Saturday, December 16, 2006

Why We Lock Ourselves In Our Hotel Rooms Part 1

Now,before I start hearing from people telling me how ungrateful I am to my audience,let me just say that,generally,I have a deep appreciation of my fans' "love'....After all,there is ,and should be, a certain intimacy between performer and audience.It's just that there's a certain type of person who uses this "relationship" to get out the same kind of passive/aggressive behavior they would normally save for their spouse-behind closed doors!This,then,is our subject for today...Now let us begin.....

There she was-the sweet,kindly-looking little old lady timidly approaching me at a jazz festival to tell me something.This is how the conversation went.
"Excuse me,Mr. Peplowski?"
"I bought your last album...."
(As my chest burst with anticipatory pride)"Why,thank y-"
"I was very disappointed."
What does one say to this?In my case,I looked at her and replied,"Well,I'm glad to know that-I'll have the rest of them recalled immediately."
She just walked away,as we both shook our heads sadly....

That was the "fan-as-critic."Now we move on to the personal attacks.

I just happened to catch his eye from across a crowded ballroom,where we were playing at a jazz "party".He was in a wheelchair,breathing through an oxygen tube,and was beckoning me with a wizened claw to come all the way over to where he was,across a sea of people...I dutifully walked over,carefully negotiating all the chairs,tables,waiters,and general bustle,and bent down to hear what he was trying to tell me.It sounded like....wait-it was-
"You don't look like you've been missing many meals."And,in case I didn't quite get the gist of what he was saying,he followed that zinger with: "You've really gotten fat."I staggered away,with my frozen iloveyoualliloveyoualliloveyouall smile pasted on my face.

There's also the "I remember you when you had a full head of hair" personal-attack variation,usually coming from a person who remembers when Abe Lincoln had a full head of hair!

Then we have the "insider." He sidles up to me with a conspiratorial glance,and this conversation ensues:
"Now,we both know each other-how much would you charge to play a concert for me-and I don't want to go through your agent-I want to negotiate directly with you!"
As my butt-cheeks clench vigorously,I refrain from saying,"How much would you charge me for a gall-bladder operation-and I don't want to go through the insurance company,I want to deal directly with you!"
Instead,I hem and haw,and make some lame excuse that I'll have to get back to him/her.

Then we have the jazz "expert",who already knows the answer they want me to give them before they even ask the question,which is inevitably,"Who's better-Artie Shaw or Benny Goodman?"There's also the shorthand version,where they just jab me in the stomach and bark out,"Benny or Artie?"There's two points to be made about this:1.I really don't care who is or was better,and 2.Thanks for taking me completely out of the equation in your list of all-time greats!

There's also the "I prefer you on saxophone/clarinet",or its companion piece,"I hate the saxophone/clarinet!"We'll just move on from this one for now,though,and skip to my all-time favorite:


This is a person who usually has a copy of my first record (preferably the giant LP-size version),who sidles up to me,eyebrows akimbo,arms behind his back.....
"I've got something to show you..."
My heart is already sinking (for I know what's coming) as my face registers (fake) bafflement and curiousity."What is it?" I gulp,knowing full well what "it" is.
From behind him,he whisks out the Giant Record Cover With My 25-Year Old Head on it."What do you think about that?"
I ask you,ladies and gentleman of the jury,what should I reply?"Oh-I didn't know those were for sale."or "I thought I had the only copy" or (closer to the response they really want), "You see,I did look good 6,000 gigs ago!"
I guess the best answer I ever heard was from trumpeter Warren Vache,who,when accosted with a double dose of,"You've gotten fat and bald!",leaned down,graciously shook the message-bearer's hand,and sweetly replied-"Thank you-and may I say that you look exactly the same as you did twenty-five years ago!"

Bye for now! Ken "I love everyone" Peplowski


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Ken, loved your show at the Palladium in St. Pete with Nate Najar and crew. All of you were fabulous but you're the reason I went. I've been a big fan of yours for the last 8 or 10 years and just want to thank you. I love your sax tone and clarinet lyrical quality. but wait, here's another reason to hide in your hotel room: a friend bought your CD and promosed to burn it for everybody. you love hearing that, right? har.

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I keep trying to send you a blog that identifies me as your fan, but i can't get the computer to cooperate. so anyway, you have fans -- who actually pay for your CDs -- everywhere.

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Jon-Erik Kellso said...

Kudos--I love it, Ken, but I must say, you've got some cojones putting this on your website--I feel kinda the same way towards you that you described feeling towards Davern after he zinged that waiter. Can't wait for part 2! --Jon

3:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love it

7:47 AM  

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