but he brought it because he had just seen the light. he had heard the incredible sounds and jungle rhythms of Everybody Wants Some and he was going to spread the word to his brothers and sisters.
and im glad he did because even though i had no money to go to the store and get the record, somehow i heard it too and i too felt the wildness it contained
who were these golden gods?
as much as i loved AC/DC, there was a looseness to van halen. it wasn’t so scripted.
if anything the pattern was: guitar, hook, breakdown, david lee roth saying something sexual, and then a giant climax.
works for me.
i saw van halen play exactly three times.
the first was over the summer in illinois when i was in college. tracey d, who i had dated while being an ice cream man got us tickets.
that girl was a true leader. no girl had ever bought ME tickets to a concert. but she knew i loved them and she did too. sadly this was the Van Hagar era and even though i didnt really love the new tunes, Sammy was entertaining and afterwards tracey asked me to spend the night with her, something i had never done before so, hubba hubba.
the second time was with karisa at Staples Center decades later. for some reason we were fighting. was she late? was i late? who knows. but we missed the opener Kool & the Gang. but were in time for the middle opener, Cheap Trick who i had never seen before for some reason. they were fine.
this was the reunited Van Halen with DLR back. he had a weird little sliding area up front. strange tap shoes kinda. it was like a vaudeville guy fronting a hair metal band. it was awkward. but the music — oh lord the music soothed everything.
the last time was with jeanine at the Hollywood Bowl. she was sleeping on my couch and was a guitar god herself. we had good seats. the stars were out. and it was a much much better show. soooo long. they played everything they could. wolfie was on bass. it was a perfect night.
when amber announced that Eddie had died, i rushed to TMZ where she had read it and then to Twitter where I saw Wolfgang’s tweet and I wrote a quickie little obit for Los Angeleno’s FB and Twitter and i realized i needed to call Scott Sterling who never picks up the phone
but he did with a “this day is like when Prince died.”
Scott had written a little book about being the only Black kid at the Women and Children First concert in Detroit. so we talked for 20 minutes and i recorded it so i could quote him for the real obit i wanted to write.
then i emailed Parry Gripp who wrote and performed “Van Halen” for Nerf Herder many moons ago. he wrote back very quickly, and kindly. he too should be in any obit of that great band.
and then i wrote it as fast as i could because i had something important to do at 3:30pm
something life changing, potentially, that i hope to reveal later this month.
finished it at 3pm. and felt good about it. particularly the way Eddie’s Frankenstrat looked on our page.
the young editor who copyedits me found a generic pic of Eddie with short hair and asked if i wanted to replace the image of the guitar with the pic and i was all, yeah no.
over the most recent years i had heard Eddie call in to Howard Stern. the two were friends IRL. i knew he struggled with booze. i knew 65 is way past the expiration date of rock stars.
but he’s still a guitar hero who was at such a level it almost seemed like a cartoon. otherworldly.
eddie van halen, like jimi hendrix, was someone you couldn’t even put in a discussion because it ends the debates. it’s not fair. he’s the high score you have to toss out with the lowest score so you could properly find the average.
he was the opposite of the average.
and he became that legend on his very first fucking record.
whose demo was produced by Gene Simmons of KISS because when he first heard Eddie, he too was instantly all in
since Friday i have been without my phone. my girlfriend is more uptight about that than i am.
WHAT IF THERES AN EMERGENCY she asked as we drove to Inglewood last night to get some ribs.
then i die.
have my ashes sprinkled among the ashes of Hollywood.
the day before we went to Target and she did not let me leave my phone at home in case we got seperated in the two story store in Pasadena.
now its lost somewhere in this house, locked, and trust me when i tell you last night when i gleefully told her i dont care where it was she about blew a gasket.
things i miss about my phone are minimal. i miss calling my mom when i go on long drives. i miss having it tethered via bluetooth to my car’s Alexa so i can say hey alexa play Tsar
but other than that it has been a pleasant separation and im sure my phone feels the same way about me.
but this twitter. holy moley, i had no idea.
it all happened saturday night, as per my previous post. i watched Josie get arrested and via twitter and my iMessage i was able to alert some of the people she works with. Lord knows i was not going to sit on my hands as she wa being driven to prison because of some weirdo goal to be off the grid.
