I had been living in Los Angeles for only a few months. Somehow I found a circle of Southern transplants – all rejects from other entertainment areas like Nashville and Atlanta. A reckless crew vowing to rise together or go down together. One evening, we were all walking down Melrose Avenue and saw an advertisement outside of the Zephyr theater. It showed a young man with arms outstretched like Jesus Christ, except this young man was wearing nothing but tighty whities and a crown of thorns. Suddenly my friend says, “I’m friends with this director! Maybe he’ll let us watch! Come on, they’re about to start!”
- Let It Go
- No Apologies
- Same Ol Me
- Queer Boy
- Standing Tall
- Stained Glass Window
Southern Baptist Sissies.
That was the name of the play. Four gay boys navigating their sexuality in a fundamentalist Christian church. You can read more about my experience with Del and the impact this piece had on me here. This blog entry is about the big things that came from a little suggestion Del made one day.
Keeping the story short here, I ultimately saw the play a whopping thirty two times until I wrote a song inspired by a monologue from the play. The song was called Stained Glass Window. Del co-wrote it with me – then asked me if I would sing it at the close of the play every night. In addition, he suggested I try to get a product together to sell at the end of every show. This was a time when I had so little that I even lived out of my car for a few weeks. I heard that some people were playing at a club down the street called Genghis Cohen in Hollywood and they would record your show for you for twenty five dollars. I booked a show and them record it.
I took home the recorded live show and learned how to burn copies of the audio. I made a cover and went to FedEx to print copies. I would cut them to size, slip them into the CD tray and make sure to have about 10 copies for every show I sang at. At first, I had to borrow money to just have FedEx print the covers for me.
That first night, I sold all ten. I couldn’t believe I had 100 dollars in my pocket! I paid back my friend for helping with FedEx and the following day made 10 more. My best job at the time was literally showing up to the play to sing Stained Glass Window and sell my little makeshift CD, appropriately titled Rough Around The Edges.
You can’t find copies anywhere.
But you can listen to this record as an LK Crew Member with access to the LK Radio: Listening Room. (You would choose The Angelino Subscriber to get access to over 100+ unreleased songs, demos and rarities.)
During my time singing after Southern Baptist Sissies, LeAnn Rimes came to see the show and had some wonderful things to say to me after hearing my song. Olivia Newton-John saw me there as well and decided that she would help me find a record label after hearing me sing. Some really cool memories were made at that time, even if a record deal didn’t transpire.
About the photos.
I loved these photos. They were taken by a friend who wanted to build his new photography portfolio. Fortunately, I was able to use them for the Rough Around The Edges CD art. You can see in the photos I had a broken hand. That was from punching the ceiling of my car during a moment of road rage. I had a temper back then.
The moral of the story.
Little did I know that Del’s suggestion to monetize the situation would be a mindset I would need once again when my first national appearance on primetime television introduced my music to the world. You can read about that here. Another makeshift CD – this time selling in the thousands.