Guitar Hero Andrew Doolitlle. Remembering our Meatloaf tour
Opening for Meatloaf has been amazing and no drama. Everyone has been supportive and sweet. But there was drama before we hit the road. We (me and the team that helps me make all the millions of decisions) decided this would be the perfect time to get my guitar player from London over to the U.S. We not only had the Meatloaf tour dates but radio visits and other performances on my calendar.
All of the paper work was in order. The Londoner’s visa was approved. At the American Embassy to get his stamp he’s told at the window “ you are randomly in the review pile, which takes 5 days. We will get back to you.” The departure date for the tour is uncomfortably close given this hiccup.
The Friday before leaving L.A. there was no word on the Londoner having a proper Visa to travel with me, and we did not have a back up guitarist available to do the dates. I was panic-stricken.
I was traveling 4 days later, Tuesday morning, July 17 to Minneapolis, Minnesota to sing the Star Spangled Banner at the Twins game, and from there would be flying directly to my first city opening for Meatloaf in upstate New York. And I had no guitar player. This is especially problematic since my set is acoustic and simple… just me and a guitar player.
I had interviewed two guitar players. One did not cut it at all. He was so sweet but so awful it took all of my strength to not have a complete panic attack/emotional breakdown as he was butchering my songs. I had to mask my emotions because the last thing I wanted was to make him feel bad. Another guy we found was great but then we cut loose because for a split second we thought the Londoner was approved. He sent an email someone misread… “ I am so ready to come to the U.S.” But what he did not say is “my paper work is ready too.”
Then Saturday morning Andrew Doolittle came through and showed up at my house with the perma-smile that is his signature expression. I recognized him instantly. “Hey, you play guitar with Rita Wilson! I saw you on Kathy Lee & Hoda and also on Kelly Ripa and Jimmy Kimmel. You always wear a great smile.” I chirped with glee!
And then he started to play and sing. Relief washed over me. He knew all the parts- guitar and vocals. He was a sponge soaking up the music and nuances without any strain or perceivable effort. It doesn’t hurt that he also has a Masters Degree in Jazz and the temperament of a saint.
The first leg of the tour with Andrew has been fantastic. The only time we have any issues at all is on long travel days. We instantly revert to child hood behavior and drive my Mom (who is also my road manager) absolutely nuts. We repeat everything she says and in unison. It is harmless fun and even she laughs at us after a while.
Thank you and I love you Andrew. You are my Guitar Hero!