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LA Stories cont’d…Tales from the mosh pit…

Posted by on Apr 2, 2014 in Guests | 0 comments

Back in the day I subbed for a drummer in a punk band called Rubber Sherry.It was a 90 minute set in a West Hollywood dive bar. (You weren’t expecting an upscale bar were you?). We were guitar/vocal, bass player (cute Asian female who strung her bass with 3 strings instead of the standard 4) and me, the drummer with snare drum, bass drum and one floor tom…and cymbals too. I was pretty nervous as the regular drummer was very popular plus we only had one rehearsal. Oh yeah, I was a also freaked as I’m not a punk drummer. So, I said fu** it, “I play hard rock and some metal so I’ll just be me.” Besides, they asked me and ya can’t scare me with a good time.

moshin' baby!We were three songs in and the singer stopped mid-song. I was bummed as we were playing my fave song. He seemed pissed as he looked down at his feet…or perhaps foot pedals. He turns to me with pissed off look. My eyes left his to notice a big blood splotch on his chest. (He was shirtless). I’m thinking ‘great!’ my first punk gig and the singer gets shot. Then he bends down and picks up what looks like a bloody heap of meat. I’m now out of my seat. He goes back to the mic and shouts’ “what the fuck is this?” as he holds up the ‘meat’.

A mohawk’d dude in the front row shouts and proudly I might add,”They’re chicken hearts dude, chicken hearts!”

“Dude you fuckin’ threw chicken hearts at me?” Our singer says.

“Yeah dude, you rock!” he replies.

“That’s awesome! Jonathan count the song back in dude, lets go!”

And so like the dutiful hired sub-drummer I counted the song back in ecstatic that our singer did not in fact get shot, but rather was the victim of an endearing mosh pit fan’s chicken heart(s) hurling. Ya gotta love L.A.

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L.A. Story…part II By Jonathan Brown

Posted by on Jan 5, 2014 in Guests, Podcasts | 0 comments

If you read part 1 of my ‘guest blog visit’ you read that in the early 90’s I plunged headlong into the L.A. music scene. I’m still in the scene all these years later. But is hasn’t been a continuous ride nor has it been a solely musical adventure for me. I left L.A. in 1996 and returned to Vancouver. From 96-99-ish/2000 I toured Canada with a couple different bands. (More on that later). In 2000 I moved back to L.A. and have been rockin’ and rollin’ as a happily married drumming writer ever since.

When I initially reached out to Hamm he suggested I guest blog about my musical endeavor as well as my writing jaunt. So, kick back, put your feet up and dig this. Aside from penning my own blog I have written and self published a mystery novel. I know, I know you’re probably rolling your eyes saying, “Oh no, not another self publisher!” That’s ok I can dig your eye roll; and you’re right we live in a time where we scribes no longer have to rely on big publishing houses to get our books out. The problem is that the field is ‘full of us.’ To that I say, ‘c’est la vie’ and waddayagonnado? It is what it is.

While I was hangin’ and groovin’ in the early days I had a ton of wacky experiences and observed an S-load of kooky people. During this time I logged these ‘characters’ and events in my brain and even jotted down a few vignettes. Over time these vignettes hatched and later blossomed into my book: Crescendo…A Lou Crasher Mystery.

It is said that one should write about what one knows and I did just that…with a crap load of fabrication and poetic license tossed in. My story is about a middle of the road drummer name Lou Crasher that tumbles into the P.I. business while pursuing a girl. It begins innocently enough and then slowly builds and finally ah, Crescendos. My original plan was to have book launches in Vancouver and Los Angeles. I ended up scoring one for two. Los Angeles bookstores turned me down flat. The collective response was essentially; “dude we’ve never heard of you and therefor our venue is not available—to you.”  Happily Vancouver, the place where I came up welcomed me back with open arms (I’m being slightly dramatic). A bookstore in downtown Vancouver called The Paper Hound sent me a glowing response to my email inquiry. Alas, on September 21st/ 2013 The Paper Hound hosted my signing. It was awesome. I sold 50 books, yeehaw! Big thanks and Diggidy-doo to The Paper Hound and to all who showed up!

At the moment I’m just finishing book two in my series. I’ve been getting a ton of support from family and friends; I’ve got a new editor and gosh darn it I’m going two for two next time. I’m going to find a venue somewhere in city of angels as well as get-on-down in Vancouver and rock my next book launch!

