It Came From Ether?.
and Divine Intervention
"How do I get to Spaceland?" I asked the drive-through teller at BK while he handed over the four deep fried tacos that I'd forked out 2 and some change for.
"I don't know this place," he said. So I asked, "All right, what about Silverlake Blvd?"
"Back two miles," he said with a cockeyed, gold toothed grin.
Damn. I'd passed it. I ate one of them tacos and headed back the other way.
Getting to Spaceland was just part of the mission. I had other more impressive plans ahead. I could already see what was to follow?.
The world would love it. All peoples will be fed. Never again would you have to spade your pets. But this would all have to wait?. wait until I had what I came for, an interview with the only rock and roll type band I give two shits about-the Fireballs of Freedom.
I made it to Spaceland, and I got to say that it's not as jacked-up as some of the other places I've seen since being in LA. One of the main reasons for this - and this is a rarity out here - I don't know why more places don't have them, but pool tables are hard to come by, or so my experience has led me to conclude. I don't know, but a bar is just not the same unless it has a pool table. I tip my hat and bottoms up to Spaceland for their understanding of this golden rule and their compliance with it.
The interview! The interview, what about it? Did you come through with it or what? Well let me tell you, and I'll give it to you as straight as I can.
When I finally got there and re-loaded with a few beers I was in no condition to co-ordinate talking - much less strategically placed, laser guided questions - I couldn't get it together and operate your average tape recorder. I was out of sync. My harmonic balancer was thrown all out of whack. I stumbled and slurred, but I didn't tremble. I didn't falter. I proceeded with all the calmness and dedication that the most pickled hunter implements in the last moments before closing in for that first bloody kill of the season.
Before I say any more, let me say this: the Fireballs of Freedom are Kelly (guitar, vocals), The Doctor (Bass), Von (guitar, vocals), and Sammy James (drums, sunglasses). Their new CD "Welcome to the Octagon" is out on Estrus Records. They ain't no high time pecker rock band. They're down and dirty, home grown. Like skillet fries and Red Dot hot sauce.
After wasting time talking about everything with them and not recording a bit of it the tape finally clicks on.
Brad: Hey Sammy!
Sammy James: Chocolate Williams!
Brad: How you been don'?
Sammy J: Fuckn'?.you know?.well you know?.this an'a that - this an'a that ya'll?. This an'a that ta that ya'll?.
Brad: I was out there in between songs screaming Swamp Wolf (track #7 off the new album Welcome to the Octagon) I didn't think ya'll 'as gonna' play the damn song.
Von: It's is one of my personal favorites.
Brad: I've been listen' to Welcome to the Octagon a lot. It's fuckn' good.
Von: I like it.
(It is here where for about 15:30 minutes I very skillfully and sneakily record the inaudible murmuring of the bar. Then a question is asked?.)
Brad: So, hey, Sammy what's up with the title of the record - Welcome to the Octagon?
Sammy J: I don't know. What do you think's up with that?
Brad: I don't know. I thought it sounded like maybe something you came up with. What's the meaning?
Sammy J: I think it just came out of ether?. It came out of ether.
(Beer bottles clank against each other. People laugh. Smoke rises. El Presidente Bush plots. Baseball season nears its end. Sammy James' voice rises to the top?)
Sammy J: We tried to step it (the recording) up? natural reverb!? this record has natural reverb? big ceiling? hardwood floor.
(This is not going to be worth reading. Ah! My lack of interviewing experience calls attention to itself? I suppose that I walked around for a while. The level and types of sound complexify. Some cars are heard passing on the street. Nothing is clear until Von speaks. We are carried from the street in through the noise to the glassed-in room with the pool table.)
Von: It's the papparazzi!
Brad: I've come to see me cow half eaten by the Rabbit People! (I don't know.)
(More noise. I suck at this interviewing thing. But I can sure capture the essence of barroom babble. Here, have a taste!)
"I don't smoke weed."
"Take the weed!"
"You don't know whether you're man enough to take me down."
"I think you know?"
"?. We play everything day by day."
"United we stand!"
"I'm kind of red-white?"
"I'm allergic to all this smoke."
"Over there's Charles Bronson. He's sitting next to Dirty Harry. Death Wish Charles Bronson. The anti-hero?. like he's the good guy but he's bad. A vigilante is a criminal but?. when you're watching the movie it's like the person is avenging the deaths?."
"?outside the body?"
"You know, like Jessie James!"
(But I didn't give up on the interview.)
Brad: Kelly, let me ask you - the people want to know?.what went down in North Dakota? Rumor has it you were involved with a CIA investigation?
Kelly: Naw - no - totally not at all. That's fabricated.
Brad: Ok. We'll scratch that from your public record. I tried to get Sammy to tell me?.what's up with the title of the new CD?
Kelly: It's the final resting place where Sammy James is gonna' fuckn' take out all the fuckn' like shitty super-cheesed-out nasty-fuckn' emo-rockers?just fuckn' power blast -it's like, step up to the plate bitch, let's go! Just check it 'n let Sammy James annihilate!
There you have it. The fruits of my labor. For the rest of the night there ain't no more questions. Just a voice that can an angel only be, telling me it's time to go. An angel? That's not suppose to be here?
Brad: How, how'd you get here?
Angel: You drove off with my car keys in your glove-box. Asshole. So I couldn't leave your stinking house-you see what kind of job you did without me. You've got to pay more attention next time.
Brad: How'd you get here?
Angel: I took a cab!
Brad: Do you?.do you know how to get home?
Angel: Give me the keys!
With some sort of calm annoyance she dragged me to my car then threw me in the passenger seat and drove home. No tacos. No directions.
Contact Bradley direct: [email protected]