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March 8, 2014

Josh Drespling: Despite what ‘they’ say, I’ll take my idols any day

NEW CASTLE — “They,” in their infinite wisdom, say to never meet your heroes.

“They” say that you will be greatly disappointed with the stark and complete reality of said person. A true glimpse of a person not shrouded by smoke, mirrors, and a publicist could perhaps cause you to lose all your respect and admiration for that person.

Once you break that invisible barrier and remove those stars from their respective pedestals, they come tumbling down to Earth with the rest of us mere mortals. After that barrier is broken, there is no return. Once this facade is penetrated, these people can never be elevated again to that god-like position.

Much like Superman in the movie “Superman III” decides to give up all his super powers to have a normal mortal relationship with Louis Lane. After making this transformation, Superman soon comes to the realization that he has made a grave mistake and has put the world in jeopardy. He ultimately finds a loophole to regain his superpowers and continues to fight for truth and justice.

Contrary to what “they” say, I have embraced the mindset of Superman. I believe that you can have the best of both worlds. Being a journalist, a musician, and a flat-out fanboy has afforded me the opportunity to meet a plethora of my musical idols. I have interviewed some, hung out with others, taken long car rides with others, and even broke bread with icons in the music industry. Some have even had me and a friend conceal their firearms while they went to Canada (but that is a topic for a completely different blog).

Last week I had another one of these meetings. I met the infamous Scott Ian, the guitarist from the ground-breaking thrash metal band Anthrax. You may look down your nose at a band like Anthrax, but they have had five gold albums, a platinum EP, a gold-certified video album, and another platinum CD (a live compilation with the BIG 4 Tour). Ian also has appeared on many TV shows, including recently being a zombie on “The Walking Dead.”

Scott did a speaking engagement in Pittsburgh at the old Rex Theater on Carson Street. This was a full three hours of him telling stories about his rock ‘n’ roll life. He was quite an entertaining speaker and kept everyone interested with all his stories and anectdotes. After the show, he stuck around and talked to everybody and autographed any and everything that fans presented him with.

He answered questions for an extended period of time while just standing there having a drink. Kind of like a normal guy in a bar, telling stories to his friends.

He was there so long that we decided to leave, as it was clear he was content to just hang and talk with the guys, and we had a long drive back to our home in New Castle.

Maybe I'm lucky or maybe I have chosen better idols than “they” did. Overall, I have had great experiences meeting my idols. Perhaps I don't worship them as intensely as a tweener Bieber fan, but I can say that I have actually made friends with some of these musician types. Many of them are more grounded in the priorities that make for a happy life than most of us “normal” people. So many of them are grateful that you respect their music and art. They are happy to spend hours answering questions and hanging with like minds.

There are always the exceptions, and I have met musicians and entertainers that came off as arrogant and self-absorbed, but frankly that was my opinion of them well before I ever had a chance to meet them. I can also attest that all of the meetings of this nature were not by chance, but rather suggested, arranged, or forced by a publicist or label rep.

So the next time you hear the infamous “they” talking, remind them that they may need a better publicist.

 

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