Misc - Best Of Rock
One of the first persons to enter the club shortly after me was Slash, lead guitarist of the infamous "bad boy" band Guns N' Roses. I ran into him, literally, at the bar, but he barely said hello before racing off. (I heard him mumble something about needing to find a pay phone). Unfortunately, he disappeared into oblivion. If only Axl would show up, I wished, not only my idol but the man I refer to as "The Christ!"
An hour later, the crowd was still sparse. I had several drinks under my belt and the night began to drag. Bored with idle conversation, my girlfriend and I embarked on a fairly thorough search for Slash, to no avail. We decided that dancing was our only alternative to keeping the evening from being a total loss, but drats: foiled again.
To my dismay, the records being spun for the next fifteen minutes were unusually lame. In my overzealousness for gyrating only to my fave bands, I figured a song-request was appropriate. I entered the soundbooth and asked for Guns N' Roses' anthem, "Welcome to the Jungle."
Being the congenial jock he is, Hollywood's most popular DJ Joseph appeased me immediately (see, it must've been a slow night or he would have had a ton of requests before mine). To my utmost surprise, he played "Rock & Roll's finest" the very next song.
After dancing in ecstasy, I returned to the booth to thank the man and offer to buy him a drink for his efficiency. This is where the real story begins:
An attractive, dark-haired dude (not looking like your typical Hollywood glam fag, oops, I mean rocker) opened the now-shut door. I stuck my head inside and offered Joseph a cocktail--on me, of course. He declined, but the guy broaching the entrance said he'd like one.
"And what do you do here?" I quipped, not caring to spend my heard-earned cash on some local poser. "I'm a roadie," came his dry answer. 'This is no way to convince me to buy you a drink, buster,' I thought to myself. But something about his demeanor made me dig a little deeper into his identity.
"What's your name?" I prodded.
"Izzy," he snapped, and looked away.
"Oh, hi. I'm Violet," I stated, soon realizing I was being friendly in vain.
Without even trying to place his face--I was clueless that he "might be somebody"--I scrutinized his pierced nose, hair slicked back onto a ponytail, and the necklace made of beans that looked like bone. He ignored me as I stared at him, looking out onto the dance floor instead.
Was it my imagination, or did he seem annoyed, almost irritated, by what appeared to be (genuinely unbeknownst to me) my blatant indifference. Momentarily, however, it became apparent that it was my obvious ignorance to his identity that pissed him off.
His increasingly agitated expression--not to mention the fact that he was trying to shut the door on me--triggered off the flashing lights and screaming sirens in my head. Countless thoughts barraged my boggled and somewhat inebriated brain: Izzy--Guns N' Roses (your fave band in the world, even more than Aerosmith, remember?)--not roadie, but guitar player--dumb shit!
My jaw fropped as my eyes bugged out, and I soon realized the only words rolling off my fuzzy tongue were, "Oh my God" (a phrase I proceded to repeat at least three times in a row). Talk about a babbling idiot! I couldn't have been more surprised if I had seen the Resurrection of Christ (the real one, not Axl).
I just couldn't leave bad enough alond. Not content with only SLIGHTLY making a fool of myself, I continued, "I'm so sorry. I apologize. Oh, my God (here we go again). I didn't realize you were Izzy from Guns N' Roses." Appalled at my faux pas, I pondered my possibilities for saving face: grovel, wimper, or maybe even get down on my knees and beg forgiveness from the Christ's next of kin?
"I feel so bad. I'm a rock journalist--I should have known better. I just tried to call your publicist today for an interview with you guys. I'm so sorry I didn't recognize you..."
By this time, my hands were sweating. Judging by Izzy's look at this point, which can only be described as a cross between "huh?" and "get out of my face," I realized I was speaking faster than he was hearing.
The voice of reason finally penetrated my fogged brain and I asked (apologetically, of course--the groupie in me couldn't have propted this question!), "What did you want to drink?"
"Jack and Corona," Izzy stated matter-of-factly. There wasn't a moment of hesitation here! But, then again, a drink was what he wanted from me 20 minutes ago, NOT conversation.
Darting off to the bar, I returned momentarily bearing much alcohol for us both. by this time my heart was pounding--a direct result of my overwhelming anxiety to continue talking with the evasive Izzy.
He was waiting at the door and I handed him his poison (or should I say "disease?") and attempted to strike up some type of discussion with Guns N' Roses' least-public member out of my own interest.
"Where are you from?" I inquired out of normal curiosity (compounded by my desperate need to save face).
"What does it matter--you're a journalist," Izzy retorted. Whoa, I guess that was a sore subject. None-the-less, I was insulted, especially since I was trying so frantically to avenge my trade, and moreso, myself.
I figured I might as well give up--my attempts at casual conversation proved in vain proved in vain.
Cordially bidding adieu to the man I so desperately wanted to charm (or worship if he'd let me!), I handed Izzy my business card--out of sheer habit. Strutting away from the sound booth, I felt both thrilled and disappointed.
I eventually searched out my girlfriend, and opted to call it a night. We meandered around the club one more time before attempting to exit.
But fate held an unexpected surprise in store for me: the night wasn't over yet. Izzy stood loitering a few feet from the front door--alone. I waved goodbye, and to my disbelief, he beckoned us over to him. being the admitted masochist I am, I was unable to resist a second chance at socializing with my mysterious idol. Racing to his side like a starry-eyed sixteen-year-old, I asked humbly, "Did you want me?"
"Yeah," he responded. "Tell me, what's the hottest magazine here in Hollywood?" Coming to mind immediately were L.A.'s two primary music publications: "Music Connection and BAM," I answered. "besides them," he sneered.
