Posts Tagged ‘This Velvet Glove’

OK so since the Take That days my taste in music has changed unrecognisably. I embarked on a journey through Britpop and indie rock to classic and alternative rock. I never lost my love of music. I went through a period of listening to a great variety of bands and artists, including classic/old as well as modern stuff. Then I discovered the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Well, I say that I discovered them: it was a strange thing, because I had crossed paths with their music many times before but never really sat down to listen to their stuff. It was completely arbitrary, too: my then partner had their album By The Way on MP3, and I listened to a few of the songs one time when I was making him a mix CD. It didn’t take long for me to develop an obsession with the songs Cabron and Can’t Stop, and ultimately with the entire album. Which led to me getting my hands on most of their back catalogue and various solo albums released by their then guitarist, John Frusciante. By the time I saw them play live in Manchester in 2004, I was in love with the band in a completely new and different way. I could not get enough of their music. They became “my band for life”.

I remember being so obsessed by their album Blood Sugar Sex Magik I would listen to it back to back, more than 3 times; so captivated by their song Scar Tissue that I would listen to it over and over and over in the car on the way to and from work; and so weak at the knees over Mr Frusciante’s guitar playing it prompted me to pick up a guitar again (and then buy an electric guitar), after abandoning it for several years beforehand as I had hit a wall learning barre chords. I was going through a less than ideal time in my relationship and the music not only got me through – it changed the entire way I looked at myself. I went from zero self esteem to 100% self esteem in…well, a very short space of time. I will never forget the friends I made at that time and the many times I turned to that music – they made me a better person.

By the time the band returned to the UK to tour in 2006, John Frusciante’s music, both solo and with the band, had become a presence in my life that I had never had from music before. There is just something about it that nothing else can touch for me. All I wanted to do was let him know what a difference he had made to me. Early in the year, the band did a small promo tour, just a few small shows in London. The gig at Canvas, which I have posted about earlier in this blog, was done in partnership with Radio 1 and I remember literally listening to Radio 1 all day, every day, for 3 days of my Easter holiday that year. I won tickets with the fan club literally 2 days before the gig itself on 14.4.06. I drove down there from Manchester in a car that had not been serviced nor had its oil changed, and on the way home it died. All completely worth it. I thought I might get to meet the guys after the gig as it really was tiny, but it didn’t happen then.

It was around that time that I had rediscovered a flat, rectangular, high-grade piece of chrysoprase which I had worked with a lot for emotional healing when I first discovered the Chili Peppers. It had contributed to my healing at that time. I am a qualified crystal healing practitioner, although it’s not my day job, and it may sound crazy but crystals “speak to me” sometimes. Usually telling me to buy them and therefore leading me astray. On this occasion, I just had this feeling that the crystal had done what it was supposed to do for me, and that this crystal was the gift I should give to John. I had this absolute knowing that I would get an opportunity to give it to him. So I started charging it with storm energy every time there was thunder and lightning, but mostly just with my love and appreciation for his music and his spirit. I carried it with me when I saw the Chili Peppers play at Manchester Arena in the July (when, incidentally, I was 8 months pregnant). No opportunity came at that time either.

Ever heard of cosmic ordering/manifestation? I made this amazing manifestation wand in the early autumn, and placed this wish inside it, feeling the need to do some energetic work as I believed the band would not be returning to the UK for a long time. Within about 4 weeks of that, my friends and I got wind of another small promo gig at the Roundhouse in Camden Town in November, and immediately set about trying to win tickets from XFM or from the fan club. Some way or another we all ended up with tickets. One of my attempts involved singing and playing a stupid song I made up for Allan Lake of Core FM (I think there’s about 8 of us who will never forgive him for the things he made us do and the laugh he must have had at our expense) to the tune of “Don’t Look Back In Anger” by Oasis live on the radio. I cannot for the life of me now conceive of why I did that. He didn’t even give me a ticket! One of my friends won a pair with the fan club and invited me as her guest!

On the morning of 22.11.06 (see what I mean now about 22/11?), I was suffering from one of the worst hangovers in my life after overdoing things with my friend’s housemate while waiting for her to return from seeing the Chili Peppers at their appearance on the Jools Holland show, the night before. I felt horrendously sick, could barely drag myself out of bed and couldn’t even stomach toast. I think then and there I knew that this must be the day. Somehow I managed to make myself look remotely presentable. We queued from early morning through to the evening to be at the front. I managed to choke down some digestive biscuits and drank a lot of water. I met Leigh Francis that day, he was there asking people what they were queuing for. I didn’t recognise him and was really rather abrupt with him. I don’t think he was filming anything. I sure hope not.

