College, Sunset Strip, and Meeting Mike
Sunset Strip will always feel like college. Living in Long Beach, it was only about a thirty minute drive away, and my friends and I often went there to see bands up close in tightly packed, sweaty venues that held no more than two or three hundred people. I was in a sorority in college. The one I joined was known for “letting anyone in” meaning, we didn’t judge girls by their race, weight or sexual orientation. We weren’t your stereotypical sorority, so while others that fit that bill may have been busy doing whatever they do, my sisters and I were piling in our cars and going to the Whiskey or Roxy or Billboard Live or Troubadour or Coconut Teaser to see bands we loved and to support our friends in their musical endeavors. It was at a party at Brad and Phoenix’s apartment after a Xero show that my friend from Long Beach State, Mark Wakefield, introduced me to the rapper in his band.
That was over fifteen years ago. With passing time comes a loss of memory. I don’t remember if the show was at the Whiskey or the Roxy. I don’t remember what date it was (I know it was in February of 1998). But I do remember Mike Shinoda handing me this tape and leading me around the party by the hand, as if we had been dating for months instead of just meeting that evening.
The next few years I spent a lot of time on the Sunset Strip and other places the guys would play. Helping with loading in and out, selling merch at the shows, and later, after college, working publicity for other bands and, of course, going to gigs to check out new music.
I’ll be honest. I haven’t been down to Sunset to see a show in a while. I’m looking forward to seeing the street packed during the Sunset Strip Music Festival, and letting the atmosphere, the marquees, the smells of sweaty bodies and alcohol, and the excitement of the evening bring back all my memories.