“I came east unto Hollywood”
August 17, 2003
Saturday afternoon I was to be at a noon session to ‘oversee’ drum tracks for “City Life”. Although it’s only a 5 minute drive from where I live, in typical LA fashion, I was still late and arrived around 1 PM. Bassist and co-producer, Scott Halper, was still mixing up stuff and routing cables and stuff and Jim Laspesa was moving drums around (Jim plays left-handed so he reverses the drums when he plays them) so i decided to walk 1 block north east to the corner of Highland and Sunset Blvd. for a bit to eat.
It was hot (about 90F) and smelly on Sunset and there were homeless people everywhere. I went to Carl’s Jr. and ordered a burger. I looked around me. The eating area was covered with people sleeping on tables and on the ground, in the shade. There was a guy standing on the corner of Highland with his shirt off, talking into a spoon as if it were a microphone. Within 3 minutes my burger was ready. I took the bag and decided to look for a place to eat it. As I walked to the intersection I could hear what the spoon guy was talking about.
“…f*ck that crackah Judge…I was innocent…damn crackah…Crachahz alwayz sendin folx ta jail…foundin’ fathahz mah ass…damn crackahz…”
People making that right turn towards Vine street were rightly afraid of this guy. So I walked across the street to McDonald’s and sat down at a table that had a shady spot underneath the umbrella. As I unwrapped the burger I noticed another character across the street; a tall, dark man, with Foster-Grants, Alligator shoes and a Fila sweat suit. He was having an involved conversation with an ‘ok looking’ woman with a red wig on. She had red terry-cloth ‘short-shorts’ on and a white tee shirt that was cut off just about her belly button. She wore Giselle shades and had on white zip ankle boots. They were both in front of the Carl’s eating area, standing where the bus stops.
But when the bus came they didn’t get on. The woman walked up to a car with a man in it and stuck her head inside. After a brief conversation with her he sped away, ‘burning rubber’ to make the point. A few minutes later another car pulled up. After another short conversation, the woman with the red wig got into the car. The tall dark man smiled. Then it occurred to me; THIS GUY IS A PIMP.
I took my first bite of the burger and immediately knew I’d made a mistake. Why did I have to buy this? Sure, I was hungry but this crap wasn’t going to help anything. As I was debating whether or not to chance a third bite a short shaved head guy in his early twenties walked up to my table and started walking in circles around it. His shirt was off and he had Air Jordans on with knee-high white socks. I noticed he had tattoos all over his body, most notably “La Raza” , “Cholo” and for some reason he had “East L.A.” tattooed on his body no less than 7 times. Maybe he figured someone would think he was from Pasadena? Well, he circled my table 4 or 5 times and then a woman ran up to him, a young woman, and said, “Yo Cholo, you gotta stop trippin’; you can’t go back in for that Mofo. Let it go.”
Seems my walking-in-circles friend was just cooling off. I guess he’d had an altercation with a “homie” and was ready to “bust a cap” or something like that. Well, cooler heads prevailed as the East LA kid and his girl went into McDonalds for lunch. I took my meal, minus the 3 previous bites, and tossed it in the garbage. I’d had enough. I walked back to the studio and we were ready to move the mics around a bit. I told Scott and Jim the story I just told you and they both commented that since this record is going to be called ‘City Life’ it’s only appropriate that you see at least one pimp while making it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.