On December 8th, of the year 2000, my uncle, my fathers brother, Charlie died.
I loved him very much and I was saddened to lose him.
Ten days later Kirsty MacColl died.
She and her music meant alot in my life.
I saw her twice in concert.
The first time, after the show, I got to have her autograph a record slick ( which has been framed and hung since then )
and I got to tell her of my love for her and we hugged.
Then winter came and for me that is the busiest of rental times in the Santa barbara vidoe store that I manage.
So the holidays and my birthday sorta slipped by unevently.
The new year began and I had met a really neat lady at the store.
She was very foward with me and, considering the lonely life I lead, i was attracted to her.
One day we figured we would go out on a date instead of talking at the store.
The day before we were going out, she showed up at the store and was kinda teary.
She said she had just got out of a bad relationship and no matter how much she liked me, she was afraid to go out.
So, noodle that I am, I told her it was ok, it really didn't change much for me, coming from nothing and going back to it.
Patted her shoulder gently and sent her on her somewhat relieved way.
It was a sunday night, my last worknight before 2 days off...so I got home, ate dinner and started drinking some Jack D.
At some point, I was sitting in front of the computer, typing in things on the web and I typed out Vivian Stanshall.
I found a Stanshall/Bonzo Dog site.
That lead me to a Neil Innes site.
There I found the authors of the site had printed lyrics and CHORDS!
So I grabbed my guitar and began to sing years of Neil Innes songs, from Bonzo Dog days through The Rutles...
and I was laughing and singing and crying...
I cried alot while I played and all the grief that had been rolling around, probably since my friend Mike Suchow left us, came out.
Who knows how long this went on, but when I was done, I sent a message to the siterunners to thank them for the evening.
I pretty much told them the same as I told you.
Their responce was loving and thankful.
It was for such a reason that they did put the chords there.
They were Bonnie and Laurie and they are neilinnes.org.
Sometime in early February 2003, a message appeared on the Bonzo Dog chat line about Neil doing two shows in March in Los Angeles.
I went to the site to find out about the shows and, lo and behold, it was neilinnes.org! It was Bonnie and Laurie! They were putting on these shows! I reminded them who I was from the lyrics encouter.
They rememembered and told me I would officially be on the will call list for both shows, the second being limited to only 60 people.
So I made plans to spend a few days in L.A.
and booked a cheap motel, since the shows were a day apart.
I would do this trip solo, no plans except for the shows.
The motel would be a home base for the three days.
The morning after the second show I would drive back to go to work on Sunday.
I kept a journal and now, dear eyeball buddies, I am gonna type it all out!
March 20, 2003 Thursday
Left Santa Barbara early so I could enjoy the daylight.
It took less than 2 hours to drive down I blasted Sex Pistols and Ramones all the way!
Am laying on bed in a room in an Econolodge within 30 minutes ( probably less ) to any where in Hollywood and the downtown Los Angeles area.
There's a Ralphs next door and a Vons right across the street from it fer cripes sake! The room is 44 bucks a nite.
( Reserved it at Orbitz.com on the net.
) The bed area and bathroom are clean.
There is an air conditioner.
Theres a TV set with only some basic cable and no remote.
I check out the channels.
Its all war pretty much.
I shaved and showered and will be heading out to find a restaurant I found on-line called Mo's.
Then I'll wangle my way over to the concert.
I am back at motel! Couldn't find Mo's restaurant? I went to the correct address, but it wasn't there.
So I picked a small place on that block called Cafe Who's On Third.
I had a very delicious chicken alfredo! It was pre-dinner hour so it was empty but for me.
Nice quiet personalized meal.
When done I handed my credit card for payment.
The card has" KISS Platinum" printed on it and features the faces of the four Kiss members.
The waiter asked me if I'd like some free Kiss toys? I said sure.
Seems he volunteers at a hospital and someopne donated Kiss toys, but they were considered inappropriate and therefore ungiven.Honest to Jah, this guy gave me four complete, sealed, doll packages for Kiss Psycho Circus, a comic book version of the band and their cartoon adventures.
