I’m a heavy metal magnet

I thought I’d take a break from wordy articles on music instruction or computer music composition to post something a bit lighter.

I was just walking to my usual coffeshop and passed a certain grocery store in my San Diego neighborhood. I recalled that it was at that store I saw Judas Priest singer Rob Halford. At the time, I was aware that he lived in my neighborhood and I pointed him out to my girlfriend. The check-out clerk mentioned that Halford comes in a lot. The clerk then added that another frequent guest to the store was Ace Frehely, guitarist of KISS. “Wouldn’t it be crazy to see him too?” I thought, though the odds of seeing two heavy metal legends in any small period of time seemed small.

Then, about two months later, I was in a FedEx and saw a guy who appeared in his 50s or 60s but still had that youthful, rock and roll look: long hair, leather jacket etc. At first I just figured he was some local metalhead but then it dawned on me—it was Ace! (I looked up recent pictures of him online to verify.)

For some reason, I frequently bump into men of metal. Years ago I was descending the stairwell of a parking lot in Santa Monica and I passed Ozzy Osbourne walking with two kids on the way up. Before I recognized him by sight, I recognized his stammering British voice, made so popular on “The Osbournes.”

Sometime around 2005 I was in the Los Angeles airport, waiting for a flight to Reno. I saw a rather disheveled looking gentlemen who had a great head of long, blonde hair. Again, I dismissed him as a nobody. While waiting for my flight I heard a conversation behind me and was plagued with a sense that one of the voices was familiar. It dawned on me that it was the voice of David Coverdale, singer for Whitesnake. (I was familiar with his spoken voice because he had a brief monologue on one of the Whitesnake albums from the 70s.) I turned around, introduced myself and had a brief chat with him.

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