I Ran So Far Away




October is a month for memories. It's also ghost season, so indulge me while I call up a few spirits of the past. I'm peering back through the mists of time to Atlanta, Georgia, 1982, when my career as a rock 'n' roll roadie very nearly began.My best friend was working for a popular record store chain (remember those?) so he had an inside track on just about every band that came to town. A new band named A Flock of Seagulls had a hot video, "I Ran (So Far Away)," on MTV, and was helping define a new kind of music that blended electronic soundscapes with a dance beat. We didn't call it "eighties music" yet. It was dubbed New Wave. Anyway, I was at the store when A Flock of Seagulls dropped in and somehow I struck up a quick friendship with the lead vocalist and keyboard player, Mike Score.Yeah, the guy with the crazy seagull hair.He was probably starved for socialization, trapped in the cocoon of the tour, and he saw me as someone he could just hang out with for a while. The group spent an hour signing autographs and answering questions - mostly answering the same question over and over. (They took their name from a song by the early punk-rocker band The Stranglers in case you've always wondered.)Afterward, Mike showed me around their tour bus, the inside of which was upholstered like a plush Victorian couch with built-in bunks and lots of brass fittings. In the back was a small room with a stereo and Mike cranked up some AC/DC to earsplitting volume. I nodded in approval and we enjoyed the streaming waves of audio energy until I suddenly felt the bus lurch and roll away. Unwittingly, I had joined the tour.Well, not really. They were just driving to the theater for the sound check, but I got to listen in on that and even ate with the band and their manager when the caterers arrived. While Mike and his mates tuned up, the manager told me how he had "discovered" the young group and about his plans to keep them making hits. I told him how I had just been abducted from the record store. He said that kind of thing happens, then he smiled and asked if I'd be interested in staying on board as a roadie.Looking back, I'm not really sure how serious he was, but the question hung in the air. I was between relationships, working a fairly menial job, had no dependents and, frankly, few prospects for the future. I just smiled back and said I'd think about it.Later that night, after the show, I just slipped out and took MARTA (Atlanta's transit system) back home. I suppose we all have turning points like that in our lives, choices we made that signaled a major branch in the tree of destiny.Anyway, I only bring it up because as I looked over the local events for this month, I couldn't help but notice that a certain band named A Flock of Seagulls, featuring Mike Score, is playing Oct. 12 at the Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry.I guess Mike is an old guy now, like me. Heck, his roadies are probably all old guys too, but don't worry. I'm not thinking of doing anything foolish. Just imagine this as a Halloween story designed to remind you that ghosts of the past are restless spirits, always waiting for a chance to pop out when you least expect it and say "BOO!"
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