After several hours at Amoeba, we were ready for some fuel. It was lunchtime and we meandered around the area until spotting a parking area that looked likely to have many dining choices nearby. Parking there was a hefty $20! Finally, the L.A. parking rates I had heard so much about had manifested. We were in a tourist trap zone in hollywood and we ended up at a little hole-in-the-wall pizzeria, which was adequate for our needs. Lunch was less than the cost of parking! Fortified, we decided to make our way to Long Beach, where our next destination awaited.
Dana Madore was a gent I had been in contact with via email for several years now. I first came to know him through Ron, who had introduced us via email. That was an unusual thing for Ron to have done, in retrospect. Dana had not been able to make it to the first Ron-Kon in Portland on Ron’s 50th birthday in 2008. The first time that I had visited Ron in 2014, we were scheduled to have dinner with Dana and to finally meet him but his health took a turn for the worse, with him hospitalized and losing a leg to diabetes. When I was trying to find out just what was happening with Ron last year as he mysteriously broke off communications Dana was my main point of inquiry, because Dana had known Ron since he was a tween hopping the bus downtown after school and learning about which import records to buy at the Licorice Pizza record store Dana worked at. While Dana was living in the rehab center, Ron took care of his home and brought him his mail.
The trek from Hollywood to Long Beach was about 30 or so miles, and on a Friday afternoon this was a journey that took well over two hours. It was a good thing that we had Mr. Ware’s complete Icehouse boxed set in the car with us! We listened to the recent ‘Icehouse Live” 2xCD that none of us had heard and had some fun singing along to the tracks we knew and loved for so long. It was around five when we pulled into the rehab center parking lot. We asked at the front desk where Dana was a made our way there.
We found his room and introduced ourselves to a gent who had known Ron since he was a boy. Dana had a long and storied existence centered around music. he had worked as a young man in record stores like Licorice Pizza, and eventually owned his own store; Moby Disc. The store was much beloved by Ron, who was a frequent customer. He played in a few bands and dabbled in management and guested on bass guitar on “Not Yet,” the 1980 album by Ron’s band The Decayes. As much as many folks that I had met had long histories with Ron, Dana scooped them all. He was practically Ron’s older brother from another mother.
Dana shared what was basically a hospital room with another person, but on his side of the curtain there were many small boxes. I had wondered about these until Dana revealed that since he had been in the rehab center he couldn’t abstain from the hunt and had begun buying CDs soon after he was moved in there. He revealed that he had about 1000 CDs in the stacks of small boxes around his bed and in the closet. With his trusty laptop being his main connection to the world, he was all set up.
We stayed there for 90 minutes to two hours listening to Dana talk about the old days with Ron, the difficulties that Ron had near the end of his life, and just his history of music retail and fandom. We could have stayed all night long. Dana was a treasure trove of stories that resonated with us even when they were not necessarily about Ron Kane. As the clock edged past 7:00 p.m., we reluctantly bid Dana adieu as we had a 9:00 rehearsal in Culver City to reach, and dinner had to be fit in there somewhere to boot. Chasinvictoria and Mr. Ware had not known Dana prior to this visit, but they were so grateful that I had wanted to pencil this in to our tight schedule since the value in knowing Dana was considerable.
Fortunately, the traffic on the return was twice as fast as it had been outward bound. we arrived in Culver city around eight and found a Lebanese restaurant close to the studios where we had a tasty dinner. Shortly after nine we were once again in the largest Studio B where the band once again collected. This night we had another guest sitting in; Rick Snyder. Another of Ron’s old friends. Rick was a known quantity to me since he co-starred with Ron in the [semi-legendary] short comedy video Ron had written and acted in called “Swinger’s Load.” The one I had made DVDs of to pass out to all and sundry at Ron-Kon II. Oh yeah… and he had also been in the last lineup of Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band.
The trip was wearing me down at that point. Yesterday had been 25 hours long and I had been the driver for this trip. The second night of rehearsal I was content to zone out and just try not to nod off. Which was difficult. As excited as I was to finally meet Rick, apart from introducing myself as I pressed a DVD into his hands of his youthful thesping, I just sat there. The songs were worming their way into my mind and staying there; always a good sign. Even though I was hearing them for the first time in rehearsal. The actual CD of “The Record Man” would be purchased during our trip to Rockaway Records the next day but these songs already had a high standard to live up to. It was near eleven when Mark Moerman arrived from the airport and his trip from the Pacific Northwest. Mark was the first of Ron’s friends to whom I’d been introduced remotely 20+years ago by Mr. Ware. Mark was there long enough to get just enough rehearsal time down for the songs that he was singing with the Record Man Orchestra. Then as we hit midnight curfew, we broke instruments down and loaded up the cars and made our way to the home base as bed beckoned even harder this night for me. For another 5-6 hours of valuable sleep.
Next: …We Can Hitch A Ride To Rockaway Records