I’m not leaving for SF for another few days. The RTB tour was routed for weekend dates and the Yay area gig isn’t until the next weekend. This was really cool, given the fact that the next day, I was paying heavily for my night at the Hazzard’s
I slept in and got myself together around midday. The Epecurean fell out in the Hazzard’s living room and spent 19 hours on the living room couch.
I had an appointment for dinner but I stopped by to check on my boy. Money rose briefly and mumbled something about Gatorade and carbs. He shook my date’s hand and went back into his coma.
I got back with his order and some chocolate cake from Dupar’s for Coach Hazzard. The Epecurean came to life and shook it off. He was serious about SF and wanted to make sure that I didn’t get a flight back to NC..
The next night, we played it low key and had a family outing. DJKhalil, Coach Hazzard, The Epecurean, DJ Khalil’s brother, Los Angeles Laker advance scout, Rasheed and a date all went to see, The Dark Night. If you’re the last person in the free world to see it, don’t hesitate any further. It’s a classic.
HEATH LEDGER AS THE JOKER THE ROLE OF HIS ALL TOO BRIEF LIFE
The following morning I was skedded to meet with Hidden Beach honcho, Steve McKeever for breakfast at his Malibu home. Even though she’s not a morning person, Rena got up at 6: 30 to drive.
Steve and I go back to when he was a west coast based business affairs attorney and I was handling east coast promo duties for Wing Records. We were both in the old Polygram system.
Since his signing of Jill Scott in 2000 he’s been quietly building a neo-soul empire with the Hidden Beach imprint. He’s recently signed Tony Rich and Teena Marie. But this particular morning, along with his wife Candi’s waffles, Steve is serving his new pet project, Yes We Can: Voices Of A Grassroots Movement. A new soundtrack for the Obama campaign.
In addition to running his label, Steve is the key west coast operative for Obama. He and America’s next president are both Harvard law school grads.
The cd has new heat from; Kanye West, Sheryl Crow, Dave Matthews, Lionel Richie, Jill Scott and Yolanda Adams. Stevie Wonder’s Signed Sealed and Delivered and John Mayer’s Waiting On The World To Change are also included. It’s perfect music for the change that we can all feel coming.
JOHN MAYER LENDING HIS VOICE TO CHANGE
Later that night, The Epecurean scoops me and we head out for barbecue, a subject near and dear to his heart. We’re keeping it real and we hit a spot over on Pico called, Cecile’s. Tender short ribs, juicy chicken and tangy sauce. We were both sick the next morning.
After dinner we stopped by the studio to see Mos. His brother, Rahman is slicing beats, tour manager Naheem is hosting his lovely visiting cousin and her girlfriend and Mos is playing the star.
I quietly take a seat in the corner and vibe. There’s a jawn in progress and there are men at work After a while Mos asks what’s up. I tell him that I’m just trying to catch the beat.
Mos is wild intelligent and extremely cultured. Over the years, I’ve had many conversations with him about film, jazz, hip hop and such. We had dinner a few years back in Charlotte and he introduced me to Elvis Costello and Diana Krall. Mos is cool.
The studio crowd thins. There are only pros in the room. Mos, The Epecurean, the engineer and me. Mos plays the whole new jawn for me. An unfinished work but still ready enough for friends and family.
THE VOICE OF THE HOOD
The next morning, The Epecurean and I are supposed to hit the road north. Rena is heading back east for a few days and we’re giving her a lift to the airport. Before we bounce, I walk up to the dry cleaner up the street and grab the linen suit. My gear rotation has been mad tight. I only packed for three days.
When I get back from my walk, Rena tells me that I’m not looking well. I’m coughing and sweating. I think Rock The Bells fever is taking hold.
On the way to LAX I reflect on the previous nights listening session. I ask The Epecurean, “Is Mos going to do something about that record?”
He responds, “What do you mean?”
I say, “Like put a hit on it.”
We drop Rena. She’s rocking a pair of heart stopping white pants. She leaves me with the keys to the crib and the cell phone. Rena’s heaven sent and built like it too.
The Epecurean and I jet out to Venice for staging purposes. I’m packed and good to go. He needs to gather.
I’ve got a deep irritation in my chest. My temperature is rising. The Ep is not doing well either. He’s in need of a dose of Nyquil.
Questions have arisen about whether we should leave today. Plans are laid to start and we decide to spend the night in Santa Barbara instead of making the trip uninterupted.
Once we hit the road, I break out the black i-pod, the one that The Ab programmed and that proved to be a hit on the disco truck. There are over 200 James Brown tracks on it. I go to JB’s playlist and chill.
Along the way I am witness to some of the most beautiful topography in the country. The beach along the Pacific Coast Highway, the mountains, vineyards and all the blue sky that you can handle.
James is shouting, “Mama come here quick/and bring that lickin stick.” There’s not much conversation taking place. The music is blaring. Maceo is killing the solo on, Soul Power ’74. Same Beat rocks. The healing power of funk is in effect.
THE SMASH SOUL POWER ’74
We pull up in Santa Barbara and check into an inn on the beach. Lots of Brits. Cool spot.
The Ep is driving through the main street of town. He’s pointing out restaraunts of interest. The Ep is in his element. He decides on a fish joint. I get a martini and the lobster crab cakes.
We’re kickin back and he tells me that because of my love of jazz and martinis, I remind him of one of the sixties’ guys on, Mad Men. The Ep is funny.
The next day we’re pulling into Palo Alto’s Four Seasons Hotel. There are women of Muslim heritage in the front with a mature blonde handing out envelopes. They pull off in a Navigator as we’re entering the lobby.
I ask the desk clerk if there are invitations to a party in the envelopes or tips. She smiles knowingly and says that the women had been long time guests. I wonder aloud if they are planning to buy the chain.
The clerk turns to The Ep and says, “It’s so nice to see you again Mr. Jackson.” On sight recognition is heroin to business travelers. You never get enough.
We get to the rooms. The Ep goes into his, skeds a massage appointment, throws on one of the house bath robes, knocks on my door and asks do I want to go with. I say no.
I’m coughing violently and I want a bit of room service. I get a bite and go to sleep. I want to be rested for the show tomorrow.
to be continued….
shouts to Goapale, C-Line, Brian Koppelman, Aphrodita and….The Wirk