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  • Writer's pictureLesley McLaren

West Coast USA - Day 4 Friday 23rd November 2007

Hi all! Sorry about the overdue update but we weren’t in the hotel much on Friday so I didn’t get the chance to do my usual running commentary. We all slept quite late yesterday but we still feel quite tired by the afternoons. Adjusting to the time change seems to be quite difficult this trip.

We decided to venture out to the music stores on Sunset Strip as Gill is in the market for a new bass guitar. We sauntered down to the Guitar Centre, an absolutely HUGE music shop with every variety of drum kit, guitar and amp that you can imagine. They had an amazing vintage section with some really stunning guitars. I love the old 50s rhythm and blues music and even though I’m not a bass player, I just love those violin style basses. I also love the old 50s Hofner guitars used on those great Bo Diddley records from years gone by. In fact, there was one in the shop that had been signed by Bo himself. I’ve tried to convert Gill to the old style gear and music be she’ll hear nothing of the sort and always gravitates towards those modern looking creations. One day she’ll see that old fashioned is best!

After wandering around the Guitar Store and taking pictures of the hand prints of the famous guitarists in the cement outside we managed to persuade Frank to take us to Best Buy….a shrine to techy types like myself and Tippi. As it was the day after Thanksgiving, the shops were bursting with people looking for a bargain in the sales. I went in to buy an ipod and came out with a digital camera. Go figure! It was bargain! My old camera is all toured out and looks prehistoric next to all the new fangled ones. I’ve decided that the ipods are not that much cheaper over here so I’ll just wait and see if Santa brings me one instead. Not sure if he can fit that AND an electronic drum kit in his sleigh though!

After getting lost in Best Buy for about an hour and a half we headed back to the hotel to get spruced up for the gig. We headed over to the House of Blues on Sunset at about 4:30pm. After getting a lot of hassle from some stoner behind the building for going down a one way street the wrong way (we were reversing it doesn’t count) we made our way inside with the gear. As usual we enlisted the help of the unsuspecting barmen to humph the heavy stuff. Suckers!

All the moans about the lack of proper tea bags in the blogs has really paid off as Ernesto, who does PR for us here in LA brought not only a box of PG Tips for us but a box of Tetley aswell! We are saved! No crabbit mornings on this tour and no more sitting shivering in the dingy dressing rooms at night. (It gets very cold here at night time).

We managed to negotiate a sandwich buffet for the dressing room instead of going out for a meal so we had a good munch on cold meat and cheese with bread. After the soundcheck we sat in the dressing room signing 4 boxes of CDs pre-empting the same rush for swag as the last show. It was about 9pm when we marched on stage to the sound of Flower of Scotland. It goes down a treat! We felt the audience were quite tough for the first couple of numbers though. It was like playing a gig in London where people look at you in an accusing way, waiting to be impressed.

As we ploughed through the set they eased up on us and got in to it. During "I Need You", Tippi threw herself into the front row and was immediately lifted above everyone’s heads! It was the highest crowd surf she’s ever done! It was mental! She continued to sing right through the chaos and I can remember thinking that she was going to break her front teeth in the microphone! She survived though and the crowd delivered The Sparra safely back to the stage. Not content with having all feathers in tact she ventured out again and disappeared into the darkness, popping up later on the bar with complimentary drink in hand!

The show was over far too quickly and we had converted yet another thousand people! Piece of cake! We came straight off stage and jumped right into the thick of the crowd touting CDs. Another record was broken on sales tonight. Lets hope the rest of the tour goes like that!

We decided that while we were on Sunset we should go for a drink at the legendary Viper Room. We’d intended to do this on the last tour and never got a chance. We made our way to our van parked back of the gig, wading through the Social Distortion casualties shouting to us about how much they love Ireland and the Irish. Pity we’re Scottish. We got to the van which was parked beneath a wall that some drunk people were hanging over. Reaching for the handle, we were horrified to notice that someone had spewed all down the doors and step from above. It was foul smelling and full of chunks. Rosie had to overcome her fear of vomit and climb aboard! Oh the glam of rock n roll! Anyway, we were on a mission. To the Viper Room!

We got to the den of iniquity and blagged our way in through the back door. I’m not sure why we ended up going in the back way but I just tagged along like a sheep as usual. We were full of excitement on the way in thinking about the many Hollywood movie stars that used to frequent the place. River Phoenix died there in the early 90s so that’s made it infamous. Well, what an anti-climax. I’m sorry to report that it was an utterly disappointing place. I think Tippi described it as being like a Disco in Viewpark. To anyone from my neck of the woods, I’d compare it to Word Up when the lights go up at 3am. Frightening, full o’ walapers and like a scene from Michael Jackson’s Thriller. I could go on.

It’s a really dingy place and the toilets were revolting. There was a horrendous band on stage who started off quite promising, playing chilled out reggae with loads of percussionists on stage. Once they hit the chorus it turned into a screaming metal band. Our ears were bleeding so we retreated to a quieter bar downstairs, passing some strange looking specimens on the way. We were the only people in the other room apart from one man propping up the bar who can only be described as Elton John crossed with Ozzy Osbourne.. He thought he was lovely in his pristine white suite, white shoes, Ozzy style round tinted glasses, white top hat and cane. Tippi of course ended up caught in the fly paper and couldn’t get away from him. Strange, strange people. Having spent about $10 on one drink each for the privelidge of this freak show we decided to leave and go back to the ranch away from the madness and get the PG Tips on the go. The Viper Room is not what we thought it would be and has all the class of a junkie den.

Give us the old mens pubs anyday!

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