Meeting your idols

My favourite blogger, Bob Lefsetz has often said that if you wanted to meet your musical heroes, you’d likely be disappointed. They aren’t as fascinating as you’d hoped they would be and, often times, they turn out to be assholes.
And he’s met them all, having been in the music business since the ’70s.
The most famous person I’ve met is Jean Chretien, before he was Prime Minister, when he was a cabinet minister and campaigning for the Liberal candidate in Broadview-Greenwood in the early ’80s. We shook hands outside the candidate’s office, and Jean’s hopeful lost to future Ontario NDP leader Lynn McDonald.
I’ve also met Darryl Sittler and Bobby Hull. The Golden Jet greeted me with, “Hi, I’m Bobby Hull.” Yes, I’m Canadian. I know who you are. It’s like an American meeting Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays. Five minutes later, Hull noticed me and…”Hi, I’m Bobby Hull.”
But my celebrity bubble had been burst in the early ’80s by Karen Greening. AKA, Lee Aaron, Canada’s Metal Queen.
I was a journalism student at Centennial College and that allowed me to set up an interview with Lee. First in her manager’s office at Jarvis and Wellesley, around the corner from the Gasworks in Toronto. Followed by a phone interview. Lee was supposed to call me at home and she did, at 10:30 on a weeknight after having her parents over for dinner. Since it was late, Lee suggested we chat the next morning and, as a result, I ended up with her home phone number (we’re talking 1983, long before internet, email or texting).
So I’m 22 and I have the home number of a sexy young lady whose videos are playing on MuchMusic.
I did not abuse this privilege. Called Lee….Karen…every three weeks or so and, wonderful young lady that she was, Karen would chat for anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes about music, her family and other topics. I was a fan and had a huge crush on Karen but I knew that hitting on her in any way would likely ruin things.
As charming and wonderful as I was, why would a rock star date a journalism student still living at home?
However, Karen made it clear to me way back then that celebrities were still human beings. She sang for a living. I wrote and still do. She was a normal, well-adjusted, family-oriented woman. I still remember Karen complaining about her mother’s doctor and how he, in her opinion, had not diagnosed a medical condition early enough.
Not that I wouldn’t be star struck to meet Paul McCartney, Bobby Clarke, Reggie Jackson, Jimmy Connors, Chris Evert, Martina Hingis, Stephen King, Evan Rachel Wood, Kenny Stabler, Vida Blue or any of my favourite celebrities from the past 40 years or so, but I’d see them first as fellow humans, no better or worse than you or me.
They make a living one way, I earn a paycheque doing something else. Hey, is that Bobby Hull?

About johnnymaraca

sole proprietor of Maraca Media, former radio host (Johnny Maraca's Rock & Roll Riot), copywriter and producer and a print journalism grad.
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