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The Encino-based Foo Fighter (and onetime Nirvana drummer) talks about his first trip to L.A., seedy hotel rooms, and mud wrestlers
At 18 I dropped out of high school to join this local D.C. hard-core band, Scream, and we hit the road. For two months I lived in a Dodge Ram filled with six people, their sleeping bags, and all the equipment. The first night we were in Los Angeles, we slept in the van on Hollywood Boulevard. Later we pooled our money to stay at this hotel on Sunset called the French Cottage. It was basically a crack house—maybe $12 a night for a room—and it smelled like pesticides. I remember doing my laundry there, and as I was getting my clothes out of the dryer a gangster walks in with his client, reaches behind the washer, pulls out an enormous bag of crack cocaine, looks at me, and says, “Yo, you’re bad for business.” I ended up sleeping in the van that night—it
smelled better than the French Cottage.
Years later, on what was to be the final Scream tour, we wound up staying at a house in Laurel Canyon with a bunch of mud wrestlers from the Hollywood Tropicana. One morning we woke up in our sleeping bags, and our bass player was gone. We had to cancel that night’s show. And the next night’s show. We did the same thing for about a week until we realized, Wow, he went home. We were stuck. Luckily our roadie was this nice guy from Canada who was having his social security checks sent to us. We’d take his money and buy hot dogs and beans. It was like camping. Fortunately we were able to go to the Hollywood Tropicana and drink for free—we were the cute, scruffy little punks who were sleeping on the floor, so we had many admirers. It was really pretty fun.
One of the girls in the house had a Honda Rebel 250, which is basically a minibike made to look like a Harley. In those days there were only two things in life that I wanted: One was to make a living at making music, and the other was a motorcycle. I filled the tank up with $2 worth of gas and rode around every night through the hills. I would look at these beautiful houses and dream about living in them. It’s not lost on me how amazing it is that this all fucking happened.