I left Oregon with little more than a three step plan, and it went something like this: 1. Drive to LA, 2. Play Cinespace and The Hollywood Hellhouse, 3. Move in with Marilyn Manson’s drummer.
I made the trip back to California at the end of September, and did, as a matter of fact, cap off my first week by playing a great show at Cinespace, where I met a lot of new fans who had come to learn about my music on MySpace. But after that, little went according to plan.
My new roommate, Ginger Fish, was holed up in some German hospital following a fall from stage while drumming with Manson, and I found myself relegated to the couch of an eccentric boutique film director named Ari, and into the company of a certain Chasey Lain… whom I knew only from that one Bloodhound Gang song.
Two good weeks, I think, were spent on Ari’s couch in a blur of self-destruction that would have impressed even Quentin Tarantino. Sure, I was back in California — but I felt miserable. All the bad things I had been through because of my former manager swirled around me as I sank deeper into despair, wondering what the hell it was all for. Why had I been through so much pain?
Ari’s piano, out of tune and pushed back against a wall, served as an escape from the escape whenever I needed it, and I wrote songs inspired by Elvis Costello and practiced for my part in Hollywood Hellhouse, just as I had planned, while trying to keep my mind on the future.
Running all October up to the night of Halloween, Hollywood Hellhouse was a theatrical tour de force applying direct and sordid comedic pressure to the fire and brimstone artery of fundamentalist Christianity. And to me personally, it was like watching a parody of my own life and upbringing. I mean, all the same characters were there: Bill Mahr was the devil, Andy Richter was Jesus, and other characters like homosexuals and abortion clinicians were portrayed by Traci Lords and other random personalities from Hollywood’s underbelly and beyond. And now, the producers of the Hollywood Hellhouse had called upon me to be its piano player. And I had accepted.
But without anyone supporting me or my music, the play did little to lift my spirits, and soon I began to question whether or not I had done the right thing by coming back to California, because just about everything that could go wrong with my plan was suddenly going wrong. I fell asleep at night with images of Jesus glowing in my head, and I could hear him saying, “Porn stars, hell houses, Marilyn Manson’s drummer? I’m going to tell your mother!”
The days wore on and soon I was on the verge of collapse from the depression and self-destruction. I was a real life Hollywood trainwreck, and the reality that I had nothing left, thanks to that jerk off criminal who used to manage me, finally began to sink in. I thought about how my father was dead, and how my mother didn’t really love me or she wouldn’t be trying to get me to give up my music. I was this close to saying goodbye to the world and giving up all together, because why would I want to carry on anyway, when everything I cared about was gone? But somewhere deep inside me was the tiniest shred of hope.
Someone was going to rescue me.
I turned my eyes to the hills from wence cometh my help (the Hollywood Hills, that is) and in my darkest hour, a savior appeared. Just in the nick of time, too! His name was Brian Lewis, and he happened to be a leading talent buyer for the best venues in Los Angeles. In layman’s terms, he paid musicians lots of money to play the best clubs in the city. And he was so handsome! He looked just the way I’d always imagined my dream man looking: he was 6’2″ with a thick shock of jet black hair and big dark eyes, broad shoulders, strong arms, a million dollar smile… and ten years experience in the music industry.
I’d had a crush on Brian Lewis for over a year, ever since he booked a showcase for me at the Key Club. Given my line of work, I saw him all the time at concerts and industry events, but he had no idea how much I liked him. I had to go out of my way to hide my crush, and even though I behaved like a lady, I had thoughts about him that would make a pole dancer blush. So try to imagine my surprise when all of a sudden he waltzed into my reality and asked if I had in fact severed ties with my management.
It was clearly fate. Brian moved me into his spacious rosebush flanked country home in North Hollywood, and gave me a gig opening for John Waite all in the same day. And so, my life took a turn. The move to North Hollywood reeked of divine intervention, and I had to pause and thank the forces at work.
But the prayer was brief. Afterall, it was the night before Halloween and I had to get dolled up and drive over to the Marilyn Manson KROQ Halloween Costume Ball at The Vault 350 in Long Beach. Ginger wasn’t drumming, seeing as he was still sporting a broken face and wrist, but the show still went off without a hitch. As the band writhed onstage under two feet of fake falling snow to the rythm of my favorite MM song, Dope Show, I smiled and thought to myself:
Welp, Marilyn Manson sure lip synchs better than Ashlee Simpson. Hahahaha!