It aint the value, its the irony! I can't go anywhere without stuff like this finding me! Ha! It was still really too early to go to show so i came back to motel to drop the rock toys off.
Once more into the breach, whatever that means.....
12:30 AM......Back in motel room!! Instead of returning via freeway, I took a leisurely cruise back across inner L.A.
along 6th Street.
Feelin fine an dandy! Here's how it all went down....
The directions Compuserve Maps gave me for the trip from motel to bar was ten minutes, but it was 6:30 PM, so I drove right into rush hour on 101!!!!! It took an hour! Luckily they weren't lettin anyone in till 8, so I hung out and gabbed with the other die hard fans.
Suddenly Neil came out, waved a grand hello to us and announced, " I'm going to Orange County to have a cigarette!" Theres no smoking in the theatre.
Then I see a guy who looks familiar? It's Emo Phillips! I approach him, hand out.
We shake and he asks if he knows me? I explain, no, but I'm a long time fan and even saw him perform in a teeny bar in Boulder in 1988 and his numerous Letterman appearances, plus his Space Ghost episode! He enjoyed the adulation and said it was nice to meet me and that I'd see him later in the club.
The door opens sometime after 8 and there is a sign informing me that the night is being filmed for a documentary and by being there is consenting to be filmed.
Like I care? Its a pretty nice room and I find a nice seat on a raised area to the right of the stage.
I was sitting next to one of the cameras.
I think this club ( called Club 1650 ) may be a gay place cuz i was sittin in the middle of gay central! But i figured they were there for the same reason i was...Neil!!! And what a wonderful show it was! Neil started out alone doing his silly Protest song on acoustic guitar.
Then he began the Intro and Outro from the Gorilla album to introduce the band, which was when he introduced Emo on clarinet!!! Made me laff!!!! He told me I'd see him inside! Ha! Also, some guy, named Bill Case, flew in from Brooklyn to play the recorder part for Urban Spaceman.
Thats a fan! And Bonnie and Laurie were the backup singers! Anyway, the evening would become a retrospective of the Innes career.
2 sets/15 minute break.
My favorite song was called Feel No Shame, from the album How Sweet To Be An Idiot.
I jumped around like a madman!!!! It kicked freakin ASS!!! I took photos of the stage, but since i did not really understand the limits of the my little borrowed camera, i got no good full band shots.
Memory will have to do! During the break i bumped into a film/tv actor named Kevin Corrigan ( True Romance, Living In Oblivion and the tv show Grounded For Life ).
Told him i was very fond of his work.
He was there with a friend who had turned him onto the Rutles.
He enjoyed the first set immensely.
Shook hands and wished him the best of luck with his career.
Second set had lots of sing a long stuff! ( will print set list for show one at bottom..) Emo reappeared for the finale.
And, as all good things do, it came to an end.
They ushered us out quickly and the place was locked up before I made my way back to the car after carousing with the fans I had made contact with.
So, here I am, layin on me motel bed, watchin the news and gettin ready to crash for big day tomorrow.
Just a few gulps of whisky...mmmmm thats nice Jack!
March 21, 2003 Friday Got up at 10 AM and went over to office to get complimentary donut an coffee.
Showered and checked up on the war for a bit.
The plan today is to see a David Cronenberg film called "Spider" at 12:30 on Sunset Blvd., then hit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) to see the exhibits, then, time permitting, Amoeba Records ( the largest used cd and dvd place in L.A.) and finally back to LACMA to see two Harold LLoyd films.11:55 PM......Well, the day played out pretty much as planned, but theres always a surprise in my Crackerjack box life! I saw Spider.
Many will hate it.
I, of course, thought it was fabulous, in a deranged Cronenberg way! Sick fun! Ralph Fienes and Miranda Richardson are the stars and they are incredible! Spent the rest of the day at LACMA.
