28 October 2007
There’s Fire in L.A. it burns at your feet, I try to keep moving…
All things considered I’m sure you’ll understand me using my own lyrics as today’s title. You see, they’re the only lines that come to mind. I know, I know, this is a blog I write to talk about and review other people’s music, not my own, though it’s not as if my friends have written reviews if my latest, NUMB, on itunes (not for lack of me asking, though should I really have to ask?). So I figure, since “Fire In L.A.” fits what’s going on this week here in La La Land, I might as well talk about it, even though it’s from an earlier CD of mine called Amanda’s Floor.
I wrote the song one day in the mid 90’s after walking around Harvard Square with my best friend Fritz and my girlfriend, Kristin. He was describing his time living in Los Angeles and the reasons he was thinking about moving back to New York. He actually said to me “I left so I could come back….” and so began the first lines of the song….
“I left so I could come back, it hits you when you’re not looking, there’s Fire In L.A., it burns at your feet, I try to keep moving. But there aint no bricks to build a life, no woman to be my wife, there’s no place like home. Tears evaporate before they hit my cheek, I can’t look anymore, despair on the streets, it’s just like home, but I can’t take the heat, cause there aint no bricks to build a life, no woman to be my wife, there’s no place like home ….”
I’m quite proud of this song. To be honest, it’s one of the few songs I’ve written entirely about someone else and their experiences. At the time I hadn’t even been to Los Angeles and I certainly wasn’t looking for a wife, well, neither was Fritz, but it made for a good line.
The day I was inspired to write this song was a very awesome, beautiful day. Fritz, who had gone to Brandeis and was no stranger to Harvard Square, had come up to Boston to say hello and meet Kristin on one of his few trips back east during his tenure in L.A.. It was a cool Fall day and we spent it walking around talking about life and where we were all going. Of course we discussed the pros and cons about Life In LA and when he was potentially making the move back home. As the three of talked and he got to know Kristin he was quite open about his feelings and his desires for the future.
I remember the moment I started to write the song. It was after lunch, liquid and food filled – I believe we ate at the late great Wurst House – and after a very long stroll we headed back to the car for the short ride back to Porter Square where Kristin and I were living. I was a few steps ahead of them as we neared the car which was parked on the corner of Harvard Square that leads to Central Square and Fritz’s words and feelings started to fill my brain. I knew I had something and I couldn’t wait to write it down. I damn near stayed silent for several minutes as I repeated the opening lines to myself a dozen times so I wouldn’t forget them.
Kristin drove us all home, I ran into the house and excused myself leaving her and Fritz to bond while I feverishly wrote down what I was afraid I’d forget. Not too long after getting those first lines down on paper I was pretty much done writing the lyrics. The music would come later, easily, and all in all I had a song that for the first time had nothing to do with me, or was some kind of silly love song. I was, and am, very proud of the song to this day. I believe it was a turning point for me in my journey to be a more complete writer…and of course I couldn’t have done it were it not for Fritz, his tales of woe, and our wonderful day in Harvard Square. If you’d like to check the song out I’ve posted it on myspace – you can even download it: www.myspace.com/laraschuler
So about those fires in L.A.; I’m sure you’d have to be living in a cave somewhere in the U.S. not to know that this region has been slammed with what will amount to a pretty nasty, and expensive fire season, culminating in one of the worst ‘disasters’ (I use quotes because some of these fires were set by arsonists and thusly while it’s horrible there’s something less disastrous when it isn’t nature causing the melee) in recent California history. Thankfully I don’t live anywhere too close to the fires. Living here in West Hollywood which is a neighbourhood couched between Hollywood and Beverly Hills, the nearest fire is about ten/fifteen miles away and a HUGE hill/mountain keeps us from even seeing the fires. Needless to say I haven’t felt the affect the way others who were evacuated or had to reroute themselves did.
Not to say we haven’t felt it…the air quality has been downright horrible because the winds were blowing so strong fro much of the week (80 plus miles an hour at times) that the smoke made it’s way here, and how. The sunset looked more vibrant than ever, and my eyes and lungs feeling crappy are proof of that. Not that I’m complaining, because I’m not one of the thousands who have lost their homes. But even here we are not immune to it’s effects. The window’s have been kept closed, I’ve spent very little time outside and I worry about Phineas and how he might feel with his little kitty lungs (he spent most of the week under the bed where I’m sure the air quality was better). Basically, this is how I picture the 70’s to have looked and smelled here. ICKY.
All that being said – we are very lucky. Though I will say I’m deeply saddened at the thought that two of my favourite places in Southern California, Lake Arrowhead and Running Springs, just may have been decimated. I’ve spent a lot of time up there and I feel very sad for the folks who lost their homes and livelihoods. There are a lot of nice people who live in that area, and it’s a truly beautiful place to spend time.
My thoughts are with all who have been affected by these fires. Though to be honest, I’m not rooting for the arsonists or the idiot construction workers who were working with a spark producing machine in high winds; those people can basically rot in hell for all I care. But the rest, I hope, are well taken care of in a way that will hopefully be good for all involved – or at least better than the victims of Katrina were (lets not drop the ball this time fellas). Maybe with all the money coming here to help these victims there will be less money to fund the war and will thusly force the powers that be to bring some troops home. We can only hope. Maybe something ‘good’ will come out of all this after all.
Thanks for tuning in…Until next Sunday….CHEERS!!
PS. GO RED SOX……3-0…..lets melt those Rockies!!