“The Wreck of the…”
February 23, 2003
So, Saturday, around 1pm, I rang up the hotel Robyn Hitchcock was staying in, which was one of the really old-but-cool ones on Hollywood bl. that hadn’t had it’s fascade “Disney-ized” (like many of the other beautiful landmarks that barely resemble their former selves.) The phone rang a bit until the receptionist informed me that Robyn was on the phone and that I could leave message. So I did and asked him to call my mobile. I waited for 20 minutes but no ringing on my cell. I took a look at it…I HAD MISSED THE CALL! So I called him back but he had stepped out so I left a message:
“Robyn, it’s Mike Randle. Give me a call on my mobile…I keep missing you by a few minutes.”
So I wait another 30 min. And then take a look at me cell again. He had called again and I’d missed it! Then it occurred to me that I had turned my ringer off the night before! Dammit all! But eventually, he got throught to me (about 4pm) and told me we were all invited down to his show tonight at LARGO. I got off the phone and called the other guys and told them Robyn was going on around 10pm.
So I walk to to the club (about a 10/15 min. walk from my house) and it’s still a bit early and none of the guys are their yet. But a comedian is on, a fellow named PAUL, whom I found to be very unfunny. Actually, the funniest thing the guy said was that he was THE FUNNIEST COMEDIAN IN L.A.! That got a real roar out of the crowd. Talked to my friend, Deborah, on the phone and she was coming out as well. Since I was early, I headed over to MAX’s (next door) for a healthy shot of Bushmills (she was pouring it like she didn’t own it) and a Heinekin. After that, I walked outside and saw Daddyo, Rusty, Cookiehead Jenkins and Rusty’s brother, Eric staning right in front of LARGO. 5 minutes later, Chapple strolled up as well. Ok, I thought, we had the whole gang here. Only thing missing was the Singer, but he was in Memphis. I had also talked to Gene, who’s in town till monday, but he was doing something with his daughters.
So we take out seats (Robyn had a booth saved for us) and the comedian, PAUL, is still onstage, still not funny and still trying to make people laugh. I walked to the back of the bar and happened to see Robyn, Jon Brion and Grant lee Phillips. Robyn asks if we (LOVE) want to jam some tunes with him in the middle of his set! The other guys were up for it so we said, “sure.” Robyn was going to play solo and then be accompanied bu Jon and Grant. It was good seeing Grant, as I hadn’t really seen him in like 4 years, when he asked me to audition as a bassist for GRANT LEE BUFFALO. (I knew all their songs and I thought everything sounded great but he’d just had a death in the family and it just wasn’t happening. The group broke up not long after that anyway, so it was probably for the best. But if you are a GLB fan, you just had to be there to here the power of his singing, the sheer beauty and force their music conveys in person, in a simple empty room.)
After about 4 songs, Robyn launched onto an amazing version of THE WRECK OF THE ARTHUR LEE and I can honestly say, when he sang the line,”Believe in LOVE and I ‘ll believe in you,” I got goose bumps on my arms! It was THAT moving. After about 3 more tunes (which he played with Jon and Grant), he introduced us and asked us to come on stage. I believe we played THE RED TELEPHONE, LIVE AND LET LIVE (with a full story about “Snot”) and ANDMOREAGAIN, which Robyn singing all 3 three songs well and even playing guitar on Andmoreagain. he obviously knew the material, a real LOVE fan, that one. Afterwards, we all said our goodbyes and Robyn promised to come to the Scala show if he’s not in Spain. it was a truly fun, memorable night for all. Deborah gave me a ride home but I could have walked on air.