LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, November 8, 2017 – Gurl Fifty Two and Your Humble Narrator (YHN) had been moving between hotels around Hollywood since their arrival in L.A.. From the Silverlake to the Sahara, their long, nomadic meander from Boston ended at the “Happy Malaga Castle” just in time for their first riot together.
Cobbling the money together from Gurl 52’s gig doing the books for the ’84 Olympics and YHN’s gig at S.I.R. on Santa Monica Blvd., they had scrimped their way into saving the requisite dough for the first, last and security demanded by the visibly demented apartment manager and the shadowy figure who lived in his closet. The lease was signed and the L.A. Chapter began.
The history of L.A. in Malaga Castle
The apartments were a Hollywood landmark supposedly built by Joe Kennedy as a trysting pad during his dalliance with Gloria Swanson and infamy.
It had maintained a prominent place in the demimonde ever since then. It’s basement was where the Hollywood 10 held meetings to plot their response to the McCarthy inquisition.
The very same basement was also where a bomb squad had just swept thru a little earlier than our arrival, looking for explosive materials left over from when the “Castle” was the headquarters of the legendary underground publication the Los Angeles Free Paper.
After we had left, it was where Hillel Slovak from the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s took his final ride on the white pony.
Right across the street was the home of the Queen of the Unarians, Ruth Norman and just down the block going south, were the rehearsal studios where YHN was running sound for everyone from the Temptations, to the Plimsouls, from Spinal Tap to Black Oak Arkansas. Hollywood in excelsior dayglo, indeed.
On the day of the move, the typical Hollywood accommodations that had to be made in the way all Angelenos become accustomed to but silently seethe at.
The Ramones in L.A.
Blocking the entry were lights, cameras and four leather-clad lads who called themselves The Ramones. They were being interviewed by the BBC. Dee Dee helped Gurl 52 by moving aside as we tried to act all nonchalant and cool with our meager belongings on our way to our first apartment.
We had three boxes and a futon purchased in Koreatown. We were happier than ever.
That night, we shared our first riot together and YHN saw some of his future co-workers as they whizzed by, trying not to get clobbered by the LAPD.
The interview we had interrupted on our way to a new life was on the occasion of a Ramones/Black Flag show at the Palladium, just a couple hundred feet north, on Sunset Blvd. from our new home. It was during the halcyon days of L.A. punk and “anti parent” recordings.
It was a fine welcome to the jungle and a portent of how cooly crazy things would become in L.A. for YHN and Gurl 52.
On our second night there, we were exhausted. Our third floor walk-up would get sweltering-hot even in the cool California evenings.
We would leave the door in our cramped bedroom that led to the oddly ornate, cast iron fire escape open to catch a breeze. That was the night that Gurl Thirty One made herself known.
The sheets were damp and sticky as they slithered and chuffed on and off our clammy bodies and the too-hot mattress. It was nearly three A.M. And sleep, fitfully, was finally enveloping us when a loud howl bounced off the courtyard walls.
Texas Terri Laird takes L.A. by storm.
Shrieks upon cascading screams, a cacophony of vocal madness that reverberated off of the stucco walls. It stopped, started again with an almost impossible to conceive vigor and then trailed off, sorta.
In a voice that could only bellow forth from a meth-addled, out-for-blood Diana Prince on a strict ketamine regimen blared “Gaaawddd Dammintt!!! If ahhy cain’t sleep…No one is!! Awooohooarrrgggghhhhfuckyoupusssyfuckers.”
Texas Teri Laird, Gurl Thirty One, had just entered YHN’s life.
She was and continues to be a force of nature beholden to no man nor, woman. Her one, true love has always been and will always be, Texas and all that it entails.
The good, the bad, the outrageous, the peculiar sense of freedom that can only be explained by living there through a flood, Gurl Thirty One embodied it all.
She introduced herself a few days after her nocturnal performance and shyly asked if she had bothered us. It was the kind of Gurl she was. Without shame but with preternatural awareness of how she moved through the universe.
With all senses directed towards freedom and completely without any notion of anything other than being in her life, in perpetuity…being Teri. She was truly free. A rare bird, a confounding and glorious presence.
Shortly after discovering that YHN had access to PA gear she hatched an audacious plan to host a happening in the labyrinthine basement of the “castle.” She wanted to debut her new band and invite all the guys she wanted to fuck to a party.
It was chaos and nihilistic and dangerous and oh so much fun.
Her band was a shambolic, shamanic exorcism of pure rock madness and soul force. She just had to open for Dix Denney’s from the Weirdoes new band Thelonious Monster because they were so “ugly.”
She ate them for dinner and spit out their punky bones so that they could use them to build a grand song cycle.
Later, the band claimed they had taken too much acid to be good but, if you were there, you could tell they were just freaked-out that a woman could rock harder than they could, and that a topless Texan had their silly L.A. Number.
In a testament to true grit, hoof prints filled with water and Davy Crockett, Gurl Thirty One abides and will rock like a Texas tornado, forever.
No tape was taken off the real in the writing of this article.
YHN, Stanley Koteks, is a minor character in “The Crying of Lot 49” and known for working hard and helping make sense of the oblique puzzles that confound the people who find him.
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