A few weeks ago I was on the phone with Alex, one of my managers, planning out the next few months for Buddahead when we first began kicking around the idea of returning to the West Coast. Anyway, as often the case is, Alex being the controller of my destiny, decided that this was a good idea and we should return to the West Coast beginning with a show at The Mint on May 13th. A tour was then constructed with one time Buddahead member AM, who is now an independent LA singer-songwriter, who receives plenty of praise from KCRW radio and LA Weekly.
Years ago Los Angeles came into my life like a meteor. After years of exhaustive effort trying to get a record deal in London, the first interested call was from Capitol Records in Los Angeles. Who would have thought it but I was invited to the famous Capitol Tower and yet, surprisingly, the first time I walked around the offices I got a sticky feeling in my stomach that this was not the place in which, at long last, I would bring my album to a berth. LA has always been damaging to me in this way. It has always had the power to wet my appetite but not feed me.
It has been a while since I have played in LA but I have to admit I am actually brimming with excitement this time around. Partly because it will be fun playing in LA again, but mostly because it has been an awfully long time since I sat somewhere under the sun in the valley and had decent chelo-kabab – a meal truly at the frontline of the great experiences in life.
It is very hard to describe to an American the possibility that one meal has the power to render a person insensible. Indeed, it is always fun to watch a chelo-kabab virgin chew the last mouthfuls of his or her meal and see their eye lids succumb to the doug, rice, meat, butter, and egg induced anesthesia.
Now as I think of Simon (the guitarist from my band) and I on Sunday the 15th of May, two days after our LA show, and one day after our Santa Cruz show, sitting at a chelo-kababy, my mouth waters at the serenity that comes only with the end of a pilgrimage. I have tried to depict for him what it is that we will be eating but he just looks at me as if to say, “So it’s just meat and rice?”
How can I explain the tryst between Iranians and chelo-kabab?
Personally, I am sick of the conventional crap we eat every day on the road. Toronto, Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburgh … every day, it’s the same crap served in an enormous plates with extra sides and huge soda refills. America is filled, seemingly, with an endless supply of mediocre food, as England, my lovely England, is filled with an endless supply of bad cooks. I have to even admit; New York City, the city, the home to more restaurants than residents, has so far failed to provide an accomplished Persian restaurant.
So, my taste buds are flickering and in my fridge I have just one low fat raspberry yoghurt — the good thing is that the tub is about 2 litres — likely the smallest I found. I am trying to take no thought of Sunday the 15th but it is proving so very hard, and the whole while I am reminded of the story about when my father and aunt were young children and he stole her kabab bread and in her lament she wrote an ode to nooneh kababy and cried for a week straight.