Prolog page 1 |
I had just finished getting rid of my second wife. No, I didn't kill her. I had introduced her to an acquaintance of mine who was hot to trot with her. I had just sold our house and moved us into a basement apartment. I then started hanging out with my hoodlum friends. I also let our new car go back to the dealership and bought a 1963 Cadillac convertible to restore. She was out the door in sixty days. What a feeling of relief!
With Beelzebub gone for good I was able to pursue the love of my life, music. When I met Beelzebub, I was running one weekly rock concert and working at another. A total of two nights a week for which I made about $800.00. As she saw that I was having way too much fun, she insisted that I get a job in a factory. Making $200.00 for four times as many hours. Those days were over now.
My best friend had an up and coming rock band that needed a lot of help. They also needed a place to practice. A friend put me in touch with a real estate agent. He had a five-bedroom house on seven acres with six months free rent for simply cleaning it up. Sound too good to be true? It was certainly a nice place, once we dug seventy-five large garbage bags of beer cans out of it. Seven abandoned, stolen cars, from the back yard. Two forty foot truckloads of steel, from the four-car garage. A motor cycle gang, who had a penchant for parties, had leased the house. After a lot of elbow grease, we had the perfect place for our band. On one side of the house was a small factory with a twenty-five foot high wall that ran about 800 feet, nearly half the length of our property. On the other side was a ten-acre field. In front of the house were so many pine trees you couldn't see the street. Behind the house a forest of trees imported from Germany's Black Forest, all in the middle of the city. We could, and did, rock all night without bothering anyone.
We had two major problems; we didn't have a drummer, and nobody had a job. What we did have was an excellent keyboard player, Brad. A fair bassist with a never-ending supply of pot, Craig. A brilliant, ever so slightly schizoid lead guitarist, Tom, and me the manager, soundman, light man, chief cook, bottle washer, jester and baby sitter.
We also had a roadie, Bill, who had a full time job making donuts on the midnight shift at "Dunkin Donuts." Every morning he would leave us two dozen donuts, a half a gallon of milk, a half gallon of orange juice and a dozen eggs on our door step. It took me over ten years to look another donut in the face but that was about all we had to eat for almost six months. This stable food supply allowed us the leisure of working toward our goal of forming the next, "Super Group." So we began by auditioning drummers. We eventually went through 160 auditions, looking for that perfect drummer, and somehow we finally found him.
We had been at this for almost six months, and had yet to work a single gig. We had begun to record our demo tapes on an eight track Akai when we discovered what we really needed was a lead singer. Oh well, back to the auditions. We came up with a name for the band, "Infinity," and a name for the album, "Marianas Trench: 7 Miles Deep."
Christmas was fast approaching and we decided to take a short break for the holiday with some members going home and others staying. I myself headed home Christmas Eve, but returned late the next night.
Craig had a visitor one cold snowy evening; an old girl friend named "Alice." Alice had just returned from LA, to visit relatives for the holidays.
Prolog page 2
She was a petite redhead, who in her spare time, was Buddy Miles current mistress. She partied with us for a couple of days and invited us out to Beverly Hills to meet Buddy and see if he could help us with marketing the album. Just the break we had been looking for.
We knew it would be next to impossible to get a record deal in Detroit. The Detroit music scene had faded away by the mid seventy's. Motown had moved to LA and, with our heavy metal style, we knew that a trip to one coast or the other was in order. Well with this development there was no stopping us now.
Christmas came and went, and the band got back together again. With New Years Eve fast approaching, we planned the "Mother" of all parties. The band was starting to get really tight, so we decided to do a concert during the party. The party itself was a B.Y.O.D. affair, as we barely had the money to spare for snacks.
All our ladies and friends arrived, bearing great quantities of various drugs and liquors. After the concert we proceeded to get wasted. We drank, smoked great quantities of weed and most of us dropped four hits of windowpane acid!
Now let me add that for years we had gotten together every other night to trip. The four of us would buy twenty hits of windowpane acid, and each eat four hits. We then, put the remaining four hits in a bottle of "Boones Farm," and passed it around. Then off we'd go for a long drive, often from Detroit to Chicago and back.
So it was a great surprise, when my best friend Tom, started to freak out. Tom had had a streak of rather bad luck. In the last year or so his father had died, he had found his aunt dead, his cat that he had since his boyhood had died, and his girl friend was driving him nuts. The end result was that we had to take him to the hospital for a little, "Thorazine Cocktail." I won't bore you with the gory details, but in the aftermath the band broke up. However it didn't stop an otherwise killer party, but the handwriting was on the wall. 1976 was going to be a rather strange year.
As the band started to go their separate ways, Brad, Steve and Tom moved back in with their parents, which left Craig, Bill and me living in the house. Craig wanted to take the tape to Hollywood and meet up with Buddy Miles. His only problem was, he didn't have any money or transportation. So he swallowed his pride and talked Tom into going out to LA. Meanwhile the real estate agent decided that nine months of free rent was enough, and suddenly wanted a small fortune in rent for the house. Needless to say the rest of us moved out. Apparently just in time, as a severe ice storm hit a week later and destroyed most of the trees. It took three men with chain saws, eight hours to clear a path to the front door.
Craig and Tom headed for the coast, and I moved in with my "buddy," Danny. Alice called on occasion, and kept me informed about Craig and Toms adventures. She kept asking when I was coming out. At that time I was finishing up the rebuild on the Cadillac, and had a deal to swap it for a 1966 Mercedes Benz 230 SL convertible in mint shape. All I had left to do was get the Cadillac repainted. Can you see a tragedy about to happen?
Our next door neighbor was moving out. As we shared the same double driveway, she asked me to park out in front, so she could get the moving truck up to her house. So I parked on the grass out front. Early next morning, I was awakened by a little old lady driving 65 M.P.H. in a 30 M.P.H. zone.
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She had slammed her car into my Cadillac, pushing the tail fins into the back seat. Fortunately a police officer had witnessed the accident. Fortunately for the little old lady, as it kept me from killing her on the spot. The policemen shared a story about a similar experience he had, when he lost his 1957 Chevy. He told me what to expect from her insurance company, and how to get around it, without hiring an attorney. This saved me several thousand dollars and hurried up the check.
Craig and Tom had just returned from LA. Craig had some rather bizarre news. Buddy had helped them find interested record companies. In fact Tom had been offered a recording contract, and fifty thousand dollars for an album. However Tom had declined the offer and returned to Detroit. At the time, this made absolutely no sense to me. After all he had just been handed on a silver platter, everything he'd always wanted, everything he worked so hard to achieve, and he'd run away from it. Craig on the other hand couldn't get enough of LA. He planned to return after the 4th of July. I was wondering what I was going to do without a car, when Tom announced that I could buy his four year old Vega GT for a song. I should have known better with Tom, the way he had been acting but I didn't. Craig said he would be flying out on the thirteenth. So, we decided to meet in LA when he arrived. In celebration we thought we'd eat some excellent Amazonian mushrooms, that Danny had. We'd get wasted, go to the fireworks and come back home to plan my trip to LA "The best laid schemes of mice and men, gang aft a-gley."*
We returned from the fireworks tripping our brains out, to find all of my possessions out on the street. Everything except my new color t.v. No one was home except the Wayne County Sheriff, who said we should pack up and leave before we got into any trouble. Can you see the pay back that's coming? Apparently Danny didn't see it either. I won't go into it because I'm not sure the statute of limitations has run out, but I can say that pay back is a "Muther Fucker." He wasn't the only one I got back at that day; in fact, I paid back two others who had ripped me off. All in one neat little package. From now on, "No more mister nice guy!"**
I decided to go "up north" and visit with my parents before leaving for the coast. I also had to store some things. Tom's car seemed to be running all right, but it did need some tires, and I needed some new suitcases. I took the old mans boat out on the lake and stayed out fishing until after dawn. I then went to town and bought the tires and luggage. By the time I returned it was the late afternoon. I had dinner with my family and went to bed, it was about six p.m. When I awoke it was two a.m. I then packed up the car. LA, here I come.
* ** See Quotations
Chapter 1 page 4
On The Road To Los Angeles
artifice; for it is myself that I portray... I am, myself, the matter of my book."
~~~ Michel Eyquem de Montaigne ~~~
Anticipation? Trepidation? Fur sure. I hadn't been to LA since 1968, when I decided to get rid of my first wife, "Bitchzilla." Do we see a pattern beginning to form? I put the Chevy into first gear and headed out I-94 towards Chicago. I had seven days to get to the coast in order to meet Craig at L.A.X., so I had planned a leisurely trip. I planned to take I-94 to Chicago, I-80 to Salt Lake City, I-15 to Lost Wages, where I planned to spend a few days before heading in on I-15 to LA.
The trip began uneventful as I crossed Michigan and hit the I-94 - I-80 interchanges, and headed west across Illinois. The only problem so far was that the radio didn't work. Oh well, life's a bitch, ain't it? Over on my right was a hitchhiking Indian who I stopped and picked up. He was heading off to join in a little POW-WOW with the good folks at A.I.M., for some fun and games. I twisted up a couple and the miles just seemed to roll by. We discussed politics, religion, automatic weapons and the best way to ignore the government. All and all a very pleasant chat. I dropped him off in Omaha as he was heading to North Dakota and stopped at my aunt's restaurant for a little breakfast and genteel conversation. Afterwards, I twisted up a couple more and hit the freeway.
I've always liked Nebraska, because it starts off in the east as farm country and ends in the west as the, "West," full of mesas and buttes, a very pretty state. Then comes Wyoming, which is full of nothing except the occasional redneck, oh and cattle. Lots and lots of cattle. Just outside of Cheyenne, I stopped to pick up another hitchhiker, this one a real live cowboy. He was heading home to Salt Lake City. A Mormon cowboy, "magic" underwear and all. This trip was becoming surrealistic in its first day, a bad sign? He didn't want to smoke, but he did want to talk about Mormonism. For six hours he talked about Joseph Smith and kept me entertained, as we approached the mountains and Utah.
I dropped the cowboy prophet off on the far side of Salt Lake City and headed south on I-15. The sun was turning the high desert a rosy pink as I began to think of getting a motel for the night. Provo lay just ahead, with a prolificacy of motels and more important a college campus, B.Y.U. A college campus, where certain persons could be found; by an out of towner such as myself, who might know the location of a certain herb. As luck would have it, such a person was found quite quickly at my first stop, the local 7-11. A little bartering took place, and I returned to the comfort of the local Hilton and it's pool.
