Most R&R fans don’t really know what happens back stage; can you tell us a little about your experience?
That’s a really tough question right from the start. Wow! Way to start with a bang!
Mainly because it takes me most of the book to truly give you an accurate picture of what the real world behind the scenes at a concert is really all about. I think most people imagine they do know from the sensationalized stories about oversexed rock stars surrounded by giggling, wiggling, gorgeous young groupies willing to thrill every boy in the band, and how marvelous it all is for everyone involved.
Books and magazine articles all blasting full volume the same message “My life is a non–stop party because I am wonderful, I am A STAR (or I sleep with them) don’t you poor boring ordinary people wish you were me?”
But the reality is very different and I wanted to show what I quickly discovered really happens behind the scenes when the “glamorous world backstage” becomes the one and only world you want and must have, and then turns into the only one you know. You have no choice but to convince yourself you are living the dream, every boy or girls ultimate fantasy; because when you stop believing in it, even for a moment and really look round at what is really going on, let the illusion suddenly be stripped away, you awaken to find everything you ever dreamed of only existed within the dream.
Because the reality wasn’t the place you had been promised in the fan magazines and the people there are not the people you thought they were or you really want to be with, and they certainly aren’t the people you think they are or the kind you want to turn out to be.
In your book, Even Rock and Roll Has Fairy Tales, you have a relationship with #EricBurdon (The Animals)—that’s interesting! Would you mind sharing a little about that?
Would you mind terribly if I used a quote from the book to answer this question? To tell you I would just be re-writing this same thing, and I think in the book I do tell it much better….
“When I first met Eric, I had just turned eighteen and he was in his late thirties. He hadn’t had any hits on the radio lately, or built up much of a career touring in the states at that point in time. I guess you might say he was in a bit of a slump. It was nothing like the days on the road when he was a star of one of the biggest bands in the world. However, times had changed, and so had popular music. Punk and disco were not his forte or his friends, and they were not my taste either. I did not buy those records or know who any of those people were, but I sure knew who he was. His original band was one of my top groups ever. Nevertheless, he was still gorgeous, extremely sexy and very talented- even if the fickle fans of the top forty American AM radio seemed to have forgotten him temporarily. Dark shaggy hair, fantastic smile, that sexy soft English accent combined with his fame, charm, outspoken personality and big, rich powerful, soulful voice he had a powerful presence, impossible to overlook or ignore whether presented in a stiff suit, silk shirts, fringe and fur, denim and leather or tie-dye. He was accustomed to living the life of a rock and roll legend, playing everything from the hottest clubs to the biggest stadiums as he had since he had his first hit record just out of his teens.
He had always seemed pretty stiff, quite serious, very hard and tough, when I had seen him in pictures in fan magazines or on TV however, he was much softer than I ever expected or imagined at the time I met him. He was charming, lighthearted and joyous. Playful and mischievous, with a certain impish quality that could completely disarm you, which women all over the world found irresistible.
Notorious for his very bad attitude and very big mouth and infamous for the celebrated company he kept and their well-chronicled, inebriated antics. He had been living and loving a lifestyle of extremes and excess, which almost managed to overshadow his talent, which was, quite formidable.
Enter the Shiny Happy Sherry Fairy. Landing right on cue, front row and center.
Right where I could get a good look at him and be sure he got one of me. Just a naïve little freckle-faced redheaded American kid from the suburbs, who somehow ended up in just in the right or the wrong place as Eric that particular night. Done up like a birthday present in a pink flowered sundress and white hair ribbons and a pair of sky-high heel platform sandals. Clearly, it was a match made in rock and roll heaven. I was struck completely deaf, dumb, blind, and stupid by the size of the stars he put into my eyes. He had stayed there for all these years even though I had called a halt to my years as backstage teen queen and gave the whole ridiculous scene up over 15 years ago.”
This isn’t a “tell all” book, but rather, a story chronicling your adventures. What was your favorite part of this book to write? And why?
