Colorway, was lucky enough to get to open for The Yardbirds on three separate occasions at the Iron Horse Music Hall. If you were there then you know how much fun those shows were.
Well, at every soundcheck, sitting in the same chair near the stage, would be a silver-haired gent. Yep, it was The Animals’ own, Hilton Valentine. Him and Jim McCarty (original drummer for the Yardbirds) were buddies, of course, and Hilton lived somewhere in Connecticut, so he’d make the trip up for their shows.
I was lucky enough to get to tell him how much his opening riff on “House Of The Rising Sun” meant to me as a kid learning guitar way back in the early 80s. I’m sure I was one of many but it still made him smile and thank me for saying so. We exchanged pleasantries at the next two shows we did with The Yardbirds.
At the third show together the incredible Johnny A had been replaced with a “new” guitarist named Godfrey Townsend (John Entwistle/Jack Bruce/Denny Laine) and I sort of joked around after our sound check was done and said, “Hey there, so . . . you’re the *new* guy, eh?” and they all laughed. I mean, the band does have a bit of a track record.
Hilton piped up from his chair and pointed to me and said, “be careful, lad, you might be next . . . “
That was a funny, awkward, and unforgettable moment.
My mom taught me at a very young age that if you get the chance, thank the people who inspired you, however big or small. Let them know they made a difference in your life.
I’m glad I took her advice.
Thanks, Hilton. Rest in peace.