Back in 1985, I was at the McGhee-Tyson Airport in Knoxville, Tennessee with Jim, his parents, and his sister. We were saying goodbye to Jim as he was leaving for Boot Camp in the U.S. Navy. Saying goodbye to my boyfriend (That would be Jim. Are you paying attention?) was really hard, and the wait for his call to board the plane seemed long and drawn out, prolonging our agony. A distraction from the dread would have been nice.
We got one.
Sitting in another part of the waiting area, getting ready to board a plane themselves, were Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of Kiss.
I knew who they were immediately. We couldn’t stop staring at them. As Jim’s sister and I debated about going to ask for an autograph, a young guy beat us to it. He strolled over nervously, held out the case for his Kiss cassette tape (I attached the wiki link in case any of you forgot what those are) and asked them to sign it. When he walked away, the two of them, in all of their rock star attitudes, sort of acted like the guy had been a little dorky, so my future sister-in-law and I passed on the opportunity. (chicken)
When they got up for their plane and left, however, the two of us each went over to their seats and slid our butts around, singing, “We’re sitting where Kiss was sitting, we’re sitting where Kiss was sitting!” (I was 16, okay?) We slid our butts in circles on those chairs until our jeans probably picked up cooties from the last thousand people that had sat there before Gene and Paul. Ick. But I digress.
My point is, grabbing a little piece of music history is always exciting. The next time I had just as thrilling an opportunity was on my trip to Liverpool with Kate, when we visited the Cavern Club, where the Beatles got their start.
While we’re in NYC, we are going to this place:
Thanks to Julesie, we know that this place is where just about every single artist of Classic Rock–and jazz–regularly bought instruments and music supplies. I’m talking about Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, Eric Clapton, Buddy Holly…the list goes on and on. And not by sending their assistant: they went in on their own, had a relationship with the family that runs the business, and left autographed photos for a Wall of Fame. Julesie even bought the book about the place and made three “Study Guide” CDs for the younger boy, our own Guitar Hero, so he could listen to the music and read the book before and during our trip so he’d possibly absorb the significance of this place.
We put all of the music on his phone and he’s all set.
Unfortunately, this place is closing in May. I am sad about it without even having been there. It has such incredible historical significance and I’m sure it will be missed both in the music industry and in New York itself.
I’m glad that we will get to visit and say hello, before it has to say goodbye.