This dream began on a Thursday afternoon. I was checking out the Warner Brothers Goo Goo Dolls web page for the first time. I had just gotten online. And there is this announcement. "Meet the GGD's" and so I read the message. It was an ad for MTV's FANatic. To make a long story just a little shorter, I called and did a phone interview, they said they would be in touch. I heard from them the next day, I was surprised that they called back so quickly, I did another phone interview. Within a few days I had gone from one in hundreds to one in 10, they asked me to send in a videotape, after that I was 1 in 3.
HOLY COW!! I was freaking out! They said I would know soon. So after tons of phone interviews, and rushing to find a camera on such short notice, In a city I barely knew (Thank you, Eric). I was 1 or 3 and even if I didn't make it, I had accomplished alot. I had done things I never imagined I could do, (like tracking down a camera at 11p.m.) So me, this "nothing" girl from Utah, that had only lived in Maryland for like two months, was 1 of 3 to meet the best band in the world!!
So 1 in 3. Not bad. And after a few more phone interviews on a Thursday afternoon, I'm a little freaked out because the girl from MTV was supposed to call the night before and she didn't. There I am eating Ritz crackers and tuna fish and BAMM!! There is my friend Sharra standing in my kitchen doorway, behind her is this crew of camera and sound guys. I freaked out I was screaming and I was in shock!! We got into the limo waiting outside and I was still in a state of pure shock. I couldn't believe it. I will cut through all the snuff. We went to the airport and we were going to Las Vegas!! It still had not hit me that within 24 hours I would be sitting next to John, Robby, and Mike. In fact it didn't hit until we were in the air and 2/3 of the people in the plane were asleep. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs.
So Sharra and me are starved when we get to Vegas and our hotel (St. Tropez) was right by the Hard Rock. I was like "lets go eat at the Hard Rock" But they were so adamant about us not going anywhere near the place. They acted as if it were the only place we could get drunk and gamble in all of Vegas. I had been there before so I knew something was up. I said to Sharra "I'll bet you $10 the band is over there" So I decide to find out in this magazine that tells you what is going on in Vegas. Lo and Behold. The Joint is inside The Hard Rock. The Goo Goo Dolls are playing at the Joint the next night. I knew something was up.
Sharra and me had to do a lot of filming before I could meet and interview the Goo's. I could hardly sleep the night before and managed to get through this crazy day on only 3 hours of sleep. I woke up at 6 a.m. and called my sister (who lived in Vegas) and she told me that Robby was going to be giving an interview at 8 a.m. on a local radio station. I turned the radio to the station (I forget which) and they called Robby up. He was in CA or something and had to turn his TV off before they began to ask him questions. I got so excited, yelling "Its Robby, It's Robby", that I not only woke Sharra up but I also broke my Celtic medallion necklace. I barely listened to the interview, all I could think was "tonight I get to meet him".
My emotions were on this roller coaster. I was so happy to be getting this opportunity, I felt bad because the other contestants hadn't won, and I was just so excited. I couldn't believe that something like this was really true, the magnitude of this finally hit me and (aided by sleep deprivation) I was a mess of tears and laughter for the entire film crew for most of the day. After hours of filming they separated Sharra and me. I was alone in the Hotel room with the scout Victoria and she gave me a rundown of the events that would follow. When she got the signal we were going to walk across the street to The Joint at The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino where the Goo Goo Dolls were waiting for me. She told me that I would be sitting right next to Johnny, Mike next to him and Robby next to him. I was absolutely terrified. I was fearful that I would be so overcome that I would jump right in Johnny's lap!
When we finally got there I had to wait in a lobby area while they set up the interview area and the boys completed their sound check. The only thing that separated me from my favorite band, at this point was about 12 yards and a wooden door. At this point I was pretty sure that I would either pass out or throw up...I didn't do either thank god. Finally, it was time. After 45 minutes of waiting in this small lobby, being stared at by the fans waiting in line, the crew ushered me inside. I walked in and could immediately see them sitting on a platform on a couch and Robby in an adjoining chair. I was instructed immediately to sit down next to Johnny.
Next I looked at Mike. He looked exactly how I pictured he would. He seemed a little quiet and yet very relaxed. He resembled a 12 year old, there is a very 'younger brother' quality to him.
Then the shocker. You see when I first sat down I was terrified that I would plop down next to John, get completely lost in his eyes and mumble my way through the interview. Things happened a bit differently. Even though John is certainly one of god's finest creations, I was more taken with Robby than anyone. Sad but true, all the photos I had ever seen of Robby, he was either out of focus, hiding behind his hair or both. I had never gotten a good look at the boy until now. It sounds kinda bad but I truly didn't expect him to be so beautiful. He has an innocent quality about him, something pristine and pure. He seems to be this untainted little boy wandering around in a grown up world of uncertainty and bewilderment. He was just amazing with his bracelets, his colored fingernails, and his shiny eyebrow ring.
