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Thread: Backstage Passes

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Backstage Passes

    Anyone ever get backstage passes for any big concert? How did you happen to land them? I once had backstage passes offered to me for a White Zombie concert. I never availed myself of the courtesy, but if those had been passes for Pink Floyd, Rush, or Peter Gabriel I would probably have jumped at the opportunity.

    So what goes on if one has a backstage pass - does one really get an opportunity to meet the band? Wild booze orgies? In depth discussion about their latest album?.......Or is it more along the line of sweaty, exhausted performers troop off stage and are summarily trotted past a line of "VIP's"? (manager: 'guys, this is Howard Kowsnowski and his father is the one providing your limo tonight'. Barely polite head nods and grunts of acknowlegement ensue as performers without slowing down proceed directly to dressing rooms to change as they have a plane to catch in two hours....)
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Twice for me. First time was in the mid-1980s. Went to see the Ramones at a Brooklyn nightclub. The crowd got out of control and I found myself on the floor. Mr. Macho who had accompanied me confronted the club's owner about what had happened and somehow managed to score backstage passes. I chatted with Joey Ramone - I think it may've been about their new drummer - and got his autograph. There were quite a few other people backstage, but everyone was pretty friendly.

    Second time was only a few months ago. We traveled overseas to see the band I've mentioned here before. Someone who is involved with the band's website and helps them with publicity arranged for us to get backstage passes for both shows. We had a blast... but it wasn't what most people would think of as a "big" concert, so no wild boozy orgies or anything.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    100's of times from 1988 to 1997. I was working a second job that gave me backstage access for various concerts. Worked for everyone from Frank Sinatra to Public Image Limited to Prince.

    If you know someone who works at the venue, drop their name at the door and tell the bouncer that they expect to see you and you can find your way. Bingo you're backstage. Yes it takes kahunas but it is possible.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Was never "cool" enough to hang out with/know the "right" people to enjoy such a privilege.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


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    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I only had one chance and I wasn't intrigued enough. My brother got backstage passes to Hall and Oates in the '70's but I was working that night and passed, and I from what I remember, he didn't have that much fun other than meeting the guys.

  6. #6
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Never got backstage passes, but then again, I never went to many concerts when I was younger, and big arena and stadium shows were at their peak. Something I always regret.

    In later years, I'd see many of the bands that sold out Memorial Auditorium during my high school years at venues like Melody Fair, a much smaller theater-in-the-round. Kind of sad, too, seeing 500 people show up for a Kansas/ELO concert or something similar. One time, I was wandering around EPCOT in Orlando, and I passed a band under a bandshell play to about 100 people. At first, I thought they were just a cover band that happened play a lot of Jefferson Starship. I then realized it was Starship.

    Anyhow, that has nothing to do with backstage passes. Sorry for the hijack.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  7. #7
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    For the past few years I have been in a bowling league at an alley in Detroit that also has two concert venues associated with it. Many times, if there was a concert we were interested in seeing the same night as bowling, my buddy and I would get to the alley around 3:00 p.m. and pre-game before bowling, concert, etc. A lot of the times, we would see members of the bands hanging out in the bar or bowling beforehand so I figure getting to meet them that way is always just as good as going back stage. Some of the more notable ones (in my opinion)we have meet in this manner: James Murphy (of LCD Soundsystem), the folks from The Hold Steady, most of the Drive By Truckers, Swedish prog-metal band Dungën (incidently, I was one of only 4 people at the actual concert that night... I felt sort of bad for them during the show!), Neko Case, Blitzen Trapper, and Daniel Johnston.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  8. #8
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    A lot of the times, we would see members of the bands hanging out in the bar or bowling beforehand so I figure getting to meet them that way is always just as good as going back stage.
    So when you met them what sorts of things did you discuss?

    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner
    100's of times from 1988 to 1997. I was working a second job that gave me backstage access for various concerts. Worked for everyone from Frank Sinatra to Public Image Limited to Prince
    same with you - did you have any interesting discussions with artists or observe any unusual goings on?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  9. #9
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    So when you met them what sorts of things did you discuss?
    We liked to ask them what they thought about playing in Detroit or how their tour was going or what their favorite venues were. I also like to ask them what they are currently listening to (you get a lot of surprising answers like classical and opera from hard rockers, old country from hip-hoppers...). The most common question we always get from them is, "Where is there to go for something good to eat around here?" And the ones who were bowling always seem to be amused that there is a bowling alley at the venue. I cannot say that everybody was super friendly, but most were pleasant. The biggest dick I have met was Lou Barlow (while touring with Sebadoh) which really disappointed me because he was always one of my favorite musicians (but I have heard from other sources that he's really nice so maybe I caught him on a bad day). One of the nicest was Tad Kubler from The Hold Steady... those guys can drink!

