Thursday, July 05, 2018

Blind Items Revealed #35 - A Himmmm Blind Item - Part Two Of 8 Parts Which I Will Space Every Five Minutes - Reveal 5 Minutes After The Final Part

March 26, 2018

What set the band apart was that each member was a brilliant talent – but in private life they were all just regular guys you'd have a beer with at the pub.  The musical brain and major songwriter behind the band was a brilliant multi-instrumentalist who could not only play anything, he could write it.  A fairly shy guy until you got him wound up, he was the DaVinci of the song.  He had no limits to his talent and was the clear leader.

One of the band's guitarists and a multi-instrumentalist (we will call KG) was a mad, brilliant, genius with a megawatt personality and no "Off" switch.  Not blood related to the others, he was crazy mad.  He could play any song or instrument, and even today stands as probably the most underrated guitarist in history.  His personality was that he'd try almost anything, a dare or a prank, and you'd still be laughing if he got over on you.  It was easy to play jokes on him because his eyesight sucked.  In fact, it seemed everybody in that band had bad eyes.

The drummer of the group and co-author of this story, H3, is like a human drum machine.  He's too modest to admit it, but he's a legendary talent.  When everyone from Neil Peart to Ringo Starr praise you? You've got something.  He could play flawlessly for hours and never miss a beat, unless he was too drunk and fell off the stool.  Only kidding, as he was the least wild drummer I've ever known and still don't think he's ever pitched a television out of a hotel window. 

The singer/front man whom we will call HT, was a legend for good reason.  Dear God was he a legend.  He was a singer, songwriter, and performer the likes of which the world has rarely seen.  Maybe top five in history.  His voice was powerful, flawless, and never took a day off.  His stage persona was unrivaled.  His human personality was magnetic, charismatic, and made you perfectly at ease.  His biggest flaw was that he was blind as a damn bat. It was not a myth that every woman he met wanted to climb inside his skin and devour him, and many did.  Being around him was like a good party you hope never ended.  Blended with the other nutty animals in their zoo you could see why they had the world in their hands.

It is really hard now for people to appreciate just how huge this band was.  They were a global megastar band, and these days there is not a group that could compare.  Nearly 60 million albums sold.  By the time I was college-aged, I'd reconnected with these guys.  I was working in the Summer of 1991 for our video/film production company.  The execs running the outfit asked if I wanted to go to England to our office there to help produce this band's upcoming show.  To be recorded for a special release, live, both on video and audio.  Since I knew the band, I was pleased to do it.  Thankfully, the actual directing and producing would have the best in the biz doing it.  I just was there as a liaison and adviser.  Not a bad gig for a 19 year-old kid.

I spent weeks helping prep the show and get everything finalized.  Especially the finance (it's an important part of the process).  Funny thing is that everyone wanted this July event to occur, but nobody remembered to pay for it.  No kidding.  The total was $1.7 million American dollars (and thirty-five cents).  In 1991 dollars.  The band paid about $200,000 of the cost.  The execs at the company assumed the band would pay for all of it; and the band assumed the company would pay the rest of it.  The band didn't exactly have that much in their account that day.  When I heard of this issue, I went to the phone and made one call.  In twenty minutes I was standing in the lobby of a bank in London with a Cashier's Check for $1.7 million (and thirty five cents).  To this day many in the band thought they paid for the show and production.  Truth is that money came out of someone's personal funds, and not from the company accounts.  But this machine would not budge without the money, and I was not about to let my pals lose their moment in the spotlight.  That angel investor eventually got the money back, but it took 20 years and made no profit.  It was worth every penny.

This was going to be a massive shoot for a massive gig.  We used 17 separate Arriflex 35mm film cameras.  We even got a helicopter to fly with a special gyroscopic-balanced camera; and our crew had over 50 techs.  It was going to be epic in every way, and if you were in London in Summer 1991 you knew about it.  The BBC radio did an all-day tribute to the band.  We had several bands booked as opening acts for a full day festival.  I think tickets sold out in 15 minutes flat.
The day before the show, we had sound check while stages were being finished.  I had brought my guitar with me so that I could play a little with some friends after the show.  I had an amazing customized black/white Fender Stratocaster.  It had been ordered to be customized by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, and given to me as a birthday present.  I brought it into the warm up room backstage at Wembley, to let the band's guitarist KG have a turn on it.  He had a guitar very similar and was amazed at how well it played.  I had his guitar tech to adjust mine to be exactly like his, as I loved the way his felt and sounded.  During the sound check, I nearly panicked when I found my guitar missing.  Turns out KG had used it by accident during sound check.  I told him he was welcome to it anytime, and sat it back in the rack next to his to keep it safe.  I knew his guitars were safer than lugging mine to the hotel and back.

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