Saturday, August 31, 2002

Hi, My Pretty Ponys:

All night I was thinking in my sleep... Phil Spector and Rodney Bingenheimer... that's hip and in-the-mix? That's new and happening? (See entry below.)

You see how silly it gets. To me, they are hip. George Martin is also hip and happening.

Maybe that seems sad and retrograde, idolizing past figures so, but I idolize present ones too.

It's all based on the understanding that linear time does not truly exist, especially in the moment of listening to music. In that space, experience is timeless, if you're really listening with fresh ears. So good music never loses its thrill. And heroic music never stops winning.

OK bye.


Friday, August 30, 2002

Erotic Jesus!

Fecking hell mate, nearly drove up on the sidewalk of Franklin Avenue this afternoon when Jed the Fish played "Three Days" for his Catch of the Day. The opus (one of many) from Jane's Addiction's "Ritual de lo Habitual."

You see, only just Wednesday night I was talking to this guy about music, and radio, and he said, "Kids today--you say 'Jane's Addiction' and they think 'Been Caught Stealing.' If the radio had ever played anything else, kids today might have a whole different picture."

Today, as Jed played "Three Days," I imagined the Korn kids and System of a Down stooges out there in radioland, hearing this grandiose, impossible music for the very first time, at 4:45 p.m., rush hour on a Friday. How must it have felt for them? What did they think? Really, what did they feel? Did they grasp its supra-sexual pandrogyny? Did they feel its broken, bleeding heart, spread wide over the city, pierced through by the sword of love, flaming with the fire of clarity, like the heart of the virgin?

(At my high school, Immaculate Heart, everywhere you turned were these statues, often life-sized, of Mary, with her heart outside her dress. She pointed to it, because it was on fire, and there was a sword stuck through it. Ouch!)

Anyways.... I always loved that song like mad and learned all the goofy lyrics like a geek when I was 19 and flipped out over and over in my awful college bedroom. ("All of us with WINGS!") But I never, ever heard the real scope of its power and glory until today. Do you remember how I was going on once about "Too Fast For Love" and "O My Soul" and songs with multiple parts?

"Three Days" is the mother of them all--it should really be called "Three Songs."

Actually, it should really be called "Five Songs."

Good Christ, it's beautiful!

Good mother love bone, where the fuck did it come from and when was the last time I heard music that passionate on the radio?

Holy fuck.

Almost lost my voice at Wilton and Franklin, sitting at a light.

Wilton. Ah, Wilton.

Wilton, which I rode up every morning for six years on the way to Immaculate Heart. Wilton, which me and Elexa drove down prolly in 1987--we drove down it at night, late at night, and we saw a house party near Beverly and Wilton. We went in--I think I told you this story before?

As we walked up to the house, I thought it was a Mexican family's house. Then we walk in and there are black and white photos on the wall of Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick and shit, and various skinny black-clothes cool people, I'm all, oh, these are artsy people. Candles, fairy lights, incense and the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the backyard hanging out with Fishbone. I'm snooping in the bedroom; I didn't know who the fuck's house it was, I just liked the candles in the bedroom. Perry Farrell appears at the door and tells me to get out. Oh whatever, Mr. I'm So Fucking Cool Get Out.

It was so, so thrilling.

So incredibly thrilling and scary and cool, we felt just unspeakably cool. Actually, I think we were in high school still--this must have been 1987.

I still feel like a huge star that I accidentally went to his house. So much so that I'm repeating this story I already told you!

Then I realized, oh shit, this is the house I always notice on the way to school---it looked like a party house, like a bunch of kids with no parents lived there, like the Young Ones. I think there was a flag hanging in the upstairs window for a long time, a Union Jack? For some reason, I always had this idea that a brother and sister lived there with no parents, and they were artistic crazy party people. I wonder if this was the case?

It felt funny to be on Wilton today, listening to this deathless rock that, in a way, was born on Wilton.

Moments like these are what save me from completely puking and wanting to leave L.A. sometimes. Moments like these give you a sense of roots, of history, and of beauty amid the banal dinginess of the place. Shit, i wonder if I'm supposed to write about this for my column? Oh well.

Anyway. After playing "Three Days," Jed gave a lovely sermon on how good classic rock follows the classical model--"It's not verse chorus verse, it follows the composer's imagination wherever it takes him!" He said this song was one of the last examples of prog-rock, too. Fine, whatever. You say prog, I say Zeppelineqsue; we'll meet somewhere in the middle.

Have I mentioned lately how I love and adore Jed? Sweet, gentle, brilliant Jed.

Jed who loves music down to his socks even though he works at the ultimate factory farm of music. Jed, who played "Three Days" today, and then, afterward, after 30 years in radio, was still moved by the experience. "....the power of radio, right there. I can just flip a switch, and we all get to hear this incredible thing. We weren't the only ones hearing it, here in the studio--all of you did too, all over the city."

Jed, my hero.

Rodney is a hero too, at least musically. He called me today after my column came out containing a tiny interview with him. I felt like such a "cool person" to have Rodney calling me. I felt like I was "in the mix" or something. It was weird. I mean, he's just a guy, but as we're talking, he's telling me how he speaks on the phone to Phil Spector every other day...

He told me Phil Spector is producing the new Starsailor record. Trip out! Rodney says he hooked them up.

Of course, he never called me before I had a column. Oh well.

Whenever I interview a musician, and we really connect, and then I never fucking hear from him/her again, I always think of the Fleetwood Mac song where they sing, "Players only love you when they're playing."

