Keanu Reeves fans don't seem to care about the music
by Carol Teegardin
"Excuse me, can I borrow a cigarette?" Keanu Reeves asked me Friday between sets backstage at the Ritz in Roseville.
"I don't smoke," I said, so he found someone with a pack of Marlboros, lit up, took a few frantic hits from his beer bottle, and resumed playing bass in the band Dog Star, which is touring the country in search of a recording contract.
This was the extent of my verbal exchange Friday night with the action stud of "Speed," after which I was asked to leave the area. "I'm a reporter. I'm supposed to meet with him after the show," I told a security guard.
"Too bad, you have to leave. He's the $40-million man, and everyone wants to meet him," he said.
I kicked myself for not smoking. Instead of chatting with Reeves, I had to walk outside and go back into the front door of the Ritz to stand behind a capacity audience consisting mostly of young women who cheered loudly for rock's new most famous bass player.
Management at the Ritz kindly but firmly said no pictures, either. Seems Reeves was attacked by a group of women during Dog Star's gig in Boston. His manager apparently got hurt protecting him. Reeves worried about the same thing happening in Detroit.
Well, the women in Roseville weren't abusing Reeves; they were abusing themselves. Throughout the show, they tried to crawl up on the stage and were hauled away by guards. Several women fainted from the 90-degree heat near the stage. Some women had their feet bloodied by broken beer bottles on the floor; one woman cut her hand and wore a bandage.
Between songs, security guards threw pitchers of water on the crowd to cool them off. Some of the women succumbed to the heat and alcohol consumption and had to be carried out. "We've been busy all night," one EMS worker said.
What's wrong with this picture? Why the megastar treatment for a so-so band with only a decent punk-pop sound, a band that probably couldn't play the Ritz on a Monday if it weren't for Reeves -- who, by the way, doesn't go near a microphone?
Even Dog Star's drummer Rob Mailhouse (who plays amateur hockey with Reeves) snubbed the press.
Hey guys, even Pearl Jam and the former members of Nirvana would hang with the press and a few of their fans after a show.
But not Dog Star. After the show, a lineup of polite young women who were obviously not star-bashers stood waiting for Reeves to come out and just say "Hi."
He didn't even do that. He stood behind his mobile home, smoking and being his quiet, brooding self.
"People I talked with don't think a lot of the band after last night," said Brad Shaw of Waterford Township, who was helping out backstage during the show. "Some of them thought it was the worst band in history here."
Said Tracie Gross, 21, of Redford Township: "I thought the other band that came on before them, Katie's Dimples, was better than Dog Star."
Katie's Dimples ace sax player Tate McLaughlin was more gentle. "They have potential," he said.
Bottom line: Was Reeves, the wacko killer in "I Love You To Death," more than a visual? Yes. He picked his strings modestly yet expertly while women stared raptly at him. (He does have focus.) And he boogied with Mailhouse on a couple of songs, after which he circled the stage in a fit of showmanship.
But really, would it have hurt him to just say hi?