California Slips Away

I spent a good part of last year working in Los Angeles. I fell in love with the place: the beach, the mountains, the desert. I fell in love with the dream: the celluloid, the sunshine, the spotlight. And I fell in love with a girl.

She lived in West Hollywood. We met at a friend’s wedding in Kauai, then returned to L.A. and New York where we managed a bi-coastal relationship. We spent long weekends exploring the canyons around the city, the beaches north up the coast, and the arid, quiet corners of Palm Springs. She moved to New York in May. We broke up in July. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

I was running on the beach one night last fall, as was my habit, watching the sun set over Malibu, when a melody popped into my head. And then these words:

California slips away
Another sunset gone to waste
Lost in time now, lost in space
I promise I won’t forget you

Back at the Santa Monica Doubletree, in my sixth floor room with a view of the beach, I grabbed my guitar and began scribbling down some verses. They didn’t make much sense to me in the moment — “I won’t take it back to my surprise / The summer air the burning skies” — they were just a pastiche of whatever was swirling around inside my head. But by the line “The jealous kid with bedroom eyes / The far away look no disguise,” I knew I had something. I knew it was a keeper.

In retrospect, with ‘California’ now committed to tape in both solo acoustic and fully-pruced band versions (Kevin and I mixed it last night), the lyrics have begun to connect, and make some sense, and will fit firmly as the starting point for my new record. I won’t explain why, exactly, or bore you with a bad Jungian, and/or Freudian analysis of it all. Instead, know that it all has meaning to me, and ends up being a departure point — track one on the new LP — not a destination. Most importantly, though, I hope it finds some meaning for you. And that you dig the groove (‘cuz it does have some good beats).

I haven’t been to California since February. I’m not sure what I’d find anymore. But I’m awfully glad for every moment I spent there on the edge of the continent, watching the evening patiently slip into night.

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