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Parting Shot | My Favorite Weekend: Courtney Taylor-Taylor

In Tinseltown, he finds tales yearning to be told

September 04, 2003|Karla S. Blume

The leader of the indie-rock heroes the Dandy Warhols, Taylor-Taylor often uses Los Angeles as a mood-enhancing backdrop to inspire his artistic pursuits. He takes us into the heart of Hollywood, where the aspiring celebrities who didn't make it are just as intriguing as the ones who did.

Food fetish

I'm heavily into Indian food and one of my favorite things about touring the world with my band is that we make it a point to try as many Indian restaurants as possible. I wanted to find the best Indian restaurant overall, so I always order the same dish, chicken saag, in every one to make it easier to make comparisons. I figure that the one with the best saag will be the best restaurant. So far the Electric Lotus on Franklin can stake that claim. I also like that the place is modern-looking, very clean and the food isn't greasy. My other favorite food place is Carney's on the Sunset Strip. The yellow train-turned-restaurant has terrific chili burgers and their chicken soft tacos with American cheese is also a winner.

Pub-hoppin'

On occasion I like to settle down at a table in a local pub and observe the scene. The Coach & Horses on Sunset is a good place to do that. The other one I like is the Cat & Fiddle, which is a great place historically, because much of the clientele includes old English and Irish roadies from the Led Zeppelin era. They all hang around drinking pints of Guinness and playing darts. The Fiddle also has a beautiful courtyard outside. Usually, I nurse a club soda with lemon and wait for somebody to buy me something stronger. If you wait long enough, someone's bound to bring you some of what they're having. Sometimes it's Jagermeister or Cuervo tequila.

People-watching

I love to people-watch and L.A. is an excellent place to do it. It's fun to walk on Hollywood Boulevard and all the north-south streets that cross it. You do see tourists, but what really gets my attention are all the burnouts and might-have-beens that came to Hollywood looking for riches and fame but ended up struggling to survive. Each one of these victims of fame has a story to tell about the day they almost had their big break and what stars they've seen about town. Hollywood is famous for its famous people, but it's these people who are to me the underbelly of the town. In some cases they are more interesting than the people who did get discovered. The Santa Monica Pier is great for watching crowds too.

Writing songs

L.A. has always been an integral part of my musical career because each time I want to write another bunch of songs for an album, I usually rent out a corner suite at the Argyle Hotel in Hollywood. This room has floor-to-ceiling windows that allow me to watch the world on a grand scale while I lock myself inside. It usually takes a week for me to get a sick, aching knot of loneliness in my stomach. This technique gets me in the right mood to get artistic and start writing lyrics. This process is very healing because most of my subject matter comes from examining the self and reminiscing about friends and their lives. Being alone increases the flood of emotion.

-- Karla S. Blume

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