Almost Famous

Do you know, my parents went to see Elvis at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan, in 1975, and he was totally drunk and slurring, and also bloated and fat. He couldn't remember the words to his songs so he kept pulling out a piece of paper from his pocket and reading them out, but getting the timing wrong and stumbling. And then in the middle of one song, he kind of suddenly stopped and grunted and said "uh.... I split mah pants," and then he shuffled off stage BACKWARDS to hide the fact that his Generous Elvis Flesh was hanging out the back of his white spandex pantsuit. And, oh my god, even though it was Elvis and he's the King of Rock and Roll, doesn't this sound like THE WORST CONCERT EVER?

Susie and I didn't actually believe that it happened, but then we did some research, and look! This person was also at the concert in Pontiac, Michigan and saw Elvis split his pants! Hello, Pat Stacey, wherever you are! Perhaps you know my parents! Maybe you shared a doobie in the bathroom together, or whatever it is people did at Elvis concerts in the 70s.

So this reminded me of the time I went to see Bon Jovi playing live at Wembley Arena, which was in the summer of 1995. Please do some math now and realize that BON JOVI WAS NO LONGER COOL IN 1995. I didn't go and see the Bad Medicine-era Jon, with the long hair and the bad attitude and the rocking tunes. I didn't fall in love with the "Blaze of Glory" Jon, or the one who sang "Living on a Prayer." Oh no, I discovered Bon Jovi AFTER they were an acceptable band to like, and so I went to see Feathered Haicrut Jon singing "Bed of Roses" and "Always," and I will bet you whatever money you have on you right now that I could still sing all those songs to you and tell you the meaning behind each lyric. Oh, I was so in love with that Jon. I made a special book in which I wrote down all the words to all the songs, and I practiced mouthing the words every night. The day I finally got to see him in concert, I was 15 and I'd had my first run-in with fake tan the night before BECAUSE I THOUGHT A SUBTLE CARIBBEAN GLOW MIGHT MAKE HIM NOTICE ME. Yes. Together with the Sun-In. We went with my friend Caroline's godfather who was just adult enough to be responsible and just young enough not to be an embarassment to us (because obviously going to a Bon Jovi concert WASN'T EMBARASSING AT ALL) and then we (purposefully) lost him within the first ten minutes. Don't feel bad for him, he had our sandwiches. He sat with our other friend Celia and ate them during Ugly Kid Joe.

So it was a hot day and thousands and thousands of us were packed into a stadium and then, guess what? You will never guess what. I fainted! I know! How Beatles Concert Circa 1967 of me!

But actually, and here is a confession, I didn't really faint---I was totally faking.

But it was neccessary! Because what happened when you fainted was that the crowd lifted you up and passed you overhead---past ALL THOSE people who'd got there earlier than you in order to get that little bit closer to the Feathered Ones---and deposited you in the St. John's Ambulance Tent. You lay there for a little while and then when you were better, they sent you off into this VIP enclosure that was THISCLOSE to Jon and the band and yes, it was awful and deceitful for us to decide to do this, but ALL IS FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR, AND THIS WAS LOVE, DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?

So a plan was hatched and first I "fainted" and then Caroline "fainted," and after we'd stayed in the St. John's Ambulance Tent for a few minutes, we were sent on our way with a coveted orange VIP wrist band and we found ourselves, like, three feet away from Richie Sambora. And to this day I feel really awful about wasting the time of the kind people in the St. John's Ambulance Tent, but you know what? I sort of think they knew we were faking. I couldn't keep my eyes closed properly because I was constantly wary about people trying to cop a feel while they lifted my body over the crowd, because this was one of the Dangerous Things I'd heard happened at rock concerts. Plus, Caroline maintains to this day that Jon Bon Jovi gave her a thumbs up and winked at her, so the lying was totally worth it.

But even though that was great, here is where the best moment of my life happened, four years later, on a stage in West London, when Bush was still famous---um, the band, not the president, and if I have to explain this to you, perhaps we will never in our lives meet for coffee---and Gavin Rossdale was still super-hawt and unmarried and had not yet revealed himself to have an illegitimate lovechild named Daisy or a penchant for Seedy Aging Rock Star Hair. I had long since got over Jon Bon Jovi, somewhere around the time that I realized I would never be able to move to New Jersey with him---not, you know, because he was a famous rock star with a wife and three kids, but because, hello, NEW JERSEY. And so I was in love with Gavin Rossdale instead, and the night I saw him in concert at Shepherds Bush was the night I became That Girl You Hate. You know, the one I mean---the one you always used to shout swear words at when you saw her climb on stage with the band in music videos. Yes, her. Except without the white leotard top, because those girls are always wearing white leotard tops, aren't they? And I would NEVER wear a white leotard top. Especially not to a concert, what with all that sweating. And the increased risk of spilled beer.

