Monday, October 27, 2008

Who Knew Richard Marx Was So Revered?


I was singing a Richard Marx song in the shower yesterday--Now and Forever, the #1 wedding song of the early '90s--and found myself almost immediately at a loss for lyrics.

Oddly, there was a time when I knew every word to every track on his album Paid Vacation. As hard as that is to admit to people right now, I take solace in the fact that I was merely the victim of a sadly-limited musical exposure.

Despite the fact that my parents came of age in the 1960s-70s, the only CDs in our house were the following:

1. Aretha Franklin's Greatest Hits
2. Cristopher Cross -- self-titled
3. Huey Lewis and the News - Sports
4. Huey Lewis and the News - Fore!
5. Huey Lewis and the News - Small World
6. The Back to the Future soundtrack (with 2 tracks by Huey Lewis)
7. The Beverly Hills Cop II soundtrack
8. Bonnie Raitt - Luck of the Draw
9. A dozen or so classical piano and Christmas CDs my dad would listen to

Notice the lack of even the Beatles and Rolling Stones, much less funk and soul records...

Anyway, I digress. As I searched my memory bank for more lyrics to Now and Forever, I was instead reminded of a story that one of my bosses told me once, at a sushi restaurant in St. Charles, IL (don't worry--I had the beef teriyaki). To protect my boss' identity, let's call him Reinhold.

Reinhold and I, along with maybe a dozen other crew members, were crammed into monastic dorm rooms on the grounds of a former convent, working on some awful Accenture conference for a week and a half, so it was nice to get out on the town, even if that town was St. Charles. After a few tall bottles of Kirin, Reinhold told me that before he got into producing boring conferences, he was a touring lighting designer for various musicians throughout the late '80s and '90s.

I asked him if he had any good stories and he told me one of his favorites.

Reinhold was the head lighting designer on a Richard Marx World Tour when his popularity was at its peak (early '90s?), and their last stop before returning to the United States was in Taipei, at some sort of large arena.

Richard Marx had been a prima donna the whole time, so nobody on the crew was surprised when he didn't turn up on time for the show. As more time passed, however, the packed house started to get riled up, shouting, chanting, screaming, stomping.

"We want Richard! We want Richard!"

The crew all gathered backstage, fearing things might soon turn ugly, to discuss their options if it did. Then Richard Marx's tour manager turned up to inform the crew and the local promoter that Richard was not going to perform because he had a cold.

"But what are we gonna do with this crowd? They're gonna tear this place apart if you go out there right now and say that?!"

The local promoter took to the stage, grabbed the microphone and said to the throng of rabid Richard Marx fans, "Richard Marx will not be performing tonight because he hates the people of Taiwan."

You can imagine their reaction. Ape-shit NUTS.

Reinhold followed some other crew members through a hole in the fence behind the stage, left the madness behind, and headed back to their hotel as the mob no-doubt tore the stadium apart.

The crew members all went to their rooms, hurriedly packed their things, and headed down to the lobby in the elevator. When the doors opened, an angry mob filled the lobby and they found themselves staring down the barrels of a half-dozen AK-47s.

They were all taken hostage and led into a room to be interrogated.

According to Reinhold:
"Luckily, I was able to talk my way out of it and we all headed to the airport. As soon as the plane landed at LAX, we said goodbye and headed our separate ways, since we all lived somewhere in California anyway. Richard had to find a whole new crew to staff his last few tour dates stateside."

Who would have thought a Richard Marx tour could involve such adventure, eh?

I wish I knew what Reinhold said to the guys with the machine guns, but he wouldn't tell me. Said it was a long story--a long story I never got to hear. Hopefully he didn't give away any state secrets...

1 comment:

nugget said...

Luck of the Draw was a big one at my house too