Today, March 18th is National Awkward Moments Day so we asked the WRIF staff to share some of their most cringe-worthy moments from over the years. What’s the most awkward thing that’s happened to you?
A couple awkward moments jump right out to me right away.
Some rock stars have certain things they do when they meet fans. I went to see Carl Palmer a few years ago. Because of traffic from an accident on the way to the venue, I showed up late. Apparently, there was a recorded dissertation about what to do when you meet with Carl after the show. Of course, I missed this. One, was no handshakes, only fist-bumps…which I screwed up right away – strike one. Secondly, no flash photography. From what I know about my phone, it wasn’t on flash. Well, his manager took the picture and held down on the button until it flashed- strike three! Man, you would’ve I had just ruined his career. He stormed away from my friends and I pretty quickly.
Some awkward encounters with listeners include many who’ve called me Scott over the years. I guess they confuse Screamin’ and I.
Many, and I do mean many, think I’d be taller after hearing me on the radio. I get that comment all the time.
Sometimes in interviews you screw something up. I do a lot of them so it’s hard to get everything right. I recall interviewing DJ Ashba and Nikki Sixx a few years ago. I commented on how DJ’s guitar playing on the latest SIXX AM album was reminiscent of his work on the GNR Chinese Democracy album. Only one thing, he didn’t play on that record. Oops. Later in the interview I asked Nikki about his hot-rod collection and if he was a MOPAR fan because he owned some Dodges. He had no clue what I was talking about. Awkward.
I’ve screwed things up on stage numerous times, but I’ll leave that for some other time.
It was November back in 1997. Metallica & WRIF was doing a midnight release for Reload. I was asked by my promotions department to host the midnight release at a store called Media Play. I got to the store that night and was frantically calling people in promotions at the station asking, “where’s the WRIF van?!? Where is everybody?? The store is closed and I’m the only one here!!” Well, my father had always instructed me, “be on time for everything in life and then your never late!” I was on time, but a full 24 hours before the event was scheduled.
The most recent awkward encounter at work was when our CEO was in the office giving a speech to the entire staff. Everyone was quiet while she was talking, but I was on the air while this was happening. I went to open the door to the WRIF hallway, but when I swung it open, my stupid foot was in the way so I slammed the door into my shoe. It made a very loud banging noise as you would imagine, everyone looked over at me and needless to say I felt pretty awkward.
Another awkward moment I had was back in my early days at the station as a promo kid. I was helping OSG Ken load a 3 ton ice cream trailer into the bed of his truck to be returned. After telling him we didn’t need another DUDE to do the work, we went to the parking lot and came up with a plan. We’d both hoist it on the truck bed, then he would jump up and pull it from above. I underestimated the weight of this bad boy so when Ken let go of it to jump in the truck, I realized my mistake. That isn’t the awkward part however. When Ken hopped into the truck bed, his shorts snagged on a piece of metal and got stuck. He claims all he could see was the desperate look in my eyes from behind the ice cream trailer and had to make a decision: unsnag himself and let me die or rip his shorts and be the hero. Ken plays tough, but he saved my life that day, ripping a HUGE hole in the ass of his pants. Luckily he was wearing underpants!
OSG (Overly Straight Guy) KEN:
Can I just say any time I go to the bar with Jade?
When I started at the Riff, Al Beck was still doing overnights. I would come in at 4:30 AM to round up news for the morning show, and I noticed he was reading comic books. I was determined to make friends. I poked my head in the studio and said, “hey, Deadpool right?” Thankfully Al is just as awkward as I am so it worked and we hit it off immediately.
I might in fact be the king of awkwardness because every party I’ve ever been to, if there isn’t a bookshelf to organize or a house pet to shower with attention, I tend to just stand quietly near anyone I might know and listen to people interact while I try to figure out how to human. Thankfully I attract equally awkward partners because when a pretty lady shows interest in me, I have almost no idea how to properly respond to it. “Um….thanks?” “I’m flattered,” and “are you sure?” are a few of the responses I’ve used over the years. Somehow I’ve still gotten laid.
I have a cousin who’s several years older than me but who I hung out with quite a lot. He turned me on to a lot of bands I probably wouldn’t have invested much time in on my own. One of those bands was The Knack. Surely you know “My Sharona” if nothing else. We listened to Knack albums together for a lot of years but never saw them live. He never had the chance to in their heyday and they weren’t touring by the time I got into them. Then, in 1994, the movie “Reality Bites” came out and “My Sharona” was prominently featured in a memorable convenience store dance scene. The song saw a resurgence in popularity and The Knack went back out on tour for the first time in years. And they were coming to the Majestic Theater!
Now, The Knack’s lead singer, Doug Fieger, was from Detroit. You may have heard of his brother Geoffrey Fieger, the attorney. Their mother still made her home in Michigan and as it happened, this cousin of mine treated her in the hospital. He’s a Physician Assistant for a Cardiologist. Important part of the backstory, because it explains how we found ourselves back stage at the Majestic. We arrived, we drank, we enjoyed The Knack. Then, as the place cleared, my cousin noticed Mother Feiger walking toward security near the stage and promptly got up behind her. Pleasantries were exchanged and we simply kept walking along with her as she continued toward the dressing room. This was before I worked in radio so I’d never had backstage access. Frankly, we were incredulous that backstage at a rock show wasn’t all hookers, blow and booze. No, it was more like a family reunion for the Feiger family with us as the only outsiders. But we were oblivious. We just hung around, picking at the fruit platter, and making ourselves at home.
When we stepped out of the dressing room, Doug Feiger was walking toward us. We introduced ourselves, my cousin explained that he cared for their mom. He was appreciative and kind. And then his brother walked up. Geoffrey Feiger had missed the show but showed up at the venue to reunite with his brother before the band left town. I’m sure they had a lot to catch up on. But there we were. Not budging an inch and standing between them as they made small talk. It wasn’t until I actually saw the Fieger brothers look at each other that I got the hint. For it was a look that said, “who the f@!& are these guys?” We left. Much to their relief, I’m sure.
My backstage etiquette has improved drastically since. But I’ll never forget my most awkward moment at a rock show.
One very awkward moment happened when I was planning to go to a Halloween party with some friends. Sounds fun, right? Not so much. I arrived at a friend’s house in full costume to meet everyone, but they still had to get ready. Suddenly, they got word that their boyfriends were supposedly at a local bar with some random girls, so they decided to ditch the Halloween party and head to this bar to call them out. Of course, time was of the essence, so they just said, “C’mon, Anne, don’t worry that you’re dressed up for Halloween!” This was in early October, so nobody at the bar was dressed up for Halloween — not even one person — and there I was, dressed from head-to-toe as a mermaid! It was embarrassing, but it’s a memory that always makes me laugh.
Back when I first got hired on the promotions team I was doing an appearance in Ann Arbor for a U of M football game. My intern and I just arrived and while I was unloading unloading the cement buckets out of the truck I stood up a little too much and cracked my forehead on the latch. It hurt but I shook it off and kept unloading until I hear someone say “I think he’s bleeding” and as I heard that I felt the blood run down my face. I was gushing blood at this point. Luckily there was a nurse tailgating in the spot directly behind us and helped patch up my head but insisted I go get stitches because it was that bad but I refused to abandon my event. Luckily a guy from our sister station was setup right around the corner from us and helped setup the tent and broadcast gear while I got treated. The real awkward moment came when my three roommates and a bunch of other people ( I think 12 in all) showed up to the WRIF tent and I was standing there with my head wrapped up from cracking it open. They were all like what the hell happened to you? Then I had to explain. I was pretty embarrassed at the time but can laugh at it now.