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Line Her Notes: Entry.004

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Wednesday, 15 August 2007
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Someone recently told me I should write memoirs on my experiences in the music industry because they “would sell.” To be honest, I don’t think they would. So that’s why I’m writing them here for free. So what can I promise you? Well, a lot less high rolling antics than Pamela des Barres and Vince Neil and a lot more “and then we hosed down behind the venue because we had to sleep on the van that night” sort of fare.

My rock ‘n’ roll experience has been far more P.B.R. than Cristal, my friends. The amount of times I’ve eaten everything in a backstage area because that’s all I had to eat that day are many. So consider this my plebeian version of a rock memoir. Although ironically, this first entry will involve the not-so-plebeian rock ‘n’ roll fixture of strippers and porn stars. Amen.

How Does It Feel

What I am about to confess now will probably blow a lot of my friends’ minds: I once attended an Orgy, Disturbed and Crazy Town show at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. Now, let me explain. It was around 2000 and I was friends with a young photographer named Mia who was obsessed with the band Orgy. She asked if I would meet her in Vegas so she could see her favorite band. Being a good friend and wanting a trip, I said OK. I knew the show wouldn’t be my bag but I considered it a nice little anthropological experiment. I often took weird trips like this when I was younger and lacked stable employment.

Being lo-budg rock ‘n’ rollers, we both took the Greyhound to Vegas separately from our respective cities. That’s right, we’re classy. This seemed a convenient (and cost effective) choice, until Mia’s bus never showed up. I would later find out she also had no cell phone. At the time, all I knew was my little Internet friend Mia was living up to her name. So now I was stuck alone in Vegas with tickets to a show I didn’t want to see in the first place.

Seeing as how I was completely screwed, I decided to turn this debacle into an adventure. I took a cab to the Hard Rock Hotel and figured I would just play slots and enjoy free booze…for hours. Did I mention we had no hotel room booked as we were supposed to stay with her aunt and I only had $120 in the bank? That’ll come in handy later.

As I meandered the Hard Rock casino I ran into some old roadie type guys wearing all access laminates and struck up a conversation. I decided for the purpose of my adventure (and to avoid looking like I was willingly attending tonight’s show) that I would lie and say I wrote for Rolling Stone. At the time, I was actually working for a local music magazine in Whittier where my primary duties consisted of putting address labels on magazines and dropping them off at the post office. But I figured no one would delve.

I forget the main roadie’s name but it was something like “Wolf” or “Mad Dog” or something else that implied he enjoyed hauling Marshall amps and not showering. He told me he worked for the band Disturbed and that Jenna Jameson had been on the bus with them all day. He asked if I was going to the after party in Orgy’s suite and I said, “Sure.” He instructed me to give him my cell number and promised to find me and escort me up there after the show. I figured as long as I could find somewhere to stay up late and party I wouldn’t have to sleep in a slot machine chair (which was literally my plan).

When time came for the show, I actually found myself trying to watch from the front row. I still have no idea why. A giant 6’4” boy was standing in front of me (5’0”) with four friends and after promising them that I would buy them a drink (since they were underage) they willingly gave up their front row spot to me. For the record, I bought one drink for all four of them. I might be the most ineffective corruptor of youth in the history of time.

Disturbed and Crazy Town lived up to their names. I was in awe that this was what kids were into. I felt old and I hadn’t even cracked my mid-twenties. Little did I know that the music industry was only beginning to gear up for a solid decade of rap rock and cheesy stage shows.

When Orgy began playing the crowd went frenetic. I remember peering out into the crowd of girls screaming “HOW DOES IT FEEEEEEL?!” and wondering how many of them actually knew that “Blue Monday” was a cover. I also wondered why it inspired the two girls to my right to begin flashing their breasts to Jay Gordon when he wasn’t even looking. Then just to be fair, I wondered if any girls had ever flashed their breasts to Peter Hook. Probably not. I actually found Jay Gordon to be quite a good frontman and was easily amused by guitarist Ryan Shuck’s custom Ibanez that had blue LED inlays. I know it might be a pussy thing to say but hey, if I don’t know the songs at least I could look at the pretty lights.

