Meeting Bobby Keys

Thursday February 16th, 2012 – Schaumburg, IL

I’m always flattered whenever anyone calls me, as I know there are at least seven billion others on the planet that could have been chosen ahead of me. That’s a lot of competition, so whenever the phone rings I consider it a major victory. It’s like I overcame huge odds.

It’s especially interesting when the voice on the other end of the phone belongs to Mike Preston looking for camera crew assistance on a remote for his ‘Psychobabble’ TV show. Every time I’ve said yes in the past has been nothing but fun and I’ve gotten to hang with a diverse list of celebrities including Burt Reynolds, Mark Farner and George Thorogood.

Today was no exception. Mike arranged an interview with Bobby Keys, lead sax player with the Rolling Stones from 1969 to 1974. And as if that credit isn’t impressive enough, he also played with everyone from Lennon and McCartney to Eric Clapton to The Who.

The guy has been a touring musician since 1956, and has just released an autobiography entitled “Every Night’s A Saturday Night: The Rock n’ Roll Life Of Legendary Sax Man Bobby Keys” which is jam packed with stories from the road with rock’s biggest legends.

Who wouldn’t want to hang out and be a fly on the wall to hear one fantastic story after another about everyone from Keith Richards to Buddy Holly to Yoko Ono to the owner of the Dole pineapple empire in Hawaii? I felt like I should have paid a cover charge to hear it all first hand, and it was one of the most fascinating experiences I can ever remember.

Everything about it all was pure fun from start to finish. Jim McHugh was the other guy on the ‘crew’, even though it’s mainly Mike being nice to us and allowing us to tag along. We set up the cameras and move a few chairs around, but anybody else could do that too.

We like hanging out as friends, and most of the time we‘re making each other laugh and goofing off. But Mike knows we’ll have his back door when any work needs to be looked after, and we won’t embarrass him in front of a celebrity. That’s a huge plus on his end.

Jim and I know how to be professional and stay out of the way unless we’re needed. It’s a delicate balance, but we’ve all done it before and we make a good team in those kind of situations. Jim is very meticulous and also takes still photographs but isn’t conspicuous.

Mike is an absolutely spectacular interviewer too. He always does his homework on all his guests, and knows how to get the very best out of them. Burt Reynolds complimented Mike on his thoroughness, and it was well deserved. He should have a network talk show in my opinion, and if I had any clout he would. These junkets are always worth my time.

It didn’t hurt that Bobby himself was a wonderful guy and felt like talking. He’s from a small town in Texas, and his drawl is infectious. He laughs a lot, and knows how to tell a fabulous story. He and Mike clicked, and I was treated to one of the most entertaining and informative experiences of my entire life. Sometimes the best things in life really are free.

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