Monday, May 01, 2006

Chris Parker & Me - Part III

Okay, so maybe my night in Chris Parker's hotel room didn't go exactly the way I depicted it in my last post. But that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of my story. Actually, that's not true. It does matter, because no matter what we did or didn't do in that room, in my head we had a connection. And I don't mean the rock'n'roll drummer meets the girl backstage and takes her to his hotel room for the night kind of connection. It was the real thing. It had to be. Anyway, the following morning, we said our 'see ya's' and that was that. I never saw him again. One night only. A sweet memory. But I always remembered Chris Parker - which says a lot. Did he remember me? Probably not. I'm sure he met tons of people/girls on the road.

What does all this have to do with anything? Well, it has to do with the power of the internet. And my book. Yes, I am finally getting back to the purpose of the blog...the making of my book. After I got back from the book expo in New York and had the agent that was wrong for the project interested (read that previous post HERE) I began to take the book seriously. For me, that means I'm definitely doing it, no turning back, no matter what. That's when I started pulling out the slide cases and negatives; separating them into the live box and the dead box. I sorted the ones I knew were dead and the ones I knew were alive but I was left with a bunch I wasn't sure about and had to look up. Alex Harvey - DEAD. Al Stewart - ALIVE. Stanley Turrentine - DEAD. Jesse Colin Young - ALIVE. Etc. Then, I wrote my sample piece on John Bonham and Led Zeppelin. That really took me back. I was officially living in my past. Remembering all the people I photographed and wondering, 'where are they now?' The musicians I was friends with in Toronto who I used as guinea pigs when I was starting out? The local musicians I shot in Vancouver and got to know a little more?

And, yes, Chris Parker.

So, on August 14, 2005 I opened up Google and typed "Christopher Parker." Did you know there's a young actor in England named Christopher Parker? I got a lot of hits for him. So, I changed my search to "Chris Parker + drums" and there it was - his personal website. But I couldn't click the link. Too many thoughts were racing through my mind. I mean, I had a connection to this guy. At least in my head I did. And I had a sweet memory of him. We had a nice time together. He was really cute. Remember, I'm a visual person. What if I click on his site and there are pictures of him? Do I really want to see what he looks like now? Maybe he's fat and old and ugly. And once I see that, there's no going back. Think about it. Your last image of a person is your lasting impression. That's why I love my dead rock stars. They are frozen in time. Just as they were when I shot them. Maybe I should leave Chris Parker where I keep Mike Bloomfield. So, to click or not to click? That is the question.

I could end this here...but I won't. I closed my eyes and clicked. Then I squinted, afraid of what I might see. Too late. A row of photos across the top. Wow. He looks good. It's safe to open my eyes and check out what he's been up to. The music, the photos and the art. And then...the contact page. I couldn't believe it. Chris Parker had a personal email address listed on his site. Uh oh. The click or not click decision was bad enough. Now I was faced with, to write or not to write? Here come the racing thoughts again. How do I write Paul Butterfield's drummer? The guy I spent one night with a million years ago? What if it's not really his personal email? What if someone else opens it and I look like an idiot? Or worse, he opens it and I look like an idiot? Do I really want to put myself in that position? You know the...hi, remember me? No, who are you? EMBARRASSED.

Oh, why not? You only live once. So, I share with you my opening paragraph of what I wrote to Chris Parker:
Hi Chris,
Back in the mid-seventies I was a rock'n'roll photographer in Vancouver, when you were touring with Paul Butterfield. Don't know if you'll remember but we spent the night together in your hotel room (don't worry - clothes remained on) talking (photography and other deeper topics) and taking pictures of each other. Of the hundreds of bands I shot and musicians I met you were one of the most interesting and memorable.

What was I thinking? That paragraph has embarrassment written all over it. A really, really pathetic opening. Then, of course, I had to go on and tell him about working with all the artists (Joni Mitchell and Ron Wood, etc.) in my book, Starart, so he would think I was important and not just some dumb groupie. Yes, it seems I felt I had to resort to name dropping. Feel free to laugh at me. I deserve it.

After reading the email over about five times (rewriting is my passion and this email could have used a few more drafts) my quivering, full of fear index finger hit the 'send' button. That was it. No getting the email back. All I could do is wait. And wonder. Would he write back? And if he did, would he remember me?


Harry Funk said...

He'd have to remember ... wouldn't he?

Kirsten said...

I swear you are the meanest blogger ever!!! I keep thinking I'm going to be put out of my misery by getting the rest of the story, but NO! Ack! The suspense is killing me. :-)

Chesher Cat said...


I don't know. Let's do the math. Say he played 1000 live dates in a ten year period. And he had a girl over 80% of the gigs. That would be 800 girls. Would you remember all 800 girls?


Sorry about that. I didn't mean to leave you hanging. Honest. ;-) Please don't die. You'll miss the end of the story.

Harry Funk said...

I didn't do the math. But once you did, it made me think:

Man, I should've been a rock 'n' roll drummer!

Dawn said...

Really enjoying this story -- loved the fumetti.