So tomorrow night on Sky Arts, 8pm, I’m coming out of the closet as a fully-fledged metal head.
This shot is of me getting into a race car with Brian – one he’d reassuringly told me was called “The Widowmaker” right before I got inside. I’m trying not to hyperventilate.
You haven’t lived til you’ve been fighting the G-forces on a Florida racetrack with your life in the hands of Newcastle’s biggest megastar.
So to celebrate, my top ten memories in rock (that I’m prepared to print, anyway)….. click post to read!
1. Aerosmith at the Marquee, August 1990. Center front at the best gig of my life. Jimmy Page onstage as a guest.
2. First metal gig, the Seahags at the Marquee, 28 June 1989, my 18th birthday. Center front. Bassist leant down and kissed me full on the lips. As the lights went down I valuted on stage and ran backstage through the gap behind the drum riser. Lars Ulrich was there. Good times man, good times.
3. Guns n Roses, Wembley Stadium, 1990. Had been drinking in the Ship in Soho with some roadies on the crew when one of the band came in (the drummer) and they sighed and said “Suppose you’ll go an talk to him now” and me and my girlfriend said “why would we do that?” and stayed talking to them. they were so surprised they said they would sort us out for the sold out show. When we got to Wembley the next day we had laminates. We stood on the side of the stage staring out at 80,000 people. It was fucking awesome.
4. Def Leppard, Fensterhalle, Munich, Germany, 1991 – it was days before my finals and I flew out there anyway on my own to go to the gig. Screamed. Lots.
5. Getting hired by Sony Music. The next day I was in Italy with a bunch of airplane tickets, a per diem, a Suicidal Tendencies roadcrew laminate, third support on the Gn’R stadium tour. Sharon Osbourne got me that job. I love you Sharon and I always will.
6. Metallica, Hole, Veruca Salt, Tuktoyaktuk, Arctic Circle, 1993… )?) a promo gig for Molson Ice. Remember Courtney being dragged off stage by Peter. Metallica playing in a tent to a bunch of Eskimos. Veruca Salt rocking the house down. I love Veruca Salt best girl band ever. Courtney Love grabbing Lars Ulrich in the school where they were signing autographs for the kids and forcing her tongue down his throat. I had a photo but I lost it.
7. Nigel Kennedy. He basically just is rock and roll. Played the Stradivarius for me once. After six months negotiation permitted me to lay a fingertip on the Stradivarius. Plays like God. Took me to Aston Villa games during work days. Awesome.
8. Rolling Stones, Wembley, Steel Wheels, 1990. Peter Mensch. Realising what a big deal Peter Mensch was.
9. Freddie Mercury tribute concert. Backstage: Spinal Tap there in full costume and they never came out of character once for the entire night whether the cameras were on or not. Had surreal experience of speaking to Nigel St. Hubbins for ten minutes. Also met Ian Hunter and talked to him about Mott the Hoople. Who wasn’t backstage? Everybody in the whole world was backstage. Except Axl Rose who kept to himself like an idiot. All the other bands mucked down in little dressing areas that were just wires with black curtains hung over them.
10. Oasis. Dublin. Unexpected knock on the door the next morning. Oasis. Cork. First and only time anyone dedicated a song to me on stage. Meant a lot.
Basically a lot of my happiest moments in life have been spent in the front row of gigs or on the side of a stage. Working in metal was my dream job. I’ve had a lucky life and to spend so much time with Brian Johnson – after dancing in the Thunderstruck video and watching them at Donnington – that was the cherry on the rock n’ roll cake.