EDDIE ARGOS was depressed. He was working long hours behind the bar at Hog's Head, a pub in the seaside town of Weymouth, England. The weather outside was gray and his tables were full of stodgy, disaffected tourists who had decided there was more warmth in a pint of ale than a day on the beach. Argos had just lost his girlfriend, and his finances that summer of 2000 were bleaker than the weather.
"It was really not going well for me," Argos said. "I was back in the kitchen talking to the chef about getting away, going somewhere, going anywhere. I started talking about the best place to go and thought: L.A. I had never been to L.A. and didn't know a thing about it. But I started making all these plans. And then it became a song. I just wrote it all down."
Argos' pub bluster on a rainy day would eventually become "Moving to L.A.," a breakthrough hit for his band, Art Brut. Argos is known for his arch affectations and his zany antics onstage, and on this song he has a bit of the stretched-out screech of Johnny Rotten, but with the droll lyrics of a soccer hooligan channeling Warren Zevon. "I think I've got it sorted," he sings, "I'm gonna get myself deported!" The chorus has a call and response between Argos ("I'm considering a move to L.A.!") and the straight-faced band ("He's considering a move to L.A."). The view of Southern California from a distant pub is an interesting one:
Hang around with Axl Rose
Buy myself some brand-new clothes
Everything's gonna be just fine
I hear the murder rate is in decline
When Argos finally did make it here, the first thing he did was live up to his song's pledge to strip off his shirt and roam the streets. He and his bandmates prowled the Sunset Strip and soaked in the local culture ("We went to that bar from the Motley Crüe video!"). He seriously considered renting a Harley-Davidson but decided his lack of a driver's license made it a bad idea.
"I thought it would be my one and only time in Los Angeles and in America, but now we spend more time here than in England," the singer said of his band's growing foothold in the U.S. scene and radio success. Now, with a girlfriend residing in Echo Park, the former pub daydreamer is actually contemplating a real-life move here this year. "My song was a self-fulfilling prophecy. My next song, by the way, is called 'Lottery Winner.' "