July in Utah is incredibly hot. Don't talk to me about humidity, 112 degrees at 9 p.m. is fucking hot. I hadn't given it much thought about the great western desert, and the good old summer time. However, this ignorance and others would soon be brought to my attention. But by 1 a.m. the temperature had dropped to a cool 99 degrees, and I decided to call it a day. I had met three new friends. An Indian, a Cowboy Prophet and an Herb Salesman. All things considered a rather interesting day I thought as I lay in bed, wondering what new adventures tomorrow would unfold?
Friday morning began with a loud grating ringing sound. My wake-up call. I didn't request one. A bad omen! A quick shower, a quicker breakfast of roll and coffee and I'm back on the freeway, which is already in progress. It's only 8 a.m. and the temperature is already over 100 degrees, and I'm only in the high dessert. Duh.
Chapter 1 page 5 On The Road To Los Angeles Well thank God I've got my big aluminum block Chevy, with only 51,000 miles on the odometer. Did I mention the warranty on this experimental engine ran out 1000 miles ago? What's that funny noise? Gee, it sounds just like an oil pump dissolving. What's this little town that I'm approaching? Why it's... Nephi Utah. And who's that standing by the signpost up ahead? Why it's... Rod Serling! Uh oh!
Nephi Utah, two gas stations, a motel, a restaurant, a church and hallelujah a Chevy dealership. I pull into the dealership, thinking it's Friday morning not quite 9 a.m. I'll be first in line and in an out in no time at all. For someone who has seen it all, and done it all, I'm incredibly naive. After waiting for an hour, the mechanic arrives to say the oil pump was bad but they can replace it, Monday. O.K. fine. So much for partying in Vegas this weekend. Well, let's see what Nephi has for entertainment? That was a quick ten seconds. Well, they do have a rancid motel and a greasy spoon family restaurant. I check in the motel. Cable hasn't arrived in Nephi yet and although they're barely an hour south of Provo, all I see is ghosts. The air conditioner works, sort of. It keeps the air a cool 94 degrees. The restaurant located eight blocks away is an Epicurean nightmare, full of State Policemen. So with a bottle of rum and a bag of pipe dreams, I settle in to await Monday.
The only good thing about the "Bates Motel," is the ice machine works and the Coke machine is full. Eventually, I have to walk on down to the restaurant. I should mention that at the time I had a full beard and hair way below my shoulders. So I assumed, that in a very religious place like Utah, I would be welcomed on my looks alone. Silly me. I wish I had a photo of the looks on the people's faces, as I approached the restaurant. A mother with two little boys quickly grabbed them and pulled them inside. A little old lady quickly locks her doors, with a look of shock on her face. When I enter the restaurant, everyone turns around to stare at what had just walked up out of the desert. They all stare and stare, especially the State Police. Deputy Dan has no friends, and suddenly I knew how he felt.
As I sat down and reached for a menu, I could hear very plainly the, "What the fuck is that?" "Is that a boy or a girl?" Red neck type bullshit. No biggie, so far. The "End of the World Cafe" is a charming little cesspool. "Don't worry about the flies, we won't weigh 'em!" The menu consists mainly of things buried in gravy. You can bury a lot of mistakes in gravy. Despite my situation, I feel in a rather adventurous mood so I order the "Meat Loaf SURPRISE." By the looks of the patrolmen, I had better be ready for some, "High Adventure." My idea of "High Adventure" is going through Turkish customs, on a Greek passport, with an ounce of heroin, hanging out of my top pocket. The State Police are coming my way, and they're smiling!
Magically, they walk by and pay their bills, and with a long hair joke to the waitress, they leave. Now that was close. I hate having any "Imperial Entanglements" in my life. It was just some mindless paranoia, nothing more. Wrong! In the kitchen I hear the chef skinning the cat, for my "Meat Loaf SURPRISE." In only one day on the road, I've managed to strand myself for 72 hours, in fucking "Easy Rider Village." Smooth Ernest, very smooth indeed. The lady brings me my lunch and proceeds to tell me of the little girl next door, who got busted for selling the local PD, 6,000 hits of acid. You know, as a sort of a word to the wise. Knowing full well that I had to eat at this restaurant for the next three days, I wisely refrained from speaking my mind. Instead, I agree with her whole heartedly about the sad decline of modern youth. Since she was the closest thing to a friendly face I was going to see in Nephi, I continued to nod in agreement as she drones on and on.
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I dig into my fresh baked cat, with all the relish of a man who would soon be listening to a introduction to the book of Mormon, if he didn't finish his meal real soon. As I paid my bill I noticed that the State Police hadn't really left at all. They'd merely moved across the street, and were waiting. I thought that as long as they were waiting for me, at great taxpayer expense, I might as well get it over with. So instead of trying to avoid them, I marched myself over in their general direction. Much to my surprise, they simply pull away. I knew I was pretty scary looking, but I had no idea. So it was back to my motel for some quality boredom time. Along the way I stopped at the garage and found the front of my engine had been removed. The mechanic confirmed my fears about the oil pump. Although, it would only take about an hour to repair the car, it would be Monday morning before they could get to it. The cost would be $240.00 and could they get a deposit on it, now? I paid the tab and walked on back to the motel.
As I approached the "Bates Motel," I noticed the State Police were just leaving. I was beginning to have a deja vu. It was going to be one of those weekends. I entered the office to get a bucket of ice and a couple of Cokes. I asked the girl behind the desk if I had any messages? She shook her head no, as she tried very hard to suppress a smile. I returned to my room, twisted one up and poured myself a stiff rum and Coke. Then settled in to await my fate. I hadn't long to wait. A loud rapping sound appeared on my doorstep. It was the motel owner; we'll call him "Bob." Bob was a skinny red neck with a five-day-old scraggly beard, who proceeded to ask me a thousand questions, none of which were any of his business. I had two options; one was to tell him to go fuck himself, which would end in me spending the weekend sleeping in the desert. Two was to pretend to go along with Bob and answer his questions. Fortunately I was raised among red necks. I invited him in for a couple of drinks and a load of bull shit. After the first drink Bob and I were the best of friends. After a couple more, Bob was starting to answer all my questions. Yes, the State Police were rather interested in me, and no the girl in the office wasn't his wife or girl friend. Bob was pretty wasted by the time he dropped me off at the diner.
Apparently, I was the talk of the town and everybody had an opinion about me. Most of these opinions ended with me dangling from a rope! The "End of the World Cafe" had meals to go, so in order to keep a low profile, I decided to take all my future meals to go. Which was a pretty good idea, as when I'm leaving I noticed two State Police cruisers fast approaching for the last call on the boiled cat. Knowing when to leave is very important in life. The rest of the weekend is pretty much a blur as it was spent with the little girl from the office, "Mary," who had the weekend off and who sat staring wide eyed at my tales of the "underground" until Monday morning rolled around!
Monday morning dawned bright and sunny, or so I was told. I didn't get up until checkout time and when I did Mary was long since gone. I took a shower, packed my bags and headed quickly for the garage. Miracle of miracles the car was ready and waiting. I jumped in and headed for Las Vegas as fast as I could. Good-bye Nephi Utah. The road to Vegas, as it winds through southern Utah and northern Arizona is one of the prettiest in the world. The mountains turn from gray and black to almost every color in the rainbow. Vivid pinks, purples, yellows and blues, a veritable psychedelic palette of day glow colors. Then there is "Monument Valley" in southern Utah and northern Arizona. The vastness of it all is spectacular in its scope and size, while there is a underlying feeling of something very primordial, a rather sobering experience. I'm having a Deja Vu about this place but it's not from this lifetime. Off on my left is a dust devil, a sort of miniature tornado. It's heading my way, so I decide to stop and let it cross the road as I had just finished waxing the car to shiny red brilliance. I decide to take a leak, so I walk down the hill to be out of sight of the highway.
Chapter 1 page 7 On The Road To Los Angeles
As I stand there taking care of business, I notice Peyote cactus spreading away from me in all directions. Some are in flower; others are ripe for the picking. So I do. I pick about half a grocery bag full. I stuff three sweaters in the top of the bag and place it in the trunk. I notice a Arizona State Trooper give me the eye as he passed by heading north. I jump back in the car, shove her into first gear and head on out to Lost Wages as quickly as I can. There's about seven miles to the Nevada border. I cross it in less than five minutes. Now out of the mountains and down to the valley and you're in Las Vegas. Abandon all hope, all ye who enter here.
I hadn't been back to Vegas since 1972.* Things were really beginning to change in Las Vegas. I stopped at my uncle's favorite hotel. My uncle, we'll call him "Bob", was a retired wise guy. And as this was a "family" hotel I got the major discount rate. I check in for a couple days. A couple of uncle Bob's friends renew my herb supply at an incredibly righteous rate. I retire to my digs for some frolicking fun. I meet a cocktail waitress who could use a little herbal therapy and who has a day off. We see a couple shows and I develop Wayne Newton's disease, Wayne Newton makes me sick. We take a trip over to the Grand Canyon, and it really is grand. Later she offers to teach me a new disease she picked up from a sailor, but I decline her offer. However I do pick up a couple of hundred dollars on the slots, and for a change I break even for my stay.
Tuesday dawns bright and early as I stumble down stairs to the parking lot and my car. Damn it's almost 12 o'clock. I better get a move on if I want to hit LA with enough time to go out tonight. So back on I-15 west I go. In no time at all I'm on the California border. In no time at all I'm pulling in to be searched for forbidden fruits. Having driven to LA in 1968, ** I knew all about the vegetable and fruit searches but alas, I had forgotten. Duh. I also had forgotten about the bag of Peyote in the trunk. It came to my immediate attention as I opened the trunk and saw that bag laying on its side with two of three sweaters fallen out. I was one sweater away from wearing a dress and learning to dance for my new cellmate, Bubba. The inspector we'll call him "Bob" droned on and on about the forbidden fruit not allowed in California, and when I assured him I didn't have any, he let me go. I quickly repack the bag, closed the trunk and got the hell out of there.
Suddenly all signs of life had disappeared, I was fast approaching "Death Valley." The scenery took on the appearance of the moon. It was becoming incredibly hot. As I glanced at the gauges I noticed the engine was running hot. This could become very serious, very quickly. Fortunately, up ahead there was a little town with several gas stations and a restaurant. I pull off to let the engine and me cool down. As I had filled the engine up with summer coolant, there was little I could do about the over heating. As I entered the restaurant, I notice a thermometer in the window; it's a 126 degrees. Summer, the desert, Duh. A trucker who's setting next to me at the counter gives me some life saving advice. Open the hood part way and run it like that. I do, it works. LA here I come. Back on the freeway and up and out of Death Valley. The temp. gauge drops a little and it looks like I still might make it before dark. From out of nowhere the mountains spring up and I'm just outside of San Bernadino. From out of a clear blue sky the sun starts to fade away. The air goes from clear to a sickly yellow green and I'm still 100 miles from LA.
