As I said in the last post about B.B. King's show (see my review), Kristy Adams said there was a chance that we'd be able to get backstage after the show to meet B.B. King in the flesh. She had brought over a bunch of stuff from the River Music Experience for him to sign and she needed a number of people from the R.M.E. to go back there if it were to happen. She just couldn't take everything and try and get them signed herself.
After the show was over, Lon Bozarth, the director for the R.M.E.; Claudia, a friend of ours who used to work with Kristy when they were both at Davenport One; Kristy and myself stood around waiting to see if we could get in to meet B.B. King. Kristy had brought over a Fender guitar from the R.M.E., some pictures and a big poster. She also had some original sheet music of "Three O'Clock Blues" that B.B. King wrote years ago, and the sheet music for "Thrill is Gone" that B.B. King DIDN'T write.
About 10:30, someone came out and herded about 25 to 30 people backstage. We sort of snaked around the corridor behind the stage and waited as B.B. King literally held court in a small room near the dressing rooms.
Kristy was holding the cheap Fender guitar and one of B.B. King's guys came up to her and asked her if that was a guitar she had in the case. She said it was. The guy said, "Is it a Gibson guitar?"
Kristy said, "No, it's a Fender."
The guy said, "I'm sorry, Mr. King only signs Gibson products." Oh well...
One of the gals from the R.M.E., Kim, was in line in front of us with her young daughter. We saw them go in, and we never saw them come out. A couple other people went in, Kim and her daughter didn't come out. Another set of people went in, they came out with the other set of people, Kim and her daughter never came out. Finally, Kristy, Claudia, Lon and I got up to the door and looked in and there's B.B. being a dirty old man, flirting with this 20-something Kim. She's was smitten and not going anywhere.
So we go in, we introduce ourselves and we start to good naturedly joke around with him. He's a very nice man, very gracious. But he's also a little dirty minded in a subtle way.
I was seated across from him and Kristy was next to him. She handed him the sheet music for "Three O'Clock Blues" and for "The Thrill is Gone" that she wanted him to sign for her husband, Randy. He looked at the sheet music for "The Thrill is Gone" and he said, "Thrill is Gone - why I first played that back in '69." He looked at Kim and said, "You know about 69, don't you, darlin'?"
Kim said, "No, I wasn't born back then."
B.B. started to laugh and he said, "She don't know about 69."
I said, "Oh, I caught that one." And I made kind of a 69 motion with my fingers and he started to laugh.
"Oh, yeah," he roared and pointed at me. "This boy knows what I'm talkin' about!"
I took a couple pictures of him with Lon with Lon's camera. Kristy had this big poster from the R.M.E. that she handed me when Lon got up from sitting next to B.B. - it's a nice blown up picture of B.B. with his head bowed, hands clasped in front of his face. It had been hanging at the R.M.E. and Lon wanted B.B. to sign it. I was just sitting there and he was signing a couple of other things, and finally Kristy said, "Here, B.B., Will has this poster he wants you to sign."
So I hand him this poster and he looks at me and said, "Will? As in W-I-L-L?"
I said, "Yeah, that's right."
Well, the next thing I know is that he's signing the poster "To Will - B.B. King". Lon just about came out of his skin. "No, no! I didn't want Will's name on that. Now I can't hang it back up in the R.M.E.!" He began to have a minor fit right then and there before he finally pulled himself together.
As we got up to leave, I shook his hand once again, and I thanked him for his music over the years. He looked at me and said, "Well, now, that was a very nice thing to say. I certainly appreciate it, Will. That really means a lot to me. God bless you."
And that was that.
Lon, Claudia, Kristy and I worked our way back out of the backstage area and Lon is pissed off. "Kristy! I spent $75 dollars on getting that picture blown up. And you had him sign it to Will. I can't use the picture now in the museum."
Kristy protested, "Lon, I didn't tell him to sign it to Will. He heard Will's name and he was writing it before I knew what was going on. It's not my fault. It's nobody's fault."
I said, "Lon, I don't care if you cover up my name or what. I don't give a shit one way or the other."
He kept railing on about it before he finally just shook his head and walked the other way. Kristy and I were walking along and Kristy said, "I didn't mean to do that on purpose. Lon was making it sound like it was my fault. It was nobody's fault - he (B.B.) heard your name and he was writing it before we knew what was going on."
Kristy and I decided to go get a drink after that and we're sitting there at the bar talking and her phone rings. It was Lon. She said, "I'm not answering it. I don't want him to keep bitching me out for that poster."
So as we were leaving, I said, "Well, here's the poster."
Kristy said, "No, you keep it. He was making it sound like it was ruined, so you may as well keep it."
So I took it home.
I got to feeling bad about it over the weekend and I called Kristy on Monday to tell her that I'd pay Lon the $75 bucks that it cost him to blow it up. She said, "Oh, Will. I found out that he only paid $31 dollars to get it blown up. He's OK with it. When he called the other night and I didn't answer my phone, he left a message saying that he was sorry, that it was no big deal and he wanted to know where we were partying and he wanted to come party with us."
Kristy told me that Lon told her that if I'd make a cash donation to the R.M.E. then the poster was mine. I jokingly said, "Jesus! I just paid for a family membership a couple weeks ago. And you guys want more money out of me?"
Kristy replied, "Yeah, we screw up around here and get people to pay us money. That's how we get our donations up."
It's a nice poster. I'll probably give the R.M.E. another $50 bucks for it. What the hell. Lon's a good guy and I think the R.M.E. is great for the community. The poster's a little large, but we'll find a home for it down in our family room.