John peeked at my clipboard of questions for the most of the interview. He had a bright funky nail polish on his bare toes. When he wasn't gesturing with his hands (he does that a lot) I noticed he had on a green, urban decay-ish mildew color on his fingernails. The polish had a chipped appearance and he mumbled something about not having any nail polish remover. I can't really remember all the questions that I asked more importantly I can't remember what all they said. I do remember when I asked the question "who would you most like to play a concert with" I pointed at Robby and said "and you are not allowed to answer, because I already heard who you would play with" In the morning interview his answer to that question was "Barney.". He laughed and said something like "you heard that???" He was a little shocked and mumbled something about being really tired when they called him, they woke his ass up or something to that effect.
All too soon the shows producer was telling me to wrap it up and thank them. I introduced Sharra and we all stood up. I thanked them and finally noticed their heights: John is about 5 foot 7 or 5 foot 9(somewhere around there) Mike was the tallest, probably around 5 foot11 or 6 foot, and then there was Robby: Had I not been wearing highheeled shoes we would have been exactly the same height, 5 foot 4.
I hugged John and when he kissed my cheek I thought I was going to lose my footing and fall. I hugged Mike and then bent over to hug Robby, all the while gushing "thank you so much, thank you, thank you" When it was all over I just wanted to run back to the set and keep on talking but I had to film my after thoughts for MTV. I felt like I had just sat down with old friends, they were so down to earth and they really went out of their way to make me comfortable. Even though it was only about 15 minutes that I got to spend with them ( I was supposed to get about an hour, but everything was running late, they even pushed the time that the doors were supposed to open to the public back like 45 minutes) I still felt so close to them.
There was supposed to be a table on the balcony reserved for us but one of the local sound crew guys told me that the band was like 'don't put 'em clear up there, get'em in the front row' So after MTV let the local crew leave (sound and lighting) they had security scoop out a spot for me and Sharra right in front of Robby's microphone. It was really cool because security was like (to the crowd) "could you guys move back, make some room" Pretty much saying 'Make way for the luckiest girl in the world, c'mon give her some room now' I was about to see my very first LIVE Goo Goo Dolls show.......
After hanging out in the press box in front of the stage, talking to my sister and her husband (who had front and center), Sharra and I returned to our little scooped out place right in front of where Robby would soon be. Athenaeum went on and I already really liked the song 'What I didn't know' and I totally enjoyed their live show, but all I wanted at that point was to see the goo's live.
Finally it was time! My heart was racing like never before. It sounded like a 747 was going to land on the stage. There was this intensely loud electronic whir like wind swirling on the stage. Then the lights started spastically shining here and there, blinking furiously and the sound started to coincide with the lights and it was unlike any audio/visual thing I had ever heard or seen. Then as quickly as it began, the sound was replaced with one I knew, the opening chords to Dizzy. Robby made faces at me and smiled and gestured for the whole concert, I couldn't take my eyes off of him for long for the whole show. I was mesmerized by him, truly and fully taken in and dragged somewhere beautiful and foreign for the 2 hours or so that they played. He captivated me with his charm! Okay enough on that!
A few more songs later and they started Black Balloon, I immediately began to cry. Let me quickly explain: My mother is a drug addict and has been for most of my life, It was only until recently (after the filming of FANatic) that she started to get her life together. John later said this was a song about "watching someone you love, fuck up real bad". I had seen that precisely in my mother and even to this day, I cry when I hear Black Balloon because it is almost as if he knew my story and wrote it for me. One line in particular really hit home, the line "I go on now I need you to hold me" because my mom and I were really close but now she is in rehab and she can't hold me.
The concert was amazing. John was energetic, Mike glanced over at me a few times, but I was still most impressed with Robby, I just stared at him, smiled and blushed the whole time. He seemed a little shocked when I sang along with him to his songs, including some of the older ones, I think he was surprised that I knew the words or something. Before I was ready for it, it was over and we had to go into the casino and leave the area. MTV said their good-byes and told us who would take us to the airport in the morning and then they let me spend some time with my sister and her husband.
Just when I thought my encounter with fame was over, I saw the guys from Athenaeum. We talked for a bit and they said they had heard about me and congratulated me, I told them I loved their show and would see them in DC in a few weeks with the Goo's and they were like "we will see you there then". I was still wired for sound, I was a little jittery and still getting over the excitement of what I had just experienced.
Before heading back to our hotel for the last night, Sharra introduced me to the Goo's manager Pat Magnarella (I think) and his brother in law. We talked for a bit about how happy I was to get this opportunity and then the brother-in-law and me shot the breeze (we were from the same area in Salt Lake City). Sharra was exhausted, as was I and we needed to rest up for tomorrow, the day I had to leave this dream to memory...And oh what a sweet memory it is...
Stay tuned for pictures and stories of future concerts from Rai!