I originally wrote this story as a creative nonfiction short story assignment for a beginning writing class. The professor loved it so much she insisted I must turn it into a novel. So to her great shock, and even more so, my own, I sat down at the keyboard without moving for over 14 months and I did. Not only wrote it but published it, promoted it, and no one is more surprised than myself at the readers reactions, the critics enjoyment, the warm public reception and hopefully, it’s increasing success.
I really enjoyed writing the original short story version I did for class, I could play it up for all the laughs I could get and that was good fun. However I realized if I decided to turn it into a novel that wasn’t good enough, I had to really dig deep inside to tell it the way it should be told and that was going to be a very emotional and challenge experience. To find out what, if anything made this a story worth reading, a story that was interesting to anyone else but just me. What about my story separated it from anything that had been done before or like anything by anyone else.
There were dozens of books by girls glorifying their days at the back door and the has- been or wanna-be boys in the bands, and they were all selling the same pathetic thrills, exaggerating their exploits and crowing over their conquests, busy giving the “nobodies “ out there the thrills they thought was all they wanted , to get the same old song and dance, sex and drugs and rock and roll, of which had been told a thousand times before and was to be expected from that sort of crap. Bragging about hangovers and heroin habits, cocaine, cash and celebrities, limousines, liquor, limelight, and luxuries, all the women, of course and wild orgies galore. They weren’t shocking or even interesting to me, it was all so commonplace. Predictable, ordinary, unimpressive, and unoriginal, the same boring backstage business as usual, same old “sluts r us” stories, identical interchangeable band after band, year after year, behind every backstage door all over the world, I worked very hard to NOT do that.
I had never read one that told it like it really was. At least when you lived in a boring suburban place like Maryland, where there was nothing to do and nowhere good to go which is what 75 percent of being on the road is really like. I worried constantly “How much of it truly interested or mattered to the reader? Was the only thing the public wanted to hear variations of the same sexy glamorous Rock Stars Adventures in Excess instead of the truth, which often is not sexy and glamorous at all, compared to versions by pretentious posers? What more could I offer? What was so different about my experiences, to make it worth writing about at all? Which aspects, if any, of my story would truly enlighten interest and engage a reader? Could my very unusual life and experiences reach and touch others and resonate within those who had lives nothing like mine at all?”
I don’t believe a reader can be captivated by a story unless they feel deeply and truly come to care about the outcome and the storyteller and the only way that was going to happen was if I was passionately, brutally honest and open, defenseless, unprotected and completely exposed. I had no interest in telling the same old backstage sleeping with stars stories, no desire to be a sleazy stereotype or just another cheesy rock and roll cliché.
If I was going to do this, I was going to have to go back to the very start, and become that child again, see it all through those innocent eyes that had no idea how the whole thing would eventually end, so as it all unfolded over the years it would be just as much of a surprise to me as it was the reader.
That part was really hard. I had to feel everything I felt then with no reservations, the joy, the excitement and go through the pain of growing up all over again and learning it all the hard way as time went on, concentrating on how I felt in each moment as if I had no idea what was going to happen next.
I had to forgive Eric and fall for him again, just as I had as a teenage girl which wasn’t easy to do because when I started the book I had hated him so much I couldn’t look at a picture or hear a song or watch a video of him for 15 years. But I couldn’t write the story without looking and listening and thinking about him and the old days constantly.
What does Eric Burdon think of your hilarious memoir?
I’m quite sure Mr. Burdon does not find the fact I wrote this book funny at all! When he read it, which I’m fairly sure he must have, he’s certainly aware of its existence, he has been confronted about it in the press often enough. I’m also fairly certain that he found it nowhere near as entertaining or half as amusing as the readers do and I did! but I suspect deep down beneath any outrage he might secretly be rather pleased with himself, at the ripe old age of 72, to be in the news for a juicy sex scandal, the star of a steamy rock and roll teen queens dreams, reminding the public how gorgeous, charming and sexy he was, how women all over the world once worshipped him, and why he was considered a legend off the stage, as much as one onstage, back in the day. Although he would never admit it to you, me or himself. LOL
This is a very funny interview with Eric, because they confronted him about my book and my fans took over the comment section and made it all about ME!
