THE GUARDIAN: Jonathan Wilson’s fabulous recent album, Fanfare, featured the cream of the California music scene, including Jackson Browne and two-thirds of Crosby, Stills and Nash. None of these heavyweights has made it to this former working men’s club in Leeds, but the singer-songwriter has certainly brought the west coast vibe. The crystal-clear sound is perhaps what Fleetwood Mac were striving for when they spent years in multitrack studios in the 1970s. Wilson – all beard and windswept anguish – could hardly look more like his Beach Boy namesake, Dennis, if he strolled in with sand in his facial hair. The band – particularly the very long-haired bassist – could have stepped straight out of a 1975 edition of The Old Grey Whistle Test, and there are times – the lengthy Hammond organ solos – when you think this was exactly why punk rock had to happen. However, Wilson isn’t pastiching 1970s MOR; this is more a movingly heartfelt, timeless and transcendental homage. It’s a very long time since a west coast musician penned songs as great as Dear Friend or the lovely Desert Trip. MORE

PREVIOUSLY: [Josh] Tillman wants to go to the Chateau Marmont for dinner. He’s obsessed with the place—he and Emma are semi-regulars—and it’s easy to see why. Looming magisterially over the Sunset Strip from its perch in the Hollywood Hills like a duchess in a whore house, the Chateau Marmont is iconic. It is Hotel California. Errol Flynn swashbuckled here. James Dean brooded handsomely here. Greta Garbo hid here. F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hunter Thompson wrote and drank here. John Belushi OD’d here. Lindsay Lohan is banned from here—she owes or owed the hotel something like $46,000, according to the gossip rags. It is where high Babylon goes to dine and be seen, where they stab it with their steely knives, but they just can’t kill the beast. “This is a great place to see Lionel Richie or Steven Tyler eating a Cobb salad,” Tillman deadpans. Last time he was here, he saw Joseph Gordon-Levitt lunching with RZA. Tonight we spot Katy Perry and the chick who played Donna on That 70s Show.

Tillman clearly savors the existential absurdity of celebrity as much as he’s horrified by it. He’s doubling down on the notion of going Hollywood. He is working on TV pilot with Kyle Flynn, who plays keyboards in the Father John Misty touring band, about a cheesy once-famous country-music duo (think Big & Rich) that has fallen on hard times and has been reduced to making ends meet by mixing up batches of a potent meth/bath-salts hybrid that it sells through the Korean mafia. “It got a real Big Lebowski comedy of error kind of thing happening,” says Tillman, who would play one half of the country duo along with Sean Tillmann from Har Mar Superstar.

Still, even Father John Misty has his limits. He turned down $75,000 to cover Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s “Lucky Man” for a Volkswagen ad, and politely declined when NBC wanted him as a guest judge for yet another American Idol knock-off.

Tillman gets a call from Jonathan Wilson, who co-produced and played on a lot of Fear Fun. In addition to an acclaimed solo career, Wilson—who looks like a hippie Christian Bale—has become a very in-demand producer. He’s been out drinking with Lucinda Williams and her beau, and they want to meet us for a drink. Fuck yeah. Last time I checked, she was still the legendary sweetheart of the alt-country rodeo. After dinner, we retire to the bar and join them in a booth. It becomes immediately apparent that the half-empty glass of cabernet sauvignon sitting in front of Lucinda isn’t her first of the night. Earlier tonight, she was at a rehearsal for an autism benefit that Stephen Stills is throwing on Saturday. She’s doing “For What It’s Worth.”

“So, I said to him, ‘Should I call you Stephen or Steve?’” she says. “And David Crosby chimes in: ‘I just call him Fuckhead.’”

Hilarity ensues.

A few more rounds later, we pile into the white van for the moonlit trek back to Misty Mountain, winding our way through the Hollywood Hills on Mulholland Drive, windows down, cool wind in our hair. Warm smell of colitas rises up through the air. There is a parking ticket flapping on the windshield and, with all due apologies to Dr. Thompson, it bores us. Ah, fun times in Babylon.

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