60th Primetime Emmy® Awards

9/16/08 Today began VERY bright and early (for me). At about 8:30a, I hopped on what passes for a subway system here in L.A., the Metro Red Line, bound for downtown Los Angeles and more specifically, the Nokia Theatre. At 9:30a, us "media types" were ordered to be present for what was dubbed an "Emmys walk-thru." Sunday night I'll be donning my tuxedo (yep, I've got ONE!) to cover the 60th Annual Emmys, but this morning, it was walking through what was the empty shell of what will be the "General Media" tent. And I do mean "tent." This is the first year the Emmys will be held at the Nokia Theatre, so the powers that be decided to build the "General Media" tent…ON THE ROOF OF A PARKING STRUCTURE ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE THEATRE! All of us "media types," which include nobodys like me as well as ALL the people I guess some of you watch every night at 7 or 7:30: Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, Insider something or other, Extra! Hollywood whatever, etc, etc, etc. All of us will be housed in the "General Media" tent the night of the show, where, hopefully, the winners will walk thru to answer dumb questions offered up by the aforementioned "media types." But not me! Nope, you see, I don't watch much TV. It may be more accurate to say that the ONLY TV I watch is news (CNN, MSNBC, FOX), sports, and PBS (Tavis Smiley, Charlie Rose, Frontline, documentaries, etc). It's a safe bet none of those people will be winning Emmys on Sunday night, so I'll just be pressing "record" on my well, recording gear and wishing I was at home watching the Cowboys play the Packers!! ARGHH!!!!

Following the Emmys walk-thru, I got back on the train, got back home to do my "regular work" (writing my daily Pop, Rock and Classic Rock News columns, and, today, preparing for not one, but TWO interviews I did tonight with two great bands, Electric Touch and the Airborne Toxic Event, both of whom played tonight at the Wiltern Theatre, ironically enough, located at the corner of WILshire & WesTERN! Get it, Wiltern Theatre?

I arrived for my 4p conversation with Electric Touch, proceeded to the backstage area and asked for the band's tour manager. By now, you should be getting the hang of what I do when I interview bands at the venue, usually after soundcheck and before the show: I arrive backstage and try and find the tour manager! And as is often the case, a tour bus (usually belonging to the band I'm about to speak with) was parked across the street. I called the tour manager, who promptly asked if I could see where the tour bus was parked (UMM, YEAH, RIGHT ACROSS
THE STREET FROM ME!), I said yes, and walked over. I was invited in by lead singer Shane, whom Aly and I had met and spoken to back in April at the Coachella Music
Festival in Indio, California, outside Palm Springs. (Quick side note here: Aly is actually going to see this very same show tomorrow night up in San Francisco, and with any luck, get a chance to say hi to Shane and the guys again!) Quickly, Electric Touch consists of 3 guys from Texas and Shane, an Englishman, and has a very cool, very classic rock (think T-Rex, The Beatles, The Kinks, Cheap Trick). As usual, I asked Shane to dissect several songs on the album, including "Who Put the Fire Out," "Love Is In Our Hearts," "Saved" and "Don't Be Afraid."

After my conversation with Electric Touch ended, I jumped out of the tour bus, walked down Wilshire Boulevard and ducked into a tiny Chinese food joint for some "dinner" (ahh, the glamorous life) before walking back to the backstage area to hook up (say it with me now) the tour manager for Airborne Toxic Event, who led me to the downstairs dressing rooms at the Wiltern (a place I'd been many, many times before, including my first time when several years ago I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Pete Townshend of The Who), where I sat and waited for lead singer and main songwriter Mikel Jollett and guitarist Stephen Chen to finish another interview, before the 3 of us went off into a separate room, sat on a couch and began to chat. THIS BAND KICKS ASS!!! Their self-titled CD is packed with great, great songs, the best of
which is "Sometime Around Midnight." And man, that's saying something, because there are plenty more great songs, including "Wishing Well," "Gasoline," "Does This Mean You're Moving On?" and "Innocence." And Mikel and Stephen are really cool guys, super intelligent, really
interesting to talk to and just way cool people. My conversation with them was one of those that could have gone on for hours…in fact, all THREE of us said so. I've said this before, but the VERY BEST compliment anyone can ever give me after a conversation/interview is, "Man, that was great. You had some great questions, not the usual crap we always hear." And that's exactly what Mikel and Stephen said after we were forced to stop because they had to go soundcheck. Definitely be on the lookout for these guys. If you like U2, the Arcade Fire, Echo & the Bunnymen, etc, you'll really love this band. Let me give you three sample lyrics to give you an idea of what I mean:

"Then she emerged from the dark like a ghost in my head."
"The words she said like bullets from a gun."
"Melancholy soundtrack to her smile."

Mikel is no ordinary songwriter, and the Airborne Toxic Event is no ordinary band!

After watching soundcheck, I walked back outside just to check out the crowd coming in to the show and to grab my ticket from will call. I'm telling you, BOTH these bands deliver live as well! Again, I'd seen Electric Touch play at Coachella and then once again at the Key Club in Hollywood, and tonight, they were more polished (in a good way) and yet more raw (in a good way) than ever. A solid young rock band, indeed. And the Airborne Toxic Event was everything I expected them to be. This was my first time seeing them live, but based on the album, I had high expectations, which were met…and then some! I describe their sound as "BIG MUSIC!" For five people onstage, they put out a sound that seems to be generated by twice as many musicians. If you remember a great band called The Waterboys (one of my all-time favorite bands!!), that's who Airborne reminded me of more and more, especially live. BIG MUSIC!! Big, dynamic music!

What a day it's been! What a varied, exciting life I lead. How blessed am I? And I'm so, so happy that my "baby" girl, Aly, gets to see this exact same show tomorrow night up in San Francisco. You have NO idea how happy that makes me!!!!!

Friday I'll be in Anaheim to see Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac. Life is good!


No comments: