I logged onto Facebook recently to find this message from my friend and former boss from my radio marketing days:
Um… no. I did not sleep with Peter Frampton. And if I were to sleep with an aging rock star, it certainly wouldn’t be one who starred in the worst rock opera ever made.
I said as much to Jeff.
That said, Peter Frampton and I did share a fateful encounter involving pizza. And it’s a pretty awesome story. One that really needs to be shared with as many people as possible. And who am I to deny the people what they need?
It was the summer of 1994. I’d returned home following my freshman year of college and was working as a hostess at Dakota’s, a trendy country-western bar in Innsbrook, Richmond’s trendy mixed-use urban center located in the ultra-trendy West End.
Innsbrook hosts a popular summer evening concert series called Innsbrook After Hours, which draws such classic acts as Chicago, Men At Work, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. And in the summer of 1994, Peter Frampton was on the line-up.
Concert nights were downright crazy at Dakota’s. As the first line of defense against a sea of drunken patrons looking to satisfy their munchies, I rarely had time to even notice who was playing Innsbrook After Hours, much less become starstruck by the [slightly washed-up] celebrities in my midst. I mainly just wanted to make it to 10pm, when the kitchen closed and the crowds thinned out as patrons moved on to the restaurant’s club to hilariously try their hand at line-dancing.
On this particular night, I was sitting on my hostess stool at approximately 10:30 p.m. catching my breath after the evening rush, when the phone rang.
“Hi, I’m staying at the hotel next door and I’d like to place a to-go order for a pizza,” said a gentle male voice in response to my greeting.
As hostess, one of my duties was to take and deliver to-go orders for guests staying at the AmeriSuites hotel across the plaza. It was like room service, only with better food.
Alas, in this case, my hands were tied.
“I’m sorry, sir. Our kitchen closed 30 minutes ago.”
“So, you can’t make a pizza?”
“I’m afraid not, sir.”
“Not even for Peter Frampton?”
That’s right. Peter Frampton name-dropped on me… USING HIS OWN NAME.
And in most cases, it would have worked. But unfortunately for a tired and hungry Peter Frampton, on this night he was speaking to a self-centered 19-year-old non-classic rock fan who had no idea that he was a world-class guitarist and rock god who had sold millions of albums worldwide, and that he – not Big Mountain – was the original recording artist of “Baby, I Love Your Way.”
All I knew was that Peter Frampton was a guy who’d apparently had some hits back in the 70′s. And that our kitchen was closed.
So, I simply said, “I’m really very sorry, sir.”
Leading Peter Frampton to rather dejectedly respond, “Okay. Thank you.”
Hindsight being 20/20, of course, I have to cringe a little when I think back on that night. For in the infinite wisdom, maturity, and empathy I’ve gained over the last 16 years, I now recognize that, at the very least, I should have asked my manager if we could make an exception for Peter Frampton. Not because he was a celebrity, but because he had just spent hours performing in front of a crowd of thousands and was no doubt bushed.
Then again, I doubt my naive slight amounted to much more than a blip on the radar of the rock legend’s otherwise illustrious career. Even if Jim swears it’s what led him to do Geico commercials.
Besides, it made my one brush with celebrity that much more interesting. After all, I can now say that I once denied Peter Frampton a pizza.
Have you ever had a celebrity encounter (or non-encounter, as the case may be)?