Eingang des Hard Rock Cafes, New York City, New York, USABack when I was in my twenties, the big rock station in New York City was WNEW. Each October, which they dubbed “Rocktober” (I know, how original) they would have an afternoon block of programming live from the Hard Rock Cafe. Musical guest and actors would come in and be interviewed before a live audience, which consisted of whoever was having lunch in the restaurant that afternoon.

At the time of this story I was working as a graphic artist at Tiger Beat magazine. It was my first real job, and I took it very seriously. One morning while I work I got a call from my friend Paul. He asked me what I was doing that afternoon, and I said “working, what do you think?”

He said that he was going into New York and try to get into the Hard Rock for that afternoon’s Rocktober broadcast. The guests were Robin Williams and Julian Lennon. I had to admit, it sounded way more fun than pasting up another boring story about Corey Feldman.

But I didn’t like the idea of cutting out of work. I knew if I went to my boss and asked for the afternoon off, he’d tell me to forget it and get back to work. Therefore, if I had any chance of going, I’d have to lie. I weighed the pros and cons and decided to join my friends on a star studded NYC adventure.

I went home for lunch, and called 10 minutes before I was supposed to be back at my desk complaining of cramps. It was plausible; most of my girl friends at work (and even a few of my guy friends) knew I had legendary bouts of cramps from time to time. Then I freshened up my make up, put on a cute little outfit and hopped in Paul’s car.

We got into the city and walked to the Hard Rock to find a line outside with lots of security. This would have discouraged most folks, but most folks didn’t have Paul around. I can’t explain how he did it, but Paul always managed to finagle his way into places that were barred from everyone else. Security guards and bouncers were someone to befriend and bullshit with, rather than view as a threat or a deterrent.

This day was no different. I can’t remember how he got us in, but within 10 minutes we were inside waiting in line for a table. The line was upstairs, which was great because they broadcast from this glass booth in the upstairs corner of the restaurant, so we could see everything while we waited.

Robin Williams was in the booth with Scott Muni, who was the big DJ at the station. The interview ended, and Robin left the booth and began walking our way to head down the stairs and exit the Hard Rock. I saw my chance and hopped over the velvet rope, stood right in front of him and said, “Hi, Mr. Williams!”

He shook my hand, said, “Well, Hello!” and then disappeared down the stairs. Yes, this was way better than an afternoon with Corey Feldman. Way better.

The next guest was Julian Lennon. Marty Martinez, who was the joker in the crowd trying to find fans to ask questions, approached me. He told me I was hot (to which I thought “ewwww”) and did I want to ask a question. I said that I’d love to ask a question, but had no clue what to ask. While I like his music, I wasn’t exactly a huge fan of Julian Lennon’s.

So Marty says, “He has a water pistol collection, ask him about that.”

Perfect, I thought. So, the next thing I know I’m live on the radio with Julian Lennon. I say, “Marty here tells me you collect water pistols, and would you be willing to show me yours?”

Yes, it was a very saucy way to phrase the question, but I wanted to be somewhat memorable rather than the dud who asked the boring question. The crowd “oooohed” and he laughed. I can’t remember if he even answered the question or not. I went back to our table triumphant in the fact that I’d had a few seconds of fame, even if it was only on the radio.

The next day, I went to work dying to tell everyone about my adventure, but I couldn’t because after all, I was supposed to be in bed with a hot water bottle on my throbbing abdomen. Oh what a tangled web we weave…

Well the joke was on me. Turns out the radio in the art room was tuned to WNEW that afternoon, and all of my coworkers had heard me ask my saucy question. They never listened to that station – there were too many guidos in the office and we usually listened to the top 40 stations rather than anything rock related.

I got caught. I didn’t get into too much trouble, but my boss had lost a little faith in me which sucked. I didn’t call in sick for a long, long time after that. And when I did, I wondered if they turned on the radio to see if it was true.

Advertisements