Charles Andrews, Terry Reid and Jello Biafra at a Simon Stokes show. Courtesy photo.

TAIX

This just in! You’ll be thrilled to know that Echo Park will soon have something it needs so very badly, 170 butt-ugly apartments jammed onto the space where a revered restaurant and live music venue used to be. For 56 years.

But it’s OK! Because the cherished Taix restaurant will be back, brand new. On the ground floor. One-third its former size. Fitting right in with the crappy six floors of “luxury” apartments on top of it, no doubt. No word on whether they will have live music but what difference would it make. It was the ambiance that made going to shows there such a different delight, and that vanished when the original building was torn down for this abomination. Seems like they could have preserved it, built around it.

But that might have interfered with the glorious pedestrian walk-through, that goes from Sunset Boulevard to… Reservoir Street, which no one would have any reason to go to unless they lived in an apartment there. Likely they’ll fill that in with more much-needed ground floor retail, as brick and mortars are becoming dinosaurs. Open space? — you’ve got your roof decks facing downtown LA. Just across the street another developer tore down two single-family homes to put up an even butt-uglier building with 27 apartments, averaging less than 400’ sq. Lord I love developers.

Taix was a real “East Hollywood” musicians’ hang. For the music, the vibe, and the great grub and stiff drinks you could down while listening.

I DIDN’T GO REGULARLY

Long drive, but I saw some great acts there since moving to LA in 1980, my favorite being the inimitable Simon Stokes, several times. He liked the joint. I thought he seemed particularly menacing on that small stage, jammed against a dark back wall. He did look and sound like the kind of dude (even at about 5’4) who would just as soon slit your throat in a dark alley as explain to you why you needed it. He wrote and performed the most ghastly songs. And he was one of the sweetest, most kind, soft-spoken, generous gentlemen I’ve ever known in the music biz. Unreservedly and sincerely humble, and you should read his bio.

If you had more than three musicians on that stage it looked like they might have to take a seat at somebody’s front row table. For sound and vision there wasn’t a bad spot in the small room, but I liked squeezing into the bar.

THERE’S ALWAYS ROOM FOR JELLO

I met Jello Biafra at a Simon Stokes show there, and got one of my three most precious rock gods photos in the hallway at Taix, a smirking Terry Reid with the legendary Jello smiling next to him. (The other two were with Simon and the great fiddler and actor Brantley Kearns, and with Henry Rollins and former Gen X lead guitar Bob Derwood Andrews at the latter’s show at Farmers Market.)

The last time I was at the Taix bar I was chatting with the great British rock screamer Reid, who graciously came on my cable TV show and surprised me, with that raucous rough voice of his, by singing mostly Christmas songs and some standards, with his young daughter. It was years later that I learned that Simon was Terry’s father-in-law, by daughter Annette. Can you imagine the singing at those family get-togethers? Robert Plant calls Reid the defining voice of his generation (!), and he’s still in demand to collaborate with very big names. Yeah, he’s still got it. But R.I.P. Taix, more good music times now only a memory.

NICOLE RECOMMENDS:

DUST-TO-DIGITAL — is a Grammy award-winning record label that specializes in documenting the history of American popular music, but it is so much more than that. It is a combination of both label and archive, preserving, digitizing, and making publicly available hundreds of historic recordings, interviews, photographs and more, and as the name would suggest, the label wholeheartedly embraces the virtues of social media. They are probably my favorite account that I follow, posting daily (often rare) photos and videos by all kinds of artists from around the world, from the very well known to the totally obscure. Most of their posts are from a bygone era, but they will sprinkle in the occasional present-day video, acting as a kind of archive-in-motion. As much as I like to think I know about music (and long-forgotten folk music, at that), I am always learning something new and wonderful from Dust-to-Digital. I follow their Instagram, but they have numerous platforms, all linked at the bottom of their homepage: https://dust-digital.com/

RICKIE LEE JONES

I’ve watched both of her first two home concerts and both were a treat, every minute. You not only see that you are in her living room in New Orleans, she makes you feel welcome, c’mon in, make yourself at home. She’s casual, no star attitude, just, you know, Rickie. Just like you and me, only, very talented, and having lived a much more interesting life.

These have been really great Rickie Lee Jones concerts, an hour long, and isn’t that just great? Sound and video is superb. She’s telling stories, spinning sometimes long yarns that are captivating, and when she finally gets to the next number, you loved the journey as much as the song. I suppose you have to be a fan. What I love from Rickie Lee would drive me nuts from Celine Dion.

HOME CONCERTS THIS FRIDAY AND SUNDAY

As far as I can tell she’ll be on Friday 5 p.m. PDT and Sunday 10 a.m. (she said she added the Sunday concerts for her friends and fans in Europe, so they wouldn’t have to stay up till 2 a.m. to hear her. She’s been a little iffy on dates and times in the past so your best bet is to check in on her FB page, under “Live from my Living Room,”

No cover charge but she is taking donations on the page because she has a new album and book and was supposed to be on tour and she says she knows almost everyone is hurting right now but well, if you can spare it, she’ll be grateful.

You never know what she’s going to do. It looks as though she doesn’t know, until deciding spontaneously. Last time she did some great covers, including the Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” (?!). I haven’t been a big fan of quarantine virtual streaming concerts but… Rickie is different, no?

Charles Andrews has listened to a lot of music of all kinds, including more than 2,000 live shows. He has lived in Santa Monica for 34 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at therealmrmusic@gmail.com

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