    About 8 years ago, we were waiting for a Superchunk show to start and we were drinking and bowling with the opening band, Rilo Kiley. We were mainly just psyched to be hanging out the gorgeous lead singer Jenny Lewis. After the show, we were getting ready to leave and walking to my buddy's car only to realize it had been stolen from the side street! So we went back inside and while making some calls Rilo Kiley band member Blake Sennett overheard us talking about the stolen car and, remembering us from before the show, he offered to give us a ride home in the band's van (this was well before they would have had a tour bus... the van was more like a 12-passenger van they probably rented from Avis or something). Unfortunately our ride was already en route so we had to decline the offer... who knows, had I accepted, I could now be a professional roadie or something instead of an aspiring urban planner!


    Not back stage but... I also randomly met Ben Folds (another one of my very favorite artists) at a Swedish pancake restaurant in Chicago after a concert one night. But he's a bit more successful than a lot of the acts that I have met and he looked to have sort of a small entourage with him. He was kind enough to pose for a picture though and sign a poster for me that I was carrying around.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  10. #10
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    same with you - did you have any interesting discussions with artists or observe any unusual goings on?
    I can recall the Sinead O'Conner was nuttier than a fruitcake, Frank Sinatra liked Jack Daniels (ALOT!), Jerry Sienfeld is a nice guy, any show that Disney was involved in was a pain in the butt, but sold a ton of crap. You got to remember I was working not socializing! I did merchandising for several venues in the Detroit area. I was well like because I was big, street savy (this allowed me to cary $20,000 in cash through a crowd without freaking out), would not steal, and clean-cut.

    WSU ever see the VonBlondies and Emo-boy duke it out?
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  11. #11
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    What did Skinhead O'conner do that demonstrated her flakiness?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  12. #12
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    From about '78 to '83 I could get them for just about any concert at the Spectrum in Philly. Mostly you have a better place to watch the show, food and drinks, and get to talk with the crew. Meeting the band is easier before the concert, so you'd show up early for that, but anything past a brief introduction is rare... they are working. After the show they want what they want, be it booze or women or whatever, so even though it does happen, it's not often someone without a lot of pull gets back in the green rooms. I "met" quite a few, but Alex Van Halen, Stephen Stills, and Sting were the only ones I really was able to speak with for awhile. (Aside from people I actually knew like George Thorogood.) Alex discussed drumming and cocaine, Stills talked about good Scotch and how much Graham Nash pisses him off, and Sting ripped me apart for thinking I could relate to his album... He was kind of a jerk.

    The funniest moment was watching Stevie Nicks keep running back on stage to collect flowers and stuffed animals and handing them to roadies who were laughing at her hysterically, while she cried and said, "I just can't leave them out there! They keep throwing them!" Which, of course, just made them laugh harder...

    EDIT: Oh! I forgot, I met David Allen Coe backstage once, at a different venue. I really like his song Panheads Forever, so I kept shouting out for him to play it. Later, I asked him if he just never did that song in concert. He said something like, "Are you the little peckerhead who kept yelling that at me?!" Then he grunted, grabbed his guitar, and played a verse and the refrain... "There, I hope you're ****ing satisfied!"
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  13. #13
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    For the past few years I have been in a bowling league at an alley in Detroit that also has two concert venues associated with it.
    The Magic Stick and the Majestic, right? I saw Pete Carroll give a spoken work performance there back in the 90's.

    I don't know if this qualifies as "back stage" or not, but the Bengals practice in my town and on August 5th, there's a dinner and a practice session, after which players are signing autographs.
    Back home just in time for hockey season!

  14. #14
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    During my newspaper reporter days I got a backstage pass for the Guess Who (long after their heyday). I got to interview them in their hotel room. They might have sunk to B-level rock status, but women with them were defintely top drawer!

    I got invited to the after-concert party - on a party boat on the Mississippi River, but I had to go back and file my story.

    I did get invited to a friend's birthday bash. This guy was amazing. The things he could arrange. I showed up at the party and the party band was The Commodores, who had just finished their concert in town.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  15. #15
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    What did Skinhead O'conner do that demonstrated her flakiness?
    She came out to review her new concert t-shirts. One style had her name written in tiny letters. She did not want her name on her shirts so she ripped up the one she was holding and demanded that the rest be mothballed.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  16. #16
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Never got backstage passes, although I've always wanted to. For $1400, I could've met Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith on this year's tour, along with a backstage party/catering/front row seats, etc. Thanks, but no thanks. I think I'd rather hold out for the possibility of meeting them for free by random chance on the street. Maybe if they do something like that on their last tour and I have enough money, I might do it. But it's still pretty steep. I've also always wanted to meet Ted Nugent and Jon Bon Jovi. James Hetfield of Metallica and Slash from GN'R would probably be some pretty cool people to meet too.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
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  17. #17
    This is embarrassing for a number of reasons...

