Friday, April 30th - James Tritten's sister, Kim Tauch's, birthday
Everyone was extremely anxious to get on the road to Los Angeles. From Tucson, Los Angeles is about an 8-hour ride, with not a great amount of scenery to keep one's level of alertness in check. However, with two of the three girls equipped with iPhones, there would be plenty of excitement generated from online Madlibs and eBay shopping. The plan was for everyone to get off work a little earlier than BEER:30 so we could be on the road in time to arrive by midnight in Los Angeles (Do the math... 4:00 pm).
No sooner than passing the town of Marana about 20 minutes north of Tucson, Loreto reported her truck to be pulling a bit to the left. Everyone agreed it must be the road and asked Loreto to change lanes to see if it would be more level. Just as she pulled over to the right, getting into the middle lane... "POW!" goes one of the tires! Now, take a good guess at which one you think it was. Loreto screamed for her life, "The breaks aren't working! The breaks aren't working!" As if she had flown MiG fighter-jets shot down in Nam and successfully survived crash landings multiple times, Loreto steered her Volvo SUV (yep, that's how we roll) two more lanes to the right, then to the shoulder of the highway, all while her back left tire disintegrated away. She was able to coast the Volvo to a safe stopping point.
The tread of the tire was completed separated from the side walls and wheel. Alaina pointed out, "Look at all the liquid on the ground from the tire melting away!" Unfortunately, that was not "liquid tire"; it was brake fluid. When the tire broke apart, it crossed the brake line and snapped it completely off the caliper. Fortunately, James grew up with two fathers that instilled a great amount of respect for the importance to "be prepared." Like any good Boy Scout, James had brought his entire tool box from home, packed with nuts and bolts and washers and "manly accessories." Within minutes the spare tire was on the axle and the brake line had been MacGyver'ed tight with manly accessories to stop the bleeding.
Team Fort Lowell knew they had to turn around and head back to Tucson. The spare tire and hose clamp were not going to hold up for the 48 hour adventure that these cadets were about to embark on. In fact, it was questionable whether or not the journey would (or should) continue from this point. They were able to drive to the closest PepBoys to discuss matters further with Hippe (pronounced HIP-pee), a fine young mechanic that was hanging on to every moment he could spend with the young, professional, executive ladies. Hippe wanted to help in any way possible, but was simply unequipped. He did approve of the craftsmanship that James applied to the broken brake line, so the team decide to move the Volvo across town to a repair shop closer to Loreto's home.
Driving on Ina Road, past Oracle, there seemed to be a construction zone on the road approaching. Casually following the neon glow of the the directional signs, all of a sudden the Jeep had been re-routed north onto a dark, twisting road that was jammed with traffic due to the 25-mph speed limit and incompetent drivers. The drive had already seemed endless, and none of the West-side cross roads looked familiar to the East-Tucson posse. It was as if Tucson was crying out, "Fort Lowell! Come back, Fort Lowell!" Tucson simply did not want this group to leave.
Pressing on, the Jeep was eventually able to make it past the point the Volvo did not. Excitement was shared between Tracy, Lolo, Alaina, and James in their new 48-hour-home, followed by a moment of silence that was fueled from the shear exhaustion from the past 5 hours. Then, Alaina began to laugh... hysterically, and uncontrollably. She had taken a look at the clock and it read "10:00pm." The young executives had just left Tucson for the second time, and the reality of their departure had just hit Alaina. It became infectious. The entire group began laughing out loud, and subconsciously crying on the inside without tears showing on their faces. Everyone knew that it was a crazy idea, but everyone remained optimistic and felt the sacrifice of sanity for the love of art would be worth it in the end. This is the dedication the executives of Fort Lowell Records give to each project and each other. This is what rock-n-roll is all about.
Saturday, May 1st - "May Day, May Day, May Day!"
For the past 15 years, James had been on many tours around the country, driving many late-night-after-concert-shifts lasting from 6 hours to 14 hours, so the idea of an 8 hour overnight drive from Tucson to Los Angeles seemed very realistic and possibly fun in some ways. Lolo's role with Fort Lowell Records has been to be a supportive energy in any way needed for any projects, and this was clearly demonstrated with this overnight drive. She stayed up the entire time keeping everyone's optimism in check, and James' alertness to the road focused, ...with the assistance of a healthy dose of Cool Ranch Doritos and two Starbucks Double Shots (standard issues for James and overnight driving). The team did have to pass up the Massage Parlor at the one stop they made for gas, and pressed on to arrive in Los Angeles a little after 5:00 am.
Emily and Deanna from Wet & Reckless, and Gimpy and Puppy, Deanna's cute dogs, greeted everyone upon arrival. Whitney, newly appointed lead guitarist for Wet & Reckless, remained asleep on the coach. Team Tucson did everything to be as quiet as possible, but sleeping on the hardwood floors did not seem as inviting as sleeping on blow-up mattresses, despite the Boeing engine-like noise they would make to inflate. Lolo and Alaina did their best to settle in the living room, while James and Tracy attempted to make their mattress inflate between the kitchen sink, oven, refrigerator and garbage cans. No one cared about the arrangement at this point. They simply wanted that bird outside singing beautifully to his mate to die, and the sun to take a detour north, east, or south... any direction but west.
