Last night, driving home in my Cadillac Car from Chepe Escondido’s East LA home studio to my Condo in Westwood, listening to rock n roll radio the entire way, the final song I heard was Bob Segar doing:
Rock N Roll Never Forgets
It seemed an appropriate song to end the night, and an appropriate title for this piece.
Neither Chepe and I are huge fans of Bob Segar and the Silver Bullet Band. I know Segar’s music much more than does Chepe – my brother and I can play the entire Night Moves album on piano and guitar. We’ve been fans of that album since our older sister first bought the LP in 1976. Still, Chepe and I tend to agree with my boy Blue who said it best: “Bob Segar? He’s just a poor man’s Bob Dylan.”
In any event, over the last 18 months, since I’ve been back in LA, one of Chepe’s new catch phrases has been: “Rock n Roll Never Forgets.” I’m beginning to realize that Chepe’s use of this phrase transcends Bob Segar and the Silver Bullet Band. My usual reply, when Chepe says RNRNF is, “But Rockers often do!” A little weed humor.
For this reason, as I pulled my Cadillac Car into my designated parking space in the underground security garage of my Condo and cut the engine, I sat in my car listening till the song finished. It seemed appropriate for Three Reasons, the first being a salute to Chepe Escondido for his fine catch phrase.
The Second Reason was that the digital green light that displayed the time on my dash read 1:59. I figured the song would end at 2:00. It did. I got to watch listening as 1:59 became 2:00. “You can come back, baby, rock n roll never forgets…”
This may seem Meaningless, this passage of time from 1:59 AM to 2:00 AM, but if you are an alcoholic like me, living in California, that passage of time is sacred.
I don’t drink. In fact, tonight is the 12th of May, which means it’s been 4 whole months since I’ve drunk alcohol. So why is 1:59 becoming 2:00 so important to alcoholics?
You can buy liquor at any all night store that sells liquor in LA until 1:59 AM. The moment the clock says 2:00, you can’t buy liquor any more. Not till 6 AM.
I remember one night about 7 or 8 years ago, I was at my local 7-11, the one that sells hard alcohol, the one that I often run to from my house to buy cigarettes (I used to run there to buy booze) – well, that night in 2003 or 4, I was in line with several people. The time was 1:55 AM and the line was not moving. I wanted to buy one 40 ounce bottle of King Cobra and I knew the price to be $1.45 and I had one One and two Quarters so at 1:57 I moved to the front of the line and plopped my $1.50 down and said, “Okay?” The checker said, “Wait.” He grabbed the bottle and scanned it on a second register and said, “Okay.” I thanked him and left the store and the slow moving line. As I exited the store, two uniformed policeman driving a car had just parked and were going to enter the store. The time said 1:59 with only seconds remaining. The Police People saw my beer, looked at the clock and walked past me, entering the store.
Now, in front of me in line, but not yet at the register, were two tall Sweeds. They were young. They were on some extended working holiday. We chatted in line for a few minutes before my cut. They had two CASES of cheap canned beer. They were the Last Call crew. A party of people were anticipating their return to the party and you know what? They showed up empty handed because there was no way they got to the register in time. I couldn’t stay to watch. By 2:05 I was home, drinking my King Cobra, thinking: I could never live in this country if I were a drinker. I headed back to Asia within a few weeks of that event.
It was times like that, and they were numerous; times that told me – America really sucks!
But America doesn’t suck. Certainly LA doesn’t suck. The fact remains, however, 1:59 becoming 2:00 is as sacred to me as Cows are to Indians or Crosses are to Christians. Cultural significance takes many forms: that is, people attach meaning to many things – the number 13: to some, unlucky; to others, it means Manny Mota!
LA doesn’t suck. Tonight, Chepe Escondido, who first introduced me to Mike Watt and the Minutemen back in 1987 – The Minutemen, whose music I became an adult listening to; Mike Watt, a bass player whom I quote in many of my blogs and even in my Culturebook! The final line of my book is a quote by Mike Watt – I speak for language. I stand for truth. I shout for history. I am a cesspool for all the shit to run down it.
Tonight, not only did I get to see Mike Watt’s new trio The Missing Men at a small club in downtown with less than 200 other people – Chepe and I were right up front the entire show, but after the show, I got to meet Mike Watt and hang out with him for about an hour with Chepe and Tom, his new guitarist and Raul, his new drummer. I even gave Mike Watt a copy of my Culturebook!
To be Continued