    Once, when a group of us were out (underage) drinking in San Francisco, we met Sylvester, the 70s disco diva. Then it was decided we should all go to another bar to continue our revels. I sat in the back of a cab next to Sylvester, dressed as preppy as can be (khaki pants, lacoste shirt with the collar turned up), while Sylvester wore his trademark gold lame moo moo.

    This is as close to stardom as I have ever come.

    I didn't like disco then, don't like it now, but I have a soft spot in my heart for Sylvester.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Coragus View post
    The Magic Stick and the Majestic, right? I saw Pete Carroll give a spoken work performance there back in the 90's.
    The Majestic and the Magic Stick indeed. I've been all around the country for concerts and been to many of the big places for indie rock concerts and the Magic Stick still tops my list of the best. Unfortunately, about a year and a half ago, a place opened up north of the city (The Crofoot in Pontiac) that has been steeling a lot of the shows from the Stick. The new place is super clean and the sound is amazing, but it just doesn't have the same atmosphere.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

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    Cyburbian TOFB's avatar
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    So what do you want to know? We have played with dozens of 'name' bands and while many are aloof, nearly all are polite, quiet, businesslike and sober.

    There is a lot of truth in the lyrics of Jackson Browne. They are all just doing their jobs.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian safege's avatar
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    The Dead Kennedy's. I took pictures for Your Flesh magazine that night. My pass was a Your Flesh sticker.

    Jello Biafra saw me with my press view camera, asked me if I didn't have a blue shirt on, just a minute ago. I said no, and continued on. (bemused, confused)
    Psychotics are consistently inconsistent. The essence of sanity is to be inconsistently inconsistent.
    -Larry Wall

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Hijack

    Quite a few concerts "back in the day"......no backstage stuff for this Bear. Somewhat related, though, I did get some choice seats for great concerts!

    At the very last Vanilla Fudge concert (held at The University of Toledo's Field House) we sat in about the 3rd or 4th row. They were incredibly loud and this remains one of my favorite concerts. But....no backstage stuff.

    Back in the mid-1990s Katie and I (and my son) went to suburban Detroit's Pine Knob (now DTE Energy Theater or something like that). We were in the 2nd or 3rd row at a Yes (one of my fave bands) concert. Sitting next to Katie was the sig-other of bandleader Jon Anderson. Katie and this woman yakked about concert life. I just watched a great band get "closer to the edge". But.....no backstage stuff.

    I really am looking forward to eventually watching Tons Of Fun Band. Maybe they will let me place a tennis-shoed foot backstage!

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Bear Up North View post
    I really am looking forward to eventually watching Tons Of Fun Band. Maybe they will let me place a tennis-shoed foot backstage!

    Bear
    Tons of Fun plays all the time in my town as they are from here. In fact they will be playing the big local festival in about a month.


    My biggest brushes with stardom was hanging with the members of Hum (mid-late 90's alternative band) ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hum_(band) ) at a local bar since they played a benefit show (they are from my town). All very cool guys.

    Also, Smashing Pumpkins came here a couple times, once in the late 90's when after their show at Assembly Hall they were hanging around downtown and went to a local record store (Periscope Records) and decided to put on an impromptu show right there in the store! I was nearby with friends and we could hear them playing in there so of course we rushed over. There were probably 500 people in that little place by the time it was over, but what an amazing thing. On one of their very last shows as a full band (before the release of Machina), this would have been about 2002, they played a fairly intimate 1,000 capacity former theater and then after the show asked some of the people who were still there after signing autographs, etc. after the show if there was still something open to eat in town. Someone suggested IHOP, so they said "that's where we're going". So the band and a bunch of us all went out to IHOP. The band payed for everybody and we joked around, talked about the show, etc. etc. Jimmy Corgan, James Iha, were some cool dudes. You'd never know they were millionaire megastars. They were all pretty tired, though after eating so no drinking or escapades after that, sadly.

    Also, fairly recenty I bumped into Elizabeth Elmore, former lead singer of the band "Sarge" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarge_(band) ), who were a pretty big indie band for a while in the late 90's. She's apparently a lawyer now. Turns out I happen to know her uncle.
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

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