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July 2005


We’re driving through Salt Lake City just before rush hour trying to get our asses to Montana when we come across a great radio station. The DJ is wise — she follows Doc Watson’s classic “Shady Grove” with Zepplin’s orgasmic “Whole Lotta Love.” We hear the call letters, KRCL, call information, and dial in to register our approval. PL tells her he loves her show and asks if she’s ever heard of a band called I See Hawks in L.A. She says yes and infact loves their album “Grapevine.” We say, “That’s us!”

The conversation heats up. Next thing we know PL is transcribing directions to the studio. We’re going to play live on her drive time show. The directions are solid. We only have to call her back and turn around once. We pile out of the Bomb Squad Mobile, dazed and blinded by the many miles we’ve traveled. A young man with dark glasses and long sideburns looks at us and knows we need help. “Are you musicians?” he ask. yes. yes we are. He guides us to the loading entrance. They buzz us in. Teri is at the console. We set up. Minutes later we’re playing live on the radio program we were just rocking out to at 70 bsmph(bomb squad miles per hour). It’s odd, surreal, and right. We play ‘Airplane”, “Hawks”, “Humboldt”, and “Mystery” and chat between tunes Thanks Terri and Gianni and everyone at KRCL for a very cool afternoon! Not only was the station great but they direct us to The Red Iguana café, the very same café PL ate at 15 years ago with his Salt Lake city Bone Daddies tour Mormon girlfriend. Mexican cuisine? In Salt Lake City?, you ask. Well let I SEE HAWKS IN L.A. tell you, this is Mexican food to rival, L.A., San Antonio, Santa Fe, and any other Mexican food stronghold you can think of. The Red Iguana got us started with fine margaritas, made with Cazadores tequila, for only a few cents more than the regular tequila you’d just put in a Paul Marshall. Three on ice, two of them with salt, and I’ll have one blended without salt, thank you very much. Simple, elegant margaritas that taste clean and great. We’re on our way. Now here comes a heaping bowl of fresh, crisp tortilla chips, and if their homemade salsa wasn’t enough, we get a plate with five (count ’em) different kinds of mole, to sample with the chips. There’s a dark brown, familiar, chocolatey mole. There’s one a shade lighter with more heat. There’s a delicious green one. And our helpful waitress describes each one and its ingredients in loving detail, which unfortunately, I can’t quite follow, but PL is clearly committing each recipe to memory.

Shall we describe our waitress in loving detail? An Aztec goddess, dark of skin and eye, mysterious of smile, and ready to distract us completely from our ultimate goal. Filled with the sexual power of an ancient bruja she makes love in complete silence. Orgasms pass over her like deep imperceptible waves. Her moment of climax is marked only by eyes pressed tightly closed and a breathless shudder. She almost succeeds in casting her spell, but we haven’t dined all day; the evening is coming on, and our priority is FOOD.Our main course arrives. PM has enchiladas containing perfectly cooked shredded chicken, full of flavor and tender beyond belief. There’s avocado in there, another of their amazing mole sauces covering the melt in your mouth tortilla exterior and a small dollop of crema mexicana on top. The flavors are rich and surprising, and ultimately, right.

PL does the three fish tacos loaded with delicious fish, and all additional ingredients on the side, salsa, lettuce and guacamole. PL claimed the fish would stand alone, but he put it all together, and dipped it into the aforementioned mole sampler, an artist’s palette of five color mole on a plate.SN and RW had the Poblano platter: enchiladas with chicken and sour cream, beef tostada, and beef taco, huge pile of guacamole. Every bite was a revelation of flavor and texture, a little different from any quality Mexican fare we’re familiar with, and yet, unmistakably Mexican in character and construction. Oh, and by the way, massive amounts, reasonable prices. How do I type four stars on this computer?