Up until now no one has been following president Hitler's, er Nixon's speed limit suggestions. I myself have been averaging about 90-95 mph.
* See "Uncle Ernie's Road Trips."
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Suddenly, as I approach a pack of cars, I notice a big black and white shepherding this group of traffic at 55 m.p.h. Oh joy. What would have taken me less than two hours is now going to take around three. It's always something, you know? I pull off to get a Coke and twist one up; so as to make this extended trip just a taste more enjoyable. There's a beautiful girl hitch hiking on the exit ramp, but nobody is stopping to give her a ride. Where I come from that usually means she's a hooker. I make a mental note and quickly hit the gas station. When I leave she's still there, curiouser and curiouser. As I pull up to her to give her a ride I notice she has an Adam's apple. Now I understand, a faggot. At the time I really didn't appreciate gays. It wouldn't be until I moved to Hollywood, where I was the only straight unmarried male for twenty square blocks and women were beating a path to my door, that I would come to appreciate them, but I'm getting ahead of my story. I yell "Good luck girl" as I pass by and enter the freeway, which is already; you guessed it, "in progress!"
It takes me all of five minutes to catch up to my old pack, still under the watchful eyes of Deputy Dan. It's a long slow trip into LA, but eventually downtown comes into view. What to do? It's Tuesday night and Craig won't be arriving until Thursday morning. I decide to take the Harbor freeway out toward L.A.X. and find a motel near the airport and wait. I check in at a likely looking place, scarcely two blocks from the airport. I call back to Detroit, and although I can't get a hold of Craig, I do manage to verify he will be arriving Thursday morning. I get his airline and flight number and the E.T.A. What to do with the 36 hours until he arrives. I only know two people in LA and I don't know how to reach them. I take a quick shower while I ponder my fate, and it suddenly comes to me like a blinding flash of light, a "nudie" bar!
I've always felt comfortable in Go-Go bars. Maybe it's the atmosphere? Maybe it's the naked ladies? Or maybe it's the fact that I've spent half of my adult life working in them as a DJ? * I know its one of those three. I find a likely looking one a few blocks from my motel, and spend the rest of the night talking to a girl; we'll call her "Mary" from Canoga Park. I proceed to tell her my life story; she takes my money and smiles. I've seen this syndrome somewhere before? Oh yeah, every night I've ever worked in bars, I thought it looked familiar. Would she like to return with me to my room for a little herbal therapy and some hot sex? She'd love to but her husband "Bob" was picking her up at closing. Surprise, surprise, surprise! Oh well, what was I expecting, Rock and Roll?
Wednesday afternoon is bright and sunny as I awake around one. I stumble over to the complementary coffee machine and brew a couple cups. I decide to take a cruise out the Pacific Coast Highway, to relive a couple of trysts from my youth. **
In 1968 I had gotten extremely lucky with a couple of beach Bimbo's in Santa Monica and Malibu. Things hadn't changed much in eight years as I cruised the P.C.H. Lots of rich people and tourists. I know vaguely where I'm going but I'm not quite sure. There are at least two private beaches around here, somewhere. This may take some time. Although it's been eight years, I eventually find the somewhat hidden entrance to a private, a.k.a. nude beach that I remembered. Time for a little hot fun in the summer time. As I look around I see that at least half the people on the beach are nude or at least topless. I lay down in the hot sand and dig the view.
*See "Uncle Ernie's Go-Go Daze."
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Nobody seems to mind that I don't live or belong there. So I spend a couple of hours improving my tan and musing about the naked ladies and girls on the beach. When I arrived it was pretty much high tide, and the seventy foot yacht that was two hundred yards off the beach has lingered a bit too long. He has managed to get hung up on a rock. Oh, the problems of the rich, ha ha. I spend the next hour being amused, as he tries to untangle the bow from the coral. He eventually does get off, with a nasty scrapping sound, and the help of another boat. I notice as he heads for harbor that the yacht seems to be a little heavy in the bow, and great plumes of water are being pumped from the stern. All in all, a very pleasant day at the beach.
I decide to take Topanga Canyon back to town, to see what I can see. California is one of the most beautiful places on the earth. I mean, what do you like? The ocean, mountains, giant trees, the desert, river valleys, they have them all and more. The only thing wrong with the state is native Californians. They're all crazy. Maybe it's in the water supply; maybe it's in the smog filled air. Whatever the reason they're all nuts, and the more money they have the crazier they become. The only sane people you'll be likely to meet come from some place else. This might explain the O.J. Simpson juries verdict, but I digress. Down the canyon and back to the Ventura freeway, which is, you guessed it. A quick right onto the San Diego and I'm back to the airport and home. I spend the evening hours relaxing in my room. Although I haven't been pushing it, the trip has worn me down and a little rest probably won't hurt, what with the adventures to come. I leave a nine a.m. wake up call with the desk and turn in rather early, 2 a.m.
I arise take a quick shower, eat my complementary breakfast of roll and coffee, twist up a couple, smoke one and check out. I drive over to L.A.X. and try to find American Airlines. Remember, "The White Zones are for loading and unloading only, if you have to load or unload, do it in the White Zones." I park in the lot. It's only a few thousand yards to the terminal and a few thousand more to the planes. At least on the inside they have moving walkways, something new to me. Eventually I find the right gate and await Craig's arrival. The 747 arrives surprisingly on time, but Craig doesn't seem to be on board. After about four hundred people disembark I see a tall man wearing about a hundred pounds of gold jewelry, knee high leather fringe boots and mirrored sunglasses. Craig has arrived! Craig's rather surprised to see me. Apparently his family hadn't been too accurate in delivering my message. We shake hands and hug and head off to the baggage claim. What's been happening, how you been, blah, blah, blah. We retrieve his luggage, all two thousand pounds of it, snag a red cap and head off to the, "White Zone." I go off to try and find my car, easier said than done but eventually I find it and the dreaded, "White Zone." We somehow manage to pack all of Craig's luggage into the Chevy. As I light up the joint and pass it to Craig I ask, "Where do you want to go?"
"Hollywood," he replies.
Chapter 2 page 10
On my first trip to southern California I had only briefly visited Hollywood. A quick cruise up Sunset and down Hollywood Blvd. at night. So it was an real eye opener for me as we cruised up La Cienega from the airport. Craig takes me on a brief tour of Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Bel Aire before we head over to the "Dress Revue." The "Dress Revue" was a two-studio rehearsal hall where "Fresh"; a band he was working with was currently rehearsing. No one was there at the time, so he decides to take me over to where the band was currently staying. The band had recently changed its name from "Fresh Start" to just "Fresh," as it had changed its members. Going from a four piece, to a six-piece band. They were rehearsing, getting ready to do a showcase at the "S.I.R." studios over on Sunset. "Oh and by the way," Craig said, "They're looking for some help for the show case and some up coming dates at the "Starwood."
If I played it cool, Craig and I might acquire a little gainful employment, not to mention some place to crash. Having smoked a few more by this time, we were getting a terrible case of the munchies. What to do? Craig had an idea. He didn't say where but he gave me directions. Off to my right is a giant whale outside a restaurant. "Is that it," I asked?
"No," he replied. Over there, The "Fats Burger."
The "Fats Burger." If you're looking for a huge burger with everything, that will clog your arteries, that will probably stop your heart but may be the best burger you ever ate, this is the place. Centrally located all over LA. Yum Yum. After dinner I asked about Buddy Miles. Craig assured me we would be running into him soon but lets go over to see "Fresh" and meet Freddie Allen.
"Fast Freddie"Allen and most of the band were living in a two-bedroom apartment in Hollywood. They were just waking up. So the room was filled with the sweet aroma of reefer. Baby! My kind of folks. We introduce one another and explained our current situation. Apparently my reputation had proceeded me, much to my surprise and yes we could run their lights and sound. The pay was meager, $100.00 a week, but we could crash at the "Dress Revue" and use their shower and eat at the apartment. We would also get a bonus when the band performed and get $500.00 a week on the road. Sound good to you? It did to me. I mention to Freddie that I have half a grocery bag full of Peyote. He mentions he has several ounces of Angel Dust and might we do a little swapping? Fur sure. I had never seen liquid dust dropped on flavored tea. LA at the time was awash in angel dust and the space cadets were on every street corner. Having eaten tab PCP like M&M's candy for years back in Detroit, I had developed an ability to maintain far beyond the abilities of mortal men. Unfortunately most people can't. This would prove to be a source of great amusement to me during my stay in LA So very soon everybody is thoroughly wasted, except me. Craig has lost his ability to talk. I take advantage of this and proceed to use clever phrases like, "Cat got your tongue?" Eventually, we head back to the Dress Revue to crash.
We unload the car and set up house keeping in a corner away from the bands equipment. Across the hall, another band is practicing, "The Gap Band." They had been Leon Russell's back up band and had just gotten an album deal of their own. They are rehearsing before beginning their tour. Even in the "sound proofed" rooms they are incredibly loud.
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We weren't going to crash till they were done, so I twisted another one up and headed out to explored the building. Not much to explore really. A long hallway with a studio on each side. At its end, a bathroom on one side and a storage area on the other.
Craig knocked on their door, it opened, he entered and it closed. I took another toke and awaited his return. As I exhaled the door opened and out stepped Moon. Moon was their drummer.
"Damn that smells good," he said.
"Care for a toke?" I replied.
I passed him the joint as we walked up to the front of the building and watched the traffic go by on Hollywood Blvd. We talked about where we were from, what we were doing. He mentioned that they were playing the Starwood the following two days after Fresh. If we weren't doing anything, they could use someone to run the lights and sound. My first day in Hollywood and all ready I was working for two bands. Far out. I twisted up another one and we entered their studio. I met the rest of the band, seven pieces, guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and a three-piece horn section. We put a good buzz on and I ended up quoting some "Firesign Theater" and suddenly I'm "In like "Flint." Eventually the party broke up and they went back to their hotel and Craig and I finally got some sleep.
Early the next afternoon we awakened refreshed. We hit the bathroom to wash up as best we could in the sink, then headed on down to the corner for some green chili burritos for breakfast. I got a newspaper and the headlines were about someone kidnapping a whole school bus load of kids. Welcome to California. A warning bell should have been ringing in my head. There was a perfect example of what a bunch of sick fucks were running around California but it didn't register. Over the next year, I would have this point slapped in my face, again and again.
