My friend, “Layne the Legend” – Part 1

I dated Layne in 1987…not a serious relationship by any means but we did go out on dates off and on throughout 1987.

My sister Barb and her boyfriend, who both worked at The Music Bank, introduced me to Layne on December 10, 1986 outside the Seattle Center Coliseum after a David Lee Roth and Cinderella concert (I only know the exact date because I still have my ticket stub). Layne was with his friend and fill-in bass player for Sleze, Morgen Gallagher. We all talked for a bit then Layne and Morgan hopped into a cab.

The day after show, my sister told me Layne told her he had a crush on a girl who was dressed in all white, who was wearing white lace stockings, and was wearing a white hat with netting down the front at the show… and that girl was me! My mouth opened in shock! I was so excited! Layne was a big deal even back then. After all, he was the singer of Sleze! The only problem was that I was still with my boyfriend at the time. Layne gave my sister a Sleze cassette tape and a pic of he and Morgan to give to me. My sister said he chose the picture from a stack of photos that were stashed inside the desk drawer in the office at The Music Bank.

During the rest of December my sister said Layne would ask about me but didn’t want to do anything because he thought I was “too wrapped up with my boyfriend.” But in reality, I had an instant huge crush on Layne. At first I thought Layne’s last name was Staler. LOL! I remember drawing a heart on a piece of paper with Layne Staler written in the middle…and I would stare at that pic he gave me for hours and listen to the demo tape over and over. I knew it was over with me and my boyfriend but still hadn’t broken up with him.

During the next couple weeks, my sister would tell me stories about Layne and what went on at The Music Bank when she was there. One of my favorite stories of hers is when Layne came into the office while she was working. He told her to go into their practice room because he had something really cool he just HAD to show her. So she follows him in there and had her sit down. She said he suddenly produced a crimping iron! She said he proceeded to crimp her hair with vigor and sort of childlike enthusiasm. Then he had her look in the mirror and she started laughing so hard because her hair was HUGE! She had super long thick hair anyway. She said Layne was ecstatic!

Sleze 1980's
Sleze mid-1980’s

On January 9, 1987, I went to see the band Stryper at The Paramount in Seattle, (again I remember the date because I still have my ticket stub). I took extra care getting ready because Stryper was going to be filming a video for their song ‘Free’ that night, and I was also secretly hoping I’d see Layne there. I didn’t see him before or during the show but after the show I was on the balcony looking down at the crowd and there he was! I just froze and looked down at him with doe eyes. He was all “glammed” out with big crimped hair and makeup. I was in love! I watched him walk out the door with a bunch of his friends. I tried to get downstairs to say hi before he left but he was gone by the time I got downstairs.

I went outside planning to take a cab home but saw this guy standing near the doorway. He was dressed just like Layne with crimped hair and makeup and everything so I went up to him and asked, “are you in the band, Sleze?” He said yes and introduced himself as James Bergstom, drummer. I asked him if he knew where Layne went and he said he had probably gone to The Music Bank. He asked if he could give me a ride there because that is where he was headed as well. I accepted. We waited for James’ girlfriend Traci outside for a few minutes because she had gone the bathroom. James introduced me to Traci and we headed for the Music Bank…and the three of us became instant best friends.

We pulled up to The Music Bank and went in… Layne. I was familiar with the place because I had spent some time down there in the Spring and Summer of 1986 when the name was being changed to The Music Bank from Round the Sound.

I talked with James and Traci for about an hour in Sleze’s practice room. James offered me a ride home and I accepted. Right as we were walking out, in walks Layne (of course). We spotted each other. My eyes got wide, then so did his. We said “hi” to each other and he asked if I had to go. It was a little awkward because suddenly I really wanted to stay but it was late so I left.

I broke up my boyfriend a couple days later…

(To be continued)

Edited by Cindy