Cedar City, Utah, Wednesday, July 12, 2005

Another Comfort Inn, serenaded by the Interstate. A cute young Mormon girl cuts a late night deal with the Hawks (not what you’re thinking). Every hotel in town is packed. There’s a Shakespeare Festival in town. She’ll give us a dirty room with one bed for $30 and a clean one with two beds for $60. Breakfast bar included. We’re tired enough to go for it. Is it a good deal or did we get scammed by one of Joseph’s Smith’s clever daughters? Only with time and consequence will we know for sure. As day breaks in Cedar City, UT it’s very hot, and the Hawks stir reluctantly in rooms 226 and 263, but it’s time to go. PL discovers dirty clothes from the last Hawks trip, festering in the side pouch of his duffel bag. Karl Rove is being re-cast as the dirty man he is, the media finding their courage and moral compass, a few years late for America’s status in the world, but better late than never. It’s time to pack the Suburban.

PL is haunted by the cosmic coincidence or Intelligent Design that allowed the Hawks to drive on empty through 40 miles of searing desert and run out of gas as we pulled into the perhaps chimeral gas outpost with one working pump. It’s too much, this convergence of deadly heat and cool salvation. There’s more to this. .


Where I met my beloved; where there is no income tax; where I first sat down at a 7-stud Casino table thirty years ago and learned how to not lose my week’s paycheck while drinking tequila and playing cards. It’s not gambling. It’s the only game in town where you’re not playing against the house. A little math, a little time, a little discipline, and come to Papa.

It’s not a guarantee, on any given night, though. Gambling is not viewed with distance or indifference by the Hawks. They’re into it.
RW has many tales of reckless nights, big ups, big downs, dawn bringing jittery decision
time, with no mental resources left. The stakes are high, and so am I, got me a rock and roll band, it’s a free for all.*
PL is up about $300 in sum total, he figures, from his twenty or so ventures into the city where what happens here stays here and on the big screen TV. PL’s natural lack of faith in his own financial acumen sets a limit of $60 nursing cards at a $5 minimum table. It can
be done.

Cooler heads have prevailed in this desert oven environ, and we gas up and get out of east Las Vegas, a brief swing through the glittering lights, and we’re back on the I-15, now shrouded in darkness. We still might stake PM to a poker game in Mesquite, before entering the north Arizona quadrant, where small towns are run by Latter Day patriarchs with 20 young wives, and the law is God’s alone. *Ted Nugent’s “Free For All” 1971


When would you pay $3.71 a gallon for gas? And are guardian angels real?
Read on, dear reader, read on.
The plan was to leave from Paul Marshall’s Tujunga aerie at 2 p.m., beat traffic
and climb the 15 deep into Utah. A three p.m. departure led to a traffic meltdown
in Arcadia that didn’t let up until Pomona, but it was cool after that. Not cool, as
a matter of fact, but startlingly hot as we climbed the Cajon summit, killing the AC
to save engine and gas. Have we hit the airconditioning summit yet? asked Paul
Marshall as we did indeed hit Cajon summit. Sweet AC, relieve us.
The drive through Hesperia and Victorville revealed a shocking number of new
Suburban developments gouged into the desert, but as we passed the eerily homoerotic
Motel 6 in east Victorville the sky and stark hills opened up. We recklessly, nay,
courageously decided to try and make Baker on our quarter tank of gas. and as
the gas gauge needle plunged into terra incognita far to the left of E, we realized
we were rolling the dice, and nowhere near Vegas.
Each incline brought a new level of speculation–will we make it? Will a miraculous,
mythical and monumental lone gas station, rising proud and gleaming from this harsh
and blank landscape, be our salvation? Nope. Yep. Faith and fatalism fought it out
in the tight quarters of the Hawks vehicle, steaming now as we’ve killed the AC to increase
gas mileage.
Now we’re speculating that over that last rocky ridge, just beyond the mirage in the road,
will be a downhill slope, and we can coast into Baker. Faith and fatalism: now delirium
and grim certainty. When lo: a gas station. More lonely than the station of our dreams,
bleached like skulls and bones, and it’s open. We rattle over the cattle guard and run
out of gas, Rob wrestles our dead Suburban into the only working pump. It’s hot.
Gas is $3.71 a gallon. And we are dumb blind lucky bastards. Surely all four Hawks guardian angels were blowing up our rear that last slope. We fill up, are regaled by the good Sheriff John with tales of gangbangers in the desert and sissy New York TV producers boofooed by the heat and local posse. We’re on our way.
It’s 122 F in Baker, according to the giant Bun Boy thermometer, but it feels like 119 F. At the Mad Greek we get gyros and the hummus falloujah sampler. It feels like the
right food to eat. Oasis food. Strawberry milkshakes and Greek coffee. And we’re