Freddie and the band arrived and began rehearsal. They were pretty damn good. Why hadn't I heard of them before? Craig ran the sound and I did what little lights they had. Their manager arrived and we got introduced. He had the coming tour schedule. It was basically a West Coast tour but it looked like fun. They rehearsed for a couple hours then Freddie split on a house-hunting trip to Eagle Rock. Just as they left, in came the Gap Band and we changed studios and dug their set. Charlie, the keyboard player, was also the bandleader. He wanted to go to the Starwood to check it over, especially the lights and sound, as they hadn't gotten theirs yet. Afterwards Charlie offered to buy us lunch at the deli restaurant next door. They had sandwiches, triple-decker sandwiches, for which you needed a serious doggie bag. I was really digging the LA food scene. The weekend came and everyone headed to the beach. Craig decided it was time to go meet Buddy. He had a beach house in Malibu. We cruised on out the P.C.H. and I was having a Deja Vu. He lived on the same beach I visited Wednesday but he wasn't home. We decided to wait for a while on the beach. Buddy's next door neighbor came down and joined us. Apparently, he had met Craig before. We'll call him "Malibu Bob." "Malibu Bob" was one of the original San Francisco, Haight-Ashberry hippies. Some people shouldn't do drugs. Some people shouldn't ingest anything but brown rice and water. Malibu Bob was one of those people but it was far too late for that. Don't get me wrong, he was a hell of a nice guy. It was just that part of him wasn't there anymore.
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His parents had retired and left "Malibu Bob" a house (a converted two car garage) and four cottages to rent to the tourists, on a private beach just south of downtown Malibu. Malibu Bob had a roomy, "Fat Jack," who wasn't home right then. Fat Jack was a chef from New Orleans. Malibu Bob was a dust bunny. He whipped out a joint and proceeded to get us wasted. We sat on the beach watching the sun go down and then joined Bob on his deck and hung out smoking Bob's dust until almost midnight.
We headed on back to Hollywood taking Sunset Blvd., just to see what we could see. A lot of rich people and big houses. The thing that struck me was they had these million dollar houses in Bel Aire sitting on twenty acres, but as we approached Beverly Hills the same houses sat on quarter and half acre plots. We left Sunset and headed on up to Tower Grove to where Buddy had just moved, then around the corner to where Sharon Tate used to live, up to Sonny and Cher's old house and finally back to Hollywood via Look Out Mountain.
We stopped at another of Craig's favorite restaurants, "Pioneer Chicken", for livers and mashed potatoes and an "Orange Julius." If the fast food places in LA were this tasty I couldn't wait to eat at a real restaurant. We then cruised back to the Dress Revue. As we' entered a girl approached me and asks if I was with the "Blue Oyster Cult" band. "No," I replied.
"Sure you are." "I'd know you anywhere," she said as she lifted up her T-shirt exposing her breasts to me.
"Yes I am," I replied and invited her inside the studio.
The Gap Band was in the other studio practicing and Craig went to join them. The girl and I got wasted and sang a "Don't Fear The Reefer / Reaper" duet and proceeded to fuck our brains out for the next couple of hours. Yes, I was really beginning to see why Craig loved LA. She left to go to work, vowing to return and I got dressed and joined Craig in studio B. I got a standing ovation when I entered. "Don't Fear The Reaper" I jested, and everybody cracked up.
Bright and early the next afternoon we headed over to Freddie's for a shower and breakfast. Freddie had found a house big enough for the whole band in Eagle Rock. They planned to move in August 1st. We returned to the Dress Revue for one last rehearsal as tomorrow we opened at the Starwood. We went over each and every song for sound and lighting instructions, taking copious notes. When rehearsal was over, Craig and I left and headed over to the Starwood, to check out the sound and light mixing boards.
We had about an hour to practice before that day's band came in and we took advantage of the time. Craig would run the sound and I the lights. The light board contained about sixty channels, times three. I could set the lights three different ways and switch between them with fading dials. We left the booth and entered the dinner theater.
We went upstairs to the VIP section, that led backstage and met the incoming band. It was Poppa John Creach. I've been a fan of Poppa Johns since he played with "Hot Tuna." He was nice enough to talk with us for about 15 minutes and invited us to return for his show that evening.
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We went downstairs to the bar side of the Starwood for a drink and we ran into Calvin. Calvin worked for Buddy Miles, as his personal roadie. After a couple of drinks we discovered that Buddy went up to Marin but was returning tonight. He would be at the Starwood that week to see both Fresh and The Gap Band, as he was friends with both. We went out to Calvin's van to smoke a couple doobies and then next door to the deli for a little chow. Afterwards we said good-bye to Calvin and returned to the Dress revue to change clothes. We attended another rehearsal with The Gap Band, again taking notes for their sound and light requirements.
We returned to the Starwood to catch Poppa John's set and headed up to the VIP lounge. Stumbling around was Sonny Bono. Something I hadn't realized about him, he was a dwarf. He was thoroughly wasted on booze, bemoaning the loss of Cher. Everyone was desperately trying to ignore him. Cher had recently married Greg Allman. Sonny was having trouble adjusting to the fact and was boring everyone to death with his tirades. We eventually got used to him, as almost every time that summer we entered the VIP lounge he was there, being drunk and stupid. Otherwise it was a very enjoyable concert and afterwards we went back stage to say so. We returned to the Dress Revue to crash out.
Even though I'm still asleep, I'm aware that someone or something is blowing reefer smoke in my face. Ain't life grand? I open my eyes and there are five people around my head, all blowing smoke at me. We've overslept, it's around three and the band has arrived to load the equipment. We quickly dress and give them a hand. Freddie has gotten a little truck and we proceed to load it. We take the equipment down to the Starwood and set it up on stage and then do a sound check. The stage crew at the Starwood adjust the lights for me and with the help of a roll of tape, I mark the mixing board. When we're all set, the band does a couple of numbers and everything checks out. Everyone is supposed to return by eight p.m., ready to rock.
Freddie wants to go down to S.I.R. "S.I.R." is Studio Instrument Rental. They have taken over the sound stages off of Sunset, in what used to be Desi-Lu and before that Columbia Pictures Studios. Many bands use these sound stages to rehearse for tours or to tighten up, before going into recording studios. Freddie is planning to showcase Fresh here. He will invite any number of record companies to come and watch the band do their material for an album. There are several clubs in Hollywood that are used for the same purpose, but here in a much more private setting, you can lay out a nice buffet and all the drugs that the A & R people can do. Freddie, Craig and I enter the office and then go over to see our sound stage. We are renting it for next week and while here, we note the various functions of the room. I then drop Freddie off back at the apartment to take a quick shower.
Craig and I return to the Dress Revue to change our clothes, and I bump into Tommy who plays trumpet for the Gap Band. We had just lit a joint of Angel Dust and Tommy smells it. He'd like a couple of tokes himself. We sit and bullshit for a while, until the rest of his band arrives for rehearsal. Afterwards we head over to Ralph's where, "No prices are lower prices than Ralph's," for some cheap champagne for the back stage area at the Starwood. We return to the Starwood where Freddie has ordered a couple large pizzas and we proceed to pig out. We hang out in the dressing rooms until it's nearly show time and when I peek out from back stage, I see that even though it's Monday night the concert side of the club is packed. A member of the staff comes by to announce that its ten minutes till show time. Craig and I head to the control booth while the band goes over the order of the set. I set the controls for the first three songs, one hundred and eighty presets.
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The band enters the stage and counts down. They hit the first note and I hit the lights right on time. We're off. We go through a dozen songs without either Craig or me making any mistakes. However I do notice one thing, black skin and green lights don't go together. I'm making the blacks in the band look Chinese. Something I had never considered before, having only worked with white bands. Well you live and you learn. We take a quick bathroom break and smoke a little weed out in the parking lot. Back to the booth and reset the board for the second show. Halfway through the set I notice Alice, Buddy's girlfriend, in the audience. I wonder if he's here, too? I point Alice out to Craig as she heads up to the VIP lounge. Half an hour later the set ends but we do two encores. The band leaves the stage and we shut down the control booth and follow them back stage to the dressing rooms. We're in the hallway, out side the dressing rooms, when I see Buddy.
As we approach, Alice whispers something in his ear. He looks at us with pure hatred in his eyes and cocks his arm as if to swing on us. I drop to one knee placing my hands together as if to beg in mock terror and Buddy cracks up. Not knowing it, I had just passed the first test. Alice runs up to us, throws her arms around me and then Craig, giving us hugs. Buddy comes up and shakes my hand and nods to Craig.
I had been a fan of Buddy's since his "Electric Flag" days. However I hadn't been aware of him since "The Band of Gypsies." I offer him a joint as we enter the dressing rooms and he takes it, as he begins to lay out lines of coke on a handy mirror. I have never really cared for cocaine, as it basically just makes me sneeze and later makes my nose run like a river, but like alcohol, I will do it to be sociable. We party backstage for an hour and Craig and I are invited to attend a party Buddy's throwing for Alice's birthday next week. We are also invited to come out and spend a day at the beach. We party on until closing and head back to the Dress Revue to crash.
Next morning we go out to do a little shopping for clothes because American Airlines had lost some of Craig's luggage and he has about four outfits to wear. My wardrobe could certainly use an update from my mid-western style, to something a little more hip. Soft pastels are currently in so I buy some shirts but Craig keeps me hopping around town as he buys outfit after outfit. We then return to the Dress Revue.
Waiting in the parking lot is my friend from the other night, so Craig borrows the car while I entertain my guest. She doesn't seem to mind the lack of a bed or any other furniture but it's beginning to bug me. As nice as a free place to crash is, I'm really going to have to find some digs of my own real soon. She eventually leaves just as the Gap Band returns to practice. The guys make a number of off color jokes about us and invite me in to their rehearsal. I go over their lighting requirements again, just to make sure and during a break I entertain them by quoting some more "Firesign Theater." Craig returns and its time to head down to the Starwood for this evening's performance.
We reset our mixing boards and go over to the bar for a couple cokes and head back stage. Rumor has it that Don Henley is in the audience. I had met Don several times back in Detroit years ago, but when I look I can't find him. However, once again there's Sonny wandering around the VIP lounge looking sad. We return to the booth and the show begins. I've taken the precaution of having some green spots replaced by red ones and the overall effect is much better. During the break between sets our manager comes in to say that the showcase next week is looking good from the response that he's been getting.
