June 18, 2004

CALIFORNIA

I used to live here. Ages 18-21, I scratched out the adult start here in Los Angeles. I do not like it here, half due to a harried teenage history of all-wrongs and struggle and what those years look like now, sprawled out and still tender sometimes... the other half of my dislike stems exclusively from the fact that I am from Minneapolis, which steeps me in a certain fuck-you distance at all times because palm trees are not real trees, $1000 for a one bedroom is retarded, being famous is a morally repugnant pursuit .
There lies the crux of my war.

What I liked about LA was a small comfort, something I never had in Minnesota, something I still do not have much of in Chicago. Anonymity. Here in LA, because of it's expanse, it's social fabric which venerates fame and genuflects dutifully to those in close proximity to it, I got to slink quiet and inconsequential for a few years. Chainsmoking in my little Silver Lake apartment, trying to get editors to beleive me that one day the Dismemberment Plan and Promise Ring were going to be important, being alienated by pretty much everything and everyone and life-rafted by Monorchid 7-inches.
I got to be invisible for a few years. It was okay.

I do not miss LA. But, I do not hate it so much anymore.

LAST NIGHT'S SHOW ROUND UP:
Drove 9 hrs from SF. We played in Long Beach, to 17 people in a room that might have been a turn of the century planetarium or a Mason's lodge. Dave and Noah thought more bands were playing before us, left to get burritos and came back 30 minutes late, to Al and I "on stage" (It was 3 inches high) waiting for them. Al took off his shoes, and socked it around the ballroom floor. I advocated for the entire audience to un-shoe themselves too, as I did the same. The shoe-resistors I took on, one-by-one "Don't be shy, everyone's feet are going to stink up this room so bad, no one's going to notice." My favorite part of the night followed shortly when the resistant promoter kids finally took off their shoes and made each other smell them. Fuck shame, man.

When the kids clapped for us, I clapped back. Appreciation is best when it's mutual.

I played horribly, because I was distracted and writing in my head, trying to figure out who all these kids were. The girl with the shaved head, nerdy glasses, big plaid mens suit coat, wearing unmatching socks (One green, one orange with happy faces) who snapped rather than clapped between songs, had her eyes shut the whole time and was alone. The uncomfortable kid in the beard with pants on under his shorts. The kid in the opening band in the Minutemen shirt who was looking at my naked feet the whole show. I wanted to know who they were, why they were here and what this meant to them. I could guess, surely, as I used to be a 20 yr old kid that came to shows here and saw bands play to 14 people, on the regular.

I wanted to figure them out, I wanted all their whys, I had questions and I had a lot of things I wanted to beleive about them. There were things I needed to beleive about them. I got so deep into that, that I forgot so much about my duty to entertain them, I put my hands on wrong notes, I stood still and looked at their faces, at their sweaty socked feet, rather than my bass and I did not do my job right.

Tonight, we try again -- on a bill with some Anticon people and a Faint sideproject. I cannot even fashion a guess how fans or irony, dancing, white non rhyming people - et. al - will deal with us.

Posted by Jessica at June 18, 2004 01:13 PM | TrackBack