Saturday, December 09, 2006

Turning Road Trip Lemons Into Photos

The road to San Francisco was one frequently traveled in punk rock days, and I did a lot with a lot of different people. Most often, it was Pleasant and Randy...but I traveled to San Francisco with my sister, with friends from college, and on the big Sex Pistols road trip, with Sal Maida, Luke Zamperini and Mike Ruiz from Milk N Cookies.

On the 1977 road trip pictured here, I joined a girl from Hedrick Hall, my dorm at UCLA - the only other glam/punk fan on the floor - in her car to go up to San Francisco to see Iggy Pop. David Bowie was in the band, and Kathy was a big Bowie fan, so this was a great line-up for her to see.... as often as possible. We stayed overnight in the dorm at San Francisco State, where my friend from high school, Bill Heiden was going to college.

Bill Heiden was the one who really got me into the rock n roll photography. He worked in the cool indie record store and turned me on to Robert Fripp! Prior to hanging out with Bill, I photographed the family dog and odd juxtapositions such as a sign pointing to the "Correctional Facility" that was situated on the street next to a luxury hotel (the sign - not the prison). I still take pictures of wacky things I see on the street (visit my Pedestrianation photo blog).

Anyway, on the drive up lonely Interstate 5 - a fast route that cuts up California's farmland, Kathy's car had some trouble. I think it may have been the clutch cable that snapped. We somehow in the time of no cel phones got a tow truck to show up. That tow truck, after arriving and hooking up her light blue VW bug, also broke down, and he had to radio for another tow truck. So what you see here is a tow truck towing a tow truck towing a Volkswagen.

We got a ride to a nearby municipal airport and flew to San Francisco, saw Iggy, flew back to LA, and then Kathy had to get someone to drive her back to the sleepy roadside town of Button Willow to retrieve her car, get it back to LA and fixed there. For some reason, the local yokels were unable to get a part for her exotic foreign car. Yes, I say that dripping with sarcasm. But the central valley of California is Ford Truck country. I don't think they were really quite sure, in 1977, what a Volkswagen really was....it seemed to us they regarded us and the car as some kind of commie hippie pinkos....along the lines of what Archie Bunker thought of Meathead...

yellow iggysmall

Well, we saw Iggy in San Francisco, and then again a couple days later in Los Angeles. Upon arriving in Los Angeles, on my birthday, I went to see Procol Harum, long a favorite band. I was feeling kind of sick, but I thought for some reason it was the silver eyeshadow getting into my eyes. Because of the one-two punch of wearing contact lenses and always taking photos, I rarely wore eye make-up, so I blamed it...the truth is: I was brewing up a case of the measles! It was going around the dorm, and all of Southern California, actually.

So, during that week in April 1977, there was a road trip to San Francisco with car trouble and totally changed travel plans (thank you parents for the "emergency credit card" which came in handy for a real emergency), a bunch of rock shows: Procol Harum, Television and Iggy once again.

I saw Iggy in LA quite OK, but the night I chose Television over the Damned (already had seen them in London), I had to literally cling to the stage to stay on my feet. I remember Tom Verlaine's really big feet more than anything else.

The next day, I woke up with spots. Measles. My mom had to come down to LA and take me home to recuperate. My sister, then a senior in high school, also had the measles. My best friend from college was getting married the following weekend, and I was her maid of honor. Yes, I wore a ridiculous dress of blue chiffon. The real problem was that because of the measles, I was unable to get it altered. It was about five inches too long, and for the wedding, I had to bust out the platform shoes that I hadn't worn in about three years. They were wedgie platforms, but still...a punk rock fashion no-no (and what would that make the bridesmaid's dress?) and wobbly way to stand. Plus, my face had the remnants of measle spots.

Since I had to face the public with the measle remnants anyway, right after the wedding reception, I headed out to the Arlington Theatre to catch the final few songs by the Kinks, who I had to miss in LA because of my measles.


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