I was very fortunate to meet Chet at the Albert Thomas Convention Center
in Houston when he played with The Houston Symphony Orchestra in 1975.
Before the show, I looked up to the Mezzanine and saw Chet and his entourage
go into a little room about 1/2 hour before the show was to begin.
I immediately excused myself from the table and said, "I'm going up to
the mezzanine and see if I can see or meet and talk with Chet Atkins."
Everyone at the table laughed and said I was crazy.
Well I proceeded up the elevator and was confronted by a very big
bodyguard who said "You can't see Mr. Atkins now - he is getting ready for the
show!" I answered with, "Please, I'm a fan of Mr. Atkins from back in the
50's and hoped I could meet and talk with him." The bodyguard told me to come to
the door with him and he'd ask if I could come in for a few minutes. Well
much to my surprise Mr. Atkins with a very welcoming voice said, "Sure come
He shook my hand as I introduced myself. I told him my name and that I
had moved from Columbus, Ohio with my wife and 3 children to Conroe, Texas
in 1971, and I've been a fan of his since the 50's when I heard him play
on radio station WLW out of Cincinnati. He answered by saying, "I'm
pleased to meet you and I hope your party will enjoy the show. Please excuse
me but, I've got to limber up for the show now - you're welcome to sit
and watch." Well I watched dumbstruck and awestruck as he practiced with no
amplifier. The music from that unamplified guitar filled the room with a musical
artistry that was unmistakably "Mister Guitar"! I asked for his autograph and he signed my business card on
the back. He made me feel like I was his next door neighbor at the time.
I couldn't believe this super artist and his group in that room could be
so down to earth with me as a total stranger. I again thanked Mr. Atkins and his entourage and went back to enjoy the
3 hours later, Chet responded to a FOURTH encore. Finally, he apologized and
said that the dance band scheduled after him had already given up some of their
time and he would love to play more but, would not be able to anymore this
- Bob Parks
The FULL LIST of "When I Met Chet" stories