i came to los angeles to find frank black.
the wayward and wandering surf-guitar auteur of rock who would not be satisfied in any one genre but rather on a multifaceted pebbled beach of them. the frank black that was born in “wave of mutilation” and learned to evolve in “dig for fire.” the frank black that sent a fateful message by fax and then disappeared across the desert but eventually came out on the other side – turned around, tuned down, and toned out of sync with reality – staring at the ocean, eyes squinting through a pair of wraparound ray-bans.
heavy. head shaved to skin. midnight-colored jeans and a button-down coal shirt flapping in the breeze. sun beating down, threatening to melt the world, to evaporate every critter in its purview.
he stood on the rocky shore and tossed a pebble out, strapped on a low-slung electric and blasted discordance to the prehistoric beasts still living beneath warm waters off the coast of california.
“i met a man,” he moaned, “he was a good man.”
the ancient creatures took notice, rose to the surface, and shouted back in chorus: “i’ll wait in the pouring sun.”
he called back with a sly grin: “i’ll wait in los angeles.”
as they sank back under the waves they sighed, repeating: “i’ll wait in the pouring sun.”
far away, just around the easterly bend in the earth, during a quiet moment and oddly attuned to the complaints and shivers of the tectonic plates, i heard this transaction take place. i closed my eyes. i waited for a sea change. it didn’t come.
i sent a fateful message by fax. i dropped whatever i was doing. disappeared across the desert and came out on the other side. “there’s a coastline,” i sang. “i’d like to go back.”
the tempo picked up. the bass was under my feet now, pulsing as i trod worn-out dirt paths, kicking aside the brush and the dirt and the lizards and the stones. that beating sun was doing its thing when i finally saw the big blue sky kiss the broad blue water. i turned a sharp right and kept the waves to my left.
somewhere north of malibu i turned right off pacific coast highway where i discovered an abandoned gas station and a flunky in tattered cargo shorts, an aloha shirt, wistful and retreating grey hair, a broken plastic nametag that read “mitch.”
“are you looking for the mother lode?” he asked, a twinkle in his eye that belied his defeated and cynical exterior.
“ha. no,” i scoffed with guttural contempt, “that is not my desire.”
“then what?” a natural-born skeptic if ever there was one.
after a moment of consideration, i nodded a few times, lit a cigarette, turned back to the pacific ocean, and peered off into the distance.
“i met a man,” i said with certainty, “he was a good man.”
“he resides. on a beach. in a town. where I am going to live.”