I’m sitting in a bar in Highland Park, near the Hi Hat where I’m about to see my friend’s band Suzie True. This feels like the first time in weeks that I’ve had a spare half hour to sit down and write about my time here in Los Angeles. There is always so much to do here, and I’ve spent the month criss-crossing this massive city hopping from jam sessions to writing sessions, shows and rehearsals, to parties and events. I’ve been paying around $15 a day in parking, spent an average of $30/meal, and when there’s a cover here it’s not $8, it’s $20. It’s an expensive city, but it feels like there’s opportunity for great things everywhere. I suppose that’s what brings people here. The bars are hip, there’s art everywhere, and it seems like everyone you meet has worked on a TV show or played in a famous band (or that’s what they want you to think!).
Some highlights from the trip so far: a house show featuring Bay Area musician (and clown!) Cassandra Marie Lewis. The show opened up with a collection of wind-up clowns all bobbing around while she sighed and motioned for them to “hurry up”, closed with her finishing off the bottle of Bulliet she’d been pulling on all night. She is a powerful being, full voiced with a haunting yodel and chirpy playful banter. She invited me to join her on percussion, and I’m pretty sure we’re in love now.
Today I had a beautiful rehearsal with Kate Copeland where we ran our songs for the house show singer songwriter showcase we’re playing on Saturday in Sherman Oaks. We sang harmonies, talked about our lives, went out for ramen. (I’ve been eating lots of ramen).
I’ve found it incredibly difficult to find time to sit down and do any work, I feel like I’ve been running from one thing to the next for the last 3 weeks straight! As a result, I’ve also managed to get a bit of a sore throat from talking too much or lack of sleep or who knows what.
I put together a band featuring my new favorite person Marz, a 5D artist with a neon loft space called the Mothership, and Lonnie Marshall, a legendary bassist and dear friend to all my Marmalade babes back home. We’re getting our set ready for Harvelle’s in Santa Monica on the 31st. I’ve found it easy to find and connect with beautiful people and artists, and it seems like everyone here is pursuing a passion they’re excited about. The musicians I meet are either making interesting original art or are playing in bands with well-known artists and touring or recording regularly.
NAMM this year was especially fun and I felt like I connected with some real quality people. I got to work with Drum Channel as the host of a show they did featuring some girls who won the Hit Like a Girl contest last year, got to tour the DW facilities with Don Lombardi himself, and met some good folks with Making Music Magazine, hoping that we can collaborate in the future. I also played a demo featuring the Mackie SRM-Flex, which is a super portable (and lightweight!) PA system. They gave me one to take with me, so I’ve been having fun using it for rehearsals and will definitely be gigging with it. It’s good as a PA or it’d make a great drum monitor. I did a podcast with Drumeo, which was super fun and inspiring, and another podcast with my friend Ben Foerg of The Absurd which was also a great time. I love doing podcasts and am considering starting my own where I can interview drummers or other musicians as I travel around.
I also took a day and went out to Mammoth, CA and played in the snow with my friend Valerie Lopez. I have had a chance to do a few drum lessons as well, which I’m always excited to share.
I am setting up my first Lunch Team livestream Tuesday 1pm next week, so if you want all the stories or want to ask questions and hear me go more in-depth about how it’s been, consider joining my Lunch Team at www.heatherthomasmusic.com/launch-team
I’ve got some more friends to see before I go, some writing to do, the Songwriter showcase on the 25th and the Heather Thomas Band at Westside Revival at Harvelle’s in Santa Monica on the 31st, and then I’ll be heading up to the San Francisco Bay Area!