You can't mistake these mini-relationships for friendship.

There have been two exceptions to this in my "career" so far.

Gotta run because Axel and his new bandmates are coming over soon to drink this cheap Czech beer I found at Trader Joe's and then we're gonna go to "24 Hour Party People." I'm psyched.

At Trader Joe's this Brit guy said the beer was great. I said, thanks for the tip--Czech beer is preferable but you never really know. He said, that's where the original Pilsner comes from, like he thought he was Mr. Hot Shit Czech Beer Guy.

Little did he know he was up against Ms. Brain Full of Useless Czech Trivia.

"It's also the home of the original Budweiser," I said.

"In the most roundabout way, yes, I suppose," he said, most condescendingly.

"Not at all," I said. "The original Budweiser comes from a town called Budvar. It's called Ceske Budejovice in Czech."

"But it's hardly related to Budweiser," he said, as if to somehow prove he was still right.

Men are so goddamn competitive, it's just a joke. It's good to bust them every so often, when you feel like it.

OK bye.

Sorry for all the really disgusting name-dropping and bragging and "I'm So Cool"-ing in this entry. It's clearly an effort to feel good after last week's Irish self-loathing.

Party on, party people.

Love and kisses,


PS: Rodney told me he has a gold record for "Hot Child In the City," because he was the first person to play it.

How hot and rad is that?

Hello, you Crazy Diamonds!

Sorry for being a lame-ass lame-ass, but I have been "pursuing other interests" (doesn't it sound like I just got kicked out of my band?). I am still pursuing other interests (mainly laundry and buying curtains and a new bed) so this'll hafta do for the nonce.

I miss you, bloggy friends, special blogalectic blogatronic bloggoons.

Now, please dig the following.

Aren't people incredible, yet amazing? (Or as my BGF Debbie says, "creative, yet imaginative"?)


Esther Dendel, 92; Noted Craftswoman, Collector


Esther Dendel could see intriguing patterns in the rain trickling down the window, in the carpet pile as she vacuumed and in soap bubbles as she washed dishes.

Throughout her long life, Dendel transformed those patterns and designs into artistic crafts--making pottery, creating mosaics, weaving tapestries, designing and stitching quilts.

Esther Dendel, who with her husband, Jo Dendel, created and operated Denwar Studios in Costa Mesa for more than 55 years, died Saturday of illnesses associated with aging. She was 92.

Dendel died at the home she and her husband handcrafted beside their studio when Costa Mesa was little more than rabbit patches. An eclectic craftswoman and collector, Esther Seitmann Warner Dendel was also a respected teacher and author of 13 books. Known in recent decades for teaching in her own studio, she also conducted classes at high schools in Iowa, the University of Minnesota, Orange Coast College and UC Irvine. Dendel's books were divided about equally between craft textbooks and accounts of her life in Liberia during World War II, where her former husband was employed on a Firestone rubber plantation.

Born near Laurel, Iowa, on Feb. 2, 1910, Esther Seitmann began her education in a one-room school a long walk from home. An avid 4-H member from age 10 and statewide 4-H girls' president at 17, she interrupted her time at the University of Iowa to spend six years teaching home arts and crafts in Appalachian West Virginia during the Depression.

That helped her adapt to rural Africa, where she twice walked across Liberia to study the crafts and absorb the culture in small villages. To finance her explorations, she collected, trained and sold small chimpanzees to a Florida animal farm.

She came to view Africa as "my homeland of the spirit." To gain entree among the wary villagers, she used a simple piece of yarn.

"I would sit in the dust, playing with the yarn and arranging it into designs on the ground," she told The Times in 1969, describing how first the children would gather to kibitz and then adults. "Soon we were all friends, and the string did it."

Dendel later converted her 1941-44 African diaries into half a dozen books--one describing the culture in "New Song in a Strange Land," another her adventures with the chimps in "Seven Days to Lomeland" and a third her friendship with a young black nurse in the novel "The Silk Cotton Tree." After a return trip several years later, she described the custom of buying and selling little girls in a dowry system--the Dendels "bought" a child who went on to become a Liberian official--in her book "The Crossing Fee."

While in Africa, the woman then named Esther Warner also maintained a studio, inviting anybody interested to stop by and paint or carve. One visitor was Jo Dendel, a photographer, carver and sketch artist. They worked well together and talked about opening a studio together.

She returned to teach at the University of Minnesota, and he served in the Navy, but by 1946 they were both in Costa Mesa, converting a small garage into Denwar Studios. The name was a combination of their surnames--Dendel and Warner, the name of her then ex-husband.

The Dendels married in 1950, and their shared goal was to make a living from their crafts. Their first product was ceramics--dinnerware sold all over the U.S. and Hawaii. When Japanese competition increased in the mid-1950s, the Dendels switched to mosaics. Some of their resulting work is displayed in the Orange Central Library. By 1967, the Dendels had moved into fiber arts--spinning, dyeing, weaving, knitting, crocheting, creating rugs and tapestries and baskets. They taught individuals, organized a weekly Dendel Craft Fellowship and staged annual crafts fairs in their growing studio and home. Their own well-respected crafts collection has lent pieces to the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana.

Mindful of her own economic struggles to get an education--a master's degree at Columbia University as well as the Iowa bachelor's--Dendel years ago organized an annual scholarship for creative artists or craftspeople. She personally created quilts and other items to sell at annual fund-raisers.

