Monday, April 27, 2009

Lost Angels Found

Los Angeles can be the most beautiful place on earth, where dreams are made while standing on a street corner and eating an ice cream cone or smoking a cigarette.

Los Angeles can be a cruel joke of a destination for the too hungry dreamer shuffling off the bus, the big fish in little towns, the pageant winners a few years too far back, the reality TV contestants/famewhores and the casting couch detainees who end up taking your order at In and Out Burger.

Los Angeles was where we were for three days and we were going to see as many sides of it as we could. From high peak to underbelly. We were there to rock, not gawk, talk not walk.

Our first stop was a showcase for Fontana on Thursday afternoon. Fontana is the distributor for Bang Camaro and they were putting on a "festival" of sorts for all of their hard working employees(read: free stuff) which was held at a club in Studio City. The van rolled up and we strolled in like ornery, dehydrated vampires and took the place over. We were served fried chicken, greens and mac and cheese while we watched a bevvy of hip hop and R and B performers crooning to slow jam backing tracks and rapping old hits to white folk. Names like Master P,Corrupt and Silk the Shocker were thrown around as being in attendance...but being one who would rather take a ball peen hammer to a temple than listen to hip hop, I focused on the spectacle of it all...because that's what you're 'sposed to do in LA. We did our 15 minute set and slammed them hard. I had to laugh at the back line drum kit that Pete played on. It looked like a teeny toy drum set for little boys who might break a bone if they swing at the cymbal too hard.
After the showcase we hit the open bar hard, and gobbled hors d'oerves fit for a B-lister, and hit the bar harder until the Crystal Method came on and impressed everyone but me. It went like this: button, fader, beat, cd, more buttons..repeat..hit a new, bigger button with one ear exposed for concentration. DJs are boring, shouldn't be famous and nobody should care. Everyone is a DJ. But I digress. We overstayed and then went back in for the afterparty and overstayed again. Lucinda Williams showed up and nobody recognized her but me. I drove the van at night's end and went 30 miles in the wrong direction to anything but our hotel. Most of us were drunk, stressed or too tired to care.

Day two was the jewel in this six week crown of gold thorns....our appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. We woke sort of well rested on 5 hours of sleep,put on our best black and wound up a bit anxious to get there. I had not one ounce of nerves, but was only about 85 percent. Mucus was hiding somewhere in my throat like impenetrable barnacles...and just wouldn't let go. I would not be sidetracked by something as menial as vermin living in my esophagus. Half of Bang Camaro were at a meet and greet for most of the afternoon, so Pete, Nick, Steve, Andre, Jason and I drove down to Hollywood Blvd. and onto the Kimmel Lot. We got our wristbands, and were escorted to the dressing rooms. On the way in, we walked past the legendary Jimmy Kimmel Green Room which has a full bar, pool tables, flat screens and deep, plush couches with stains of unknown origin on them. I could not wait to see and be seen by various hangers on and their instant entourages. We are our own entourage...we are our own party. But that green room looked perfectly suited for a celebratory after party.

The time came for rehearsal, then a short break, then everyone from the actual studio audience was shuffled into the room that housed our well lit and perfect sounding stage and we were on. We performed Revolution and Push Push (Lady Lightning) which would be used as the outtro song to the show that airs on the 29th. You see, Jimmy Kimmel isn't really live anymore...only parts of it are. The rest is up to the viewer to figure out. The performance was B+ but the energy and stage show was A+. The grade didn't matter, the response did. The crowd loved us with aplomb and a fury of fists in the air could be seen through the stage fog. No applause was piped in. It was the real deal...we wrapped and all went over and shook Jimmy's hand after the performance and he told every member the same thing in rapid succession.."You were the best one,You were the best one.....That was the first and last we saw of him, but it was good enough for us. We were going to be on national tv. We celebrated in the green room until they kicked us out for not being beautiful enough(except for Jason- who is the bass payer for Leslie but sings on mic # 8 when needed. His mustache is legendary among teenage girls all over the south.) As we left the building, we just kept repeating that mantra.."We were just on the Jimmy Kimmel Show." We walked on air and the world was our champagne that night.

It was decided that the after party would be at the legendary club The Rainbow Room on the Sunset Strip. This is where Led Zeppelin, Guns N' Roses and various bands with copious hair partied and held court. It is a true piece of rock history and I couldn't wait to get there just to feel the ghosts rising from the booths. I could picture the vodka glasses strewn out in front of a rowdy Bonzo ...I could hear the slurred conversations between Duff and Lemmy, Izzy and Iggy, Slash and Slaughter. I refrained from taking pictures while people ate, but just walked around in awe, wondering from which booth did Robert Plant pluck up barely legal birds to go back to the Riot House with. The Leslie boys actually thought the outdoor bar/tent/patio was the "Rainbow Room"...I had to school those younguns and had them follow me around as their ancient tour guide. A great time was had by all. Try the chicken soup. Its almost the best I ever had. Pee in a urinal and you can be sure Keith Moon was there, too.

Tomorrow is day three and the end of the tour. rest up...its a good one.

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