“I think I saw an otter!” I said, as we crossed over a bridge near Elkhorn Slough, on our way into Monterey. My significant other nodded indulgently. “No, seriously, I’m not making this up,” I insisted. But how would I know? It’s not like I run into otters every day or had ever seen one in the wild. But this is exactly why we were headed to Monterey.
Ever since I read about Bruce Springsteen flying out to Utah, buying a car, and driving around in the desert to take photographs with Eric Meola, I wanted to do the same thing. And then as those photos became iconic, I always wanted to visit those locations myself. I wasn’t nuts about the idea of sleeping on the hood of the car in a small town in the desert (as the legend goes), but the idea of just showing up somewhere and driving around to see what was there was undeniably attractive. I wanted to see the same things that artists I respected were inspired by.
We flew the day before the show, because these days I just do not trust flying the day of the show, and overnighted in Kansas City near the airport. I started feeling flu-ish while sitting at LGA, and all I wanted to do when we arrived was go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep. We hit Waffle House and then Target in the morning (where I stocked up with about 4 different kinds of Vitamin C products, as well as drinks and snacks) before getting on the road. There was nothing exciting about the drive from KC up to Omaha up 29, a route I am familiar with from a cross-country drive in 2003. It was hot and bleak in the summer and it was grey and bleak but not cold, thankfully.
I know everyone loves traipsing around Asbury Park with organized tours. You might think that it is complicated or difficult or even a little scary to visit Asbury Park on your own, but nothing could be further than the truth. You do not need a car, you just need time, since the train (which leaves from Penn Station on 33rd Street in Manhattan) takes a little while. It’s not a bad train ride, but not particularly interesting or scenic. You’ll change at Long Branch. Once you get to Asbury Park, everything is walkable and it’s perfectly safe.
I care a lot about visiting the various sites of rock and roll history, whether it’s the former site of the Cavern Club or the Finsbury Park Astoria or the Palladium or 213 Bowery or the bank that used to be the Fillmore East. But clearly I am close to something very much resembling insanity to wake up at 6 a.m. in Las Vegas, rent a car, and head four hours into the desert to look for a dead tree.
Yes. We went looking for The Joshua Tree.
The corner of 7th & Main in Downtown Los Angeles. If you know what it is, you know what it is; if you don’t recognize it, it won’t mean anything even if I explained it to you.
(Of course, if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you saw this last week, so I apologize.)
I have to say that this was one of the coolest rock and roll things I have gone looking for in a long time. It was so much fun figuring out where this was, realizing it was still there, and then going there and putting the puzzle pieces together.
As much as I always wanted to, I never made it to Minneapolis until this year. Probably because I was smart enough to know that it wasn’t like every band I cared about would be standing on the street corner waiting for me as I got off the bus. The closest I came was when I was moving back to NYC from Seattle, a logical overnight stop was just outside of Minneapolis, and I took a morning detour long enough to stand in front of the Let It Be house for a few minutes and take a few pictures.
I will start with this premise: If you are reading this blog, you should visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
I know what you are going to say. You are going to argue that [artist] isn’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame yet, or that it took them [X] years to induct [X]. I have heard your arguments, and I have made them myself (Patti Smith likely only got in when she did because Michael Stipe issued an ultimatum. Gram Parsons is STILL not in. et cetera). But you need to separate the nominations from the physical place with the stuff, or you will be doing yourself a disservice. Because if you care enough to make those kind of nuanced arguments, then you are exactly the kind of person who needs to visit the Hall in Cleveland.