but as the conversations got weirder and weirder on Twitter regarding her case, the first amendment and the plausibility of a pro journalist jumping into a law enforcement scrum like some modern day Leroy Jenkins i began seeing why i love social media so much.
often times it’s an interesting conversation, but moreso it’s debating with people who are so different both politically and otherwise that it’s eye opening that we can both be looking at the same half full glass of water and they say
not only is it half empty but because of Obama it’s undrinkable.
theres many things i should have studied at UCSB than poetry, namely: Spanish, coding, and apparently Philosophy. I flunked two courses in school, a cinema class on Buster Keaton because i refused to over analyze his slapstick comedy because i didnt want to ruin future viewings, and the philosophy of Berkeley because apparently im dumber than i look.
in that class we had one book. it was a paperback called The Philosophy of Berkeley. It was about 75 pages. I couldn’t get through 5 of them.
im someone who was able to read much of The Bible, Finnegans Wake, and The Sound and the Fury in college. while distracted by the beach, the ladies, and my real goal: writing 100+ articles for the Daily Nexus a year. but those who understand philosophy is something i really admire because it was so foreign to me.
Give me Faulkner’s crazy, trippy, stoned, drunk run on sentences and Joyce’s Ulysses (which I tried to read on shrooms) any day over philosophy.
I read Milton’s Paradise Lost as an ice cream man on summer vacation, for fun but i bombed big time with Berkeley which is why i appreciate trying to conversate with these twitter people with their American flag icons in their bio about what a good journalist can and cannot do.
and yesterday i went on twitter to see the rest of the debate AND TODAY I DID IT TOO!
partially i did it because two of my stories for Los Angeleno were published over the last few days an i want people to read them.
but here is the biggest problem i have with twitter: i learn s much. i follow about 1,300 people. about half of them are fully alive on the platform, tweeting out and retweeting fascinating things. news breaks and theyre on it.
who doesn’t love breaking news?
who doesnt want to talk about the president visiting california and saying that the global warming will just disappear? who doesnt want to talk about the Bears’ crazy comeback yesterday or the Cubs’ no hitter or a thousand other things?
i do i do i do!
the greatest thing about being the blog editor of the LA Times was being able to bounce from desk to desk and talk with some of the greatest writers and editors of those sections about the stories theyre working on and how we can make the ones theyve recently published get seen.
it was like going to college and being given an All Access pass to every classroom, all the star students, and all the best professors. every day i learned so much.
twitter is a tiny version of that. oftentimes the journalists will tell you in real time what they are working on or what their recently published stories are all about. and the best ones will answer your questions. you do not need to be a Philosophy major to chat with them because they see the half full glass of water and will talk all day with you about it.
using their real names.
using links to support their point of view.
and often the people who follow them are also interesting and educated people who also want to learn.
so why am i giving that up for even a week?
because all addictions should be put under control.
even if they are fulfilling and wonderful and incredible.
A year ago today I was super frustrated trying to get a job in Social Media. I had a pretty good track record. Just about every place I was allowed to be free saw a giant uptick in all of the metrics any boss cared about.
But for some reason I couldn’t get a job interview to save my life.
Was it because I was 2x the age of the others who were applying for the job?
Were these hiring managers fearful that I would demand a giant salary? Were they nervous that I would quickly demand my boss’s job?
One guy said, “Tony, hiring the Social Media Person is the one chance men have a great excuse to get a smoking hot recent college grad into the office. You lost them at Tony.”
Could that be true? Who knows. But it was depressing.
When did being experienced, thinking outside the box, using creativity, being courageous, and learning how to adjust in an ever-changing career raise so many red flags?
And when will companies and organizations realize that giving the most junior staffers the biggest microphones is borderline crazy? And worse: sending out messages through social via a committee of senior managers with zero experience in social media almost always comes across as soulless and stale?Thus useless.
Fortunately Sophia Kercher a fellow graduate of the Robyn Bell school of Fuck Yeah invited me to a Los Angeleno party at a former strip club where I was introduced to the incredible staff and publisher, and things so far have been a smashing success.
Not only do I get to write what I want but I handle our Twitter and Facebook.
Last week I posted something on Facebook that reached 8 million people, tripled our followers, and boosted our newsletter subscribers.
