#81: Buckwheat Zydeco: When I interviewed this legend by phone we discussed, among other topics, his great love of fishing. He even agreed to fish with me. But when I called him back months later to take him up on it, his manager said he’d fallen ill and couldn’t fish. A year or so later, he passed away.
#82: Calvin Johnston: K Records label head and singer for Beat Happening happened to be working the merch booth when I purchased a Chain and the Gang (Ian Svenonius) vinyl album. I remember he didn’t smile at all.
#83: Ed Helms: I wrote the only tourist guidebook ever created specifically for those who visit New Orleans to hear music, and I happened to be carrying a backpack full of them when, at the coffeeshop, I overheard a dude telling his girlfriend, “I wish there was some book we could buy that would tell us which music to go see.” As I laughed at the specificity of his remark I looked closer and noticed it was Ed Helms from The Office/Hangover, almost unrecognizable with a brown goatee and a pork-pie hat. “I don’t mean to bother you, but you should take this,” I said to them, and gave them a copy of my book. He was really happy about that. Then I left.
#84: Ellen Barkin: At Ye Old College Inn, I waited on the Big Easy star, her family, and her pre-teen son who wore a ginormous afro. They sat her at a corner table where, not a month earlier, a mouse had fallen out of the ceiling and onto someone’s plate. This did not happen to Ellen Barkin though. At meal’s end she thanked me with a wink and a large tip, for being sweet to her, without ever acknowledging her fame.
#85: Hot Water Music: My old band AmeriCar Underworld traveled from Tampa to Deland, Florida to perform at a punk show in a college classroom. Our opening band, Hot Water Music, played its first ever show. We snickered a little at the band’s “emo” theatrics, but they clearly had passion and power, and we knew they’d light up the local scene. Six years later, I’m working as a stagehand at House of Blues in New Orleans, setting up the backline for headliners, Hot Water Music. I said hello but didn’t mention that show in Deland.
#86: Hulk Hogan: In Ft Myers, FLA, I touched his sweaty body a few times as he quickly transported the 24-inch pythons to and from the ring. Years later in Tampa (coincidentally, the same city where Hogan was later filmed fucking the wife of shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge), I bussed Hulkster’s table more than once. I remember at Newk’s Cafe across from the stadium one night, he scarfed down the walnut fried grouper sandwich. When he was done I asked, “May I take that for you Hulk?”
“Thanks, brother,” he replied.
Michael Patrick Welch’s “132 Famous People I Have Met” series is FREE, but please consider donating to his VENMO (michael-welch-42), or to his PayPal account (paypal.me/michaelpatrickwelch2), so he can feed his kids, pay his mortgage, etc.