The 20th Annual Los Angeles Music Awards Voting Party

The Whisky a Go-Go had 300 people mulling on the sidewalk filling out sheets with little pencils, and a few lookers, a few weirdoes and a few spectators. The majority of the audience were members of 123 local bands and singers envying the wealthier bands windmilling the shit out of their Stratocasters. In and out of the entrance, one stamp per hand, their musical equipment somewhat unceremoniously dumped in front of the ticket window, went many who hoped to ace this contest and win a grand prize of $50,000 of free tickets to the Red Carpet event at the Paramount Theater on November 18.


No one at losanjealous gives too much in the shit department. The overwhelming consensus is that LAMA is a SCAM-MA. Perhaps it’s because of how the Los Angeles Music Awards work. The voting contest is designed to vet by popular decision the 123 gifted local talents previously vetted from 11,000 entries. Once you pay the cover, you’re given a sheet with categories like Best Male Singer-Songwriter or Best Country Single. Then you scribble a bubble next to a person’s name in each category and hand it back at the end of the night. It’s not a perfect science. Kinko’s Copies made a printing mistake that cut a few people off the list. Efforts were made to ridicule Kinkos at every turn, and Promoter Al Bowman tried to get the folks written back in, but seriously, some nominees were nice and screwed.

Alright, so I’m watching a group of five people on stage. They sing a few bars to remind us how good they are. And this pretty girl keeps smiling at me. That never happens so I ask her if she’s being considered for a category and sure enough, the answer is yes. Now I see why the LAMA has the reputation it does. Without even hearing her performance, she and I begin to make deals. Vote for me for “Best Pop Act” and I’ll vote for you for “Best Jug Band Vocalist”. Done and done. Just like in Middle School. Ironically I end up voting for bands I don’t like, and I am gullible to think people have any sense of fidelity. They tell me they voted for Michael but scratch him out and vote for somebody else. Oh, the humanity.

I was there to show of solidarity for Michael Z. Cummings, a Lou Reed-styled tell-it-like-it-is nominee for Best Male Singer-Songwriter. Michael was totally confused by all this popularity contest vote-swapping crap. He didn’t want this but I told him the game had to be played: among these flowers the social butterfly is monarch. And if he wanted to win the prize, he needed the paperwork.

Well. You know. The bands were excited and took the voting in stride. Al Bowman runs this thing and has for twenty years. He’s an older handsome man, rugged, amiable, very much an emcee. And yet… he shows a little favoritism to good looking people in front of average looking people, loudly, over the public address system. He’s neither relished nor reviled by Google to any significant degree. Yet… tonight he offers a four song showcase to nominees who have the cheese to buy it from him, but the crowd is to vote as if everyone had the same opportunity.

Some could make it. Michael Z. Cummings stands on his own authority. I enjoyed then energy of The Lost Boys, kind of a younger wannabe brother band to Haim. And “Storeytime” a five person jazz group centered around Patrick Storey, an autistic young man with perfect pitch and the ability to sing back any melody he’s ever heard. They tackled “Synchronicity”, in Portuguese, in 6/4 time, just to show this off. Nashville veteran Justin Foutz, Juliette Goglia… that’s who I vote for. Whatever I marked down last night is moot.