Tuesday, March 23, 2010

This one time, I met a famous person...

Tonight, my dear friend Ben invited me to a show at the Empty Bottle to see a band called Pet Lions. The reason we went to see this band is because Matt Dahl is the drummer for the band. Matt is the son of Steve Dahl (remember Disco Demolition?) a local radio DJ. Ben loves Steve Dahl, I do not. We have gone back and forth on this for years, I'm a Kevin Matthews fan, Ben is a Steve Dahl fan. I don't know about any sort of real rivalry between Matthews and Dahl fans, but there is one between Ben and I (in a joking way, I guess). ANYHOW, I sort of followed Steve's radio shows, mostly because of Ben. I found out that Steve had three sons, one of them having a show that followed Steve's when he was still on WCKG. This was Matt Dahl.
So, Ben and I (mostly Ben) followed Steve from WCKG to JackFM to his podcast that he does from his house in Florida. To avoid a long story, that no one really cares about, we'll just say his son, Matt, followed suit and is now doing a podcast, as well. Both of these you can get from the iTunes store, if you're interested.
To get back to the main story, we saw Matt Dahl in person tonight. But before we got to the show, we (or maybe I) were interested in talking to Matt Dahl. Ben had heard a story from Steve's podcast that Pet Lions were on their way back from SXSW when their van broke down in Southern Illinois. After hours of waiting, they finally got a tow truck to tow them and their van all the way back to Chicago so they could play their free show at the Empty Bottle.
Let me tell you, it was NOT a disappointment. The place was packed for all three bands, which were Radar Eyes, This Is Versailles and Pet Lions. All I can say is Dance Party USA. It. Was. Awesome.
BUT, half way through the show, I began to think, would it be weird if we went up to Matt Dahl and told him that we knew about this show NOT because we were actually fans of the band but because we were fans of his dad... therefore becoming fans of him and his podcast? And because of this, we knew about his band's crazy van towing story? I mean, these podcasts reveal intimate details. For example, we know that Steve lives in Florida now. He does his podcast in his basement. We also know that Matt's nickname on the show is 'Mad Dog' because of some weird incident with a producer that couldn't really speak english. And his producer, Brendan, has been nicknamed Doc Rhubarb because of his love of rhubarb's as a child. Is it cool to reveal those things? I mean, at one point, we were seriously two inches away from the band. Ben and I, chatting away about some obscure reference or something, with Pet Lions right behind us chatting away about their own obscure reference. For some reason, I just couldn't bring myself to turn around and say, "Hey, which one of you is Matt Dahl? I listen to your podcast. You're funny." Because, that would be lame, right?
I think I felt this way because he isn't a HUGE celebrity. You know what I mean? He's a guy, who is in a band, and does a podcast from his or his friend's apartment. Maybe he would have appreciated it, but who knows? I thought about the other times I met some of my favorite musicians and sucked it up just so I could say hi.
Years ago, I met the bass player and the lead singer for the Old 97's. My friend, Dana and I watched their show, saw them backstage, said hi and took pictures with them. Not awkward at all. Then, this one time, some friends and I saw Rufus Wainright play and as we were walking back to my friend's apartment I saw him on the corner waiting to cross the street. I didn't even think about it. I just walked right up and shook his hand. I told him I saw him that night and he was great. He said thanks. He was pretty nice.
This other time, I met the other guitarist for Old 97's. He told me some crazy long story about how I reminded him of some girl who broke his heart back in Texas before the band went on their first tour. Awkward? NO WAY.
AND one time, I was outside the Webster Place Barnes & Noble in Chicago, where I worked at the time, with one of my manager's. We were taking a lunch break, when all of the sudden Jeff Tweedy walked out. We both gasped! And I think he heard us, because he turned around. We waved. He waved back. No awkwardness whatsoever.
So why did I feel so awkward about asking this guy about his personal life when he talks about it so freely in his podcast? I think it might be because I don't really know how to talk to normal people.

If you have any advice for me, or an awesome story about meeting someone famous, please do post it in this. I would love to hear about it!

And here are the websites that you can find info on Matt Dahl or his band:

Seriously though, all these bands tonight were pretty good. I danced a lot.


  1. When I interned at the old Rock 103.5 FM--remember Mancow, Jo Robinson, Lou Brutus, etc.--I would run into a few music celebrities on occasion. I remember seeing Sammy Hagar and really wanting to say 'hi' to him because I was probably at the time the only fan of Van Halen with Sammy (yeah, lame), but I just couldn't be cause, shit, he was Sammy Hagar. I think it all depends on the situation that you run into the person--when someone seems really far away or unapproachable, that almost feeds into the unapproachability. But in this case with Matt Dahl, it seems like it was the exact opposite. Because you know so much about him from the podcast, it almost seemed to work against you being able to approach him.

    Either way, I like your story.

  2. Remember that time I saw Andrew Bird makin' out with his laaaady by the bike rack at B&N? Haaaaaa. Awkward.

  3. Ha Ha, I know wayyyyyyyyyyy too much about The Stever and his spawn. I've meet some famous people to some funny results. Wee Man was once a horrible customer to me. I'd always enjoyed his antics until I was invloved. He was on TMZ last night and I'm still annoyed by him. Another lame one was helping Pat Buchanan find the restroom. I will only tell you funny stories in person so I can re-enact voices and odd postures and such.
    p.s. I once thought I heard Brendan at Gino's and sorta couldn't stop eavesdropping.

  4. -You know, the show was filled with so many hipsters, I thought the cool thing to do would be to pretend I only knew about the band. And think that Matt Dahl himself was a pretentious hipster, that's why I thought it would be uncool to say something about the podcast or his dad or something.
    -Andrew Bird... *swoon*
    -How could you not eavesdrop on Brendan's conversations!? That voice, how is it so low?

  5. pretentious hipster!? you definitely should have said hello. if i seemed distant it was only from having been up for 24 hours driving/breaking down in the van.

    also, i'm no celebrity. but thanks for thinking that. it makes me seem cool.

    thanks for listening to the podcast, though. i'm glad you think it's funny. well, funny for a pretentious hipster at least. ;)

  6. I meant pretentious hipster in the nicest way possible, I swear!!
    Ben and I will be at your show with the White Rabbits coming up, so we'll definitely say hi.