Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Miles From Sherbrooke
Gee, this is kinda like the Metro Station—leave your house early in the morning and go play music. Yes, right.
My silly little band, Ann Likes Red (long story), opened for Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Jackson Browne on Sunday at a park near my house. The event, Lummis Day (www.lummisday.org), is a new one in LA, and only in its third year. Here's how it came about: (www.asjournal.net)
Okay, those explanatory things are out of the way.
I realized a couple weeks ago, that I have not played with a loud, electric rock band since, well, LAST June, at Lummis Day. I brought an old friend out from Italy to handle lead guitar for us, arranged for our bass player to come down from San Francisco, and had everyone in place here. There were only TWO rehearsals, and there was NOT ONE where every member was present. I e-mailed everyone the song list weeks ago. "These are easy," I told everyone. "Play 'em loud, fast and fierce."
There was an ongoing discussion about what to bill the band as, since, well, the story is convoluted at this point. Suffice to say, for various reasons, the band had an ongoing series of guests for the bulk of our 30-minute set. Someone to sing "DayTripper;" Randy and Scott Rodarte, from Ollin, to do the Righteous Brothers AM radio nugget, "Little Latin Lupe Lu," and local blues belter Greger Walnum, to sing "The House is Rockin'."
At our first rehearsal, Christina, the bass player had e-mailed me and said, "I can't play 'Town Called Malice,' it's too fast, not enough time to rehearse it." Eli Chartkoff of the Monolators, brought in for "Daytripper," jumped at the opportunity. That meant Eli starts the set with us, Christina is off-stage, and at the end of the song, he goes to center mic, and she takes the bass. Some tricky footwork there.
There were other issues. Deborah, the keyboard player, was caught up swirling in a series of vertigo attacks all weekend, that left her dizzy and drained. "I might have to sleep in the car in parking lot before, and come up just for the set, and go back to sleep," she said. That's how bad it was. (She left for a minute during the last song, and returned to finish. Trouper a go go).
Our last question was whether or not my friend Eric Garcetti, LA City Council president, would show up and play along with us. I had danced badly with his office scheduler since he committed back in February. (I think it was the Thursday show mention in the LA Times that convinced, him, frankly.)
But all the parts worked.
Hal Eisner from Fox 11 TV, introduced us. The set took off loud and fast, and the rest is really blurry. I counted some songs off wrong, started to play the wrong one once, and the sound guy forgot to turn my acoustic guitar on. (It was OK, I ditched it quick.) I saw thousands of faces that were new to me, I remembered all the words to "Just Some Guy," and thought about how many times I'd been playing in crowded bars, and thinking, "Gee, if I wasn't in the band, I could never get in here."
I could smell grilling burgers and strawberries. No one threw coins in a hat for me.
It all ended with five guitar players on stage— and Eric Garcetti on keyboards with Deborah—and Greger wailing away on his harmonica. Loud, fast and fierce.
Jackson Browne? He was terrific. He put on a great show. Maybe he blogged about it.
See all the photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/artvillanueva/sets/72157605397334263/