with at the time was playing at a Marriott in Worcester (pronounced Woostah), Massachusetts. I found out that Prince was going to be performing nearby and would be staying at the Marriott, and to me that was just the most exciting thing in the world. I told everyone who would listen, what a huge Prince fan I was and that I would do anything to meet him.

While playing a game in the video room at the hotel one afternoon, I had the pleasure of meeting Sheila E.'s guitar player, Stefan Birnbaum. Sheila E. was the opening act for Prince's Purple Rain tour and I was ecstatic to have met Stefan. He was very nice and we had a great conversation and he said he would stop into the club later and listen to our band. WOW! For me, a small town girl who was somewhat sheltered, this was super exciting.


So that night, as promised, Stef showed up. We were in the back of the club by the waitress' service station when I was hit by the overwhelming scent of flowers. Not just the light fresh scent you experience when sniffing a bouquet of flowers...More like you were attacked by all of the floats from the Rose Parade. You get the idea... I must have made a face because Stef asked, "Do you smell that?". I said that I did and asked what it was and he told me to turn around. I turned and was face to uh, well, top of his hair-do with Prince. No lie. I was standing not six inches from "The Purple One"!!!! He was wearing silk pajamas, long pearl necklaces, and about five inch heels. Oh yeah, and about three bottles of old woman's perfume. I was wearing probably three inch heels and still towered over him. He's not a tall man, but his sexiness more than makes up for it. He smiled that delicious smile and said "Hello, how are you?". To which I eloquently and intelligently replied, "Hi". I was in total shock and of course after he walked off, I could think of a million things to say.

Following Prince was his entire band, The Revolution. They made their way to our stage and after talking with the manager and our band leader, took their places on stage. Doc, Wendy and Lisa were all there, and Sheila E. sat in on drums. They began their jam and I was thinking that life couldn't get much better. I stood on a brass rail beside the stage taking it all in and handing guitar picks to Wendy while she sang back-ups on my microphone. I'm thinking "God, this is great!" Suddenly, Prince turned and looked at me, and on the microphone, he spoke to me. He said, "Could you please get down off of that rail. I don't want you to hurt yourself". Can you believe it? Prince himself was concerned for my well-being! What a high!

I was still feeling that high when I called my mom the next day to brag about my experience:
"Mom! You'll never guess who sat in on our stage last night!"

"I don't know. Who?"

"Prince! Prince and the Revolution and Sheila E.!" I exclaimed.

"Oh that's nice," she said with absolutely no enthusiasm. "Well, Wayne Newton's band sat in with your sister's band."
This she said like it was so much better. And this wasn't even Wayne Newton himself. It was just his band. Ah... defeat. Well, I didn't care. It was still an incredible experience for me and one I will always cherish.

So what about all of you? Care to share any Brushes with Celebrities? We would love to hear from you.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great story! I went to high school with Greg Hawkes, keyboardist for The Cars. In high school he was in a band (The Aardvarks) with a guy who lived across the street from me. That brings back many memories!!

pattie

Sisters-in-Sync said...

I had lunch once with a WWE wrestler. Does that count? And Mariah Carey came up on stage with me once. She didn't sing but her friend--the one she sang the duet with--Trey Lorenz, sang. He was very good and very nice.
Same club...we hung out with Cameron Diaz and her family. They were a hoot and all very sweet.

Thanks for the post--I had forgotten all about those instances!

SIS Barb

Sisters-in-Sync said...

Hi Pattie!
I love The Cars. I also like the name The Aardvarks...sounds like a fun band!
Thanks for stopping by.
Brenda

Sisters-in-Sync said...

I had forgotten about your lunch with the wrestler. But I did remember your other two brushes. But what did Mariah Carey do on stage? Play tambourine?
Miss you!

Sis Bren

Mary Stella said...

My musical brushes with greatness include meeting and talking with Bruce Springsteen, James Brown and a whole bunch of other rockers during my Asbury Park partying days.

Non rockers -- well, there's the time I bumped into Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (literally and I'm lucky I didn't knock her over) and the little incident when I accidentally stabbed President Carter's son in the hand with a ballpoint pen.

Great encounter with Prince, Brenda!!

Sisters-in-Sync said...

Bren,

I'm trying to only say positive things about people so let's just leave it at that re: Mariah.

SIS Barb

Sisters-in-Sync said...

Mary Stella,

Seriously? You stabbed him with a ball point pen? That is just too comical.

SIS Barb

Sisters-in-Sync said...

Hi Mary,

Sounds like you had some good times at Asbury Park. Was Carter in office at the time of this stabbing and were you surrounded by the Secret Service? I'm curious?

Sis Brenda

Sisters-in-Sync said...

Um, that would be ...
I'm curious.

Kathleen said...

I scared the dickens out of Bonnie Rait one night after a concert. Became a bit overzealous as a fan and almost plastered her to her tour bus.

