Book Trailer The Noble Train

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Watching Foreigner Warm Up

Old rock and roll bands don't fade away they end up playing small venues in small towns that no one has ever heard of. I was in a coffee shop below a movie theatre converted from a real theatre when I heard a familiar song from yesteryear. I packed up my backpack and trudged into the hallway of the theatre to see PBS technicians and lights and cameras and more hubbub than this old theatre has seen for probably eighty years. The music continued and I followed the sound up some stairs and down a hall and through an open door into a darkened balcony overlooking the now brightly lit stage bathed in a video glow the size of a billboard.

  The old neo classical theatre that smelled like wet upholstery had been covert ed into a rock venue with men in skinny black jeans and tennis shoes standing center and gesturing to their ears while someone thumped on the drums and another man sat in a chair with his guitar. The stage seemed bare with just keyboards and drums and three men with guitars. They milled around around and asked people if they had their ears on because the quarter notes just didn't sound right and that final guitar squeal was a little off.  And so it was I realized I was watching the old resuscitation of a WHATEVER HAPPENED TO FOREIGNER segment that would land on the lower end of cable land in the fuzzy sanctum of boomer rock.

I sat down and just watched. As fascinating as the old roadie who still had his faded Foreigner sweatshirt and a sixty year old face under the long hair of another generation. How many places like this had he seen? Rock and roll seemed much like work about now. The musicians were fuming about the sound and trying to get their levels and without the songs being amped they sounded curiously like boys trying to be rock stars. But of course they were old men who had been rock stars and that was evident in the chair that the one original rocker made sure he was never far from.

And then they finished and put on their coats and left. I walked out of the balcony and out the side door to my car. Cold in Chicago land area and blustery. I put the car in gear and see some old guys clustered outside in thin coats grabbing a smoke.  Just some old rockers behind a theatre in the middle of nowhere.
Rocket Man due to blast off April 26th

Books by William Hazelgrove