Adventures With Music Connection Magazine (or)
How to Make Friends and Un-Influence People
SONIC YOUTH BOOBIES (or)
PUNK ROCK & PIERCED NIPPLES OVER MULHULLAND BLVD.
Alex continues the story of his search to find a band in L.A. You can read the first part here.
The man who answered the door wasn’t who I expected. I pictured someone much taller with severely combed hair weighed down with product and expensively tailored clothes to match. Instead, here he stood all of five foot two. He had long, purple streaked dreads wearing an Einsturzende Neubautent-shirt that might have had sleeves at one point in its much abused life. Barefoot, he displayed a set of sour yellow Howard Hughes toenails that hadn’t been cleaned since Bush (the 1st) roamed the White House hallways.
Blurring, waist length blond hair twirled behind him. A bright flash of teeth and glints of cheap costume jewelry skipped through an archway on the other side of the room. Off key, the woman screeched a melody unrelated to music darting from unseen speakers.
“You must be Alex?” He dramatically leaned forward motioning me through the door. “Ready to make some noise?”
“Sure.” I followed him through the entry room to an expansive studio on the house’s back side. Guitar feedback blared through monitors hanging from the ceiling. “Nice setup.” I admired the room with its collection of rare guitars resting on cradle mounts around the walls.
“Thanks. I keep each one in different tunings.” His hand brushed the strings of a black Les Paul. “Helps me to remember which one I use on which song.”
“You look like you can really play.” The woman’s fingers tickling the back of my neck. My lungs struggled for air in the overwhelming fog of patchouli. “Hi. I’m Celeste.”
“Hi.” I reached to shake her hand. She dodged my grip pulling me in by the wrist squeezing her arms around my neck. “We spoke on the phone last night. Nice to meet you.”
“Charmed.” Her lips grazed my earlobe.
“I’m Joss.” All five fingers wearing rings that shimmered in the Christmas lights strung across the high ceilings. “We’ve got the kit set up and ready for you. You can use what we have or your own stuff. Whatever works for you man.”
“I brought my cymbals and snare if that’s okay?”
“Sure thing brother.” Joss lit a cigarette nodding in the direction of a brand new, sparkle blue DW five piece drum set fresh from the showroom floor. “The drum tech came in yesterday to tune them up. Put on new heads and everything.”
“Beautiful.” I set up my gear and made a quick run around the kit making sure to touch on everything. After a few adjustments the kit felt comfortable as home. “Ready when you are.”
“Groovy.” Celeste touched a long match stick to a mound of incense in a pink glass bowl. Sconces alternated between black candles and light bulbs covered by thin silk scarves. Deep clouds of the heavy, thick perfumed powder floated to the ceiling. Joss switched on an ancient, torn faced amplifier and sat down cross legged on the floor.
“This old girl needs to warm up a bit.” Tapping his fingers on top of the glowing tubes, he looked at Celeste now sitting on the edge of the bass drum. “Unlike that sweet thing over there.”
“I’m always warm baby.” She looked at me with a smile that made me feel much less comfortable that she most likely intended. “Warmed up and ready for anything!”
Joss ran through a noisy soundscape layered atop a Bo Diddley chugging groove. I jammed along listening for the changes, threw in a fill here and went to the ride cymbal for the bridge. When the verse returned I shifted back to the alternating tom groove building up my intensity through the end of the song. Joss and Celeste looked at each other. She clapped her hands jumping up and down. A loud, partially out of tune barre chord hung long and sustained to the point of feeding back.
“Groovy man.” Joss tossed his guitar pick high. It tumbled across
my cymbals coming to rest on the snare drum . “Let’s play that again.”
More familiar with the song structure this time, I closed my eyes directing my focus into the sound. Celeste joined us by screaming into her microphone. While singing well is equally as challenging to perform with the same skill and finesse as any other instrument, what she did could not be considered remotely in the same vicinity. Tibetan throat chanting collided fiercely against the spinning gears of a gummed up rusty blender.
Mid-solo, Joss scraped the guitar neck at an angle across the top front edge of his amplifier drawing a high whine of feedback from the speaker. The stick in my right hand nearly fell from my grip to the floor when I saw Celeste gyrating in the middle of the room. Somewhere between the previous verse’s beginning and the guitar solo’s cry, her clothes found their way to the floor.
Her back covered from neck to tailbone with a black and grey tattoo of an upside down cross. Cracked and splintered wood stood out in three dimensions complete with intricately detailed corpus, spear wound in his ribs and crown of blood dripping thorns. Long feathers on rings dangled from piercings in her nipples. If she wore jewelry below the waist, I chose not to investigate the image.
The guitar solo ended its caterwaul abruptly. Joss leapt to his feet, immediately shed his clothes and grabbed his sweat glistened partner. Time slowed surreally. I quickly fumbled to remove cymbals from their stands. Each one seemed to take longer than the last. By the time I had everything packed and ready to go, the amorous couple was well engaged in their activities on the floor.
Silently and swiftly as possible, I fled the scene. Fortunately my truck caught life on the first twist of the ignition. Celeste shouted something from the open doorway. My windows were rolled up, so her voice was muffled and I couldn’t make out what she said. I glanced in the rearview mirror catching my final glimpse of the couple rubbing against each other on the driveway.
A flashing light alerted me to messages waiting on the answering machine. I dropped the cymbal bag, fed the cat and made myself a stiff drink. Sipping the ice filled Star Wars glass of Maker’s Mark, I pressed play. The tape whirred in reverse while the alcohol lit its fire down my throat.
“Why’d you leave so soon honey?” Celeste’s voice whined with a high tinge of annoyance. “We thought you were cool.”
Before allowing the onslaught of flowing profanity she spewed on my machine to reach its climax, I pressed the erase button. The latest issue of Music Connection lay open on my living room table. Calmly, I picked it up, carried it to the kitchen, opened the lid of the garbage pail and dropped it inside. The voice in my head making a solemn vow to have my ad removed from pages of the next issue.