“I want a new drug, one with no doubt. One that won’t make me talk too much Or make my face break out”
-Huey Lewis and the News
In the mid-eighties I dated a beer salesman for a minute who was a devotee of Huey Lewis. He never missed a Florida concert, and had every cassette and album, vinyl albums. I enjoyed the music. It was catchy and fun to dance to … an easy nine on a scale of one to ten.
Most of you have probably surmised that life is strange. The universe throws little ironies at us as if it were a mean dodge-ball player. When I was a hot thirty-two, I made out with that beer salesman in his condo during hurricane Elena while The News played at full volume. I never, ever imagined that my three-year-old would one day work for them.
At this writing my daughter is thirty three. I jokingly tell people that she planned her escape the moment she was born. After living in Atlanta and New York, she moved three time zones away to California. I don’t blame her.
Over the years she has road-wrangled lots of punk bands. She’s driven buses through back-woods towns and over highways all across the US and Europe. She’s handled all of the travel details … passports, tickets, hotels, etc. If an instrument was lost, she found another one. If an instrument was broken, she found a place to get it fixed. If a groupie made off with a band member, she’d track them down. She argued with club managers and made sure no one got too wasted. She found suitable places to stay when the budget was tight, (my floor on a few tours.) She told me once, “My job is to do everything so the band only has to think about being the band.”
Because of her experience, a good friend in the music business suggested to Huey Lewis that Kristin would be a great assistant tour manager.
She’s been traveling with the band since then. She confided that it’s not as taxing as the other tours were, because Huey Lewis and the News have been around and have it all figured out. Plus they have staff. The job also allows her enough time to run her store in San Francisco.
When she called to invite my sister and me to come and see them at a VIP event, held at a Golf Resort near here, we were thrilled. We would not be able to see her much because she’d be working, but we’d see her whenever she had down time. She also worked it out so we would share her suite, because Auntie Linda and I are “financially embarrassed.” Her dad and his wife were invited as well. They would not be staying in the suite. That would be weird.
As my sister drove I repeated a mantra in my head- Don’t act like an ass. Don’t embarrass Kristin. Don’t act like an ass, don’t act like an ass-
The night of the event arrived. We were taken to the venue after the VIP’s finished their million-dollar- a- plate dinners. I’m exaggerating, I think. The dinner was for a Children’s Hospital so it’s all good. Still, I wished I had worn something other than a sack dress, tights, army boots, and a back-pack.
Beautiful women carried trays of expensive cocktails. The drinks were made with the finest rums, bourbons, and vodkas. I had one of each, and wine. The band started. We danced. They were awesome. There’s nothing like a great horn section and a cute bass player in my book. Huey Lewis and the News were as good as ever. I hoped that all of that fine booze would evaporate with the sweat before I met him.
When the concert was over, Kristin took us back to meet the band.
What I thought in my head as I shook Huey’s hand was, this guy gets better with age.
What I said out loud was, “My, you’re holding up well!”
What I thought in my head when he asked if I’d ever heard them play was, yes, I listened to you a lot!
What I said out loud was, “No. I listened to other music like Patty Smith and King Crimson.” (King Crimson was a totally different decade.)
Kristin whispered to me, “Mom, don’t tell him you listened to other stuff. That’s rude. Just let him TALK.”
So he asked, “Why should I hire your daughter?”
This, of course, was a very important question. I could essentially blow everything. I could embarrass my child for life.
I replied, “Are you kidding? She’s perfect! She can do anything! If you only knew what she’s been through! Kristin could tell you some stories, like the time she was arr…”
“MOM!” I had officially blown my chance to make a good impression. I surmised by the way he looked at me that I would probably be filed away as a crazy old lady. He’s met a million of us. Meanwhile, her father was probably thinking, I’m so glad I bailed on that mess.
But the visit was not a total failure. I spent time with my daughter, drank good booze, lived like a rich person for two days, and bonded with the ex’s wife. (We had to be herded out of the limo. The driver was waiting to go pick up other people while we hugged and cried in the back seat. She drank the good booze too.)
Oh, and I danced like a kid to Huey Lewis and the News.
~written by Deborah Klein, Safety Harbor resident blogger