You know the old cliché, “don’t meet your heroes because they’re sure to disappoint.”
This is mainly because most people do not set out into the world to create music, write books, play football or invent gadgets to be heroes. Whatever their reasons for pursuing excellence and success may be, being a role model might not be near the top of their list.
But, every once in a while, an all-around good guy finds their break at the intersection of hard work and incredible luck. Such is the case with Hopkinsville’s own Steve Gorman.
Steve probably doesn’t consider himself a hero, but I found him to be humble, gracious and kind, nonetheless. I was definitely not disappointed.
I was 11 years old when I received my first drum kit on Christmas Day 1998. My mom and dad labored all night on Christmas Eve putting together the jet-black CB Drums SP Series 5-piece kit complete with a less-than padded throne, paper-thin cymbals and plastic-tipped drumsticks.
Since that day, my life has never been the same. From that moment on, I just had to be in a band. At the time I had two favorite bands — Nirvana and The Black Crowes.
I would jam in the bonus room above my parents’ garage with headphones on playing along with songs like “She Talks to Angels,” “Hard to Handle” and “Remedy.”
I would attempt to play along with “The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion” album from start to finish on repeat for hours. Neighbors would call my dad or knock on the front door to tell me to knock it off.
I kept playing anyway. Man, I wanted to be Steve Gorman.
In high school and college, I got to play with and in several bands. One of those bands actually cut an album and went on the road briefly. Getting a group of guys together to jam in a garage, a finished attic or on stage before a thousand people is an awesome experience. One I would have never gotten to enjoy had my parents not put me behind a drum kit on Christmas Day 1998.
I will admit, I never knew Steve was from Hopkinsville until recently. This is Hoptown, I do not have to tell you the story of The Black Crowes — you know Steve is a founding member and was the drummer in the band.
For those who want to get technical, he was born in Michigan, but he will even tell you he spent the formative years of his life in Hoptown, and his mother still lives here today (and is an avid reader of the Kentucky New Era to boot). Fun fact: Steve told me he once had a KNE paper route when he was a kid.
I’m in my thirties now. I can still keep a decent beat on a drum kit and also play guitar and bass these days. Even though I have a great job with a nice office, I would drop everything to go on tour and play rock shows up and down the west coast — so long as my kids and fiancé could come along.
When I heard Steve was coming home to Hopkinsville for a book signing, I quickly decided that I would be attending this event as a fan and not a journalist. Someone else would have to cover the event. If I had been tasked with our coverage of Steve’s visit, the result would be a much-too-long essay on the history of 4/4 timing, as well as the blues influence and beat-keeping in modern rock music.
So, I had the opportunity to take off my journalism hat for a moment and just enjoy Steve’s talk as a fan. It was enthralling to hear the behind the scenes stories that culminated in some of the biggest songs of my teenage years. I associate big events in my life with music and having the backstory on some of that soundtrack makes the events all the more fascinating to me.
It was reminiscent of that old VH1 show “Pop Up Video.”
But, what I found even cooler was that I was able to enjoy such an interesting and just plain cool night in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.
Hoptown, whether you realize it or not, is consistently punching above its weight. There is always something to do in Hopkinsville, it seems. And the warm and welcoming people you will meet here leave a lasting impression.
I have friends and family in larger cities like Nashville, Bowling Green and Owensboro regularly asking me, “What’s going on in Hopkinsville this weekend?”
It brings me great joy to pass on a link to an advance feature in the New Era to my friends and direct them to Visit Hopkinsville’s various outlets keeping people in the know.
The next big one on my calendar is Friday, Feb. 28 at the Alhambra.
Steve is coming back to Hopkinsville and bringing his band Trigger Hippy for a great night of music and fun. Believe it or not Steve Gorman, rock star extraordinaire, has never played a show in his hometown. That changes in less than two weeks.
Get your tickets quick — as with most events in Hoptown it is sure to be a sell-out crowd. I hope you can make it out.