The Kibitz Room at Canter’s knows a great deal when it sees one. The L.A. Times tells us that this dark, spartan space abutting the famous Fairfax deli, known as a hotbed of musical activity where Rick James, Fiona Apple, Joni Mitchell, and Jim Morrison have all played over its lifetime (and where Neil Young used to charge patrons to ferry them up the street in his car) has a novel system of compensation. Apparently, the Kibitz Room only pays its talent with food and drinks, not cash. But fortunately, even badass bands bent on world domination have to start somewhere.
This pay-to-eat scheme apparently let Guns ‘n Roses live and not die during their leanest years. Owner Marc Canter has known Slash since childhood and recounts how the smelly band took their first band photo in the Kibitz Room after a tour up the coast in which the guys spent their free time stealing carrots and onions from passing farms.
Canter, who recently put out a book about the band recalls, “They were starving, so of course they came to Canter’s,” where the young man would give them free beer and food. He remembers that Axl was all about all about the tuna fish, while Slash favored pastrami sandwiches, and Duff McKagan, the band’s bassist, was fond of barley bean soup.
The image of these three hairy hellspawns quietly spooning soup and nibbling on tuna fish contrasts sharply with our image of the band shooting Mr. Brownstone for breakfast and drinking Nighttrain at night, but it’s somehow comforting to know that deep-down, even hard-rockers need a home-cooked meal every now and then. Maybe if they’d just stuck with pastrami, we could have avoided that whole “spaghetti incident” that spurred the band’s downfall.