By Eamonn Keyes
“He is, that guy is definitely eyeballing you.”
This was the third time that James mentioned this to me.
We were backstage at the Wireless Festival, one of the biggest annual British Rock festivals, and I’d just been guitar-teching for The Answer as they played their set. James was the drummer, a brilliant guy but also a complete stirrer, so I interpreted all his observations with caution.
Still, I sneaked another glance over to the aforementioned ‘guy’ and yes, he did seem to be eyeballing me. He even looked slightly familiar to me.
Did I know him? Had we met previously? Maybe or maybe not.
You must realise that by this time, with our set finished and all the free drink an army could swallow freely available that yes, I had one or perhaps two Babychams, and maybe a shandy, so things were not as clear as they might have been, but it was time to sort this one out, even if it did end up in a backstage fight.
We’d helped avert one earlier at the Download Festival by getting between our friends Alterbridge (we’d done three tours with them) and Velvet Revolver.
There was bad blood between both bands as the result of VR’s vocalist, Scott Weiland-now dead- spouting online about Alterbridge, and I was actually thrilled by the opportunity of being punched by Slash or Duff Mc Kagan, both ex-Guns and Roses members.
I’d drink out on that story for years if it happened.
However, there was merely a mumbling school playground stand off for a few moments before both parties moved away.
Back to my own encounter.
I sauntered to the bar and ordered a bottle of beer, and my eyeballer sauntered over and did the same. It was all a bit too Wild West saloon bar for me, and I heard my mouth, entirely without any instructions from me, say “howdy pardner”. Ouch.
I now saw that my eyeballer was a good 4 or 5 inches taller than me, and was even beefier. I contemplated running away, but the situation was further complicated by the events of the night before. We’d had a wee bit of a drink after the gig, and, being somewhat bleary the next morning, I had arrived at the gig wearing one leather biker boot and one Converse plimsoll, with a three inch difference in leg length.
So, running away would merely provide a comedy moment rather than a solution.
“Don’t I know you from somewhere?” he asked.
“Hah! We must have met”, I thought, still drawing a blank, so I asked him his name.
“I’m Peter Buck” he answered.
My brain worked a little bit harder, and made the connection that yes, he did look a bit familiar, what with being the lead guitarist with R.E.M, who until relatively recently had probably been one of the biggest bands in the world, and more relevantly, with his just being charged with being drunk and disorderly on a transatlantic flight, punching a stewardess, and so, as they say, he had form. Still, I might even get punched by him since Duff and Slash hadn’t been game.
“Err, no, we’ve never met”, I had to answer, mentally adding “because I’m basically a nobody”.
Anyway, we chatted for a few minutes without any threat of violence and as we parted still couldn’t work out why I looked very familiar to him.
It was only later that James came up with the probable answer.
“Do you know where he’s probably seen you? In his shaving mirror. You really look very like each other”.