I’ve been re-reading Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis (a book that I love, written when the author was just 22 years old and a student at Bennington College) and was reminded of how the characters occasionally hang out at the Roxy, the long-standing rock club, on the Sunset Strip. It was at the Roxy while in high school where I had the fortune of seeing Phranc, the “Jewish lesbian folksinger,” open up for the Minneapolis trio, Husker Du. To this day, it was the loudest show I’ve ever seen in my life, and one of the best.
How thrilled I was to find out, years later, that Bob Mould, the lead singer of Husker Du, was (and remains) a homosexual. Upon news of this, I felt like I finally had a gay role model in my life. Mould went on to form the band “Sugar,” as well as recording several solo albums under his name. Bob’s voice is very sexy.
Cut to three days ago. I found a note on my door from my neighbor, inviting me to see his band, playing at the Roxy. I wanted to go, not only to support my neighbor, but also as a necesssary field trip to one of the locations in “Less Than Zero.” Los Angeles. Drugs. Money. Fred Segal. Booze. Sex. Bi-sexuals. Afterhours clubs. Bands. Private schools. Ennui. Hustlers. Endless summer. Housekeepers. Mulholland Drive. MTV. Kids growing up too fast. Drugs. The Valley. Divorced parents. Drugs. MercedesPorscheBMWFerrari. Alienation. Beverly Hills. Palm Springs. The Roxy.
We didn’t run into Robert Downey, Jr. or James Spader outside of the club, however Bobby, Kate and I did meet “Mike” just down the block. Mike was an older guy, with a long, nappy grey beard, sitting in front of a full sized electric keyboard and a couple of amplifiers, all powered by D-sized house batteries. While Mike sang a love song he had composed to pink-swathed, Los Angeles institution, Angelyne, we were introduced to his two tiny white mice. I forget their names but atop a cardboard box, one of the mice ran on a little wheel while the other one dozed in a metal toy chair that I think Mike had made.
Mike handed us this pamphlet:
(click to enlarge)
“People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles….”
— The first line of Less Than Zero, 1985