What types of positive and negative attention have you received since publishing this book?
To my great relief and delight I have received no abuse or harassment from anyone! No rabid Eric fans, No infatuated female fans, not a soul nor a troll has given me the slightest difficulty or grief and I have only received warmth, support and affection from both the readers and the critics. No one who has heard or read anything about me or my book has accused of being untruthful and attempting to try to deceive the public, by making any or all of it up or accessed me of pretending this all happened when it did not, or claimed in reality I never knew or was with Eric at all. At least not to my face! And not anywhere I have seen in print. All Eric has said on the matter is he has no idea who I am, which is of course what he would say and he’s not fooling anyone. If there were skeptics before they read my story, they weren’t any more by after. I actually expected to be called a liar or obsessed or crazy or worse when I published it and was braced for the worst and prepared to have to defend myself with all my might from a barrage of attacks but so far no one I am aware of has questioned my credibility. It was such a relief not to have to prove myself to anyone, and not to have to put up a huge battle to defend myself. I suppose the story is so detailed and so complicated, and so strange, amazing and bizarre they must conclude no one could make a story like this up, no matter how hard they tried. All and all it has been a pretty wonderful and amazing experience
In an average day, how much time do you spend writing?
I write obsessively from the moment I wake up until I go to sleep. Many a day I wake up at 5pm in the same clothes from the day before, after writing non-stop for days, still on the couch, shivering, with no blanket, my laptop still on lap, then after removing any ferrets that have taken up residence under or around me, shooing the birds off my head and picking the majority of the birdseed out of my hair, I start typing again. I have so many stories to tell and so little time left to tell them in, I don’t mess around, I must work all the time. I’m not getting any younger and I’ve put some serious wear and tear and quite a bit of mileage on this poor old beat up physical machine that will have to haul my typing finger the next ten or twenty years. And because I’m just learning , and constantly studying how to get better at this “writing stuff” I have been known to spend four or five hours on the same ten sentences until I have them absolutely perfect. So you can imagine how long 50,000 plus words took me to complete!
Because I write non-fiction and have been to at least 500- 600 concerts throughout the years I never run out of material and so I never have writers block, Eric’s story is just one of hundreds.
However many of the most interesting gig experiences are best done just as anecdotes/ short stories so I have decided to put them up as blog entries, distilling them down to only the really significant parts of the experience rather than trying to stretch them out with a bunch of filler that really isn’t essential to the story.
I am loathe to gossip about really nice people I respected and liked and knew well all these years like Huey Lewis, Ian Hunter, Nick Lowe, Robin Zander, Kevin Cronin, Paul , Grace and The Starship, Spencer Davis and so many others, SO when I tell the stories about my favorite musicians and people it will be in my “fictional” epic rock novel Series now available on amazon.com called http://www.TheAmazingGracelynn.com
Fictional in this case really only means “a whole bunch of true stories just with a lot of fake names” The identities of the stars involved just disguised (some better than others) depending on how fond I was of them and if it’s a tale of extremely admirable behavior or exceptionally bad.
If you have been an absolute villain, you will be shown to be one in my story and don’t be surprised if it isn’t that difficult for a music fan to work out who you really are. Believe me boys; there are a few of you that should be very worried. You know who you are. LOL
You’re an indie author, currently. Have you ever considered traditional publishing?
I considered trying to go the route of traditional publishing but it takes years from start to finish getting a book on the shelves that way, if you can manage to get an agent or publisher at all in the first place. I knew that as a new writer, with no credentials convincing someone to take a chance on me would not be easy and frankly I really did not want to start off every morning with an inbox full of emails telling me, “No thank you, get lost, not interested, you suck.”
I found that many publishers/agents were immediately frightened off by the fact this was a true story about a living person and they didn’t want to risk leaving themselves open to litigation. But I knew I was safe from anything like that because one, it was all true and I could prove it and pass a polygraph with ease and two, because I studied the laws associated and followed very strictly what would and would not be considered defamation or invasion of privacy.
