A Chance Meeting with Monte Pittman
by Andi Tan, 2010
Preface & Contact Information by: Lisa C.
Monte Pittman is the guitarist for Madonna and Adam Lambert. In addition, he has performed with Prong and Citizen Vein. He released his first solo album, “The Deepest Dark”, in November 2009.
The Deepest Dark
It started innocently enough with an off-the-cuff comment on Twitter about wanting to get Monte Pittman’s ‘The Deepest Dark’ CD in mid-January 2010. My friend Juliet (@jaycee161) and I have been hearing so much about it on the social network and we both love the guitar work he has done for Adam Lambert, naturally, we were as curious as cats.
We were directed to CDBaby as the best place to get a copy of the CD but alas, we were thwarted by a page which redirected us to the merchant’s contact page instead. I was worried that CDBaby may have a policy not to sell to international customers.
However, it appeared that I was only partially right as I found out when Pony, their Customer Service representative e-mailed me back to let me know that due to fraudulent orders, they were unable to accept any more orders from Malaysia.
I was dejected. And like any person relatively new to Twitter, I whined to Juliet – rather loudly. We contemplated having our US-based friends buy a couple of copies and send them to us or even wait until one of us could make it Stateside to catch Adam’s concert and then, get the CDs off CDBaby. The ideas got more and more elaborate as time went on.
Then, something or rather someone wonderful happened – Lisa C. (@GlamLC) contacted Juliet and I with regards to our interest of the CD, on Twitter. I explained our predicament to Lisa and she immediately went to work to see how things could be resolved.
Within days, I got a Direct Message from Lisa letting me know she had spoken to Ben from CDBaby and that the real problem was actually receiving credit card payment from Malaysia. Lisa suggested that I could call CDBaby and place my order through them manually and pay via bank’s cheque or money order. The alternative was to mail them my details.
Things were looking positively bright and I must say, I was and still am a little stunned/amazed by how much trouble Lisa went through to get the information for me. I was really touched because she really went out of the way to help a fellow fan. (I would learn later from Monte’s tweet that there was even more background stuff that Lisa did on my behalf and I was completely unaware of! Needless to say, my awe just went up by a factor of 10.)
I e-mailed CDBaby again after a few days to check if it was possible for me to send payment via Paypal instead, since that would cut down on the transaction time, per reference to Lisa’s telephone conversation with Ben. Then I waited anxiously for the reply.
Out of The Black
Pony wrote back to let me know that yes, they do accept Paypal payment and if I could give them my details, he could submit the order for me. YES! Jackpot! Almost as soon as I got the Paypal details and price of ‘The Deepest Dark’ along with the shipping rate to Malaysia, I sent out my payment.
I might be wrong about this, but I suspected that I might be one of CDBaby’s first customers to send payment via that particular verified Paypal account. That was a very clear indication how much CDBaby valued their customers!
On February 23, I received an email from ‘CD Baby Loves You’, letting me know that the CD was on its merry way. I spent many minutes chuckling at the contents of the email and actually forwarded it to a couple of my friends so they could share in my amusement. I was getting a copy of ‘The Deepest Dark’ and it was impossible to contain my excitement.
Those Crazy Costumers
I have been making costumes for myself off and on for a number of years. Jamie (@VA_Bites) and I actually talked about my pulling off Monte’s looks around December 2009 when he was working on his FYE Adam. Monte’s short crop was a concern, of course. I made a casual mention of the possible project on Twitter in February and Monte tweeted back ‘Do it!’ It was simply a challenge I could not resist. (Notice how often my ‘off-the-cuff’ comments get me into ‘trouble’?)
And when we found out that Adam was doing a showcase in Singapore and that Monte and Longineu would be with him, it was like a ringing clarion bell, clanging away whatever doubts I might have at this point in time. Even if we could not win tickets from the radio station, we were well prepared to charge down Singapore in our outfits, come rain or shine.
Working hard, texting our fingers off, our team of eight kept trying all week long sending in all sorts of slogans as to why Hitz.FM should send us to Singapore to see Adam Lambert. Only 20 tickets to the showcase were allocated to 10 winners across five days. I was the first to win a pair on Monday. Then it was Farah (Tuesday), Vivien (Wednesday) and finally Jamie on the last day. We were all going to see Adam… and I have not even started on my Monte outfit!
But which one to pick?? Fantasy Spring (FS)? Gridlock? In the end, I finally decided on the FS poncho since it looked pretty gorgeous on Monte while Jamie would be doing a version of FS Adam. Then for three days, I would cut, sew, thread and glue frantically until bare minutes just before we reached the Malaysian-Singapore border! Juliet and Jamie helped me to cut prerequisite fringes while I did some last minute hemming and sewing. We must have looked quite a sight working furiously at the back of a bouncing bus!
Patience Please Prevail
From the time I learned that I won an all-expense paid trip to see Adam until the night before our actual travel, I was on Twitter with Lisa and letting her know about our rough plans (since the radio station has not given our itinerary as yet) I was wondering if it was possible to meet Monte. It was just a musing, mind you. I certainly did not expect a single thing.