Chose not to pay an extra 12$ to see an Ansel Adams exhibit. - Why should I? He never sees anything I do!
The 8$ ticket to the LLoyd films entitled me to see everything else the place had to offer.
And that was alot! My thing about old paintings is to stare at the folds in clothing and materials.
I look at a distance then I look really close up to see that the folds and shadows are just clever blothes of paint! I'm always amazed!!! How do these artists know how to do it? Its their bizness i guess? I ate dinner at the museum cafe.
The place was quiet and the chef makes yer burger right there.
I watched as he sliced the onion and tomato into beautifully thin slices.
I asked him to show me his wonderful knife! It was a graduating gift from his culinary school and was embossed saying so.
Good food at reasonable prices.
Killed more time before the film by viewin some Rodin statues from the late 1800's I think...lotsa paintings depicting religious stuff...lotsa God images and the like for these old craftsmen...paint what ya know i guess? Finally it was time to hit the museum theatre for the films! First of all, this theatre, the Bing Theatre, is totally gorgeous and if yer ever here you gotta see something in it! It's got ribbed cloth curtains that rise up to reveal an immacultely white screen! A museum moderator introduced Harold LLoyds daughter who explained that she and Turner Classics Movie Channel have restored her grandfathers films.
Many of them will begin airing in April.
The first film, Speedy, would have live musical accompaniment on organ by a Robert Israel Jr.( not the R.I. that I knew from Roosevelt School!!).
It was shot in N.Y. in 1928 and had many scenes at Coney Island.
There was a great scene with Babe Ruth as himself.
There was also a street fight scene of LLoyds character with the local merchants and people against a multitude of mobsters that hilariously rivaled scenes from Gangs of New York!!!.
Mrs. LLoyd asked the audience to be as verbal about their laughter as possible.
She shouldn't have worried.
I was crying from laughing so hard at times!!!! Then came a short intermission.
I stand and look around and who do i spy? It's Emo! So I amble on over to him and by gosh, he actually remembers my name!!! He's alone and invites me to sit for the next film with him.
It is called Why Worry? from 1923, the last film LLoyd did with Hal Roach. It, too, is unbelieveble! We were all squealing with delight! Laughing so hard, so much, is very theraputic!!!! Its hours later and I am still giddy from it all! So it was the end and Emo and I gabbed for a few minutes, but he said he had to get home, told me to contact him through his website and we went our separate ways.
Its funny that I didn't get his autograph or have a photo of us together.
Sometimes it is better to not do those things.
More stuff for my memory banks.
It is very noisy outside the motel.
A Mexican band is using the rooms across from mine and they are drinking and havin a good ole time.
Cars are constantly driving by and helicopters zoom overhead once an hour.
So, as I did last night...I turned on the air conditioner to drown it all out.
More Jack Daniels and some shnock and off to sleep for another big day....
March 22, 2003 Saturday Same mornin routine of free coffee an donut an watched tv episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Todays first adventure will be.....CHINATOWN!!!! I have never been to this one. Just N.Y. and San Francisco.
In hiking boots, I traversed the area for over 3 1/2 hours! I basically ate my way through the streets.
I would try something different from each deli, restaurant and street vendor! I'd eat something, then cruise for a bit, then try somethin else.
I had some excellent shrimp dim sum at one place called Won Kok.
I was gonna eat more at the place next door called Tue Kok, but I figured Won Kok was enough This Chinatown has malls that go underground for blocks! I got lost in them! I saw hundreds of stalls selling stuff! I found some neat, cheap cds of Chinese music and a giant silk wall hanging poster of a scene from the anime My Neighbor Totoro.
As I was headin back to the car I spotted a store with a liquidation sign on it.
Behind a shelf of Chinese brikabrak I spotted something Disney? It was a ceramic flour pot in the shape of a chef hatted Mickey Mouse.
The attendent said it was at least 20 years old ( which isnt really very old ) and belonged to the original owners of the store, but its really nice lookin and he offered it to me for 5 bucks.
