El Bateria (The Drummer)


The first paragraph of this chapter may sound familiar to some readers. It’s my riff (homage?) on one of the best opening paragraphs in detective fiction. From Red Wind by Raymond Chandler:

There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot, dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.

I considered deleted my opening paragraph for a long time, then decided to just go with it. Clever or pretentious on my part? Both? Feel free to comment or email me.

It seems a little odd, but Raymond Chandler, the mean streets poet of Los Angeles, died and was buried in San Diego. I’ve been to his grave in the Mount Hope Cemetery east of downtown. He spent his last years in La Jolla and the house where he completed The Long Goodbye is still there. Several years ago, some Chandler fans arranged the transfer of his wife Cissy’s ashes to Mt. Hope so that she is now buried next to him.

Patrick’s nightclub is a real place, now known as Patrick’s Gaslamp Pub. I spent many weekends playing there with my band, Bad Dog, in the 1990s. It’s a downtown institution and one of the few places in San Diego where can hear true greasy blues almost any night of the week. Sadly, the back porch where we used to hang out between sets has been replaced.

CREEM Magazine was like the snotty, sacriligeous younger brother of Rolling Stone. It was the home of Lester Bangs, the destructively great rock critic played by Philip Seymour Hoffman in the movie Almost Famous I don’t know if CREEM ever ran a story on rock stars favorite groupies, but they probably did. The true underground rock rag.

Photo by Corey Lynn Fayman, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0 US)

Moogus — yeah, this one is easy, Rolly’s drummer is named for Robert Moog, inventor of the Moog synthesizer. Moogus has appeared in two books now, and I still don’t know his last name. Suggestions are welcome.

Bonnie Hammond — named for Bonnie Raitt and the mighty Hammond organ. Bonnie Hammond is as tough and durable as both.



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