Then, Lisa did it again – she left me speechless. She contacted Monte and worked her butt off to make sure she got a wonderful surprise for me – I was going to meet Monte in Singapore if everything worked out! Now, how on earth was I not to freak out when I saw that particular message in my inbox?? Monte wants to meet me?? Holy ****!! I promptly ran out of my room, yelling and flailing incoherently for a while.
Once I had regained my senses, I went back to play YouTube videos and recorded tracks of Monte performing just to get myself into the mood. As usual, his music managed to somehow soothe me though I was pretty sure my jaw dropped when I saw videos of him performing in Melbourne, Australia, courtesy of his Aussie fans and @TheMontsterPitt.
It was infinitely hard not to think constantly about the fact that Monte would be performing live right before my very eyes in Singapore. If I was awe-stricken by the videos, what will happen to me to see him playing live? I imagined scenarios of cleaners trying to scrape up the incoherent, madly babbling puddle of goo that was me from the carpet. Now, add the possibility of actually meeting him…
At the back of my mind throughout this time, I was hoping that ‘The Deepest Dark’ would arrive on time. I ran to my mailbox every day hoping, just hoping I would get a package from the US. It was a nervous time of hope, despair with strong overtones of manic glee as Friday drew nearer and nearer.
Then on Thursday, I saw a small slim packaging in the mail box with a small CDBaby mailing label attached on it. I grabbed it, ran up, my feet bounding up the stairs – 2-3 steps at the time – and into my room. I thrust the package at Jamie, yelling excitedly, “Look, what just arrived?! Look, look… it’s a sign, by God! A sign!”
And so, it was. Things were falling slowly into place as Lisa and Monte continued to work in the background while I grudgingly continued with some semblance of normal life. Did I mention that patience was never my strongest suit to begin with?
D-day! still groggy with just two hours of sleep the night before, Jamie and I made a last minute check to make sure we have everything packed. Then, it was a quick cab ride to Avenue K –a shopping mall right at the heart of the business district to wait for the rest of the winners and contest organizers to arrive.
The excitement was almost palpable – an invisible arc of energy crackling just above our heads just like sparks of electricity in the air before a massive thunderstorm. Though the bus was delayed by half an hour, we were soon on our merry way. By now, the bus has taken the moniker of Glambus.
When Siong, an executive from Sony Malaysia slipped in the ‘For Your Entertainment’ CD into the bus’s PA system, we were yowling ‘Music Again’ and other tracks over and over again at the very top of our voices. This went on for hours until we finally crossed the borders into Singapore.
Due to some unforeseen circumstances near the border, we were running late by nearly an hour and those of us who planned to dress up for the night were getting really, really anxious. According to the much amended schedule, we were supposed to meet at the hotel lobby around 5.30PM to head to Sentosa Island, so that the ten original winners could be in time for the Meet & Greet (M&G) session with Adam. The traffic was just awful given it was rush hour that time.
Half way through, Jamie took the cosmetic kit out and started to apply eyeliner in the bus itself. As ‘Adam’, he got the most challenging outfit/makeup to handle compared to the rest of us. I wrung my hands silently and wished I could somehow use my phone to connect online to let Lisa know that Sony Malaysia managed to slip the M&G back into the schedule again and that we were running hopelessly late. But there were no public WiFi signals for me to use. GRRR!!
It was 5.10PM by the time the glambus finally pulled up to the hotel and poor Netty (@swankynova) was waiting impatiently for us at the lobby since 4PM! The four of us who would be dressing up as the Glamband that night – Juliet as Cam, Jamie as Adam, Netty as Tommy and myself as Monte – piled into a single room to save some time.
Then, eyeliner, foundation, hair gel, hair spray, feathers, rhinestones went clattering… We finally appeared at the glambus around 5.40PM and were promptly scolded by one of the Sony executives for delaying the others. To be frank, we were not the least bit repentant since we did want to look our best for Adam, Monte and Longineu. And since at least half the passengers did not know what the four of us were up to, they got quite an eyeful of us clambering up the bus. We joined Farah and Lin who were glammed up too. There were grins and hoots of appreciation.
And as luck would have it, our driver got lost trying to head to Universal Studio. He had his GPS system on but it was quite obvious we were driving around in circles. After drifting what it seemed like forever, the man finally gave up, called a local and asked for directions. Thank goodness! Within 10 minutes, we finally saw the signboard indicating that we were on the right path. Hurray!
With just 15 minute to spare, we streamed down the bus and sprinted across the parking lot and up the elevator. Leather boots and pointed heels slapping hard against the pavement, we ran as if the hounds of hell were chasing us until we finally slipped past Universal Studio’s turn gates.
There was a huge crowd waiting in line to see the showcase with the press corps snapping pictures of every one and everything. The atmosphere was almost festive.
Immediately, the Malaysian organizers gathered the ten lucky people who will get to see Adam and directed us to the side of the Pantages theatre. We grimaced as we left our partners behind – we were not terribly happy but we were left with little choice.
While we were queuing up for the M&G, I was looking around anxiously, despairing on whether I would get the chance to see Monte. There were just so many people out there and we were cordoned off the side entrance of the theatre.
What if Monte was at the other end of the theatre? What if I went inside to meet Adam and he popped out?