Jo Dendel, who survives his wife, has asked that any memorial donations be made to that Dendel Scholarship Fund at Denwar Studios, 236 E. 16th St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627. Services and burial will be in Laurel, Iowa.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Hi Night Blooming Jasmines!

Gentle Jonathan

Cheerful Ian

Punk-rock Lana

Luminous Libby

Divine Dara

Jocular John

First of all, you have wonderful names. Secondly, you are all beautiful.

Thirdly, I want to buy you ice cream.

Fourth, thank you. Thank you for being kind and generous.

You are the wings beneath my wind!

(haw, haw)




Hi, Funny Monkeys-On-A-Bicycle!

(Have you ever seen the made-in-China children's toy, Monkey On A Bicycle? It's fabulous.)

I'm lonely tonight. If you have something nice to say (like, oh, say, just for example, if you like something I once wrote), why don't you email me?

I don't know how to make it so you can respond to my blog with one click, but you can email me at

Writers are terribly self-loathing sorts. Specially Irish ones, I'm afraid.

But Jim told me that, in addition to that, "Irish writers fight!"

"Protect your voice!" he says.

"Protect your voice!"

When you're a writer, that's all you've got. Literally.

It's actually kind of liberating. And simple. You only really have to worry about one thing. I mean, besides eating and rent and living and falling in love and life itself. You don't have to worry about equipment, rehearsal, technology, distribution, fans. I really believe that if you just write well, eventually you find your audience naturally. Um, with the help of the Internet.

But really, what's more natural than the Internet?

What human invention better reflects the diversity and interconnectedness of the Creation than the Internet?

We all live in the era of the nuclear bomb, and probably nothing has really shaped our psyches quite so violently as it has. It taught us that we are separate.

But Clothos, or karma, and/or the US military/academic complex, has given us a dazzingly glorious gift with the other hand.

In time, the Internet will come to shape our psyches just as profoundly, but much less painfully, than the bomb did. It teaches us that we are connected.

It'll work more slowly, like water, but it'll be deep and long-lasting.

I'm not saying it's inherently good. I'm saying we have been so out-of-balance for so long, we desperately need something to counteract the human disconnection we suffered in the 20th Century.

We need balance between the two principles.

So tonight I'm thanking God for the Internet.

I feel way better. Thanks for being with me.



Monday, August 26, 2002

Hey Baybees!

Sorry for posting that whole flockin' article... Don't know what I was thinking. Actually, I was thinking, fuck I'm on two deadlines and I better not get involved in cutting this down like a proper blogger would do.

I stayed up till 4:30 last night finishing a couple articles. For the first time I found that the blog directly fed one of my columns. Hey, who knew? I guess now I have to offer a warning, though, to anyone who reads the blog and my column: major self-plagiarizing might occur at any time. Ben told me to think about slacking off on the blog for a while, and he has a point. But at the same time, it seems to be a good idea-generator for me, and god knows I need it.

OK enough writer shop-talk crap.

I've been digging a CD Jim gave me as I was leaving Minneapolis: The Best of Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band (from the late '60s/early '70s).

First of all, we have to talk about how heckin' cool that name is

Ain't it cool?

Also, the name of one of their albums: "In the Jungle, Babe."

Wanna steal it..

The CD has a kind of indelible weirdness that you just can't buy--or fake. A lot of it was recorded live, half-improvised--basically, street funk played like jazz. It's real fun. The best part is how many songs are about encouraging people to freak out and be creative: "Express Yourself," "Do Your Thing," et al.

"Whatever it is, do it good," he sings.

It's like what my hero Matt Welch once told me years ago in Prague: "Why would you ever write anything that wasn't great?"

I'm a lazy cat so I don't necessarily uphold the dictum at all times--but I do love it dearly.



Sunday, August 25, 2002

My new friend M. (who is a huge fan of John "Johnny Fantastic" Fante, Charles Bukowski and Paul Bowles) turned me onto this kool LA Times article. It's all about the strange and beautiful events surrounding the sale of Black Sparrow Press, which publishes all three of these guys.

After he read the article, M. said, can you imagine sitting in a warehouse with 90,000 John Fante books? I said, yeah, what if you came out and you were dazzlingly brilliant?

Then again, what if you came out and suddenly had terrible, cruel voices in your head telling you that you were a failure and a chump and might as well pack it in?

(Might not be so different from usual, actually.)

Anyway, the story is neat, but this Godine character is troublesome--he wants to change the way Black Sparrow books are printed, which is unique and beautiful. At the same time he is charming, because he is careful about never ending a sentence with a preposition. This is someone my mother would love.

(I know it's bad to post copyrighted articles, but I've never been paid extra for anything reprinted on the web, and I've even had stuff stolen outright, so fuck it. It's not like I'm making any money off this, or the writer's losing any.)

by Tim Rutten

The story of Black Sparrow Press, California's premier literary publisher for nearly 40 years, was extraordinary from the start. And it now appears it will have that rarest of things--a legitimately happy ending.

Earlier this year, 71-year-old John Martin, Black Sparrow's founder and editor, announced he had sold the rights to the work of Charles Bukowski, John Fante and Paul Bowles--the three bestselling authors on his 185-title list-- and would halt operations July 1.

Now, Boston-based publisher David R. Godine has agreed to take over the California house's vast and distinguished backlist, as well as Martin's contracts with such contemporary writers as Los Angeles poet and author Wanda Coleman and poets Diane Wakoski and Edward Sanders.