According to the latest book-marketing book I’m reading readers want to get to know their authors. I can only imagine this applies to famous authors but what the heck? My life pops off like this: a couple hours of writing each day, add a few hours drumming, teach a few lessons, rehearse a couple times per week, train a couple fitness clients, martial arts a couple days per week, hang with the hot wife, go to bed and do it all over again. (Sorry about the run-on sentence, its just me exercising my right to poetic license again.) Oh yeah, I don’t really dig long walks on the beach–medium distance walks are cool, but long walks–uh uh. Thanks for stopping by. Oh yeah, one more shameless plug:

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L.A. Story part 1…By Jonathan Brown

Posted by on Dec 18, 2013 in Blog, Guests | 0 comments

Hey everybody! When Jambon and Terry extended they’re Rockstar invitation to me to ‘guest blog’ I literally (almost) did a cartwheel! But let me back up. My name is Jonathan Brown and like Terry and Steve I was born and raised in Vancouver. In fact, we all came up in the Vancouver music scene together. I should point out that for us the first ‘scene’ was Queen Mary elementary school and then Lord Byng and U-hill high school battle of the bands contests. Terry was always a good buddy but also a rival drummer back then. (I say rival because he was better than me…thanks Ter’). And Steve was a cool cat that was either laughing, making you laugh or both.

Ok, why ask me to blog? Good question. Jambon asked that I talk about the L.A. scene so allow me to share my little story(s). I moved to L.A. in 1994 and studied at The Musicians Institute of Technology (M.I.). At the time the school had a one year percussion diploma program. I’m happy to say I completed the course and missed honors by 3% points. But I said then and still today, “Does a guy need an honors di-fu**ing-ploma to ROCK?” I think not.

When I left M.I. I hit the ground running, as David Lee Roth once said. I worked part-time at a rehearsal studio and got tons of gigs from it. Why? Because bands would show up and after 3 months they’d inevitably lose their drummer. (It was very Spinal Tap-esque) Well, sh** I’d heard their set for 3 months, “I got this,” I’d say. So I subbed a ton. At one point I was in 6 bands at once…never making over $50/ show. But hey I was gigging in L.A. Dude, I was living the dream! Later I was introduced to “pay to play.” Now here’s how it worked. I was in a band called Crash, let’s say. The band was offered a gig at the Roxy. ‘Cool,’ I thought. So they told us to come down to the club and BUY our tickets. Immediately I made that ‘huh’ noise that Scooby-Doo used to make. Yeah, the deal was come down and buy 100 tickets @ 3 bucks a piece. (That’s $300 right?) But, when you sell them to your friends you can charge whatever you want. So, the bandleader tells me not to worry because we can sell them at $10 a piece to our friends. I politely pointed out that my friends were broke musicians like me and they aint paying’ no $10 to see me on a friggin’ Monday night! (They could stay home with a $10-18 pack of Miller in those days fer gawd sakes!)

Well, the boys assured me that they knew tons o’ dudes that would come check us out. (Can you guess where this is going people?) You guessed it: maybe 12 people showed. Lucky for me, or so I thought, that I had an agreement with the band that I would NEVER pay to play…not one penny. So, the band was now in the hole. But wait, it gets worse. I go to our rehearsal lockout two days later to practice and the place is dead-bolted–locked up tighter than Tito Puente’s fave timbale. I call the guys. No answer. I call the landlord and he informs me that the guys couldn’t pay the rent due to some show ‘you guys had in Hollywood’. I almost crushed my cell phone in my hand. I was broke and when you’re a broke musician not only is there nothing more pathetic but all we have is our gear…it is everything! So I SNAP…which got me nowhere. So, I then put my ‘bad cop’ away and introduced my ‘good Canadian cop’. After twenty minutes of begging he agreed to meet me at the studio and let me have my drums back.

When I spoke to the members of Crash they were amazed that I got my stuff back…oh and then they apologized. I should point out that none of them returned my calls during the days when my kit, Sweet Louise, was held hostage…poor girl. They were also surprised that I quit the band. So, they begged, pleaded and made empty promises to get me to return to the band. Finally, I did. At the first rehearsal (of which I did not bring my drums, they found a different kit ‘somehow’) I laid out the new ground rules. Or, ground rule rather and it was as follows: “if you guys ever do anything so stupid as to come between me and my drums  again I will personally kick the living shit out of each and every one of you.” They laughed nervously at first until they realized I was serious. Hey, I was 28 years old and fully believed in the piss and vinegar that I was full of–waddayagonnado?


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