Looking Back At Some Of The Cool Events In My Radio Career – Poison + Cinderella
I've worked with 95.3 The Bear for the past six years and have been a part of some really great shows, met my fair share of artists and have a ton of stories to tell.
The coolest moment since I've been here, first and foremost, was getting on stage for his encore and then going to see Man of Steel with Brad Paisley! That tops every list so far. Others great moments include meeting Carrie Underwood, sitting down and shootin' the bull with Randy Owen and partying with Rhett Akins on his bus.
But I haven't always worked in radio's country format. If you've ever met me you probably had that figured. Am I right? Well, country is where my heart is now but for a good ten years I worked classic rock and spent another 4-5 working in alternative music.
Flashback to 2002 - I worked at a classic rock station in Columbus, MS, the town that raised me. We got word that 80's glam rockers Poison were coming to Tupelo on their "Welcome to Hollyweird" tour with a few other bands from the time, Cinderella, Winger and the king's of sleeze rock, Faster Pussycat. Having been a huge fan of both Poison and Cinderellla at one time, I was excited at the news and looked forward to the show. Then I got a call from Poison's management that the band would start their entire tour off in Tupelo on May 16th. All of the bands would arrive three days early, do a lot of sound checking and make sure their staging was all ready for opening night.
Fast forward then to May 14, 2002. I along with my friend A.P., who had spent many years as a road manager for The Band, Levon Helm, and Days of the New, arrived with our broadcast equipment to a back room, just off of the stage in the Bancorp South Center in Tupelo. We readied our lounge with a couch and recliner and set up shop in earshot of all of the action, three days before the show.
The first day was relatively slow. Most of the action was from random road crew rolling in massive speakers and staging, preparing for each of the bands arrival. I broadcast my afternoon show from the backstage room solo to end day one.
Day two was a bit busier. It started after we arrived with a quick tour of the catering area and we then went on stage with Poison's tour manager as he showed us how everything comes together.
Around 3 that afternoon as I was starting my show, Fred Coury, drummer for the band Cinderella walked in and took a seat on the couch. Now, there are many bands I've been into over the years and a gaggle of them from the 80s. I was always a huge fan of Motley Crue, Quiet Riot and Cinderella so meeting Fred was kinda cool. He was just a normal everyday guy, still had big hair, ripped blue jeans and a lot of arm bracelets. We spent some time talking on and off the air and he moved on about his business getting ready.
Then in walked Cinderella vocalist Tom Keifer and I will admit that I was sort of in awe. If you've listened to their music before, the thing that sets Cinderella aside from the rest is the definite blues lean to their music and Tom's raspy, soulful delivery. I had done my best to sing along him for so many years and now we had headsets on and were talking about the history of one of my favorite bands. Cool.
This went on for about an hour. We just sat there and communicated like any two guys would. It at no time felt like I was sitting there with a superstar. Well, accept for the first few minutes before my star struck surprise ended.
Later that day I also had the opportunity to meet a sweat suit clad C.C. DeVille, Poison’s guitarist and their bassist Bobby Dall.
Around 5pm on May 15th we were invited into the main auditorium to hear Poison’s sound check. All members were on stage with the exception of vocalist Brett Michaels. The boys ran through one or two jam sessions and my friend A.P. and I discussed where their singer might be. I think I had it in my head, since I had not seen him up to this point that he was just a big star and didn’t want to be bothered with all of this.
Then around 5:30 as we were standing to the left of the stage listening to the band, a pair of double doors opened wide and in walked Brett Michaels. Like a true damn rock star I tell you. He had jeans on with cowboy boots, a leather vest with no shirt underneath and a blue bandana placed perfectly on his forehead and a mountain of a man following his every step.
For whatever reason, he was headed straight toward us! Maybe it was the fact that my friend and I had been backstage for two days and the bands all knew what we were doing, but he walked up to us and didn’t even join his band on stage. I again, was awe struck. He walked up with an extended hand and said, “Hi, I’m Brett Michaels.” As if I had no clue who one of the biggest front men of one of the biggest hair pop rock bands of the 80s was. We shook hands, he asked how we were, then entered into a conversation with A.P. about a mutual friend they had. For about five minutes this happened. Brett could not have been a nicer guy!
He then shook our hands goodbye, turn and joined the rest of his band for a rollicking version of “Nothin’ But A Good Time”! Wow, this was happening. We watched until they were done and returned to our broadcast room to laugh and recall how cool that just was.
Later that night, my friend and I along with fifty or so of our listeners were treated to a “sound check party” with Poison and watched them intimately run through about 5 songs.
On May 16, 2013 I took the stage around 6:30-7pm, grabbed a mic, thanked everyone for coming and introduced Faster Pussycat to the stage. My work here was done. I went to my seat and enjoyed the music for the next three hours or so.
Cinderella was absolutely amazing and even came back for an encore that night. Poison was last and about halfway through their set and after many sound troubles, Brett Michaels stopped the show, mid song. He asked the sound guys to fix the feedback problems because everyone in the room had paid good money to see a show without technical difficulties. In about five minutes, the band returned, blistered our ears with their a few more of their hits and even performed a rowdy cover version of KISS’ ‘Rock N’ Roll All Night’!
I left Tupelo that evening with a plethora of new memories and a freaking great story to tell.
I have other stories to share over the coming weeks. I may talk about the time I was able to stand on the side of the stage at Birmingham’s City Stages and watch one of my all-time favorite bands Live perform. Maybe I’ll tell the story of how I hung backstage with WWE ring announcer Tony Chimel and watched all of the “good” and “bad” wrestlers hanging out and laughing together just before I went into the ring to introduce Thursday Night Smackdown in front of almost 10,000 in attendance.
I am very thankful to have worked for the people I have over the years and that I have maintained a good relationship with the best listeners in the world! You listening to me every afternoon is one of the reasons I am able to do what I do. Thank you.