Godine said that Black Sparrow will go forward as a separate imprint of his press under the direction of an editor yet to be hired. "I want to keep it very much a West Coast list," he said this week in a telephone interview. "The East Coast has enough presses that reflect its concerns and the voices of its writers, but there are too few who do what John did for the West. Therefore, that's where our focus will remain."

"It's all been taken care of beautifully," Martin said from his offices in Santa Rosa. "Every one of my authors now has a publisher. I just stepped out of the way, and David caught the ball."

Still, it is a catch resulting from a series of events Godine laughingly says "can only be called Martin-esque."

Black Sparrow's latest chapter began earlier this year, when New York-based Ecco, an imprint of News Corp.'s HarperCollins, agreed to pay a "seven-figure" price for 49 books by Bukowski, Fante and Bowles, as well as the rights to five unpublished collections of poetry by Bukowski, who died in 1994. Fante, who died in 1983, wrote fiction and screenplays, including the classic Los Angeles novels "Wait Until Spring, Bandini" and "Ask the Dust." Bowles, who died in 1999, was an expatriate writer, composer and poet, particularly admired for his short stories. As part of the deal, Martin also agreed to edit the new Bukowski collections, which are to contain most of the author's 800 unpublished poems.

At the time of the sale, Martin and Daniel Halpern, Ecco's longtime editorial director, said they were discussing the New York press' acquisition of other Black Sparrow authors. When those negotiations failed, Martin approached Godine with what Godine called "an act of unspeakable generosity."

If the Boston publisher would agree to take over Black Sparrow's entire backlist and its contracts with living authors, Martin offered Godine not only all remaining literary rights, but also 96,000 volumes from his inventory of printed books for the sum of $1.

"Basically, I had 80,000 books by Bukowski, Fante and Bowles in my inventory and 96,000 by everybody else," Martin explained. "Those 96,000 volumes cost me more than $200,000 to print, and by essentially giving them to David, he was guaranteed the instant cash flow that will allow him to publish and pay royalties to my living authors."

Godine called the arrangement "a real John Martin kind of deal, which is to say, he knows exactly how he wants things to come out but gets you to make the move. John called me right after he made the deal with HarperCollins--and before it had been announced--and asked, 'What do you think?'

"I said, it sounds great, but what happens to the rest of your list, and he said, 'Oh, I just may give it to a distributor.'

"I said, that's terrible because no distributor can do justice to those books. So he said, 'I think you're right. Why don't you take it for a dollar?'

"So, I said, 'Let me come out and see you.' But John said, 'Oh, don't bother. It's too hot out here. I'll just send you a one-page agreement that I've drafted myself, and that will be it.'

"I said, 'Well, at least let me come out and we can have dinner.' I did, and when I got there, I found all the boxes of books packed and ready to ship to us--for which he paid."

Martin and Godine are still negotiating over how the Black Sparrow name will be used in the future, Martin said. "I was a one- man band, and I don't want the changes they'll inevitably make to reflect on me. They'll never spend the money I did on printing, for example."

Godine agrees there will be changes: "We're going to do things John always resisted, like printing bar codes and prices on the back covers. John hated all that."

Once he finds an editor for the new imprint, Godine said, he plans "to bring back any important Black Sparrow book that has gone out of print. Then, we'll meet the commitments John has made on manuscripts by living Black Sparrow authors. Finally, I'd like to add to the list--initially, in guarded and careful ways, then more aggressively--though in John's West Coast spirit, which I very much want to keep alive. Jack London, for example, is a California author in whom I'm very interested. Many of his important works are out of print, and I'd like to do something about that."

Still, Godine said, Martin's famously intimate and accommodating relationships with his authors will be impossible to maintain. "My impression," he said, "is that John simply did everything for those people. He published everything they wrote, and if they called and said they needed a new refrigerator, he bought them one. I'm not that well financed or kindly disposed. Reading these authors, as I have been doing, you recognize that John has published books whose voices are totally distinct. Diane Wakoski and Wanda Coleman are good examples of poets whose voices he heard as no one else ever had. The result is a uniquely focused list. Anyway, talk to me in five years, and we'll see if I've screwed it up."

Coleman is anxious and hopeful about working with Godine. "They don't know me and I don't know them," she said. "I know they are an excellent publisher with a sense of integrity and a love of the printed word--things they share with John Martin. They care about books, which is something a majority of publishers no longer do."

Martin said he has finished editing two of the five Bukowski collections he owes Ecco and plans to complete the other three by the end of the year. His wife, Barbara, will design the covers for all five volumes, as she has for all Black Sparrow's books for the past 36 years.

That done, Martin said, "We're both going to the window to shout, 'We're free, we're finally free.' "

It is a proclamation that Martin said he can make with a clear conscience. "It's just God's grace that everything worked out for everybody in the best way possible. I didn't leave any victims on the road behind me. Black Sparrow gave me a life I can look back on without regret."

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Yo Baby Slim Jim!

Just got a random cd in the mail from a band called the Damn Personals.

They should be called the Damn Goods, cause they are.

I mean, I think they are---but it's always dangerous if you like a cd the first time you hear it. I hate everything good the first time... practically. That's part of the art-magic.

But I dig their Zeppelin-via-Pixies fun energy big-time.

Big riffs, and a yelpy prick up front.

ok bye.



Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Hi Weirdos!

