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#23 - 2011 February - L.A. Edition
By Sarah L. Myers - Editor-In-Chief
New York, USA
It's my favorite New York City bar, my favorite New York Dolls song, and now it's my favorite way to get trashed.
Kim, Sarah and Chelse
Ron Jeremy and Sarah
One of the great things about living in New York is leaving it. With the city bracing for yet another snowstorm, I braced myself for the abrupt climate change. I spent my birthday week in LA, where my friends described the weather as 80 degrees and sunny. I had only three major things planned for the week – an interview with Lemmy at his apartment, In-and-Out burger, and a visit to the la Luz de Jesus Gallery. The rest of the time I vowed to shed the New Yorker side of my personality. I slept in (9:30am counts if you just drink coffee for the next hour), read books, and spent time on the deck writing.
The party started the day I landed. “Lemmy: The Movie” premiered on the Strip, and I made plans to meet up at the Rainbow to party with the gang and say hello to the man himself. Hitting Cabo first with my girls Chelse and Kim, we later moved on to the Sunset Strip, where a huge Motorhead billboard hung over the famous Rainbow sign. It was like an omen, a good-luck talisman summing up everything this trip was about.
True to form, just like the first time I met him, Lemmy sat at the end of the bar playing video poker. “Ace of Spades” blaring over the speakers, he laughed as his royal flush flashed as a running toilet onscreen. We had a brief hello, and he told me he’d see me later that week. I’d met Thirsty friends Kent, Todd, and Steve at the bar, and we grabbed a table right on the patio overlooking the Strip. Just when I couldn’t feel farther from New York, I turn and run right into David and Nathaniel from The Party Death. The NY rockers just moved to LA and were playing at the Viper Room that week. It could have been the late 1980s at that moment. I swear I got a contact high from the Aqua-Net and pot smoke that wafted from the street.
If transportation divides London and New York, it’s last call that does it in LA. I felt like I was just getting started when 2am rolled around, though we stretched the party until way past three. I’d already seen Lemmy, the Party Death guys, my Thirsty friends, had birthday cake delivered to the table, and bottomless drinks with Kim, Chelse, and Chelse’s fiancée Ryan. Not knowing how we could top off this birthday, I am greeted by the one and only Ron Jeremy, who played “Happy Birthday” on a harmonica and entertained the ladies as only Ron Jeremy can.
It was just the type of trip I’d had in mind, though New York followed me out west. Before the week was over, I’d also run into Jimmy from Trash and Vaudeville, who was in town visiting Slash. “I could never live out here,” he said. “I’m too passionate!” I shook hands with the brilliant Agatha Blois, maker of all that custom leather Slash and Jimmy wear. It couldn’t have been more LA, and it couldn’t have been a better birthday!
Lemmy was my main reason for the LA trip. We’d arranged an at-home interview months ago, when Motorhead was finally off the road for a couple months. How appropriate we scheduled our chat on the day of the Sabbath, when I showed at up his door with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and my faithful digital recorder. Greeting Steve and I, he first said hello to his neighbor (a nice woman named Fran), then settled back in on the couch and muted the TV (set to the History Channel). Above the TV hangs an ad for 5 cent Lemmy lemonade, “Lemme have a Lemmy lemonade!” His apartment “has a lived-in feel,” he tells me with a laugh. There’s no empty space on the walls – gold records, World War II memorablia, dolls in his likeness from fans, little tokens and gifts everywhere. Racks of his signature hats, Coke cans, more Jack Daniel’s, Marlboro Reds, a Big Mouth Billy Bass (tacked up in the bathroom), and a coffee table bordered by a train set.
Sarah and Lemmy
While Steve worked around the apartment fixing Lemmy’s bass, Lemmy himself made sure my glass, a guilded “M” on the side I assigned for “Motorhead”, was always full. Just like our last meeting in Austin, we made small talk before he queued up some music. The latest Motorhead record is badass - pure rock n’ roll that had me wiggling on the couch within seconds. He showed me his new belt buckle – “a bit of flash” – and texted on his new iPhone. His friend Pascal dropped off a pair of custom black and white boots, measured and labored over for 80 hours. I know I’m in the presence of a rock n’ roll legend, but I am completely comfortable.
Jack and Coke tastes better when you’re drinking it with Lemmy, and I lose track of everything but the music and his voice,
still filled with gravel and punctuated by a persistent cough. I note the bottle of Chloraseptic spray at his feet.
After the Head Cat version of “You Can’t Do That”, he looks at me and smiles. “You know that one?” But he really comes alive during Eddie Cochran’s “Somethin Else”, keeping time by slapping his hand on his thigh. The work never stops. Head Cat are playing that week at the Whiskey, then Motorhead are back out on the road for another tour. “The Ramones of rock n’ roll” have been at it for 35 years, and Lem’s phone never stops ringing the whole time I’m there. Before I know it, it’s time to go. We take some pictures (“hand me that hat over there, honey”) and share a hug and kiss before I’m out of the cave and back in the LA sun. The adventures with Lemmy continue – Motorhead play NYC next month!
Because my birthday celebrations lasted all month this year, we also took in a night at the spooky Jekyll and Hyde theme restaurant, where we surprisingly were not kicked out, though Jonny’s antics did get him reprimanded! Afterward we hit the Mercury Lounge for Prospector (aka Doppelganger), then on to Mulberry Street for Justin Dean’s DJ set. Three parties in three hours, in true Thirsty style. Also on my radar this month: “Just Kids” by Patti Smith. I finally picked up this book, read it in six hours, and haven’t stopped thinking about it since. The magic in Patti and Robert’s story is everywhere. Their life together seems to start by accident, but as it evolves we understand that everything was on purpose. Robert continues to speak to her even now. Patti’s final story to us is about his beloved desk. Where it ends up is just as beautiful a message as those he scribbled to her on the backs of postcards. Read it now. I know you’ll love it like I do. As always, and until next time, Stay Thirsty!