Bucks Burnett has met most of his music idols and isn't shy about talking about it in his monthly column, Namedropper.
I bought Vanilla Ice’s Mind Blowin’ from Blockbuster Music the day it came out on March 22, 1994. I gazed in awe at the cover, which showed Ice wearing dreadlocks and blowing smoke like a white Marley on a Harley.
I hadn’t seen such a transformation since the Sgt. Pepper’s album cover in ’67. This was the new Deep Vanilla, and I was in for the ride. I played the CD all day at my Fourteen Records store on Greenville Avenue and thought, “What if I could meet Vanilla some day?”
Even for a guy who had already met Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol, every member of Led Zeppelin and all four Beatles, this was a stretch. But fate gave me a sly, sexy smile.
Not long after the CD came out, it was announced that Ice would be appearing at a club to celebrate a release from a young rapper he was mentoring. Up in the balcony of the club, I watched and waited with a group of friends. Eventually I noticed a group of people approaching from my left. I turned my head their way, and there he was: Vanilla.
He was strutting the thick club carpet like a proud lion, with two proud lion body guards who had arms the size of Buicks. As he passed, I spoke. “Yo, Va-NILLA!”
“Yo?” He stopped and cocked his head to the side and waited. “Love the new CD,” I said. “I think it’s mind blowin’!” He smiled and stood alert.
I made up a sign with my hand and said something like, “Yo! You the reason for the season and your haters be traitors!” And with that, we were off — throwing signs, shooting glances, acting like two robots mirroring each other. We had a short, friendly freestyle battle. We were one, as if we had known each other for years.
And then out of my mouth flew a compliment to the extreme: “You my Nilla wafer!”
He stopped cold and frowned. He grabbed a glass of ice water off a table and threw it in my face from about two feet away, with great velocity. The cubes bounced off my face and the water drenched my hair. I looked right at him as he said, “The name is ICE, muthafuckah. Don’t forget it.”
“Yeah,” one of his bodyguard's chimed in, before the group strutted off. “The name is ICE.”
The incident wasn’t photographed, but it was written up in local music rag Buddy Magazine. (Unfortunately it didn’t make it into The Greensheet.)
I had meant no disrespect. I like Nilla wafers — I thought we were tribe in the Nabisco Nation. I guess he took it wrong. There was a certain honor to that moment, but I never saw him again, and I admit I sometimes longed for closure.
The other day, for example. I was reminded of the incident when I realized a gig that Vanilla Ice would be perfect for: inauguration ceremony performer.
Now, I realize Ice may not be willing to hear me out given our difficult history. But that’s a bridge and a Queen sample over troubled ice water to me now. I would like nothing more than to make up, which is why I’m willing to formally apologize for my comment that evening more than two decades ago:
Vanilla, I officially and in writing to the public, apologize to you for any offense taken during our fateful encounter in Dallas in 1994.
I am a sincere fan. I bought Mind Blowin’ the day it came out, and still have it. I love your movie. I admire your ability to succeed in different times and media: music, film, TV, real estate and sports.
When we met unexpectedly at the club, and we began rapping and throwing signs to each other, it was amazing. I was barely rapping to you, but I was rapping. I’m still rapping, and it all started with you.
While I was throwing compliments that night, I said, “You my Nilla wafer!” It made you very angry and you threw ice water in my face. I knew right away that my compliment was not received well. Make no mistake, I meant it as praise.
I regret that it offended you, and retract the statement, although I do think Nilla wafers are fantastic.
You are fantastic, too, and that is why I have started an official online White House petition for you to play at the inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017.
I apologize in advance if this petition is not to your liking. It may not reflect your political preference. I did not vote for Mr. Trump, but would like to see you invited, even if you decline. You deserve an invitation to play the ceremony, regardless of who is being sworn in.
I salute you. You are a great American, and that’s a wrap.
- Bucks Burnett, Jan. 4, 2017
President-elect Donald J. Trump is having trouble getting commitments from A-list talent to play at his inauguration parties this month in Washington, D.C., and Vanilla Ice could be the answer to that trouble. I even checked the date and what do you know? He appears to be free.
I nominate Vanilla Ice, of Dallas, Texas, to headline all the festivities at the Washington, D.C., inaugural parties. You can sign my online petition to help make it happen.
I have no clue what Ice’s politics are, but this day is about making America and the new president look good, and they really can’t look any worse. Just imagine Trump and the Ice Machine together on Jan. 20, hip-hoppin’ and photo-oppin’ with flags and monuments behind them, and making stuff great again.