When I woke up yesterday morning I didn't expect that I'd have lunch with Rowdy Roddy Piper later in the day. In fact, I didn't know what to expect, since I awoke at 3:30 a.m. to do my "shift switch" as an FM morning show producer for an OnMilwaukee.com feature article next week.
Had I known, I might've shaved or at least dressed up a little, since, after all, this was Rowdy Roddy Piper, the legendary former professional wrestler. After all, this author -- when he was 11-years-old -- played with wrestling dolls adorned in his image.
This was the actor who was one half of the greatest fight scene in cinematic history in "They Live."
The was the guy a generation of kids loved to hate.
And, on a mere five hours of sleep, this was the I guy I got "dragged along" to have lunch with at the Wisconsin Club.
It happened because OnMilwaukee.com blogger and my friend Gino Salomone hooked it up, as he always does. Halfway into my shift switch at WKLH, and after Gino's segment, he invited me to lunch with the Rowdy One. Still half-asleep, who was I to decline such an honor?
Piper is in town this weekend to host two Great Lakes Championship Wrestling events. The 55-year-old Piper is not actually wrestling (or so he says), but he is hosting a live "Piper's Pit." Last night, he did a stand-up gig at Jokerz. The wrestling events are tonight at Racine's Memorial Hall and Saturday at the Waukesha County Expo Center.
Piper was doing media interviews all day yesterday, so getting an hour with him in peace and quiet was special. Fortunately, Gino asked most of the questions, but I got in a few, too.
My takeaway is that Piper was exactly how I expected him -- and wanted him -- to be. He still looks like he could kick your butt, between his black leather coat and black mesh shirt and pants. He looks like a wrestler.
And he talks like a wrestler. I recall Piper's high-pitched piercing voice with his strong Canadian accent. Now it's quiet and grumbling. He sounds like Mickey Rourke in "The Wrestler," and we talked about that, too, but the man sitting at my table wasn't a pitiful, broken man. Even though my passion and, frankly, my interest in professional wrestling ended 20 years ago, I could have listened to Piper talk forever.
Piper smiles a lot and tells stories and is appreciative of his fans' support. And simply breaking down our 30-minute interview into sound bites and quotes won't do this conversation justice.
Instead, if you have a few minutes, click here to listen to the entire conversation, clanking plates and all. Current and former fans of his work will appreciate this trip down memory lane. Had I been a little more chipper, I would've asked better questions.
But when dining with Rowdy Roddy Piper, perhaps it's best to let him do most of the talking.
You do not throw rocks at a man who's got a machine gun! What a classic line. Long live Hot Rod!
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