Friday, June 19, 2009

Another Road Trip

6-19-09 Another road trip…

Seems like I’ve been driving to Las Vegas from Los Angeles for about 30 years. The first few times I did that drive, it seemed like it took forever. When I started driving there from my GF’s place a decade ago…it now seems really short to me. One of the first times I went there, it was after becoming inebriated at a party – and it must’ve sounded like a good idea – to drive there at night. My preference is to drive there as early in the day as possible – preferably at dawn or just after dawn.

When there’s roadwork on Hwy. 15, it’s slow going. I’m on my way there later today, so let’s hope for clear roads. It’s summer – certainly no ice on the (dry) roads.

I have many memories of music on this particular road trip. We used to play “Riders On The Storm” by The Doors, and imagine Jim Morrison hitch-hiking. We also knew that French pop singer Michel Polnareff fooled around out in the desert (near Zzyzx), so we got off there once and had a look around – and didn’t see anything.

The first time I drove to Las Vegas with my GF, it was in ’98 – for my old Toyota, it was still cassette time. I had some cassettes I had made of 60’s AM radio airchecks. We listened to everything, chuckled at the advertisements and grooved to Alvin Cash & The Crawlers “Twine Time” etc. After the airchecks finished, onto the remaining time of the cassette, I dubbed an old Osmond Brothers promo LP, ‘for laffs’. Imagine my surprise when my GF knew every single song and sang along! (Guess she is exactly the ‘right age’ to have known and loved both The Osmond Brothers and the Jackson Five!)

For most of the 80’s, we used to drive to Vegas listening to the imaginary soundtracks of the Vegas dream – Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. et al. In L.A., I got to see Mr. Sinatra and Sammy – but I never had the chance to see Dean Martin perform live. We once went to a re-creation of a ‘rat pack’ show at the Sahara Hotel…

I remember when the Paris Hotel opened, it was rumored that they were going to have mainstream French acts come and play – Alain Bashung, Liane Foly etc. But I don’t know if that ever happened. I do enjoy ‘hanging out’ in there (no, we don’t gamble at all, usually).

I once had my birthday at the Hard Rock Hotel, in the steakhouse there, “AJ’s” – I think the Foo Fighters were playing next door – it was louder than heck in the restaurant! “Rock Band Loud”, if you know what I mean.

And the record stores in Las Vegas are long and storied – J-Mar’s, Tower, Big B’s, Benway Bop, about 12 Record City locations, even a Record Surplus once upon a time! The Underground” on Twain! Yeah! Old school Las Vegas punks! These days, the roost is ruled by Phoenix chain Zia Records, with 2 x Las Vegas locations. Las Vegas, here we come!

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