So anyway, what happened was this: my friend Kate and I arrived late, because we were cool like that (or actually maybe because there was a Tube strike---you know, whichever) and we managed to push our way to the front of the stage. I seem to remember that I might have been wearing this crown of dried flowers that I'd found on the street and thought looked cool on my head, but I'm desperately trying to edit that part out of my memory because I refuse to believe I could have embarassed myself so completely (who did I think I was? Jesus?) Regardless, towards the end of the concert, my love interest himself, Gavin "The Delicious" Rossdale did that thing rock stars do where they bend down towards the front of the stage and put their hand out so you can grab it. And I grabbed it and I was ecstatic, but THEN he came down right into the bit between the stage and the crowd and he started TUGGING ON MY HAND, and in my head I was saying GAVIN ROSSDALE IS TUGGING ON MY HAND, and it was all in caps, just like that, and then he said to one of the very large bouncers who was standing there blocking my view, "I want this girl on stage!"

And then Gavin Rossdale pulled me up on stage, where I stood very forlornly all by myself for a minute in front of thousands of people (dear God, PLEASE let me not have been wearing that crown of dried flowers and I swear I will change the kitty litter tomorrow even though it's Sean's turn) sort of smiling and maybe (please, no) vaguely singing until he came on stage a minute later with three or four other girls. And then we all rocked out with Gavin Rossdale and I kept exchanging glances with the girl standing on the other side of him, like CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING? but, you know, very theatrical glances with lots of OH MY GOD gestures and probably some hand-wringing, and we thought that BECAUSE WE WERE DOING THIS BEHIND GAVIN ROSSDALE'S BACK, it was okay and no-one would know we were freaking out. Never mind that we were on stage in front of thousands of people, of course.

But then came the best part, because this girl and I, we somehow managed to communicate silently with our eyes that it would be a GREAT IDEA to grab Gavin Rossdale's bottom. I mean, doesn't that sound like a great idea? To grab the bottom of a rock star while you're standing next to him on a stage? THAT'S MY IDEA OF A PARTY. So it was decided (again, silently, with our eyes) that she would grab one cheek and I would grab the other. You know, like a double scoop effect. So the plan was set. We counted one, two, three, and then I grabbed a handful of Gavin Rossdale's bottom, AS WE HAD PLANNED. And this other girl, damn her to hell wherever she is, did not. SHE DID NOT HOLD UP HER END OF THE BARGAIN! And this is how I came to grab Gavin Rossdale's ass on stage in front of thousands of people (right cheek, if you're interested.) With Gwen Stefani apparently watching from backstage. I'm willing to bet I'm still on her shit list. Hopefully pregnancy will mellow her.

So that was my brush (er, squeeze) with fame. Aren't you proud to know me now? I think the only way it could have been any better is if Gavin Rossdale had split his pants. And if it had been my fault because I grabbed his bottom.

Jan 14, 2006

Man oh man, there are just so many things to say right now, even though I've heard this story before. Okay 1) Elvis split his pants from doing an intricate and complicated dance move and he was then taken down a trap door to get a new pair of pants, then he continued the show like the trooper we know he is. 2) Poor Celia who you went to see Bon Jovi with! Not only did she have to go see them, but she had to sit with someone else's Dad the whole time, ingesting perhaps (by then) sweaty sandwiches! 3) Didn't Gavin Rossdale's singing become a little high pitched that moment you grabbed his bottom? Perhaps his band manager thought it was inspirational and if you were to listen to that song he was singing today, you would hear a slight inclination in his voice at the very moment you grabbed his bottom. I'm only suggesting....

Jan 14, 2006

This just confirms that you are destined for fame - and I think you have the sufficient sneakiness (faux fainter) that you need to survive.

The closest I've come to pop-superstars is, er, via my grandma. She used to have the Beatles come round to her house in Liverpool all the time. In fact my aunt dated George Harrison. And John Lennon's first wife took my mum's swimming costume on honeymoon with her cos she didn't have one.

Ahuh, cool by vague association am I?

Jan 14, 2006

Oh, God. Holly, you're killing me. Seriously. I am laughing so hysterically here. Do you think we can still meet for coffee if I tell you that I knew you were referring to the band Bush, not the president but I have no idea who Gavin Rossdale is?

I don't even know where to start with what has almost made me fall out of my chair - Jon Bon Jovi (one of the most popular songs to sing at karaoke (not by me) is Blaze of Glory or Living on a Prayer. And not one person can sing it right. It's horrible), the crown of dried flowers, the telepathic butt squeeze that didn't work out right. It is all brilliant.

Irony Queen
Jan 14, 2006

Ohmygod, I am SOOOOO jealous! Yes, you are the girl the rest of us hate. But it's ok, I still love you.

