By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
There are those of us who do not appreciate Jamba Juice butted up against Target, butted up against Taco Bell, butted up against Burger King, with condos on top. The Eastside is made of hopes and dreams, and I like it. The Silver Lake Eastside has a motorcycle customization shop that just popped up, with two guys in it that are great; they're part of an aesthetic awareness that is catching on — some kind of synchronicity at play — where people are more aware of lines, lines of design. Referencing the '70s in search of a classic, related somehow to the sampling of music from another time. The contemporary motorcycle engines, brakes and general moving-part efficiency is better than ever, but the lines of the '70s are not to be forgotten. These young motorcycle customizers are futurists who also embrace the classics.
The Eastsiders are enjoying the luxury of postmodern times. They want to make improvements and not just have straight-out-of-the-box stock looks. The same way that [Brian] Eno will devote a year of his life to the building of his own sounds on a synthesizer. He also doesn't like things straight out of the box. He likes his own creations to be his sonics, and we love him for that. That's why he's Eno. There wouldn't be an Eno if he had surrendered to the commonplace. He is a customizer of sound, a transformer of rooms, a chaser of ideas, a fighter for beauty — he is a futurist. He is a living example of his own philosophy, a modifier like I try to be.
I can remember standing in a club in New York City circa 1985, listening to the Fat Boys, a rare and inventive trio. Acrobatic sounds came from their mouths into a stage microphone, providing their rhythms — a human beat box, essentially, with poetry and prose riding over top. It was the first chapter of rap. From the street, from the hearts of these young men, a sound and expression had risen up, a sound that had nothing to do with the usual artillery of rock 'n' roll. They were flesh and bone and three microphones. They had decided to customize.
I suppose the moral of the story is that of resourcefulness. God bless the hearts of the Fat Boys and anyone willing to roll the dice on the Eastside — including the sausage makers under the concrete bridge.
Excerpted from Soul Mining: A Musical Life, by Daniel Lanois, to be published in November by Faber and Faber, an affiliate of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Copyright (c) 2010 by Daniel Lanois. All rights reserved.