The first news I read when I awoke on the morning of May 15th was about the passing of Mr. B.B. King.
This news took me back a few year to when Mr. King played at TCU Place in Saskatoon. My homie, Chad, texted me after the show with an invite backstage to possibly meet the King himself. We waited outside Mr. King's tour bus for a while, and it was getting late, so we thought our opportunity was lost. Someone even pushed ahead of me in line to try and get on the bus--a pretty stark contrast to the class that Mr. King exuded throughout his life.
Our turn did come. We walked up the steps and through to the back of the bus, and there sat Mr. King, stripped down slightly from his formal stage attire, but dapper nonetheless. He sat and signed photographs and answered all questions that he was asked. Most amazingly, he dished out advice to the musicians in the group and shared stories. In 140 characters or less, I tried to share some of those memories today:
...that's some pretty amazing advice, coming from one of the greats! You know, people often misuse the word "humble", but hearing Mr. King speak of musicianship in this was was the definition of the word.
The next piece of advice was given after I asked, "Mr. King. What makes a good songwriter?"
He zinged me with his reply: "Good songs."
A very personal moment occurred when Mr. King spoke of a son of his who he wouldn't be able to see for 20 years because he was in prison. He told us that you can't go out getting drunk and acting like a clown, but...
This is why you work hard and give your all at every show:
Mr. King then told us an old saying from Mississippi that he lived by:
Of course, he was too much of a gentleman to curse in front of us! He told us that this lesson was true whether you were in business or in music. And when you think of it, isn't this what Mr. King embodied? He was all class and respect; that's how he lived on stage, and from the few moments I got to spend with him, I could see that this is how he was off stage too. Now that I think about it, I think I'll go throw in Live at the Apollo and listen to the King work his professional magic over the screaming young ladies.
This piece of advice is the reason that everything I've done with the Aanalog record has been done in a suit (or a fine equivalent!).
This was a small moment in my life that had an enormous impact.
RIP to a legend.