Zero or Hero? … (Ojeda, Tyler, Broderick, Hetfield)

Hero of the Day

Like most of you who tune into, I too grew up living and loving all things rock. And what came with it was that I looked up to those iconic rockers as my heroes. I always wanted the chance to meet them just to tell them what an inspiration they were for me.

Lesson learned – be careful what you wish for, because you may get more than you were hoping for!

When I was still a kid, Eddie Ojeda and Jay Jay French from Twisted Sister came to my local mall. My buddy and I rambled on the phone for an hour trying to figure out what we were going to ask them. The meet and greet was the coolest thing ever, and it was totally worth it. We didn’t get a chance to ask a single one of the questions that me and my buddy had worked out, but we didn’t care. We still had a helluva time, because Eddie and Frenchie were totally cool to us. In fact – I still have the picture of me in braces, with Eddie Ojeda with his arm wrapped around me giving the camera one of his Eddie Gunshot Finger Poses.

Fast forward – A few months ago, I was in San Francisco Airport and saw this behemoth sized dude with hands that looked like they could pick me up by the forehead, and standing in the behemoth’s shadow was this little guy. My eyes popped out of my skull when I realized it was Steven Tyler from Aerosmith!

Now, it’s hard not to go fan boy on names as big as Steven’s, and it didn’t help that he looked like he was ready to go out on stage and rip out some Back In the Saddle. Even crazier, I looked down and noticed that I was wearing an Aerosmith T-shirt. Being that we were standing close to each other, we made eye contact, and I screamed out, “Yo, check this out!” as I pointed to my t-shirt.  Bewildered at first, Steven Tyler looked at my T-Shirt. Then, he looked at his own and screamed back “Check this out!” He was pointing to a Beatles T-Shirt that he was wearing. It reminded me that even Steven Tyler of Aerosmith has his heroes. We gave each other the rock and roll salute, and he was on his way. No handshakes, no autographs, and no fan boy bullsh*t – it was just some cool, real, and rockin’ fun amongst two dudes that share the same love for rock ‘n roll.

Here’s another quick one for ya… I was covering Winter NAMM 2011 in Anaheim California. And who was standing outside of the Dunlop booth was none other than the latest guitar slinger to join Megadeth, Chris Broderick. Without hesitation, I said, “Chris, I love your stuff bro!”

Grinning he called back, “Thank you!”

While I was at it, I also told him that I totally dug his reverse headstock Ibanez, and how I wished there was one out there that I could buy.  The whole conversation was cool, calm, collected and casual.  We talked shop for about five minutes and then parted ways. Helluva guy for sure.  And, when I see him onstage playing for Megadeth, deep inside, I smile, knowing that he’s one cool dude. It’s worth it. Seeing your hero up on stage and knowing that you matter to him as much as he matters to you.

Then, boys & girls, there are those times that disappoint, and those are sometimes the toughest to swallow. And, even worse, they’re the hardest to forget!  Here I was at Disney World w/ my wife & 3 kids in the Pirates of the Caribbean gift shop. I turned to find James Hetfield from Metallica standing cool and casual right next to me! No fans, no commotion, just a chock load of families eating up the attractions.  Since he was standing there alone (maybe he was waiting for his family to get off a ride, or something like that?) I nodded at him and said “hello.”

He looked at me, and, without any other acknowledgement, turned the other way.

Barely noticing his indifference, I told him I’ve been a huge fan of Metallica since I was my son’s age (And my son was standing right there).

Again, he did the same thing. Looked at me, then turned the other way.

Figuring I was 2 for 2 at this point, I’d just go for broke and ask the question: “James, would you mind taking a picture?”

Without missing a beat, he turned to me and said with an arrogant grin, “I thought you just wanted to say hello,” and casually walked away.

Like they say, when you die, your life flashes before your eyes. At that moment, I regretted every Metallica CD I bought, every Metallica riff I have ever learned, and wished there was a way to either forget my heroes mocking grin, or erase from my memory every moment of pleasure that Metallica had brought me through all of the years!

That was in October of 2010, and here I am in April of 2011, and it still bothers me.  I keep thinking of all the things he could have said, in lieu of being an ass, like “I don’t take pictures when I’m rolling with my family.” Even though he was standing alone. That would make total sense to me, and I would’ve respected that. I would’ve had enough courtesy and decency that, if he was standing with his family, I wouldn’t have even bothered saying anything to him. Hell, he barely acknowledged my presence. He didn’t even say “hi.”

Rather than just nodding or keeping it cool, he just opted to be a total tool. All of this while my son is standing right next to me. Real classy Hetfield.

So, why am I writing this in 6 months later? Well, the new Snakebyte just came out, as well as the Big 4 DVD, and I wanted both of them.  But, sitting on the couch, my wife reminded me, “Are you really going to support a guy who couldn’t say hello to you?” After thinking it over, I was like “yeah, you’re right.”

Thank you Mr. Hetfield for ruining it for me!  It’s a love hate thing. I wanted your axe, and wanted to watch your Big 4, but I can’t get out of my mind that you were so arrogant. I know that he doesn’t care what I think and that’s part of what makes me angry. I’ve spent tons of cash on this guy and his band. I’ve stood by them while others accused them of selling out. The only reason he is who he is, is because of his fans, and he has no problem scraping them off of his boots like he just stepped in a pile of sh*t. Heroes can’t be heroes without their fans.

Phew, I needed to get that off of my chest. Hopefully, this story will prepare some poor kid that might have a similar experience. Or maybe, this story will teach a rock star that it’s just as easy to be cool like Ojeda, Tyler, or Broderick, over being arrogant like Hetfield! Lesson learned hard are the lessons learned best, I guess. I just wish it could’ve been from someone who I didn’t look up to for decades.

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