Lefty Phillips is reminded of the choice he made every morning, as he wakes up in the bed of his 1996 Ford Tacoma. The day creeps in and warms the worn, gray camper shell over his head. He's gotten good at finding inconspicuous overnight parking in Long Beach's residential areas.
Ken Stafford Lefty Phillips (left) with bassist Paul Bonnano
"To my surprise, there are lots of places to park where people don't seem to mind," Phillips says with a note of optimism.
Still, sometimes it's awkward exiting his vehicle in the morning, shaking off last night's gig as people are jumping into their cars to go to work. Inside his cozy abode, Phillips has the bare necessities: a feathered comforter, a camping stove, an amp and a couple of electric guitars.
It's been more than a year since Phillips started living out of his truck in February 2013, busking on the streets by day, playing clubs by night. After the economic crash of the late '00s and losing his last job as a janitor at a local community college, the 45-year-old guitarist had enough of working for the Man.