The West Side in LA is a terrifying mystery to me. I’ve played there a handful of times, but I’ve never been able to figure out what exactly the fuck is supposed to be happening there. The venues treat bands as if they should be thanking them on bended knee for the chance to play, and the bands themselves have a desperate hunger in their eyes that gleams from the stage in the most stomach-churning, foul way that it makes me seasick to watch. I also can’t afford an eyedropper’s amount of Jameson for 12 dollars, so the whole thing is just a nauseating wash. The bands will say things—into the microphone!—like, “Come up front, so we can feel your energy!” Barf. You don’t want my energy, Brad. My energy is surging toward the bar. $12 is perfectly reasonable, upon careful reconsideration.
Climbing onto the stage at the Viper Room, the sound engineer asks us what we need. “Two mics up front, please.” He asks us if we will be “actually singing.” Yes. We will be. Hopefully into the microphones he’s going to provide. “The last band just gave me an iPod. Their mics weren’t even on.” We glance sidelong at each other in horror, while we hastily plug our mostly broken pedals together. The last band had three guys, we are now to understand, lip synching awful pop-punk harmonies to a goddamned iPod. $24 is the perfect amount to spend on two drinks, here in Hell, and 36 bucks is starting to feel a lot closer to a Good Idea.
After we play to a surging crowd of about 25 people (1), a very large, burly man, glistening with smoky bourbon sweat, descends on our pathetic merch table. “I’M GOING TO CALL DAVID IN THE MORNING,” he launches at us. “THAT WAS LIKE WATCHING THE DOORS AT THE WHISKEY IN 1970 (2),” he hammers at us. Our faces must’ve belied some inner doubt as to the existence of this David character, and any phone calls he may or may not be receiving from this husky Barrel of Rye, because, “I’M GOING TO CALL DAVID IN THE MORNING!” he reasserts.
Please, man. Call David. But maybe use a nice phone voice, instead of this coliseum announcer one you’ve got in play here. He buys three extra-small shirts (he is not an Extra-Small Man), both of our albums, and stumbles out onto Sunset Boulevard, still insisting that his morning telephone conversation with David will not only change our lives, but the course of Rock Music in America. He doesn’t, and it doesn’t. But he was a pretty cool guy, come to think of it. And West Hollywood isn’t so bad. And 48 dollars is the exact right amount to spend on four whiskies.
(1) 15 people, not surging. Or letting us feel their energy.
(2) I hate the Doors, and have no idea if they played at The Whiskey in 1970. Jim Morrison could’ve died in 1940, for all I know. The Doors are bad. They made bad music that I dislike.