So last week I'm working hard and there's a little que building up outside the door. I work my way through the guitars coming in and going out until a guy with a large cloth sack and an American accent introduces his self. He's in need of a particular jack socket - one that I've always had problems with in the past and try to swap for a different brand if possible - when he reveals what in the cloth sack...
..its Richie Samboras twin neck telecaster! This is Takumi, Richie's guitar tech!
We have a chat about what he needs, we discuss another guitar that has a problem and I invite him to the workshop tomorrow to use a bench (I need to clear a ton of stuff out of his way) and offer to help in any way I can.
Next day, he rols up with two twin necks - both with problems that need fixing before the show that night at Old Trafford Cricket Ground.
We set to work, with countless interuptions by everyone dropping in and on seeing the guitars chat to Takumi about what its like being on tour with Bon Jovi. He's happy to chat and let the guys take a picture or two with the guitars, but I can tell we need to get these guitars back for line check asap. An hour later, both guitars are ready to go, problems sorted.
Back at the venue Takumi takes time out to show me all around Richie's rig (there are some serious vintage guitars in there!) and is more than generous with his time, showing me around the backstage guitar tech's area. I've toured with bands (on a smaller scale) and have a lot of friends who tour with very big bands, but this set up is incredible. Part hi-tech building site and part travelling circus with everyone joking with each other but ultimately 100% professional. I love it, when everyone does their bit well there's no need for nerves and there's a calm, family air with these guys. Very impressive.
As I insist I should leave (Takumi has a million things to do and I'm really getting in his way by now) he shares some plectrums from the bands he's worked for with me (seriously, we all know these things are just little pieces of plastic but a handful of Van Halen, Prince, AC/DC plectrums ... means a lot to me) and off I go, winding my car through the crowds, looking for an exit.
Later that day I see the twin necks on stage and the phrase "seen a million faces, and rocked 'em all" goes through my mind.