And, in the world of rock-n-roll karma, I think grabbing Gavin's ass on stage at a concert far outweighs any dried-flower-crown mishap and maybe even covers for that Bon Jovi concert. Maybe. Just to be safe, you should probably find another kick-ass concert to go to. =)

Irony Queen
Jan 14, 2006

Also, I just noticed your de-Lurking box and I want to know, how do you get the text to scroll like that? I'm trying to learn some new website tricks. Yes, I'm a dork. But, unfortunately, not a dork with any useful "computer geek" skills.

Jan 14, 2006

That was GREAT! I totally would have lit my lighter and lifted it in the air for you and waved it back and forth.

Jan 14, 2006

I want to learn how to communicate with my eyes like that. Then I would go around telling people, WITH MY EYES, to do things. Like, grab his butt! And, trip that girl! And, do a handstand!

It's almost like telepathy.

Jan 14, 2006

nbb: you know, I'm just getting to know you ... and now, NOW, I feel as if I should casually mention you at parties to make myself look better: Well, MY friend grabbed Gavin Rossdale's ASS. I KNOW. I know. [tiny roll of the eyes and knowing smirk] I can't believe it either. [shrug of the shoulders] Such an interesting girl, that friend of mine.

adele: I already mention you in conversation whenever I want to impress people but now, NOW, I have more reason to do so. Lovely!

Jan 14, 2006

Have no fear about the Bon Jovi concert in 1995, because a friend of mine went to go see him this past summer in DC! And is it sad that I still think that Gavin (do you like how I'm on a first name basis with him) is still oh so hot?

Jan 14, 2006

I would imagine that Jon enjoyed the fake-tan-and-Sun-In look back in the day.

How do you communicate about grabbing Gavin's ass with your eyes alone? Was there nodding and gesturing and stuff too? I just crack up picturing you on stage twitching your head to the side and motioning with your eyeballs and then reaching for Gavin's cheek. Hee!

Jan 14, 2006

I tried that a couple of times too - at Morrissey - but he didn't notice really and it sucked because i was already really close to the front and the faint got me taken to the back. Did it again at Lemonheads gig - Evan Dando asked me if I was okay - that was nice.

Jan 14, 2006

I have to stop reading you now... my life is so pale in comparison, it's see-through. ;)

Jan 14, 2006

Gavin Rossdale! In high school, a friend and I missed school to drive to Ames, IA to see a Bush concert. We got to Ames really early, so we were just driving around, and we saw a huge bus outside of a hotel. Who else would have a huge bus in Ames, IA on a weekday??? So we went to the hotel and kind of just loitered outside of the bus. Eventually Gavin came out, and we met him and got our pictures taken with him! But then he was so high at the concert that he forgot some of the words to the songs, and I was a little less in love.

Jan 14, 2006

I'm often in denial about the fact that I live in New Jersey. I try to think of it as "The Other Borough."

I'm no Jersey Girl. All the same, it's pretty easy for a former big-haired teen mall-shopper from suburban Massachusetts to feel at home here, in the Land of Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, and The Boss.

Jan 15, 2006

I have already designated you my Glamour Surrogate, and now I see how wise I was. You have grabbed rock star ass! You have been That Girl onstage (OK, a cross between That Girl and Jesus, but still..)! You have left me on the floor with your description of same!

Yup, you're my girl.

PS Yes, they do make leopard print nursing bras. Most encouraging during those months when one's entire role in life is to make milk. Well, make milk and grab baby ass.

Jan 15, 2006

Dear Holly,

First order of business on this comment: Holly seems (to me) to be a perfect English-girl name. Also, I could tell you're English by your writing (Tube strike, etc) - but where is your accent from? You know, just so I can get it right in my head. Heh. Grabbing Gavins' ass did, with no doubt, get you on Gwen's shite list - but considering she has access to that gorgeous bum any old time she wants, I bet she's forgiven you by now.

My only actual brush with fame was sitting/hanging out at a bar with Daniel Ash from Love & Rockets/Bauhaus/etc and I hadn't a clue who this guy who kind of looked like a cuter Bono was who was hitting on me...of course my (old) hubs did and was about to wet himself with excitement..even more so when he gave me his card and said, "ya, I DJ sometimes too, you can call me if you want" -- so of course I totally had to call him JUST TO SAY I DID. And he was v. v. nice and kind and all. I too, wish for days of the week knickers, only bc I think I have all the other sorts. Have enjoyed reading your stories (thus far, esp those with Sean and your luscious brother and J.B.J., G.R. etc) v. much, and will now be blogrolling you, if you don't mind. Write me a comment either way - cheers! Meepers

Jan 15, 2006

Let's not forget that time you interviewed Our Lady Peace. I'm so sure you've had several other brushes with fame, or perhaps that's just Tom and his new pal Henry Winkler.