It was very important to me as well, because of my own personal ethics and principals that I tell the story in such a way I could live with myself and not feel I had betrayed his” expectation of privacy” in certain matters and certain places. I knew I was in for dozens or hundreds of rejection letters for months or years before I got a book deal, if ever. And in this case neither Eric nor I will be around much that much longer and neither will most of his biggest fans, I didn’t feel like I had that much time to waste. I wanted the book on the shelves as soon as possible so I decided to self-publish and it was a very good thing I did as well.
Who knew that when I started a book about myself and a washed up superstar almost two years earlier that almost the exact same moment I finished it he would have one of the biggest comebacks in rock and roll history and become one of the hottest acts in the business, with an album in the top ten records of 2013? He has admitted to having the best year of his career last year and this coming one is looking just as good for him, if not better. Which works out pretty good for me too, so you won’t catch me complaining. http://www.evenrockandrollhasfairytales.com
Is there another book in the works?
Always! I never stop working. I am merrily toiling away as fast as my fingers can fly on the massive new series of years the life of The Amazing Gracelynn
with all the dirt on every band and from every show, just with paper bags over their heads, so you can enjoy the stories, with the faces and names concealed and with the extra added bonus have all the fun of playing “ I bet I know who that is…” while you enjoy the books LOL Book Three Goodness Gracelynn! will be out by the end of November 2015 www.theamazinggracelynn.com
I am working with a really amazing young artist in Spain, Camille O Hyde . I fell in love with her work when i saw a picture she did on a Queen Fan page http://camilleohyde.bigcartel.com/
The paperbacks are fairly short, and quite inexpensive but i wanted to cover only one year at a time but they are a gorgeous and i wanted people to be able to build a collection. ! I would recommend buying the first two at the same time, otherwise the shipping is almost as much as the book, and that way you get two books for the same postage! In one package! And since book one talks place from the time she was ten to sixteen it doesnt really get HOT until book two! Where she discovers going backstage and turns into a kid in a candy store
I have a fictional long/short story I just published as an introduction to my work for new fans, a bargain at 99 cents, as a “try before you buy” for the cautious purchaser who won’t commit to purchasing a whole novel unless they are sure they are going to love it!
and I will be posting the true rock and roll stories regularly on my blog shinyhappysherry.wordpress.com
I have an old school classic gumshoe detective story “Senseless Tragedy” coming out soon, which was a fun change of pace and I’m very pleased with the results. Ive always been a huge fan of that sort of thing! Find out more at http://www.amazon.com/Sherry-Carroll/e/B00E5L5MWG/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1445629748&sr=8-1
Thank you so much for your time. That was really fun
No, thank you, I really enjoyed it too! Hopefully you will be reading ( and hearing) much more from me!
It was a terrible year to be at Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice Festival, but there were still over 40,000 people partying all over the mound, climbing, screaming, singing, dancing, and chanting. It was raining that English summer country rain, the kind that goes on non-stop for days and comes at you in a fine mist from every direction and soaksnot just through everything you are wearing but all the way through you as well and chills you to the marrow. It was 4am. There were (at least) three longer, hard, hours until sunrise and any hope of getting warm or dry again. We were sitting on dirty black plastic bin liners, huddled up together, shivering, backs up against the stones, under a leaky, makeshift shelter made of an old umbrella and some scrap sheets of plastic we managed to find somewhere. It wasn’t helping much. We had just managed to get here an hour ago. I had been on a plane all night the night before. I was exhausted before we even got here. This year, or me, so far, it wasn’t exactly boatloads of fun. I wasn’t sure about Simon
“Shhhhhhh…” Simon said it so softly I almost couldn’t hear him at first, over all the chaos.
“Be very still… and quiet”
He pointed down at the ground, near to his right leg, at a quiet little spot (just about the only one, anywhere) where there happened to be no plastic covering the earth. There was a hole in the ground no more than an inch or two in diameter, right up against the base of the massive stone. Poking its head out the top was a tiny grey creature with pointy nose and bright grey eyes, come to join us in our plastic womb (or tomb) just barely big enough for the two (no, make that the three!) of us
“What is it?”
