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Chet Atkins: Mister Guitar - When 1 Met Chet rage 1 ::;w.,. April 4, 2000 News Discography "When 1met Chet" CAAS Convention Chet Bios Chet Links Classifieds Fan photos Your Favorites Contact Us About This Site " While 1 was a senior in high school, in May 1972, 1read in the Indianapolis Star that Chet Atkins was going to be performing for two nights at the MURAT TEMPLE in Indianapolis. 1 had LOVED Chet Atkins' music aU my life, and 1made up my mind that somehow 1 was going to meet Chet Atkins. 1 drove to Indianapolis in my oid oil-smoking ford galaxy 500 and found the MURAT TEMPLE during the day. It was hot that day as well. After parking my car, 1 walked up and tried the front door. It was locked. 1 walked around the building, and any doors 1 found were locked. So, 1 walked to the back parking lot, and 1 saw an old, faded, wooden door in back with the varnish coming off. 1 tried that door, and it was unlocked! 1 walked on in to what turned out to be an area behind the stage. The place was empty. It was air conditioned, so it felt very comfortable inside. 1 waited there all day behind the stage; just "milling around." Pacing the floor. Wondering, of course, what l'd teU a security guard, or sorneone if they came in and confronted me. Finally, after what seemed like forever, it was getting about dark outside, when 1 heard that old door squeak. 1 glanced up quickly expecting to see a security guard when in walked CRET ATKINS! 1 said "Chet!" Just like 1had known him for years. Ha! He looked at me sort of startled, then, 1 guess he could see 1was just an 18 year old kid. 1 said to him " ... Chet, l've loved your music aU my life ..." " ... l've waited here all day hoping 1 could meet you ..." He walked over and patted me on the back. Then, he said " ... how would you like to get up on stage with me and hold my guitars between songs ..?" 1 said "ok!" He told me to go on in to where the band was setting up, and visit with the orchestra members. He explained that he had to go up to his practice room; but, that he'd be back shortly. Then, Chet Atkins quietly disappeared. 1 walk:ed up to an old man who had on half glasses tuning his violin. He said to me " ... you don't like Chet Atkins do ya kid ..?" 1 said to him " ... Chet Atkins is the BEST guitar player in the world ..." He shrugged. 1 said "... don't you like to hear Chet Atkins ..?" Again, he shrugged and looked over his half-glasses at the music as he tuned his violin. Just as quickly as he had disappeared Chet Atkins was there sitting on a stool with a beautiful acoustic guitar. He nodded for me to come http://www.misterguitar.com/metchetl garrett.html 04/04/2006

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  • Chet Atkins: Mister Guitar - When 1 Met Chet rage 1 ::;w.,.

    April 4, 2000

    NewsDiscography

    "When 1met Chet"CAAS Convention

    Chet BiosChet LinksClassifiedsFan photos

    Your FavoritesContact Us

    About This Site

    "

    While 1was a senior in high school, in May 1972, 1read in theIndianapolis Star that Chet Atkins was going to be performing fortwo nights at the MURAT TEMPLE in Indianapolis. 1had LOVEDChet Atkins' music aU my life, and 1made up my mind thatsomehow 1was going to meet Chet Atkins. 1drove to Indianapolis inmy oid oil-smoking ford galaxy 500 and found the MURATTEMPLE during the day. It was hot that day as well. After parkingmy car, 1 walked up and tried the front door. It was locked. 1walkedaround the building, and any doors 1 found were locked. So, 1walked to the back parking lot, and 1 saw an old, faded, wooden doorin back with the varnish coming off. 1 tried that door, and it wasunlocked! 1 walked on in to what turned out to be an area behind thestage. The place was empty. It was air conditioned, so it felt verycomfortable inside.

    1 waited there all day behind the stage; just "milling around." Pacingthe floor. Wondering, of course, what l'd teU a security guard, orsorneone if they came in and confronted me.

    Finally, after what seemed like forever, it was getting about darkoutside, when 1heard that old door squeak. 1 glanced up quicklyexpecting to see a security guard when in walked CRET ATKINS!

    1 said "Chet!" Just like 1had known him for years. Ha! He looked atme sort of startled, then, 1 guess he could see 1was just an 18 yearold kid. 1 said to him " ... Chet, l've loved your music aU my life ..."" ... l've waited here all day hoping 1could meet you ..." He walkedover and patted me on the back. Then, he said " ... how would youlike to get up on stage with me and hold my guitars betweensongs ..?" 1 said "ok!"

    He told me to go on in to where the band was setting up, and visitwith the orchestra members. He explained that he had to go up to hispractice room; but, that he'd be back shortly. Then, Chet Atkinsquietly disappeared.

    1 walk:ed up to an old man who had on half glasses tuning his violin.He said to me " ... you don't like Chet Atkins do ya kid ..?" 1 said tohim " ... Chet Atkins is the BEST guitar player in the world ..." Heshrugged. 1 said "... don't you like to hear Chet Atkins ..?" Again, heshrugged and looked over his half-glasses at the music as he tunedhis violin.