While at the Academy I increased followers by 4,000% but I only had 2 or 3 FB posts that did over 5 million. One was about Titanic, and one was the Genie Yr Free. I think the whole time I was there just two Oscar night items ever got 5 million reach and that was when Leo finally won and the final video of Moonlight winning.
But we had the advantage of having 1-2 million followers at the Oscars.
8 million reach from an audience of a couple thousand, during a pandemic when allegedly no one is in front of their computers like they typically are, is a damn miracle.
Age means nothing in social media.
I’ve seen high schoolers do incredible things and hopefully I’ve shown that 50somethings can still run circles around recent college grads with all of their theories.
We should all be so lucky to be blessed with bosses who will allow us the freedom to succeed in bigger ways than we could ever imagine.
I’m very grateful to Lauren, the publisher of Los Angeleno, for letting me do my thing when others wouldn’t even pick up the phone.
it’s funny. i dont think i write much. i dont think i write as well as i used to. i dont think theres any magic in my makeup. when i look in the mirror i dont see the man i thought i would be.
then something happens. then something gets popular. and i think i still got it.
which is ridiculous because who cares if the public responds? who cares if the right people at the right time click the retweet button? did that make what i wrote any better? shouldnt i just judge myself with my heart?
shouldnt i just say, i wouldnta published it if i didnt think it was good?
i have never cared about people’s approval. why start now? because im not 21 any more? because im not getting 100s of comments on shit anymore? trust me, in 2020 if youre getting 100s of comments on something it’s probably bad news.
last month i was in DEEP on the Rona beat. then i had to also do the BLM beat. it was a lot. it kept me from features and Q&As which is why this month i’ve been asked to lay off the roundups and focus more on original things.
this week imma write about baseball and swimming pools. but best laid plans… who knows i might meet the coolest Somebody and talk to them for an hour and write it all up and dole it all out. thats why i love Los Angeleno.
Pretty sure this is the most productive I’ve ever been as a reporter. Even with LAist I didn’t produce these many original pieces in one month.
Of note: interviews with American Apparel founder Dov Charney about what his new company, Los Angeles Apparel is doing to help curb the pandemic, a visit to a Walmart in the Valley as it gets new pallets of toilet paper and paper towels, features on a radio journalist from KNX and an outgoing Pulitzer winner from the LA Times, an interview with an ICU doc in Palm Springs who uses the controversial cocktail to try to save lives of coronavirus patients, a feature on smokeless weed with several fascinating people, and a bunch of news wrap-ups all about the terrible virus that changed everything.
fucking loved the eastside story. very first guy i talk to, homeless, dressed 1,000x better than i am, clean, funny, tells me a few things he asks me to keep off the record. then he tells me exactly which taco stand he was at in east la just yesterday. ended up in a tattoo shop, disturbing two self proclaimed introverts playing a form of Magic the Gathering, met the coolest old guy ever, and barely understood about a half hour of mumbles from two drunk guys who actually had good stories.
for the sex workers it was great to be able to text jeff koga and say, got any pics of riley reid.
mlk was one i did with a photographer i’d never met before. she was really terrific. the funniest was interviewing this rapper whose day job is dressing up as the statue of liberty while spinning a sign for an income tax office. he was all you can take a picture but dont show my face. i was like yr a rapper? he was all yeah. so i go, you’re missing out on your story. countless handsome black guys are rappers. but how many were dressed up as the statue of liberty — willing to do anything for that dream, and then make it to the top? and he let me take his picture.
the oscar publicist interview was great. perfect conversation. warm day. dogs. i ate half of an eggs benedict. at the other half when i got home. who can eat when they’re conducting an interview? on the way there i thought of the perfect studio for a podcast: a mini van. just soundproof it real good, flip one of the rows of seats around. carpet the floors. install the mics. then you can just go wherever they live or work, drive to a park, and chat in the van. always perfect sound.
for the kobe oscar nom piece, i love the photos. the academy photographers were always so easy to work with. and at oscars time, mama mia they had some good stories. some of the older ones have seen it all. like they used to have to rush their film to the developer via a guy waiting on a motorcycle in the middle of oscar night.
and then yesterday we posted my interview with sarah gim who makes the most beautiful images of food and spreads. im working on this long middle class thing or else i would have had more to show.