Sunday, March 27, 2016

I Can Have Both

Johnny Marr at the El Rey 
Sometimes I just can't escape Morrissey. Not that I'd ever WANT to. I mean, I just doubt that there are as many events for other artists out there.

For example, there was a book release party for To Me You Are A Work of Art-a photographic book depicting  Morrissey related tattoos on February 28. This was in Los Angeles at Lethal Amounts which is a small studio. There was a DJ playing Morrissey music and on the wall there were photographs of various Moz fans sporting their Morrissey tattoos. I met up there with Vanessa and we ran into Jose Maldonado.

So Jesse Tobias walked in and while I am virtually nobody, he said hi to Vanessa and Jose as we were talking  (at least my friends are famous). I seriously could have said I discovered a cure for cancer when Jose and Vanessa introduced me to him and I doubt that he would have been impressed;  at least I got to shake his hand. Furthermore, I am pretty shy and I didn't really know what to say to him. I think he's a great guitar player? Duh!
Jose kindly posing beneath a photo of a fan from Tustin 

 I have come to the conclusion that its okay not to say much but just be happy to shake someone's hand. I feel like if I can't make a lasting GOOD impression, its best to just shut up and let others do the talking, which worked out just fine.

It worked just as well when they also introduced me to Mando Lopez and his wife that night. Its quite exciting to meet them and to tell you I met them. For, how many get the opportunity?

Mando and Jose in conversation
In addition to meeting Morrissey's band mates, I also was fortunate enough to get to meet the two collaborators and authors of the book, Anthony Amor and Julian Chavez. Both of them were lovely human beings and very pleased that Morrissey wrote the forward to the book. I don't think you can top that!

There were quite a number of fans who are featured in the book there as well. It was awesome to realize that I actually know quite a number of them. I think you can learn a lot about a person from what they choose to put on themselves permanently. You learn even more about them from which line from a particular song they chose. And if you know Morrissey's lyrics, you probably realize the impact of those lines more than most.

Vanessa posing with the book
The following weekend was a Johnny Marr gig at the El Rey. It seemed it was a pretty short tour for Johnny but we were lucky to have him here in California. In addition to the show in Los Angeles, he played in Pomona, San Diego and further north in Sacramento and Fresno.

Roland came along with me this time which was great. We ran into a couple of Breakfast Champions, Ed Navarro and his girlfriend as well as Officer Mike. Vanessa, and others were there up near the stage but we didn't meet up since Roland and I were further back.

There is just something you can't explain about hearing a Smiths song played by the original guitar player and songwriter. Its like he had this special touch that NO ONE can recreate. It's widely known that Johnny Marr is one of the best guitar players of our time, but to actually SEE him was quite special. He sang and played probably about six Smths songs: Still Ill, The Headmaster Ritual, Bigmouth Strikes Again, There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby, and of course, How Soon Is Now?

There were moments when I was watching him play and I thought to myself, "This is THE guy who walked up to Morrissey's door on King's Road and asked him to be in a band with him. He saw it all happen. Everything."
Another shot of Johnny at the El Rey
So, in addition to seeing such a phenomenal guitar player, I was seeing a bit of history in an intimate venue. It felt unique.

To be fair, I have seen him play before. But I suppose what made it different this time was the band he's been with now for a few years seems a bit tighter, he seemed to play more Smiths songs and more importantly, seeing him in the more intimate venue with my friends who I KNOW appreciated the moment as much as I did made it better.