My biggest star-struck moment living in Nashville and working in the music industry didn’t actually come from rubbing elbows with a big country star. Truth be told, even though I’ve worked in country music for years, I’ve never been a big fan of country. I certainly respect it, and there’s a whole bunch of it I actually enjoy whenever I hear it. But if you were to see my CD collection or the tunes on my iPod, you’d see next to zero country music.
When I moved to Nashville from L.A. 15 years ago, I was so clueless about country that I couldn’t have told you the difference between George Jones and George Strait. I don’t know if I’d even heard of George Strait, who was probably the biggest country star on the planet.
No, my first real “holy shit! That’s so-and-so!” star-struck moment came when I met John Waite – he of The Babys, solo stuff in the ‘80s (“Missing You”), and the band Bad English with Journey’s Neil Schon. I knew that John was dating Alison Krauss, someone I’ve met and spoken to a few times and whose music I actually do own. Alison’s son plays soccer, and we share a number of mutual friends. When I heard that she was dating John Waite, I thought it was an odd pairing, but who am I to judge?
So there I was on a Saturday morning, watching my daughter and her best friend, Sadie, who is also Alison’s goddaughter, playing soccer. I was hanging with Sadie’s dad, Gary, who’s a multiple-Grammy-winning sound engineer (and current owner of Alison’s former house; they’ve worked on many albums together.) Well, Alison’s son, Sam, was about to play, so she came over with John, and the four of us started talking. I played it cool, of course, but inside I was thinking “holy shit! This is John Waite, a bona-fide one-time pop sensation!”
He and I actually spoke for quite a while. He was living in Santa Monica, and I’d moved to Nashville from Santa Monica. He was contemplating a move to Music City and seemed genuinely interested in my thoughts. If I play this right, John and I will be total best friends forever!
I decided not to let him know that during my first night in Nashville, I laid in my bed at 2:30 in the morning with tears streaming down my face, thinking “why the fuck did I move from the beach to this God-forsaken hayseed town?” (Just three days prior I’d still been living in my high-rise apartment on the beach with the windows open, listening to the ocean waves crashing on the beach. Now I was in some crappy-ass apartment hearing 18-wheelers rumbling down I-40 and rattling my windows.) No, I’d keep that wound all to myself.
Well, John Waite and I never became BFFs. He never called. He didn’t ask for my number. Apparently, he’s never heard of a phone book; I’m listed, you know… We never spoke again. C’est la vie.
(I never liked that song “Missing You” anyway. And his hair was big and stupid when he was in Bad English. I did dig his stuff with The Babys though.)