Salt Lake City Airport, July 9, 2016:
Two guys with straggly long hair, one in a pony tail, and dark glasses— dangling crucifix earrings, and Harley Davidson T-shirt, two guys with that old grungy look, and a third in a kind of “Paul Revere and the Raiders” black jacket with big buttons and rolled cuffs, no facial hair, but flowing locks. Not quite the same as the other two, but from the same era. They HAD to be aging rockers.
At the gate I thought of saying “hello” to these guys. But what would I say?—”You guys sure look like rockers, but who are you?”
What if they were just from one of those zillions of “tribute” bands? THAT would be weird. So I said nothing, and they sat in the row behind Deb and I. Paul Revere behind me, an empty seat between him and Pony Tail behind Deb, then across the aisle Pony Tail’s shorter pal with the round head, dark hair and mustache.
Paul Revere fiddled on a laptop and the other two mostly zoned out for four hours, until we were approaching Newark Airport and the ride got really bumpy as we whipped through some rain clouds, and Paul and Pony started chatting about the annoyingly loud whine of the engine. Turns out Paul Revere didn’t know the other two, but after agreeing that the engine was clearly producing an “A” note, they talked about perfect pitch, and acknowledging they were both in the music business, got to know each other. Pony Tail mentioned he had just played a concert at the casino in Wendover.
I looked over at Deb, who was also listening, and silently mouthed, “Shit! Is that Ted Nugent?” (Because we had both chatted about seeing Nugent’s name on the billboard when we passed the Peppermill in Wendover earlier that day. What SONG did Ted Nugent perform? Name one. I can’t. But for some reason his name is memorable.) But it wasn’t Ted Nugent.
Pony Tail was Pete Bremy, bassist, currently with, but not an original Vanilla Fudge band member, and the short guy with the dark hair across the aisle was Vince Martell, the original Vanilla Fudge guitarist. Pete was very talkative, once he got started. Vince hardly said a word. Paul Revere was Dominic something-or-other. He had the thin whisp of the remains of a British(?) accent, lives now in California. He was in another band, another band from the sixties, one that I had heard of, but was not familiar with, and darned if I can’t remember which one. You’ve heard of them, I want to say “Blue Cheer”, but I don’t think that’s right. The name had a “C” in it…It was a 60’s-70’s band, like the Fudge. He said he was mainly into “writing shows” now, and has something to do with the TV show “Vinyl” and is working on a musical project of his own. He made a few comments as the plane bounced and dropped, unfazed apparently as I was by that terrible feeling when you know the plane is moving down fast because your stomach is in your throat. “Oh, we can’t go down! That would make headlines!” He laughed, “Sixties Rock Legends plunge to their Deaths in New Jersey!!”
My hands clenched tightly on the seat arms. I wanted to ask him to shut up about crashing, but he blathered on about it until the conversation turned to that favorite musician topic, “the road”. I relaxed a bit as the flight smoothed out and listened as they traded stories about good dressing rooms, bad dressing rooms, and with a laugh, the worst dressing room—”the men’s room stall on the end”. Pete said he wished he could always play casinos, because they have great dressing rooms, pay well, provide good lodging and food and “they treat musicians like important guests” and they both agreed in an obviously warm man-moment that touring was like “getting paid to travel, while you do what you love”. Hm.
This all happened as we bumped our way downward to a landing at Newark Liberty airport. When the plane rolled to a stop at the gate, and the lights came on, Pete introduced Dominic to Vince, and they were shaking hands while most of the other passengers for two or three rows in either direction were clearly awed that these guys were some kind of celebrities—but who the hell were they? They didn’t know. But I knew, because I listened.
We disembarked to find our ride and finish the last leg of our trip, an hour drive to Lambertville.
Vanilla Fudge Website <http://www.vanillafudge.com/index.htm>