Yep. The Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
While attending the University of Iowa, I joined a student group (SCOPE Productions) that was in charge of bringing music acts to our campus venues. Not only did we book shows, we handled all aspects of the production, marketing, finance and hospitality.
Greeting the 18 wheelers at 8am for a load-in, setting up dressing rooms (meeting requests like making sure there was a pack of open cigarettes within reach of any seat in the room), dropping off tour staff laundry (NEVER look inside the bag, FYI) at the local Fluff ‘n’ Fold, restocking tour bus groceries, escorting talent wherever they wanted to go, fulfilling dietary needs of demanding artists, scheduling a masseuse, being at the ready during concerts for any during-the-show needs (I had to run a joint up to the stage once) and being a stage hand once the concert was over, assisting in the load-out of semis that would depart around 6am the following morning.
I loved it.
Mostly we’d handled semi-national acts, so it was a huge deal when SCOPE Productions landed the Red Hot Chili Peppers tour. I was familiar with the rock group (mostly because of their socks over genitals shenanigans) and beyond excited I’d get a first hand glimpse at how true rock stars lived on the road.
This particular concert, I was assigned to the artists and dressing room set-up. Upon completion of loading the dressing rooms with black shag rugs, endless cartons of cigarettes and what seemed like 4,000 cases of water, I came around the corner where I was greeted by Chad Smith (the RHCP drummer who has a striking resemblance to Will Ferrell) in his birthday suit who’d just been depantsed by Anthony Kiedis.
Act cool I kept telling myself as my mouth hung open to my knees.
Trying to tear my eyes away from a rock star with his pants around his ankles, I heard a soothing voice behind me say, “Welcome to the circus, Sweetie.” It was the RHCP’s personal chef, whom I would be assisting for the remainder of the day. His name was Jaime Laurita and he was big time in the celebrity catering world (he had published a cookbook, Plenty, with Sarah McLachlan I later found out) and he needed to get to a Whole Foods fast, as the Peppers were now eating organic (I had no clue WTF that meant).
At the time, I knew nothing beyond preparing ramen noodles in my hot-pot and opening a bag of Cheetos (little did I know the nearest Whole Foods was four hours away in Chicago), so I offered information that a Wal-Mart was three miles over yonder.
My statement was met with a blank stare. (I wasn’t sure if it was because I suggested the worst place in America to buy groceries or because I’d used the phrase ‘over yonder’.) I was quickly schooled by my adviser that Iowa City had a food co-op (again, WTF?!) and I took Jaime there to load up on tofu (seriously, WTF?), fresh produce and cooking oils before heading back to prepare lunch for the band.
As soon as the aroma of tofu filled the air, the RHCP dudes came calling. Trying to act like I assisted a celebrity chef in preparing food for rock stars on a daily basis (while dying inside like a 13 year-old-girl), I almost squealed out loud when Anthony Kiedis came over to ask us a question. As I turned toward the lead singer, he stopped and s-l-o-w-l-y looked me up from the tip-top of my head down to my Dr. Martens adorned feet and back up again.
In what felt like four hours of a stare down (mostly all of 92 seconds), I remember thinking I wished I’d had a cuter outfit on. And while I can’t quite remember exactly what I was wearing, I’m sure it was something along the lines of…
Chef Jaime turned around as Anthony sauntered away and said, “Girl. He just ate you like a gah-rape.”
Years later can you imagine what I was thinking about as the Red Hot Chili Peppers head banged around at the halftime show of the Super Bowl?
Here’s a clue…it wasn’t grapes.