"A long long time ago, I can remember how the music made me smile, and I knew that if I had my chance I could make the people dance and maybe they'd be happy for awhile...", a gorgeous song. I listened to Don McClean as a young child driving around in my uncles souped up Cougar listening to 8 track tapes. My grandmother kept a radio playing in the kitchen and it was back when they played all the 6 stanzas of the song with the refrain inbetween, DJ's making a few heartfelt comments at the end. Certainly lasted longer than your standard 5 minutes. Don McClean talked about being grateful to Madonna for contracting his lyrics and breathing new life into his music by re-making "American Pie". I also really appreciated the song Vincent. At some point all grown up I bought a tape and listened to his songs while racewalking. I became familiar with other lesser known songs such as "Country Life" or "Jerusulem". My observation is he is a rather careful person for a rock star. What I find totally facinating about him is his ability to confabulate such interesting lyrics. A shaman and interloper a musicman.
I have a friend who is a rock musician. His name is Duke Dewey and this blog is somewhat of a prequel to a blog I would like to write interviewing him. (Find the words musician and magician have a similiar quality, time travel, suspension of belief, slight of hand and they are gone). Would also be interested in writing a magazine proposal or even non-fiction book proposal if it came up in the mix. We have a mutual interest in painting and I was a volunteered at a program were he was the project director. We remained friends. He and his wife have made a success of their lives and live back in Duke's hometown and have a university bound daughter. A year ago Don McClean was in Paris and I mentioned it to Duke who suggested I approach the stage and mention that I knew him. Which was really exciting to me because it gave me an excuse to talk to a famous person whom I admired. I have free calling through the internet to the USA on landlines so it is easy to stay in touch with many of my old art friends this way. It was nice of Duke to suggest this idea and also I felt I could help in some sort of communication between them. Isn't middle age about coming full circle and understanding how powerless we all are over our lives and events?
The Don McClean concert was at the Cigalle theater in Paris. An old small theater and near Montmarte. I have noticed that since the internet fewer prostitutes on Central Avenue in my old cowtown, southwest USA, as well as evidence of closed brothles near the redlight district of Paris. Soppose it's more simple to use cell phones and the internet. Easier to find customers and less overhead for brothels, the internet hides this activity from view. There was a good sized crowd, mostly older. My husband although speaks English well had a hard time following the meanings of some of the lyrics. Also, the imagery is so typically American it is hard to even translate really. It was a bit of a strange concert. His entourage and band had been delayed due to general transport troubles so he was playing alone. He gave us a great show never-the-less. He mentioned one or two times that usually he plays with a instrumental and string band of 25 people behind him. In fact, it was a lucky occurance that we got just Don McClean without the boas and lights or the fanfare. He is a professional and worked hard. Maybe that small venue reminded him of how he started out. My husband made a video. It already seems like a long time ago.
The fill-in lead up girl guitarist was heartbreakingly star struck to be called in at the last minute due to the problems the regular musicians who hadn't arrived. Don McClean is in his 60's now but it meant a lot to me to hear him sing "Bye Bye Miss American Pie", in person. I can't explain why. I found him a guy from the east coast, a bit business like and how do I say it, fussy, in artistic terms that would be considered perfectionistic. Strange he would write a song so identified with the American heartland. After the concert about fifty people stood around the stage. There was one man crying and waving an album and saying in a heavily eastern european English how much he loved him. I remember what Duke had suggested and called out. Duke Dewey says hello. Don McClean turned his head and moved closer. I started babbling about his first album "Tapestry", Duke felt sad that Don might have been upset because he wasn't sure that Don wanted drums and might have felt pressured to have them. Don McClean looked at me more directly for momment, looking down and smiling to himself, and than kind of receded and said gently tell Duke hello. Something invisible happened that I am unsure of. So, I did talk to Don McClean. It was a little scarey to approach the stage in front of all those people. I enjoyed the concert. I have no doubt he would remember me.