The past two days have been a little like looking at the landscape through the window of a speeding car. I woke up at 5 am last Friday (that's 4 am California time), got my family out the door, walked the dog and drove across the desert through a glum, gray drizzle. I showed up early at The Echo, excited to try on my new role as MC. When the doors opened, people poured in: fashion-forward music fans, lumberjacks and hard-looking punks with sweet, generous dispositions. The 'Help Mike Atta' show was on its way to becoming a big success!
The gray-haired punk brigade was there, many of them turned out to be the parents, relatives or friends of the younger punk bands. It reminded me that the most valuable things we leave behind are the little seeds of inspiration we manage to plant in the young.
I was not feeling particularly inspired that night, running up and down the stairs between the two stages, announcing bands, forgetting names and generally being my most un-charming. I had watched a Kathy Griffin show a few days prior and I thought to myself, "I'm funny - I can do that!" Wrong. I'm funny in a family setting. I've decided to leave the MC profession to other, more charming and witty hosts. I mean, I actually got the first band's name wrong and called them White Light, White Stripes and finally their correct name: White Night. Que verguenza!
A big, huge thank you to all the bands who participated in the Help Mike Atta concert. The amount of respect and cooperation between musicians was lovely to behold, everyone worked as a team and at one point the stage manager smiled at me and said "I can't believe it - we're a little ahead of schedule!"
The Echo/Echoplex team was flawless and professional. Special thanks to Lisa Fancher, Liz Garo and Mike Patton who spearheaded the organization of this benefit.
I got home at 2 am, chatted with an old friend until three, woke up and went into the recording studio to work on a project I'm doing with Robert Lopez. Later, I stopped for dinner with my pals, Tracy and Angie Skull and started the gradual shift back down to Arizona speed.
Heading back across the desert, I had several hours to contemplate the beauty of friendship: musicians and artists who come running from all directions to help a friend in need without thinking twice, old friends who open their homes to host me whenever I come to town, friends who come up with spur of the moment creative projects that somehow become reality.
My friends, my hometown, my community.
I love you, L.A.