Next plan: to stake Paul Marshall with our wive’s life savings and have Paul play poker for us. We’re going to take Vegas by storm. If he wins big we pledge to cancel all upcoming gigs, all of them, buy a double wide in the desert, and become players in the gigantic world of the Las Vegas Hospitality industry. It’ll be just like PL’s brother-in-law’s TV show, without the big budget crane shots. All Big Tits and B-list celebrities clamoring for our attention. We’ll comp them hotel rooms, get them girls, create tax shelters for their phony businesses. We’ll have all the connections, baby, The sheriff will call us when he wants someone killed. The desert sun will never set on our empire. The neon will be that bright. And when Jesus Himself grows like a curly whisker out of Shawn’s chin and blesses us with His holy sceptre we’ll know we’ve done right by Him. How much is gas in Nevada anyway? The Greek food is turning on us a bit. Feelin funny in Jean, NV. We flew through state line and the sun is down, rocky desert peaks are mellow purple and the Suburban AC allows us to forget it’s still 110 out there. Life is but a dream, until oil peaks.


a letter from the editor

Ladies and Gentleman, please let me introduce myself. I am Stonecutter. For the past year I have been editing the I See Hawks in L.A. Road Diary.Last July, the I SEE HAWKS IN L.A. Road Diary published its first blog. In the past year, the ISHILA diary has attempted to provide a candid and uncensored look at the life of a hippie country folk rock band on the road.

On the occasion of our first anniversary, we will tackle one of the most controversial issues facing all of us today: privacy in the age of infinite, liquid, information. It so happens that our first anniversary is concurrent with the 10th anniversary of the launch of the Netscape Browser. In the Age that first truly dawned with a “Pop” browser, privacy is in constant danger. Just last month, over 40 million card accounts were exposed to potential fraud due to a security breach that occurred at a third-party processor of payment card transactions, MasterCard International said last Friday.

My advice: be careful. Buy gold, and bury it under a rock, disguising all traces of disturbed earth. I am not a musician. I don’t really care for or understand music, preferring to dwell in the spheres of spatiality and chaos theory. I also have Writer Tourette’s Syndrome (WTS), which can affect my narration at any time WTS doesn’t result in profanity, but more of a drift into non sequitur, like those little buttons you find in antique stores, ivory or ivoroid, musty, or was the box musty, the surrounding little parchment fragments, doll’s eyes, postcards of the dead, pin cushions with still lethal stingers, mildewed place cards? I put the box back on its shelf, and stumbled out into the Beaumont afternoon heat. Should I get gas? I’m adrift, and seeking bargains. I might head south to Mexico, but I’m ten years too late. The days of wandering are done. Video plunder has invaded all plateaus, all windswept dry brush valleys. It’s all on DVD, BMW and ING have captured it all, stealing spirits that wept alone until this new millenium, as the age of chrome yields to data. New shine is in megabits, objects are flat and in your head, and the spaces between buzz with microwave, laser, Homeland Security, TiVo, and Trials Of The Century. No coyote howls unheeded, no box canyon whistles to only empath sky, no cactus waits unnoticed. It’s ten years too late. Maybe I’ll get a hotel and watch the Discovery Channel.

