I am walking down memory lane this evening. Care to join me?
I am thinking about my old band The Monas. In 1983, my two sisters and my
brother and I found ourselves living together in the same city after seven
years of living on opposite sides of the country. I was 18; I was so happy to
be with them again, we were in Los Angeles, MTV was blowing our minds, and our
mom had a garage.. How could we not start
Our first gig was a Mormon dance. We played for three hours.
We knew exactly five songs. I am not kidding.
I know for sure three of the songs were, “You Better Be Good To Me,”
“Summer of ’69,” and “Leader of the Pack.” There were two more, original songs I think. We
played those same songs for three hours. The only reason I mention we were
playing for Mormons is that they don’t drink, so they were fully cognizant of
our repertoire. Thankfully, Mormons are also a peace-loving people, so they
didn’t kill us.
Soon after that maiden voyage, my 14-year-old-bass-player sister,
in a move that proved her to be wise beyond her years, quit the band. My
brother got his friend Aaron to replace her and off we went. We set our sights
on making a splash in the Los Angeles music scene.
We spent the next bunch of years working our way up the food
chain. We played anywhere and everywhere that would have us. Eventually we
ended up at places like the Roxy, the Whisky, the Troubadour, and Club Lingerie
in Hollywood; at the Old Towne Pub in Pasadena; and downtown at Al’s Bar.
First we had a manager named John Dallas who bought us
clothes on Melrose Avenue. He regaled us with stories about Poison (he was
Poison’s first manager). He drank a case of Pepsi a day. He once died and was
dead for over two hours. At least that’s what he said. Don’t judge us. You’d be
surprised how ubiquitous that kind of guy is in Los Angeles. He booked us at
festivals and made us dress how he thought we should dress…I had to look like a
Robert Palmer girl.
Next we had a manager named Bob who had one of his fingers
missing at the 2nd knuckle. He had a tattoo of a fingernail on his
knuckle. He lived in a commune in downtown L.A. and we played at some of his
parties. I believe our relationship ended when he heard one of our songs on the
radio and tried to sue us because he thought we were making a lot of money.
We got a regular gig playing at Camp Pendleton every
Thursday. Marines are not like Mormons. We knew a lot of songs by then, but we
weren’t Metallica. And so after they drank about 15 beers they got upset when
we couldn’t play Metallica songs. Every week. After a couple months of the
weekly drive to base, we realized we never got paid. The booking agent was not
answering our calls. Taking matters into our own hands, we drove to her apartment
in the San Fernando Valley with a couple big guys and a baseball bat. She
wasn’t home, her husband wouldn’t give us any money, and we didn’t know what
else to do. So we just went home, and stayed home the next Thursday, thus
ending our tour of duty in Oceanside.
Finally, we had a manager named Jonathan who introduced us
to Tim Burton. Jonathan was very wealthy because of his boyfriend, and he was
really well connected. I remember we sat in Tim Burton’s office on the Warner
Brothers lot and he asked us if he could direct our first video. Uh, yes, we said. He asked us if we
could wait until he was done directing Batman
II. Uh, yes, we said. Fate had different plans. Jonathan passed
away soon after that meeting, and our Warner Brothers dreams went with him.
We soldiered on. We made a CD and an EP. We kept playing
shows. We learned about perseverance and we learned about human nature. We
never got a record deal and our mother couldn’t park in her garage for almost ten
years. Nevertheless, it was a fantastic way to spend the eighties.