One thing I always loved about living in LA is that even on a supposedly mundane night, the most unbelievable events can unfold around you. Whether it’s Tara Reid puking on your shoes at the Henson lot’s private Halloween extravaganza, or constantly turning around to see Travis Barker trailing you in so many different locations that you start to believe perhaps he’s stalking you. But one of my most favorite stories I love to regale when I am entertaining a group of people is of the night I went to hang out with my friend and his band at the Three Clubs in Hollywood.
It was right before the banks nearly broke America, around 2007, and I was working as a Coordinator for a tiny production company that had one well-known show. There was an attempt to do a spin-off and as usual, I was recruited midway through when things weren’t going as smooth as they should. I’m happy to say the people I was working with were fantastic humans and it was probably one of only a few shows I’ve ever worked on where I felt truly needed and in turn, greatly appreciated. You’d be surprised how understaffed reality shows are compared to scripted, each person has to take on 4-5 full time jobs, and you are often run into the ground working 7 days a week, 16-hour days. The worst thing for me was never the schedule, though now that I am older I will not allow a job to consume my life, but in these scenarios, a lot of superiors who are never physically present tend to harp on the one or two things that didn’t go well and completely ignore the fact you sacrificed months of food and sleep to manifest thousands of positive and perfectly executed tasks. The silver lining in this unrelenting, intense pressure/sleep-deprivation/isolation type of situation, is that you tend to become very close with that small group of people with you in the field and often for the duration of the run of a show, these people become your closest friends. And that is how I became a fleeting friend of former Bachelor, Bob Guiney.
Unlike some other semi-celebs I’ve known, Bob is one cool dude. He’s endlessly positive, super down-to-earth and best of all, from my home state of Michigan. I didn’t really know much about him at the time because I had been sucked in by the reality tv production vortex for a few years already, and rarely had a moment to myself to catch up on trivial things like current events. One day, after the show was in the can, Bob invited a bunch of the crew out to see him perform with his band. Since I had a friend in town and was looking for fun stuff to do, this seemed like the perfect LA experience to show to an out-of-towner.
We showed up fashionably late, partially on purpose and partially because I spent 30 minutes looking for parking. Since I was in my early 20’s and extremely underpaid, I adamantly refused to pay $10 to park anywhere ever. I have no idea how many songs deep the band was before we arrived, but the performance space they were in was tiny, it looked like a banquet area in the back of restaurant with a small stage only a foot or so off of the ground. The crowd was light, so it didn’t take long for me to scan the room and see that nobody else I knew came. My focus shifted to the band, who actually sounded pretty awesome, and I was a little shocked when I began to realize that everyone up there was famous. James Denton from Desperate Housewives on bass, Greg Grunberg from Heroes played the drums and that House guy from House MD strummed his guitar. Holy crap, my semi-famous friend is in a band with his super famous friends – how cool is that? My girlfriend suggested we move to the front and in-between songs, and we did just that. Not one second after seizing our new spots, Bob saw me, shouted hi and gave me a high five – it was such a rock star moment.
A few songs later, a special guest took to the mini-stage and wailed on the guitar while crooning with the voice of a much older man. It was none other than John Mayer. Though, I knew of John and his music I wasn’t really a fan until that night. The handful of pop song that streamed the airwaves during the previous few years gave no hint at the profound talent and deep emotional connection Mayer has with music itself. He stayed for about 3 or 4 songs and I believe he only played one of his own, it was an awesome sight. Shortly after, the gig was over, the lights came up and everyone was getting kicked out. Bob told us we could stick around and like the good little production solider I was, I volunteered me and my friend to help Greg pack up his drum kit and load it into his SUV. He didn’t drink, so he wasn’t going to stick around, but he was grateful for the help, so my friend ended up getting a picture with him (o-o-towners, am i right?!).
When we got back in I made a beeline for the bathroom but some angry looking bouncer told me if I crossed over this invisible line he was guarding, I wouldn’t be able to come back. I whined about having to pee but he just shrugged his shoulders. I was just about to turn around when a man emerged from the packed crowd on the other side of the invisible line and was physically stopped by another protector of the line. It was John Mayer, he was just performing and needed to get back there, he explained politely. “You’re not getting through” the a-hole bouncer/UTI proponent quipped while holding out his meaty arms. I couldn’t believe what was going on and in that moment of intoxication I decided to step in, “hey guys, you do know that is John Mayer, right?” I asked to blank stares. I could see they weren’t getting it, so I started to croak out a few lines from some of his greatest hits, Your Body is a Wonderland, and Daughters – I even scrunched up my face to look like his when he sings, all while failing miserably to actually know the words to his songs. Eventually, when I opened up my squinted eyes, John seemed to be holding back a laugh and brought his hands together in front of his chest and told me “Please… it’s ok, just go get someone from the band.” Did John Mayer just beg me to stop singing his songs out loud? Um, yep – ’cause I’m a f*cking rockstar.
John made his way back with the help of the spitfire female in the band and me and my friend spent the next hour hanging out with these guys doing shots of whiskey and trying to act like rubbing elbows with celebs happens to us all of the time. Eventually, even we all got kicked out, said our goodbyes, and made the half mile trek back to where I had parked the car. Luckily, my girlfriend didn’t drink much so I slid into the passenger seat, clunked the seat back to chillax mode and asked”Did that all really just happen?”
“Hell yeah, it did!” she confirmed.