Monday, September 24, 2018

Jay and the Americans - Rickie Lee

Upstairs at the Roxy
Jay and the Americans. is a fictional memoir. Most of it's true, like 90%, though I've stretched things a bit here and there. It's what storytellers do. Jay and the Americans is available on Amazon and CreateSpace, just click on the links in the sidebar.

The eighties were incidental, like music for films. I graduated from college and took a job; a job-job with the Hollywood Reporter.  I got paid and everything; I hob-nobbed with the elite; I went to people's parties. As a part of the press I was part of the fringe, the outskirts of the privileged. It wasn't like work at all. Thank God.

I met Andy Warhol at Famous Amos on Sunset, maybe I mentioned this. He had on the biggest wig I'd ever seen. He said, "Nice to meet you."  I met Bud Cort at a mixer. He was very quiet.  I said, "I enjoy your work." He said, "Thank you." That's what I mean by the fringe. I met people. They said, "Nice to meet you" and "Thank you."

I saw Rickie Lee Jones at the Roxy and wrote a review for the L.A. Weekly.  Tom Waits was in the audience, shitfaced.  So was Chuck E. Weiss.  Rickie too, was drunk as a skunk, but the funky songs were funky and the beautiful ones were beautiful. The show was over, the crowd dispersed; the curtain was drawn when she pushed her way through. She said, "Where’s my hat?  Where's my fucking beret?" I was sitting at a table taking notes. She looked at me. "Jou take my hat? Hey, hey, where's my fucking hat?"

Tom Waits came out from behind the curtain. In his gruff voice he said, "Hey, you seen the lady's hat?"

I looked around. A beret was on the table next to mine.  I handed it to her. She said, "Well, thanks, then. I though' you stole my hat."

I said, "'Company' was beautiful." It was. So melancholy and so sad. 

I used that story in my review, the gist of it. It colored it; it said in words what I heard, the beauty of her melodies; the discord of the lyrics.

I saw Tom Waits at the Troubadour. Rickie Lee was in the audience. She said, "I know you." Lots of people knew me; not about me; not my name, just my face. I was familiar, like a little brother: I was there but it didn't matter. It was as if, at any moment, someone would send me off to bed, and yet, I was writing about them, I wasn't benign in their lives; they just didn't know it. It was kind of funny.

I said, "I love your work."

She said, "Thank you," and asked if I had change for a dollar.