To Live And Die In L.A.: A Year In The Life

Written by Music


Today, I signed a one-year lease on a crappy little apartment in a crappy little part of the San Fernando Valley.

No big news, really.

The thing is, I came pretty darn close to just saying adios to L.A. entirely – the music-related reasons for continuing to live here growing smaller every day. Truth be told, I guess I kinda like having the option of wearing shorts and flip-flops in December while most of my friends and family are digging their cars out snowdrifts back east. Now I’d never be caught dead in shorts and flip-flops, I just like having the option.

So, yeah, I’ve been in L.A. for ten years now. I came out from Chicago with a newly-inked record deal (that disappeared in an early round of merger-mania) and a hope chest of dreams that, to date, are still “mint in box”, to coin a collector’s term.

Since arriving in Hollywoodland, I’ve watched the bottom fall out of a once-burgeoning industry, seen executives become the well-paid rock stars and the rock stars – the ones actually doing all the goddamn work – being kicked to the curb with complete disdain.

I’ve seen talented musicians, hyper-creative songwriters, and people who can sing like freakin’ angels reduced to working at Starbucks. One former rocker with five Top 40 hits to his credit, who has become a great friend, makes his living these days performing singing telegrams dressed as a purple gorilla. I kid you not.

Of course, he’s still recording and, deep down, he still thinks his best days are in front of him. The gold records on his wall are reminders that he did it once, so why not again? I haven’t the heart to tell him that there’s very little room on the rock charts for a 52-year-old singing gorilla because I know deep down in my heart that when I’m 52, I could very well be that guy. Minus the gold records from 1987, of course.

My best days are in front of me because, well, there’ve been very few good days behind me. That’s the one edge I’ve got on those guys.

I’m 41. Did I mention that?

So, basically, here’s the drill. For the next year, I’ve decided to chronicle every single day of my life as I try to forge something resembling a music career. I’ll also spill a lot of dirt and reminisce about the crazy up’s and down’s of my twenty years spent in the rock & roll trenches.