A week ago today something very sad happened. First, there was DeeDee Ramone's death.
Then something else.
You see, there is a rock 'n' roll DJ in Los Angeles. There really is. I'm not even kidding. And when the Ramones sing, Do you remember rock 'n' roll radio?, I say, fuck that! I don't have to remember it, brother. I got it!
This DJ plays "Private World" by the New York Dolls--on the FM radio during the middle of the day. This DJ plays "TV Eye." Then this DJ goes and plays some new indie band I've never heard of that sounds like the Runaways crossed with Jonathan Richman. Then some T. Rex. Maybe a little Stone Roses for no reason. Then some more new music from some great garage band whose name I scribble on a receipt while driving and then totally lose.
This DJ plays about 30-minute sets without talking between songs. And during breaks, this DJ is always funny and charming, someone you'd like to be friends with, even on moody DJ trying-to-quit-smoking days.
Every Wednesday afternoon I am driving in Hollywood. Every Wednesday at the same time, for at least an hour. It's usually cranky-sunny and the air is fumy, the sky is white and I'm driving down Santa Monica in the poor Latin transsexual hooker/Magee's donut part between Vine and La Brea. I try to get through intersections by pulling into the far-right lane and speeding around all the lard-ass suckers when the light turns green. It sucks, really.
And then I turn on KXLU. I always know I'm the only person on the street listening to the Stooges. It's like KXLU is my little secret. None of my friends listen to it, either.
Nobody knows how good KXLU is.
And nobody knew that the best DJ at the best rock 'n' roll station in the supposed rock 'n' roll capital of the USA was Jenny Quitter. Jennifer, O Jenny.
Axel and I went to hear her spin at the Three of Clubs a couple weeks ago and she made Axel very happy. That's not so easy to do, as he is Axel. Plus, she was wearing a white vinyl jacket just like mine.
Sometimes you don't know someone personally, and yet you understand you are kindred souls, from the same tribe. This is how I feel about Jenny.
But there's a tragedy involved. You see, last Wednesday was Jenny Quitter's last show. Basically, she lived up to her name. Goddamn it.
O dear, the music she played that day. She played the Byrds' "All I Really Want To Do," which sounded real, and good, in this context. She played "Sonic Reducer" by the Dead Boys. "Holly Holy" by Neil Diamond. And I sang along, every word, and I meant them all. (And all the "yeaghh!"s too.) "I Want You" by Elvis Costello. She played a little live Iron Maiden, some Thin Lizzy.
And a long moment of silence for her favorite Ramone, DeeDee.
I called Jenny on my magic phone and said WTF?
She's all, I have to get on with my LIFE! I have to tour with my BAND! (The Orphans.) I have to finish SCHOOL!
I'm all, but Jenny, I need you to do this because you're the best DJ in Los Angeles.
She doesn't get it. Some people don't get it how good they are, and how much they're needed.
How much they're loved.
Her last song was "Don't Think Twice."
Jenny, did I waste your precious time?
Could I have done better?
Do you mind?
The really pathetic thing is, when she played "Don't Think Twice," I totally cried.
I don't think DJs understand what they do when they do it right: They make a world, and I dwell in it. And then I come out, renewed, fortified to face the Scientologists down the street; the music-industry A&R slimebuckets who get into all the shows for free and don't even dance; bad drivers; and all women golddiggers in this town who trade on their looks and give womankind a bad name.
And every single rat bastard who has moved here from somewhere else and thinks that he has to act "Hollywood" to get ahead. The only bad people I've met in Hollywood are people who aren't from Hollywood.
For a year, driving to and from my shrink, Jenny was my friend. In moments of fear, nauseating loneliness, urban ennui, elation, confusion, and joy.
Jenny never played bad music.
Jenny always had something new, and you knew, rock's all right. Rock's gonna be OK. And so are we!
So I got a right to cry.
I'll get over it.
If anyone knows a club or bar that needs a rock DJ who'll kick any silverlake muppet's ass, email me at email@example.com.