Got an email the other day about a new version of my song ‘Nobody’s Girl’ on MySpace. It’s beautifully sung and played by a new performer named Ernie Halter. Look for ‘Nobody’s Girl’ in his blog listing and have a listen (.
Turns out he was playing that night at The Hotel Cafe in Hollywood, as well as my friend Jesse Harris, visting from New York. I stopped by. Magical rainy night. There’s a whole scene going on at Cahuenga and Hollywood Blvd. Midnight and crowded with people spilling out on to the street from the clubs. More like the East Village in New York than what you usually see in L.A.
Standing there at the bar hearing my song coming back to me this many years later from someone else, making it his own. Very poignant. Such a long history I have with Los Angeles now. Probably it is home, if you were to count up the years that I’ve spent here, even though I grew up in Maine and I consider my apartment in New York to be ‘home’. I remember writing ‘Nobody’s Girl’ back at the guesthouse I had in Brentwood. I was positive that it was far too personal to ever see the light of day in the music business. I wrote it ‘just for myself’, not knowing, of course, that Bonnie Raitt would come along and send it out in to the world in a big way. Now here it is walking down the street without me. It doesn’t need me anymore. I wave hello as if to a grown son who doesn’t have time for hanging out with Dad anymore, a tear in my eye. All the rock star dude wanna-be hopefuls, hanging out, all the beautiful young girls. I wouldn’t dare speculate at what it is they wanna be, here at midnight on a Monday night, but I hope they all get what they’re looking for.
I say hi to Jesse and he plays a nice set with Van Dyke Parks sitting in on piano and accordion. They could be father and son up there. Van Dyke is a 60’s legend famous for writing the legendary ‘Smile’ album with Brian Wilson. Jesse has become a bit of a legend in his own right, for the songs that he wrote on Norah Jones’ debut album. I met Jesse back in The East Village in maybe 1993 or so. I ended up naming my son Jesse. It means ‘God exists’ in Hebrew, something I’m now well aware of. I used to see Jesse Harris’ Dad at his shows around New York. It warmed my heart. You can be sure that if my son ever performs anywhere I’ll be there! The first gig my own father ever saw me play was at a now defunct bar on Avenue A called ‘Downstairs at Two Boots’. I couldn’t have asked for a better night. Totally packed house, everyone singing along with me. I’d been out on a small tour of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, D.C., etc., and the songs were well warmed up. Then my Dad and my sister and I went out for a Bushmills at an Irish bar nearby. A sacred moment. Fathers and sons. Now I’m both.