Rock'n'Roll myths - Arriving in Hollywood Pt.2
Updated: Dec 13, 2022
Listen to the soundtrack of these times:
Last week we talked about arriving in LA and living on the streets... In pre-internet times, all our knowledge of life in Hollywood came from band biographies and interviews. And we had read that what you can do is hang out in the clubs and then find a girl who will let you crash at her place... yeah... We honestly didn't really understand the implications, we just thought these girls would like to help out struggling musicians! No strings attached!
"Hanging out" at the clubs isn't easy when you have zero budget and are under 21, but we did manage to go to the Whisky on some random weeknight when it was 18+ and they only charged $3 entry. We chatted up a very nice lady - we went for someone a bit older looking as we thought she would be more likely to actually have her own place. Her name was Linda and she was absolutely lovely! We talked and at the end of the night the magic happened: She actually DID ask us to spend the night at her place!! She let us shower and even made us sleep in her bed while she slept on the couch!! That was the first night that we got any real sleep - bliss! The next morning she still fed us breakfast. She said she would have liked to take us in for a couple of days but she was worried about her live-in boyfriend - who was an alcoholic and could be abusive - so she thought it was safer if we left. But she did give us her number and asked us to stay in touch.
Linda, Xavi & Sabú at Linda's place, 1996.
So, yeah, it's absolutely true: you hang out in a club, you meet a girl and she lets you stay at her place, bathes and feeds you... We did eventually realise that in most cases there probably was another thing involved as well, but, hey, it worked for us! Our band biographies had educated us well!
We'd hang around the liquor shops and ask people to buy us booze - it was the official rock'n'roll way to keep the hunger and the cold at bay! One night, we met this dude... We asked him to buy us a bottle of Jack and he did and then we got to talking. He was this young-ish dude who was part of some kind of sect. And he suggested we should join it, too, in order to get off the streets. He said that in the beginning they'd probably split us up, because that's what they do, but that after two years you can kind of do your own thing again... Splitting us up?! No chance in hell! By that time we had become an extreme unit - splitting us up would have been like nuclear fission! Extremely dangerous for everyone involved... Anyway, we told him thanks but no thanks. He invited us back to his place - we didn't easily just let random people take us to their place, but he seemed very harmless. He lived in East LA, that was a loooong bus ride - our minds were blown by how HUGE LA really was! When we got off the bus we had a slight meltdown because we realised that Sabú had forgotten the plastic bag with the Jack under the seat - that stuff was VERY important to us at the time! This was a major tragedy! At the dude's place, we watched music videos on MTV - 2Pac's California Love was on heavy rotation and it felt so good to actually BE in California!! We felt so happening!! Again, we got to sleep in the bed with the dude on the couch. In the morning, he still gave us some food & two pairs of shoes (which sort of almost fit, they were just a little too big) and which - we think! - we were somehow supposed to give back to him. That never happened, though.
Xavi later that summer in front of our apartment, still wearing the dude's shoes!
Because we had our information about LA only from the bands we loved, we kind of expected the worst. Shortly after our arrival, we saw some fresh bloody footprints and a - potentially - dead body on the street and we just kind of thought: "Yeah. Welcome to the Jungle, Baby! You're in danger and this is the town." We had actually listened to the Crüe's Danger on our way to the airport before boarding the plane to the US...
We didn't encounter much danger ourselves when we were on the streets, though. We were very careful, selected who to associate with and whose company to leave again. For example: One day we ran into a group of street kids on Hollywood Boulevard and hung out for one night. There was this one guy with them who was a very poetic talker and we remember thinking that he was reciting his poetry. At a certain point, though, we realised that he wasn't, he was just kind of rambling to himself. When he started talking about guns and said stuff like "I've never killed a man!" we found that a little too sketchy and left.
Just another two urchins living under the street. Xavi & Sabú in March 1996.
Check out this Spotify playlist of songs that meant the world to us back then: