Just Above Sunset
Volume 5, Number 10
March 11, 2007

February 12, 2007

 The world as seen from Just Above Sunset -

"Notes on how things seem from out here in Hollywood..."

Monday, February 12, 2007 -

It's Only Rock 'n' Roll

The morning after the Grammy Awards, here where Hollywood meets the Sunset Strip, traffic in the neighborhood was jammed. Down the street at the Whiskey Go Go, at 11:00, Sting and Police - the pop music folks, not the LAPD folks - were in the middle of a free open rehearsal.  After twenty years, they've reunited for an album and a tour. As you recall, Sting wrote and performed that classic English teacher song, Don't Stand So Close To Me - "He starts to shake and cough / Just like the man in / The book by Nabokov." Sting started out as an English teacher himself. He knows.  Anyway, there a big crowds everywhere.

CNN covered a bit of it live - so it was best to watch it from home, a few blocks away, via the CNN studios at Columbus Circle in Manhattan. It's a small world, and an odd one.

That performance followed their opening the Grammy Awards the night before.  The reunion - with the album soon and the world tour to follow - was big news. But they just weren't that good. And the word is they never really got along with each other. Their drummer, Stewart Copeland, after the group broke up twenty years ago, settled out here and became ridiculously rich doing film and televisions scores. He should keep his day job.

Guitar Row- Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood

Guitar Row- Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood

As for the Awards themselves, the Dixie Chicks cleaned up, winning in five categories - including song and album of the year. The Associated Press notes that their winning all that was especially sweet, as it "vindicates" their rebellion "against a country-music establishment that turned its back on them following 2003 remarks critical of President Bush."  Yep, they said they were ashamed that Bush was from Texas, and said it in the UK - this from the girls who go their start playing the Christmas Party at Perot Systems headquarters in Plano. Ross Perot loved them. Well, not just Texans are ashamed now. All is forgiven, and they sound pretty good, even if they don't sound "country" any more.

But everyone agreed the overall program was a bust.  Sting and the Police weren't particularly impressive, and the San Francisco Chronicle said the evening reconfirmed the obvious - "that the Grammys are hopelessly stuck in the era of headbands, Pong and unironic mustaches."  Hey!  Those are fighting words to some of us.  But then, the whole thing really is moving into the realm of the quaint, or quaintly retro - kind of like the Miss America Pageant.  People still care about such things?

The New York Times pointed out that the ratings were way down, and the problem may be the whole industry.  They offered the warning that "the larger travails of the music business will still loom over any good vibes emanating from the festivities. Even a doubling of sales of digital albums failed to make up for the continued downward trek of CD sales."  No one is buying the music.

Be that as it may, it seemed best to take photos elsewhere - the Strip was full of trucks hauling away lightning and pavilions, and chairs and tables, from the "after" parties at the famous clubs and hotels. The real heart of Rock 'n' Roll isn't there anyway.  It a few blocks east on Sunset, on Guitar Row.  Here's that scene, the same morning.

A new band?

Stickers - Guitar Row, Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood

Trying to stay ahead of the Dixie Chicks - a stanchion on the front wall of the Guitar Center -

Stickers - Guitar Row, Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood

The heart of it all, Sunset at Vista -

Sunset at Vista - Guitar Row, Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood

How it looks to the locals -

Sunset at Vista - Guitar Row, Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood

The good old days, and that's Stevie Ray Vaughan's Stratocaster from that concert - in the window of the Guitar Center -

Jeff Beck poster, Guitar Center - Guitar Row, Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood

In the very old days they seem to have had folding organs.  How odd.  Everyone should have one.

Antique folding organ for sale on the sidewalk - Guitar Row, Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood
Antique folding organ for sale on the sidewalk - Guitar Row, Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood

The next generation of Rock fans…

Plastic rock baby figure and neon sunset sign - Guitar Row, Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood

Oh yeah, there's live theater around the corner.  

Feeding the Monkey in Hollywood poster - Gardner Avenue, Guitar Row, Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood

If you use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me.

These were shot with a Nikon D70 - using lens (1) AF-S Nikkor 18-70 mm 1:35-4.5G ED, or (2) AF Nikkor 70-300mm telephoto, or after 5 June 2006, (3) AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor, 55-200 mm f/4-5.6G ED. They were modified for web posting using Adobe Photoshop 7.0

The original large-format raw files are available upon request.

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Mail to: Editor@JustAboveSunset.com

[February 12, 2007]

Last updated Saturday, March 10, 2007, 10:30 pm Pacific Time

All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 - Alan M. Pavlik