Despite its sunshine & smiling faces, LA can be a tough place to live. Particularly if, like many of us, you came to the City Of Angels with big dreams because (spoiler alert!) they don't always come true.
What happens to these disheartened dreamers? Well, most simply move to the 909. Others stay in LA to engage in endless plastic surgery or become relentless stage parents. Sometimes, luckily for the rest of us, they become roadside rock stars.
I first started noticing this phenomenon during my morning commute. Every day there was this kid parked along PCH playing drums with headphones on, overlooking the beautiful Pacific. In my mind, the kid's name was Justin and he was simply escaping the tyranny of Mom & Dad for a few musical moments before heading to class at Pali High:
Yeah, well, like most things "Justin"'s reality is much less sexy. Turns out, he's a 45 year old waiter who isn't named Justin or anything even close and is just counting the days until he can move back to NY where people are "nicer." Good luck with that… "Justin."
Next there's the rest stop hippie:
This guy parked his mini van along busy Topanga Canyon Blvd one weekend to promote his upcoming "gig." Hey, I dunno how legit the performance was but I know it's sure cheaper than a digital billboard on Sunset. You go crunchy keyboard guy.
My favorite roadside rocker of late is the man I like to call "The Nutty Professor." Planted along a 101 off ramp in Van Nuys, this guy has it all going on:
His set up includes a mic, an amp & an electric guitar– he's not messing around. (see below for his ironic rendition of "Hotel California.") Why the lab coat? I dunno. I do know that if I learned anything from "Justin" it's that some impressions are best left unexplored.
So if you see any of these guys making music along the side of the road, throw them a buck. You've got dreams too.
Here's The Nutty Professor's version of Hotel California: