After five years riding the rock circuit with Firefall, Larry Burnett decided he wanted to cook up something new -- which he's doing as the night chef at the Fraser House on the site of the old Golden Booeymonger at 20th and R Streets NW. Omelettes and other exotic dishes may seem an odd change of pace for a musician whose band had four gold and two platinum album, but Burnett's been interested in cooking since he got out of high school in California. "I started out washing dishes in restaurants," he recalls. "Everybody else came and went, except for me. Eventually, I rost to assistant chef."
Burnett hooked up with the then-forming Firefall almost accidentally. He was working as a cab driver in Washington and singing his songs an open stage nights at the Cellar Door, whose manager taped his sets and played them for visiting performers. One of those was former Burrito Brother Rick Roberts, who not only liked the songs but needed a free taxi ride to Dulles Airport. Eventually, he and Burnett were responsible for most of Firefall's songwriting, and when the group took off, Burnett moved to Colorado. While there, Burnett and his girlfriend started a catering service "for the off time and to keep her from going crazy when I was on the road."
The road took its toll, however, and by the times things came to a head in April, it had led to some serious drug problems, Burnett says. He checked himself into Washington Psychiatric Institute for four days "to think things out." When he walked out, he had quit Firefall and decided to move back to Washington. Although he now spends most of his time culinary concerns, Burnett unpacked his acoustic guitar last Thursday night at the Cellar Door, where it all started. He's not really interested in performing anymore, but when the club found out he was in town, they asked him to play for his old friends and fans. "The music business moves fast," Burnett says, "and there's no sense to hold on to something that's not valid anymore."