Mark and Chicago Red
Dan Castle and Alison
A Night in a L.A. Rock & Roll Mecca
Tucked next to the landmark Canter’s Deli in Fairfax Avenue, was a tiny, dark and nondescript bar. It’s not that great if you consider the atmosphere or the drink selection or the layout of the bar. Right beside the bar was what looked like a raised surface that stood for the stage, a couple of speakers and a couple of hard lights to illuminate it and maybe six tables for patrons—that’s it. But some serious musicians had passed through this hidden gem called the “Kibitz Room”. The Doors, The Wallflowers, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers had come and hang out here and maybe played a song or two. On Sundays local musicians would religiously come here to play on open mic. My friend, Independent Film Director, songwriter and musician, Dan Castle said: “This is one place where you don’t have to be what you don’t wanna be”.
I must be the dumbest person to converse with about Rock & Roll, I wouldn’t know the band, the name of a song, the lead singer, what year which member left, but I know beautiful Music when I hear it. All musicians who performed on open mic wrote their own songs and boy do they have talent. Blues, Country, Folk, Bluegrass—they played it unrehearsed, unpolished but with heart and soul. I was very, very fortunate to have heard the music of Mark and Chicago Red. Blues was something I would skip while scanning radio stations but when I heard those two played I became a convert. Nothing like hearing Blues played live in a jam session—like how it’s intended—It made me imagined hanging out in a porch in Mississippi on a lazy Saturday afternoon. Dan Castle and Alison played an unrehearsed Country/Blues song raw. Alison’s voice was dripping-wet-sexy and it was hot with passion like a sticky, steamy, South Carolina summer.
“I come here every Sunday. This is church for me and most others. Most of these musicians probably didn’t matter much to the outside world” Dan Castle said somberly while we were walking back to our cars. I thought to myself that maybe…maybe these musicians probably didn’t amount much to anything…but in the Kibitz Room they were demigods. Dan Castle was right, people go to perform in that bar not to be what they don’t wanna be.
Written by RG in the spirit of spontaneity.
“I couldn’t jam with a guitar but I could at least try to jam with them with words”.
For the Musicians who come to Canter’s Deli, Kibitz Room, on open mic.
4/15/14. Correction on my post on A Night in a L.A. ROCK AND ROLL Mecca. Alison and Dan Castle performed "Take Me Home" by Concrete Blonde. It was not written by Alison.
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Copyright 2014 RG Los Angeles Stories