The concept of the “rock and roll star” is one that exudes thoughts of larger-than-life existence, mythical creatures who strap on a guitar and do things that make them seem like gods — but the reality is, they’re just as human as the rest of us, and sometimes even their fellow icons don’t know them from Adam (as the saying goes). Acclaimed rock photographer Ross Halfin shared a photo and a story on Instagram on Wednesday that drives this home quite well — a story involving James Brown, Slash, Jimmy Page and Joe Perry.
Now, that’s a formidable quartet of music icons, for sure. Brown, being the inimitable Godfather of Soul, is a hero to many, his music and presence an irreplaceable part of history. The same can be said for Page, Slash and Perry, given their work with Led Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses and Aerosmith, respectively, but back in 2004 they were just a group of wide-eyed James Brown fans meeting their hero … who had no clue who they were.
Halfin’s photo and the story below:
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Los Angeles 2004 – I’d spent all day doing a shoot for Guitar World . After we’d finished , James Brown was playing the House of Blues on Sunset Blvd . I contacted his then manager , who got really excited when I said who I was with . “James would love to meet them” he said . So off we went and upon arriving were ushered by his very excited manager into Mr Browns dressing room to find it was empty . We’re all stood in this empty room when what looked like a tiny broom closet door swung open and out stepped James Brown . He said “good evening gentlemen , it’s a pleasure to meet you” . It became immediately apparent that he had absolutely no idea who any of them were , from James there was a stoney silence . I Had only thought to bring a snapshot film camera with me after a long day . “Mr Brown , can we get a picture of everyone together” I said , “Certainly Sir” was the response . So I lined up Jimmy Page , Joe Perry and Slash with Mr Brown and I shot one frame . As I was waiting for my flash to recharge, Mr Brown looked at us and said “Gentlemen it’s been a pleasure , I have some business to attend to “ He opened the cupboard door , and inside we could see that waiting for him was a rather large , very well endowed woman . Mr Brown smiled at us , stepped inside and shut the cupboard door . We all looked at each other and started laughing but hey , at least we got to meet the godfather of soul Mr James Brown . #rosshalfin #jamesbrown #jimmypage #joeperry #slash
This calls to mind Dave Grohl‘s recent post on his new Instagram account detailing anxiously waiting for a phone call from Prince about a jam session idea the Purple One had floated to the Foo Fighters band leader a while back.
Grohl is a rock icon, but here he was, relegated to just being a super-fan of Prince as he awaited a phone call that may or may not come. Grohl retold the story in the build-up for the GRAMMY Salute to Prince that aired on CBS on Tuesday night:
Rock stars, They’re just like us, sometimes!