Sexy Little Thing


"Do you want me to call security?"

Threatened by this barely legal female in a body-hugging dress, I said SURE!

This tiny guy in a trilby hat had told us we had to move.  Which seemed surprising, since we were with the label, the manager, THE ACT!

Once upon a time, the Roxy had seats throughout.  Before someone declared that you had to listen to music standing up.  And it was discovered that you could pack a ton more bodies inside the club if you got rid of the tables and chairs.  The hoi polloi are fucked.  Rubbing up against each other, forced to go home and take a shower to feel human once again.  But if you sport a connection, more distinctly, a wristband, you get to ascend the step to the left, where there is still a modicum of tables and booths.  Sky Daniels of Universal said we could sit ANYWHERE!

So Jeffrey Naumann and I ascended the next riser, far enough away from the speakers so one could retain one’s hearing and see above the heads of the assembled multitude.  It was only us.  B.S.’ing about the old days.  And that’s when this urchin, a tiny replica of a Rat Pack member, approached us and said THIS IS MY TABLE, YOU’VE GOT TO MOVE!

It was a weird approximation of the "Heartbreak Kid".  I looked to the left, and then the right, there was not a soul in sight.  But before I could wrangle a response to this male Cybill Shepherd, he urged us to move once again.  Like we were vermin and needed to be swept away, RIGHT AWAY!

I got the kind of gumption a white boy gets, when pushed beyond reason.  Rather than hop up, I tried to explain.  SKY SAID WE COULD SIT HERE!

Frustrated, this dude did a one-eighty and disappeared.  And that’s when this member of his posse, a cleaner cut version of Paris Hilton and the Hollywood scenesters, asked me if I wanted her to call security.

Why the fuck not.  It just seemed too incredible.  Like I was going to roll over in a game of CANDYLAND?

A beefy gentleman who seemed unable to speak soon appeared.  The girl looked at me with a SEE! attitude on her face.  While I was explaining that we were with the label and had been told this was fair territory, the young gentleman returned and said, "I’M NICK ADLER AND I OWN THIS PLACE.  GET UP!"

Nick Adler?  Like Lou Adler?  Shit, he DID own the place.  We shook hands and the strangely silent Jeffrey and I stood up and relinquished our banquette. Which never had occupants until Chickenfoot began to perform.

That’s what I hate about rock and roll.  The INTIMIDATION!  Like I’m supposed to watch reality TV and recognize Nick Adler on sight?  Like he can’t nicely explain himself when he approaches?

Meanwhile, I’m thirty years older than he is, but in the pecking order of clubville, I’m an untouchable and he’s from the upper caste.

So I journey a level below and wait for Chickenfoot to hit the stage.

But they don’t.  We get an acoustic opener.  This is like having Johnny Rotten perform at a Trump wedding.  Huh?  And this musician played a bit of John Hiatt and a mediocre take of "Coming Into Los Angeles" as we all talked and ignored him.  I mean it IS the fortieth anniversary of Woodstock, BUT WHO DOES THIS GUY KNOW?

Time is passing, as Pete Townshend once sang.  At home I’ve got endless stimulation, but here I’m just killing time, playing on my BlackBerry, just waiting for the headliner to appear.


My car’s in the shop.  I thought the appointment was routine.  But cooking up every complaint I could, it being the final warranty service, I was ultimately informed that the whine I reported was real.  They believed it was the timing belt, or the tensioners.  They were going to have to rip the engine apart.  Huh? The car only has 25,000 miles on it!  It was fine until they did that major service, not knowing how to fix the rebadged Subaru General Motors sold as a Saab.

That’s how I ended up with a rental car.  One of those new Chevy Malibus, that get such good press.  Brandfuckingnew, three miles on it.  With a horrible brake noise.  Not that I worried about fucking the machine up, since I bought insurance.


I thought so.  I kept declining it.  But then they started getting PERSONAL!  I coughed up the name of my insurance company, but then they wanted to know the deductible.  Why?  My credit card would cover it.