I hesitated for a moment, wondering if this was some sort of test. My only utterance was, "um..." (unquestionably a word derived from the Aborigini language meaning 'I don't know' but less conclusive-sounding and irrevocably useful as a stalling tactic).
"Let's see," I continued. "There are lots of free papers..." and I proceeded to blurt out the names of several local rags (none of which I'll mention here, for fear of confronting those I may have inadvertantly omitted).
I babbled on: "Do ou know Myryah from No Shit Magazine? She called me, along with tons of other music industry people in Hollywood about your Late Show appearance. She's in charge of audience tickets for the live tapings, which usually go to tourists, and she didn't want you guys to have a lame crowd. So she called a bunch of your fans and invited them down to cheer you on. Wasn't that great of her?" (Myryah knew this was the band's first live taping for national television and wanted them to have as much support as possible. The outcome proved exceptionally successful, as about half the audience attending were hard-core Guns N' Roses fanatics.)
"You know what?" I continued. "After the taping, I walked up to Axl to shake his hand and everheard him saying how nervous he was. It blew my mind that he'd be afraid to do anything! It's so absurd how people say Axl's so difficult...and that he's got a bad attitude."
(Thank God I didn't mention the fact that the same rumor stands for Izzy, and by now I understood why.)
"Oh, and by the way," I confessed, "that song you did on the show, "I Used To Love Her," was absolutely great! I loved it!"
"Yeah?" he questioned (the most genuinely sincere word Izzy had uttered all night long).
"Totally," I blurted enthusiastically. "You wanna hear something funny? I went to the taping with one of the guys in D.J. Burns--that's the band I represent--and he dug the song so much he wanted his band to cover it."
Without hesitating an instant in apprehension of his reaction, I spewed frantically, "But we figured you guys would get pissed, so we blew off the idea."
Having dismissed the thought of covering the tune weeks ago, I never, in my wildest dreams, expected Izzy's blessing towards such an unusual suggestion. Let's face it: obtaining the approval from a member of L.A.'s rock phen omenon--nou double-planinum status--for a Hollywood band to perform one of its unknown tunes publicly was the furthest thing from my ming. I mean, why should Guns N' Roses let another band--especially a relatively new act whose popularity just recently Southern California--gain recognition off the tribulations endured by Guns N' Roses over so many years.
Not to mentions, the last thing I anticipated was sanction from the mysterious Izzy--who I shortly concluded was by far the most perplexing celebrity I've ever encountered.
His reaction was completely unexpected: "Oh, yeah? I wrote that," he beamed. "Tell them to go ahead and do it..."
Izzy just nodded, staring off into the crowd. Feeling confident, I said, "I'd like to do an interview with you."
"Not now, we're off the road. How about in September, when we play here (L.A.) with Aerosmith."
Pushing my luck, I tried to be persuasive: "Well you know it takes three months for an interview to be published in a national magazine, so a story I submit now won't be out until October or so."
"No, no interview now. come to the show in September."
"How will I get to you?" I probed, having experienced the vast difficulties in obtaining access to bands at concerts.
"Just walk up to the backstage area and say you have an interview."
"Yeah, right. And the security guards are really going to believe me," I scoffed.
"They will, really. Just say you're there to see Izzy."
"And I'm sure you'll remember me...you probably don't remember my name now."
"It's Violet, right."
Oh my God, I thought again, but at least I refrained from verbalizing my shock this time around. A musician with a memory! This isn't happening...I'm in the twilight zone. Izzy is not only intelligent, somewhat-sociable, and intermittently personable (although my impression is that he chooses not to express the latter two qualities), he may even be sincere. this is too good to be true.
"By the way, I saw you perform at the Limelight when I was in New York City in January. You guys were radical! I loved it when Axl threw down his mic and stormed offstage in a huff after bitching out the road crew (it wa something to that effect anyway, from my observation). And Slash fell into the audience twice! The crowd either loved it or hated it, but nobody was indifferent."
Izzy grimaced at the memory of this disastrous show, his only comment being: "People in New York like that kind of stuff," and turned away.
In realization that I may have offended him (inadvertently, again), I offered to buy him another drink. He asked for Coke (the kind you drink) and I leaped at the opportunity to serve him.
I rushed back, only to discover his semi-friendly attitude had waned--I was up against the disgrunted Izzy I had first met.
"I hate being in clubs," he mumbled. "This is the first time I've been out at a bar in eight months."
"What do you enjoy then?" I asked.
"I thought I heard him utter something like "pussy" under his breath, but then he state, "Playing and fucking."
No comment from me on this one. "What city do you like playing best? What do you think about Cleveland? That's my hometown. I wrote my master's thesis on Cleveland being the 'Rock & Roll Capital of the world.'"
Once again annoyed, Izzy disagreed. (Trying to have a discussion with this dude is nearly impossible. Obviously not big on talking, he cuts off conversations before they begin. I can't wait to do an interview with him!)
"Is Steven from Cleveland?"
"I thought so--I'm so proud of that," I beamed. My ebullence was not particularly flattering to Izzy. His eyes started drifting around, looking through the mediocre croud.
I changed the subject in a frantic attempt to flatter him: "You know you're much better looking in person than you are in pictures."
No reply, Izzy just looked away again.
"Could I have my picture taken with you?" I pleaded.
"No," came the immediate response.
"Please," I insisted, using my most feminine whine.
"No," Izzy replied adamantly. "I have to go find Slash. He's my ride and I want to leave."
Choosing to surrender, I decided to let up before he hit me. I backed off, said goodnight, and cruised the joint one final time. I spotted Slash lying in some babe's lap and noticed Izzy exiting with a couple of enticing chics. So much for first impressions..at least I got the interview everyone insisted I couldn't have!