Hey, Mom, Im a Rock Star

On tour with a wildly famous Orange County band

Back in the hotel room, the snoring cappuccino machine is in full effect, amidst a horrid stench of marijuana and tobacco. I turn on the TV to watch Conan O'Brien, waking the tech up and sending him into a hissy fit, which ends when he storms out of the room. When he gets back, he immediately starts his vomit-provoking snore-fest again, forcing me to nudge his bed every so often to get him to roll over. I hardly sleep.

Dec. 9. San Francisco. The van dumps all of us at the Phoenix Hotel, a landmark built in the '50s as sort of a Hollywood home-away-from-home for movie stars. It turned into a hooker hotel in the '70s and then a rock & roll hotel in the '90s. Its most recent claim to fame is being the place where Nowell died (Room 39, but we couldn't find it; I think they changed the number). That night, we go to a sleazy strip club at the singer's request, which, after spending $20 to get in, we leave after five minutes because the singer can't hang at a place with no alcohol. He catches a cab without telling us and hooks up with some stray later on. Meanwhile, we stand around outside the strip club and miraculously hook up with the DJ and his tech, who take us back to the hotel in their rental car. Fortunately, the hotel has a bar on the premises, where the guests get in free. I end up closing the bar at 3:30 a.m. with the bartender and the chef, who asks if I can get him on the guest list the following night. Dec. 10. There's a case of beer in the dressing room at the show, and we set in on it. After about four, I walk out and start exploring, singing as I walk down the hall. As I pass Less Than Jake's room, I hear somebody say, "Oh, that's one of those . . . guys." I use my pass to go out and watch the Cardigans, who are very good live. The techs place some towels next to my keyboard. I see these, and, being excited and drunk and since I don't do much on the first few songs, anyway, I start throwing and waving the towels from side to side in time with the music, much to the singer's chagrin.

Back at the hotel after the gig, we end up in the bass player's room (adjacent to mine, unfortunately), and the partying begins. Friends of the band from the Bay Area have brought in enough cocaine to cover the top of the dresser. A Vietnamese hooker is brought into the bathroom. Several members of another band who happen to be in town walk in and take their turns with her. One of their crew, a teenager with a baby face, walks out and says, "Cool, that was my first hooker."

As the drummer walks in to take a piss, nearly slipping on the semen-covered floor, the hooker says, "Sikty dolla."

"What?" asks the drummer.

"Sikty dolla fo blowjob, and you need condom."

"Um, I don't have a condom."

"Oh, no, I have diseases."

When he tells us this story, I'm overwhelmed with pity for this poor girl, who probably came over on a boat and will surely be dead within five years.

Dec. 11. Los Angeles. On the way to the San Francisco airport, the guest list for the KROQ Acoustic Christmas show at the Shrine Auditorium is passed around. We're all told to put down three guests only; Ihad previously been told Icould only have one. I was only going to put my wife down, but I decide to live dangerously and put my friend (and bassist in my own band) Hanson on as well. The list goes back to the tour manager, and nothing is said.

Hanson and my wife go up early together, while I wait for the bass player so we can drive up together in the carpool lane.

At the Shrine, we get word that the lead singer of Snot (Lynn Strait, a friend of the band since he toured with them two years before) and his dog have just been killed in a three-car accident. The only thing I know about Snot is that they released an extremely unlistenable CD after the singer of this band personally saw to it to have them signed by the label. This started a bidding war, which led to Snot being signed by Geffen. Hmm . . . I don't think he ever did that for my band, Peace Corp., even though we've known them for 18 years. A couple of the band members are really bummed about the dog, since he was pictured on their CD cover.

The entire band suspends their grief long enough to watch the video that has just been completed for their new single. A whole new episode of grumbling begins.

On the ride over to the Shrine, the singer looks as if he has been crying. He says something about not being this emotional in a long time, but knowing his thirst for being the center of attention, it comes off as if he's just trying to elicit sympathy. He curbs his grief enough to get into an insult match/ debate with the newest temporary member of the band, Elijah Blue, the demon seed of Cher and Greg Allman. Blue had met up with the singer through his new LA friends and had added some extraneous noise and "vocals" to a song on the new album. He had apparently been begging and pestering the band for the past two weeks to allow him to appear with them at the Acoustic Christmas show. The singer finally relented just to get Blue off his back. Even the night of the session, the singer left the studio to get away from Blue's overactive personality, which was too irritating even for him. So here's Blue on the bus, pulling out his ideas for tonight's wardrobe. The singer accuses him of raiding his mom's closet, as he pulls out designer one-of-a-kinds, sleek haute couture numbers from the '80s, and freshly minted army togs. Blue has a friend in tow . . . and lucky us, he'll be joining us onstage tonight, too!

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