Sorry so lame. Been busy and stressed. Having fun, too. Can't eat, can't sleep. Driving badly and typing worsely. Today I was at the Beverly Center, gross, and I lost my car. I wandered starving for an hour in the lot, thinking about time-space warps and worm holes and cars, and the parking lot Muzak was playing a KCRW-type jacuzzi-shit cover of Jane's Addiction's "I Would." One of my favorite Jane's Addiction songs ever, which I just put on a mix tape.

"If it would help to give the world back what it gave, then I would."

Dunno what it means, but it's goddamn beautiful.

He would for you. He would for you, he would for you, Kate.

(He says Kate, it's weird.)

Anyway, finally the sweetie-pie security guard drives me around and we find my car immediately, of course, right where I had looked 20 minutes earlier.

I must be very sick, I said.

"You're in love," he said.

Mexican people are real romantic and shit.

"Oh no!" I said and covered my hands with my face. I mean, you know what I mean.

I'm not in love. Just hungry.

So very hungry.



Sunday, August 18, 2002

Hi Rock Stars:

Two of the sweetest things in music are united this month: the White Stripes are on the cover of MOJO!

I can't tell you how right and true this is (and how much it reassures me that I am not crazy). I tried to convince Spin to put them on the cover a long time ago to no avail. It seemed self-evident to me that they are the best new band since Nirvana and must needs be given proper attention.

Now I guess I'm happy it didn't happen, because the Stripes get so freaked out by American media, it probably would have caused some kind of minor meltdown followed by a religious conversion and strange children's music.

How I wish America had its own MOJO.

Having said that, Spin has gotten about 450 percent better in the past six months. If you're like all my friends, you never read it. But I have to tell you, it's totally worth picking up these days. It's funny, it's historical as hell, it's got some big words, and it's got a heart. It seems to be regaining its sense of itself as the skeptical younger alternative to Rolling Stone.

The new metal issue (Axl on the cover) is really cute and does a funny, intuitive list of Led Zeppelin's influence on all things metal, proving that "Misty Mountain Hop" is the yin-yang twin to "Welcome To the Jungle," and they make up a new song using lyrics from both songs.

Generally, the package seems deeply MOJO-inspired, visually and content-wise. And you know that can't be bad.

The piece on the Strip hair-metal scene is actually not a drag, either. It's fun! Of course, the package was compiled by men, so it has ZERO consciousness of that scene from a girl's p.o.v. I could sure have used that, because as a teen in the '80s I couldn't fucking stand that scene, it was so gnarly and conservative. Has everyone forgotten that? I mean, its form of rebellion was not rebellious at all--it was just the same old-fashioned sexist, dorky, materialistic values dressed up in lipstick and Aqua Net.

But I will never forget the Guns 'N Roses riot at the L.A. Street Scene downtown, right at the height of the whole weird metal shebang--L.A. Guns played, and Guns 'N Roses, and Jane's Addiction---fuck. Sometimes I can't believe it happened. I couldn't even get into the G 'N R show but we were hanging out in the parking lot, and you could feel (and hear) the hugeness of what was going on inside--and then people started running out followed by cops on horseback, and then someone threw a bottle, and then we were all running as fast as we could to avoid being beaten and tear-gassed. The cops were so out-of-control back then under Darrell Gates. Actually, I think the cops started that riot on purpose because they hated the L.A. Street Scene and wanted to figure out a way to kill it forever. It worked, of course. That was the last year they ever did it.

I'm listening to Led Zeppelin !V right now. The slide on "When the Levee Breaks" is all right. Though Jack White's sick perverted slide is way radder. Yesterday, making another mix tape, I played the White Stripes' acoustic walking tune "We're Going to Be Friends." Fine. Then for no reason I thought, hmmm, Bob Dylan. So I played that sweet little thing off Blood On the Tracks, "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go."


I always thought "We're Going to be Friends" was a Paul McCartney tribute, since Jack sounds exactly like White-Album or early-solo Paul.

Guess again--this is a heavy Bob Dylan situation, and it's a complete take-off on "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go." The rhythm, the structure, even the chords on the bridge, and the way you get goosebumps when it slides back into the verse. It's as if he tried to rewrite it, or as if Paul was rewriting it.

Even the title.

Check that shit out.

It's magic!



Friday, August 16, 2002

Hi Little Ones:

That was the BORINGEST blog entry ever written by anyone. I am so sorry.

You see, I haven't been eating food at all for days because I've been so busy.

And you know what happens when you don't eat? YOU CAN'T TALK.

So that's why I'm going to eat now.

It's complicated having a body.



Hiya Bloggiwogs:

(did I already use that? oh well.)

Sometimes this shit happens to me. I was supposed to write today at least a little bit--you know, proper writing for proper publication and whatnot. But instead all i could do was love people and dig music. First I hung out with a guy who's a new editor of mine and who has a perfect and beautiful little tiny baby. Holding her was like candy. I can't describe to you the feeling. When I hold a baby, I feel like I'm alive. I feel a secret hunger being sated with yummy cream puffs. Sometimes you don't even know you're hungry until you are fed. Then you realize you've been starved.

At the airport in San Francisco the other day, a woman going through security needed someone to hold her perfect chubby creamy-coffee baby. I said, "I'll hold the baby! I'll hold the baby!" The baby's skin was softer than all softness, and cool.

After the baby today I went to Amoeba to buy CDs to compile a mix tape for my beloved Jim. On Saturday he's driving from Minneapolis to California, to live here for a year and go to Stanford.

