The only good thing about San Diego is the fish taco at El Indio.
And I didn’t even get a fish taco.
There’s a long tradition of playing rock ’n’ roll records backward (to find hidden satanic messages, of course), so I thought today’s entry would be a rock ’n’ roll record, backward. Keep your eye out for the hidden satanic messages. (First one to find a message wins a fish taco.)
4:42 a.m. End Slate diary. Go to bed. Take a half an Ambien and pray my editor doesn’t call me with questions in five hours.
4:36 a.m. Pleased to see eyes don’t look so droopy.
4:33 a.m. Finish placing photos. Realize I need one higher up in the story to keep people’s interest. Decide to shoot close-up of my exhausted drooping eyes.
4:14 a.m. I am hungry. I wish I had a fish taco.
3:36 a.m. In the early-middle of writing “Diary,” realize that the whole backwards plan isn’t really working, but my brain is so muddled from lack of sleep that there is simply NOTHING I can do about it, except to acknowledge my awareness of it, and therefore offer a sort of disclaimer.
3:01 a.m. After dropping off Alex, John, and Verena in three different L.A. neighborhoods, I arrive home. I can blow my nose in something besides the wadded up magazine that was stuffed under my seat. We made incredible time—L.A. is actually nice to drive around in when nobody else is on the road. I’m only slightly bitter about having to drive and drop everyone off.
2:40 a.m. An allergy attack. Since I’m in my car, I wipe my nose with the only thing resembling a Kleenex: a wadded up magazine from under my seat. Think, “I am really behind on reading my New Yorkers.”
12:45 a.m. Leave the Casbah Club in Sa(ta)n Diego. Mutter, “Ah … Sa(ta)n Diego. Always a pleasure,” as it fades into the rear-view distance.
12:37 a.m. On our way out the door to the car, Jeremy (the guitarist) tells me that our friend Mike Andrews, the producer of our new record and a San Diego local, is going to be on Leno in two minutes. We decide to stick around to catch it on the television in the club’s back room. A crowd is gathered around the TV set, which sits high up in a corner behind a mesh barricade that seems to be there to prevent angry mobs such as us from stealing it. “Ladies and gentleman, Gary Jules,” announces Leno. Jeremy and I look at each other, acknowledging how un-cool that was. Though the song was originally penned by Tears for Fears, “Mad World” was produced, arranged, and played by Mike Andrews and became a No. 1 hit in England last Christmas. Gary Jules happens to sing the song and has become pretty famous because of it. But it was weird to have no mention of Mike at all.
Gary’s performance is solid, and we get to see a quick shot of Mike. Mike’s an amazing guy to be around—he’s got that insane manic enthusiasm that makes you feel excited about just about everything. “Dude! I just got the new Blonde Redhead CD. It’s totally sick!” (That’s good in SoCal lingo).
12:25 a.m. We finish our set with our usual closer, “Ecole de Merde,” a song about the ‘68 revolution in Paris. At least that’s what our fearless leader Bill (aka Clermont Ferrand) claims it’s about. I don’t speak French, after all. I am relieved that the set is over, as the club has been unusually loud, and I have determined that my left earplug is entirely useless.
12:17 a.m. Middle of set. Smell something hideous from stage left. Think, “I wonder if Bill had time to eat a fish taco before the show.”
11:35 p.m. Hop up on stage and plug in all my pedals and gear. I ask the sound guy, a bearded hulk of a man, if he can make the sound not so … loud. Yeah, not very rock ’n’ roll to ask the SOUND GUY to TURN IT DOWN. But we’re a fake French band, and my ears hurt. He laughs and says, “You shoulda heard how loud it was at sound check.” Shrug.
10:25 p.m. Hang out outside the flame-bedecked club (Hello? Satan?) with a fully loaded René Risqué, with whom we are playing most of the dates of this tour. René seems cheerier than before the show. Could be the numerous tequila gimlets he was drinking. He asks if we want to drive to “TJ” (Tijuana), and I briefly flash back to driving down there in high school and getting kicked in the groin by one member of a gang of youths pretending to be cops.
“No thanks,” I say. “I’ve got to drive back to L.A. tonight.” I am reminded that when I get home at some ungodly hour I need to write my damn Slate diary.
9:25 p.m. Arrive at the club. Everyone is pissed: The guitarist of René’s band has been waiting for my amp (news to me), the female singer in René’s band isn’t allowed to BE in the club (except to be on stage) because she doesn’t have her ID, I can’t find a place to park, and unnamed members of one or another band can’t find a safe place to smoke pot. This town is the epicenter of evil, I decide.
8:38 p.m. Manage to wolf down a carne asada burrito whilst driving.
8:32 p.m. Manage to eschew fast food options (Del Taco—doesn’t that mean “of the taco”?) by going to an actual Mexican restaurant.
5:30 p.m. Pick up Alex, whom I met while she was filming the West Coast Regional Air Guitar Competition and later, at the World Air Guitar Championships in Oulu, Finland. By the way, did I mention I am the second-best air-guitarist in the country, and seventh in the world?
Alex is going to help me shoot a video for my song “Alo Alo”off the new record.
5:05 p.m. Leave my peaceful cottage, and say goodbye to the neighbor’s rocking dog, Ouzo.