When we flew to Boston to start rehearsals for the tour last
week, Jerry & Mike were approached by some autograph seekers in the
airport.

But here’s the unfortunate thing about autograph seekers;
they’re not always your fans.

Sometimes they’re just professional ebayers looking to get
anything signed by someone famous so they can turn around and try and make some
money off it.

A lot of times these guys can be fairly easy to distinguish,
because they always have albums or glossy pictures with them, and they always
have more than one.

And one of the guys in Boston made it extremely easy for
Mike to spot him, because he not only had a few things to get signed, but after
gushing to Mike about how big of a fan he was, he didn’t want Mike to sign his
Jar Of Flies album because he said, “You’re not on that one.”

Telling a band member (incorrectly) which albums he did and
didn’t play on is a great way to not get your stuff signed.

Autograph seekers come in three distinct flavors:

1)  
legitimate fans who actually want the band to
sign their stuff.

2)  
ebayers like I described above

3)  
People who only know that they’re in the midst
of someone famous, but don’t know who the famous person is

The first and third categories apply to picture seekers as
well, and we ran into one of those when we made a glorious Walmart stop after
the Rock Allegiance Festival on our way out of Pennsylvania.

The thing about sneaking unannounced into a Walmart is that you
can’t do it when you roll into the parking lot at 1:00 A.M. in a tour bus.

The second that the band piled off of the bus and made their
way across the parking lot to the entrance, a guy was already shouting at them
from across the way.

He made his way over and explained that he was a vendor at
the festival, and he asked who we were.

Someone spilled the beans and I heard him say “OH!” in
recognition, and then I kept walking into the store as he was chatting with
Jerry.

I turned around when I got in the store to make sure he
wasn’t hounding Jerry, and I saw that he was taking a selfie with him.

So I turned back and kept walking, and the guy came running
up to me and asked if he could take a picture with me.

That’s when I thought, “This guy knows the name, but he
isn’t that familiar with the band members.”

He then proceeded to apologize after I told him I wasn’t in
the band and he ran after our tour manager Chuck for a picture, and that’s when
I thought, “This guy definitely doesn’t know who’s in the band, and now he’s
just running up to anyone in Walmart and asking to take a selfie with them in the
hopes that they’re a member of a famous band that he doesn’t really know
anything about.”

Autographs and pictures are nice little reminders of an
encounter with someone you admire or appreciate.

But if you’re not really sure who’s signing your napkin or
who’s posing for a picture with you, I’m not sure what the point is.

All I know is that from now on, in situations like the one
in Walmart, I’m going to change my response.

Who am I to deprive someone of the thrill of meeting a band
member, especially if they’re not sure who the members of the band are?

So from here on out, for those confused or unsure people
looking for a keepsake of their mistaken rock star encounter, I’m Baldy, the
trombone player for Alice In Chains.

And I’d be happy to give you my autograph and pose for a
picture with you!…

Rainier Fog

Available August 24