In 1990, at the age of 24, when I began to record my first solo album with Disney’s Hollywood Records, I was pleasantly surprised by my Producer Julian Raymond… who knew about my first “secret” Rock n Roll crush.
He knew that THIS band had been my first arena show EVER…
He knew that I still had all of their pop-punk buttons hidden in my ballerina jewelry box…
He knew that when I was 13, I would often lie on my bed and sing their lyrics, while holding their record cover close to my face, and kissing my “secret” Rock n Roll crush, during all of the silent pauses between everyone of their hit songs.
Yes… he knew all about my affair with Tom Petersson, bass player of Cheap Trick, and it seemed that he had somehow become “Wish Master” the man who had the ability to grant me my Rock n Roll fantasy: a date with Tom Petersson.
“I have someone coming down to the studio to record with you this next week,” Julian said.
“Really?” I asked.
“Yeah,” Julian smirked. “I think you might have heard of him. His name is Tom Petersson.”
I felt like my head was actually going to explode.
I tried to play it cool, like all good Rock and Roll musicians are supposed to do, but my “Folk Roots” must have kicked in because I became an emotional mess in a matter of seconds.
“TOM PETERSSON?” I shouted. “TOM? MY TOM?”
I never thought I would hear a man giggle, but Julian actually did, as he left me in the recording studio and walked back into the control booth.
I watched as he pushed the control room sound button and said to me, “Yep. Your Tom Petersson.”
My heart was racing.
I had been madly in love with Tom Petersson all of my 7th grade year and way into the summer.
He was beautiful to me in every way.
His dark hair.
His blue eyes.
His flirt of a smile and of course…
the biggest seducer of them all…. his talent.
My secret Rock n Roll crush.
An entire week.
Working on MY MUSIC.
It was too good to be true.
I’d like to say that I didn’t primp for the big event with Tom but… I did.
My X hadn’t seen me so pumped up about “being with a man” since our wedding day.
“He’s just a bass player,” he mumbled. His lead singer ego all in an uproar.
I gave him a big hug, “You’re my man,” I whispered and watched as he smiled and toddled off to go play with one of his tube amps.
Don’t get me wrong… I adored and loved my lead singer husband, but there was no way in hell I could tell him that all of my life I had been secretly in love with bass players… yes.. the list is actually legendary and no need to name names… you all know who you are… and Tom Petersson was at the top of my list.
Bass players always seemed so mellow, laid back… cool.
They dropped a goose egg here or there…
They never stole the limelight…
They kept the rhythm going and popped out of the mix every once in awhile to shine.
So I shaved my legs, and curled my hair, and picked out my cutest dress to wear the first day that I would meet my big crush.
And when Tom came into the studio… you could imagine my surprise… when the first thing I noted was his size: not much taller than me actually. I had always pictured him larger than life… but as he strutted towards me, I could see that he had this charisma about him that seemed to radiate throughout the room.
He walked forward, skinny jeans, expensive London mod boots, tight black t-shirt, open white suit jacket… his hair cropped punky and short now… but still dark… and his eyes… still a brilliant blue and said, “D.D.!” as if I had always been and would always be his best friend as he reached out, hugging and kissing me, until I thought I really would just lay down happily and die.
I rarely get tongue-tied and I rarely get star-struck but for a moment… I felt myself turn back into a 13-year-old DORK, though I tried to contain it, as I gave him a great big smile before saying, “Tom!” Just a little too loudly… and a little too breathy… giving away a bit of my junior high school persona.
“Can’t wait to play on your tracks,” he said. “Good stuff.”
And I thought that of all the validation I had ever received in my life time, to have one of your star musician crushes tell you that your music was “good” basically “worthy of their attention” that they would take time out of their superstar life to come and play with you… well I tell you… it was the best validation ever…
“Pull my finger,” Tom said abruptly, causing me to immediately step out of my starstruck validation moment, while realizing that his voice had the same rough and raspy texture as David Johansen’s from the New York Dolls.
“Excuse me?” I said.
“Pull it,” Tom repeated.
I hesitated a moment before I reached out and grabbed his finger, and the next thing I knew, Tom Petersson blasted out a terrific fart.
His laugh had a lot of bass and a booming tenor… it was a guffaw that filled the room.
“Don’t you just love fart jokes,” he said as he walked into the recording studio and got his bass out and ready to play.
I looked at Julian who said, “Don’t you just love the reality of the situation?”
I’m sure he meant it to be facetious… but actually… I did.
To find out that Tom Petersson was just “one of the guys” a down to earth, super cool, “Good Time Charlie” made me beam from ear to ear.
I couldn’t imagine what the week would hold: the possibilities of fun and trouble were obviously endless.
The next day, I rushed to the studio to be with Tom and found that he had brought me a present.
“D.D.” he said. “You have to see this.” He handed me a video tape.
I was afraid to touch it.
“It isn’t porno,” he said. “It’s Robert Tilton.”
Okay… so maybe I was confused. Did Tom Petersson, my Rock n Roll crush… my Musical God of Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll just give me a tape showcasing an evangelical television preacher?
“Watch it,” he said. “Actually,” He grabbed my hand and dragged me from the studio, “Let’s find a TV and watch it together now.”
We rushed down the hallway, and broke into an office, where we found a TV and VCR and popped the tape into the player.
“You’re gonna love this,” he howled as he grabbed two chairs and pulled me down to sit next to him.
I watched as the tape began to roll and Robert Tilton appeared. He was preaching about the word of the Lord when suddenly he stopped, squinted his eyes to pause for spiritual emphasis, and then a loud fart sound emanated from his ass.
Tom squealed with laughter.
“Isn’t it great?” he said. “Someone took all of his TV sermons and added fart tracks behind it. Isn’t it the best thing ever?”
I can’t say I wasn’t enjoying myself… I was… I was alone with Tom Petersson, I was sharing a personal moment with him, ANYTHING would have made me happy but… I couldn’t help but wonder for a moment, What if Robin Zander were in the room with us? Did he have the same bathroom mentality?
Tom shook my hand, sure that I wasn’t paying proper attention.
“Look D.D.!” He shouted, “Look!”
I watched again as Robert Tilton paused for spiritual significance and a long rapid series of fart sounds descended upon us.
Tom could barely breath. He actually slapped his skinny little Rock n Roll knee, shook his head and sighed before saying, “I just love this,” and I felt a sudden ache in my heart.
How I wish I could have been on the road with Tom circa 1977.
I bet he was so much fun to travel with.
He must have been the prankster. The trickster. The one always up for a good time. I bet he had never been mean to a fan in his life time. He was everything I could ever want him to be.
Our week together passed by quickly… one prank after another: fart jokes, pages of porn magazines taped under office desks… and in cartage containers… and stuffed into acoustic sound holes of guitars… and when it was time for him to leave… I knew how much I would miss him.
“Stop it,” he said in his deep booming voice. “I’ll see you soon. You’ll come to a show right? We can hang out. Have fun.”
And there it was again… my 13-year-old fantasy come true.
And as the years have passed… it’s been nice to hear from friends in the business that he still asks after me… still rants and raves about our great time together in the studio that week.
And fart jokes and all… my Rock n Roll crush is still… my beautiful legendary gentleman.