|Back To Bass Licks: Lesson One|
|Written by Rob Lane|
|Sunday, 10 February 2013 03:00|
Holding out for a Hero
There's the well known saying, that you should never meet your heroes and idols. I'm thinking whoever coined that phrase probably tried to grab someone's autograph whilst they were taking a leak at the urinal or maybe out on a romantic night with their wife and suddenly faced with half a dozen Picture Discs and 7 inch Singles dumped on their lap.
In today's world, we set the bar of celebrity so darn high that for most people it becomes almost impossible to ever consider meeting your hero. Should you ever get that chance then it'll probably be a split second brush past at some hotel or the aforementioned dinner date where you come face to face with the dirtiest of looks. Your poster idol probably does love you but not as they're spooning the first bite of that delicious starter into their mouths as some burly security guard comes up from behind to turf you away! So yeah, expect them to be a little bit arsey with you.
Me, I've always favoured the underdog - the unlikely hero if you will. Even when my slow moving journey into the world of rock and roll began over two decades ago I looked up to the guys in local bands as much as the bare chested, bandana wearing, blonde gods on the cover of Kerrang!, RAW or the pages of Metal Edge. Even though they would be holding down the factory day job they were still managing to be out on the road doing what I considered ground breaking, four or five date, epic UK tours of far away places like Ilkeston, Stourbridge, Wakefield and even sometimes into our capital city! They were my kings, they were 'Living the Dream'. In today's generation I'm not sure if that's still an option for younger kids? Their best mate probably plays in a band already because it's so common to be the 'band guy' these days – no one is 'impressed'. Back then it was different, I would scour over the newsletters that would arrive in the mail thinking someday that would be me on these pages - face all blacked out and void of any detail on the brightly coloured paper, photocopied at the local garage. I used to write to one member of the local heavy metal band Taurea in the hope he could point me in the right direction when it came to becoming a real life Rock Star. Low and behold he wrote me back - I was floored! I'd received a letter from a 'real' guy in a 'real' band - It didn't matter that he only lived three miles away! He told me to 'steal' everything – not literally steal shit but to watch and learn from others, make it your own. Good advice!
Shortly afterwards (and I recently mentioned on Facebook that it was twenty years to the day) I met bassist Todd Jensen who at the time was playing in the band Hardline. This would be turning point for me. After barely getting past the three chords needed to play 'Every Rose Has Its Thorn' there was no way I was gonna be able to upgrade my ability to a lead guitar player, not even the simplest of Ace Frehley solos, so scrap that dream. Upon meeting Todd outside the NEC in Birmingham on a freezing cold winter's night, I was floored that someone could take the time to come talk to me and my friend, one on one with zero ego and it left me in awe. This was the kind of guy my spotty faced, teenage self wanted to be. I was never gonna a David Lee Roth or Bret Michaels. If I wanted to I could maybe model myself on Nikki Sixx but then so does several million others. I wanted someone real, someone who had their own individual cool and someone I could 'steal' from. I took every element of this meeting on board and etched it into my brain. Todd was the man – if he played bass then I was gonna play bass. I’d met my new Hero and I was on my new path.
Fast forward the twenty some years and my band TCC are opening up for Lost Angels on a snowy Tuesday night in Grimsby. Here is a band totally made up of what I would consider unlikely heroes or underdogs – members of Cinderella, Imperial Drag, White Lion and The Alice Cooper Band. Their guitarist Ryan Roxie (ironically a former band mate of Todd Jensen) is another of those guys I've admired for a long time who I believe shares a similar vision. He can't be pigeon holed with his style and flair because it's made up from tiny pieces of others rather than an outright carbon copy of just one person. This is what makes him an original. Everyone has to learn from someone, be influenced by or 'steal' from. In Ryan's own words it's the ultimate tribute and in someway 'Passing the Torch of Rock'. These are my heroes, they've paid their dues, been there and done it but it was on their own terms and they've kept their own self identity. In doing that they've managed to stay down to earth, approachable and in my eyes a real Rock and Roll Hero.
If you want all the excess, publicity and garish stories then that's fine – go live out your life word for word in the style of The Dirt. But ultimately, why be someone else when with a little help you can become You?