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Warning: Contains “language” some may find offensive.
Major Art Heist!!… or was it an Oasis?
It was sometime in 1996. Johnny Q Public was asked to be a part of what was being called the “biggest christian rock show ever”, The Saltbox Tour. Co-headliners were Petra and Whiteheart and the two newbies opening the show were Grammatrain and Johnny Q Public. I grew up listening to Petra and Whiteheart, so that aspect of this tour was kinda cool for me. And keep in mind that my other blog, “Sacrifice of Praise” was also written about this same tour.
This was a big tour. Lots of dates. Lots of big venues. Some of the venues were frankly too big for even the 4 acts to fill, but we didn’t care. There were people there. And most of the time, they had a look on their face like JQP was holding the whole room hostage, with a bomb strapped to the lead singer’s (me) chest! We loved it….. well… I loved it. I still can’t figure out why enjoyed scaring people when I performed. I think it had more to do with getting their attention than anything else. And attention I got! I remember one show on this tour, there was a girl close to the stage. The whole time I was singing, she was using sign language to tell me, over and over and over, throughout our entire 25 minute set, that I was from the devil and that she didn’t see God in me. I wish I knew sign language at the time. I would’ve signed back, “You… are… an…. idiot!” 78
I know I’ve been promising pictures, and I’m still working on that, but you’ve got to understand the “Purple Barney Bus”, in which JQP drove every highway in this country in. It was purple! Actually, more lavender but, still very bright. It had a huge teal “S” shape swoopy stripe down the side. And, if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows!!
We had a show in Seattle. I can’t remember the venue off the top of my head, but it was huge. The biggest venue on the tour. The place where ALL the big acts play. We arrived a day early, and figured we could park in back and sleep there. When we pulled in, the place was packed! Cars everywhere, semi trucks on every corner and two huge grey Provosts buses around back, taking our spot! We looked at the marquee, and there it was in a thousand lights….. OASIS TONIGHT!
This was when Oasis was at the top! Wonderwall, Champagne Supernova, the Gallagher brothers were still arrogant as hell, and were known to walk off stage if only the smallest thing pissed them off. And it was Seattle, so we knew there would be other people mingling around and hanging out backstage. We were super charged!
It took a lot of nerve for us to pull our 1964 Purple Barney Bus into the back gate, and park right beside the two $1M Provosts….. but we did it…… and it was sawesome! Every person on that back dock, stopped dead in their tracks and stared. You could see their lips form the words, “What the hell??”. We told them we were playing this venue the next night, but left the part out, that we’re just the opening band playing 4 songs, while people buy Petra T-shirts! It worked! Our drummer, Brian DuVall, scored the whole band backstage passes for the Oasis show! We were in!!!
Close to show time, we were all walking around backstage and seeing some really cool people. Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers was there, and Krist Novoselic of Nirvana, just to name a few. It was packed with people. Celebrities everywhere. I actually ran smack dab into Krist in the hallway, on accident. The fumbled, goofy collision wasn’t nearly as embarrassing as the fact that my face planted right into his belly button! 78 Damn that dude is tall!? There were no signs of Oasis at this point though. Just a bunch of goofballs like us, hoping to be invited to the after party and hang out…. which we were…. but there was apparently a “catch”.
For those with special wrist bands (which we had), there was an area with tables and chairs for us to sit at, and wait. After the show was over, we were told that we’d be allowed to hang out with the band at the after party. Of course this sounded exciting, so there we sat. One hour turned to two and two turned to three. Finally, a guy from the tour, who looked really official, came to the room! We were on the edge of our seats… this is it!… He took all the girls….. and….. never came back. 7878
We headed back to the bus with our heads hung low and disappointed. On our way, we ran into Liam Gallagher in the hallway. He must have been “taking a break”. 78. We approached him to talk about our band and let him know that we’re big fans, and that we have a CD we’d like for him to check out. (Nugget of trivia: When Johnny Q Public was played on MTV’s 120 Minutes, it was the Gallagher brothers who were special guests in the studio that day). Oran handed him ExtraOrdinary. He had a look of disgust on his face, which he always did then, and waved our CD up and down, and said “What is it?”. We were a little speechless, not expecting to be given such a direct response with such an insulting tone. Oran said, “It’s Rock”. And then Liam replies with something that I’ll never forget for the rest of my life. Nor will any member of JQP. He said, “Rock?…… Just rock?………….or does it have any Roll?” We kinda had an “Ok, never mind” spirit as we walked off and got back on our bus. 7878
A couple of hours later, band members and crew started to file out of the back door. Apparently, the “after party” was over. Noel actually approached the front of the Purple Barney Bus, with three girls hanging on his arms, and his lips formed the exact same response that everyone else’s did earlier that day…. “What the hell?”
We didn’t see Liam come out. So, I hopped off the bus and went back into the arena, and there he was, completely passed out on a couch in the hallway. One leg off the couch with his foot on the floor, and the other with a bent knee up. One arm was across his forehead, and the other was also stretched out and laying on the floor, not too far from his foot…. I mean… PASSED OUT. At the end of his second arm, still in his hand, was a painting that one of the girls had apparently done for him before the show, and must of had plans to give it to him, at the end. I immediately looked both ways, like a fourth grader crossing the street after just getting out of the last day of school! I bent down and snatched that painting out of his hands! Tucked it up under my shirt, and ran for the bus!
Cheers to Cory Wilkerson for inspiring the telling of this story. 7878
Follow Dan’s blog at DanoFritz.wordpress.com