We managed to get fairly near the front. The concert itself was not fantastic unlike the Canvas night. There seemed to be some tension or friction between the band members and Anthony (Kiedis, the singer) didn’t seem to be very well. John and Flea (the bassist) played well though. The improvised outro was the absolute best. I could feel the bass right through the floor and right into my heart. I was totally at one with the music. I was absolutely in the crush and had lost all my friends in it long since. I’m surprised I stayed on my feet until the end as I felt very faint, was getting bashed around and had had lager spilt all down my back. So by the time we came out, I imagine I looked terrible! A few of my friends wanted to race for the train to get back to where the band were staying in the hope of speaking to them. I literally left my coat in the cloakroom and let myself be dragged along.

Flea had already returned by the time we got there, so I missed out on meeting Flea, but my mission was still forefront in my mind: give John the crystal, which by now I had put in a little purple silk bag, along with a little note penned the night before about what his music meant to me and the fact that it had given me healing and just thanking him for his music and his spirit, and telling him about the chrysoprase, what it could be used for, I think I wrote something like “it will literally take your heart apart and put it back together”. My friend, who is a little psychic, started freaking out there on the pavement saying she could “see” Anthony in a black car. About two seconds later, said black car pulled up and out stepped Anthony and John.

You know how you freeze at some moments? Like, destiny is staring you right in the face and for a few seconds you are just paralysed by it? I wasn’t afraid of him. I knew what I wanted to do…but I was almost out of my body looking down on it from a place of timelessness somewhere else in the cosmos. I’m not a starstruck person though I do admit to a certain sense of euphoria and a hopeless case of tongue-tiedness (I knew that would happen in the presence of my guitar hero, hence the writing of the note). But it took a gentle shove from my friend Silvia to bring me back to the moment and push me into action. My voice was missing in action, so I walked up beside him and took his hand/wrist to stop him. That was embarrassing because he was holding a guitar in that hand and I wasn’t sure if he thought I wanted to steal it – he had to swap it to the other hand. My friend Sarah said later he looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights. All I know was that I held his hand, pressed my gift into it and held his gaze steady the whole time. (Stupidly I could not tell you what colour his eyes were. All I know is that I was seeing further into him – a glimpse of his soul perhaps). I thought “I am gonna HAVE to say something.” So I said something really stupid…”you played amazing tonight” or some such rubbish. What I really wanted to say was, “Thank you for all your wonderful work” or “You have made a real difference to my life” or “It’s always a privilege to hear you play”. But oh no. I have to make reference to a performance on a night that was clearly not great. He said something awful quiet like probably “thank you”, I smiled then and let go of his hand, I knew there were other people who wanted to speak to him, and I checked to see where my friends were, some of them were talking to Anthony, and Sarah was behind me. I kind of freaked out after he went inside, but after the initial heart-beating-madly sensation wore off, I was on cloud nine for the rest of the night and I slept like a baby that night.

This is only speculation, but I don’t think he had had the greatest night, despite the out-of-this-world playing at the end of the show. I like to think that I touched his life on that night just like his music touched mine at a low point. I know that while he was speaking to a couple of other people, he made an offhand comment about the gift to someone I knew on the fanclub forum, before he even opened it and saw what it was, “wow, this thing has some serious energy”. Which made me smile because I figure he felt the energy from my charging of the crystal.

I saw the band play at Live Earth and Reading Festival in 2007 but things felt very different, and being high profile events it was impossible to get close. I was glad however to hear Wet Sand and This Velvet Glove live at Reading – two of my favourite less high-profile Chili Peppers songs. In summer 2008, I also got to meet Chad Smith, the drummer of the band, at a Drummer Live event at the London International Music Show. He knows my friend Sarah really quite well and was all smiles and waves when he saw her, so I had the pleasure of being formally introduced, shaking his hand and kissing his cheek. I was always a bit intimidated by Chad but he was lovely to meet in the flesh, and his drummer workshop was very interesting. I’m not sad that I didn’t get to meet Anthony – I have exchanged a lot of meaningful glances with Anthony at the two small gigs I went to in 2006 and sometimes words are not needed. I think a lot of the guy, but we made a connection and that was enough. And I really respect Flea but I’m not too bothered about having not met him. Maybe there will be another opportunity someday. I still hope I will get another chance to speak to John someday and talk to him about spiritual things. My absolute dream would be to have a guitar lesson with him or play a duet with him or something. And I absolutely know dreams can come true…all things are possible. Whatever happens in the future, I’ll always be glad of the events of 14.4.06 and 22.11.06. I am forever grateful and those moments are very much part of who I am today.


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