After the show, I walked up to the merch table where Mad Dog Wolf was and one of the guys from Disturbed was with him. I heard the fellow say, “Invite her to the party” and suddenly I didn’t want to go. However, my desire to mooch free food and crash out on someone’s floor was stronger than my desire to play craps by myself and so I followed Mad Dog Wolf up to the festivities.

Once inside the party, I encountered a barrage of strippers, rockers and more conveniently for me, pizza! I happily helped myself to a few slices while trying to find someone interesting to talk to. As I neared the balcony, a blonde girl in a plain white tank top and jeans started chatting me up. She said she was also from Los Angeles and was so happy to be in a city where you could smoke inside. I concurred. I introduced myself and then she introduced herself. “Hi, I’m Jenna.” I then experienced a mental flash similar to seeing your life quickly pass before your eyes except with naked people. Jenna. Jameson. My first concrete thought was, “Oh my God, I have seen cum on your face” followed by “My brother is going to be so jealous.” It’s always kind of funny talking to someone you’ve seen naked. I tried super hard not to stare at her boobs. What? I said it. You would, too. Truth be told, I found her to be pretty low key, polite and ironically demure compared to the rest of the ladies in attendance.

And what ladies. I remember one statuesque buxom blonde (with braces) drunkenly telling me how she told her friend who was competing in some beauty pageant that she needed to sleep with Donald Trump in order to win. Miss Drunky would later get so plastered she would try to pole dance with the entire balcony railing and had to be pulled off because the guys were afraid she was about to plunge 10 stories. That would have been a tragic, although kind of funny way to go.

Another partygoer asked me how many girls in the room had fake tits. We speculated that barring ourselves, the entire room consisted of silicone and saline. At some point during this affair, three or four of the strippertastic ladies decided to hold a “Who Has The Best Ass?” contest for the boys in Disturbed. Each one promptly dropped trou and allowed the guys to decide. I stood there smugly watching, thinking I could have won that contest had I chosen to enter but sometimes being a loser with your pants on isn’t such a bad idea. Although unfortunately for you the reader, probably not quite as exciting…

For some reason, I had an unusual sense of bravado that night. When the lead singer of Disturbed attempted to hit on me by sliding his hand behind my neck and whispering something in my ear in a foreign tongue, I rolled my eyes and muttered, “Cool. You speak Hebrew.” He immediately stood back and said, “How did you know?!” To which I replied, “I studied it in college.” Which was true, although I had actually failed that course so I had no clue exactly what he was saying but I did know it was in Hebrew. He tried to save face by saying something else suggestive, in English, to me and I just looked up and said, “Look, let me bust your balls and let you in on a secret: I will be the only girl here not making out with you tonight.” Man, if only I was always so snatchy. (My one competing memory for such snatchiness was when I asked Nick from B.R.M.C. for a cigarette and he replied that he had one between his legs to which I quipped, “Well, if it’s that small then you shouldn’t brag about it.”) There, my two moments of being clever, succinctly documented.

I forget what followed exactly (mostly because I was getting bored), I do know that Mr. Disturbed and I sat down and I could tell something was wrong with him. It was very much that “I’m in a band and strippers are all over me but actually, I’m really depressed” sort of rock ‘n’ roll fare. I ate more pizza and wandered over to talk to Ryan from Orgy because I really wanted to compliment him on his guitar. It was the highlight of my night.

I asked him what he would do if the Orgy thing ever stopped working out and he said, “Oh, I’ll just go back to being a hair dresser.” I was floored and Ryan was now my official favorite person of the evening. We chatted two more seconds and then he left.

Following this, things started to get hairy at the party. I wound up sitting on a bed with two tall Asian girls, one was rather touchy feely (and in buttless chaps) and another was quite coked out and complaining about “that asshole Glenn” who dumped her. Glenn really isn’t a very rock ‘n’ roll name so I completely missed the fact she was talking about Danzig. The one in the buttless chaps turned and asked me if I was into threesomes and I replied, “Um, I think I need more pizza.” Because I am smooth and rock ‘n’ roll like that.

