"We were the first band to vomit in the park ..."
Coffee's my drug of choice. Yep. Back in Santa Barbara, California, hanging out at my favourite coffee house here, Cafe Siena. (Like the town in Italy!) They have "fair trade" coffee, it's rich 'n' thick, and it's the best coffee in town.
Plus, all the cool music freaks hang out there ...
And now, I will make a short list (in no particular order) of people I've taken to Cafe Siena:
(Listmakers - Virgo tendencies.)
#1. The Outlaw Casey Wales!
#2. Russian Elvis!
#3. Lazy Sarah (aka "Silly Goose" or "Terrible")
#4. Zod from Vienna!
#5. Sweet Marlene from Vienna!
#6. Jonathan tha Suave Suitmaker Deluxe!
#7. Jen from Canada!
#8. David (Man With The Camera)
#9. Tony T. from the movie Scarface!
#10. Mischka from Paris!
Yeah, no particular order, 'cuz they're "ALL 10's" ...
Somewhere in the vast expanse of California.
Driving on Henry Miller Road ...
The next sentence will be the longest run-on sentence you ever read in your life, ever ...
This is about AIR, the band from France, and the two shows I went to that were absolutely incredible, in fact amazing - and I'll think of many other words to include, too, like fantabulous ... but first, before I mention that they played the Bowl with the LA Philharmonic (!) I must go into intricate detail of all the if's, and's and butts about said concerts, a whirlwind of musical activity and lust for life that culminated in varying degrees of (natural) excstacy - so the first night I went to the show with one guy (the follwing night was HUGE, with so many people I can't even count or name them all) who plays in this, um, famous band, and I was hoping that Air got my fax that I sent a week or two ago from Seattle to Paris (don't think they did) saying that I would be coming with this guy who plays in a famous band, but hey - what does it matter (I wrote) 'cuz it's all about music and we're all just musicians, right? Right. Here endeth the first sentence ...
(Gasp, breathe, continue.)
And I got on the train, somewhat melancholy, not knowing what would happen, only knowing that I would be backstage with Air (after an excruciating enjoyable thirty-three hour train ride down from Seattle) and that is, of course, exactly what happened, and if you can see it in yo mind's eye (dear, young artists) then it can and will happen, you see? Yes, you see, and have vision, too, and anyhoo - I showed up at the Santa Barbara Bowl and walked right up and they recognized me and/or my co-hort right away, and suddenly a VIP shuttle appeared outta nowhere, and we're whisked away to the "Artist's Entrance" just like I'd wanted on the fax, just like the synchronicity that I live, and it IS ALL COSMIC and psychic when you think about it (do you? Voodoo!) and we hop out, and we're practically backstage, and I see JB from Air, and he greets me and sees my co-hort and goes, "Oh, hi! Welcome!" and did they get the fax? Who knows? And who cares, 'cuz the gate opens and there we are, walking down the hallway to some secluded room, just JB and me and (I won't say his name because he says people are always throwing his name around, and I'm gonna respect that) we go through a door, and there is Nicolas (the other main guy from Air) and his eyes light up, yes, they were both happy to see us, and it was a beautiful feeling, just the 4 of us in that room, and then Earl the drummer came in and we exchanged glances and smiles and talked a-whiles, all the while keeping an eye on what was going on o'er in the corner with those keyboard geniuses chatting away, and I saunter over to JB again and say, "Hey - I would like to get the extra footage from your brother's documentary film (Everybody go and buy the latest Air album, the doc is on there, and it's great!) 'cuz I was there in Austria with Jason Falkner and James Rotondi and Morcheeba, and the gang, and it would be really cool to see it!" And JB goes, "Yess, Towd, it is pozzible ..." And if I was a girl (which I'm not) I woulda kissed him right there, dear readers! No, no, I wouldn't marry him, of course, 'cuz the Bible says it's wrong (!) but what's a smooch between musicians who love the same thing? Just kidding - his girlfriend is a doll, and I spent the remainder of the show sitting right next to her, actually, and had a fantastic time, and as we all spoke, the topic turned to Jason Falkner, who jams with Air sometimes, and I am proud to say is a friend (James Rotondi, too! Are you reading this, man?) and how Jason recently was in the studio with Paul MacCartney, oh, sorry, that's 'SIR' Paul MacCartney (Someone said, "Well, I've never played with a KNIGHT before ...") and that, my dear readers, is something very major in the world of (burp!) pop music, talk about Pop Music, talk about Pop Music ... shoo-bee-doo-wap, bop-bop-doo-wap, eenie-meanie, and anyway, the joke became something like - how do you tell Sir Paul MacCartney that one of the new songs suck!? Ouch. You can't ... and Nicolas joked, "Yess, you wayke up (add thick French accent) every morning, going, OK - today I will tell him - then you get to the door, and say, Oh, maybe tomorrow ... Good morning, Sir Paul! The songs are great!" And of course, it's all just hog-wash (if you're reading this, Jason, or Sir Paul!) 'cuz the songs are great, truly, but who could EVER possibly live up to Beatle tunes, ya know? I mean, them shoes be hard and impossible to fill, even if you were in the band! Ya dig?? But we all got a good chuckle outta that one, and I felt like that small circle of musicians talking (Earl and Dave the keyboard player jumped in, intermittently, as well as JB's gal) was a very powerful circle, indeed, maybe the strongest I've ever felt ... and the show was great. It had a subverted, subconscious enery, a power that you could feel rumbling through you, somewhere deep inside of you. Of course, the speakers at the Santa Barbara Bowl kick ass, too, so maybe that was part of it ... heh.
