Friday, 21 February 2014


One day while helping Derek with his store, a Lenny Kravitz song started playing on the mix tape we were listening too. I found it odd considering most of the music on the tape was heavy stuff or rap. I questioned Derek about it and he told me he had been a Lenny fan since he first showed up on the music scene. D went on to tell me about how the first time Lenny played Toronto he was still virtually unknown. Still unscathed by the celebrity spotlight, Lenny went second hand clothe shopping on Queen street and wandered into Afterlife. Derek welcomed him with open arms and gave him garbage bags full of vintage clothes for free. To show his gratitude Lenny gave him free tickets to his concert that night. It seemed like a tall tale but I never pegged Derek for a bullshit artist, so I tried my best to believe his story.

A week later, I'd finished up at the animation studio for the day so I headed over to see Derek. On my way to afterlife, I passed by much music and noticed a huge commotion of people. Low and behold there was Lenny Kravitz doing a meet and greet. I rushed up to the store to inform Derek. No sooner than I got the words out of my mouth, he hit the streets and took off in a flash. Hours later, Derek's girlfriend and I were ready to close up shop for the day and there was still no sign of Derek. Finally the phone rang and it was him. He informed me of how Lenny brought him into much music as soon as he saw him. Derek sat at the table with him for the meet and greet, then he sat off camera in much music while they interviewed Lenny. From there Lenny brought him to Q107 for a radio interview he had to do. They were now on their way back to the store. I couldn't believe all of this was actually happening, it seemed like some surreal dream....until Derek and Lenny walked into the store! 

I couldn't believe Kravitz was in afterlife. He was very chill and friendly, and much to my surprise he gave us free backstage passes to his show that night at Massey Hall. We rushed over to the spot as the night wasn't getting any younger. The hall was packed and since we didn't officially have tickets we got to stand up by the front of the stage and watch. I wasn't a huge fan of Lenny's music but he was definitely rocking the crowd. Much to my surprise and delight, Lenny came out to play an encore with Flea and Anthony from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers (who were scheduled to play Toronto the next two nights) on horns and brass. They did an incredible rendition of "Let Love Rule" to close out the show. From there we went to the backstage after party. 

The after party was filled with beautiful people who all seemed to think their shit didn't stink. I overlooked this negative and balanced it out with the positive, free alcohol and food. While everyone else schmoozed and tried to get close with Lenny, I was busy stuffing my face and belly with booze and sandwiches. Lenny seemed different in this environment. Back at the store he was very friendly, now he was acting all pompous and treating us like he didn't know who we are. On top of that he was hitting on Derek's girlfriend right in front of him. Once again a celebrity encounter was tainted by pure douchie-ness.

It was still a great experience for a kid my age fresh out of high school, and needless to say I was now extra excited and pumped up for the Chilli Peppers concerts...

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