“I don’t even know what that is.”
“It’s kind of like a shrew. Just think of it as a sort off a fat, fancy, mouse”
“ Great. Now I’m picturing it in a top hat, dickey with a bow tie and a monocle”
It didn’t seem frightened at all. Only curious as to what was all the commotion and who we were and just exactly what the heck was going on around here at this hour. I think if we had wanted to, we could have reached out with one finger and stroked it on the head.
“It’s only mid –June, it can’t be more than a month or two old. So it’s never seen a single person in its entire life. Look, it doesn’t know enough to even be afraid of us. It’s never even seen one normal human being, and now there are 40.000 lunatics taken over its entire world.”
“I think I know how it feels; I’ve had a few days like that”
“Can you just imagine? You’re just going along, doing your own little vole thing, every single day, minding your business and this place is completely deserted.”
“And one day, you just wake up, and stick your nose out, and see …this?”
We now we are laughing out loud now, we are all warm and lit up from the inside, with all that special bliss that envelopes you once you understand the universes gave you the privilege of sharing with you firsthand, one of their millions of wonderful, crazy, miniscule, everyday miracles happening all around you all the time that you almost never fortunate enough to notice, much less enjoy, or appreciate.
Once in a great while, you just get to “ to have a larrff” with the Mighty Forces of our Grand Universe , and join in on one of the Great Cosmic Jokes, even if it’s just for a moment or two, even if it’s just one with big grey eyes and pointy snoot, that’s only two inches long.
Our little friend spent all night with us. Every now and then he would scuttle out and take a few steps and a bit of a sniff, safe under our shelter, making the occasional trip back down below to do whatever it is that a busy baby vole must do to meet his vole responsibilities, and to fill his busy little vole day . I don’t know how long the average vole lives (but I hope it’s a long, long time.) I think of him sometimes when I think of Stonehenge, or Simon or I think I just heard the Universe give a quiet little giggle. And I wish I could see my little friend someday, so I could ask him… “Hey little buddy… Did you ever make it to the party again? “
Book two in my new Series the Amazing Gracelynn has been 80% percent done since December! And I’m just finishing it this week (I hope) but everything has gone wrong since Christmas! I started turning into Jabba the Hutt sometime in late December, but I thought , well, I just need the weather to get good, get some exercise, fresh air, get a tan , stop spending so much time at the keyboard and more doing things like occasionally speaking to people and leaving the house and I’m sure the unattractive skin tone , insanely rapidly increasing writers spread, newly acquired cankles, lethargy and the bizarre croaking sound when I attempt to use my vocal chords will be gone in no time!
As soon as it gets the slightest bit warm I’m going back on Atkins and starting my daily 2 mile walk to the gym again, starting Operation Turn Back time and catching the bus home curled up in a ball moaning 3 hours later! It will be great! So off I trot to by My GP who gives me the Great news! I am not, in fact a lunatic who loves to scream at my rambunctious adult children who should know better horse playing full volume while I’m trying to work but instead I have high blood pressure!
HA HA HA In your face FAM!
I am NOT a crazy bitch I’m SICK! TOLD YOU SO! Go ME!
And he must have been right because about a week later I heard my sixteen year old whispering to his big brother on the phone” Mom is so… nice. Now”
So I resolve to begin healthy living immediately as promised. And then we have the Coldest February on the east coast of the US of A in RECORDED HISTORY! But that’s okay because I’m still feeling pretty shitty and Jabba the Hutt thing is really out of control at this point so I really don’t feel like walking much anyway especially since I wake up screaming in agony and rush myself to the emergency room to find out I have a severe kidney infection!
“How bad is it Doc?”
“Well, most people come in here with a little blood in their urine, you have a little urine in your blood.”
“I mean I know I never move off the couch because I’m always writing, live on the coffee, rum, orange, juice and dill pickle diet when I’m working but why do I feel so crappy all the time? And what s up with the whole turning into Jabba the Hutt thing?”