Some of the statements in this record will directly contradict other statements that you might have read. Please understand that we are not attempting a whitewash. I am Stonecutter, and I live for truth. My truth.First of all, I’d like to thank you, the readers. Without you, the ISHILA Blog would be not exist. You inspire us to write all night and all day and any other time we feel your inquiring spirit. Again, we want to hear from you: stonecutter@iseehawks.com

The year has been full of challenges as well as blessings.. This past year we witnessed fires, earthquakes, landslides, difficult irritable soundmen, quirky club owers–and fine dining, wonderful breakfasts, generous friends, Virgin River(s). Alt rockers REM were not devoid of inspiration. Their concept “Life’s Rich Pageant,” though dripping with their misguided and possibly pointless irony, once sophomoric and now brittle with aging, is a joyous maypole around which to dance the mind’s dance, All the world’s a stage. Seven hundred thousand lifetimes to enlightenment, say the Sufis, and at this information the spirit cracks with relief, and the future stretches leisurely like a cool summer barbecue as the shade relieves the glare. The Bodhisatva stays not only to help others, but because he likes it here. Watermelon. Baby laugh. Ice cold. Summer rain. Escape. Return. Yearning, and faint remembrance of how it turns out. And everything was fine. The new, haunted by the 700,000, not new at all, and new.Farewell and God’s harsh beauty to all of you, and remember, you can reach my humble self at: stonecutter@iseehawks.com


by Guest Blogger Folz

A quick flashback to San Francisco, Thursday July 7. Flashback often being the best (only?) method for ingesting-digesting whatever-the-hell-exactly-it-is that goes down when doing a show in the City by the Bay. Hawks RW and PL in particular know this all too well, having both declared on Thursday night, without hesitation, that the entire city itself was haunted. As an 11-year local and longtime band affiliate, I’m qualified to say that they were speaking the gospel on this one; while other pronouncements may tend to come more lightly, this was a serious matter, and they knew it. It was a matter of the weather. Indeed, in the heart of summer, the Hawks had returned to the city of the multilayered monster fog. Peel it back cautiously, my friends, as you’ll find equal parts truth, glory, and evil.Actually, just to sidetrack for a minute here: Café Du Nord. It was a great show, the band was ever in the pocket. The drinks were reasonably priced, the lesbians lording over the pool table remained perfectly friendly, even though one of them had to politely inform RW and me that we had inadvertently coveted her rack. PM was 98 percent professional about the fact that the club provided the band with Miller High Life and meatloaf that carried a $3 surcharge. SN looked especially relaxed behind the drum kit, tanned and rested from his recent side trip to Gaum for a couple quick shows with L.A. neo-punkers, Camaro Rouge. Other observations: Songs from the new record-in-progress got the NorCal crowd plenty juiced — keep your ears peeled for “Motorcycle Mama,” she’s a gem. It’s also clear that PL has now made a regular practice of levitating several inches off the stage during the outro on “Humboldt.” Speaking of outros, somebody whispered a rumor in my ear after the set that PM may be connected to the origination of the very concept. (Even with all those bad-ass jazz cats from the ’40s and shit, you may be wondering?) I can tell you that a couple of inquiries were later made. Some vigorous, though relatively brief, debate ensued. No definitive conclusions were reached.

But I digress. We were standing on the high tundra of Market Street, cross street Sanchez, the east-bound marine layer lashing us all something fierce. Spirits remained spirited, sure, but we all knew it was a bona fide situation: PL was downright spooked, his shoulder-length grey locks tossing some mad, mad shadows against the windows of the band’s trusty new-old Chevy Bomb Squad Suburban. At one point the treacherous currents stole a loose page from PL’s “fortnight -at-a-glance,” flinging it into the middle of Market Street where it got pummeled by an F-line streetcar and was swirled away into oblivion.”Coldest damn city in America,” RW said, hands jammed into his pockets. It was July. He had a point.

PL was hanging onto his hat, eyes squinting. “I didn’t need that anymore,” he offered. It was the stand-up thing to say, but he was wrong. Ten minutes later, as the chatter of friends and teeth continued, the page reappeared, skimming the sidewalk and brushing up against the doorman’s stool a few feet away, tattered but intact. This is the kind of mojo we’re talking about here, folks.

