Seattle, September 25th, 2007.
Much of the work I do in activism is relational, concrete… we develop professional positive relationships with key people and I occasionally run into some amazing people. And then, much of the world of rock and roll is virtual… we are fans of people and bands who, well, they are one in a million or more, we are one OF a million or more. Sometimes the world collides, and in the world of U2 it’s a beautiful thing.
Rocko and his band of merry men deliver this atmosphere that both enforce and eliminate the velvet ropes, the distance between us and the band we love, and other bands that many love, of stages and ellipses, lights and sounds and walls. The artists can concentrate on communicating with us from the heart knowing Rocko and others pave the way for this. Nobody in the industry does it better… and that’s not just my personal opinion. And our Rocko's an unpretentious rock star in his own right who really loves his fans and has time for us.
He can pack 40 hours into a 24 hour day, and I feel he has a way, like I'd heard Bono does, of when you are with him the rest of the world can wait. He had to take a call or two… he’s a man in demand, but folks went to his voice mail too. He serenaded me… there’s a magic that happens there. He introduced me to other hard-working production crew, shared about some of the folks he worked with, gave opinions of the state of rock and roll in the world today, of life and love. Of previous years of the rock and roll lifestyle and what it has evolved into as these rockers grow up and still wanna rock and tour but live more grounded with wives and families here and at home. Teaching me the difference between tour manager, stage manager, production manager, I think there’s another manager or two in there I missed! Just an amazing amazing time.
Maybe the joke is true that it used to be sex, drugs, and rock and roll, it's Lipitor, Viagra, Starbucks and VH1 Classics! In fact that is the channel that is on in his motor home all the time, a mobile home he shares with about a dozen other staffers, one of many motor homes. While the world sleeps they roll down the road.
He has done one of the most awesomely, amazingly things I've ever seen done with a guitar… he takes all six strings and tunes them to an E chord. So an open strum is an E. And then he plays his new song Domino, and he plays chords on top of this E-strung guitar. I've got to try that. It sounds full, it sounds unlike anything I'd heard before. And he loves the response it brings, how it lights up fans like me on a new song he is so proud of. Just blew me away. Rocko, I never got to thank you for Blackbird. That song, I’d never heard in full-on chords, only picked thru as a ballad, it was great and affected me deeply. But I think you knew that.
The busses and rocker with a guitar on the curb attracted the attention of a few local people… we met a young guy who says he was a producer and even came back a while later to introduce his buddies. We sang them a hunk of broken brains. I’m not sure Rocko noticed the two young girls at the end of the drive, watching all this… I can see how rock star egos and groupies can develop quickly, and how refreshing it is when some like our man here, and often those he works for, realize this rock world is bullsh*t and the end of the day and busyness and heady-ness of it all, those at home really matter, and a handful of fans and friends who appreciate them for just being them.
He told donna previously that he would call her when he was with me, so on the way to the airport he called her and we sang part of Domino to her and I got to say hi. That was almost surreal, so cool. Unbelievable, can you believe our Rocko is an honorary fruitcake?
Sometimes when times like this happen I leave with tears of joy or as high as a kite or even sad it ended. Here with Rocko, I felt, feel valued. He wanted to see me, just me as I am, not a fan of anyone but him, I could have seen these bands in concert probably, but those of you that know me know I know more of them academically than their music, and Rocko was not on stage, missed him by two days. This time. He had an errand to run, about a 40 minute drive and it was awesome. And I got a concert on the curb like Germana and Hans did. And the laughter.
Thanks Rocko, see you soon. Stay close.