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Backstage with Baldy

Knebworth – July 6th

Way back in 1991 when Alice In Chains was opening for Van Halen, they played a show in Toronto.

We were hanging out in Van Halen’s dressing room after the show and I somehow got in a conversation with one of the members of the Canadian band the Killer Dwarfs, who were guests at the show. I happened to have loved the Killer Dwarfs back then, although they never made much of an impact outside of Canada.

Anyway, the guy I was talking to obviously didn’t love Alice In Chains the way I loved the Killer Dwarfs, because he thought I was in the band (I had long beautiful brown hair back then).

I can’t recall what we were talking about, but at one point he said, “You’re an artist, you understand”, or something to that effect.

I remember thinking, “I wonder who you think you’re talking to, because I’m definitely not an artist. I’m just a dude driving Layne to the gigs.”

The reason I bring up that ancient exchange is because after all these years, it turns out that yes, I am an artist after all.

And here’s why.

Over the years I’ve developed a crude working knowledge of photoshop.

I have a limited range of skills, mainly in the area of inserting objects or faces into and onto other pictures.

And that brings us to Europe, 2014.

During the last 8 years I’ve taken tens of thousands of pictures of the band (mostly blurry).

Thousands of those tens of thousands are of Mike Inez, and some are in focus.

Dozens of those thousands are of Mike in a familiar pose, leaning back during a break in the song Again, with his right index finger stretched to the sky.

Over the years, as my virtuosity has flourished, I’ve stumbled upon the artistic equivalent to E=mc2. Creativity + imagination + inspiration = art.

So at the outset of this tour, I came across one of those pictures of Mike, and inspiration struck.

It began with me inserting a picture of Tinkerbell hovering over Mike’s outstretched hand, tapping his finger with her magic wand.

I printed the picture and posted it on the band’s dressing room door, and it got a good response.

So I continued with the theme at the next show.

This time it was a picture of E.T., with his long disgusting finger reaching out to touch Mike’s.

Then I clipped Michelangelo’s “Creation Of Adam” and had Mike & Adam touching fingers.

And just like that, a tsunami of creativity had been unleashed, and only those elite and fortunate people with access to the Alice In Chains dressing room have been lucky enough to have it wash over them.

Until now.

Welcome to the inner circle.

Mike Obama

Now as we head down the final stretch of shows, I have a few more ideas in my pocket, and I’m hoping to finish this series strong in Finland next week.

Nearly 23 years after that Toronto conversation where a Killer Dwarf mistook me for a member of Alice In Chains and referred to me as an artist, I’ve found my muse, popped the top on an explosion of creativity, and finally reached my potential as an innovative force of nature.

From the Alice In Chains dressing room door to the Museum Of Modern Art.

It’s only a matter of time…

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Backstage With Baldy

Halifax – August 27th

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