RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS PART 1
I love drinking wine (as some of you may know from my latest series At The Cellar). HOWEVER, I am always the person who drinks half as much as everyone else and pays twice as harshly. For this reason, I ALWAYS carefully moderate the amount I drink. (Except for those many, many times that I don’t). I do, however have a strict policy to NEVER drink alcohol the night before an interview. I have only strayed from that principal ONCE…
TUESDAY 9am: ARRIVE IN LA TO INTERVIEW RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
Catch cab to hotel on Sunset Boulevard.
TUESDAY 10:30am: CAB PULLS UP IN HOTEL DRIVEWAY.
Doorman takes luggage out of boot and drops it on footpath; (will probably have to tip him 2 bucks for that mighty feat). Suddenly, a V-DUB also parked in driveway honks horn loudly. Very glamorous blonde is waving madly in my direction. There is no one behind me. Blonde keeps honking and waving madly. Perhaps she is simply possessed by very loud music blaring from her car. I keep walking. Blonde launches out of drivers seat and screams “Annnnnge! It’s me, Sophie”! screams out Blonde. Bloody hell – it’s Sophie Monk.
TUESDAY 10:40am: SOPHIE AND I DO MOVIE EMBRACE
Seeing a familiar face when you’re overseas is thrilling enough, but Sophie is also one of my favourite industry people. I first met her when I interviewed the band BARDOT years ago (POPSTARS winners). When she went solo, I produced a day-in-the-life television special about her. We cried laughing on that shoot. She also came to my house a couple of years ago for some media training. The record company wanted Sophie to utilize her television interviews to showcase the diversity of her personality. I discovered she could sing in an operatic voice. I encouraged her to sing like that on national television. Two nights later, she did just that - on Rove.
SIDE NOTE: Sophie had just moved to LA and finished filming DATE MOVIE.
TUESDAY 10:45AM: SOPHIE’S PHONE STARTS BEEPING INSESSANTLY
“Oh my God”, she says, “It’s him. He’s texting me”! I ask the obvious - “Who’s him”? Swearing me to secrecy, she tells me she has “started seeing” one of the brothers from Good Charlotte. (I am only revealing this now because it of course became common knowledge that Sophie was briefly engaged to Benji Madden, who is now married to Cameron Diaz). Anyhow, in this moment she is unsure what to text back the secret-Good-Charlotte brother and is asking jetlagged, just arrived me for my advice!
TUESDAY 11:30am: TAKE STROLL DOWN SUNSET STRIP
Have hugged Sophie goodbye and am heading back to my room when security stops me at hotel lifts. Security guard asks to check my bag due to reports that towels and cutlery have being stolen from hotel. What is it with me and US security guards! Am being asked a series of militant questions such as “have you noticed any hotel guests carrying an unusual amount of cutlery”? Even for America; this is nuts.
Solemnly pledge to advise security immediately upon spotting any fork-baring guests outside the hotel restaurant; (where I assume, according to the constitution, the use of such utensils is permissible). Then, like a scene from a B grade film, another hotel guest approaches and identifies ME as THE TOWEL AND CUTLERY STEALER. Security guards inform me I will have to be finger printed. IS THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENING?
TUESDAY 11:40am: OUT OF BODY EXPERIENCE
Am ranting like a cross between civil rights activist and evangelist. Have just demanded to see the police, a lawyer and someone from the Australian embassy. And get Russell Crowe here! With a phone! At some point I come down from looking over my ranting self and rejoin my body. I look up to see the security guards and several hotel guests laughing at me. “Ma’am, you have just been taped for a segment on the Conan O’Brien show. Would you mind signing a release form? There’s a good chance this will make it into the show”. (Of course, I signed it. But it never made the show. I was devastated).
TUESDAY 2pm: MUM ARRIVES AT HOTEL
Yes, you read that correctly; my mother is here. The annual World Dental Conference, which my father is attending, is being held in San Diego. My mother isn’t stupid; she’d rather hang with rock stars than dentists so has taken the train to meet me in Hollywood. “Will I get to meet the Red Spice Cherry Peppers?”, she asks when I meet her in the lobby. (Not if you keep calling them that – I assure her).
TUESDAY 7pm: DINNER AT NEW RESTAURANT OWNED BY ASHTON KUTCHER
The record company has taken me, a bunch of Australian journalists - and my mother - out to dinner. Note: all other journalists conducted their interviews with the band today. I am only media person working tomorrow and therefore should NOT be displaying same festive mood as everyone else.
TUESDAY 11pm. POST DINNER DRINKS IN LOBBY BAR
Walk past mum bonding with weird-dude-from-heavy-metal-magazine at the bar. Overhear him tell her she’s “soooo easy to talk to”. Think I hear her say something about sex changing in a marriage. Get me out of here! Seems like perfect time to leave group (and Mother) in the bar and get to bed. Am already way past my drink limit (4 drinks). Then someone brings out round of tequila shots and DEMANDS I join in. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the beginning of the end.
WEDNESDAY 7am: ALARM CLOCK GOES OFF
Am in BIG trouble. Am experiencing tsunami of nausea. Just make the bathroom in time. There is the kind of sickness that attacks and subsides quickly. Then there is kind of sickness that, as bad as it is, gets much, much worse. Am interviewing the world’s most notorious rock band in 4 hours. Hair and make-up arrive in two. Like I said – BIG trouble.
TO BE CONTINUED…
RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS PART 2
RECAP: I am in LA to interview notorious rock band, The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Have run into Sophie Monk in a parking lot, been accosted by a hidden camera crew for a late-night talk show and gone out to dinner with a bunch of Australian journalists - and my mother.