Its mine now! So with all me bounty, I headed back to the ranch to reshower and prepare for the evenings festivities! I hit Vons and picked up a hoagie an some chips for later.
It was way early when me and me car named Betty hit the area where the Neil Dog show would appear.
So, we shnoodled our way over to Sunset to hit Amoeba Records for a while.
I found a some nice stuff including a cool live Deviants cd.
Anyway, an hour of that...movin on...
I got over to this club on La Brea called The Lava Lounge and, in lieu of driving in circles, parked in a 7$ parking lot around the corner.
It is important to note here that, as opposed to the thursday show, this was the 60 person, invite only show.
It cost 15$, but you hadda be on the list or u was up snots creek! The Lava Lounge is a very small place with a very small stage.
One was lucky to get on the list.
When I arrived, the doors would not be open for a while and a few of the hardcores were already on line.
So I introduced myself to the group and let them know that I had a backpack filled with a mess of Neil related albums.
Another guy, ironically named Jim, also had a bundle of stuff, including autographed records and fotos from previous Innes meetings.
The documentary guys were hangin around with us and when me an Jim started to show each other our treasures, they asked us to do it again for them, like dueling paraphanalia geeks.
It was pretty funny.
They shot us with two cameras.
I'll be innerested if they use any of it for their film.
It was curious for me to sign a release form for the filmmakers, since thats what I did when we shot our film! I killed the rest of the time by eating my hoagie and chips.
They finally let us in at 7:10.
They weren't kidding! The place IS VERY SMALL!! Bonnie and Laurie are in charge and are runnin around doin stuff.
Me an Jim take comfy stools across from the stage.
He lets me know that he is taping the show.
I make believe he didnt tell me so I wouldn't change my audient behavior because of it.
I was here to enjoy myself! The first set was opened with Neil on ukulele.
He did some olde stuff and some new songs on regular guitar.
Joining him was Ken Thornton, who played lead electric thursday nite, but was here acoustic.
It was lovely.
Then he did a question and answer thing, but it was a little weird, so he dropped it and said lets take a break.
It was then I noticed, over by the front door, was Eric Idle.
A lilttle line was forming, so I grabbed my Rutles album and Rutland Weekend Book and joined.He was very nice and signed them and gave me a calendar for his new cd and signed that too! And I got someone to take a picture! Then I went outside for some air and as I walk out I realize I am standing next to Neil.
I don't know if the cameras were on me or not.
I told Neil about my life and how his merged with it; how I bought the first Bonzo album pretty much when it was released; how his music ever since has been an integral part of the thing known as The Reet.
Then I told him this story.....
When I was in Alaska, as a teacher in the Eskimo village Emmonak, in 1978, we only got one channel on the TV.
The broadcasting day would start around 3 pm with Sesame Street and go till midnight or so.
It was a signal bounced out of Bethel and they would make choices as to what would be relayed.
Luckily, for me, every Saturday nite they'd air Saturday Night Live.
Then, one magical night, SNL did not come on.
In its place was a documentary called All You Need Is Cash..The Rutles Story.
As you can imagine, I went crazy!! Here was Eric Idle and Neil in this incredible mockumentary! Remember, there was only one channel, so all the Eskimos on the Lower Yukon and surrounding territories saw it! Some days later, while my students and I were listening to the radio in my Special Ed. classroom, the disc jockey played a Beatles song.
The kids looked up at me and said " Mr. Glass!!! Thats The Rutles!!!!".
I was flabbergasted! They all took it serious! History took a screwball turn that night for the Alaskan population!
Neil was staring into my eyes as I recalled the tale.
We were laughing and his eyes welled up a bit.
He said he should give me 5$ for such a tremendous endorsement, then hugged me and it was a moment I will remember forever.
I showed him all my stuff and he promised he'd sign everything after the show.
Then I made someone take a picture!!!
We all went in for set two.
Second set began with Idle joining Neil for some Python and Rutles stuff.
The rumors about Neil and Eric not talking is now dispelled.
