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Summary:

I don’t normally watch much TV with the exception of a handful of shows but I have to make a confession- I am an American Idol addict.  A number of friends and colleagues have expressed surprise at this revelation so I thought it time to explain […]

I don’t normally watch much TV with the exception of a handful of shows but I have to make a confession- I am an American Idol addict.  A number of friends and colleagues have expressed surprise at this revelation so I thought it time to explain why I am hooked on such a campy show.  (BTW, Bo was the clear winner in my book).

Very few people are aware that I was the lead vocalist in a band more years ago than I will admit.  Our band played in my hometown of Houston, Texas and we gained a little bit of local notoriety.  It was a fantastic time in my life with a lot of things happening all at once.  Unfortunately I was probably too young at the time to fully appreciate it but I remember those times with fondness.  Our band played at small Houston clubs for a couple of years and I suppose we were pretty good.  We never had a problem getting a gig and it’s a sign of those times that we couldn’t make any money doing it.

It was a great time full of opportunity and when I look back on the experience it is amazing how far we were able to go and that we achieved such local "fame" simply by word of mouth.  There were no web sites, no self promoting with CDs, fame was the sole result of word of mouth for local bands who received no radio airplay.  There were two key events for me that stand out in my mind, probably bigger as a memory than they were at the time.  For the band the biggest moment came when we performed as the opening act for the great musician Donovan (caution, audio will play).  We played to a crowd of about 600 people which was huge for us but a total disappointment for Donovan, who had played to 50,000 fans at stadiums throughout Europe and the US.  His appearance with us in Houston was on his "my career is finally over tour" but it was very big time for our band.  It was amazing meeting him and listening to him perform, even if he was already fading from the public eye.

Gilleys_todayThe second big moment came for me personally when I was asked to go up on stage at Gilley’s to sing with Dick Allen and the River Road Boys, a famous (in Texas) country band with a big following.  It was pretty common in those days for local musicians to get called up on stage for impromptu jam sessions and one of the guys in their band had seen us perform in some bar in Houston and recognized me.  Getting asked to perform with them was great and performing in front of the Gilley’s crowd was absolutely incredible.  For anyone not familiar with Gilley’s at that time it was the biggest Honky Tonk in the US and was the site for the Urban Cowboy movie.  Great times for me and I remember them fondly.

The reality of requiring money with which to eat, coupled with the "breakup" of the band made me leave that world behind and get into a "real" profession.  I often wonder what would have happened had I been able to stay in the music business.  This is the reason I am addicted to American Idol, and even though I only started watching it last year after I watched a couple of shows I was hooked.  It makes me wonder what could have been had something like this existed when I was performing and I admire what these performers have to go through on the show to make it to the top.  Message to young folks, follow your dreams if at all possible.  Don’t wonder what might have been.

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  1. For the record, JK can still sing (at least he could prior to his by-pass surgery). He recorded two songs for me when we were dating. It obviously worked as now I’m Mrs. JK!

    I’m not sure if JK knows this, but, during his recovery from his bypass, he couldn’t talk above a whisper as his vocal cords suffored temporary damage from the tubes inserted for surgery. He was released on 9/11/2001 which was a day that I will never forget for a multitude of reasons. His surgery was terrifying for me as the two people that I loved the most (my parents) both checked into hospitals but never made it out. During this whole ordeal I must have functioned on pure adrenalin. Once he was released, I had a hard time dealing with reality. Do we function as normal? Should I treat him like a glass doll that might break? Will he really recover in six weeks? Will he still be offered the job that he was supposed to start the day he went into the hospital? What I needed most was to be able to hear his voice. JK has been and always will be my voice of reason. When I get anxious or upset, or when I worry, I know that I can talk about my feelings and count on his calmness to carry me through. About three weeks into his recovery, I felt so terribly alone. All of my fears that I had been supressing through this time came to a head. I felt like I couldn’t possibly make it another day without hearing his voice. I got into my car, put his tape in, cranked the volume and drove (fast) without a destination, and cried my eyes out until I couldn’t cry anymore. Amazingly enough, just hearing his voice got me through that time. I remember coming home and feeling like a new person. I love you honey!

  2. I love you too. I didn’t know.

  3. Gosh, you too are making me tear up, seriously.

    It’s nice to see that you both know what is the most important thing to you in this world, each other.

    American Idol this year was very good. The talent was exceptional, except for that Maroulis guy.

    And yes, Bo was the clear winner and I know he’ll be signed and have a very successfuly career. His last song with Lynard Skynard was awesome and that’s not normally my favorite music.

    I don’t know if I believe it, but someone recently told me that you take your love and make it your hobby and you take your passion and make it your career.

    I’ve been fortunate to be passionate and love my career and have a loving and supportive family.

    Thanks for sharing this James and Sheri!

  4. Another Idol Addict here. And I watched for many of the same reasons as JK (although I think Carrie was a clear winner). I used to make my living singing 6 nights a week. Never played in a band – as a keyboard player as well as a singer, I was able to recreate band stuff using synthesizers.

    One of the Idol contestants was a local girl – the one who sold her wedding ring to travel to the audition – Regina Brooks I think is the name. I was backstage a couple of weeks ago at an event where she was performing and I started singing. The crew was amazed that this old lady still has the pipes to outsing a youngster like that :)

    In my heyday, I was invited to California to pursue my career by some pretty well-placed people in the industry (won’t name names here). At the time, my relationship was rather new so I chose to stay home. While I do not regret choosing love (we’ve been together nearly 25 years), I will always wonder if I had the right stuff to make it. No matter what I do, music will always be my passion.

    And Sherri & JK – thanks for sharing. It is obvious that you two love each other and that’s a really good thing.

  5. Another AI fan…it’s my guilty pleasure.

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