“LOVE in an Elevator”
August 12, 2003
Got to the studio about 6:30 and I was the only one there so I decided to crack open a beer and go kick it outside, on main street, and watch the 18-wheelers roll by, on their way to Anywhere USA, probably hauling string beans. About that time, (violinist)Paula, pulled up and I helped her with her gear and music stand. Then (trumpeter) Dan rolled up as well. Chapple and Daddyo arrived and we started to set up.
Just then, cellist, Ana (are they ALL named Ana?), drove up and in a matter of minutes we were all tuning up. Then Paula had to use the toilet but the problem was the elevator was stuck on the 4th floor and we were on the ground floor, where the toilet is. But it’s wacky; in order for you to get to the toilet on the ground floor (where we already were) you have to take the elevator to the 2nd floor and walk down 2 flights of steps. The other alternative is to walk around the building, walk up the side steps and enter from 2nd floor. We did this and it worked out fine.
Rusty arrived but was late due to the massive traffic jams that paint the LA canvas as much as the struggling palm trees you see on postcards. Then, 20 minutes after that, Probyn, our trumpeter, arrived. We now spent the next 40 minutes going over the Forever Changes record. The sound was good, but there WAS something missing. Rusty pointed out some alternative parts and we did our best to complete the sound. it was almost there.
Viola player, Heather, hadn’t arrived yet and by now was 45 minutes late. I told everyone to do the next number without me while I went to see if everything was ok. Since my mobile doesn’t get a signal in the studio I would have to walk outside anyway. As I opened the door, looking to my immediate left was a woman sitting in the elevator cage (this thing is about 60 years old, ok?), reading a book. I said, ‘Heather?’ She said, ‘Mike?’ I felt SO bad! She’d been out here for 40 minutes or so!
Chapple came out and freed her by lifting the gate up (duh, why didn’t I try that?) just as the L.A.F.D. arrived. Actually, it was one CHIPPENDALES-looking burly character with loads of chest hair showing. He was READY to rescue this damsel in distress but there she was, calm and reading a book. Stuck in a damn elevator.
After about 6 elevator jokes and tuning up, Heather showed us what she was made of, plowing through the sheet music like an F-11 fighter plane through butter (ok, way over the top analogy…but c’mon, I haven’t written in a couple of days…) and bringing the set into play again, completing the sound. We made some adjustments here and there and, I must say, by the end of the night it was beautiful. We reminded them of the musicians that had to live up to (especially STEFAN, who plays trumpet in the Swedish Ensemble) and these LA musicians played their hearts out. The rehearsal was light-hearted and fun, yet serious and hard work at the same time.
After everyone left, Chapple, Probyn, Rusty and myself sat around chatting about this and that, over beers. Probyn plays in the Brian Wilson band and we were all talking about the Smile shows they are gonna do next year. I, for one, am really excited about that and plan to make at least one show. Then Rusty brought up the fact that, here we were, BABY LEMONADE and (Probyn’s other band) WONDERMINTS, two Los Angeles bands inspired by LOVE and the Beach Boys and now we were PLAYING MUSIC with our heros! And as I drove home just before midnight I turned the radio to 101.1 K-EARTH and wouldn’t you know it; “…wouldn’t it be nice if we…” was coming through the airwaves! It was still warm outside so I opened up the sun roof, turned up the radio and cruised down the Hollywood Freeway, heading west, with a smile on my face.