I never want to be that obnoxious fan. The one who eerily hides away in the corner all crazy eyed and sweaty with pen and paper in hand, anxiously waiting for an autograph or photo with the great [insert celebrity name here]. While everyone else hounds them like a pack of rabid raccoons, I just stand off to the side hoping they’ll see me, acknowledge my oh-so-mellow attitude and offer me their hand in marriage.
Okay. So that’ll probably never happen, but I just feel as though that attention gets a little old. People need their space. I’ve missed out on a number of opportunities just so I wouldn’t be a bother. Last semester, I stood face-to-face with Southern-rock god and influential storyteller, Mike Cooley from the Drive-by Truckers. He was wandering around downtown Tuscaloosa before DBT’s show back in September of last year. I was standing outside Rooster’s Blues House with my manager, Scott, handing out flyers to passer-bys when Cooley walked up. There I was, all googly-eyed and unable to utter a sound except for a barely audible “Hi.” I stared and smiled as he talked with Scott about the night’s show (see, Rooster’s hosted the DBT show at the Bama Theatre. I felt honored). Eventually, Cooley heads off and I wave goodbye, regretting my inability to ask for his autograph. Scott didn’t even realize who he had been talking to for the past three minutes. Of course I made sure to fill him in, including my confession of obsession. I’m still mad at myself to this day. I didn’t look cool. I just looked crazy.
But not to worry, these past two months have most certainly made up for that missed chance. I decided that, rather than living a life of regrets, I should just go for it, make my move, get what I want. Over spring break, I ran into John “JoJo” Hermann, the man behind the keys for that Southern-funk-rock-get down, Widespread Panic. He walked into Rafters in Orange Beach, played a song or two with a local band, made his rounds and jetted out the door, but before he ventured off, my sister, our friend Sallie and I stalked him until we got our photo with him. I wasn’t being obnoxious. I was just determined, and it worked out for the best (minus the fact that the photo didn’t turn out too well…of course).
In April, I had VIP tickets to the Tuscaloosa Get Up! benefit show and got to see the Alabama Shakes perform an acoustic set for me and the 50 other VIP-ers. I didn’t get a shot with Brittany, but I did manage to get my picture with Zac Cockrell. Proud.
And as if things couldn’t get any better, I was fortunate enough to hear Patterson Hood speak about the Southern duality and Southern Rock Opera at the University of Alabama about a week or so ago. What an experience. Since I chickened out on the whole Cooley situation last year, I decided I would make up for it considering the fact that DBT is one of my favorite bands today. He did acoustic covers of a few of the bands songs as well as a soon-to-be released song, 15 Days, from his solo album. It was amazing. After his performance, I walked right up on stage, my Southern Rock Opera album in one hand and my I-phone 4 in the other. I had no intentions of letting him slide out without at least saying “hello” and shaking that majestic hand of his.
As I walked on stage, my hands began to quiver and I had a sudden urge to pee. I began contemplating what I would say. Here’s what I came up with:
Hi, Patterson. It’s so nice to meet you! My name is Sarah Cole and I just want to say thank you for the inspiration. Drive-by Truckers is one of the first bands of my generation that actually speaks to me. Your stories and songs are amazing. Please don’t ever stop. Tell Cooley I said “hello!”
Here’s what I ended up saying:
Hi Patterson. My name is Sarah. It’s nice to meet you. Do you mind signing my album? (He signs the album). Do you mind if I have my picture with you? (He takes the picture). Thank you. You are awesome.
Then I walk off stage, happy as a clam, yet angry with myself for being so stupid! Seriously, Sarah? What is your problem? Next time, I’ll be cooler. I swear. Nevertheless, I’m anxious to see who’s next on the list. It’s obviously going to be a year of music for me. Please be Jeff Tweedy. Please be Jeff Tweedy!