I tried to make a tape about California, my California. It had a darkness at the center that I just couldn't avoid, because California has a darkness at its center you just can't avoid. The section at the middle was really about poverty and Los Angeles, and involved early Beck, early X, Jane's Addiction. There was also some Doors. In the context of X and Jane's Addiction, the Doors felt right, for once. The Doors that I can relate to is not the Doors of Jim Ladd and the baby-boomer people, but the Doors that fed and inspired X, and gave Jane's Addiction something to work off of. The Doors that were proto-punks. The one thing they all had in common was a definite, all-pervasive grief, and a desire, anyway, to turn despair into poetry.

In a way, they all have a kind of pretentiousness, too. As an Angeleno I kind of love/sympathize with that pretense, because I see right through it, and I see the true desire to be understood right beneath it. It's a need to be "cool." I get it; and I don't mind. It's really no more pretentious than the coolness of the Velvet Underground.

Obviously the melancholy was evident in the Beach Boys stuff I played. It's an entire genre built upon grief. You know: Hopeful grief, which really deserves its own name. Yet another word we need in English. Ideas?

The charming surprise was that the Beach Boys influence on the tape was most evident, for the first time ever-ever, in the Chili Peppers, of all bands (you know--their new record). It didn't have to happen; it would have been fine if it hadn't. But it did and it feels like some kind of homecoming. In Minnesota terms, imagine if Prince came out about loving Bob Dylan.

After the Chili Peppers song ("Midnight") I played "631" by my GF Tracy Spuehler, about the house on McCadden where she grew up. It wasn't intentional, but the harmonies on both songs complemented each other and both spoke, somehow, of L.A. blood. Tracy grew up in the same general area as those guys, coincidentally, and near the house of my editor where I was today. (Actually, as I was driving from his house to Amoeba, I passed Flea's old school, Bancroft, and smiled!)

All day I made this tape. Then I went to a certain restaurant to inquire with some servers about a story I want to write about it. There were some cops hanging out in the parking lot, and I approached them to just chat about any funny anecdotes they might have to share. (Sorry I'm being evasive.)

One cop was sweet, but his partner regarded me with a kind of cruel arrogance that was so corrosive, my instinct told me to get away from him as quickly as possible. I didn't feel like my body was in danger, but my magical forcefield was seriously threatened.

It's not too often that I meet deeply toxic people, but I'm grateful for the instincts to smell them right off the bat. This was a truly toxic and really dangerous person. When you meet people like this, the thing to do is not to go, What the fuck is your problem? They are beyond reason, and will only hurt you if you try to help them. You have to protect yourself, that's all, and get the fuck away.

Well, that's what I do, anyway.

Can you imagine being so brainwashed by your job that you could get into a position where you are miserable and cruel--and you think you have have to do it?

Cops complain that nobody else understands what it's like to be a cop, and therefore, we shouldn't criticize them for violence, surliness, whatever (see the letters to the editor in last week's New Times). That's fucking bullshit, and here's why. I've met and had really great interactions with wonderful, open-hearted cops who were working in some pretty shitty areas. I've met funny cops. Non-condescending cops. Sympathetic and even merciful cops. And the sort of robotic ones who are cold yet fair.

If a cop treats good people unkindly, he's an asshole and he needs to deal with it.

Nobody has the right to treat me like an asshole.

Anyway, everything turned out great, because then I went to a really wonderful little place I'm going to be writing about soon, and met up with Tracy Spuehler. It was a country-honk night and all the guys had beery B.O. Unspeakably attractive. Not.

But my new goddess Lucinda Williams showed up and drank and hung out.

I kept waiting for her to get up and sing, but she just kept talking to some Graham Parsons-wannabe type-guy at the bar. I just like her so much, it was just nice to have her good vibes in the room, and to think of a deep friend of mine and the special song we share, a Lucinda song. It was funny, they played Tracy's song "Hummingbird" on the jukebox. Then they played the Strokes, and then Jimmy Eat World.

When you think of Lucinda Williams, you don't think of her exisitng in a world where the Strokes and Jimmy Eat World exist. But she does. She's in this world, flesh and everything, tied to the time-space continuum just like you and me.

And not, just like you and me.

I'm going to sleep now.



Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Hello, Rocketmen:

I've been all busy and shit for like a week, which is why the blog has been orbiting in the Upper Lamisphere (pronounced "lame-a-sphere"). Sorry, rocketpeople.

I feel really happy and good and supergirlistic, because I got to hang out in San Francisco today and yesterday with the coolest rock girls I have ever met, ever! (Well, besides Hillary, of course.) The Donnas basically rule. They don't just rool the pool, they rule the world!

Their new record, which is coming out in Rocktober, has a huge, yummy, powerful sound.

Something has happened in the two years since they turned 21. I think that they got sprinkled with Magic Quality-Control Dust by the fickle fairy of Universal Rockitude. The superthick guitars, heroic cowbells, sexy-womanly vocals and group shouts are a dream come true for me. (I could use some more handclaps though.)

I told them their version of Motley Crue's "Too Fast For Love" is better than the original (which it totally is--much faster) and they started talking amongst themselves about that song, and how complex it is structurally---and how different from the rest of the album. I'd never really thought about it, but it's tr�e. It's also way better than the rest of the album. I wonder what the circumstance was of its composition? I always wonder that about complex songs--for instance, "O My Soul" by Big Star. I mean, how did that come together? Was it five failed song-fragments that got shoved together at rehearsal, somehow? Kind of like side two of Abbey Road?

