amber’s sister called me today to tell me she had passed

tony pierce amber smith on melrose ave. 2021

amber and i lived together for four years.
half of that was during the pandemic in a tiny apartment.

you get to know someone in that situation.

amber mona lisa mask
as you probably know she had her demons. she struggled with addictions. But she was able to kick many of them admirably.
she enjoyed going to meetings.
she enjoyed doing things that would help her in her recovery.

her sister told me they learned it was complications of her diabetes that caused her death

amber working at the fairmont
for the last couple of years she was in Washington trying to get a fresh start.
she had a boyfriend – something that was never hard for her –
she had a job working at a fancy hotel – something she was great at.

the last time she texted me she told me she was 30 days sober.

before that text she asked me to write her a card. i was reluctant because i told her i thought we should chill out on conversing so we could both move on with our next chapters – something that’s hard to do when you’ve got one foot in the Past

amber in santa barbara reading from the laptop

but i did write the card. i dont remember what i wrote. it was hard to know what to say and the pens were old and didn’t want to work.

it was all so strange.

i was also worried what she wanted it for.

amber at a black lives matter rally in 2020.
im glad i sent it though because her follow up texts were so sweet.
she was such a truly genuinely sweet person.

she LOVED being a concierge. she loved being of service.

after a few of her friends started reading my blog they’d eventually ask, “you two are sooo different, what do you talk about?”

we talked about the hotel biz A Lot.
amber next to a black mercedes and palm trees in the parking lot of the academy archives on vine
we loved this book Heads in Beds which we listened to
on a long roadtrip to Spring Training
a few years ago.
one of my favorite memories of Amber was she was at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire on Rodeo
One of her favorite books was Michelle Obama’s Becoming.

She would read me parts of it as we drove.

amber at barnsdale park picnic pizza
We loved driving all over LA. sometimes with no destination in mind.

just holding hands talking about LA.

one day Michelle Obama was a guest at the hotel.

amber found out.
amber with the national guard
she told her boss that she had read the book several times and knew The First Lady loved cheese toast
and asked if it would be OK if she ran across the street and bought a special  toaster oven that could do the right things.
five star hotels love doing things like that for VIPs.
amber at LAX

she got the ok, ran and got the toaster, fresh bread, the fixins for cheese toast and went up to the room.To her surprise Barack Hussein Obama opened the door.

Surprise bc it was top secret that he had arrived while she was out buying the toaster.

Mr President, I have read your wife’s book and I know she likes cheese toast,

so it’s my honor to deliver this to her with our regards.
She said Barack’s face lit up.
I want you to know how hard i tried to make things better for her.
I am so sorry i failed.
amber at the lana del rey concert in las vegas
When her sister said her favorite years were the ones with me i couldnt help thinking, but i wasn’t able to save her.
But we can’t, I guess.
Not always.
But dont let that stop you from trying.
amber doorway





things i learned this week

  1. when the beatles played their final concert at the Stick it wasnt as packed as youd think
  2. if shohei ohtani became a Cub i would have a very hard time not moving back to chicago during baseball season
  3. im easily distracted
  4. i love having my blog back
  5. i love how much ive been able to write this summer even though it was hard
  6. throwing away dirty tupperware is fun
  7. probably gonna throw more things out the rest of the year
  8. my sleeping patterns are bad
  9. buying food from street vendors is a better use of my limited funds for the global economy than always going to the big grocery store or the franchise drive thru
  10. i dont smoke as much weed as i thought i would once it became legal
  11. even though i work from home and make my own schedule, this summer ive gone to very few movies
  12. ppl w adhd love caffeine
  13. i only care about fantasy baseball leagues where the commissioners are either cheating lying or terrible
  14. im addicted to midjourney



just finished work, its 344am

it was a hard week. wasn’t sure i could pull it off, but even the losers get lucky sometimes

i was able to do tons of rock stories, a podcast, a blogpost for that podcast, all the social media for it

now i can make thumbnails for the youtube page. the funny thing about the youtube page is at a glance you can see the hits to each of the episodes. whats fascinating is some of the episodes are doing way better than others.


i really want to spend some time re-doing the descriptions because clearly some are really working while others arent.

i also want to experiment on youtube shorts. i have this theory about bible verses. i dont think a lot of people who love the bible Also know how to make it look cool.

im not saying im that person, but what’s interesting about Christianity is, even if its hokey or cringe or lame, people respond to it. some of the songs, for example, in church are the worst tonal arrangements, terrible rhyming, and just plain bizarre – without being cool bizarre. and yet, it makes it to the show on Sunday


so even if my bible verse shorts are super lame, i bet they still get views.

i have 400+ subscribers on the Hear in LA youtube channel, in part because of the extraneous videos i put up there. yes theres the 104 episodes, but those were never intended to get huge views.

but when i talked to Victor at the Vista we talked about the Let’s All Go To The Lobby concession stand vintage clip. i wanted it for the blog page and noticed it was public domain, so I downloaded it and uploaded it right back up there, but with a better descriptor.


that mfer has 66,000 views. No it’s not millions, but it got me half of those subscribers. You only need 1,000 subscribers to start making money on YouTube.