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What that means is unclear, because it's no trick to get a bunch of people to come out in Hollywood for free food and drinks. We'll wait and see the results. The second set comes and goes and once again we head backstage to party. Billy Preston's there and I walk up and introduce myself. We talk for a while but when I leave to go to the bathroom, Craig takes me aside to inform me that I should beware. Apparently, Billy is a raging, "Queen." Boy, the things you learn out here. I go back downstairs and supervise the tear down of our equipment and help in the loading of it. I decide to forgo the rest of the party and follow the equipment truck back to the Dress Revue. After unloading, I get invited by Charlie to return to their hotel, to talk over plans for tomorrow night.
They're staying at the "Tropicana" over on Santa Monica Boulevard, a hotel that I will eventually adopt as my own. They have several rooms but everyone is in Charlie's getting loaded on rum and coke. I twist up a couple and pass them around and they offer me a permanent job. They're about to head for San Francisco to begin their tour. They give me a couple of days to think it over. I'm not sure. I already have a job with Fresh and I feel rather like I owe them something as I'm staying with them and I'm beginning to dig their music, but I'm always looking to better myself. I decided to wait and see what the future holds. It's been a long day so I head on back to the Dress Revue. As I'm leaving, I think I see Greg Allman going into a room, but that's not Cher on his arm. Hmmm.
Wednesday morning is overcast, a first. We arise and truck on down to the taco stand for breakfast. I get a newspaper. They've found the busload of children buried alive, bus and all. Fortunately the kids are all alive. I've said it before and I'll say it again, there are some sick fucks in California. We return to the Dress Revue and have breakfast and do our best to take showers in the sink. As we're getting dressed, in comes the Gap Band with their manager. We're introduced and we look at their tour plans. It's as I feared; they're going on the "chitlin circuit," basically little venues primarily in black areas. The Gap Band is still a couple of years from making it big, but their time will come. However, that's still in the future and we're living in the present. We load the equipment and head on over to the Starwood. After setting up on stage I pull the manager aside and ask about Moon's drum kit. It's practically nonexistent and what there is, is a toy. I hadn't noticed before in the cramped studio but on the stage it looks like a joke. He agrees and we cruise over to S.I.R. and rent a decent set for the concerts. Although they have a record deal, this gig is still a showcase and they want to look their best. We do a sound check and find some bad mike connections in the horn section. This band is not ready for touring and Craig agrees.
It's show time and the band hits the stage. Although I'm not really into funk, I'm beginning to dig it. Blues it's not, but it's kind of hip in a top forty sort of way. The set ends and we head out to the parking lot and bump into Calvin, who is trying to get in for free. He's not having much luck. We cross the street to where he's parked his van and smoke a dust joint with him. He tells us of his girl friend who has a booking agency and in her spare time is a "B" movie actress. It's time to return and we put Calvin on the list and head back up to the booth for the second set. I think Craig has taken one toke to many, as he is a little slow to respond to the set. Nothing that causes any problems but in future I think I'll get a bottle of Niacin just to be safe. Niacin is a B complex vitamin that will bring you down off of angel dust in about 15 minutes. A little fact I picked up running rock concerts in Detroit.* The way LA is being buried under angel dust it seems a pretty safe bet I'll have some need for it sooner or later.
*See "Uncle Ernie's Hippie Daze"
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The show ends with several encores and we head back stage. Moon thanks me for getting him the drum set for the gig and mentions that as soon as he can afford to buy one, he will. Calvin comes back stage and invites us over to his house. We decided to join him.
Calvin lives over in Hollywoodland. That's the sub-division that first put up the Hollywood sign back in the early forty's. It originally said, "Hollywoodland." His old lady is a petite strawberry blonde. She has this house and one in the bay area and commutes between the two. She makes movies for the summer drive-in scene. Not really pornographic but close. Titles like "Cycle Sluts In Heat," "High School Girls In Bondage," things of that nature. She asks me if I'd like to join the screen actor's guild, saying she could get me work as an extra at about $100.00 a day plus lunch. While this idea appeals to me and my ego, its not why I came out here but, still, it gives me pause. I figure she's just being nice and I thank her for the offer and tell her I'll think about it. We party for a while as she has some Thai sticks that taste real good. She hands me one as we leave.
We return to the Dress Revue goodly stretched by the hemp. Craig goes down to the taco stand for a little midnight munchie but I crash. I'm asleep before my head hits the pillow. Craig, however, returns with two ladies and gets me up by pulling the blanket off me which leaves me naked. As the girls don't protest this, I figure I'm about to get lucky. I'm right, and we spend the rest of the night fucking our brains out.
We awaken and its early afternoon. It's raining cats and dogs outside, a definite rarity in the desert. Well, the car did need a wash. The girls leave and we retire to the taco stand for a little green chili breakfast. We go on over to Freddie's to shower and see what's happening and relate our experience last night at the Starwood. Freddie says they're coming down tonight and asks us if were going to work anymore for them. I reply, "No, I'm just working tonight as I need the extra money." I see relief in Freddie's eyes and I ask him about the up coming showcase. It's scheduled for next Thursday and we'll be moving over there on Monday. That's good, we'll have the weekend off, as the band is going to the beach this weekend. We hang out getting toasted and bullshitting until it's time to go to the Starwood.
We all head over to the club and arrive just in time to see some sort of major police bust which is just breaking up. We have to park across the street, as the parking lot is full of police cars. Freddie seems a bit paranoid as we pass the cops to enter. When we're in the booth I ask Craig if he knows why. Freddie Allen is an alias. Apparently, Freddie is wanted under his real name over an old marriage dispute. That's nice to know. What else is happening that I don't know about? At the moment, enough to fill several major libraries.
The show starts and we notice my old girl friend in the audience. This could be a problem as she still thinks I'm the guitarist for Blue Oyster Cult. Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. But then again, what she doesn't know won't hurt her. The set ends and we sneak back stage. The dressing rooms are jammed with various celebrities. We decide to go out and move the car but the parking lot is full. I twist up the last of the Thai stick and we walk around sharing it. We get back with only a few minutes to spare but there's a new man on the VIP door and he won't let us in. We try to explain that we're running the sound and lights in less than five minutes but he's not buying it. We have to run around to the other entrance to get in and run through the club pass the bar and into the dinner theater, barely making it on time. We really need to get stage passes.
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As we pass by the VIP entrance we flip the doorman the finger as we climb up into the booth. He is not pleased. Even though this gorilla could probably kill both of us at once I yell at him, "Feelin' Froggie Muther Fucker? Jump!" I assume that he didn't hear me as I'm still alive. The second set starts right on time and an hour later it's over.
We go backstage via the VIP lounge and there's Sonny, drunk as usual, talking to a girl whose eyes are as wide as an acidheads. Apparently not everybody's heard his tale of woe. Backstage is a mad house again, even more packed than before. Buddy's girlfriend Alice is in the hallway and asks if were coming out this weekend. "Yes we are,"I reply. "When should we come out?"
"Jane Fonda called and is coming out tomorrow," she says.
"Well, tomorrow it is."
Having worked most of my life around various "stars," I'm usually not impressed but Jane Fonda is another matter.
We wait till the partying dies down and head for the stage for the tear down. Most of the equipment is going back to the Tropicana as they only have their studio at the Dress Revue for one more day. So I load Moon's rented drum kit in my car and take it to S.I.R. to avoid any more charges. I avoid telling the band that I won't be going with them on the tour. I have serious mixed emotions about what should be a purely business decision. After dropping off the drum kit, I head back to the Dress Revue alone, as Craig had gone with the band to party at the Tropicana. My old friend is waiting in the parking lot for me. Apparently she's known all along who I am and it didn't matter. Phew, I hate lying to people.
Early the next morning, 11 a.m., Craig returns looking like death warmed over. He warns me about Tom calling for him. Apparently Tom has pissed off more than just me and Craig doesn't want anything to do with him. He doesn't say why, but if he calls he's not here. Mary and I arise and get dressed as he crashes out. I ask him if he wants to go out to Buddy's and he says to go ahead and he'll get a ride out later. "Mary" leaves to go to work and I head out for some breakfast. Upon returning I hear the phone ringing and I answer it. It's Tom. As part of my payback fell on a good friend of his next door neighbor, I disguise my voice and in my best imitation of John Lennon I talk to him. He doesn't know I'm in LA. I want to keep it that way. No. I don't know any Craig but if one should come in I'll let him know. All he wants is to have Craig sign some insurance papers. Apparently, when they were both out here, someone broke into the car and stole Craig's guitar and amp. Tom bought him a new one and planned to collect from his insurance, but he needs Craig to verify it before he can collect. Although Tom was my best friend for years, since his betrayal of me, he can kiss my ass, as far as I'm concerned. He'll call again and again while I'm staying at the Dress Revue, and I'll get enormous pleasure stringing him along. Yes, if you piss me off, I'm a great player of head games.
I twist a couple up and head out to Malibu. I cruise on out Sunset to the P.C.H. and north to Malibu. Buddy has a sign on his door that says, "Don't knock unless you're ready for adventure." An honest warning, I think, for those who are in any way inhibited. Alice answers and welcomes me in. It's essentially a one-bedroom beach house with a nice deck overlooking the ocean. We retire to the deck and smoke a joint.
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"Buddy went to town to get some groceries and should be back soon. "Would you like to smoke some dust?" she asks.
She brings out a gallon jug almost full of a clear liquid and dips a cigarette in it. She lights this up and it almost explodes. "OOPS, " she says, "I forgot. You got to let them dry out a bit."
I've never seen pure dust before. It's always been in tea or in pill form. "How much tea would that make," I ask.
"Oh about ten pounds," she says.
My, my, my. I have about half an ounce left of my own and twist one up for us. We proceed to take several tokes each and put it out. I love the buzz but I don't want to get wasted until after I meet Jane. Buddy returns and joins us on the deck. He spies the joint, sniffs it and lights it up. Buddy is a dust junkie. I didn't know this at the time but it would be driven home to me again and again. He asks where this came from and I tell him that it is mine. He smiles. I've just passed test number two. As the sun starts to come over the roof, we retire inside. On the wall of the living room he has five gold albums displayed. Four of them from his association with Jimi Hendrix, the other one from an album called "Buddy Miles Meets Carlos Santanna". I'm familiar with all of the Hendrix albums but I've never heard of the Santanna album. The doorbell rings.