They were genuinely happy to be with each other.
It felt good.
Idle did split early after the show ended, but they hugged goodbye! The rest of the set was stuff we could all sing along with.
It was so cool.
We all provided the backup vocals.
It made everybody laugh the first coupla times, but Neil grooved on it.
A bartender told me he'd never seen a crowd do that before.
It was wonderful and freeing and I will take the memory to the grave! When he could do no more, he bade us all a hearty thank you.
These were more like parties than concerts.
More like being with family in a dadaist kind of way.
I decided to just hang around and give Neil plenty of time to cool down and shmooz.
Eventually he found me outside, where it was always infinitely cooler.
"Lets sign those discs Reet" he announced.
And he signed em all and we all talked around and with him and Bonnie & Laurie were now joining the fray! Neil smoked some kinda English cigarettes and was hesitant to give them away because he was never sure he could find another pack.
Suddenly, a young black man with hair net on his head, walks up from the street and hits Neil up for a smoke.
Neil goes into his fanny pack and pulls out a whole pack of Marlboros and hands em to the kid and sez " Keep them ".
The kid says " I don't care what anyone says.." You people are OK in my book!! ".
Hysterical moment for all in attendance.
But the swan song was trying its best to be sung and Neil was getting tired.
What a sport though.He was next heading onto the Melbourne Comedy Fest in Austrailia.
We had all shared a marvelous experience.
It was like the old days of Grateful Dead, when the audience and performer coexisted together during the show.
We all were making our goodbyes.
I made sure to give special hugs to Bonnie and Laurie cause they made it all happen! Then I said " Goodbye All!! " aloud and Neil came over and gave me a hug goodbye.
I was so touched.
He shook my hand again and wished me the best and I repeated the sentiment back.
That moment carried me to the car and to the motel.
I saved this little tidbit before my summation...At some point, when we were all standing outside after the show, a woman and man came up and asked what was going on? The woman was an actress named Illeana Douglas.
She was in a clever film named Happy Texas, played the art teacher in my fave rave Ghost World and did a deft job in a failed mini-series called Action.
Most people have never heard of her.
I was gonna say hello, when one guy went up to her for an autograph.
She scrunched up her face angrily, snatched the pen from him and signed hastily, not hiding her distain.
She tugged at her escort and they disappeared onto La Brea.
We all were privvy to this scene.
It sort of said something about fame and celebrity.
God love Neil Innes.
I realize, once again, that I must seek out these little moments of happineses.
I will never know the joys of child raising and may never find out the joys involved in being a couple.
Instead, after 50 years, it seems to be important for me to meet the people who shaped that of which I am.
I have some odd desire to make them know who I am and how they played a part in my history.
I like performers and artists, who, when they perform, are usually accessible.
The most memorable points of my life are marked by concerts and star meetings.
It's all I got to get me through the next, albeit short, part of my life.
Just recently, another musician I have followed for years, Melissa Ferrick, actually played at a dive here in S.B.
I got to talk to her, have her sign all my cds and, of course, I got hugged warmly and affectionately.
And I gotta remind myself, it wasn't too long ago I had encounters with other heros like Brute Force, Mark Volman, Roy Wood and the Nields! I guess its what I live for.
I wonder what will happen next? We'll see in the next word filled adventures of The Reet!!!!!
and here's the set list....Protest Song, Intro and Outro Intros, Slaves of Freedom, Libido, Urban Spaceman, Humanoid Boogie, I Want To Be With You, Godfrey Daniels, Rock Of Ages, Love Is Getting Deeper, Back Up Singers Song, HelloTesting, I Give Myself To You, How Sweet To Be An Idiot, Double Back Alley, Good Times Roll, Another Day, Cheese and Onions, I Must Be In Love, Between Us, Lonely Phobia, Feel No Shame, Lets Be Natural, Shangrila, Back in '64, Hold My Hand and Hey, Mister.
Zat enuf for ya? was fer me!!!!
to return home
click your mice together