Nope.  Not if Saab was paying.

I wasn’t about to call AmEx on the spot.  I’d already killed an hour.  The guy said if I paid $11.95 a day I could total the damn thing.  I initialed and drove off. For much longer than I’d planned, since they’re still waiting for the Subaru parts to be FedExed to the Saab dealership.

And this same Enterprise dude says even though the gauge says empty, I can drive 50 miles.  But as soon as I drive off the lot, I hear a bell, and a message appears in the dash…LOW FUEL!

Who you gonna believe?

And I don’t want to put too much gas in the machine, the reservoir will end up being a bonus to Enterprise, who I’m already pissed at.  So I put in half a gallon.  But then another three and a half when they tell me I’m gonna have to wait at least another day to get my car back.


So I park my car on a hill and venture to Talesai, for a Chickenfoot dinner.  Actually, they didn’t serve chicken feet, although Asian restaurants are known to do this, but I had a good time b.s.’ing with the group.  Gary Arnold told me how Best Buy was the label, about their synergistic deal with Guitar Center, how I had to read this book by Jeff Jarvis on Google.

Carter told me that Sammy gives all his revenue from his new airport restaurants to charity.  Impressive.

And Sky Daniels and I discussed Slacker.  Which gets a fraction of the press of Pandora, but is far superior.

Then we walked down the street to the Roxy.  Where we waited endlessly for our guest list approval and I ran into Luke, who told me he’d been lurking, he hadn’t been in Europe all these months.  I always wonder when I don’t hear from him, Lukather is one of my top ten responders.

And then we go inside, where I interact with the Adler posse.

And then Chickenfoot hits the stage.

Sammy can still hit the high notes.  Michael Anthony demonstrated what Van Halen is lacking without him.  Chad banged the kit.  And Satriani wailed.

But most people did not know the material.  Only a few cuts are online.  But I knew the whole damn album, which they played in order.  Because I don’t like to go to a gig without knowing the music.  And although the headbanging tracks get the press, it’s the softer stuff that intrigues me.  The highlight of the evening was SEXY LITTLE THING!

They tell us it’s about hits.  But it’s not.  It’s about ALBUM TRACKS!  The songs that are not obvious, but penetrate and stay lodged in your gut, that make you get in touch with your humanity, that get your body moving involuntarily when you hear them.

You can catch a video of "Sexy Little Thing" from San Fan here:

The sound is subpar, but you can see the band, and experience Satriani’s lick, which is the glue of the song and the spice that intrigues.

I was bopping up and down.  This is the experience, this is what I came for!


When it was all done, I said my goodbyes and escaped through the side door, like a million times before.  Only this time, coming right at me down this narrow alleyway was my new best friend Nick Adler, accompanying a man nearly twice his height, a new doctor, with instantly recognizable frizzy hair.  It was Brian May.  Making his escape.

Now THAT’S rock and roll.

And eventually I found myself at my automobile.  Parked on that hill, with the emergency brake applied.

Do you know how to release the emergency brake?

I thought I did.  You pull the handle.

That popped the hood.

You put it in gear.


You push every button.  Start looking for hidden levers.  At first I’m laughing, but then dread is sinking in.  It’s midnight!  Am I going to be here all night?

Rental cars don’t have manuals.  I double-checked the glove box.  Absent.

I’d been in the trunk once.  I’d seen nothing but an expanse of carpet.  I was at loose ends, so I checked back there too.  VOILA!  I found it!

Turns out to release the emergency brake on a Malibu, you put your foot on the MAIN BRAKE and then PUSH THE EMERGENCY BRAKE DOWN HARD. HUH?

And you wonder why GM is going bankrupt…  What’s wrong with a handle in the console?  Or at least a handle under the dash.

I fired up this newly-minted iron, put it in gear and then was confronted with the putrid awfulness of terrestrial radio.  WORLD CLASS ROCK?  WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?  Dire Straits’ "Romeo & Juliet" a deep cut?  And what’s with the COMMERCIALS?

Just another night in Hollywood.

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