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On the red carpet, I refused to acknowledge that guy from E!—
what’s his name? Adelman? Edelstein?—as he badgered me for an interview. In hindsight, maybe I should’ve given Adelberg some face time, even if he is just basic cable.
CONFESSIONS OF A GRAMMY NOM
"I Was Robbed," A Loser Whines, Then Delivers An Acceptance Speech That Never Was

By Grammy nominee Bud Scoppa

I learned my mantra Wednesday: "It's an honor just to be nominated." I must admit, though, that chanting it—as I've been doing with regularity lately here in the HITS cesspool—brings me scant solace. Damn you, Ken Burns! I never stood a chance.

The first inkling that I was a sure loser occurred weeks ago, when I first laid eyes on Sony Legacy's incredibly snazzy Miles Davis-John Coltrane package—it came in a red metal box, fer crissakes, while my beloved Little Feat box from Rhino was mere cardboard. Metal always beats cardboard. You might think that the Album Notes Grammy has nothing to do with the package; you would be wrong. On top of that, a '70s rock combo, even a storied one like Little Feat, lacks the historical status of a pair of jazz greats, especially if they've just been venerated in a high-profile documentary. No matter that the story I'd written was teeming with sex & drugs & rock & roll, while Bob Blumenthal's Miles-Trane notes stuck to the musical details—how many voters are gonna plow through a 25,000-word opus, no matter how sexy. Do the people who vote actually read any of this stuff?

My sense of self-importance was further deflated Tuesday night, when my wife Peggy and I went to the Nominees Party down on the USC campus. Although the place was jammed and the drinks were free, there wasn't an A-lister in sight—they must've had another party for the likes of Bono and Beyonce. The biggest celebs at our party were Dave Alvin, John Entwistle, Jon Brion, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Al Schmitt, Bill Schnee and Jack Joseph Puig. Not a superstar among them; this event was so below the radar that a couple of the attendees even recognized me.

The sushi line was a block long, but, not being a fish fancier, I went for the tri-tip roast buffet. The challenge there was figuring out how to eat these six-inch slices of beef without a knife to slice them—the knives must've also been at the A-list party. They did have some hardware for each of us, though—a nifty little medallion in a nifty little pouch with a Tiffany logo. The medallion doesn't have a chocolate center—it's actual, uh, metal.

Later, in the area where they take the nominees' photos, I met a guy from the Emerson String Quartet, and I thought to myself, "Poor sucker—it must be weird to be some no-name trying to mix with us hipsters in a trendy environment like this." The next day, at the Pre-Telecast Awards, that guy picked up not one but two Grammys, while I glumly sat and watched.

Actually, the Pre-Telecast ceremony was a lot like the Nominees Party, in that hardly any of the prime-time nominees deigned to be present. If Toni Braxton had shown up in her white outfit (which Peggy described as being inspired by a sanitary belt), she would've stopped the show, but she obviously had better things to do…like maybe trying to figure out how to put it on. The only "Access Hollywood"-level people present were Dave Grohl and his Foo Fighters bandmates, who seemed genuinely elated as they sauntered to the stage to pick up their two awards. True, there were a coupla close-but-no-cigar sightings: Rage Against The came by to pick up their award; Machine, of course, didn't. The three guys from Radiohead whose names I don't know were also there.

The Christian sector was well-represented, although, overall, wives were thanked more than either God or Jesus. Polka winner Jimmy Sturr wasn't there, but the Baha Men were—all 43 of them. Happily, there were a few cult heroes on hand. It was especially gratifying to see Emmylou Harris, radiant as ever, pick up her Grammy and salute the ailing Johnny Cash.

On the red carpet that we'd followed into the Staples Center a half-hour earlier, I'd refused to acknowledge that guy from E!—what's his name? Adelman? Edelstein?—as he badgered me for an interview. I wasn't trying to be rude; I was just doing what all my fellow celebrities did when Adelberg approached them—keep moving. In hindsight, maybe I should've given him some face time, even though he is just basic cable.

Peggy was all dolled up, but I opted for a black suit instead of that tux I'd bought during my brief stint at ASCAP (haven't worn it since). For footwear, I went with my vintage Doc Martens, but only after blackening the orange stitching with a Sharpie—hey, this was a formal affair. Once we were seated, I opened my Pre-Telecast program and got ready to mark off the winners, which I planned to call in to the HITS office once we got out of there. Professional journalist that I am, I reached into my pockets, only to discover that I had no pen. I asked Peggy if she had something to write with. "All I have is a lip-liner," she replied. Excellent. I marked off the winners as they were announced with a crimson dot. When my category came up, she asked me to hand over the writing instrument, feeling it would de classe for me to take the stage holding a lip-liner. I agreed, having already put a dot next to Blumenthal's name. My two seconds of fame came as my category's nominees were announced, and my name was projected onto the big screen above the stage. Once the envelope was ripped open and Blumenthal's name was read, I could finally relax.

On the way out, I stopped in the men's room and caught sight of fellow Best Album Notes loser Dr. Demento two stalls over. We glared at each other like Ali and Frazier, not speaking. Hey, these album-notes rivalries are intense. I shoulda knocked that top hat off his head into the urinal. Another missed opportunity.

We headed to the parking lot to pick up our car, as the gowned and tuxedoed legions were swarming in—it was like trying to swim against a strong current. Same problem with driving out of the area as thousands of limos were rolling in. Why was I leaving? No way I was gonna spend seven hours in that place, not with the Lakers-Spurs game on TNT at 5, same time as the show. I made it home by tip-off, watched as the Lakers scored a thrilling, improbable win without Kobe, then turned on the tape-delayed Grammy telecast. I made it until Mike Greene started his speech, at which point I immediately fell asleep. Gotta say, I'd played it well.

But anyway, if I had won, here's how my acceptance speech would've gone: "Aw, geez. I didn't expect this. First, I'd like to thank Billy Payne, Paul Barrere, Richie Hayward and the whole Feats family for asking me to do this. Thanks to Lowell George for leading such a fascinating life. I wanna thank Gary Peterson, James Austin and the gang at Rhino. Thanks to Lenny and Dennis at HITS for giving me the flexibility to complete this project [that was the obligatory sucking-up-to-the-bosses part]. And last but not least, I wanna thank Peggy, my wife and collaborator, who transcribed all those hours of interviews. All I had to do was talk; she had to type the whole thing."

I hate transcribing. Thank God for Peg.

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