As the men in the room starting getting more debauched and people began to feel the need to grab me and ask if I was staying over, I started realizing staying over was not an option. I decided I would suck it up, go down to the front desk and see if I could get a room with the rest of the money on my debit card. As I approached the front desk, buttless chaps girl was there so I hid behind one of the slot machines until after she had gone. I’m still not sure why I did that. I mean, what was she going to do? Kidnap me and force me to make out with her stripper friends? (You can pretend it happened if it makes this more exciting for you. I don’t mind.)

Anyhow, approaching the front desk, I smiled, placed my card down and waited for it to get denied. The clerk smiled, ran my card and then handed me my room key. Holy shit. This was the first time in my life I had ever had my own hotel room. I was so excited. I told myself I was so very cosmopolitan to have my own hotel room…with guitars printed on the curtains…in Vegas. I know, how precious. I started jumping on my bed and then fell asleep. It was 4 a.m.

At approximately 7 a.m., I woke up to the most horrendous jackhammering construction sound next door to my room. My first cosmopolitan hotel-renting experience was becoming a total bust! There is nothing worse than being woken up at some ungodly hour after going to bed drunk at some other ungodly hour. In my stupor, something in my subconscious (definitely not God) said, “Remember the construction.” I didn’t get why but I remember feeling that bizarre intuitive nudge.

At 10 a.m., I woke up feeling better and looked over to my phone to see the red blinking light signaling I had a message. At first I thought, “Hmm, did Mad Dog Wolf know I had a room?” then I registered the more accurate thought, “Ooh girl, your card got denied.” I was not simply up shit creek here friends, I was down its tributary* and in the ocean. Not only, did I have no more money in my bank account but I also had no credit cards and no friends readily available to dispense money. My only option would have been to call my parents (who had no idea I was in Vegas) and ask them to wire money. And I was fairly certain that ringing up my fundamentalist Christian parents with “Hey mom, I went to Vegas for an Orgy show and couldn’t afford my hotel room” would not have gone over very well. It was at this point my survival instincts kicked in.

Calmly, I picked up the phone and rang the front desk. The clerk in her ever-so-pleasant public relations voice informed me that my card had been denied and asked if I had another method of payment. What happened next was a rapid-fire blur. As I opened my mouth I said, “Yeah, you know what, I’ll give you my other card in a second. But first of all, let’s talk about that construction next door to my room at 7 a.m. What the hell was that? I work for Rolling Stone. I was here last night reviewing a show, got to bed at 3 a.m., only to be awakened by jarring construction that gave me a massive headache. As someone who frequents this hotel quite often I am disgusted by this service! If this is how you treat your guests I am never coming back here again!”

Pause.

“Hold on one second, Ms. Simonian.”

Pause.

“We can comp your next night if you’d like.”

“Fuck that. I have a flight to catch today.”

Pause.

“Ok, we can comp your room. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

And then the angels broke forth in song. Yes, my friends, I had just managed to get a free hotel room on a denied credit card. I began jumping up and down on my bed and screaming, “I’m a Jedi!” Dorky, but true.

I quickly gathered my things lest they changed their mind and scampered down to the casino floor where I ran into all the guys from Disturbed and Orgy. One of the guys from Disturbed asked me about my music and said he was going to call me to sing vocals on a track. Heard that before. Their lead singer/Hebrew enthusiast Dave, clad in sunglasses, looked my way but didn’t mutter more than a terse, “Hi.” Whatever dude, I just got a free hotel room.

When I finally got back home, Mia informed me in hysterics that her bus had broken down and she had been horribly stranded in the middle of buttfuck nowhere. I felt like the worst friend ever having to admit that I had actually wound up hanging out with her favorite band. However, the next year she would get to hang out with my idol David Bowie, so all was rectified by the universe.

Coincidentally, my roommate recently confessed to me that her hairdresser growing up was Ryan from Orgy. Furthermore, I recently ran into him as some of my dearest friends in Placebo are currently on tour with his new band. There’s no way in hell he’d remember me but I sure do remember his guitar with that sweet blue LED inlay. If I could play guitar, I’d have one that lights up like a motherfucker too.

*Use of tributary there was an incorrect metaphor but I also bombed Oceanography so suck it.

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