With a few hours of trying to sleep, everyone began to rise around 11:00am. Discussions about taking a walk to get coffee were underway. The idea of starting this day, regardless of the lack of proper rest, just seemed like the right idea (but perhaps should have been re-analyzed). Deanna's house sits on top of one of the steepest streets in the world, Baxter Street in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Driving in at 5:00 am provided a beautiful view of their city. However, not considering this at 11:00am for the walk to go get coffee proved to be an work-out that Team Tucson (a city where most of the residential area resides in the flat area between mountains and hills) was not prepared for.
The local coffee was great, and the company was even better. Everyone took time getting to know each other and take in the beautiful neighborhood of Echo Park. Emily and Whitney headed out to the studio for the day for Wet & Reckless to begin recording what will become their track for the Fort Lowell Records Split 7inch with Tracy Shedd. Deanna took James down to Origami Vinyl in Echo Park to meet with Sean (co-owner) and drop off some records to carry in the store. Lolo unfortunately had to learn a bit more about the damage to her Volvo, something that ended up being not just a simple drop-off-at-the-mechanic-for-the-morning kind of repair. Everyone else embraced the clean water of Los Angeles and took l o n g e r - t h a n - n o r m a l showers to try and re-start their day off on a better (or at least more clean) note.
Team Tucson decided to head out to Santa Monica Pier and stick their dry desert skin in the frigid Pacific Coast water. With the recently discovered Hipstamatic iPhone App and Alaina's truly impressive professional cameras, the kids from Tucson enjoyed an afternoon taking photographs of each other, drinking beer with olive juice (trust us, try it!), and already beginning to miss their loved ones they had just left behind nearly 24 hours ago. The original plan, if they had arrived in Los Angeles on time, was for Lolo and Alaina to drop off Tracy and James at Deanna's house and go visit with Kelly Flint, Lolo's sister in-law/Kane's sister. They would have been able to spend some time with Lolo's family on Saturday and then meet up with everyone else later in the day. The trip to the Santa Monica Pier was simply something to make the best of the time now allotted to the project due to the situation, and it proved to be a fun, relaxing afternoon, soaking in the California sun--- possibly the highlight of the trip.
Everyone met back up at Casa de Wet & Reckless around 9:00pm. Team Los Angeles began cleaning the house and getting ready to get their groove on, while Team Tucson, who had never really gotten over the stresses of the Volvo experience, and who were malnourished and exhausted from a lack of sleep, did their best to pull themselves together to try and make something work. Lolo opted to take a nap in the Jeep to try and recharge her batteries. As the party slowly began to get started Alaina looked for any opportunity to document imagery for possible usage, but all creative juices were left behind on the road with the tire tread from the Volvo the night before.
More and more friends began to arrive as the night went on, and everyone did their best to pull together what may still become the cover art to FLR003, the third release for Fort Lowell Records. No one will truly know the outcome until Alaina is able to develop the film from this adventure. There were a few magical moments of group splits on the wood floor and Fred-Astaire-and-Ginger-Rogers-like dancing moves that very well could work out to be what everyone was hoping for.
They circled around the Los Angeles area, trying to figure out how Cherry Street intersected with the 710. Meanwhile, Kelly had been trying to contact Lolo to let her know about her mistake, but was unable to do so because of the dead phone. As minutes turned to hours, the night became an endless whirlwind that seemed to have no end. Lolo and Alaina found themselves in South Central Los Angeles, and every convenience store seemed to know that Cherry Street was in Long Beach but had no clue how to direct them where they needed to go.
Finally, a clerk at one of the stores offered to look up directions for them online. In order for Lolo to give the clerk Kelly's address to look up, she had to get the information off of her phone. Lolo found a power outlet on the outside of the convenience store. As any iPhone owner could tell you, you can't just plug in a dead iPhone and expect to use it immediately; you've got to wait a good couple of minutes for it to breath again before it is able to come back to life. So Lolo stood there, bent over due to the low height of the outlet and short length of the power cable, for a number of minutes before her lil' co-pilot came back to life.
Once Lolo was able to connect, they gave the address to the clerk immediately to pull up directions while Lolo reached out to Kelly to let her know what had been going on. Everything seemed to finally be coming together. As Lolo was about to stand up and step back to ease her body from being cramped over, Alaina shouted, "Don't move!" It was dark this time of the morning, and where the power outlet was located on the building, no illumination was provided. Apparently Lolo had been squatting in a fresh puddle of someone's puke, and was about to take a step back into more of it.
There was also a great sense of success, accomplishment, and pride. The team did not lot let anything stand in their way. They had a mission and gave everything that had to try and complete what they had set out to do. Success is not found in the end result of something, rather during the process of doing something; success is the act of doing. The executives will not be successful when they find a photograph to use for the cover art... rather, they are already successful because they had an idea to do something and never gave up. That is what life is all about, as well as what Fort Lowell Records is all about.
It is too often that ideas are simply left on the table, or perhaps never even make it to the table and are left in one's head. Ideas need to be carried through so that life can be lived. This is how you grow. This is why we exist. Our fearless cast of characters learned a lot about themselves and each other from this experience, and grew in more ways than they could have imagined. But what is most important is that Fort Lowell Records continues to grow as a family, and that art, expression, and creativity is given the opportunity to exist.
We truly appreciate all of the time and energy that was given toward this project, and look forward to many more exciting adventures for many more years to come!
- Fort Lowell Records