Whisky A Go Go was and is the mecca where rock legends were born and nurtured.
It's where the term and job of 'gogo girl' came from.
Natural curiosity drew me there long ago.
Yes, I was underage. Why lie. We have enough of that in government.
No doubt the owners strive to keep minors out. But, as will happen, some slip through the net.
I was mature looking for my age, and I dressed well. I wasn't looking to tie one on. I wanted to meet people, experience, spread my wings.
Every year, we took a trip to Los Angeles. We'd hang out with cousins, and check out the Hollywood scene, as my sis was a huge fangirl.
I managed to get out on my own one day and decided to check out the Whisky. I was curious.
Curiosity can enlighten. It can also kill the cat.
I thought what I might see and who I mignt meet.
I thought about how to present myself.
No cover, no minimum. I was in.
I just walked up, nodded and passed through. No muss, no fuss.
I put my thoughts on hold and just jumped in.
Thinking too much can make you flop.
Style and substance. Then I was greatly style, not so much substance.
Smiles, nods, swagger got me in. Then the rubber met the road.
I was scared sh*tless. So, I went immediately to the bar. It was an anchor.
I could sit and take things in and sip a beer and blend in I hoped.
The Whisky was a bar and dance emporium. The lights blinked and the music throbbed. I caught my breath and then, oh sh*t! There was Steve McQueen!!
One of my favorite actors, there I was and he came up and sat down and ordered a beer himself.
He looked at me and said, "Hey man."
The Dude, the Man, the Star said hello to me, the kid.
I said, "Hey." Inside, I was shaking. I took a sip of beer to hide the heebeejeebees. Gulped and dipped my head down toward the bar.
McQueen just smiled and nodded. He looked around and said,"Don't this place twist your melon dude. Take it easy, huh?"
It's like he knew I was green and waddling my way among the cool and the hot.
"Truly man, just be yourself. And talk. You'll catch on."
He sat back and lit a cigarette, looking around like he owned the place. He actually knew the owners, so it was like he did.
I smiled and lit a cig of my own, almost choking. Now I had been puffing for a while, a little now and then. But, the stick felt like a log in my fingers.
I glanced around and checked it out.
There was Tuesday Weld, gyrating with some guy. And over there, Johnny Rivers was tuning up for his gig. I heard the strains of Secret Agent Man swelling to fill the place with its throbbing beat. The girls were doing their thing, the gogo stuff. Short skirts, long boots and lots of rhythm.
Yes, it 'impressed' this young man to say the least.
McQueen regarded me and with that signature smile said,"Take it slow man. Remember what Bobby said".
I smiled probably nervously and said,"Yeah."
Don't know if I'd say anything different now. Seems right. I had a lot to learn. Maybe we all did and do now.
McQueen saw someone in the teeming crowd and looked back at me.
"Kid", (he had my number),"Be yourself".
With that, he passed into the crowd, and seemed to disappear into the lights and the people on the floor.
One more thing.
I decided to leave, half boggled, and as I reached the door, I heard," Be yourself, and talk".