Almost Famous, Billy Crudup, Cameron Crowe, Cream, Elton John, Gino's 780 Lexington Ave, Jason Lee, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayall, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Los Angeles, loud neighbors, Miles Davis, Neil Young, Nick Drake, Patrick Fugit, Steely Dan, The Band, The Clash, Tiny Dancer, Watchmen
It is 1 o’clock in the morning and a shriek from outside woke me with a start. I immediately thought my young neighbor and his girlfriend were having a party and it brought a smile to my face. But then I heard a splash in the pool, the music get louder, and drunken voices with a tone to them that I just could not associate with this particular neighbor. He is young, handsome, and wealthy but he also lives a fairly quiet life, a respectful one…even if his Ferrari in the morning sounds like it’s about to drive through my living room.
Now that I am fully awake and in my Mrs. Kravitz mode, I open the back door to hear just what is going on and realize that it isn’t my next door neighbor, it’s a guy 2 houses away. A single father in his 50’s. So either daddy is drunk and picked up some biker chicks or the guys kid has unusual taste in music for his age.
The first tune to blare down the street is a Neil Young song so I’m not offended, and I find it kind of sweet that they are in the pool singing along. It reminds me of the Cameron Crowe movie Almost Famous. I avoided watching this movie successfully until last week. I had nothing to do and decided to open that can of worms. That can of worms named Kate Hudson. I just can’t get into her, and was grateful that she wasn’t too prominently figured in the movie. She really doesn’t say anything. Ha! A Cameron Crowe pun! (give me a break it’s 2:30 in the morning)
The second tune to float down through the bushes is Take A Load Off Annie by The Band. Not a song I dislike or even think about very often but then one of the party guests decides she is going to sing along…”TAKE A LOOOOAAAD OFFFF ANNIEEEE”… I begin to imagine my fictional gun that shoots red dye or blue dye quietly over the house next door and into the pool. Silently absorbing itself into the skin of the lady who is ruining a perfectly decent song. (I will invent this gun, just you wait)
Did I happen to mention that my immediate neighbor is an 86-year-old woman? And on the other side of Mr. Party is a Catholic rectory. Hmmm, I wonder what the Monsignor feels about the 70’s music? After this young “lady” finishes her aria, I hear another voice that sounds slightly angry. This is when a party begins to worry me. When some poor sod has drunk too much, is in the pool crying, screaming, making no sense and in my mind, about to drown. Or perhaps I want him to..
Suddenly it’s quiet…too quiet. I live in fear that Elton John is about to infect my brain cells and I won’t be able to get Tiny Dancer out of my head for a week. Yes, I am probably the only person on the planet that isn’t terribly into Sir Elton. Yes I know all the songs but quite frankly his visage in Tommy scarred my 11-year-old brain forever. Plus, lets face it, there was a time in Los Angeles where you couldn’t escape his music. I found it depressing. (But hey, I can listen to Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake. It’s all about personal preferences.)
I’m pleasantly surprised to hear the gentle tones of Joni Mitchell easing her way through the bamboo and into my room. Again, I wasn’t a big fan but she didn’t offend me either. I could take it. Most of the 70’s music reminds me of such an ugly time. A time when my parents were divorcing, actually everyone’s parents were divorcing. Beautiful young surfers died in car accidents or in other unsavory ways, cars were lined up at gas station’s, literally lined down Sunset Blvd for gas. And we were in a drought. (Yes I’m aware of the political strife, etc. but I was just a kid)
But it wasn’t like I was only listening to the Monkee’s or The Bee Gee’s. Whenever my brother wasn’t around I would break into his room and listen to his record collection, and he sure as hell didn’t have Elton John or Joni Mitchell. The late 70’s and early 80’s all we listened to was Jimi Hendrix (couldn’t get enough of Jimi), Cream, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, John Mayall and The Blues Breakers, Mick Taylor, (yes some Stones), Steely Dan, The Police and the very finest: Miles Davis. We weren’t hippies in our household. There was a lot of Rachmaninoff forced down our throats on a Saturday morning as well. And it would take the divorce and art school to get me to discover my beloved Clash.
Almost Famous wasn’t as torturous as I imagined. Jason Lee (please tell me he isn’t a Scientologist) was hysterical and the young kid Patrick Fugit was wonderful. Billy Crudup just has to stand there and do nothing- I mean that guy is good even as a naked Dr. Manhattan (and I was one of those nerds who read the entire Watchmen collection okay!)
But I digress…
Hush! The music has stopped! I wonder if the monsignor’s knees were becoming bruised from praying the radio would fall into the pool? Or just that the chick would gulp too much chlorine and vomit. All is quiet now.
I’ve been spared Tiny Dancer and I will personally shake the Monsignor’s hand on Sunday if he had anything to do with it.
(By the by, I spent yesterday morning listening to Miles Davis and made Bolognese. Bladerunner hadn’t arrived.)
- Using songs in a script (gointothestory.com)
- Cameron Crowe’s ‘We Bought A Zoo’ Script Came with a Soundtrack by Eddie Vedder and Neil Young (slashfilm.com)
- Matt Damon Says Cameron Crowe’s ‘We Bought A Zoo’ Script Came With A Soundtrack (moviesblog.mtv.com)
- Cameron Crowe’s WE BOUGHT A ZOO Might Have Music by Eddie Vedder and Neil Young (collider.com)
Scott Lombard said:
Our dear “Sir” Elton and his hisband just had a child! 64 and a new dad…. alas I digress… we all are going to live forever…
At least until 2012.
Milking the cows at dawn?
Yes, Sir Elton gets to have a tiny dancer until 2012! As Steely Dan said: “California tumbles into the sea..”
It surprises me to realize how much of the music mentioned in your essay was a big part of my life given the difference in our ages.
SO who was it in the pool?
Well mine is a well honed palate. And were you partying with Rachmaninoff as well? Me thinks not.
Was it me?? I must have blacked out.
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