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September 1, 2015

'Smiler' begs for meet and greet

The story of Nannen Gatchell

posted by Mike Walton

Here at SMILER we have been proud since 1981 to boast that we are the fan club run by fans for the fans and over the years we have featured many fans on the website and in the magazine but I think this is the first time we have featured a 'punk' Rod fan!

We recently came across a really funny video called 'Girl begs for Rod Stewart meet and greet' featuring Rod fan Nannen Gatchell it turns out Nannen is not only a SMILER member but fronts a band with the truly fantastic name 'Smiler'.. We got Nannen to tell us her story so lets hope Rod reads this and Nannen finally gets her meet and greet

Here is Nannen's story in her own words..

I first was sincerely intrigued by Rod’s music when I heard “Young Turks” at the age of 17. I was immediately fascinated. Since then, my interest in Rod’s music has grown exponentially. Such an “infatuation” (get it, get it?), is and has been particularly special and unusual to me for a couple of reasons. First, I have identified as a “punk” since the age of 15 or so. Rod’s music is certainly not only uncharacteristic of the punk genre/subculture, it is indeed quite at its opposite.

Additionally, unfortunately, the generation in which I find myself did not really “grow up” with Rod’s music as much as other generations had the pleasure and privilege of doing. His music, therefore, has found a bit of unusual niche with me, and it only furthers my love and appreciation for all things Rod. I have publicly made known my admiration for Rod and his music for years now (in a big way for which I am now known and recognized). I have done so without fear of how I may look or how I may be received within the punk community, because Rod Stewart is that incredible of a force to me.

To me, there is no other artist who combines grace, flamboyance, and showmanship, as beautifully, brilliantly, effortlessly, and flawlessly as Rod Stewart does. I look up to and admire his stage presence immeasurably. He has even inspired me to have the confidence to create and front my own alternative band in the last year, which, incidentally, performs re-arranged, gothy/punk versions of Rod songs. The band is actually called “Smiler”.

In May of this year, I was able to buy my first ticket to see Rod live… at his Alpaharetta concert on 7/15. I had looked forward to this opportunity for years. I had tried desperately to make this experience happen in years past, but timing, finance, and location had simply not synched. Even in May, as a Master’s student, I was unable to buy my dream seat with my savings. Additionally, I was going to see Rod alone. However, I was unbothered with the slightly less-than-ideal circumstances of this experience, as I would soon be able to live out one of my greatest aspirations in being able to see Rod Stewart perform live.

There was one thing I wanted though—one thing for which I had wished beyond all else. My greatest dream was to be awarded a Meet & Greet at the Alpharetta show. I know everyone wants to meet the celebrities they admire, but this was never something I asked of anyone. My only true wish was and is to meet only one person-- my idol --, and that person is Rod Stewart

In recent years, I had created and racked up a large number of situations in which my love and superfandom for Rod was characterized, including having a Rod-themed bathroom, a Rod-themed Christmas tree, my Rod tribute band Smiler, and multiple Rod-related tattoos—the crowning glory of which is a traditionally tattooed portrait of Rod’s face. With all of these Rod-centered things in tow, I thought, “Hey, maybe if I can put these out there, I can prove how important this Meet & Greet is to me. If I fail, then at least I will have something funny to share with other Rod fans.” A couple of my friends helped me create a hilarious video to showcase my past support of Rod and explain why this meet and greet is so important to me. It was silly and a perhaps a bit over-the-top, but so am I. It still speaks for itself.

Despite my very best efforts pushing my cause and the video to Rod’s social media and elsewhere my dream, sadly, did not pan out. This was even in spite of a few close calls (involving an Atlanta radio station, a major Atlanta-area reporter, and even some of Rod’s children) that I truly believed would culminate in the awarding of a Meet & Greet. Things simply did not align in time for the concert. However, I had a wonderful time. A shocking number of fellow concert-goers came up to me and fawned over my Rod portrait tattoo, taking pictures and talking to me endlessly about Rod, which I loved. Rod’s performance was everything I thought it would be and more, and it was a magical night for me. I am grateful for the experience, and it only strengthened my appreciation for Rod. However, I will never cease my quest to make my dream of a Rod Meet & Greet come true. Til then, to Rod be the Glory!

© 2019 SMILER Magazine

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