Alice jumps up to answer it and in comes the girl of my dreams, Jane Fonda. Unfortunately behind her comes her husband Tom Hayden. Tom is out doing a little campaigning among the Hollywood set as he is running for office in the California house. He's carrying a red, white and blue toilet seat, the top of which says, "Make political contributions inside." When you open it up, on the back of the seat is Ronald Reagan's picture. We all explode in laughter. He leaves the seat on the bar for us. Buddy introduces Alice and me and my eyes meet Jane's and lock. I'm in love. She's exceedingly nice as I explain my current circumstance and she tells me about her last visit to Detroit. We all talk politics for a while and I mention that I too once belonged to the SDS, we wish Tom the best of luck in his up coming race. A race he will win in November. Far too quickly, they're leaving and I walk them out to the car. Jane's driving. I could have guessed. Barely a week in LA and I've met Jane Fonda. Far fucking out!
Buddy is as excited as a child on Christmas morning as he asks my help installing the new toilet seat. I make a joke about people pissing on the seat and messing up the bathroom. If I live to be a hundred, I'll never forget that day.
We sit and chat for a while as Alice lights up her dipper. This time it burns all right and we proceed to get wasted. The tide is receding and Alice wants to go and pick starfish off the rocks and ask me if I'd like to join her. "Sure,"I tell her, "I'll try almost anything once."
We wade out into the ocean, over to some rocks that are just beginning to become visible. They are covered with starfish and all sorts of things. Starfish really don't like being pulled off their rocks. They hang on real good. As a result I pull off about 90% of them and place them in a 5-gallon bucket. When it's about half full she decides we have enough. We leave the beach and go back up to the house, where she proceeds to put them on the stovetop. She brings them to a roaring boil. A gray froth begins to form at the top of the bucket and a very unpleasant odor fills the air.
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She keeps them boiling for about half an hour while Buddy and I sit out on the deck listening to a Yes tape and smoking weed. When she's through she asks me to pour out the water and rinse them off. I do. The starfish have faded a bit and are now rock hard. She seems pleased with the project and places them in a bag and puts them away. "Souvenirs," she says.
As the sun sets, I thank Buddy for having me out and prepare to leave. He says to come back any time, and asks me again if I'm coming to Alice's party. I tell him I will be there and say good-bye.
I head back to town via Sunset and head back to the Dress Revue looking for Craig. He's not there so I decide to head on up to Hollywood Blvd., to check out the "Freak Parade." Friday night on Hollywood Blvd. is a sight to behold. The street is jammed with traffic. So are the sidewalks. I park the car at Hollywood and Vine and join the throng. As I walk along I notice the "Walk of Fame." Embedded in the sidewalk are symbols from t.v., movie and recording artists, both famous and unheard of. It's not the sixties but in 1976 it's still wall to wall hippies, bikers, the idle rich out for a thrill and tourists. I walk all the way down to the Hollywood Wax Museum where I cross the street and head back towards the car. Even though there's a cop car going by every thirty seconds about fifty people approach me selling various drugs. Having a good supply, I decline their offers.
A little further up the street are a couple of space cadets outside of the Scientology building. They approach and ask if I'd like my brains washed and my wallet emptied? "No," I reply. They're not taking no for an answer. I had an old girlfriend back in Michigan who got entangled with these clowns a few years back and I was still pretty pissed off. When they moved in front of me again I grabbed the male by his shirt collar and slammed him into the building, much to the amusement of some by-standing bikers. I proceed to instruct him about where he can put his E-meter. They decide to leave me alone and go and cast their nets over some unsuspecting tourist.
I stop at a store to check out some clothes and purchase some T-shirts. As I continue back to the car I come across Ronald Reagan's star where I stop just long enough to spit on it. This becomes a tradition every time I'm on that street. One night I even go so far as to spray paint it black. I stop at Pioneer and get the livers and mashed potatoes and an "Orange Julius." I love my junk food.
I head back to the Dress Revue and finally find Craig. Instead of going out to Buddy's he met a girl at S.I.R. and went home with her and her girl friend. We've been invited over Sunday for dinner. He asks how it went at Buddy's and I tell him all about it. I babble on for about five minutes about Jane.
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Craig's been having trouble keeping his brand new Rickenbacker bass in tune. He called the factory and they told him to bring it out Monday. It's located in Santa Ana and could I take him out there?
"Sure," I reply.
Also while he was at S.I.R. he ran into Frank Zappa who asked him if he wanted to audition for his band on Tuesday. Of course, he said yes. "Can I come along?" I ask him.
"Sure," he replied. "Frank and I are tight."
If he'd said anything but yes I would have killed him. Frank Zappa is close to being a God to me. Far out, I'm going to see my "Pumpkin." I love this town!
I arise Saturday morning to discover that we had an earthquake last night. Funny I didn't feel a thing. I would experience about one earthquake a month during my stay and never feel one of them. Last night's quake was centered about ten miles away in Beverly Hills. Most Californians don't like to talk about quakes but we mid-westerners are amazed by practically all things Californian. Everybody out here seems to be holding his or her breath waiting for the big one, which is long overdue. I read where they're building a nuclear power plant on top of a major fault line. This goes to show the typical Californian mind set. Apparently they've never heard of "Murphy's Law." Craig wants to go to Mexico for the day but I'm not so sure it's a good idea, what with their medieval laws and their deep appreciation of gringos. Especially freaky people such as ourselves, "North Chicanos from El Outer Space." Instead I decide to spend the afternoon at the Laundromat and wash out a few things. As I cruise up Santa Monica looking for a Laundromat I stop at a light, who pulls up along side? Jack Nicholson. Far fucking out. You never know what's coming next.
When I return Craig's gone so I decide to go take in a movie at the Egyptian. "Midway" is playing. I was a political science major in school and, besides, war movies are fun. That's war movies that are fun, not the real thing. I put a good buzz on and enter the theater. Everything is normal for the first bit of the movie. I hadn't noticed that this movie is being shown in "Surround Sound." I think it was the first one. When the bombers start taking off from the carrier the whole theater begins to shake. Apparently I'm not the only one unaware of the sound system. It seems to me and others, that we are experiencing a major earthquake. Fortunately when the plane leaves the deck the shaking gradually subsides. The next plane in line revs up its engines and begins to take off and the shaking returns. We all breathe a collective sigh of relief. After the movie ends, I head over to the Tropicana to let Charlie know I won't be coming along.
Charlie already knew. Craig had spilled the beans the other night. I wish him and the band the best of luck and thank him for letting me work for the band. He mentions that they'll be back in town in a couple of months and be sure to look them up. I tell him I surely will and leave him in what I hope is good standing. I head back to the Dress Revue. Craig's back and fucking his brains out with someone new. I quickly drop my clothes off and leave. I go out to the lobby and I'm standing there looking out on Hollywood Blvd. when the phone rings. It's Tom. Once again in my best English accent I play head games with Tom. He hasn't got a clue. Now that I think of it, he never had one. I string him along for as long as possible just to run up his phone bill. I close by assuring him that I will indeed give Craig the message. Craig comes out to tell me I can enter the studio and I relate my conversation with Tom. He gets a kick out of my efforts. Craig's new friend, "Mary" walks out in the hall naked. She smiles at me as she struts down the hall toward the bathroom. I ask him how long they're going to be and if she should be standing in front of the window naked?
He says that it might be a while and if I'm not doing anything could I go get her a bottle of wine? Oh, and if the people going past on Hollywood Blvd. can't take a joke then fuck'em.
My sentiments exactly. I walk the two blocks to the party store to give myself a chance to cool down. When I return they're sitting in the studio passing a joint around and offer me a toke. It's incredibly hard to keep your eyes from moving out of the eyes of a naked lady. She's getting a kick out of my squirming around but then again, so am I.
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I decide to leave them alone, as I can see in Craig's eyes he wants to get back to work and three's a crowd. Funny, that's not what I saw in Mary's eyes. I go out for dinner and when I return they're gone. I crash out and get some needed rest.
Sunday arrives, as does another band in studio B, I'm awakened by the first notes of a "Led" guitar. Craig is nowhere to be seen. I do notice there are several police cars parked outside. Wishing no imperial entanglements I return to the studio and lock the door. I hang out for a while putting away yesterday's laundry. Craig had said something about a home cooked meal and the idea sounded good. I try calling Freddie's but no one answers; they're still at the beach. If he doesn't arrive soon I think I'll go visit Malibu Bob at the beach. I twist one up and proceed to put a good buzz on. I go out to my car and as I'm leaving the parking lot, I see Craig getting out of a limo. He waves good-bye, and noticing me, walks over to the car. He spent the night in Bel Aire, snorting coke with a couple of ladies he met at the Roxy. It must be nice. Not the coke, the ladies. Craig is a good-looking guy, no doubt. He's about 6' 2", 190 lbs. 22 or 23 years old. Did I mention that he's black? While I'm 6', 190 lbs. I'm 27 years old. Blonde hair, blue eyed Caucasian. We have a continuing contest about who can get the most ladies. In Detroit it would have been no contest. Craig would have won hands down, but in LA I will give him a run for his money.
We go back inside to let him change clothes and then it's off to Sunday dinner. We go over to a little bungalow in central Hollywood. Here I meet "Mary" and her roommate; you guessed it, "Mary." The Mary Twins invite us in and pour us some cheap wine. I offer to roll a couple of joints of their favorite flavor. They're not into dust so I bring out the weed but as I begin to roll them, Mary asks me to hold up a minute. She goes into her bedroom and returns with some coke. She proceeds to lay a line of it in the joint. I had never seen this done before. The things you learn in LA. We proceed to exchange life stories as we watch t.v. Something I hadn't done in a while, watch t.v. They have cable t.v. Something else I hadn't seen before. HBO and the rest of the pay-per-views hadn't come to LA yet but they do have the "Z" channel. The Z channel shows uncut movies. They're currently showing, "2001: A Space Odyssey." One of my favorite movies. We watch this getting higher and higher until Mary announces dinner.
It's a typical California meal with avocados and the ever-present bean sprouts. We eventually get to the main course a mint jellied lamb. Delicious. After dinner I take a tour of their library. I ask if theirs is a lending library. It is. I borrow "King Cohn" a book about the Hollywood movie mogul Harry Cohn. I might as well start getting a little background information about my surroundings. After my tour we return to the living room for an after dinner joint. Lots and lots of local gossip about who's doing what to whom on the club scene. Basically a lot of bullshit as a way to come to the final conclusion of whether or not we're going to get laid. The final consensus is yes, in fact, we are. The girls are a bit shy and they take us one by one to their separate bedrooms. I spend a wonderful evening and get my first good nights sleep since I left my hotel room. The girls have real jobs so we're up at 8 a.m. and, after a shower, are out the door by 9 a.m. As Craig and I leave we decide to ask the girls out for the bands showcase but next time we'll switch partners. Variety is the spice of life!
