A bumpy start to our ‘American Dream’

The L.A. Project “From the Algarve to L.A. ” part 4: A bumpy start to our ‘American Dream’

The L.A. Project is an album recorded and produced in L.A.  In this series of articles I will take you back to the start of my music career, back to how it all started, our ‘American Dream’!

After a long and rough flight (see The L.A. Project- part 3: “A long flight to Music Land”), we land in Los Angeles at 13:15 local time. Finally there… in the big US of A. The country where anything is possible… Our musical adventure is about to start!

All too soon we are brought back down to earth, and euphoria gives way to mild concern when – after a long period of staring at a slowly emptying baggage carrousel – it turns out that Frank’s bag is nowhere to be seen. The pile of paperwork we are subsequently faced with teaches us that everything in America is supersized (including the ensuing delay!)

Welcome to America

Airport - A bumpy start to our Amercian DreamOur first introduction to the land of endless possibilities doesn’t get any better when a grumpy team of customs officers welcomes us as if we were a notorious pair of mobsters. Probably under the influence of the bad reputation for drugs the Netherlands have at the time, they take everything apart. Even the contents of an innocent bag of rolling tobacco aren’t safe. Unpleasantly surprised by this unwelcoming reception, our mood turns from mild irritation to growing anger. Fortunately, they eventually decide that a thorough physical examination might be a bit over the top for two Dutch musicians. Just when our adventure is about to be brought to a premature end by us being deported for insulting/assaulting a customs officer, they let us through.

Where’s the music?

Before we’d had the chance to recover from the rough night, long flight, lost luggage and hostile reception, we were put to the test even more. A passport goes missing (fortunately temporarily!) and due to all the commotion, the bag with all our scores, lyrics, demos and arrangements is left behind in one of the countless huge airport lounges. We panic. Without this bag, we have absolutely no business being in L.A.! As luck would have it, though, people tended to give unattended luggage a wide berth even then. No need to turn back without having accomplished our mission, we can simply retrieve our bag of musical treasures from the police. Still in the game…

Hollywood Hill, here we come

Hollywood Hill - A bumpy start to our Amercian DreamAirport - A bumpy start to our Amercian Dream

With the music back in our possession and relieved to get through the whole airport circus in one piece, we get out of L.A. airport. We are awaited by Chiz Harris (see article: About the musician Chiz Harris )a remarkable man who instantly makes us forget all about our ‘hardships’ with his endless supply of humour and energy. Chiz leisurely steers us through the hectic maze of eight-lane motorways that make up the road network of Los Angeles as we look around in amazement. The route leading to his home on the famous Hollywood Hill gives us a good first impression of the city. The recent rainfall has temporarily swept away the usual smog, giving us a stunningly clear view of L.A. The sea of lights at night is an image we won’t forget in a hurry!

Let the American dream begin…

There isn’t much time to acclimatise and rest. We are here to do business and Chiz is not one to sit idle! After a brief introduction to his family and a quick shower, we are off to our first appointment. We have been invited to dinner by Don Williams, a member of the famous American Williams music dynasty…

To be continued.

This article is a sequel to previously published blogs about my album the L.A. Project:


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