It’s been a while. I could explain that I was a writing machine and had to publish as much as I could before I got blacklisted from my main paying writing outlet, or I  could give the lame excuse that I was super busy trying to earn some dough after said blacklisting, or I could simply say, “I was busy, sorry for not blogging more Dad”, as my dad is my primary reader ( Hi Dad!!! ARRRRGH!) However, it would be a grievous mistake to think that just cuz it aint written here, that 2014 hasn’t been frickin’ sweet.

In the category of- Shit That Is Never Ever Gonna Happen, I would have put His Holiness The Dalai Lama Comes To Inglewood. That woulda’ been an accurate description, but then (spoiler alert) the Dalai Freakin’ Lama came to speak at The Motherfuckin’ Forum in Inglewood, California!

For those who know me, you know I love The Forum and was pretty devastated when my childhood Lakers moved from the Fabulous Forum to The Staples Center. We went from fabulous to office supply superstore in one fell swoop. The Forum is a huge part of my childhood, home of the best Lakers team to ever play the game and a Los Angeles landmark. I didn’t even know that The Forum had reopened until I got an e-mail from my meditation teacher saying I was welcome to join my songa (Buddhist posse) at The Forum to see His Holiness give a talk.

So I drove out to Inglewood and parked on the street, in front of this auspicious address with the fancy paint job.

Lakers Address

I walked down to Manchester and was surprised that The Sizzler where I got jumped as a teenager is still there and then it was on to The Forum for one of those bizarre moments where you’re completely aware of how different things are. More than two decades ago on the way to see The Lakers play at The Forum I got jumped at Sizzler and now I was walking over to see the world’s most recognized Buddhist monk. Life is weird and wonderful, but I digress (into Benny and the Jets).

The Fabulous Forum, Inglewood

Ticket to Ride

I got to a seat and made friends with my neighbors. There were some warm-up acts, including the Mayor of Inglewood and Maria Shriver and then BOOM, this guy:

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

With a fresh visor style!

Dalai Lama Visor Stylee

He said some really lovely stuff about compassion and love. It all made sense, but what I’ll most take away from hearing him is his laugh, which left me convinced he might have done the voice over for Yoda. When it was over and everyone was shuffling toward the exits a group of kids had collected by the tunnel where he was being escorted off the stage and, in unison they shouted “We Love You DALAI LAAAAMAAAAAA”. Of course, as a bonafide sissy I fully teared up. Inglewood and The Forum, not quite ready to secede to Staples!

Also in the category of Shit That Is Never Ever Gonna Happen the band finally got back together. My band, the greatest rock n’ roll band ever, the band whose giant penis shaped logo is tattooed on my forearm, Rocket From The Crypt.

Giant Rocket From The Crypt tattoo

When Rocket broke up I took some personal responsibility, as I once spit a shot of whisky that wouldn’t go down on the guitar player mid-solo, dated the bass-player’s roommate- both of whom have intensely fond memories of my Boone’s Farm Sunday mornings, and had been unceremoniously 86-ed from a few of their shows, including one at their home base, The Casbah in SanDiego. Like all the bummers in my life, even my parent’s divorce, the band announcing that they were finished was totally my fault (Just kidding Dad! You don’t have to call me, I’m taking writerly liberties.)

Anyway, once a year I would e-mail my pal the bass player, requesting an RFTC reunion, like Jake in the Blues Brothers, “I’m on a mission from God. You’re putting the band back together.” Sometimes I’d send a random e-mail saying, “Listened to your record yesterday. It still does not suck and I do not regret the tattoo yet.” You know, inspirational bullshit to try to get the band back on stage where they belong and whaddayaknow, IT WORKED.

After some festival dates, nowhere near my home, Rocket From The Crypt announced US dates including one at The Echoplex, less than a mile from my house. I purchased a single ticket on December 10th of 2013 and waited.

Finally, 5 months later, it was showtime. I’d tried to nap twice during the day but was too stoked to sleep. Doors were at 8, so I showed up at 8:20 like a spaz, only to find out the band wasn’t hitting the stage ’til 11. Since I haven’t figured out how to party without PARTYING, I walked home and watched “Anchorman”. A couple hours later I was back in line. Instinctually I walked straight to the bar, only to retrace my steps back to the door and start over. I positioned myself next to the speaker to watch to opener and had my eardrum blown out. Shoving a gum wrapper in my ear, I cursed myself for forgetting earplugs.

By the time the opening band was done I had shuffled front and center. No longer rushing to the bar for a drink or the patio for a smoke I could wait these fuckers out. At 5′ 3″ on a good day, I needed to source out a midget-friendly area to see the show. Miraculously these girls who were posted up on the barricade just walked away. Suddenly, without any aggression or “old Robin” shenanigans, I’m up front.

Calm Before The Storm

You know what it’s like when you’re busy running around all day and then you drink some water and you realize you were dying of thirst and didn’t even know it. Well I was way worse off than that, I was like Moses 40-years in the desert thirsty, I was downright dehydrated, ready to be stuffed, mounted and nailed to a wall, bone dry, and thirsty for the sweet rock n’ roll nectar of Rocket From the Crypt.

When they finally appeared I was momentarily rendered catatonic, as you can see in the photo below. I’m the one on the left, in the white t-shirt with clasped hands and a look of church-like reverence on my face (even if you can’t see it, trust me- I look like I’m witnessing a fucking miracle).

Church of RFTC

I read the reviews, which were all true, saying stuff like, “still got it”, “played a blistering set”, “proved that they are still the best at their punk infused style of rock n’ roll”, etcetera, etcetera, which is all completely true, but let me put it like this; this band is so good that I shaved my pubes. This is the only band I have ever had such a musical crush on that I made sure to come correct and ready to “give it up for the band”, figuratively of course. For fuck’s sake the last show I went to was Neil Diamond, and lord knows I was probably wearing hair shorts for that show, I tell you what.

I haven’t been at the front of a show since I stopped PARTYING and I splashed around in the adrenaline of being smashed against the barricade by the pit. I danced, I pogo-ed, I hugged strangers and we all sang along to songs I never thought I’d get to hear live again, what a gift. It made sense that the tickets went on sale at Christmas.

Rocket From The Crypt @ The Echoplex

Thanks to the band for evidence that I should expect the unexpected and keep on dreaming.

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