Sometimes you meet a celebrity you want to absolutely love, then he or she ends up being less-than-personable, rude, or just a complete nightmare diva bonehead. But sometimes…well, sometimes you’re pleasantly surprised. Sometimes you meet a hero. You have likely seen Food Network’s ‘Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives’ starring the frosty-haired, tatted-up, vintage-car driving rockstar chef Guy Fieri. You may have an opinion about him, his show, or the food he promotes. It’s greasy, over the top, ambitious, gluttonous, plain old bad for you, downright sinful but moreover, it’s American– and you know you want some. At the NASCAR Awards in Las Vegas last weekend, we played a private show sponsored by Coors Light, and who was in the crowd but Mr. Flavortown himself. Our tour manager Jesse informed us after getting off stage that he wanted to meet us, and was en route to the green room, along with a round of Fireball shots.
Every preconceived notion we had about Guy Fieri was absoLUTELY on the money, but in the best possible way. He was very charismatic, a detail-oriented storyteller, and a real people person. He invited us to his restaurant the following day, and insisted we try the Trash Can Nachos and the Mac N Cheese Bacon Burger, describing both menu items to us with Shakespearean vigor. There is even a billboard on the Las Vegas Strip with his likeness that reads ‘Go Big or Go Home,’ which is also an American Authors single. We gave him some shit about using the same catch phrase, at which point he mentioned he may have trademarked it 12 years ago, at which point we may have changed the subject.
Guy’s American Bar Kitchen & Bar certainly lives up to the hype, and we should have heeded Guy’s warning: it will be difficult to perform after eating this many deep-fried, cheese-covered, bacon-topped gut-busters. Boy was he right. I’ve had food comas before, but they were all foothills compared to the Everest of Chez Fieri’s revenge. The Motley Que sandwich. The General Tso’s chicken wings. The truffle fries with “Donkey Sauce” (named after their adage, ‘if you don’t like it, you’re an ass’). We ran into Guy at the red carpet event that evening, and it was like we were seeing an old friend we hadn’t seen in ages. He gave us a big ’Told ya so!’ about our debilitated state post food intake, and again came to hang out in our green room, telling us stories about chilling with Lynyrd Skynyrd, traveling through Europe with his family, and then invited us to his ranch outside of Napa Valley to party.
So if you told me last week I was playing the same event as Sting, would run into Eddie Vedder backstage, Luke Wilson (aka Ritchie Tenenbaum from my favorite movie ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’) would be presenting an award, but also that Guy Fieri knuckle sandwich would be on the bill, and I got to hang out extensively with exactly ONE of these celebrities, I’m not sure the Food Network star would have been my first choice. But like I said: sometimes, you’re pleasantly surprised, and you heard it here first: I love this Guy.