If somehow I could spend just an hour a day working on that channel I bet you I could start paying the rent off youtube in a year or two.

i dont think it’s that hard.


things i’ve written in the first half of September for Setlist

Five Amy Winehouse Great Performances

Hozier Plays “First Time” For The First Time in Show Me State

Lynyrd Skynyrd Saves Venue and Records Live LP

Beyoncé ‘Mute Challenge’ Has a Much Longer Predecessor

Five Beautiful Neil Peart Drumming Moments

Eagles Kick Off First Leg of Long Goodbye Tour in NYC

Papa Roach, Shinedown, Oliver Anthony Serenade Fans in Campground

Gwen Stefani Returns to Anaheim to Celebrate Honda Center’s 30th

Five Opening Acts Who Would Become Perennial Headliners

Setlist History: Blues Brothers Record Live Show That Goes #1

Busted Greatest Hits Tour Now With Hanson

Chart History: Taylor Swift’s ‘Lover’ Album Debuts at #1

Bruce Springsteen Postpones September Shows Due To Ulcer

Setlist History: R.E.M. Debuts 9 Songs In Pageantry Kick-off

Aerosmith Kicks Off Peace Out… Farewell Tour in Philly

First Time, Last Time: Steve Harwell Sings “All Star”

Sting Kicks Off North American Tour With Pair In Vegas

Pearl Jam Kicks Off North American Mini Tour With Rarities

First Time, Last Time: Jimmy Buffett Sings “Margaritaville”

Chart History: BTS Becomes First All-Korean Group To Go #1

Janelle Monáe Brings Pleasure & Live Debuts to Tour Kickoff


i am having a great day

my blog, my beautiful blog is working.

im putting the finishing touches on episode 104 of hear in LA

i wrote a piece i love on setlist

it’s about the most controversial classical piece in the world, 4’33” which i compared to the Beyonce “Mute Challenge”

no one seems to love it as much as i do. ha!

i also spent way too much time on a lynyrd skynyrd setlist history about when they saved an atlanta theater that my mom actually went to

i have three things to write tonight so i gotta go

hi blog!!!

i have had some beautiful days

got to hang with my bro the other day which is always great

how is he 40?!?!

that means im at least 41

we hung outside.  i didnt realize im such an indoor person that i got burned red after only being out there for 90 minutes.

got home and mama mia have i been working so hard.

how hard?

so hard i barely have time to drive. like today is thursday and i dont think i’ll be able to drive until tomorrow or the next day and only then for a day max.


yesterday we released our first new podcast since June. it was good to have the time off but adding the podcast to my already tough setlist schedule nearly killed me last night.

my issue is i love to research the setlist pieces. and that can talk 6 hours for just one piece. then writing it takes time, finding videos. i love it, i just wish there were 40 hours in a day instead of measly 8.

then the podcast blog post takes days and days. i squeeze it in when i can. and i got yesterdays up relatively late (630pm) but it was very well received from our guest, kate, a news anchor on tv, so that makes me happy.

theres like 3-4 people who i care if they like it, and then of course the subject.

today i need to prioritize and do my setlist things first because late night rock is annoying the neighbors

then i need to turn the podcast into a youtube video

then i need to apply some more aloe on these burns

oh man

Lil Tay is not dead, but responsibility at the LAT seems to be

Lil Tay Dead is what the LA Times wrote in a headline

First let me point out I love the LA Times. Working there was a dream come true, literally. I had been obsessed with the fantasy of working there one day and decades after having my first piece published in The Daily Nexus, I got my chance.

I learned a lot there. One of the things Henry Fuhrmann and I talked about a lot regarding digital news was transparency, especially in response to corrections, particularly major ones.
Yesterday there was an LA Times headline that said straight up that a person died. There was no coroner’s report. Their sole source was an Instagram post on the girl’s IG page.
Tay went on TMZ today to admit it wasnt true
Today the social media personality went to TMZ to say the reports of her death were greatly— she said she had been hacked.
Did the LA Times admit later on Wednesday they had jumped the gun in the neverending quest to jump on Google trends in the vacuous world of celebrity news? No.
Instead they pointed to the vague “social media” as the culprits.

“The death of Lil Tay, a young social media star who went viral for her foulmouthed videos, as well as the death of her older brother, was reported Wednesday on social media by an unnamed family member,” a Times writer wrote as the lede of the updated post yesterday.

But that’s incomplete. The death was also reported Wednesday BY THE LA TIMES. And they should not only acknowledge it, but regret their error.

