Back we go, up the length of California to Redding, to the repair garage. When we learned that our van would need the whole weekend to heal, we rented a Suburban from Enterprise, crammed our gear inside with a change of clothes each, and soldiered on to San Fran and Los Angeles. The Hemlock was rad. Small, crammed, stage blasting. We stayed with Darwin’s childhood friend Dana, a fellow Baba Lover. We’re staying with him again, tonight. Everything I know about Baba Lovers I know from Darwin, and I’m learning a little bit more all the time. I gotta say, they seem to generally be great people. Smart, kind, fun, hospitable. We stayed with another Baba friend, Cecca, in Portland, and positive energy was all over.
Upon parking in Los Angeles, Darwin was barraged by an unexpected paranoia about the city. “I don’t want to be a hipster here,” he began to fret, eyes darting nervously. “It’s a different thing when you’re in L.A. and you look like this, a different sense of ego, sense of entitlement, privilege…” Darwin tucked his curls behind his ears, which seemed to slightly pacify his mood. “There. This is going to be my look tonight.” We ate at the Thai restaurant next door, waiting for the club, Satellite, to open.
“I don’t feel it,” I responded to Darwin’s agitation. “Sure, L.A.’s a special place, but in the end, it’s all just everyday people, like you and me. Like New York.”
A beautiful blonde woman drove by in a car, simultaneously eating and texting.
Darwin could not be shaken, and continued, partially serious, partially in self deprecating hyperbole, to rant along tangents, recollected from memory as follows: “No. This is America’s playground. People here are spoiled, by the weather, by convenience. And the rest of the world suffers for it. L.A. makes me stressed out. Inevitably I will have to live here. If you’re in the entertainment industry, you inevitably have to spend some time in Los Angeles. Everyone here is good looking. Not just well groomed, but good looking, and with good taste, too. Look at the waitress. This place makes me feel ugly. I don’t want to play tonight. There’s too much pressure.” “It’s all in your head,” I blew him off. “Maybe,” Darwin conceded. Then he said something like, “But the whole world is a stage, in your head.” I followed Darwin’s anxiety trail to the 7-11, where we met a Deez fan who was coming to the show later. The fan exited and Darwin went for the donuts. “Eating my troubles away…” he commented.
Later that, night we ended up in an argument with Fol Chen and the venue staff. It was a drag. This was also Cole’s last show for the indefinite future. He veered off into some extreme noise during the DNA solo, and the band knew this was Cole’s way of marking the end.
But there were still some shining lights. I got to meet Miles, who’s gonna be our new drummer for the next month and a half. I met Charlene, the girl from the Radar Detector video. She’s so gorgeous. The camera’s don’t lie. And I stayed over with my dear friend Stephanie. The two of us went back to her studio in Koreatown, played the Graduate soundtrack on vinyl, and mashed up late night guacamole. NYC avocado’s are a joke.
This is a very magical city. One of the few that competes with New York. No place looks like Los Angeles. The palm trees. The pastels. The mammoth Scientology shrines. I could live here.