I don't often get starstruck.
From a young age, I have been exposed to all sorts of celebrities: next door neighbours, siblings of friends, siblings of in-laws. At one point, I also tried (under the influence of a showbiz-wannabe tabarkad) acting. Those few months playing bits in television have also exposed me to big name actors, directors, and other people who work in the entertainment industry. I also worked as a graphic designer for a recording company where former and (at the time) current rock icons were my officemates.
What I know about celebrities is that they're just regular people. They have their own issues, they aspire for practically the same things as everyone else, and their farts smell just as bad.
I don't easily get starstruck.
But if there was ever a time that I was awestruck by one of them celebrities, it was when my band Pagan Smoke played at Mayrics, at an event where Battery were the headliners. Compared to their contemporaries like Razorback and Wolfgang, Battery weren't as popular but they had their own following. That band had a distinct sound, had great players, and openly sang about issues that many a hard rock/heavy metal group might be embarrassed to sing about— like being happy in finding God.
We played right after them.
Now, that slot— the one right after the main act, especially if that act was a supergroup— is always avoided because there's an expectation that during that period, the audience is going to have a downtime. And nobody likes to play in front of a crowd that has other things in mind. But we didn't have a choice to not play that slot; because, as was our habit, we confirm our attendance late and we arrive when the show has already started. We seldom get to pick and choose when we play.
But we also had a very good group— not a supergroup, but a really good one. And I suppose we did well enough to pick the audience up where Battery left them. It was awesome! After that, and years and years later, I still remember how their vocalist/guitarist Mike Turner came to our table. He was grinning ear to ear. He held out his hand for me to shake. And when I took it, he bobbed his shiny, white, and sweaty head and told me, “good job, man! Good. Job.”
I was all smiles for days and I still smile whenever I recall that experience.
I guess, there are just statements that, somehow, you know and feel are truly meant. Maybe you know because of the body language, or by the way the other person says it, or maybe there's just something in their eyes that tells you— that it's for real. And the realness of what is said, I think, is so much more important than our perceptions of the people who speak to us.
That's something that I will always strive for: to be real when I talk—
— also, when I write.
(Photo: screen capture from Battery's Come to Me music video)