We go out for a little breakfast at Denny's and then return to the Dress Revue. We tear down the equipment and await Freddie and the band's arrival.
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Its time to head for S.I.R. but the band hasn't arrived yet. The band in studio B arrives to rehearse. Just as we're about to knock on their door and introduce ourselves in comes Freddie and Fresh. We load up the truck and head on over to S.I.R. We meet Dennis, the bands old roadie, and Freddie explains he's going to make one of us the equipment manager. I don't know for sure, but I can guess who that will be.
We rehearse for a couple of hours going over the set twice and take an hour break for lunch. During lunch, Craig and I explore the sound stages at S.I.R. There are several small stages like our own. These little ones are all empty but there are several big ones that are occupied. Frank Zappa is in two. The Eagles have number three and Alice Cooper is in five. None of the bands are currently rehearsing but a worker tells us they will be later this evening. We find the little restaurant on the lot and get a couple chilidogs then continue our exploration. There are many private offices and shops on the lot. We meet the lady who designed clothes and things for the original "Star Trek" T.V. series. We'll call her, "Studio Mary."
Studio Mary has a little shop that sells rings and things. The rings are quite beautiful and quite expensive. Most of the things are somehow hologram related. Hologram jewelry boxes, cigarette lighters, T-shirts, necklaces and bracelets. She also has a section of chiffon dresses. The back of her shop looks like Stevie Nicks' closet. We thank her for the tour and I buy a cigarette lighter. Studio Mary is in her middle thirties and by the looks she's giving Craig and me, she wants more than our patronage. Normally I'd jump on her like a big dog but since arriving in Hollywood my success rate with ladies has sky rocketed. I'm getting my fill of girls that are half her age. Craig has no such qualms. As we leave her shop, Craig decides he'll be back for more than her jewelry.
We've been wandering around for almost an hour yet we've explored less than one third of the lot. It's time to get back to our sound stage so we head back. The band drifts back in and we rehearse the set again and again. Dennis decides that he'll run the sound and delegates Craig to the stage. I wonder who the head roadie is going to be? I'm beginning to think not going with the Gap Band was a mistake. Dennis is nice enough but is just a little full of himself. To me it's like, Dennis you're forty years old and you're a roadie for a band that most people have never heard of. If I were you, I'd keep my ego in check until something picks up. Freddie doesn't want the set to get stale so he ends the rehearsal early, as the band is really tight. Freddie takes me aside and asks if I still have some peyote. I do. Would I like to trade some more for more dust? I would. I hadn't touched the peyote since I picked it. I decide to save enough for a party and swap the rest to Freddie for some more dust. I have no idea what the peyote is worth or for that matter what the dust is worth. But so far Freddie hasn't fucked over me so for the moment I'll trust his judgment. He gets several pounds of peyote; I get two ounces of dust. Freddie wants to finalize his deal with the caterers, and he's off to do so. We shut down the sound stage and leave. We parked on the far side of the complex and while we're walking over I notice a large bulletin board listing maybe fifty job vacancies. They're for S.I.R. and various sound and lighting companies and the occasional touring band. This little board would keep me working and alive during my stay in Hollywood.
We head over to Freddie's apartment to take a shower and clean up our act. I beat Craig to the shower, and while he's taking his turn, I get the band wasted on Freddie's dust. We sit around and watch the Olympics. I had forgotten that they were running. I've never really cared for spectator sports. If I'm not playing, I'm not really interested.
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Well maybe football if I have a bet on the game. The only football bet I've ever lost was when the Jets beat the Colts at the Super bowl. Who knew? Craig drifts in smelling like a French whore, making everyone a little sick. Well so much for t.v. and seven people in a little room. I say my good-byes and leave the apartment, but I have to wait for Craig as he's on the phone. There are little ponds full of large gold fish and I check these out while waiting for Craig. I suspect a Japanese gardener is in the woodwork somewhere. Craig returns and we head for the car. "Where to?" I ask.
"Bel Aire," he replies.
"Why? What's happening in Bel Aire?"
"I want to introduce you to someone," he replied.
"How do I get out there?"
We cruise out Sunset past Beverly Hills until we come to a gated area. "Turn right go through the gate and turn right again," Craig says.
I do. I pull up in front of a large gated estate where Craig gets out and goes up to the gate. He talks to someone over an intercom and the gates slides open. I pull up to a forty-room mansion.
The door is answered by a uniformed servant who, after looking us up and down, lets us enter with a look of disgust on his face. We follow the "doorman" through the house to the back terrace, where a group of people are gathered. I follow Craig to the middle of this group, where sits a long-haired, bearded man, in his sixties. Craig introduces me to, "Bel Aire Bob."
Bel Aire Bob takes my hand and says, "How nice to finally meet you, I've heard so much about you."
This throws me for a loop. That's twice I've heard that and I have no explanation. Bob offers us a seat and a drink then begs us to join the conversation. Topic: investing in a computer animation company that Dave owns. Dave is the man sitting to my right, sucking on a very large joint. Since I know next to nothing about computer animation, I keep quiet and listen. Apparently, for about seven thousand dollars a minute, you can purchase backgrounds for movies, nightclubs or concerts. These are projected by 35 MM. film. What do I think of this concept? Will it sell? Having never seen this I have no idea and say so. I do expound on what I have seen over the years and more important, what worked.
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If I would like a demonstration I can stop by Dave's Dohenny townhouse and check it out. "Sure."
Dave gives me his address and phone number and tells me to call him. We're introduced to the rest of the group. Basically a group of rich kids busily spending daddy's money. After about twenty minutes, Bob takes me aside and tells me to follow him back to the house. I do. We enter through a side door and go up a flight of stairs.
Craig catches up to us as we enter the second floor hallway. We go down the hall past a huge staircase and enter a room in the other wing. It's a cozy library with floor to ceiling bookcases. Bob goes to the far side and reaches into a bookcase and it turns sideways, revealing a closet. Bob reaches in and brings out a case, which he proceeds to open. Inside it, it's full of coke. He pulls some out and says its something the wife doesn't know about. He pulls a mirror out and proceeds to chop some up. "It's Pink Bolivian flake," he announces.
"Ah, nose candy!"
He makes up six very righteous lines. He takes a golden straw out of his bag and hands it to me and asks, "What do you think of Dave's proposal?"
"Well I'd have to see it before I could give you any opinions."
I snort my lines and pass Craig the straw. "I would make it worth your while." Bob says.
"Well I'm kind of busy this week, but I might be able to on Friday," I tell him.
I turn to Craig, who is running the coke around his gums, and ask him about our schedule. The consensus is, if Dave is available early Friday afternoon, I can let him know before Alice's birthday party Friday night. Bob has money to invest, under the table, and is looking for a safe bet. I ask if he knows about the futures market, especially the Peruvian Cocaine futures market. He laughs and says he's not into dealing, just using. He chops up some more, then puts the bag away. We snort the lines and leave the library, then return to the terrace.
I set up an appointment with Dave for Friday and we have another round of margaritas. We chat for a while until the meeting breaks up. We thank Bob for his hospitality and leave. I take the wrong turn and have to turn around in someone's driveway. It's about the only house on the block that isn't gated. "Do you know who lives here?" Craig asks.
"No," I reply.
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"Red Skelton," he says.
Far out baby.
On the way back to the Dress Revue I ask Craig how is it that everyone I meet has heard of me. I mean, I might have been a big fish in the Detroit music scene but out here I should be an unknown quantity. Craig said that he has told Freddie about me and Alice had told Buddy but he said that he hadn't mentioned my name to Bel Aire Bob. He had met Bob at a party at Buddy's up on Tower Grove. Curiouser and curiouser. On the way back we decide to stop at Calvin's to see what's happening. Calvin isn't there but his roomy is.
Maggie, the lady with the Thai stick, answers the door covered by a towel. She invites us in to have a seat while she changes. As she walks away I notice the towel only covers her front. From the view of her backside I conclude that Calvin is a lucky man. She returns and asks us what we've been up to. "Same old, same old."
I ask her if she's coming to Alice's birthday party and she says she doesn't know as Calvin and Buddy have had a fight. I wonder to myself if Buddy needs a personal roadie now? She's in a bit of a hurry but rolls us up a joint of her Thai stick to take with us and invites us back any time she's in town. Boy, I'd like to hit on her but since she's Calvin's lady, I let it slide. We head back to the Dress Revue to crash. We had decided to save the Thai stick until tomorrow but once we arrive we decide tomorrow is a long way away and smoke it. The new band in Studio B has moved out and no one has moved in. I wonder who is coming in next? Craig remembers we were supposed to go to Santa Ana today to get his guitar fixed and vows to do it Wednesday. We crash, me with thoughts of Frank Zappa on my mind.
We oversleep and are awakened by the lobby phone. It's Freddie calling to say if we want to get paid, we better hustle on down to the sound stage. We throw on our clothes and head on over to S.I.R. The manager is there with our checks for the last two weeks and our bonus for the Starwood. That's good because I was getting a little low. The band is in the dressing room getting into their stage clothes. The manager wants to see their show, as it will be presented on Thursday. Craig and I check the lights and sound while we're waiting. Meanwhile the manager is busy laying out lines of coke. He motions to Craig and then to me to come over and join him. Boy, the things I'll do to keep a job.
The band enters dressed mostly in leather fringe and takes the stage. They do the album and we step back a bit to critique the set. It looks real good to me and I say so. The manager seems satisfied and he leaves. Freddie says to take a break while they get in their street clothes and have a private meeting. Dennis comes by to bitch about being left out on the coke. I just tell him, "Hey man, it wasn't ours."
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The more I think about it, the more it seems that Dennis is just a whining bitch. Dennis walks away in disgust and Craig and I decide to take a little walk around the lot. Craig's audition with Frank isn't until nine o'clock this evening, so we decide to pick up where we left off yesterday. I twist up a duster and as we walk along in front of a photo studio I hear, "Gee that smells good."
