We all know I hate flying. I really do. I hate everything about it. I feel great deals of anxiety whenever I am on a plane and it drives me crazy. I was lucky to get a window seat for the gruelling 13 hour flight ahead of me and thankfully, I was seated next to a lovely woman named Louisa (I hope I remembered her name correctly should she ever read this) and I gave her my usual pre-warnings that I will be taking Xanax to knock me out so if any stewards wish to wake me, please tell them not to, etc. things like that. So I popped my one and half Xanax and while waiting for it to kick in, I started up a conversation with Louisa about where she’s from, what she’s doing in the USA, you know, the general chit chat that happens when you know you’re going to be stuck next to someone for 13 hours. Honestly, with my social anxiety, I would have just stared out the window and not bothered her but I really just wanted to chat to her so while I was waiting for the Xanax to take effect, a conversation would help take my mind off the anxiety I deal with while flying. I thank her for that and also because she was actually really interesting and well traveled and she didn’t try to snub me off. Maybe she could tell I was freaked out over flying and wanted to help calm me down too? If you’re ever sat next to me in a plane and you look friendly, I’m sure I’ll do the same to you, also. Anyway, I must have passed out mid sentence or something because I woke up about an hour out of LA. Louisa advised me that turbulence had woken me up at some point during the flight and I freaked out and asked her what was happening. I don’t remember any of this at all. Probably a good thing.
Let me remind you here that I do not condone taking Xanax or any other pill for any reason unless you really do need to, not just cos you want to. The only time I ever use Xanax is when I am flying because the idea of being awake for that long on a plane and me having an anxiety attack from hell is just not worth putting other passengers through. They didn’t sign up for that so who am I to be a friggin’ panicky mess?!?! Exactly.
So we landed into LA, I bid farewell to my new found friend and headed through customs. I was outside for possibly no more than five or ten minutes when my good friend Kotton arrived to pick me up. His timing is perfect. Goddamn it was good to see this guy again. Seriously, I wish you all had a Kotton in your life. This dude is one of the nicest and most genuine people I know. A good hearted family man who somehow owns a pair of Godsmack sweatpants (that he tried to give to me “nah, you can keep them, mate!”).
First stop, Pax Am Recordings. Having been a fan of Ryan Adams since the release of Heartbreaker, a visit to his recording studio / record label was a must. And of course I had to wear a Ryan Adams shirt just for the occasion. As I told Kotton, “you can’t be flippant about these things”. We went, we took photos, and from there it was time for Pink’s Hot Dogs. My shout. He came and picked me up at some ungodly hour that he didn’t even know existed to pick me up and hang out for a day. It was the least I can do.
Pink’s Hot Dogs is an institution and it’s awesome. You need to try this stuff. True American fatty foods that are guaranteed to gain you some weight. But I’m on holiday so it doesn’t matter.
After Pink’s we walked down Melrose and headed to a comic store where i picked up the most incredible Archie Meets The Ramones shirt while Kotton got the comic. He needed it and again, my suggestion was the least I could do.
We then made our way to Headline Records because I saw recently on their Instagram that they had t-shirts of The Exploding Hearts. A great band that sadly ended way too soon due to an unfortunate fatal car crash.
After my purchase we headed to the Rainbow Bar and Grill so I could see the amazing Lemmy statue. If you have been paying any attention at all to my life or the podcast or the zine, you would know that Motörhead are easily in my top all-time favourite bands. Along with the Ramones, Motörhead just had everything I wanted in a band so paying my respects to the great man has been on the cards ever since it’s unveiling.
The bar is now known as Lemmy’s Lounge and the stools are decked out with the snaggletooth logo and there are photos of Lemmy and Motörhead everywhere. Their music played over the PA, and down the back stood the almighty statue of the great man himself. This just blew me away and it still upsets me that my two favourite vocalists of all time (Joey Ramone being the other) both passed away from cancer. Still, it’s lovely to see this statue standing in front of me, in Lemmy’s favourite drinking place, right next to where he would sit and play the games machine. It was actually quite a heartfelt and surreal moment. I was glad to be there. I paid my respects and left a guitar pick by his left foot alongside the roses that had been placed there for him. He will forever be missed. He was a Lemmy and he played rock n roll.
Next up it was off to The Grammy Museum to see the Ramones exhibit that was showing. Again, like Motörhead, the Ramones are the band for me. This exhibit is important for every single person who loves punk rock music and also for people who may not like their music but must learn music history and why this band is so important. The museum only costs $12.95 and is well worth it.
The Ramones exhibit is amazing. Everything from clothes, to hand written lyrics, to even Johnny’s diary where he kept notes of how many people in attendance and how much the band was paid. There’s many photos, most of which I had never seen before. There’s videos, memorabilia, books, collectibles, paintings, everything. It’s freaking awesome and if you are traveling through LA before the end of February, do yourself a favour. It really is something special.
We left the museum with only 20 minutes to spare til my bus left for San Francisco. We got there with nine minutes to go. I ran through the station and got the bus with only one minute to spare. As I write this now, I feel exhausted so I am going to need this here with one last comment…
Happy new year to you all. See you at The Lookouting.