    Just as quickly as he had disappeared Chet Atkins was there sittingon a stool with a beautiful acoustic guitar. He nodded for me to come

    http://www.misterguitar.com/metchetl garrett.html 04/04/2006

  • Chet Atkins: Mister Guitar - When I Met Chet

    over to him. 1 quickly complied and walked over to him. He said n ...see that guitar over there on the stand behind the curtain ..'t" 1 said "yes" He says " ... go stand over there, and when 1nod to you bringthat guitar to me and 1'11 hand you this one ..." He said " ... be carefuland don't drop it ..l" Then, he smiled at me.

    1hurried over to the electric guitar. It was a large "double body"GRETSCH. Before 1 arrived to the location of where the GRETSCHwas Chet started playing. It was the most beautiful music 1had everheard. 1 looked at him sitting there playing so beautifully, and 1strained to see his fingers, because it was so beautiful that it washard to believe that aIl ofthat music was coming from one guitar. Itwas like a dream. It was like 1was listeningto "piped in music" on aradio; but, 1 couId clearly see that Chet Atkins was playing everynote.

    Too soon he'd fmished the song and nodded for me to bring theGretsch. 1picked up that guitar VERY carefully, and 1 couId notbelieve it. Here was ME holding a guitar owned by Chet Atkins! 1quickly, but carefully, hurried the guitar over to him, he handed methe acoustic as 1handed him the GRETSCH.

    Again, before 1 could put the acoustic put on the stand Chet wasplaying a song 1 LOVE to this day entitled "Jitterbug Waltz" It wasso beautiful. 1had tears in my eyes that time. Saon the orchestra wasplaying background, 1had never been close to an orchestra before.(l've appreciated orchestra and violin music ver since). 1 glanced upat the old man who had shrugged when l'd asked him ifhe liked ChetAtkin's guitar playing. This time a big, wide, smile came over hisface, and he winked at me in just the way that said " ... kid, you'reright ..!" " ... Cher Atkins IS the BEST guitar player in the world ..."Before I knew it, Chet was nodding for me to bring the acoustic backto him, and handed me the electric. This time he whispered to me" ... just hold the GRETSCH; don't take the time to put it on thestand ..." So, 1 backed up behind the curtain and held that GRETSCHwhile Chet started playing BLACK MOUNTAIN RAG. Ijust couldnot believe my eyes! 1 stood there holding that GRETSCH wishing 1couId play guitar with him, Cherishing the moments. Feeling theweight of that guitar. Looking at it, admiring it. Then, it was rimeonce again to hand the electric back to Chet and take the acousticbehind the curtain. Before 1knew it, Chet had played bis last tune.

    He came over to me while the audience clapped and thanked me forholding his guitars.

    He told me that 1 could go back behind the stage and wait in line onthe stairs up to his practice room and get his autograph if 1 wantedto. So, 1 went back and found a very long line. I was almost the lastperson; but, in a very brief time I was with Chet Atkins again and hesigned a piece of paper for me.

    1quickly asked him " ... Chet, could 1please bring my twin brotherback here tomorrow night and get a couple of picture with yeu ..?"He said " ... sure ..." " ... just get in line again after the show ..."

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  • Chet Atkins: Mister Guitar - When 1 Met Chet page -' sui ..,.

    1 decided not to be in such a hurry to leave after 1 got Chet Atkins'autograph. l went on back down the stairs; but, sort of lingeredbehind the stage area again.

    Finally, Chet Atkins came down. Everyone was gone. 1 asked him" ... Chet, will you please take this ...?" 1 showed him one of mythumbpicks. He reached out his hand to take it and 1 put it on hisright thumb. 1 said " ... 1 love you Chet .." He smiled at me and said" ... thank you ... thank you very much ..." 1 followed him out to a carwaiting adjacant to that old wooden door l'd entered in. 1watchedhim as he got in the back seat, and a driver drove him away. Chetturned and waved to me.

    The next night, my twin and 1went to the MURAT TEMPLE. 1toldmy twin, Jerry, how what he was about to experience was sorne ofthe most beautiful music he'd ever hear on a guitar. We entered withthe crowd, paid for -OUT tickets and -satout in the-crewd. 1was ln awewhen Chet Atkins looked right at me from the stage nodded, andsmiled. Noone in the crowd had any idea 1had met Chet Atkins thenight before. After the show my Jerry and 1waited in line-and gotChet's autograph. This time he signed our tickets. Chet told Jerry and1 that his wife was a twin. We were both surprised. l've cheri shedthat moment all my life.

    1met Chet Atkins again in California at the Claremont CollegesAmbassador Auditorium, behind the stage after the show, and got hisautograph again.

    For sorne reason 1 didn't give Chet Atkins my name. 1have thepictures with him; but, 1 could have, so easily, given him my nameand address, and perhaps corresponded with him; but, 1was trying tobe polite and not treaspass on his "space,"

    1play guitar now, Chet Atkins' style, have subscribed to JohnKnowles FINGERSTYLE QUARTERL Y, purchased videos fromCraig Dobbins, Micahel Lelong, Marcel Dadi, "Buster Jones" etc.,and 1have written sorne songs taht 1 truly believe Chet Atkins wouldhave recorded; but, 1had no idea how to get them into his hands.

    It is with the deepest regret, and heartfelt sadness that 1 read and hearof his passing. 1 cherish, so much, my memories of Chet Atkins, andthis is a very sad day for me.

    - Terry L. Garrett

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    http://www.misterguitar.comlmetchetl garrett.html 04/04/2006