“Great!” PL said, as I handed it back to him, the strange markings no more intelligible than they were before. PL wanted to know what the page said, but there was nothing else I could do for him at that point. People tend to bullshit about the weather when there’s nothing else to talk about. But the road-tested Hawks know better, and RW in particular, who used to call this town home, knew this was weather of an entirely different sort. Strange and provocative weather. Insidious weather. Ghosted weather. Weather they sure as hell won’t be showing on the Weather Channel, the Disney Channel of weather channels. This is downright BEASTLY weather. The kind of weather, unknown to the rest of America, that could bullwhip a band into calling the whole thing off — that in an instant could have them shouting for backup from a couple of trusted accomplices, send them scrambling for the emergency stash of Federale, see them bolting the hell back into the vehicle, pronto, spark it up, God help us all.

And so it went. As good fortune would have it, the set had already been successfully completed.By the time they found their way to some breakfast carnitas in Gilroy on Friday, I’m told, color had started to return to faces. San Francisco is a friendly town, but only sometimes. The winds can change in a blink — many have perished in the sometimes spiritual wilderness of this place. You can deliver a smoking set here, but outside the wolves will still grin wide and howl their bloody howl from the hills.

Just make sure your strings are tuned tight before you arrive. Be prepared to retune them anyway. And shit yes, of course, it’s best to pack some extra Federale if you’ve got it on hand.The Hawks, bless ’em, they know all this. And they’ll be back.


by Josef Woodard
Santa Barbara Independent
July 7, 2003

TWANG TOPOGRAPHIES: Alt-country got its “alt” less through a conspiracy among alternative-minded artists than by the inverse influence of a mainstream country scene grown slick and stagnant. Just recently, Santa Barbara audiences have been visited by fine maverick twangers: self-made and highly-musical Texan Lyle Lovett played the Chumash Casino last Friday, and, at SOhO, the acclaimed neo-country-rock band outta L.A. known as I See Hawks in L.A. made its Santa Barbara debut. The band has been rightfully compared to the Flying Burrito Brothers, Gram Parson’s pioneering country-rock outfit from the early ’70s.

The parade of alt-country (a genre which most of its brightest stars bristle at) continues Saturday at the Lobero, with Todd Snider, the next victim in the Sings Like Hell series. Snider is a salty-tongued wise guy with a natural songwriting skill, minimal commercial potential, and relatively little fear. He was good enough to grab the ear of one of his biggest heroes, John Prine, who signed the protégé to the Oh Boy! label, co-run by Prine.

There’s something very restless and American about Snider, a Portland, Oregon native who went South-literally-as a music-loving teenager. He has moved around the land since making his 1994 debut (and scoring a fluke hit was his grunge satire “Talkin’ Seattle Grunge Rock Blues”). Of late, Snider has landed in a town he loves enough to have devoted an album to: East Nashville Skyline. No, Snider is not dissing Dylan, an admitted icon to Snider. Rather, Snider is singing the praises, in wild and poetic terms, of his adopted hometown of East Nashville. It’s the funkier, more Boho counterpart to Nashville proper, across the river.

Meanwhile, way out west of Nashville, our own piece of earth has proven fertile ground for new country hybrids. Not for nothing has Bakersfield-home of Buck Owens and Merle Haggard-become “Nashville West,” and folks like Dwight Yoakam staked their claim in the Pacific Standard Time zone. There are plenty of worthy country-rock artists and players hereabouts, as heard in the Gram Parsons tribute at the Bowl last summer, and in bands like I See Hawks in L.A.

Anyone expressing surprise about the easy fit of country-folk musical traditions and Southern California isn’t paying attention to the larger, longer picture of life here. Gather ’round, children, and hear the nostalgia-checked tale of a once-agrarian terrain where suburban sprawl and mini-malls now reign (burrito) supreme. Los Angeles, the city which grew from stolen water in a spot God never wanted a city, is still enveloped in vast natural topographies, from the Santa Monica Mountains to the desert wonderland of Joshua Tree.

