BY: AMY HABEN

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Photo by Michael Edwards

All of this news about Interpol’s tour bus being stuck in the Buffalo snow for days, conjured up memories of hanging with the band in L.A. twelve years ago.

Their debut album, ‘Turn On The Bright Lights‘, had just been released with astounding critical acclaim. For example, Pitchfork named it the best album of 2002, and they were cruising down to Los Angeles after playing shows in San Francisco. My best friend had jumped on their tour bus because she was fucking the bass player, Carlos, at the time. She called me up and asked if I wanted to meet them at the Continental Hyatt House (a.k.a The Riot House), that evening.

I was a huge fan of Interpol’s four song- second demo cd which was released in 1999 and given to me by my heartbreaking crush, Korri. This boy introduced me to a lot of good music and was thus a keeper in my twenty year old brain. I would have a couple drinks and zone out to the song with underwater soundings vocals, ‘A Time To Be So Small.’ Still my favorite song from them, something about the unrecognizable mumbling in the background, pulls at my heartstrings.

(This video was shot at the band’s first-ever L.A. show at The Troubadour in 2002.)

I had gone to see Interpol at The Troubadour for their first ever L.A. show earlier that year.  It was a great show and the crowd were made up of attractive, well-dressed goth kids. My friend Bonnie introduced me to the band and they invited my friend Rachel and I to the upstairs bar. It was there that I talked to Daniel Kessler, the guitarist, who started the band and was very sweet even introducing me to his girlfriend. I asked him if I had a chance at living in NYC, even though I was just a poor waitress. He assured me that if I got a bartending job, I would be fine.  A year later I moved across country taking Daniel’s advice. Eleven years later, I’m still here! “Thanks Daniel!”

So anyway, my friend calls me up to meet her and the band at the Hyatt. I jumped in my Saturn and sped up the freeway avoiding the cops the whole way. I picked Carlos and my pal up in front and drove them over to Interpol’s sold out show at The Henry Fonda Theatre. We walked up to the front doors, when i heard a startling shriek.  Two girls were screaming and staring in our direction. This was when I realized they had made it. Carlos quickly turned us around and walked us toward the back door. Once inside, I met the opening act, The Warlocks. Nice guys, but they were loaded as fuck. I learned later that many of them were junkies. Then the singer Paul Banks came over, introduced himself to me and shook my hand. Soon, the drummer Sam, did the same. Dressed in skinny suits and ties, It all felt too professional for a rock n’ roll show. I thought maybe their manager had schooled them on making business connections or maybe I was just used to punk rock shows where nobody acts that polite.

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Photo by Michael Edwards

A bunch of magazine reporters and photographers were also occupying the space. Paul, looking tired and worn from tour, asked Carlos for some coke. Carlos said he was out- which seemed like a lie -and Paul was enraged. “Oooh, I was witnessing my first band drama!”

I took my position at the side of the stage and snapped photos…   feeling extremely lucky to have an advantage over the five thousand people in the audience. Their set was amazing as always. Afterwords, a drug dealer swung by to give everyone much needed chemicals. Carlos was given a giant bag of speed which he thought was coke. He dipped his finger in, tasted it and said, “No way! Want this? I can’t do speed.” Cocaine was my first choice as well, but being a budding addict, who was I to turn down a huge bag of free drugs!

We all trampled over to some outdoor after party set up. I ran into Daniel near the bathroom where he came up to me and introduced himself to me again. I laughed, “Um… We already met at The Troubadour show.” “Oh right! Sorry, this year has been a whirlwind! Glad you’re here!”, he smiled as he returned to the party. Sipping my vodka soda and donning my hipster mullet hairdo, I watched all the cute people mingle while standing off to the side. A very feminine goth guy wearing makeup approached me, “We have the same tattoo! It was meant to be!” I looked down and lo and behold we both have a black widow spider tattoo drawn with a ladies face on our right forearms.

In my heavy buzz, this was like a major sign man. This gay dude and I were gonna be pals for life! I quickly imagined us in the future in a Sisters Of Mercy influenced band together. He would be my Andrew Eldritch and I his Patricia Morrison. It’s all happening! So Carlos and my bestie wrangle up goth boy and I and we all head to his hotel room for some coke lines and LOTS of conversation.

As our hotel party dies, my friend asks me to sleep over at goth dude’s house because she wants to get it on with Carlos. Feeling safely nestled in my new friends obvious homosexuality, I agreed to sleep over at his Hollywood studio apartment. Sitting on his couch, I noticed a picture hanging on the wall of an 80’s Jon Bon Jovi look alike. “That’s my dad. He’s a successful musician. I was born and raised here“,  the gay goth announces.  “Hmm… maybe it IS Bon Jovi?!”, I thought. I break out the speed and create lines with a credit card on his living room table. We snort a bunch and before long we’re making out. Well, he starts the fooling around. I’m confused, “Is he bi?”

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Photo by: Pieter Van

Next thing i know we’re naked. He starts giving me little kisses down my stomach towards my thigh when… “Agggghhhhh!”, a burst of pain hits my brain. I glance down and blood is running down my thigh. I look over and there is blood all over his lips, a pair of those corny vampire teeth exposed. “Are you fucking crazy?!! What the fuck is wrong with you!!“, I shout while running to his bathroom. Once inside, I open the door to his cabinet to find a dazzling array of flavored lubes and assorted dildos. No band aids or medicated creams….   just sex toys. Now I’m sketched the fuck out.

He apologized and we napped for an hour or so before he walked me to my car to say goodbye. Smudging the black eyeliner left on from the night before, he rubbed the sleep out of his eye, while handing me a card with his number on it. “Fat chance psycho!”, I thought as I floored it back to the Hyatt.

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Photo by: Wendy Lynch Redfern

Back inside Carlos’s room, I got my snoop on. My friend fills me in on the fact that the band were playing on Jay Leno at that moment and I told her my horror story of the night before. “I’m so sorry honey… You should’ve stayed here… It’s my fault,” she guiltily murmurs in her best mommy voice.

Later that evening, we were at yet another party for the band. Carlos gets swept away by a gaggle of hot broads and some drug dealers. My friend fights with him over this incident, leaving her practically in tears.

Who does your friend think she is? Carlos’ girlfriend or something? Hahaha!“, the hippie coke dealer shouts as he leaves with the entourage. “Dick!!!”, was my meager comeback.

My friend and I returned to the room and she tells me that Carlos had asked her for money to help pay for his room and when she refused he reminded her that many women would love to be in her position. I was furious, “These rooms are definitely being paid for by his label!  He just wants more fucking drug money!”

I told her that she was too good to put up with that bullshit and went downstairs to get some air. On the way out, I saw Little Richard in the lobby. I guess this hotel is keeping it’s reputation. What a surreal place it is. If only these walls could talk….

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