Life in Hollywood
So - what was life in Hollywood like? We've all seen the documentaries about the hey-day of the Sunset Strip, the crazy parties, sex, drugs, rock'n'roll, record label execs waving wads of cash around, bands everywhere sticking up flyers... Did we experience any of this?!
The short answer is: No.
There was no "scene" on the streets, no crowds partying in the parking lots, no "buzz" - and no flyers! Posting flyers all over the place was by this time strictly prohibited and most bands did not want to risk the hefty fines... There were no label execs signing bands left and right. The Hollywood scene was very underground and definitely not a cash cow... There may have been parties but they were private affairs, you didn't just drift from one to the next because some guy always knew some guy who knew this dude who had a party going on. We didn't attend a single party in the years we spent in Hollywood... There were remnants of the old 80s scene in the Rainbow Bar&Grill but we couldn't afford to drink there (plus we were underaged and looked it!), so we hardly ever went.
There were a lot of musicians around, though! Back then there was still affordable living space to be had in Hollywood and we were neighbours with a bunch of fellow musicians, some more known (for example Lemmy, Frank Infante or Arthur Kane) some less known (won't put names 'cos you won't know 'em!!). Tower Music was still going strong and all the employees were in bands, you could always have good conversations about music in there and no-one would get mad at you for listening at the listening stations for ages and never buying anything.
Partying with a cigarette and a beer by the pool - Hollywood clichés...
You'd also meet a lot of somewhat music-scene-related interesting characters. For example Josh with the cane who would tell everyone who was (or wasn't) interested that this cane is in a Guns'n'Roses video and that he's on the Use Your Illusions liner notes (both true) or the super kind hippie who gifted us one of the best trips ever or Bobby with the pink leather jacket with a portrait of himself on the back - a ghost of the 80s. Or the dude whose claim to fame was that Nikki Sixx had once puked into his shoe. The lady with hair almost down to her feet, another lady who would wear a suit jacket with nothing underneath. Angelina, of course, in her pink Corvette. And the vampire-dude who we met when shopping at Pavilions on St Monica Blvd at 2am (of course, he only came out at night!) and so many more unique characters who made life in Hollywood what it was...
For those of you wondering what the bands we played with at the Teaszer looked like... that will throw you right back to the hair metal glory days!
Top: Candy Apple Queenz (RIP Tracy!!), Foxy Roxx | Bottom: the Mistakes, Spiders and Snakes, Guttersluts
On a typical day, we'd get up around whenever and set out on the 2 mile walk down to Melrose Ave to check our PO Box for fan mail, hopefully including some cash for merchandise! If we got some cash we might stop at Ralph's for a soda or a slice of watermelon. Then we'd walk back, maybe stopping by the West Hollywood library on the way to get some cool books or dropping off some mail at the post office. When walking, we were always on the look-out for food or money - it's surprising how much stuff you find on the streets! Back up on Sunset, we'd maybe work a shift in the record store or we'd go back to our apartment to rehearse and write music. If we had a quarter to spare we might go down to the AM/PM gas station across the Whisky and get one of their huge cookies. Or if we were really rich because mom-money was just fresh in, we'd go to the deli and get one of their amazing sandwiches or a feta-pizza at the little Greek pizza place... Then maybe a trip to Tower Records to listen to some cool albums and then back home to rehearse some more. Do artwork for flyers, write stuff for our "Newsletters" and answer letters. We spent a lot of time writing letters! Fan engagement in pre-internet times! Then another hike to the copy shop to get these flyers etc made. At night we would go shopping and take long walks... What we really enjoyed about our life was the freedom to pretty much sleep whenever we were tired and do stuff whenever it suited us. We had very few things that pinned us down to certain times of day. Opening times of the PO Box place, shifts at the record store, full band rehearsals and gigs. That was pretty much it, all the rest was just us living our life in our own rhythm. We were very hard working but on our own terms. That's how we liked it and that's how we still like it.
Working in our apartment. The mattress was another thing we found on the street! A huge improvement to the flea-sofa!