And while we're on the subject of Burns Family Brushes With Fame, I think it would be unethical to not mention the love affair between Mummy and Cream's Jack Bruce. They met in first class, he said I was sweet when I was sleeping, and then they emailed each other for weeks after. Also not to forget when we were in first class again and Roger Daltrey was sitting behind us and him and Mummy sparked up a conversation. No need to mention he THOUGHT I was sweet when I was sleeping, even if he didn't necessarily point it out.

Jan 15, 2006

It's not very often that (good) music plays live in Singapore, but once Ashlee Simpson performed for free at a skate park, and I swear she looked at me.

Jan 15, 2006

I would have opted for rubbing my boobies on his back. But that's just me.

Jan 15, 2006

When I was in 5th grade (in 1987) my dad totally took me to see Bon Jovi on the "Slippery When Wet Tour." It was awesome. And Spandex-y.

Jan 15, 2006

As a head-on witness to the whole grabbing Gavin's arse incident, I can report that while his voice didn't go any higher, his eyes certainly widened somewhat. And if Holly was the girl everyone envied (and she was), I earned my fellow concertgoers' hatred another way - as the girl bellowing "Oh my gawd, my friend just pinched Gavin Rossdale's bum!!!" On the tube home - carrying some cardboard poster things pilfered from outside the venue - Holly told everyone in our carriage just how amazing her night'd been. Repeatedly. Luckily, I think they were charmed by her sheer exuberance.

Nothing But Bonfires
Jan 15, 2006

Blakeburn, can you remember -- WAS I WEARING THE CROWN OF DRIED FLOWERS?

Jan 16, 2006

Wait! Wait! You're not the only Burns who has had a brush with fame! What about your brother's girlfriend, Olga, getting hit on by Jordan Catalano at the coffee shop...RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM!!?? And yes, I know what Jared Leto's real name is, but he'll always be Jordan Catalano to me. He leans great. Mmmmm...

mom on a wire
Jan 16, 2006

Eminem stepped on my foot once! And then he said, "Oh sh*t, I'm sorry." See? I'm cool too.

Except I don't like Eminem, so the encounter did nothing for me. So sad. I'd trade that for grabbing Gavin's butt any day.

Student Nurse, prn
Jan 16, 2006

You were how close to Richie Sambora? *swoon* I'd move to Jersey for THAT!!

Jan 16, 2006

you're so adorable! really!
Anyway...I enjoy reading your bloggings and found this one to be particularly cute. I too have had my brush with those-who-are-not-so-cool-any-longer...I convinced Oasis's roadies that I was their "angel" yes, thats what I told them...they let me and my friends on Oasis's bus, let us sit in the pit during the show and hang out with the band afterwards...I will say that teenage girls are incredibly clever...I think the CIA or the government should consider hiring some

Jan 16, 2006

Honestly, I live the most pathetic life. I love this story and want my own. But do you know the only celebrity I've witnessed in real life would be Vanna White? And does SHE EVEN FREAKING COUNT?

Unless you count my ex-boyfriend who married a country singer who had an actual #1 hit. Their wedding was featured in Martha Stewart Weddings and I must confess that I performed a very poor rendition of "Bust A Move" at their karaoke rehearsal dinner. And even though it was horrible, it didn't stop me from continuing on and doing a heartfelt Journey duet with the groom.

Jan 16, 2006

ummm ... did someone say Ashlee Simpson and (good) music in the same sentance? really?

Fraulein N
Jan 16, 2006

That is an excellent story, what with the hot hot Gavin Rossdale and the butt-grabbing. I wish I'd been there, except I probably would have passed out for real.

Jan 16, 2006

mortified: obviously I meant 'sentence'.

Nothing But Bonfires
Jan 16, 2006

S, I never doubted for a moment that you could spell. I assumed you were merely testing everyone.

Jan 17, 2006

You know, I don't remember a crown of dried flowers. Had there been one, how would it have been attached to your head? Perhaps I've blanked it from my memory out of kindness.

Also, "we managed to push our way to the front of the stage", is a little misleading in its blasé tone. I've turned up late to concerts before: I try and cheekily move forward, get glared at (possibly shoved/stepped on) and admit defeat. Every concert we've been to (and yes, we've been late for them all), you've dived through the (sometimes menacing) crowd, carrying me in your wake, with this crazy confidence that just parts the masses. "We ploughed our way to the front of the stage" is more like the truth!

Jan 17, 2006

Oh my goodness I totally forgot to mention that I did have a brush with fame when I lived in NYC and Joey Mcintyre from New Kids on the Block fame was signing autographs for his new CD at the local borders. My friend Emily and I just happened to be walking by and saw. We got excited and decided that we had to go in! We owed it to our middle school former selves, so we walked in and saw him from a distance. Unfortunately this was only last year... I just lost all my cool points huh? Wait did I even have cool points?