So You Want To Be A Rock and Roll Star
When I was six-years old I wanted to be Darren Stevens when I grew up. Not only was I attracted to the idea of being married to a smoking hot woman who could make problems disappear with a twitch of her nose, I liked the idea of working for an advertising agency. The pitching of an idea to a client seemed creative and appealing. I was also enamored with the concept of entertaining clients. I didn’t want to be a policeman, a fireman, or a cowboy. I wanted to be an advertising agency executive.
After my advertising phase I decided to become an astronaut. The United States had just landed on the moon. It was the ultimate adventure. By then, my crush had moved from Samantha Stevens on Bewitched to Barbara Eden on I Dream of Jeanie. Larry Hagman was an astronaut, and once again, the beautiful woman in his life could make problems disappear, this time with a nod of the head. I stayed in my space-traveling phase until I found out how astronauts have to use the bathroom in outer space. I also never developed a fondness for Tang.
The career ambition that took me into my pre-teen and early-teen years was rock star. I started playing the guitar and planned to be a member of Led Zeppelin or the Rolling Stones. I wasn’t sure how one got to that point, but I loved the music, and life on the road performing in front of thousands of screaming girls was extremely appealing.
As we all know I ended up in the food/food-writing business, though food is a major component of rock and roll. That’s right. Not booze, drugs, or women— food.
Occasionally I visit a website entitled the Smoking Gun www.thesmokinggun.com . In addition to celebrity mug shots (Glen Campbell and Nick Nolte, alone are worth the visit) it lists musician’s riders.
An artist’s rider is an attachment to a performance contract that lists specific sound and light requirements, but also specifies the specific food and beverage necessities of the performer.
Paul McCartney’s rider demands, “There will be no meat, or meat by-products allowed to be served in the dressing rooms, production offices, or areas within the ‘backstage area.’” He also specifies no leather furniture or furniture made from animal skins.
The artist formerly known as “the Artist” but once again known as Prince requires “Yogi cocoa tea” and “jasmine and lavender candles.”
The four members of Van Halen demand one-half case “regular local beer” in cans, one-half case premium beer, one pint Jack Daniels, one pint Absolut vodka, one 750 ml. bottle rum, two bottles of white wine, one bottle of red wine, one 750 ml. bottle of top-shelf tequila, Cointreau, Grand Mariner, and ingredients to prepare bloody marys. At this point I should note that Eddie Van Halen didn’t attend his induction ceremony to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few weeks ago. He was in rehab.
The band Aerosmith asks for “NO alcoholic beverages” backstage and specifies “no pressed meats.” Bon Jovi wants sushi after the show, Sting says that he is “adventurous enough to try local fare,” and Metallica’s catering needs are carefully detailed in three pages of a 24-page document.
Eminem wants turkey burgers, Kansas needs prune juice, and Willie Nelson likes free-range pork chops.
Clarence Clemmons, Bruce Springsteen’s longtime saxophone player, asks that a whole roasted chicken be delivered to his dressing room halfway through the performance and also demands Beluga caviar, while The Boss, Springsteen, requires nothing more than energy bars, green tea, soft drinks, and coffee.
Some artists ask for only green M&Ms while others require bottled water flown in from Europe.
Z.Z. Top asks for “a medium serving bowl of cocktail franks in special sauce (consult with production assistant for the recipe and preparation instructions).” Johnny Cash wanted an American flag “in full view of the audience” while performing.
At sixteen years old I realized that my rock-star career would never materialize into anything more than my being a garage-band wannabe. I made the decision that if I couldn’t be a rock star, I would write about the rock stars and set my sights to be a contributing writer for Rolling Stone. I haven’t written for Rolling Stone, yet. But I’ve got a few years left in me.
Robert (center with guitar) circa 1967. Move over Mick Jagger.
Virginia Ham & Pimento-Cheese Biscuits
I dare you to eat just twelve! It is rare that anyone ever has leftover pimento cheese, but if you do, these biscuits are a great way to finish it off.
2 cups self rising flour
1 Tbl sugar
2 Tbl unsalted butter- cut into small pieces and chilled
1 /4 cup homemade pimento cheese, crumbled
2 /3 cup buttermilk
2 TBL melted butter
Preheat oven to 375.
In a food processor combine flour and sugar and pulse to mix. Add butter and pimento cheese pieces pulsing until mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Pour buttermilk into the well and gently blend together the dough, being careful not to over mix.
Allow the dough to set for 10 minutes and then turn dough onto a floured surface.
Gently knead dough for one to two minutes. Roll out to 3 /4-inch thickness.
Cut 1 1 /2-inch circles from the dough and place them on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush the tops with the melted butter.
Bake 12-15 minutes.
Sautee 2-inch squares of country ham in butter until lightly caramelized.
Cut biscuits in half lengthwise and lay a small piece of Virginia ham in the center. Serve warm.