Sigh. I'm not good around celebrities.

Sisters-in-Sync said...

Kathleen,
I cracked up when I read your post. I can imagine she was quite shocked. I am a big Bonnie Raitt fan, but hopefully I could just settle for a hand shake. Great story!

Sis Bren

Sisters-in-Sync said...

Kathleen,

That's fantastic!!

SIS Barb

Tori Lennox said...

As far as I can remember I haven't had any musical brushes with celebrities. But when I lived in Tucson many years ago, I used to hit all the celebrity tennis & softball tournaments. Got lots of autographs, but the only person I recall actually having a bit of a conversation with was Brian Patrick Clark who played one of the girls' husbands on Eight is Enough. Oh yeah, and he was also on General Hospital. :)

Sisters-in-Sync said...

Hi Tori,
I couldn't place Brian Patrick Clarke so I Googled him. I recognized him as soon as I saw his picture. He was on numerous television shows including Onde Day at a Time, TJ Hooker, Simon and Simon, Fame...just to name a few! Thanks for sharing,
Sis Bren

Richard said...

LOTS of brushes with celebrity, especially while on the road either at the time Brenda was talking about or WITH Brenda. Best brush/memory ironically enough occurred at the same Worcester Marriott:
Late 80's, Elton John was touring again with his original band from the 70's. Only glimpse I got of Elton John was as he got on an elevator, surrounded by bodyguards. But, while playing that night in the club, I noticed guitarist, Davey Johnstone in the back. The band had evidently just finished playing their show at the colosseum and some had stopped in to see what was going on. During a break (and I can't remember how it began), I and other members of the band were privileged to be having a chat in the lobby with Johnstone about music, etc. As if that wasn't great enough (especially for myself, a HUGE Elton John and band fanatic!), during the conversation a fan brought up some piece of memorabilia for Johnstone to sign, and he replied, "Perhaps in a moment; I'm talking with these people right now"!!!!!!!!!!! Couldn't have felt more impressed and honored!

Shelly00 said...

LOVE PRINCE!! OMG!! Love that story!! Beth- how did you ever not tell me that story..after even seeing Prince together???

Lately, my brushes with fame anymore are with baseball players...I have meet a bunch, Cal Ripen Jr., Ken Griffey Jr., Yogi Berra and many more.....LOL

Sisters-in-Sync said...

Hi Shellyoo,

Beth probably didn't tell you the story because she was embarrassed about the whole Wayne Newton thing. Hee hee. It was Beth's band that had the pleasure of Wayne Newton's band sitting in. Sports stars count too! There are plenty of people who would be much more impressed with meeting Yogi Berra than Prince. Thanks for stopping by,
Sis Bren

Sisters-in-Sync said...

Tori,

What character did he play on General Hospital? I loved that show.

SIS Barb

Sisters-in-Sync said...

Hello Richard,

I think sometimes we forget that celebrities are people too. There are a great deal of them who do seem to think they are above us little people and it is so refreshing when you read a story that lets you know that at least some have remained humble and polite. Have a great day!
Sis Bren

flchen1 said...

Wow! Uh, no brushes with celebrities, unless you count hanging out with you all here! ;) And I would probably totally flip out and be completely dorkily speechless in person with any famous folks, even after reminding myself that they are indeed real people!

Beth Ciotta said...

Wow. What a great bunch of stories! Starting with Brenda's Prince story. I always loved that one. And, although I think Wayne Newton is a talented guy and even though his musicians were super talented and nice, I soooo would have preferred an encounter with old-lady perfume smelling Prince. He is a musical GOD!!

One of my faviorite celebrity encounters was over the phone. I was working in one of my entertainment agent's offices. She happens to handle Frank Sinatra Jr. One day the phone rang and I answered, "How can I help?"

"Hi, this is Tony Curtis. I need to get in touch with Frank Jr. and was hoping AK could help me."

I blinked. Tony Curtis? Tony flipping Curtis??!! AK wasn't in, so I had to take a message from Mr. Curtis. And it WAS him. I recognized his voice. He was one of my favorite actor/movie stars as I was growing up. The whole time we talked my heart raced and my mouth was dry. He was so NICE!! I still can't believe I had a phone conversation with Tony Curtis!

Other brushes with fame: Gary Sinese, Tom Jones, and Daniel Craig. DC being the most recent and a memory I'll forever cherish.

SIS Beth

Beth Ciotta said...

Pattie,

As much as I love The Cars... The Aardvarks is a way better name! Priceless!

Thanks for stopping by!

SIS Beth

Beth Ciotta said...

Mary, I have always loved your Jackie O story, but stabbing President Carter's son in the hand may just top that. How can you leave us hanging without details??

SIS Beth

Beth Ciotta said...

Kathleen Pickering!!! Thanks so much for stopping by. Your brush with Bonnie Rait is a winner. Knowing you, I can so envision it. *snicker*

SIS Beth

Sisters-in-Sync said...