A special thanks goes out to Sam who was very nice to us at the Bowl. You guys are fab!
"You got a nice place here, Bob!" (quoting the Blues Brothers)
And then another hilarious thing happened, I went up to JB and asked if he could get me in to the show the next night at the Hollywood Bowl, and he cooed, "But Todd, you don't understand ... you are ALREADY IN ..." and I tell ya, that made me feel so good, yeah, that was the coolest moment in years, absolute magic, and then he brought me over to some British guy, who turned out to be the tour manager, and said, "Craig, I woold like too put Todd on the list for tomorrow ..." And Craig kind of shook his head and said it would be tough, and my heart just sank, then he said, "Well, it's going to cost some money, mate!" and then JB whips out this huge wad of bills, it looked like all hundreds, and said, "Will this be enough?" and everyone cracked up, and I realized that it had all been a gag ... Oh, those Europeans and their black humour, I just love it ... yeah, I was in, so said tour manager typed Todd Calico into the "official" list for the Hollywood Bowl, and I had a few mo' drinks and was feeling like gold, Mellow Gold, in fact, but we'll get to that later.
The next night was one of the best of my life (all y'all who were there, don't you agree!?), Air at the Hollywood Bowl, with the LA Philharmonic! Wow, and more wow, and I don't even know how (wow) to begin, but I will, in spite of not knowing ...
Rolled down to LA with my bud David from Venezuela, a great guy, photographer, and friend, and another aspiring young film-maker who will henceforth be called, "Seattleboy," and his sister, a cute young thing, we went to one of my favourite hangs in LA, the Cafe 101, very Tarantino-esque and cool as a cucumber, we all sat in silence, sippin' coffee, as we realized what lay before us, a SERIOUS party night with high profile studli-ness, but I gotta wonder as I write this if maybe a thought or two passed through their minds, like, "Is this real?" and "Is Todd REALLY gonna get us backstage?" but I would say that mostly they believed, and he who hesitates is lost (but then, aren't we all?) in translation, and their nubile young minds were hungry and eagerly awaiting what lie ahead, just over that hill, and I just said, "Wait and see, and feast your minds!" and we did, my good people, we sure did! and now I will ATTEMPT to tell you what transpired, yes - attempt without contempt - because it was a beautiful and powerful and serene night of new stars (like us!) and would he just get on with it, already! Heh, heh. Man, it was good ...
We walked up to the "Artist's Entrance" (again) and I saw Nicolas walk by, so I knew we were in the right place, and then I had to do a little fancy footwork to get 4 people on the list instead of three, me plus two, you see ... "Oh, we have a driver in our troupe." Always a good one, just havin' a little fun! and after a bit of banter back and forth about how the list is full and I'm sure it was, (I must admit, the thought did go fleeting through my mind, "Who's more cute - Seattleboy or his sister?") we came to terms, as I was firm in my resolve to get us ALL on the list, of course I need not mention that a zillion people called me to go, knowing what they know, are you reading this, Joe? I know, I know, you all wanted to go, but as happenstance would have it, we were standing there, the 4 of us, and so yes, they finally DID give me the four tickets and passes (I think I heard someone whisper in their ear that JB had put me on the list ...) and we were whisked off to the VIP section, and wouldn't you know it, we were sitting right next to Stereolab (after they finished playing) and I made an absolute massacre of the singer's name, but I think she forgave, and as we were walking in, low and behold, there was Falkner standing there like an angel, like a cheery greek gawd, holding out his hand and smiling (or maybe we hugged?) and I said, "Look at you, man! You're playin' the Hollywood Bowl!" and it's true, 'cuz my Cuz went right up and played on "Don't Be Light." I'm gonna do a song with Beck, said he, and I just thought, OK, this is gonna be good - HERE WE GO! And I ain't gonna give no names, but a girl on that very night confided in me that she's never had an orgasm, jeremiah what a crime, and I just thought, Well, tonight's the night!
('Cuz if Jason Falkner and Beck can't make you cream, well, then ... join another orchestra!)
