by Michael Horne
I awoke the
morning of November 13th to the sounds of howling wind and the
sight of the winter’s first falling snow.
My first thought- "Would the Exhibit go on?"
Power outages were being reported across western Michigan and the
local forecast for Traverse City was for 70mph gusts, and up to 4” of snow
accumulation. With the
exception of the occasional snow squall, the 4-hour drive to Traverse City
turned out to be uneventful. My
son and I arrived in Traverse City early that afternoon and, although windy,
the predicted snow never materialized. We checked into the Park Place Hotel and then called Rick
Coates to let him know we had made it.
at the Museum that evening at 6:00 and proceeded up to the ticket table to
get our V.I.P. passes. I gave
them my name, but was told they didn’t see it on the list.
Luckily, Rick was close by and said, “Yes, he has to be on it.
He is the big winner of our contest!”
About the time Rick finished saying this my name was found, so with
V.I.P. passes hanging off our necks we entered the exhibit.
The sight that first struck me were the large photos of The Who
hanging from the center ceiling. On
the surrounding walls, prints were displayed of other artists that Tom had
photographed, the most prominent displays being of The Faces, The Who and
The James Gang. Alongside each
photograph was a short description, adding the interesting story behind the
difficult to spot Ian McLagan- you just had to look to where all the
photographers were. I waited
for the crowd to back away before attempting to introduce myself.
I was nervous and thought perhaps I’d get a handshake, nice to see
ya, and a photo, if I were lucky. Eventually,
I calmed myself enough to introduce myself and told him I had won the
contest. Well let me tell you,
he is one of nicest people you could ever meet. I instantly felt very comfortable with him, called my son
over and introduced him and then the 3 of us proceeded to have a nice talk.
He later was kind enough to pose for a couple photographs. I’m really
grateful to of had the opportunity of
meeting him. To sum it up, he’s just a really nice and down to earth
discussion began with The Star Spangled Banner played by a guitarist, a la
Jimi Hendrix. Opening greetings
were then made by the museum director, which was followed by Rick Coates.
Rick began by stating that the weather had stranded at the Chicago
airport some of those planning to attend.
He then read an email from Pete Townshend, expressing his
regrets for not be able to attend
and congratulating Tom for his work and well deserved recognition.
Rick then announced that Joe Walsh had to cancel, too.
Joe had just finished touring with the Eagles when he found his home
in San Diego threatened by the fires. When
Joe realized he couldn’t make it, he put together a video that was played
for the audience. In the video,
Joe expressed his regrets and added a few tales about his time with Tom.
Afterwards, Rick started the interview with Tom.
Tom began by discussing his days at Ealing Art College and his early
friendship with Pete Townshend, continuing on through his joining with The
Who on their first U.S. tour, his days at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit,
and his later work with The James Gang and The Faces.
Rick and Tom
were then joined on stage by John Payne (Appraiser), David Teegarden (of
Teegarden and Van Winkle fame) and Ian McLagan.
Each member of the panel spoke of their days with Tom, with the
exception of John Payne, who addressed the historical significance of
announced they’d been informed they had to clear the stage. Why this was happening wasn’t made clear, and it all seemed
a bit confusing. Then, as the
last panelist left the stage, the rear curtain began to rise and the
beginning chords of “I Can’t Explain” filled the room at a near
deafening level. It was the
Wholigans, a very good and unexpected surprise to close out the panel
discussion. The Wholigans
finished off by playing “Substitute”
and “My Generation,” capped off with smashing the guitar and
drum kit in good ole Who fashion!
started off slow. There were a
couple of local bands that played initially.
They were good, but not what I was waiting for, so I went off to find
Tom and hopefully shake his hand. I
spotted him sitting in the dining area with Ian, David Teegarden, and
others. Not wanting to
interrupt them, I sat at a nearby table. As I got up to walk around, one of
the Wholigans came up to me (the J.E. impersonator, Dave Smith) and we
started talking. Then I met the “fake” Roger (Barry Quinn).
Both were extremely nice people, and it was pleasure talking with
noticed Tom was somewhat free, so I went over and introduced myself.
He was sitting and asked me to sit down. We talked about the Exhibit, about the contest I won... an
extremely nice person… this was the highlight of the evening for me.
I had just asked Tom if he’d mind if I got a photo with him, when
Rick came over saying they had to get in the other room to start the jam
session. Tom said we had to
take the photo first and called Ian over.
So while Rick was pleading with Ian to hurry up and get out onstage,
I handed my camera to someone (whomever you are, thank you) and the picture
session begins with Frank Bach, the stage announcer from Detroit’s Grande
Ballroom, telling of the days he spent working for Tom, and then introducing
the musicians. Other than for
Ian and David, I’m embarrassed to say I don’t remember the other
musicians names. Perhaps someone else reading this could fill in those blanks.
The All Star Jam Session started playing about 11:00 and finished up
just after midnight. The
Wholigans rounded out the evening, playing until 2:15 or so and provided a
great finish to the end of a great evening.
I woke up
early and went down to the Hotel restaurant for some much needed food.
By chance, David Teegarden and his wife ended up sitting next to me.
We ended up talking about the previous nights events, the weather in
Michigan and of his home in Tulsa. Both
Dave and his wife were very nice and I’m glad to of had the opportunity of
Prior to the
events of the evening, my excitement had been in anticipating of what
musicians might be attending and of the Jam Session.
As it turned out, it was the viewing of Tom’s work that captivated
my eye and interest, along with Rick’s interview with Tom and of my
meeting Tom that I found to be most memorable.