Closer to home, orchards and farmland once prevailed where neighborhoods and nearly all of Goleta now command top real-estate dollar. Slobbering developers seek yet more depletion of all things natural, and we cling, ever more firmly and desperately, to unspoiled enclaves worth saving: Ellwood Mesa, the Gaviota Coast, the San Marcos foothills, and any scrappy vacant lot you might find (an endangered species).

So we may feel a tiny sting of recognition hearing the line “I know that we’ll never see trees that used to be,” as I See Hawks’ Rob Waller sings on “Hope Against Hope,” the opening track of the band’s inspired latest album, Grapevine (Western Seeds Record Company).

Asked a leading question about the strong sense of place in his songs, including the new album’s “Humboldt” and “Grapevine,” Waller took the bait: “We’re a regional band with global aspirations,” he said. “In my opinion, songwriters-and writers in general-are better suited to being localists than globalists. Your work might just end up universal if you pay very close attention to the specific people and places in your immediate environment. Look at William Faulkner, he wrote novel after novel about his mythical ‘postage stamp of soil’ in central Mississippi. It’s unnecessary to comment on the global impact of his work.”
Got e? fringebeat@aol.com


Once again, death brushed by ISHILA guitarist Paul Lacques today when he nearly choked at the Bear Diner in Gilroy, CA. Eagerly inhaling his Americana (formerly Alt Country) Omelette, Paul breathed a chunk of eggie down his windpipe. Rather than make a spectacle in the crowded restaurant, Paul got up and walked outside to face death alone. Some robust coughing blew the little chunks into the upper parking lot atmosphere, and Paul returned to his companions and a life resumed.
While Paul dealt with his outdoor encounter with immortality, the remaining Hawks sat at the table wondering if he was all right and sharing their own near death food stories.
At a café in Seattle, Shawn was given the Heimlich maneuver by crooner Spanky Whitfield (sorry girls, no pictures). When Shawn realized he was choking (on a piece of lettuce), the
muscular and chiseled Whitfield wrapped his tanned and sinewy arms around Shawn’s midsection and pulled, grunting under his breath with the effort. The lettuce flew from Shawn’s mouth and he collapsed into the arms of his rescuer. Whitfield smoothed back his tousled hair into its well oiled classic shape, and calmly resumed his meal. “I got your back, bro,” Spanky winked, and picked up the meal tab.


Dear readers,
It’s true: our recent tour diary has turned a bit harsh and political. These are indeed turbulent times, and while voicing opinions can be scary, it feels appropriate and important to the Hawks to address the current issues of the day in as frank and candid a way as possible. Besides, you deserve the kind of raw, uncut information we pride ourselves on providing several days a week.

Plus we get a perverse pleasure out of annoying people. Especially you, says RW. What do you mean, “we?” says PM. RW: PL, I grant you the franchise on annoying people. For me, I think it’s best to embrace the new era of total exposure with zero editing of anything, because our privacy has already been compromised. We mustn’t believe in the myth of privacy any more.

PL: Sometimes the darkness is overwhelming.If you have insomnia and are reading this we’d like to know! Please email your name, address, profession, and number of children along with the time of the day (or night) to our editor: stonecutter@iseehawks.com


Budget: $1.5 million

Proposal: I See Hawks In L.A. will design and mass produce life sized clear glass cattle, to be placed in endangered pasture lands in the foothills of Southern California. A glass herd of elks will be placed in a high altitude Montana meadow. Clear glass mountain sheep will line a steep basalt cliffside, stalked by a pair of glass panthers.In the spirit of Christo, the installations will be completely accessible. This glass menagerie will be fragile and breakable, to reflect the fragile status of the elk, the panther, the pasture–and to challenge viewers to treat the exhibit and the earth delicately.

Make check out to: ISHILA, LLC, Bahrai.