Backstage with Baldy
Houston – August 29th
Tonight in Houston we had our biggest meet & greet in years.
This was because in addition to the radio winners who comprise the meet & greets we’ve been doing on this tour, we also had a bunch of rock school students and a group of military veterans from the Wounded Warriors organization.
Meet & greets can be fun for a lot of reasons, but mainly for me it’s fun to watch how people respond when they meet the band.
The reactions range from calm & collected to fired up and emotional, and a couple of times we’ve even had people break down and cry.
Occasionally we get people who are a bit overwhelmed or shy, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, we get fans like the lady in Detroit who was pumped up to meet the guys, could not stop talking, and was entertaining as hell in how enthusiastic she was. (“Your guys’ talent is WORKIN’!!!”)
I also enjoy it when for whatever reason people blurt out awkward stuff when meeting the guys. One of the best just happened in Dallas yesterday when a young guy told Jerry that his short hair made him look weird.
Fortunately Jerry didn’t miss a beat in his response; “that’s the look I was going for”, which helped diffuse what could have been an uncomfortable encounter.
Overall, meet & greets are a nice opportunity for fans of the band to get to say hi face to face, even if it’s just briefly.
And like I mentioned previously, having the Rock School kids come out was cool for all of the above mentioned reasons, but also because it’s nice to see young kids showing an interest in actual instruments and real music.
Best of all is being able to meet and talk to the Wounded Warriors.
Obviously I wish we didn’t have to meet under these circumstances, and I wish they could all come back home healthy and happy, but it’s not that simple unfortunately.
With that being said, everyone we’ve met so far on this run has been great.
They’ve all been really cool people who have amazing attitudes considering what they’ve been through and what they have to deal with on a daily basis.
The closest I’ve ever come to doing anything brave is having to give Jerry Cantrell a wake-up call at 8:00 A.M., so I have no comparable reference to what these soldiers have sacrificed.
Putting on a uniform and serving your country is an incredibly noble endeavor, particularly when that service puts you directly in harm’s way.
Sadly, thousands upon thousands of soldiers return home with physical and emotional wounds that our government does a pretty woeful job of looking after and caring for, so programs like the Wounded Warrior Project are incredibly important.
It’s a small gesture on our part, but anytime the band can host some veterans and get a chance to say hello, they do it.
It’s always an honor and a pleasure to meet those guys.
And since I’m up on my soapbox already, I might as well mention that if you have a few dollars to spare, donating to a veteran-related charity is a great way to support these folks.