Commie Girl

Romeos in Black Jeans: A night with Dave Alvin and his way Guilty Men

A few weeks ago, at the Orange County Museum of Art, I was so taken with pop darlings The 88, I swore off swearing off musicians. "You know," I thought to myself, "I should start dating musicians again!" because (a) my life of late has been far too contented and peaceful and sweet, and (b) whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger, unless you're talking about polio, which doesn't make you stronger at all. Or if you're talking about breaking your neck, which makes you quadriplegic. Or, come to think of it, if you're dating musicians. That just makes you crazy.

So it was a good plan, groupiedom—and by a "good" plan, I mean a plan, and by "plan" I mean a vague intention—especially on a Saturday night facing Dave Alvin's Guilty Men, all of whom, like Romeo, were in black jeans (I just want to know: are black jeans back?) and one of whom, silver-fox bassist Greg Boaz, is my new boyfriend. And by "boyfriend" I mean a boyfriend, and by "my" I mean someone else's.

Sigh.

Baby, be my Kryptonite!

*   *   *

Here's the back story: Safari Sam's Sam Lanni has re-hooked up with legendary booker Steve Zepeda and ChadForrello, who used to be in the National People's Gang and tells great tour stories that involve out-of-gas RVs and fuzz with drawn guns. Between the three of them, there's a new Safari Sam's in Hollywood. I never actually went to the legendary Safari Sam's in Huntington Beach because, really, I'm not that old.

I am not!

Still, I didn't know how old I wasn't until my sweetling Theo Douglas and I trekked up to Hollywood to the new Safari Sam's for Dave Alvin's record release party and saw what old looks like now. When I say Dave Alvin's audience was old, I don't mean old like Steve Lowery or the other Methuselahs wheeling around Weekly HQ. I mean actual old, like Exene, had she been there, or Texacala Jones, of Tex and theHorseheads fame, whom I once called "a tiny, shriveled, senior citizen lady" and who doubtless someday will kick my snot-nose ass but good.

I love the smell of old people in the morning.

*   *   *

If you're ever looking for a good time, take Theo Douglas on a date. (Be sure and clear it with his wife first.) Oh, what a time we had, because I'd been a seething-at-strangers bitch for a good week (Uranus is in retrograde), and I'd finally got some pre-show Stoli in my system and had chilled the fuck out. We laughed at the sketchy Sunset Boulevard neighborhood behind Sam's, where we were thrilled not to find a parking space. We remembered back and laughed at Zepeda's old boss, the guy who inherited Long Beach's late, lamented Foothill, a pristine and beauteous dance hall where Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline had played, and then sold it to a club en espaƱol, which then sold it for Foothill Ranch-style town homes. (Because who wouldn't want a fancy town home on the crackiest stretch of Cherry?) Dave Alvin got me drunk there once on Grand Marnier, and if you've never drunk five Grand Marniers in a row, then you're a smarter man than I.

So we laughed at everyone, and Theo bought the beers—he sneered when I was going to order a Bud, so we got delicious Stella Artoises instead—and then he scrammed real quick-like when I told him to. Also, when it was time to get backstage and say hi to Dave Alvin, I said to Theo, "See that big guy? Your job is to get us past him," and like the old "When you say 'jump,' we say, 'how high?'" commercials, he replied only with a can-do, "Which one?" It may not have worked, but it was nice to see some trying!

*   *   *

The crowd was delicious: one of the few under-40s present was wearing a West Coast Choppers long-sleeved Tee with Dockers, which made Theo wish his fancy Belgian brew was done drunk up so he could crack bro upside the head with it, and then I cackled, "Bet you wish you'd let me get a Budweiser now!" because then it wouldn't matter if the bottle was empty or not, and Theo realized sadly that I was right.

At the front danced a man in a tank top, with shoulders like the softest cashmere, and he was jam dancing intensely like Dave Alvin was playing a Grateful Dead show instead of what was clearly a Mark Knopfler show—except for "Abilene," which was clearly John Cougar Mellencamp's "Pink Houses" by way of Chris Gaffney's song about your loser brother in Fontana with a kitchen for his farm (and Dave Alvin even stole the part about Fontana)—while I threatened to break out my air guitar and Theo looked all bored and snotty and air-wanked. Then Theo explained to me that Dave Alvin's new album seems to be blues-based, and I asked him, "Oh, Mark Knopfler plays blues?" but then it did start to sound a little like Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Steve Vai, henceforth known as Stevie Ray Vai because that is hilarious. We were having a great time—I love Mark Knopfler!—and then we realized that the hairy-shouldered man had no shoes on, which just made it even greater, and I asked some random photographer there to take a picture of the man's feet and the photographer said, "That's Billy Shire. He owns La Luz de Jesus," and then avoided me when I tried to get his attention again, like actually stepped back so I couldn't touch his shoulder, just like that one time when I didn't meet Liev Schreiber, because how dare I make fun of Billy Shire? But I dare like this: great gallery, nice guy, but he was wearing no shoes at a rock show! This is not a Yanni concert! Billy, someone is going to step on your feet!

*   *   *

So we were having a wonderful time, my Theo and I, when he pointed out that the silver-fox bassist, who was smiling and smiling from the stage, and at whom I was smiling and smiling right back, used to be in Tex and the Horseheads, and I gasped, "But I've said terrible things about Tex and the Horseheads!" Because not only have I called Texacala Jones a tiny, shriveled senior citizen lady, but I also said I left their show early because they were boring, and that I'd been assured they were boring 20 years ago too.

Well, luckily my new boyfriend didn't know that.

He came up to us after the show, of course (how could he not?), and I introduced myself. "I know exactly who you are," he said. "We've probably been in the same room about 15 times."

Oh, that makes sense. Then I told him Theo informed me he'd been in Tex and the Horseheads, about whom I'd written just some terrible things.

"I know exactly what you wrote," he told me. But nicely! Oh, he can't stay mad at me!

Was he married?

No.

Did he have a girlfriend?

"Well . . . uh . . ."

That's usually a yes.

And then Theo got to laugh at me for a while. Wank.

Tune your radio now: beginning Sunday, July 16, CG co-hosts Melting Point, left-to-right political talk Sundays at 11 p.m. on KRLA-AM 870. CommieGirlCollective.com.

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