Tues May 20, 2014
Another all-day drive and straight to the venue.
We all woke early-ish and slightly groggy from the fun we had the previous night and the cumulative exhaustion constantly threatening to settle in.
We took our time getting up and ready. Got out my iPod and played some of my new album 'Automatic Writing' and rough mixes of the Ocean of Stars EP. Got a positive response from Armando, Adrian and Kim.
Eventually got packed and ready, bid adieu to Kim and thanked her for the hospitality, and were gifted with the leftover tacos from last night \m/,
I managed to grab a shower in the morning, for my own sake as for Adrian and Armando, as we'd be driving all day through the Mojave Desert into the Sonoran Desert with the windows down and no AC.
Rule of the road: if you CAN take a shower, DO IT.
Who knows when the next shower will become available. You can apply this rule to food as well. Not many venues on this trip are feeding us.
I have lots of friends in LA, and up the West Coast, but as the tour neared I was scrambling to remember who I knew and where they lived...! Sent out several invites but wound up not getting to see any of my LA friends. That, and we were playing on a Tuesday night. Maybe next time.
To best of my recollection (and photographic evidence) drive was uneventful.
Rolled into Los Angeles before sunset, and blessedly after rush hour. Drove straight to the Redwood Bar in more or less downtown and parked in front of it.
And we weren't really sure what to think of it upon walking in. Pirate ship themed, plank wood floors, dimly lit, old barrels, lots of ship paintings and decor. After soaking in the vibe a bit, we decided we liked it \m/,
The bathroom was about as well lit as a cave with a single candle burning in it. I hoped that wouldn't affect my ability to put on my contacts prior to soundcheck, as I am still able to get a few hours out of them max before they start bothering my eye.
Armando walked a few blocks over to get pics of a building by an architect whose name almost sounds familiar. I hung in the van and took my gastrointestinal chances on a leftover taco from the night before.
Turns out I was already getting very good at putting them in despite lighting/bathroom conditions. They are torric lenses, which correct for astygmatism, and need to be properly oriented lest my vision be wonky.
Anyway, soon we loaded in and squeezed our gear on to the smallish stage and awaited the sound guy.
Several other bands on the bill after us, and again we were pleased to have an early spot. It was a Tuesday night, and we had driven all day. We looked forward to a short set and being able to relax the rest of the night.
People started filing in before we went on, and we were very pleased by this. Adrian had many friends come out, who brought many of their friends. Among them was her Hell's Belles bandmate (and ex-Betty Blowtorch/Butt Trumpet member) Sharon Needles. Good to have some family in the crowd \m/,
Our set was brief and incendiary. Great response, they loved us!
Dismantling our gear and stashing it into the side/green room, the band after us (Sapphic Musk) was giving an "interview," in character. They're an all-female Viking metal band tongue-in-cheekly claiming to be from Sweden and seemed to be having a lot of fun shooting a mockumentary of their first US tour (even tho they are from LA, hahaha). Awesome.
Got to hang out with Sharon for awhile, and also met a gentleman named Ray. Turns out he has been one of Adrian's most ardent financial supporters over the years, and was instrumental in helping her release her current album ('Be Your Own Savior') and helping make the tour worthwhile for all of us.
Again, good people. And always encouraging to come across people who have money investing it in the arts and artists. Hope for humanity = restored. He was a really nice guy, and the three of us could not thank him enough in between the rounds of drinks he also bought us.
But also by now a syndrome which I have yet to find an accurate name for was starting to set in. I was calling it the Pre-Show Shuffle, but it applies as applicably after the set has been played and you are at the venue the rest of the night.
Here's what happens.
You are playing a venue you doesn't have a proper green room (a room backstage accessible only to the band/crew) or your band does not have access to said green room as they are a support act.
So you have to be either in the venue, or outside. And I turn into a fucking cat.
"I don't feel like being in the bar/venue. Let me grab a cigarette outside." goes outside
"Damn. I really should be inside socializing and catching the other bands. I don't know when I'm going to see these people again and they are really nice. I feel like a anti-social prick." comes back inside
"It's loud. I'm tired. I can't really hear what people are saying anyway, so I'm not actually participating in any of the conversations going on around me. Let me go outside for some fresh air and clear my head/give my ears a rest." goes back outside
"Fuck. I should be in there. This is their last song. I should go talk to Armando/Adrian/Sharon/Ray/people in general." goes back inside
Repeat ad nauseum.
So yeah. When people complain about musicians in bigger bands staying in the tour bus or green room rather than walking around meeting people, this is why. You want to be in the venue or near it, but not necessarily in the venue. And players of that elevated status cannot escape people constantly wanting to talk to them.
To quote Dug Pinnick of King's X: "Man, I don't mind talking to people... But sometimes I just wanna take a shit!"
Curious if other players with my same level of lack-of-notoriety experience the same phenomena.
The last band on the bill was onstage, apparently it was also their CD release. We tried to wait til they were done before moving our gear to the van (had to wheel it RIGHT PAST THE STAGE). Can't recall the name by now, they were good, but also had their own crowd and most of the earlier crowd had already dispersed.
And change of plans, originally we were staying with Sharon. But instead we were taken in by Shannon, a friend of Adrian who was either a drummer in one of the bands (maybe there were 4 acts...?) or was roommates of the "Swedish" band. Swiss Cheese Memory (SCM) combined with WATF (writing after the fact).
But she was really nice, and a great host. Adrian crashed not long after arrival at her place, and Shannon stayed up with Armando and myself for awhile having a nightcap and talking music.
Of course we probably should have followed A's lead in hitting the sack immediately, as we had an even longer drive to Reno NV the next morning.
Turns out, we chose wisely and hung out with our host \m/,
But I jump ahead of my tale...