I Wanna Be Your Dog
Neurotic Outsiders @ The Viper Room in Los Angeles, California. 4.26.99
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Neurotic Outsiders circa. 1996
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The Viper Room, Los Angeles.  After traveling across the country yet again ("some people go skiing on vacation, we go to concerts"), my compatriots and I (HipKitty and Ali) arrived at the very premature hour of 4:45 at the Viper Room.  Strange you say?  Well, with all the horror stories of being one of the unlucky souls trapped in line outside and missing the show, there was nothing that was going to leave us standing outside at midnight in the cold with the walls shaking next to us, taunting us with the performance within.  Surprisingly enough though, we were actually not the first people in line.  There was already one person sitting there reading a book and three others who had left momentarily and would be back soon.  So we planted ourselves on the cool pavement of the sidewalk outside and braced for the long haul ahead of us.

About an hour or so after our arrival, Duff and Steve pulled up into a parking space directly in front of us on the Viper Room's cross street, Larabee.  In the interim before their arrival though, we did have another celebrity sighting.  There was a handsome gentleman who walked passed us, looked in the window, and then passed back by.  I was looking at him, his eyes covered by sunglasses, and was struck with his familiarity.  I blew it off thinking that he uncannily looked like the actor Steven Dorff, but most likely wasn't.  I should have trusted my instincts because we found later that it was indeed him.

Back to the band themselves, though.  Once Steve and Duff arrived, Duff had a small contingent of fans who seemed to swarm from out of nowhere that quickly surrounded him.  They seemed to have been biding their time at the top of the hill awaiting his eminent arrival.   As both Duff and Steve got out of his truck, the two of them greeted us excitedly, seemingly surprised at the early hour we were lined up.   Steve was very cordial and we asked him for a photo.  I was a little intimidated at first by him, but he set us at ease by exclaiming "'Ello dahhhlings!"   He posed with both HipKitty and I, so yes, I was able to score a photo with my longtime idol Jonesy.  Moment of silence, please.  Duff also posed for a fast photo as the two of them went up the hill to go inside for sound check.

While we were waiting for the others to arrive, there was a small group of people who were filming outside the Viper Room's entrance for an Italian music video.  They asked us if we wouldn't mind being a part of it and just be in the shot with a life size cardboard stand-up of one of the band members.  HipKitty, Ali and I agreed and we stood in a bunch of shots for them.  I unfortunately did not catch the name of the band or the song, as I was a bit distracted worrying that would be the moment John would pull up.  Here we were standing around this cardboard guitarist guy, looking at him in our staged awe, as if I am not a big enough fangirl already.  Oh well...Ciao Italy!


Nevertheless, the filming went smoothly and quickly and was done well before the arrival of our third Neurotic, Matt.  Matt pulled up in a lovely vintage red Corvette and was all smiles as he greeted us.  He posed for a quick photo for us and made his way inside.  As he passed us, we noticed someone who looked like John in the parking lot next door.  We all were squinting trying to identify him, but his exaggerated mannerisms gave him away.  He quickly pulled his white BMW out onto the street and parked it on Larabee with the others. 

John walked up to us with his bass case, asking if we had any change for the parking meter as he'd only had bills.  All of us quickly dug into our pockets and HipKitty ended up giving him about 30 cents.  He pulled out a dollar and handed it to her and was like "Take it, take it."  We were all just looking at it, saying "No, man, it's okay. Don't worry about it!"  Craig (CC007), who had arrived right before Matt, took it from John and said "I'll take it."  John then asked if we could keep an eye on his bass, as he crossed the street to pay the meter for his car.  We were all flattered he trusted us with his guitar -- as if we could have done anything with it anyway!

As he made his way back over to us, he said something to a woman emerging from the parking lot next door.  Craig said, "Oh my God, it is Sporty!" and we all realized, it was indeed Sporty Spice!  John was saying to her, "You paid $10 to park??" (obviously showing why he peeled out of there so quickly earlier) and she just shyly answered, "Well, yes."

The two of them made their way past us, as John retrieved his bass.  We took a quick picture of them, still reeling a bit from the surreal "change incident" with John (which after all the money we spend on him annually, I am quite sure that 30 cents would not have broken the bank) and the fact that Sporty Spice was there.  I was actually amazed at how timid she was, as we greeted her and she shyly smiled back at us.  Once they got inside, I realized I had a ton of change still left in my pocket, so we ran across the street and set John's meter up for two hours.  We also set Steve's meter up for the same (we tried to do Matt's, but his was broken and he had written a note on it).

The meter man arrived soon after, seemingly geared up to write some parking tickets.  Where is Lovely Rita when you need her?  Steve's truck was the first to be inspected and it failed as he had not turned his tires in towards the curb (a violation John had gotten ticketed with the week or so before).  We tried to run and get the message to him, but Sal didn't want to disturb their sound check.  Matt almost got ticketed, but we pointed out that he tried to pay, but the meter wasn't working properly. Both Matt and John's cars came out clear. 