Fedora, I always find myself speechless. I figure, what could I possibly say that they haven't already heard?

SIS Bren

Beth Ciotta said...

"Perhaps in a moment; I'm talking with these people right now"

Richard, that must've neraly knocked the wind out of you. How fantastic is that!! Don't you just love it when soemone you admire turns out to be a great human being!

SIS Beth

Sisters-in-Sync said...

Beth,

Doesn't Tony Curtis have one of the most unique voices you have ever heard? I LOVE his voice...something very different about it.

Miss you!
SIS Bren

Beth Ciotta said...

Tori...

You forgot to mention. Was he nice?

SIS Beth

Beth Ciotta said...

Shelly,

I, too, can't believe I never shared Brenda's fabu Prince tale with you. You, who I stood next to, screaming, swooning, and making a huge spectacle of myself at my one and only Prince concert. Whereas you have seen him how many times? ;)

SIS Beth

Beth Ciotta said...

Fedora... I was "completely dorkily speechless" with Daniel Craig. It happens. And if I ever met my idol, Bette Midler, I'd probably faint. :)

SIS Beth

Sisters-in-Sync said...

Hi Fedora,

Actually, I would be soooo cool around all celebrities. NOT! I think we're all dorks when it comes to things like that. However, I absolutely do not think I would pass out!

SIS Barb

Olga said...

Great story about Prince, Brenda!

Sisters-in-Sync said...

Thanks Olga! Do you think Prince remembers it as well as I do? hehe

SIS Bren

~Sia McKye~ said...

Oh lord, you crack me up. lolol! Cute story though.

Celebrities...well, I've done some extras work in a couple of movies and of course you think you'll meet all these stars. Pffft! What they fail to tell you is you won't and two, some of those shots are after the movie is done or that most of the scenes you do will be out of sequence to the movie being shot and the stars are drinking lattes or having their nails buffed or something. I have met Robert Redford,Burt Reynolds and a few others. My great Uncle was Will Geer, Grandpa Walton, so when I was a kid I got to meet some of the cast. I'm not the gushing fan type, but it was fun.

Music...I worked with a promotion group that promoted a lot of music stars, I've met lots of Country stars, some I liked and some I didn't and I did enjoy meeting Ottmar Liebert--back when he had long hair and would appear on stage in jeans. I play Spanish guitar so that was a great treat.

Recently, I took my 14 year old to his first rock concert with Papa Roach, Avenged 7, Saving Able. I got to meet Jacoby and some of his band, very nice guy, and Saving Able band. My son was very disappointed not to be able to meet Matt or Synyster. But it was fun to see things through Jake's eyes, the awe and surprise of it all.

I love your blog. I'm going to have to save it to my blog log!

Sisters-in-Sync said...

Sia!

I had no idea you were so active in the, well, 'acting' and of things. What awesome brushes with celebs! Robert Redford? Burt Reynolds? And your great Uncle was GRANDPA WALTON???? You win. ;)

SIS Beth

Sisters-in-Sync said...

Sia,

Welcome! I am a huge country fan and would love to hear more about the country stars you've met.

Please come visit us again!

SIS Barb

Sisters-in-Sync said...

Olga,

Robert Redford AND Burt Reynolds? You lucky dog you. And as for your great-uncle... I grew up watching the Waltons and I always loved his character. What a great show and what great experiences for you. Thanks for stopping by!

SIS Bren

Sisters-in-Sync said...

SORRY SIA!

I just realized I addressed you as Olga! I must not have been awake yet. You're still a lucky dog!

SIS Bren

Sherry Tew said...

Brenda - you weren't on the road with us during those months when we kept crossing paths with Neil Diamond's band and road crew. We ended up at several hotels together in New England over those months. They always came around and hung out with me at the sound board, intrigued by the fact that I was actually running the board and lights. They weren't sexist about it - they were genuinely pleased to see a woman doing what was predominantly done by men. They offered to comp us tickets to one of Neil's shows, but it never worked out. Well, months later we ended up in San Diego at the same time as them. True to their promise, they comped us tickets to the show. What a fabulous performance!! After the show we got a tour backstage as well as under the enormouse oak stage Neil Diamond traveled with. It was so cool. Prior to that experience, I actually found myself standing next to Mr. Diamond in the gift shop, ironically, in the same Worcester Marriott where you met Prince. He is also a rather short man. He was very polite as he spoke to me while reaching for a magazine to purchase. I was dumbfounded. There was also one other completely phenomenal time when Stevie Wonder came into the club at that very same Marriott while we were rehearsing one afternoon. He stood and listened for a while then told us we sounded great and to keep up the good work! Can you say WOW!!! So completely amazing. Later that evening several of his band members sat in with us. They were all very genuinely nice people. It was a wonderful experience.

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