“Well we did every test on you know to mankind and some we made on the spot just for the fun of it and the conclusion is it’s a miracle you managed to drag your boated , babyshit brown colored croaking carcass in here because you have the worst thyroid levels we’ve ever seen in an actually living human being. How we all laughed in our office when we saw the results of your lab work! I thought Sharon at the front desk was going to pee herself she was so hysterical,” he says reminiscing wiping a tear of joy and amusement at my expense from his eye!”
However if you religiously take your thyroid meds as i have been telling you to for years instead of popping one every three or four days when you actually remember to eat REAL food you might start feeling slightly better in.. Oh, 3-4 months or so. But… On the bright side… (There is a bright side?)
“You are NOT, as your family and friends have been happily reminding you daily for five years, Going to Die! at least, In the near future “ If you don’t quit drinking, start , eating, get some exercise and quit staying up for three days non –stop writing” In fact, considering your lifestyle Its astounding just exactly how NOT GOING TO DIE YOU ARE!
“But I was so certain this time! What about the … “THYROID
“AND THE…” THYROID
“Yeah but then there’s the …” THYROID”
“But certainly THIS is really Weir…” “THYROID”
But you have to admit THAT is certainly not Norma…” “ THYROID”
So I crawled on the bus and went home , in my scaly brown flabby body leaving a trail of green oooze behind me and with a hot girl in a gold bikini with hair earmuffs on a leash.
Not looking forward to the next four months but thrilled at the opportunity to disappoint my loved ones with the news that I was not, in fact, going to die and as long as I took my meds I could continue to do just exactly as I pleased 24/7 without dying ANYTIME in the near future unless one of them smothered me in my sleep. Which is not outside the realm of possibility, which is one of the main reasons I never sleep.
But I did decide that it was time for a much needed vacation so I went to visit my son Jayme the actor in LA for two weeks for some fresh air, exercise, sunshine and “medicine”.
Los Angles, of course, being the perfect vacation destination when you are going to hang out with a bunch of gorgeous sexy 20 something actors, models, and comedians when “Dude yo mamma is so sick she looks just like Jabba the Hut” which was unfortunately, confirmed when I got home and checked out the 400 pictures of the trip only two of which I would be caught dead in and will ever see the light of day, believe me.
Will blog LA trip in part two.
But at least March got off to a good start!
So I immediately doubled my time drinking , and staying up on 50 hour writing marathons knowing my internal organs had already been that badly abused and were still giving me the thumbs up so I clearly wasn’t working hard enough yet! GO ME!
I’m hoping June will be better because in May my husband had a life threatening heart blocked artery situation which was hopefully fixed permanently with two stents GO SCIENCE!
But causing me to miss the Todd Rundgren Global tour gig in Virginia and backstage at The Who in Philly, two of the only three decent shows coming up the next two months but really, in the scheme of things SO WHAT? GO GRATITUDE!
My mom has gotten even sicker even though with Parkinson’s disease and a bad heart already getting SICKER really doesn’t seem fair, but her team of Specialists have been predicting she would die any day now for at least the last twenty years and I think she’s so determined not to that when the rest of us are gone it will be up to her and Keith Richards to repopulate the human race. GO MOM!
My Dell from Hell which had just been completely refurbished after it ate hard drive number 16 in January ate hard drive number 17 in May and computer less I spent a week tearing the house apart doing hard physical manual labor trying to clean and organize the place because the only time I do housework is when my computer is broken!( hmmmm, I wonder if my hubby has anything to do with all those broken hard drives?)
And my oldest son could have died in a car crash but emerged without a scratch!
Then went BACK to work on the book full force immediately after and I crashed so bad from all the hard work and stress in Jan through April that the third week of May I just slept non- stop seven straight days and I’m still tired! LOL
But we are all still here and for that I’m very happy and very grateful
And by the of the week book two Growing Up Gracefully will be a final draft for proofreading
SO GO LIFE! http://aaa.theamazinggracelynn.com/