I asked the Donnas if maybe if the oddball rhythmic changes on "Too Fast For Love" were some sort of Zeppelin influence, but nobody could say for sure. (These are the sorts of questions that would be covered, along with the whiskey-mainlining, if I produced "Behind the Music.")

Who knows? Zeppelin were the Beatles of metal--they influenced everybody at such a tectonic level, it's impossible to suss it all out.

One thing I appreciated about the chicks was their basic love of good songwriting/fun/outrageousness, regardless of genre, production, or commercial trappings: Among many others, they dig Boston, Eminem, Guns 'N Roses, ELO, Cinderella, and early Backstreet. (As well as a bunch of stuff I don't like, such as Bikini Kill and Babes In Toyland.) They also love the Chili Peppers. Now I want to somehow hook them up so that they can tour together. Haw haw. A lot of times bands don't even have control over their tourmates. The bookers do. It's strange.

They have an alter-ego as a G'N R cover band: They all switch instruments and just do "Appetite For Destruction" all the way through (but only in private).

It also turned out that they love one of my favorite all-time shows, Beverly Hills 90210. Also, the Nightmare on Elmstreet movies. I said that I'd never seen even one, because I'm too scared of scary movies. They said they're more funny than scary. And they also said, Watch them during the daytime. I said, maybe when I get my next boyfriend I will watch with him (because, as everyone knows, it is fabulous to watch scary movies with a cute boy). Then the drummer sighed deeply and said, I want a boyfriend.

Anyway, also I've been busy trying to write something for my new column. Thank you for writing me with name ideas. Fortunately the New Times guys worked it out and let me stick with Hot Child In the City. When I found out yesterday, I felt so grateful, I almost felt sick. It was a weird feeling.

Sometimes when you want something so bad, and then you get it, you get this queasy feeling. I am sure the French and the Tibetans have a name for this, but we Americans sure don't. I think "buyer's remorse" is the closest it gets.

How about "winner's ennui"?

I still kind of feel like puking. It could be all the coffee, too.



ps: I still can't read the article in Spin but I finally bought the new Chili Peppers' record. I was listening to it all night when I wrote my first column. It was a hot, Hollywood summer night--very Bob Seger--and the dry wind blew through the kitchen windows.

The record is so not my "style," yet I kept listening over and over. I had a sort of aural craving for it--I have had ever since I first heard it. What is this strange magic?

I don't even understand half the lyrics.

I think it may be the intense harmonies.

But, in a way, fuck that. I can't explain it, but some music has richer, warmer blood than others. Some music has a deeper well from which it is drawing. It's not communicated in the technique, or the lyrics, or in any single element. It's just the nature of it.

It's like the difference between good sex and great sex. It has nothing to do with technique or any specific thing. I mean, sex is pretty much sex. The difference is in how it feels. Chemistry. Mystery. You know. If you can reduce it, put a finger on it, it's not the thing.

And that's the deal with By the Way. There is such a depth of spirit behind it, it can't help but feel good, and expansive. People's art really is a reflection of their souls.

Here ends the sermon.

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Hi Nut Goodies

I got the new Rolling Stone today. It told me that Alan Lomax, the great American musicologist, is dead.

Alan Lomax is a true saint.

His life's work will sustain me and probably you for the rest of our lives in ways we won't even know.

I also received someone's Scientology magazine in the mail today. Among other things it said was that L Ron Hubbard, "the great genius of the last century and for all centuries," "did the impossible and penetrated the mysteries" of all human problems.

L. Ron said, "Those little beaten-down peasants you see in France were once proud Romans. Those small brown men who sell their sisters on the streets of Cairo were once the mighty Egyptians. And it was when those societies looked richest that they had already started down. Like this one.

"They all failed because they had no know-how about man. Wisdom, real wisdom, could have salvaged any one of them. ..

"You say, well what can I do. I'm just a little fellow. That's a lie. You have to hand [sic] the most powerful weapon yet forged on Earth: Scientology."

"Here we are with the largest fund of information of life that has been assembled in a factual package on Earth."

I'm so glad to know that someone has all the answers.

I guess L. Ron judges a society's greatness in terms of the wealth and power of its elite. Cuz we all know those mighty Egyptians were slavedrivers, and the Romans were too.

I was in France, and I didn't see any peasants--and I was even out in the countryside. I didn't see any "beaten-down little people." I saw some people with great cheese and wine and national health care and reproductive freedom for women.

I have not been to Cairo so I don't know about the "small brown men."

The Scientology agenda is to make everyone in the world Scientologists. It's called "Planet Clearing." (Kindly ignore all genocidal connotations.) In order to access the great fund of all human information, however, you must endure a series of hierarchical and prohibitively expensive courses.

Anyway, so then I read about Alan Lomax.

Alan Lomax spent his life recording the music of American peasants, of those whom L. Ron would see as small brown men. He wrote about it with respect, sympathy, and adoration. His work brought the music of Delta bluesmen to the world. He helped to free Leadbelly from the Angola State Penitentiary, and helped Muddy Waters to quit sharecropping and become a full-time, world-famous musician.

Incidentally, he also turned the Beatles and everyone else (including Scientologst/blues-lover Beck) onto this music that would so shape our ears and hearts forever.

He understood this music, and he also stood in awe of the mystery at its heart.

