From a marquis to a tent in a carpark: 2 nights in Los Angeles
4 days and 5,500 thousand miles, one job - not to fuck up our first awards show in Los Angeles.
My birthday started off grey and damp, a typical November day in London - 10 hrs later, I'm sitting in a convertible Mustang listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival, burning up Hollywood's fresh, pine-smelling highways. I'm on a short work excursion to launch the annual Classic Rock Awards show in LA. We arrived after dark and headed straight to the Sunset Marquis - a mythical hotel, a home to hell-raisers and hellhounds. The Sunset is an odd mix of people who want to be seen there and rock/movie stars who want to hide out there - both groups living, against expectation, harmoniously inside its secluded, ivy-covered walls. Part fantasy hotel, part Saga holiday home for the discerning older rock star. Either way a cool place without a doubt.
After a day of being stuck in a hotel room sweating over table plans, we headed over to the Avalon Theatre, a great venue filled with charm in the heart of North Hollywood. The final touches were being added by the relentless crew. Video screens were being tested, lighting switched on and off... and on, tables being dressed and the air of quiet, busy efficiency hung over the place.
Fast forward a few hours to show time (in the meantime I badly ironed a shirt that had lived in a suitacse for the past few days).
The awards were shot by Ross Halfin - he has done the awards for the last 10 years, but this was the first time we have found ourselves in a giant marquee in a car park opposite the Capitol Records building... odd but cool. The night went well with only one 'fuck off', one near fight and a generator that went on the blink - all in all, a a relatively calm night!
Everyone we shot on the night was gracious, fun and professional - it makes a big difference and helps make the night 'go smoothly'. I do kinda like it when a rock star gets pissed, it does add a certain frisson to the proceedings, but given where we were and the expectations upon us, perhaps a dash of sobriety wasn't such a bad thing!
Kings Of Chaos closed the show - their special guests were Joe Perry, Billy Gibbons and Brian May, a fantastic finale to a whirlwind couple of days.
The next day we left the Sunset - and drove to Melrose Ave - past The Great Frog where we had our pre-award show and hightailed it out of town to the airport. Short but sweet, perhaps we'll do all this again next year?