2.10.2012 Ventura, CA 21:50I’m exhausted; we have a couple of hours left until we play the set. We landed at 15:00, secured a taxi and fought our way down the 405 to get to West Hollywood. I talked to this really cool guy on line waiting for the taxi; he gave us a rundown of the area around the hotel as far as places to eat go. He let us go ahead of him. I can’t remember the names of any of the places he suggested.
We checked into the Grafton on Sunset Blvd. All of the bands and Relapse staff are staying there. The interview that was originally scheduled for 17:00 was postponed due to an issue with power. The Scion guys told us to standby so we fell back to a Mexican restaurant down the street. As soon as we sat down and opened the menu my phone rang and we were told to come back for the interview. Me, Andrew and Dan did the interview, Paul and Ron hung back and picked something up for us.
My man, Jay Bennet interviewed us. They let us go first because we had a show later that night. The whole time we were talking, my mind was fixating on eating food. I hope I did a good job; I don’t like being distracted when I do these things. If someone is interested in asking me questions, the least I can do is provide good answers. I hadn’t had anything to eat since before we got on the plane. Everything is a la carte on Virgin. They give you coffee and water but you get charged for the food. I scanned the menu but couldn’t justify paying for the low quality fare they had to offer.
After the interview we ate and shipped out. Scion gave us a car to drive around. Not bad; they make it really easy. Ten years ago, I would probably have a different opinion about all of this Scion business. I went through a long period of not feeling comfortable with accepting money, straight up cash, to tour and do shows. The shows are free to the public so all of the funding is at a complete loss; nothing is recouped by ticket sales, it’s all a marketing project.
I was uncomfortable until I thought about the entitlement that people feel to get everything for free. Hey, I’m cool with you downloading or record for free if you want, but understand that the money has to come from somewhere, especially for bands like us that operate on an extremely slim margin. I’ve always been more about the live show and touring but in the old days, there was at least the hope that someone would buy your record.
I can barely keep my eyes open. There’s a pretty sparse crowd up here tonight. The Fucking Wrath, one of the bands that we’re playing with, helped us out and offered their gear to us tonight. They were key in making this whole thing happen. They have good equipment, but it’s always an adjustment when using gear that belongs to someone else. The familiarity is missing. This is a good warm up for Paul; I’d the to be in his shoes without having a chance to work out the kinks in the live thing.
I watched the “Rum Diaries” on the flight over. I really enjoy Johnny Depp working with Hunter S. Thompson’s material. I know that he admires Thompson and his performance reflects a deep level of commitment. I’d like to watch it again in a less anxious setting. I read the book ages ago and the film captures that sort of wild vibe of Puerto Rico back in those days. I’ve never been to Puerto Rico so I guess I don’t know if that statement is true or not, however, even thought there are some details that differ from the novel, the vibe and feel is pretty much spot on.
2.11.2012 Los Angeles, CA 09:30I didn’t get much sleep last night. We got back to the hotel at 03:00 which is more like 06:00 with the jet-lag. When I climbed into bed it felt like the most comfortable bed that I had ever slept in, I felt like a king. I slept hard but woke up early, tired but not able to get back to sleep. I secured a cup of complementary coffee and sat by the pool. According to my phone, New York City is going to get snow today and here I am, sitting next to a pool, wearing a short sleeve t shirt.
We got through the set. Paul id d a great job; it was a little awkward at first, but I think we settled in and were able to lock into the set. At some point, towards the end, I looked back at Andrew and this girl was on stage talking to him. Afterward, I asked him what she was saying to him. He told me she said, “I have to go now,” and bailed.
After the set, I was running on pure will. I was thankful that we only had our guitars, effects and a snare drum to load out. I kept drifting off during the ride back to L.A. I would open my eyes and see the miasma of logos passing by: Denny’s, Fatburger, In and Out Burger and miscellaneous fuel stations. Suddenly, we were back in L.A. It’s so different than New York with the miles of urban waste and suburbs that you drive to before you get into the city.
We’re expected at the venue at around 10:00. Aaron Harris is going to mix sound for us.
23.30I’m shot. The day is over and in a few hours we leave for LAX. The whole trip seemed to pass by at the speed of light. I’m thinking about how killer the new Van Halen record sounds. There’s a huge photograph of some woman’s cleavage hanging over my bed; there’s a similar photograph hanging over Paul’s bed but it’s of a model’s legs disappearing up a short, black skirt. It’s the most L.A. hotel room in the universe. I’m tempted to try the Neuro Sleep drink and take a hit off the oxygen tank but that would probably cost us a fortune. When we first got into the room, we decimated the snack tray. I wonder how much all of this is going to cost? It’s a good thing I have my credit card on file.
I feel like we played well. The moments leading up to the set were stressful; the stage management indicated that we had 7 minutes to get ready. I told the guy that I’d rather cut a song than kick into the set half-assed. Nonetheless, we didn’t get much of a line check, but Aaron is enough of a pro to react to the situation and get the soundboard happening. It was cool to look over and see Paul rocking out. He really stepped up and delivered.
Afterward, the back stage room was filled with people that weren’t in bands eating our food and drinking the beer. The club had security guys that were supposed to be watching who came and went; it always strikes me as odd that it’s so easy to get back to a “secure” room. Usually bands keep their personal stuff there and anyone can just through your stuff and take things. Luckily everyone was cool enough to just stick to eating our food and drinking the beer and water that was left for us. One guy was complaining that the beer was warm. I told him that he shouldn’t complain because he got in for free and he’s eating and drinking from a stash that wasn’t meant for him. He regarded me with this strange look, like I was out of line somehow. I later discovered that the guy complaining about the warm beer had kicked Dan’s guitar chord our during our set while he was in the process of shooting a picture. I imagine that he will talk shit about us because we had an issue with him, a stranger, lurking around our personal stuff and complaining that the beer wasn’t cold.
Sometimes, I feel like I’m too old for this. Sometimes, I wonder if I could be happy staying home, working a job, training martial arts and leaving these people to their own devices; would that be enough for me?
The big highlight of the evening was hanging out with Thompson and Bennet. I wish I could hang with those dudes every day. We got food at this burger place on Sunset then went back to the hotel room to record a podcast. I couldn’t get anything usable; the new Van Halen record was cranking, people kept walking in and out of the room and we were talking too much shit and incriminating ourselves in too many questionable activities that we decided that it would be best to abort the mission; maybe next time.
Thompson went back home to feed his dog and we hit the Relapse after party for a while. It was pretty mellow, but with the 05:00 wake up time in the back of my head, decided to call it an early night. The coolest thing was meeting Scott from Repulsion and having him say that he dug the record.
I need to get some sleep.