I am the only member of the Australian media contingent who has to interview the band today; everybody else did their interviews yesterday. Thus, the celebration dinner was held last night. Fortunately, I have a strict no-drinking-night-before-interview policy. Unfortunately, did NOT follow aforementioned policy last night. OH DEAR…
WEDNESDAY 8am: AM LYING IN FETAL POSITION ON BATHROOM FLOOR.
Have just thrown up for 7th time in 50 minutes. For- the-record, don’t deserve to be suffering like this. Concede I drank too much. However, rest of group drank twice as much as me and are currently tucking into buffet breakfast. I, on other hand, am en route to Guinness Book of Records for “most dry retching EVER in one-hour period”. Am supposed to be interviewing band in three hours; assuming not from this floor.
WEDNESDAY 9:00am: RECORD COMPANY PUBLICIST CALLS ROOM
Mum picks up phone. “Oh yes, Angela is just lying on the bathroom floor; one moment”.
SIDE NOTE: Record company has flown me from Sydney for this interview at great expense. The fact that I-am-lying-on-bathroom-floor-2-hours-before-interview- was FAMILY information! Correction; WAS family only information. “Are you alright?”, asks Publicist.
“Oh yeh. I’m fine”, I whisper. “Just a bit fluey”. Am informed a car will be ready to transfer me to hotel for interviews by 10:15 am sharp. Quickly slam down phone just in time for round number 8.
WEDNESDAY 9:30am HAIR AND MAKE UP GIRL ARRIVES
“Oh Gosh. You’re, like, green”, surmises make-up artist. “She’s not feeling well”, replies my mother, never afraid to state the bleeding obvious. Due to overwhelming sense of nausea, sitting up not viable. Make up girl (who thankfully is very perky, upbeat, good-in-crisis type) begins work with me lying flat on bed. “You know drinking makes you sick”, adds Mum, as helpful as ever, “You’d think you’d have learnt by now”.
(NOTE-TO-GOD: thank you for scheduling the annual World Dental Conference in San Diego this year. And double thank you for making sure that corresponded perfectly with the Red Hot Chili Peppers releasing a new album, making it possible for my mother TO BE HERE RIGHT NOW).
“You have really great eyes for make-up”, says make-up artist, trying to keep things cheerful. “Although they are WAY bloodshot”. Nausea wave strikes again. Just make the bathroom in time.
WEDNESDAY 10:40am: AM SPEEDING TO INTERVIEW WITH CRAZY CAB DRIVER
Am running late for an interview for first time EVER. Cab driver has taken my plea to get-me-there-in-10-minutes-or-I’m-dead, deadly serious. Am feeling like Anthony Kiedis in BY THE WAY video clip. Did I mention I need to arrive ALIVE? Also, should have brought bucket.
WEDNESDAY 10:50am ARRIVE AT CHATEAU MARMONT FOR INTERVIEW
Chateau Marmont is infamous hotel on Sunset Boulevard; which attracts big celebrity clientele. Have already spotted Paris Hilton, Jude Law and Eva Longoria from lobby.
SIDE NOTE: Nothing like a bout of serious nausea to bring down the care factor levels of celebrity spotting.
WEDNESDAY 11:00am-11:30am: INTERVIEW WITH LEGENDARY BASSIST – FLEA
Can’t remember much about interview. One of band’s entourage tells me “that was deep dude”. Pretty sure that was compliment.
WEDNESDAY 1:25pm: AM ESCORTED DOWN PRIVATE GARDEN PATHWAY TO INTERVIEW ROOM HOLDING ANTHONY KIEDIS, LEAD SINGER.
German TV Reporter coming other way looks exasperated. I ask how her interview went. “He vis very difficult. Mainly von verd answers”. Oh well. Am just relieved I haven’t thrown up on anybody.
WEDNESDAY 1:30pm-1:35pm PRE INTERVIEW SMALL TALK
Am sitting opposite Anthony Kiedis on set when crew experiences technical malfunction. TAKE FIVE EVERYBODY. Just perfect. This guy isn’t in to big talk, let alone small talk. Kiedis has battled drug addiction for much of his life. He is currently (and from all reports permanently) sober. Desperate for a bonding concept, I come clean about my alcohol poisoning episode.
He asks how much I drank. 4 glasses of sauvignon blanc AND a tequila shooter. “You get sick just from that”, he says in disbelief, “Why do you drink at all? (Ah…because, Mr I-was-addicted-to-crack-cocaine, I’m an idiot).
PS, Anthony Kiedis has most intense gaze of all interview subjects. Just before interview starts, I take off jiggling bracelet to ensure clean recording of interview sound. “Why are you taking that off”, he asks in concerned tone, “It’s pretty”. This is guy is actually really endearing.
WEDNESDAY 1:35-2:15pm ANTHONY KIEDIS INTERVIEW
Interview flows with effortless energy. Later, as the show went to air, fans of the band wrote to tell me they had never heard Kiedis speak so openly. Ironically, the added fragility in my tone and manner that day probably worked well for the interview.
WEDNESDAY 2:17pm AM WALKING BACK TO MEDIA GREENROOM.
Am alone on secret garden pathway. Hear a voice behind me; “hey, Australian girl”. I swing around to see Anthony Kiedis standing inches away from me. He takes my hand, opens it so my palm is flat and facing up and then places my bracelet in my hand and closes it. “Better not forget this”, he says and meanders away.
MORAL OF THE STORY: DON’T DRINK AND INTERVIEW, (unless absolutely unavoidable).