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Motel California

Lemme tell you everything that’s better on the West Coast than it is on the east coast: Warren Zevon.

And he’s dead.

Anything else? Nope… well, i really like Saint Motel’s music video for “Dear Dictator” BUT THAT IS ABSOLUTELY IT. In Woody Allen’s memorable words “I don’t wanna live in a city where the only cultural advantage is that you can make a right turn on a red light”.


But after a year and half of rain that medical sun might sure feel sweet about now and the guys  of Saint Motel are such California mainstays not only did they play the the legendary Viper Club last March but they did so at the behest of the great filmaker David Lynch who, in a movie like “Mulholand Drive” got as close as anyone this side of Polanski ever has in defining the otherness that is LA. It’s all that light hiding all those shadows, “somedays I feel as though my shadows casting me” claimed Zevon.

So from the shadowy LA to the New York City winter… “Is it cold in March?” asks Saint Motels guitarist Aaron Sharp. It’s cold all the time, it’s fucking grounds hog day. “Well, maybe we’ll… no, we’ll be back in March.” Aaron and lead singer A/J Jackson are phoning me from the wilds of Minnesota where I am sure Aaron is enjoying the weather a lot less than Minnesota native A/J Jackson. The twenty-five year old band mates met in College. NYU failing to note that Jackson was a smart cookie and leaving him to study Film in LAwhere he met the classically guitar trained Aaron.

They  formed the nucleus of Saint Hotel -a multi media excursion into what they call “garage glam. But really good garage” .  I mention Roxy Music, “We haven’t heard that one before. Somebody said Television, someone else said Tony Iommi and I was surprised because I’m a really big Sabbath fan  and I didn’t think you could hear it.” The friends reel off some more names: “Bowie, T-Rex, Supertramp”. I think you could claim they sound like Supertramp produced by Eno circa Roxy’s For Your Pleasure.

ForePlay, their six song EP/Music Video, is for sure all good and healthy for you. “Pity Party ” is the keeper, a pop break up song with a video about a guy getting beat up which doesn’t seem to make sense. “They are both about someone making the same mistakes over and again again until in the video the band changes it”. Better still is “Dear Dictator”, an rock song with operatic leanings that goes ight over the age with a very, very good bio video taking the Dictator (aka A/J) from birth to death. Saint Motel are currently working on new songs and when they have enough together will record and release an album.”We won’t fall into the trap of making a video for every song we record”.

I haven’t seen the band live though they were in New York for the CMJ learning all about the pleasures of parking a van in downtown Manhattan. I think this is where this post is really going to fail you because from the youtube I’ve seen and from eerything I’ve read it is in person where the band thrives. I am sure the denizens of the LA music scene where the indie rock  lives will tell you just . “LA is completely thriving ” A/J claims. “But it’s lots of little scenes based around Sunset, the East Side. We  support each other, we go to each others shows.

“On stage Saint Motel  want to give people an experience, something unique. Not just the same club they’ve been to a hundred times, we want to change their enviroment, their scenery. Like a really good party, we want them to remember it as something wonderful.

“Our music has energy, frustration, naivete, joy…”

With those kinda ambitions we will all be staying at Saint Motel for a long time to come.

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