After the sound check, the meter man had returned and was eyeing Matt's car (as was another guy who we think was the parking lot attendant).  At first we were worried that they were going to ticket him, but they seemed to be just hovering around the car.  When Matt walked out and saw them, he asked us, "Did they get me?" but he was safe, all the two men wanted was a look under the hood!  Testosterone at its finest folks!


The band left and we were left to eagerly await the show.  I met several TTPers, but it was all a blur as I was a huge ball of nerves.  We had a great conversation with a Guns N Roses fan, comparing his fandom to ours, and overall the night seemed to pass fairly quickly.  At about 9:00 PM or so, the doors were opened and we were let inside.  There was a mad rush for the stage and John's section already had a small gathering, so we planted ourselves in front row in front of Steve and Duff's section.  I was immediately struck with the size of the place.  It could easily have the clichéd billing of "An Intimate Performance With..."  as it was about the size of a living room and the stage was even smaller. 

The opening band Driz came on around 10:00.  It was nice as the place was getting very claustrophobic and I hated being pressed against the stage and monitor with a curtain an inch from my nose.  I could finally breathe...somewhat.   I actually really enjoyed the band's performance as well.  They were sort of blue-eyed soul mixed with a catchy pop groove.  Dancing along helped the time pass more quickly.  Also, seeing all the members practically on top of each other on stage intrigued me as to how all of Neurotic Outsiders were going to fit on the same stage.

Sometime just before midnight, two of the Viper Room staff pushed through the crowd and poised themselves at the inner edges of the curtains. Sal stood at the far edge of stage right, the spotlight on him.  He introduced them saying, "Tonight you are going to see something you have never seen before."  That was indeed an understatement.  Then the two staff members moved past us pulling the curtains open to reveal the band on stage.  I was wondering if maybe the curtain's pulley system was broken or if they were manually opened for dramatic effect.  Before I could ponder this for too long, the band quickly broke into "Nasty Ho" as the excitement of the crowd rose so quickly it was palpable.

I cannot commit to paper the excitement of my own self during this show.  I had been depressed for years over missing them the first go around, so I certainly wasn't taking a millisecond of this performance for granted.  I cannot even tell you my favorite song that they performed.  I loved the fact that as I was hanging over the monitor being pushed by those behind me, I had Duff playing his guitar just inches from me.  I remember screaming along the words to "New Rose," my excitement coupled with the fact that I had actually just bought a totally cool Damned import on Melrose the previous day.  When they did "I Wanna Be Your Dog" by my favorite band The Stooges, it seemed to just perfectly make up for the fact that I was going to miss Iggy Pop in Atlanta the next week since I had blown all my money on this trip. And when they broke into the sensual "Black Leather" ("Levver"), it made me laugh to myself about the scene with that in "The Great Rock N Roll Swindle," a film I had just turned a friend onto a week before.

Okay, okay, so I was prepared for the Cult.  Prepared is being tame, I was really wound up about the Cult.  I have been a long time fan and seeing them was going to be so choice -- especially as they were doing my favorite song by them, "Wildflower."  Still, nothing could have prepared me for Sporty Spice's performance.  Sure, I knew that she was going to be there, but I was totally curious as to how she was going to pull it off.  Steve announced that he was looking for "a little girl in the audience" and up onto the stage she came.  The whole crowd seemed to stare up at the stage in shock.  Here was a Spice Girl at a Neurotic Outsiders show! 


Her first song was Billy Idol's "White Wedding."  I was entranced, I couldn't believe how good she was!  Even in her shyness and her unwillingness to look at the audience, she still had a great presence on stage.  Then she sang "Pretty Vacant" -- a song any Duranie worth their salt knew.  The crowd was going crazy, I could feel the mosh pits erupting behind me.  Finally Steve said something to the effect of "Get a load of this one" and she went into "Anarchy For The U.K."!  The whole crowd was really into it at this point as everyone pogo-ed and moshed to the punk anthem.  It was almost sad to see her go when she left the stage after that.

Next up was Billy and Ian from the Cult.  The stage was packed like sardines and I was curious how the ever-exuberant Ian was going to perform in such a tight space.  Ian certainly didn't let the small size of the stage deter him.  He was up on the monitors, swinging from the curtain rods, on Matt's drum riser, and just plain all over the place on the stage.  We kept dodging and ducking as he would swing his feet out over the crowd.  I love the man, but I'd hate to be kicked in the head and end up in hospital.  We knew that he was going to probably stage dive, so when he seemed to be surveying the crowd for the best spot, we parted like the Red Sea so that he didn't pick our area.

The Cult also played "Love Removal Machine" and ended the show with a bang with the Pistol's "Bodies."  My heart was totally racing, I just was absolutely overwhelmed by the whole thing.  I certainly have to say that of all the many, many shows I have seen over the years, this show stands as my all time favorite.  Thank you guys for playing again!

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