I first met Chet when I moved to Nashville in 1984. I have always loved
his music and he was THE major influence in my life. I was sleeping in my
car, and I had no money or food. I found a newspaper with classifieds and saw a
job as a booking agent was available. I did not know the first thing about
being an agent, but I was not going to tell Johnny Massey that. I got my
job at Stars Inc. on Music Row and began to compile info on the artists I would be
The first day Mrs. Massey walked in with a folder that said Chet
Atkins on it and I nearly ripped her hand off trying to get it out of her
hand. I called over to his office and made an appointment to meet with him
and a date was set. In the meantime, I got a call from a drugstore in
Nashville that wanted to have Chet come out and do an in-store album promo.
The money was really low, I was afraid to even ask him to do it, but I went ahead
and pitched it to his office and
the response was yes!
I was so happy that I would finally get to meet the
man I so admired. I took my first paycheck and rented a limo to pick him up
in. I wanted this to be a first class event! I walked up the sidewalk to
his office sweating so bad I thought I would die. I was about to meet Mr.
Guitar. I went in and asked the secretary if Chet was ready and she said
she would get him. He came walking down the steps and I
thought I had died and gone to the mecca! Here he was in person, the man I
had listened to since I was 7 years old and worn out at least 4 needles on
my phonograph trying to figure out how he played those patterns, he was
here live before me.
I stuck out a completely soaked and trembling hand and
he shook it like an old friend. He asked me if it would be all right for
his friend John Knowles to come along to which I replied of course. We then
went to the drugstore opening and Chet signed album after album as well as
autographs and a guitar. On the way, back he asked if we could take a detour
with the limo and we went all over downtown and he told me about the
history of Nashville and showed me property that he owned. It was a day I
have never forgotten and it all seemed to go by in a wink. We became
friends that day and have been every since. He has always given me
encouragement and has always been a ear that would listen to my never-ending
questions about the music business.
I dedicated every CD I have
done to him first because he made me want to play the guitar and be the
best that I can be. He taught me what it meant to be a real person and not
buy the hype. I am forever grateful to have his friendship and in talking
to him a month ago I was able to tell him all that he has meant not only to
me but to the world.
I think I speak for everyone when I say that we all
love you Chet, and thank you for the gift that you brought to all of our
lives, you are as always the true country gentleman and you are loved
beyond measure. Thanks for making my life so much deeper and meaningful,
- Micheal Clair, FOCGP ( friend of Certified