So we get our seats like sexy beasts, and just before the music starts, David and I go off to hit the can, to-da-loo as they say, and Holy Criminy! there's Milla Jovovich standing there, all luscious and de-lovely and gorgeous (even) and I just go, "Oh, man - this IS gonna be good!" but we didn't talk to her (yet) but rather just listened to these two guys talking (between drools) about how: Guy #1 would run off in a heartbeat with Milla, he would dump his girlfriend so fast to be with her, without hesitation. And Guy #2 said, "What do you do or say to a girl like that, that hasn't already been tried? I mean, you gotta come up with something original, brilliant shit." Well, that got my ticker movin', yeah, he's right I thought, and it planted a seed in my mind for later, and then we went back to our seats and felt like kings, and the music began and the lights and the full moon! and the stars and the wine and the ambiance and the whole she-bang, man -that concert was outta this world! and they only had like a one hour run-through with the orchestra, but you never woulda known it, I mean they were all just fantastiko, and then Jason gets up there and just BLOWS EVERYONE AWAY with this rippin' bass solo, that was just outta sight, as Nicolas introduced him as a "very talented artist," which is some kind of cool understatement, and Beck (with an amazing doo!) mumbles his way through some spoken word, which was just great, and they all sang along at the end of, "Don't Be Light" with Na-na-na, na-na-na ... Hot!
And the concert was the kind that just brings tingles, Kringels, and the sound was perfect, and the night was young and dry and tasty (like the perfect martini!) and next thing ya know, we're all heading to the VIP tent for a SERIOUS after-party bash, and on the way, we see Milla Jovovich again, and my man David (pronounced "Da-veed") had just bought this li'l portable camera at the corner gas station, and we wanted a photo, right? so I suddenly got this wild flash: Hey, let's have Milla take the photo! YES! So I saunter up (my pals giggling in the background) and go, "Um, excuse me, Milla, could we do a photo?" and as she's about to say, non-plussed and assuming, "I guess so," same old boring question, but instead I hand HER the camera, and we all do a quick-pose and she starts laughing! and she snaps the photo of the 4 of us (with our oh-so-fancy backstage passes) and I could just hear her mind ticking, like:
Well ... THAT'S a new one!
I think I had, in fact, touched her funny-bone, and then we all headed backstage (to the tent) arm in arm and laughing and ordered 4, count 'em four champagnes (everything was free!) and the festive corner of the night began, people started sliding in, all dudied up and looking hip, and you wouldn't believe everyone who was hanging out, but first I just johnnied on up to Milla again, and she looked at me with a smile and said, "OK, that was pretty good!" and I'd done the new deed like the dreamin' guy had said, and then I blew her mind a bit more, honestly, because I said, "You know, I really enjoyed you in that movie by Wim Wenders called The Million Dollar Hotel ... " and then she really looked at me, like, "Who IS this guy?" and she said, "Wow, that is highly unusual for an american to know that movie. How do you know it?" I just said with non-chalance (heart pounding, though) that my band travels frequently in Europe, and that friends of mine in germany had shown me the film, and "Hmmmm," she said, eyeballing me, and then the others came up, mingling, and I am rather sure that next time Milla (are you reading this?) sees me somewhere, she will remember me, oh, yes ... and I gotta say, and my friends will back me up, that she is even more beautiful in person than on film ... Mmmmm ... and I'm gonna guess (get ready for a scandal!) that she's had an orgasm, (or several) and what a yummy creature! Sex sells, and girrrrl ya know it's true ...
I tried my best to introduce my pals to everyone there, and I think I succeeded: they met JB, Nicolas, his brother, their girlfriends, Jason, Dave, Earl, and a handful of other jolly folk, but our next victim was BECK! Suddenly, there he was, standing before us, and once again we had what I call "The Circle" going, circle of creativity, with the four of us, and Beck to behold, at the helm, and I will never EVER forget a truly great moment, when my man David was telling Beck, "Man - you GOTTA come to Venezuela, everybody LOVES you there!" And Beck was interested, going, "Yeah, man, I'd like to. That sounds pretty interesting ..." And David's eyes, as he looked upon one of the most brilliant artists of our time, saying again, "I'm telling you man - you will enjoy it - please come to Venezuela some time!" and it was great, a profound and true moment, and I just said to Mr. Hanson (who was busy saying something about Olympia, Washington) that I'd just recorded drums with Matt Chamberlain in Seattle, and he got it, his eyes lit up, and he said, "Oh, wow!"
And that's exactly how I feel, people, "Oh, WOW!" Because life is amazing and beautiful, and damn the torpedoes, and fight tha good fight, and we all just people, and if there is music there is hope, and about a zillion other things happened on this night(s) but I can't carry on all day and night! (but I often do) and needles to say, we had a cheesburger at an all-night joint (to wear off the champagne), then walked down Hollywood Boulevard, looking at the stars, and drove at 5 in the morning, back to sunny Santa Barbara (yes, the sun was coming up!) and woke up, wondering if it was all just a dream ...
San Francisco, USA, baby ... Stolen from Berlin, it's the Love Parade, surmising all things fun and frivolous and american and gaudy. Absolutely lovely! Let's dance to the new beat. (Extreme.)
Fur hats and long stalkings and DJ's and fruitcakes and leather-clad peaceniks. Whoa ...
Riding the train ... Seattle to Santa Barbara, yeah! The kids are partying in the cafe area, down below, drinking and smoking and whatnot. An 88 year old black lady (from another era) comes up to me, 'cuz I guess she felt the spirit. Or something. Thinking I'm on her side, she says:
"Those kids are smoking, and NONE of them are talking about the right thing, Jesus!"
I just said, "Well ... can't you do both?"
She flew into a tirade, saying, "NO, sonny ... You cannot !!!" Ooops.