the day after my high school graduation i was on a plane from illinois to santa monica.
six months later i was working at a great record store in west los angeles during an era of great record stores.
there was tower, moby disc, aron’s, american pie, the wherehouse, record surplus, mr. record and rhino to name a few.
i was lucky enough to work at licorice pizza records and the man who hired me was gary calamar who youve heard on kcrw
and whose music supervision can be seen and heard on dexter, weeds, six feet under, and so many more
among all the other fascinating and super nice young people who worked there was willie aron who was part of a band called the balancing act
they had just been signed to miles copeland’s irs records (r.e.m., the go-gos, oingo boingo, the english beat, klark kent)
and their first record was produced by peter case who had recently gone solo from the plimsouls and was about to record his own record on geffen
not only did willie teach me about all the classics who i should have known about (thelonious monk, velvet underground, elvis costello)
but he also turned me on to the Replacements who we saw together at the Palamino and then at the Roxy, one of the best shows ive seen.
friday the balancing act reunited at the Rhino Records pop up store and there was willie leading the way, shredding on acoustic guitar
harmonica, and melodia or whatever that toy instrument was.
the guys all sounded exactly the same. the witty banter was there, perfectly.
in fact if someone had just put it on audio i would not have known that it was not 1985.
it was great seeing everyone and learning that steve the bass player co-founded Stone Brewing Co. home of Arrogant Bastard beer.
it was amazing seeing Gary again as well as Kimley, Maria, Leila and Irene all part of the Licorice Pizza #9 posse.
such cool people who taught me so much about music during one of the weirdest times in music.
the balancing act was a beautiful blend of so many types of music that swirled around hollywood at that time
los lobos, lone justice, the blasters, x, were integrating elements of folk and punk in a very western style of rock
the balancing act took that, added even more folk elements of the 60s and where the above went more electric, the balancing act went more acoustic
id say their lyrics were even better than their contemporaries, but obvs im biased.
and so lucky to have scored that job at that place at that time with those beautiful people.
“A Girl, Her Sister, and a Train”
photo of gary, maria, leila, kimley, irene, and moi by irene’s husband, Tony Klecha