PART 2: ALL ACCESS
I had a knack for finding my way to whoever was important, wherever I was. I just figured it out. At NBA games, at the Indy 500, at Christian concerts, wherever. I craved access, excitement, and I didn’t see any reason why I shouldn’t meet you if you were exciting. When I was 13, I went with my cousin Brent to see Lionel Richie and Tina Turner – my first proper concert. I bought a program, and saw that Lionel had 3 break dancers from LA on the tour with him(exclusively for the “All Night Long” showstopper encore). I was like “I can talk to these guys. I had a crew.” It was true that I had attempted a breakdancing crew. Two of us. We never actually DANCED, but we made a cool logo and listened to hip hop. I walked around the arena until I found the backstage entrance. As soon as I saw one of the breakdancers, I leapt. I made friends with them, as they were bored out of their minds in Indianapolis, and this fast-talking 13-year old must have been at the least an entertaining diversion. Before I knew it, I was backstage getting Lionel’s autograph. My cousin and I then hung out with them until all hours at the hotel lobby. My mom was pissed.
I went to see INXS in 1987. I had made a bogus MTV Staff ID with a little cut-and-paste magic. It worked like a charm on the geriatric security guard at Market Square arena(where Elvis Presley performed his final concert). I wandered around backstage after the show until I found Michael Hutchence, shirtless in a fur coat, arm in arm with 2 babes. I walked right up to him, threw him whatever line of b.s. I was spinning, and ended up kicking it with him, and the babes, but I didn’t have the kind of game to hang for very long.
And then there was the Eddie Murphy RAW show(also at Market Square Arena). This was at the absolute height of his fame. I had read a Rolling Stone cover story on Murphy which detailed how his operation worked, and how his family: cousins, uncles, etc…, were his infrastructure. I waited around after the show until I saw his Uncle Ray, who I had learned was his tour manager, onstage directing the break-down. I quickly briefed my friend on what I was about to do, went up to the edge of the stage and just completely freestyled it:
“Hey, is Eddie still around or did he split?”
“Aw man, he’s long gone”
“Damn. Ok, well if you speak to him, would you let him know that Tony Scott’s nephews were here and said thanks?”(I didn’t even realize this would have made us RIDLEY Scott’s sons)
“You Tony Scott’s nephews?”
“Hold on a second”
Uncle Ray got on his radio and walked toward the back of the stage. In a flash, he was back and offering his hand down to us to pull us onstage. Bingo. I knew it would work. So without saying another word, we followed him through a maze of backstage rooms. When we got to what I KNEW to be my heroes’, the Indiana Pacers, locker room, I was amazed not only that I was in that holy room, but by what I saw. There were about 40 girls of varying races (as much as that is possible in Indianapolis) with numbered buttons on their chests, sitting in rows of folding chairs. One of Eddie’s cousins was standing at a podium giving some kind of instructions. We continued through a maze of rooms until we came to a door at the end of a hallway. Uncle Ray opened it and motioned us in. Inside: Eddie Murphy and a young couple that he seemed to know. After a few minutes the couple left. We were sitting there with Eddie. Me, my goofy friend Keith, and Eddie Murphy.
“You Tony’s nephews?” Eddie asked.
“What are you doing in Indianapolis?” he queried.
“I don’t know. Haha. Actually, I’m working on the John Sayles film Eight Men Out.”
“Oh, cool….” (awkward pause) “You coming to the after party?”
“Uh, yeah. Ok.”
“Have Ray sort you out.”
We left. It was so bizarre. Had we really just done that? On to the after party…
We arrived at the Indianapolis Hilton (same hotel where Mike Tyson allegedly had his scurrilous encounter some years later) and apparently Eddie had rented the entire hotel. His security were at the elevators with walkie-talkies directing people to various locations. We were given clearance to go to the after party suite. While waiting for the elevator, a few of the numbered locker room girls arrived. One of the security guards would announce their arrival, giving their description and number over the radio. A voice would come back with a room number, and they were given individual keys. Seemed odd, but we didn’t think much more of it. We went to the suite, which was more like half a floor. Periodically, one of the girls would turn up in the after party. After a while, I couldn’t take it any longer and when over to one of them, a hot redhead in an extraordinarily tight dress. The type of girl I had theretofore only seen in music videos.
“What was that number thing all about”?
“I went to a room and waited. Eddie came in and chatted with me for a minute. Then he left”
“That was it?”
“Yeah. He asked me some questions about my sexuality. I guess he wasn’t feeling me”