Today there is are new headlines by my favorite paper. The first uses the Gen-Z phrase of “unalive,” which to my knowledge became the way to say “dead” without triggering YouTube bots from hiding the content BUT I COULD BE WRONG.
But quickly that awkward hed was changed to “Report: Lily Tay is alive…” even though her name isn’t Lily and there wasn’t a report. YR GIRL CALLED TMZ. JUST SAY THE FUCKING WORDS.
And admit you’ve been wrong wrong wrong about all of this from the jump and continue to flounder with these half assed updates.

So what is the solution?

Incredibly simple.
Do not report on shit without independently verifying it.
Will the LAT publish stories later? Yes. So what? The paper is behind a paywall. This race for clicks is over. You can either have a paywall or you can have clicks.
Or best of all you can have accurate “news” the first time, or Best of All, responsible journalism along the lines of “Rumors and Reports of Lil Tay’s Death Have Not Been Confirmed By Coroner.” Which was the only news yesterday until the teen called Harvey.
If I seem to have a Lil energy on this it is because major news outlets love to shit on TMZ and its scoops. But Harvey hardly makes mistakes like what is still happening at the LAT. In part because this world is his Wheelhouse, whereas it is not the Times’. But also, he confirms his shit.
How he confirms it may be shady to some in that he famously pays sources, but then he double checks that info too.
What has blown my mind about the LAT’s gossip coverage over the decades is they are so quick to publish, linking to the outside media outlets as their sources.
Calls about this type of matter from the LAT will get returned. SO CALL THEM. Just like any other desk. Rarely have I seen original reporting on the Gossip desk and it hurts me. The LAT has just as much opportunity for scoops and exclusives as anyone else.
But they won’t if they continue this sort of sloppy writing, editing, and lack of transparency and ownership of errors.

every time i take this adhd pill

i wanna write her the most inappropriate email

why her?

who knows?

why anything.

sometimes the body just goes where it shouldnt be

sometimes a body doesnt wanna be where it should.

if Should ran my life id be as boring as those who i lash out at

i lash because i know thats my fate one day

i know i will become fat and happy because running from that world is hopeless

its coming for me.

it’ll get me like it got the others

but imma fight before it does

and think about her for 40 minutes until the pill wears off

and think about how i should just write what i want and tuck it away somewhere

and leave it for the college boys of the future to discover

and say omg really?

this blog rarely lets me in to type so hi!

ive been super busy with so many things: uber, podcasting, and writing for Setlist.FM

here’s the Setlist things I’ve done lately.

Taylor Swift’s ‘Cruel Summer’ Is The Hit That Wouldn’t Die 

MTV’s Best Gift May Have Been MTV Unplugged

Setlist History: Prince Begins 21 Sold Out Nights in London’s O2

Setlist History: White Stripes’ Last Full Concert

Artists We’d Love To See Touring Right Now

Adele’s Best Cover Songs We Hope She Brings Back to Vegas

Setlist History: Billy Joel Rocks Russia

Sinéad O’Connor Dies at 56, Music World Mourns

Lollapalooza ’91: Where Are They Playing Now

Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” Dropped This Week in 1987 

Setlist History: Bob Dylan Booed For Playing Electric

Setlist History: Kiss’ First Show Without Peter Criss

Setlist History: Pat Benatar Debuts “Hell is for Children” in NYC

Harry Styles Ends Two-Year Love Tour Emotionally In Italy

Setlist History: The Police Kick Off of the Synchronicity Tour 

It’s been an absolute joy to do these, and i am learning tons about these shows while doing the research.

ok gotta go drive for 8 hours byeeee

the portal is open

for some reason this blog wont let me blog and its frustrating but here it is 254am and i noticed this window that had been hanging for ever suddenly opened and here you are. hi.

let me see if this saves.

whattay know it saved. ok. so i have a new job that keeps me up all night, for good reasons.

it’s writing for which apparently everyone i talk with about, loves.

i love being able to not just write about music every day but concerts. new ones old ones. and its great to work with Bree again.

its a lot of writing but its more about the research. a lot of finding things, listening, watching, reading. then writing.

the podcast hit its 100th episode on the fourth of july. then we decided to take the rest of the month off because those first two years was a sprint, baby, whew. so its nice to have a little break as i figure out the routine of setlist.

with that said, tomorrow i interview a former tv and movie writer who is now a therapist.

we had this huge tweet go viral last weekend and he dmed me right before it happened saying he loves the show and wanted to be on. because he did it before the viral tweet makes me believe him more.

the tweet was this one where an actor talks tough to a studio chief. because the actor deleted the original which was on his IG, ours was the one everyone retweeted. 8 million views.

but the best part, 1,100 new followers. maybe 1,200 who knows. a lot. we’re at 2,600 now. and the best part about that is they’re all real.

ok i need to finish this ed sheeran thing and watch dude wheres my car.