Nobody Walks in Los Angeles

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Rock Cellar Magazine

Rock Cellar Magazine is proud to introduce a new category called The Bottom Line – featuring anecdotes and musings from Bill Cinque, seasoned music industry vet and author of The Amazing Adventures of a Marginally Successful Musician, available now in our Online Store… 
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Guitarist wanted. Must have reliable transpo.
The above ad appears in every Los Angeles music paper. That’s because a car is an essential part of living in LA.
New York, Boston and London have public transportation. LA has it, but nobody uses it.
I guess it’s transportation but it’s not very public. If you don’t have a car, you better have a girlfriend because you’re going to need a ride.
As a musician, you can’t be too picky about transpo. You drive whatever car you can afford.
This means it is a vehicle that no one else in the world would drive. Don’t be ashamed. You’re a musician and no one will judge you by the car you drive.
In fact, if your band rocks, people will think your car is cool and they’ll love you. I know guys that drive old checker cabs from the 60’s and another that drives a hearse. One guy still has the longhorns of a Brahma bull on the grill of his 25 year old mint condition Cadillac.
Oops. These are bad examples. These are just cool cars. The guys who drive them are idiots and nobody likes them.
Let’s start over. No one will judge you by the car you drive. Everyone understands that you’re a struggling musician. You suffer for your art and can’t be shackled by possessions. Good thing!
The band cars are always easy to spot in the parking lot. They are right next to the club owner’s new Porsche. The musician’s car is usually a “Cyclops”, meaning only one headlight is working. The driver’s door is a different color. The Nine Inch Nails bumper sticker is holding the trunk closed.
The 2 weeks worth of Styrofoam coffee cups in the backseat serve as soundproofing for the muffler that does very little muffling.
The local car wash calls the HAZMAT team to clean the interior.
Something is crawling in the cup holder.
The brakes are so far gone, their picture appears on the side of a milk carton. The passenger window sticks and the horn won’t work below 70 degrees.
A roll of duct tape doubles as the spare tire, under which is a tuxedo jacket. Last but not least, the dashboard hosts a 14,000 watt, 26 speaker surround sound iPod ready, 75 CD changer, satellite radio, wi-fi internet, flat screen mother of all entertainment centers complete with lighting trusses for enhanced interactive performances.
I’ve seen these cars for years. I must admit, I really admire the guys who drive them. My first thought is that they should spend less money on the sound system and more on the brakes and tires. After further review, I realize that these are the musicians who truly walk the walk. Music is their top priority. They don’t care about the look of the car. (Apparently, they don’t care about the safety, either.
These musicians surround themselves with music. They often work 2 or even 3 jobs in order to pay for this luxury.
If they applied that type of commitment to my band, I’d consider myself lucky. I’d be honored to have them on the team.
I’d drive myself to rehearsal, though.
If it gets you to the gig, it’s a great car.


  • Diana Wall says:

    Bill, you’re the best. Anyone who can drive in Manhattan AND L.A. freeways can be considered a transpo authority. I bow to you!

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