"Mean Street Machine" by Paul Gilbert

I just finished the RACER X concert tour of Japan and Taiwan. Hanging out with Jeff, John, and Scott reminded me of so many adventures we had together as a struggling L.A. band in the Metal 80`s.Some of my best memories are from when we recorded our "Second Heat" album.

Our first challenge was how to get to the studio! None of us had a car! I ended up selling one of my guitars to the record company to get some money. I took the money and bought my roommate`s car: A 1974 Oldsmobile Cutlass. It was old, brown, and ugly, but you could fit lots of guitars and amps in the trunk, and lots of people in the seats.

So we loaded up our equipment from our Hollywood apartments and drove nine hours to the studio in San Francisco. Finally, we could start recording!

The studio had a small guesthouse, so we were all living there while rehearsing and recording. We had spent all our money on gas for the car and tubes for our amps, so we didn`t have enough left for FOOD. As soon as John Alderete finished recording his bass parts, he got a job at a cookie and candy factory. He would bring back lots of cookies and candy every day for us to eat. It was not very nutritious, but maybe all the sugar made us play faster!

After a week we needed a break, so we decided to drive into the city to go to a rock club. The band playing that night was POISON. They were not famous yet, so the club was empty. After listening to a few songs and watching lots of their synchronized stage moves, we decided leave.

On our way back to the studio, my car began to shake violently. I slowed down quickly and pulled to the side of the road. I found that one of my tires had blown out. The rubber was shredded and there was no way to fix it. So I opened the trunk to get the good spare tire.

There was no spare tire!

We were 30 minutes from San Francisco, so there were no stores, houses, or phones anywhere. There were only stars in the sky and mountains in the distance.

Then suddenly we saw something in the road ahead. It was dark and big. We walked up to it to discover it was an abandoned car! A miracle!

Suddenly we were feeling very lucky! Jeff Martin is very good at fixing things, so he used some tools from my car take a wheel off the abandoned car. He rolled it over to my car and started to put it on.

Then he discovered that it didn`t fit.

My car had 5 big screws that held the wheel on. The new wheel had 5 holes for the screws, but they were in the wrong place. Jeff fixed this by taking a big crowbar and knocking two of the screws OFF my car! Then the wheel fit, but it wasn`t held on very safely. Also the new wheel was bigger than the original, so the car was higher on one side. But we could drive again!

We made it back to the studio, ate more candy and cookies, and finished the album in another week. We drove back to L.A. with the too big tire.

Poison got really famous.

The record company still has my guitar and won`t give it back.

I drove my extremely dangerous car with not enough screws on the tire for the next two years.

I`m lucky to be alive!