Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Random Rock Star Moment #13: Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono Backstage Pass - 1996
(from the Umlaut Archives)

There was a time when I was close to a certain Grunge band. The history books will tell you they basically created Grunge.. and I wouldn't argue with that. For one moment in time the band also caught the attention of Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon. This resulted in the guitarist and drummer recording a couple of songs with John Lennon's loved ones on Yoko's 'Rising' album. When Yoko's 1996 'Rising' Tour hit California they were invited to join her onstage in L.A. and S.F..

Prior to the show at the Great American Music Hall in S.F., I kept noticing people looking at me... Then it hit me. The Round Eyes thought I was Sean (Asian, long hair, roundish glasses). We all look alike, ya know.. Or maybe they thought I was Yo-Yo Ma.

Anyway, as an intro tape, Slayer's 'Angel Of Death' blared out of the PA prior to the band walking onstage. I was told that was Sean's touch. Nice. Once onstage, Yoko screamed and did her thing. Even at her age she was still doing what she wanted to do.. She didn't pander to her past or to her dead husband's legacy. I thought the performance was cool.

Afterwards we were ushered backstage. The drummer of the previously mentioned Grunge band introduced me to Sean. He had a drink sitting next to him on a table and as he reached to shake my hand he knocked it over. Looking down at the mess he said "Hmmm, I guess I should take that as a warning.." before shaking my hand and greeting me.

A couple of minutes later Yoko appeared. I'm sorry to tell Beatles Geeks that the room was not suddenly filled with the smell of brimstone and smoke. I was introduced to her and she shook my hand and said how nice it was to meet me. I shook the hand of the woman who broke up The Beatles... and lived! I'm sorry to tell Beatles Geeks that I did not have an image of The Eye of Sauron sear into my brain when I touched her flesh. On the contrary, I was completely gobsmacked that Yoko was the same size as my Grandma.

After a couple of other introductions to backstage visitors, the tour manager announced they were leaving. So without further ado we walked out the backstage door...with Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon. A once-in-a-lifetime surreal moment for sure. In the alley behind the club there were a few Beatles Geeks hanging out with stuff they wanted autographed. As Yoko and Sean appeared they shouted their names. Twas the closest thing to authentic Beatles Mania I'll probably ever experience.

Christ, you know it ain’t easy.. You know how hard it can be. The way things are going, they’re gonna crucify me...

Another perspective on the evening from Joey Acid King:

"I confused the guy from the Beastie Boys who was there (Adam "MCA" Yauch) with one of the other Beasties. A friend in Omaha had dated the other Beastie Boy and I was asking if he knew her and he was like "I'm sorry dude, but I don't know what the hell you're talking about" (he didn't say exactly that). He was mellow about it. Another foot in the mouth moment for Joey. Yoko was such a mellow person. I came out of that night with a new appreciation for her as an incredibly deep person. I actually liked her screaming and told her it sounded like Native cries I'd heard before."