screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Tag: Echo Park Rising Festival

Lost and Found (VI of XII)

A Los Angeles story of madness and awakening, in twelve parts

Ryan Fuller and Rob Danson of Fort King, at The Echo

Ryan Fuller and Rob Danson of Fort King, at The Echo

Part VI: Echo Park Rising, Sunday

Upon waking on Sunday morning, the second day of the Echo Park Rising Festival, I was badly in need of loud music, comfort food and a cozy spot to curl into a fetal position. Preferably all at once. I had a strange dream during the night. There was a paranoid and delusional crack head who had left a cryptic message on my friend’s cell phone, threatening to come by the house and quite possibly do us bodily harm. In a dazed panic, we discussed various options (call the police, take a posse back to the house, not go home that night and stay elsewhere, etc.), while standing in a drunken crowd that included a throng of KXLU DJs on the sidewalk outside the Lot 1 Cafe in the middle of the night. As the fog began to clear from my sleep-deprived brain, I realized it was not a dream. After an hour of strategizing our next move, we actually listened to the message and determined that he was not a serious threat after all. As it happened, our sleep was only disturbed by the usual roving dogs and ghetto birds. At a friend’s suggestion (thank you, Rob Danson), I grabbed my stuff, scrambled back to Lot 1 and found the safe haven, satisfying brunch and healing music I was looking for.

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Lost and Found (IV of XII)

A Los Angeles story of madness and awakening, in twelve parts

Manhattan Murder Mystery, at the Echoplex

Manhattan Murder Mystery, at the Echoplex

Part IV: Echo Part Rising, Saturday Afternoon

I woke up on a floor in Echo Park to discover it was Charles Bukowski’s birthday. The public radio station KCRW, broadcasting from Santa Monica, was airing a special in honor of the legendary author, short story writer, novelist and poet. As I listened to his friend Harry Dean Stanton’s beautiful reading of the stark and gorgeous Bluebird, I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to prepare for the Echo Park Rising Festival than with streetwise and poignant words from this prolific Angeleno.

In the aftermath of the reading, I thought of my first few days in Los Angeles. There was the massive decompression at Echo Park Lake from so many layers of stress, and just wandering around the streets of Echo Park and Silver Lake in contemplation and what I’ll call “life evaluation.” My friend’s barrage of stories of his current state of mind and recent miseries, his supporting characters of the kind that Bukowski might like to write about, if he were still here. There was the young and naive female sub-letter he found on Craigslist, who put his belongings in bags and tossed them out into the yard, crashed his car and ran back to Pennsylvania after just a few days in the big city. The crack addict and “crack whore” hooker, who stole the car and took it on a joyride. The police. The disorientation. The restless days, locked out and temporarily among the lost and the homeless, out on the streets. The crack addict’s ex-wife and her ominous warnings, and other sordid and sundry characters who had come in and out of his life, wearing him down, taking, not giving, and leaving just a hollow shell in their wake. And through his and my sleepless nights, mysterious packs of barking dogs, like roving canine gangs. Interwoven with the dogs were the ubiquitous ghetto birds. It was horrible and yet gloriously romantic grit.

Besides just the joy of being there (and not being on the East Coast), there was that which strengthened and sustained me: a neighborhood that was relaxed, easy-going and filled with working-class Latino families. Bright, never-ending sunshine. The Tribal Cafe a short walk down the street, with their vegetarian Mexican dishes, amazing kale salads and powerful energy drinks. All of it dirt cheap and in a casual, bohemian setting. Tired as hell but strangely energized, I grabbed my things and headed out for an afternoon and evening of fine music with some old and new friends. It was time for Echo Park Rising.

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The Happy Hollows and their intoxicating “Amethyst”

There’s something else I’d like to commemorate today. The Happy Hollows have unleashed their second album, Amethyst (on Pesky Fruit Music). It was produced by Lewis Pesacov (Best Coast, Fools Gold), mixed by Eric Palmquist at Palmquist Studios at Infrasonic Sound, and mastered by Joe Laporta at Sterling Sound NYC. I’ll do a full review upon my return from mecca with an actual physical copy in hand. They’ll be at Echo Park Rising in August.

For now, have a listen to “Endless” and “Galaxies.” Strong, powerful and driving, yet heavily laced with Sarah-woven fanciful magic. “Endless” really highlights her otherworldly voice. It’s shiver-inducing, beautiful stuff, and classic Happy Hollows.

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[soundcloud url=”″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

The name amethyst comes from ancient Greek for “not” and “intoxicated”, which is ironic, since that is exactly the sort of reaction Happy Hollows’ music elicits. However, in the spiritual world, amethyst is said to enhance psychic powers and intuition by connecting the earth plane and other worlds, and opening one’s channels to telepathy, past lives and spirit communication. It is often used in meditations and for lucid dreaming. Now that makes perfect sense!

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The Henry Clay People ~ End of an Empire

Some sad news today, as I continue work on my final Eastside L.A. Roundup, and realize that there are now at least a dozen truly wonderful Los Angeles bands I enjoyed so much who are no longer with us since I first started these little band updates back in 2009. The Henry Clay People, one of my “top ten,” announced today that they would be playing one final show (at the Echo Park Rising Festival) and then going their separate ways. This is a band that has so much heart; for me, they’re what rock ‘n’ roll is all about. Fortunately everyone is leaving on good terms and with some exciting future plans, but I’m still going to miss them. I can’t help thinking that the HCP are one more fine band that the music industry shit-show has chewed up and spit out. The music biz just plain sucks on every level, whether you’re playing little bars and setting up your own gear, or with a manager, booking agent and publicity people, trying to get to the next level and not lose what you worked so hard for and thought you had.

Lots of fine memories though, even as a relatively new fan of theirs. I’ll wish them all the best, and include today’s announcement below. Plus a couple of videos. First up, something from their last wonderful release, Twenty-Five for the Rest of our Lives. And then one of my fondest memories, from a very special gathering back in 2009 of a handful of awesome L.A. bands, at a little Clifton Park, NY dive called Northern Lights. Bands break up, bars change names, but we’ll always have our YouTube videos. Thanks so much for all the wonderful music, guys. See you one last time in Echo Park!

Status Update
By The Henry Clay People
Hello friendos-

The Henry Clays play August 17th at Echo Park Rising music fest. It’s free. We’ll be playing in the early evening…

In the past, we have been sort of doomsdayish with our “this could be it for the band” insinuations. Yet here we are.

This one may be different. This may actually be “it” for the following exciting reasons:

Eric is now a proud papa bear and one test away from being a legit architect.

Andy is going back to school.
Joey is moving to the east coast to go back to school.
Harris is currently touring the country/world with other rock and roll bands.
Noah has a rad new band called The Pretty Flowers.

If the August 17th show sucks, then we will probably have to do another to redeem ourselves, but it might not be until 2020: Thirty-Five for the Rest of Our Lives.

It’s been fun. We miss you. We miss playing. It’s kinda sad and happy at same time. Let’s make this one special.

The Henry Clay People

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