Here's what he had to say about human knowledge:

"It is the voiceless people of the planet who really have in their memories the 90,000 years of human life and wisdom. I've devoted my life to an obsessive collecting together of the evidence."

I noticed in the Scientology magazine that there were no black people in any of the photographs. I wonder why that is.

Maybe some people can smell a rat bastard better than others.



Monday, August 05, 2002

Hey, Miracle Gro!

I am in Hollywood! It's buttery and soft.

But I am still having pleasure-flashbacks from my perfect last day in Mpls., which included, of course, getting Slopped. Oh man, I can't wait to listen to the tape and dig the majestic "Ariel" action!

Jim Walsh took me out for Mojitos too. We ended up having hibiscus margaritas. Then I forced him to take me to the CC Club, the final Minneapolis rock institution which I'd missed this trip. A booth was open and ready for us and we had Newcastle.

The jukebox played Motley Crue's "Too Fast For Love," and I started talking about how "do you remember?" is one of my favorite lyrics ever----from Earth Wind & Fire's "Say do you remember?/dancing in September?" to Michael Jackson's "Do you remember the time when we fell in love?" to the Crue's "She puts her leg up/ and calls it good luck/do you know what I mean?/ Do you remember?/Well I remember!"

If I were even remotely awake I could tell you why it's neato.

But at the moment I can't remember.

Golly, it feels swell to be home. (Shit, is this the Fifties or something?)

My keen sweetie-pie roomie is so dreamy: He cleaned the apartment and then took off to some hotel with his GF.

But wait, there's more: He broke a troubling precendent and bought a HUGE package of the really good, expensive toilet paper.

Maybe this doesn't sound so big, but if you had a boy-roommate you might understand. I feel like a princess.

There is no pea in my bed, either. Just pillowy goodness.

It's calling.



Sunday, August 04, 2002

Hi Spaceface!


I am so happy.

Today I fulfilled a lifelong dream: I was a guest DJ on "Cosmic Slop."


It fucking rocked. Radio is amazing! All you do is stand there and drink Diet Coke and listen to your favorite records and make jokes! Even if they're not funny at all, you still feel cool.

Wow! The new drug!

Thank you, Chuck and Joel, from the depths of my liver. It meant the world to me.

I think this was what we played:

1. The Beat, "Rock and Roll Girl"

2. The Clique (sp?), "I Am Superman"

3. The Only Ones, "The Whole of the Law"

4. Pilot, "Magic"

5. Mott the Hoople, "Foxy Foxy" (brilliant ballad, sort of glam tribute to Phil Spector)

6. Mick Ronson, "Only After Dark"

7. Colin Blunstone, "Let Me Come Closer To You"

8. Nick Gilder, "Roxy Roller"

9. Harry Nilsson, "You Can't Do That"

10. Paul Williams, "Nilsson Sings Newman"

11. Three O'Clock, "Jet Fighter"

12. Dean Friedman, "Ariel"

13. Raspberries, "Tonight"

15. The Hello People, "Tuesday Kind of Monday"

16. ELO, "Xanadu" (Jeff Lynne vocal version)

17. Dwight Twilley, "You Were So Warm"

18. Gary Wright, "Dreamweaver"

19. Fanny, "Hey Bulldog"

I can't remember what else...

My sophisticated musical commentary reached a pinnacle when Chuck asked me why I like the Raspberries. He said, "You're a Raspberries fan? You're an Eric Carmen fan? You like that they rock?" And all I could think of to say was, "Uhh... I like their name ..."

That's right up there with the stony conversation Jim Walsh and I had the other night, wherein I said, "You know, they need some good rock singers." And Jim goes, "Yeah, man."

If you go far enough into the dumb end of the dumb-to-deep conversational spectrum, at some point you come out on the other side.

Anyway, many thanks to the Slop machine for providing the perfect cap to a dreamy Minneapolis vacation.

My heroes!

love 'n' rockets,


Saturday, August 03, 2002

Hi Wonder Twins!

I have to come up with a name for a new weekly column I'm going to be writing about music and nightlife in Los Angeles.

Can you help me?

My idea for the name is "Hot Child In the City."

This is the only name I have come up with, despite hours of brainstorming.

The design people say it's too long. It has to be two or three words.

Do you have any bright ideas?

Anything involving lyrics or song titles by Jane's Addiction or X would be OK, as well as anything involving the word "bitchin."

Send any ideas to

I will feel forever grateful to anyone who can come up with a good name.





I went to see "Stuart Little II" with my mom yesterday. It was very Stuart Littley.

Anyway, in this movie, the boy-mouse falls in love with a little girl-bird. Nobody seems to think it's strange that a mouse want to DO IT with a bird.

It's a family movie, but the whole movie, you can't take your eyes off the Mom's (Geena Davis's) massive boobs, and wonder what kind of bra-action she has in place to support them so seamlessly.

You also can't stop thinking of the dad (Hugh Lorie) as the gay guy from "Four Weddings and a Funeral."

Somehow, the white fluffy kitty with the garbage-can mouth seems completely normal.


Hillary and I are twins. The latest way we are twins is that we both, unbeknownst to each other, compiled lists of words that sound like dirty words but aren't.

The best on her list was "child-rearing."

Other faves are:

1. angina

2. Aerlingus

3. play hooky

If you have any to add I will write you a bad haiku. Oh yeah, if you can come up with a name for my column, I will write you a really bad haiku.