Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Baby steps

By Robert Nelson

Quick, hide the stash: Baby DJ (wearing red cap) checks
out the tour bus with Pete, Sam and Dean of Chevelle.
During my freshman year in college, my buddy Ta and I bought tickets to see Filter in Minneapolis. It didn’t happen. The lead singer checked into rehab and cancelled the tour. So, when I found out they were coming to town with Bush and Chevelle, naturally, I thought of inviting Ta to go with me. We were all Bush fans in high school. Filter would be a huge perk. And Chevelle … well, let’s say they made this experience unlike any I’ve had before.

My DJ career is still in its infancy. It’s not uncommon for me to be referred to as “Baby DJ” around the office. It’s cool. It’s not meant to be disparaging in any way (at least, I don’t think it is). In fact, I’ve received more support from my radio family than I could have ever imagined. Still, when my boss offered to let me conduct my first artist interview with Chevelle before the show last night, apart from being totally elated, the confidence instilled in me got taken to a whole new level.

I walked into the nearly empty venue to find Filter on stage sound-checking “Take a Picture.” That’s when shit got real. I understand, now, why kids line up outside so early before a concert. On the off chance you can catch a glimpse of or hear just a little bit of your favorite band warming up, why wouldn’t you? With nobody else around, it’s so intimate, like they’re performing in your living room. When they started “Welcome to the Fold,” James, Chevelle’s tour manager, approached and took me backstage to meet the band.

Actually, he escorted me to the back of the club and outside to their bus. They’d definitely been living in it for a while. It was in the same sort of disrepair as my bedroom, comfortably disheveled. Pete, the lead singer, sat waiting, flipping through his phone. He seemed somewhat distracted at first. The business of prepping their new record for release in December weighed heavily on his mind. As I set up my equipment, his brother Sam, the drummer, stepped out and helped break the ice. They told me about a recent trip to Vegas where, at 4 a.m., some chick was trying to seduce Pete and his extremely hot wife. Happens to me all the time.

I think the interview went fairly well, not without its moments, but the good news is I got it out of the way, hopefully, to the boss’ satisfaction. I was, then, immediately ready for a drink and a smoke and a kick-ass rock show. All of which were conquered, in that order, with several more drinks and a couple more smokes. Ta showed up just before Filter took the stage, and it felt like high school again. The Baby DJ’s learning to walk.

Follow the musical musings and escapades of Baby DJ on Wednesdays at Six String Sanctuary.

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