“Musical Ass Splatter.” Chuck in no way describing a specific band.
“I’m not paying you to talk – now dust my dingle.” Speculative conversation between a male prostitute and client that Chuck saw the first time he was in L.A. The man was on a corner and was significantly larger and hairier than Chuck. Oh and he was wearing a French Maid’s costume. Someone pulled up in a station wagon and off they went.
“Side boob Santa, he’s my friend” sung by Chuck
“My names is Bob but people call me Curtis. Why? Because my hair is curly.” "Oh" Former co-worker of Chucks.
“It was like seeing Television at CBGB’s.” Perhaps the nicest compliment we’ve ever received. From a writer in L.A.
Fauna: Costa’s Hummingbird (tentative)
Our tour manager had an early afternoon meeting in Burbank so we decamped from our San Clemente haven. We had an hour or so to kill so we decided to go to a gallery/store called Hyaena. It is difficult to adequately describe this place but it was super damn cool look it up). It was full of monster art, disturbing ephemera, and lots of affordable original paintings. For example there was a wooden house about a foot and a half high where when you looked through each window you saw things like a creepy clown, a corpse, a dude watching porn; and it was made by a guy who does model work for Robot Chicken and did props for Six Feet Under. They had erotic pictures featuring Lobster Boy and Zombie skulls. I bought a sad clown painted on black velvet. We became good enough friends that the guy working there came to our show. A very cool women, who I guess was just hanging out there recommended a soul food restaurant called MP’s Soul Food Eatery in Burbank. This is how she sold us on it, “I’ve been fat a long time so I should know the best dessert I’ve put into my mouth.” And it was an awesome place. The entire staff was one family and it was named after our waiter’s great-grandmother Miss Peaches. I had black-eyed peas, yams, mashed potatoes, and mac and cheese. Other band selections included fried chicken, greens, pork chops, and blackened Tilapia. Then we got to the aforementioned heart attack inducing butter cakes. Two bites were enough.
After that it was time to head to the club. It was at a place called AmpliFy and it was located about 100 yards from Paramount Studios in an alley behind an Astroburger. The only signage was the club’s name printed in about 6 inch letters on a green door. It was a DIY club created by a 20 year old girl (rumored to be an actress) (no, it's true) ( it's not*) who converted her bands practice space into the club. Her mom was the ticket taker. I think her dad was there too. It was a cute little 100 person room with a tall stage and lots of gold and silver records on the wall. You could see the Hollywood sign in the distance so I guess we were in Hollywood, or damn close to it. The part we were in was kind of seedy but nothing a few community clean-up days couldn’t handle! Anyway, since there was no bar in the club Joe and I went in search of a surrogate. Yelp said there was a wine bar really close so we walked to where it should be but didn’t see one. Finally we saw a door in a strip mall with the word Lou written on it and with the windows covered in curtains. We opened the door with some trepidation and inside were a bunch of rich people drinking wine. It’s weird, the whole town seems to be built around the concept of separating people by those in the know and the suckers who aren’t.
Another fun Hollywood style incident. We were having some pictures of the band taken and the photographer wanted us to stand in front of some cool looking wall. As soon as we gather a douche bag dressed in black and wearing a mic in his ear comes over and asks us what we’re doing. “We’re taking some pictures.” "Well I’m going to need to you to move on.” “Why?” “This is private property and you don’t have permission to be here.” “The sidewalk is private property?” “You can have 20 seconds.” “Two minutes and we’ll be gone.” Grumbles and walks away. It was a restaurant. I never even saw anyone go in. Silliness.
Back at the club we find out they’ve added a fifth band so we’d only have a half an hour. The club’s policy was that the first 10 tickets for every band went to the club to pay for sound and production. If you don’t make your 10 though you have to actually pay the club. We were told our tickets sales were good and that we were, “in the money.” When we got onstage we realized there was a really big crowd. It was amazing. I was right next to a box fan but didn’t realize it was hiding a smoke machine. About every five minutes I would get blasted with vanilla smelling smoke and I would giggle because suddenly Wussy was in an ‘80s metal video. We played as close to a Ramones set as we could in an effort to get as many songs in as possible. The crowd was singing, dancing, smiling, and shouting at the end of every song. When our half hour was done the owners came up and said we could do one more. The crowd briefly argued over “Don’t Leave Just Now,” and “Jonah.” “Jonah” won and after the song I leaned over to Lisa and asked, “Did you see the crowds faces?” She said, “Yeah, I kept welling up.” I said, “I know, they just seemed… joyful. I couldn’t stop smiling the whole time.” And that was the thing, every time I looked out into the crowd everyone seemed so happy, and it felt really nice to think that something we were doing was accomplishing that. After the show people just hung out in the alley, (was more like a small parking lot) drank beer out of brown bags and just shot the shit. A writer who had never seen us came over to Lisa afterwards and said it was like seeing Television at CBGB’s. I don’t believe that for a second but it was that kind of night.
Earlier that evening we won the Priceline lottery and got a room at the Hyatt Regency in Palm Springs. The angel of a night clerk felt bad she couldn’t give us a room with two queens (thats what he said!) so we ended up in a room with a patio about ten steps from the pool. I went and laid on a beach chair and stared up at foreign stars. I counted three shooting stars before I got in the pool. John, Lisa, and I just floated on our backs at two in the morning and stared at the sky. It was perfect.
Palm Springs was interesting. The main drag was like one long rich person strip mall. I don’t know, the hotel was sweet, but the small part I saw was not particularly compelling. As John put it, “Oh there’s no culture, but the amenities are nice.”
Tomorrow is Tucson. We have officially begun to turn east, with the ocean at our backs and the desert at our door.
*In an Eddie Izzard voice