Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hollywood, etc

Hollywood, etc.
Current mood: productive
Category: Travel and Places
First thing: If you haven't heard Peter Searcy's new record, "Spark," (and i assume you haven't because it hasn't been released yet) -- mark your calendars for May 22. It'll be released on Label X/Toucan Cove and it freakin' rocks. In that good, soulful, lyrical, but still pop-friendly and rockin' sort of way.

Which brings me to why i was in Los Angeles last week.

I play piano for Peter. I have made this odd niche for myself playing accordion in tons of bands. Don't get me wrong -- i LOVE that i play accordion with so many people. But i'm actually really really good at the piano, and i rarely ever get to play it anymore. But Peter Searcy's new record is really lush and has lots of piano parts ... so i've had a blast playing in his band lately. And last week, he and I went to LA to do some recording and play a few industry-meeting-type things.

I went to LA once, when i was six. My mom was trying out for "Wheel of Fortune" (this was back when you actually got to go on a shopping spree with your winnings ... i always wanted her to get the Dalmation statue) ... and my dad, mom and i drove across the country to get her to her auditions. (Doesn't this sound like an indie-movie waiting to happen?)

I remember very little about this trip. I remember i slept through St. Louis, which upset me because I had wanted to see the Arch. My dad then told me they had painted it blue -- a lie that i believed until i was 14 and embarassed in Geography class when i informed the class that the St. Louis Arch had been painted blue in the mid-1980's. During my waking hours I did two things: 1) i memorized every state and its capital -- the license plate game became an automatic pop quiz. And 2) I forced my parents to listen to "Thriller" over and over and over and over again. Literally, the entire way across America. I don't have a clear memory of forcing Michael Jackson upon my parents, but my mom has hated the record ever since. My dad still likes it. But i think he was on my side on that particular road trip.

But speaking of "Thriller" and Los Angeles.... last Monday, Peter Searcy and I recorded some live acoustic tracks in Westlake Audio in Hollywood: where "Thriller" was recorded!!! How freakin' cool is that? And besides Michael Jackson, a few of the names they have hosted include... the Bee Gees, Earth Wind and Fire (who sat next to me on the plane out there, by the way. they were stopping in LA on the way to Malaysia. Can't believe only one of them was in first class! Just goes to show you, you should always talk to the person next to you on the plane. You never know who they play guitar for.), The Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra, Wilie Nelson, AND Kelly Clarkson. Killer, eh? But the beautiful thing was that the gorgeous Yamaha grand had been tuned hours before i arrived. It was beautiful. Look for new photos....

But enough name-dropping.

As a former New Yorker, I was trained to hate LA. But i'm here to openly admit that i do NOT hate LA.. Granted, Peter did all the driving (thank you, Peter). But really, everyone was super-nice. The views were amazing, despite the smog. And most importantly, every meai was delicious. Every order of French Toast was made from Challah bread ... every Black Forest Coffee treat from the Coffee Bean was just the right mix of crunchy/drinky... and it turns out i like finely shredded salad, especially if it's in Beverly Hills.

Other exciting things:

The dorkiest thing i did was make Peter drive by the house where Jimmy Stewart lived.

We played a show at the Hotel Cafe, where they have a piano. I love that. Peter kicked ass. Then I sat in with John Neilson, who played after Peter at the show... check out his Myspace. He's got lots of great tunes.

I went to a barbecue with Peter in the Hollywood Hills. The first person I met turned out to have been in the same NYU acting studio as my college roommate, Lyzz. Weird. And then i hung out with some friends from Nashville Star who live in LA. We karaoked some country songs, which didn't go over so well on the Left Coast.

I learned that I'm a good person to take along with you to random business/networking meetings because, well, I'll talk to anyone. Which means whoever took me doesn't need to babysit me. So if you have a wine-n-dine function ahead, where there's an open bar and a delicious vegetarian menu, consider me as a date. I promise not to tell any pirate jokes. I also am obsessed with keeping my receipts. That's what happens when your mom is an auditor.

Anyway, Los Angeles was a blast. I'd go back in a second. The weather was amazing. The people were great. And the food ... no one freaks out when you ask if something's vegan. Mark your calendars for Peter Searcy's CD Release show, which i think will be May 26 at Headliner's. Check his myspace for more details