West Beach Music Festival

9/15/08: The two days – and one looooooooooong night – up in Santa Barbara could not have been more fun. Mark and I drove up Saturday morning, got there early enough to grab a bite and a beer at the El Torito steps from the beach before the festival gates opened, then walked across the street to pick up our passes for the West Beach Music Festival. The stages, food booths, vendors, VIP area, etc, were all literally on the sand, just north of the pier. The first order of "business" for me was to hook up with Todd Brodginski from MSO PR, who would escort me backstage to the artist's trailers to have a conversation with Big Head Todd & the Monsters lead singer/guitarist Todd Park Mohr. And here's a first for me: in all the years I've been doing interviews – on tour buses, backstage, in hotel rooms, in offices, in alleys, etc, etc – I've never had to literally wake my conversation partner up from a sound sleep to get the conversation started. But that was the case when I walked into BHTM's trailer and Todd was crashed on the couch. The band had just flown in cross-country to do this show and needless to say, they were tired. I felt bad for Todd, but luckily, we're old friends and know each other well, so he apologized to me, while I told him there was nothing to apologize for. After we finished tripping over each other being nice, I began our brief chat by asking Todd his reaction to Sen. Hillary Clinton using his song "Blue Sky" from the new album All the Love You Need
at the Democratic National Convention. Obviously he was proud and humbled by the honor, especially since he was a Clinton supporter and because the band hails from Denver, site of the convention.

After our talk ended, I went back out front for the rest of the day and hung out with Mark in the VIP area, enjoying lots and lots of free Heineken beers and free food. I left the area to stand right up front near the stage when Big Head Todd & the Monsters set began. Later, after the sun went down, I met up with Angie and her friend, Bari, and we watched pop star Natasha Bedingfield's performance from the side of the stage.

Following Natasha's set, several of the MSO PR people, including Angie and her boss, Todd, invited me and Mark backstage again and into BHTM's now abandoned trailer to well, party like a rock star!! And boy, did we!!! While BHTM were well on their way to their next gig in the next town, we took over their fully-stocked trailer and began to well, enjoy ourselves. No sense in cold beer and good food going to waste, we all said!
After closing down the backstage area – literally…they kicked us out so they could clean the trailer – we stopped off in our respective hotel rooms (located directly across the street), freshened up and grabbed cabs to State Street in Santa Barbara, where we topped off the evening with stops in two bars, closing the second with shots of, hell, who knows, I can't remember, before calling it a night. After all, day two of the festival was still ahead of us.

Sunday morning saw Mark waking up at the crack of dawn (well 9ish) and scooting out of the room to stake a spot at the exact same bar we'd closed down just a few short hours ago, only this time, it was for breakfast and FOOTBALL…lots and lots of football…and coffee!!! I met Mark a bit later, after checking out of the hotel. While watching football, I got a call from my sister Patty, who told me she and my brother-in-law Bruce were taking a ride on their Harley's and I suggested they ride up to Santa Barbara, where, with Angie's help, we got them two tickets to Sunday's music festival, which, to be honest, wasn't all that great. The lineup was packed with much younger bands, and I had no interviews lined up. We were obviously tired from the day before, so by about 5p, we were all ready to head back home. With yet another busy week ahead, the thought of my head hitting my pillow early Sunday night was heaven. A 2-hour drive later, I was in heaven.

Coming up this week, interviews with and concerts by two great young bands, Electric Touch and Airborne Toxic Event, and Emmys (Yes, those Emmys, which I'll be covering this Sunday) walk-thru at the Nokia Theatre in downtown L.A., a Lindsey Buckingham concert on Friday, Al Green AND Gladys Knight at the Greek Theatre on Saturday, and yes, those darn Emmy Awards on Sunday. Other than that, just another boring week!


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