We turn around and there is Herbert peeking out side his door. I offer him a toke and he invites us in his studio. Herbert had just finished shooting his famous cover of Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood for the "Rumors" LP. Herbert and Mark from C-factor lighting had just been doing lines. As they pass the joint back and forth, Mark lays out some lines for Craig and me. As I look around the studio, I'm really impressed by what I see. An amateur photographer, I am really digging his use of light and shadow. I start to twist another one up but I notice everyone is wasted. So I twist it up anyway and leave it on the mirror. I'm like a kid on Santa's knee, totally boring everyone except Herbert. I continue to check out his studio and all the portraits and various pictures on the wall. There are quite a few of them that I recognize, famous movie stars and musicians. But with out a doubt, the one I like the most is Stevie and Mick. I plan on stealing as many of his photography secrets as I can. This guy is a master. We spend the rest of our lunch hour in his studio. I ask if I can come back another time. "Anytime," he says.
Back at our studio, we arrive to find the band still in their meeting. Craig has brought his bass and he plugs in to practice. I must have gotten too much sleep so I go back outside to wake up. Down on sound stage number five I see Alice Cooper arrive. "Hey Vinnie, what's happening?" I yell.
He waves back at me. "Alice" is about to take Hollywood by storm. He's opening a four star restaurant on Sunset and, up above Hollywoodland, he's paying to restore one of the letters in the Hollywood sign. He's also getting others involved in its repair. The sign, like Hollywood itself, has seen better days. With the exception of the hills, Hollywood is really just a seedy little town. All the studios have moved out of town and over the hills to Burbank or Studio City. What's left behind, the veneer, isn't very pretty. Bag ladies wander the streets pushing shopping carts, mumbling to themselves. The homeless are everywhere and beggars rule the streets. I wonder what the city fathers and the chamber of commerce are thinking. It's taking Alice Cooper to show them the light.
I had met Alice years before in Detroit. At the time I was managing a band called "The Rumor." On several occasions we opened for Alice Cooper around town. Alice was just starting to get big. I even once played an after concert party for Alice as a DJ.* Detroit was a Mecca for rock bands and they would play Detroit time and time again. As Bob Seger said on the "Live Bullet" album. "I've been reading in Rolling Stone magazine, where they say Detroit has the best rock and roll audiences in the world. I thought to myself shit, I've known that for years!"
*See "Uncle Ernie's Hippie Daze."
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Bob was right. Many bands such as Frank Zappa and the Mothers, Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent and Bob Seger owe their lucrative careers to the Detroit rock scene. I remember, in particular, a squirt gun fight between members of Alice Cooper and The Rumor. Squirt guns filled with indelible ink, throughout a downtown Detroit hotel. The damage had to run to the tens of thousands of dollars.* Vinnie likes to drink, a lot.
Craig comes out and ends my groove. The band's coming back and is ready to rehearse again. I go back and assume my position behind the light board. I don't know what was said at the meeting but it has obviously effected the band. They are no longer tight. They no longer seem to have any energy. After about fifteen minutes Freddie calls the rehearsal off and we shut down. Freddie is pissed off about something. I steer clear. Freddie is no one to fuck with. Although he's only about six-foot tall, at about 210 lbs., he carries a black belt and he knows how to use it. He announces that rehearsal is canceled for tomorrow and we are to meet back here at noon Thursday. Hey, a day off. Far out. I tell Craig about seeing Alice Cooper and we walk down to his sound stage but it's a closed set today. Oh well, what to do, what to do. Craig goes back in the studio and gets his equipment and we load it in the car. We go back to the Dress Revue and he sets up his amp and begins to practice. He's got a about four hours before he auditions for Frank and he wants to be ready. Yeah, like you're going to be ready for Frank Zappa. I admire his spunk but he's way out of his league. Still, you never know?
I decide to leave Craig to his licks and cruise over to the park to relax and watch the world go by. Griffith Park is located just above Hollywood and its about ten minuets drive from where I am. I drive by the outdoor theater, up and around the observatory and deep into the park. I pull off at a likely looking spot and install myself under a shade tree. Here it's cool and the ladies going by are hot. I twist up a number and as I smoke it I start to flash back on the last three weeks. All the strange things I've experienced and the sometimes stranger people I've met. I also have this feeling that I've not seen anything yet. One of these days I'm going to have to start listening to my ESP.
Huh, what? Boy, these little naps are great. I had fallen asleep and standing at my feet is Officer Judy. An LA County Sheriff deputy is looking down on me and he isn't smiling.
He wants to see my to see my papers. I start to hand him my pack of Zig Zags but think better of it and instead hand him my driver's license. He wants to know what I'm doing in the park. Well officer, up until you arrived I was enjoying myself, I think to myself. I say, "Just relaxing, officer."
From what I've heard about LA's finest they're not ones to fuck around with. These guys aren't Adam-12. What these guys are capable of defies description. It really amazes me that Rodney King didn't know any better. By the time of the Rodney King affair the police had mellowed out considerably. However, I digress. Officer Judy checks my ID, and lets me go with a warning, this time. Well so much for the park. I get in my car and the good deputy follows me out of the park before turning back. I stop at the Pup and Taco for a little lunch and head back to the Dress Revue.
Craig's still rehearsing as I enter but stops and starts packing up his equipment. I relate my little adventure to him, and we both lament the sad state of law enforcement in this country. Although it's still two hours from the time we have to leave for Craig's audition, he starts to get himself ready for the big event. First he takes a shower in the bathroom sink. He then spends what seems like days, worrying over his modest Afro. He'd really like to do his hair in the current style of dread locks but, alas, it's too short. He picks out his costume with care and puts on about a hundred pounds of gold. Finally he's ready to rock and it's time to leave. OOPS, the car won't start. I open the hood and eventually discover the ground line is loose. I tighten it and we're soon on our way. Although it only took about five minutes to fix the car, Craig is sure we're going to be late. It's a ten-minute drive and it's a quarter after eight. I tell him to relax, as I drive us over to S.I.R.
Frank hasn't arrived yet but the sound stage is open. We enter and wander around for a while checking things out. I know Craig is dying to smoke a joint but Frank don't play those games. A couple of quarts of beer, for sure, but you better leave everything else at home. It blew my mind when I found out that Frank got that weird and brilliant without any external applications. Frank didn't need any drugs; he was crazy enough without them. I figure I've got about half an hour so I leave Craig and head over to Studio Mary's. I enter her shop but she's not there. I look around and then I hear her coming down some steps. She enters from the back room. She smiles and asks how I've been and asks me if I'd like to come upstairs with her. My mind flashes to the Monty Python skit about the beautiful woman and the locked room full of Milkmen. But I agree and follow her upstairs. I ask her if she'd like to smoke something and she says a duster would be nice. I twist one up and pass it to her. I tell her about Craig's audition across the street and she wishes him luck as she is a big Frank Zappa fan. She's also bogarting the joint, oh well. When she finally passes it, she's wasted. She's wasted to the point the conversation is beginning to become decidedly one sided. After about ten minutes of doing all the talking I decide to leave and I leave her the rest of the joint. On my way out of the shop I lock the door. She's going to be busy for a while.
I wander back across the street and enter Studio Two. Craig comes up to me to ask where I went. He sniffs my breath and calls me great obscenities as he realizes that I went outside and smoked one. I tell him about Studio Mary's condition and he wonders why I didn't take advantage of it. After the way women have taken advantage of me over the years, so do I. I hear a car pull up outside and car doors slam. My "Pumpkin" has arrived. The sliding door opens and in walks Frank.
I'd seen Zappa perform at least half a dozen times. I'd seen him with the original Mothers, the Flo and Eddie Mothers and the George Duke band. In fact, I had even M.C.'d a concert of his at the East Town Theater in Detroit.
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Frank gathers his crew together and gives them instructions about a new floor plan and new lighting instructions. Then he suddenly turns to Craig and asks if he's ready. Craig says he is and Frank tells him to plug in and get tuned up. He then turns and looks at me. "Who are you? I know you from somewhere," he says.
"I'm your wicked Uncle Ernie from Detroit," I reply. "I was the M.C. for the East Town Theater in Detroit. We worked together once. I'm here with Craig to watch his audition,"
"I thought you looked familiar."
This amazes me because it had been five years since that concert. I shake his hand and say how much I admire his music and how much I admire him. He says, "Thanks," and then turns and mounts the stage.
This is going to be good, I think, and it was. There are thick pads of sheet music on stands everywhere. Craig looks at his and I see his eyes open in amazement. I've seen some of his charts and to me they are impossible. Sixty fourth note chords, changes in direction and time that would bring a smile to Ludwig Von Beethoven. Frank straps on his guitar but doesn't plug in. He's going to direct and does. There are eight musicians and Craig. They begin. It's hard to say where Craig lost it but it wasn't long in coming. They try two or three pieces and Frank stops them and points out all of their mistakes. Craig isn't the only one who can't keep up. Frank explains the direction of the piece going over each and every nuance of the time. They try again and again. Even through Craig doesn't get the gig; I have to give him credit. I've played guitar for over twenty years. Craig has played bass for about eight and we're about equal in talent. I would have never tried to audition for Frank.
As we leave all Craig can talk about is the audition. Instead of being depressed Craig if full of enthusiasm. Frank has blown his mind with his timing. They say timing is everything in life. I know timing is everything in music and there is no better time master than Frank. Craig is bubbling with, "I never thought I could play that." And "He made it sound so easy." etc. etc. etc.
"I admire your guts but its too bad you weren't any good," I joke.
"Fuck you Ernie," he replies.
"In your dreams,"I counter. "Where do you want to go?"
"Let's eat somewhere."
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We hit the Fatsburger and head on over to Freddie's to see what's happening. Freddie isn't there but his girl friend lets us in. Every one is watching the Olympics again. The chemical smell of dust permeates the air. We finish our Fatsburgers and I twist up a duster and pass it around. After about ten minutes I start to get bored by the games and I say good-bye. Craig wants to stay and watch the games. I remind him of our trip to Santa Ana in the morning. If he wants a ride, be at the Dress Revue when I wake up.
I leave Freddie's and decide to see what's at the dollar movie theater over on Hollywood Blvd. It's "The Man Who Fell To Earth" starring David Bowie. I decide to pass on the movie and head back to the Dress Revue. It's been another interesting day.
I buy a newspaper for entertainment, I love the crosswords. I also read the comics. The news itself is always slanted to one view or another. I've learned not to trust it. Especially if it comes out of Washington. Gerald Ford is currently president but if there is any justice on the planet he won't be come November. Jerry is the first president of the United States who wasn't elected to office. In a rare, open display of treason, he pardoned the "Trick." "Tricky Dick" Nixon, the biggest traitor this country has seen since Benidick Arnold. He wasn't so tricky but oh, was he ever a Dick! Jerry has made it possible for him to live out a luxurious lifestyle at taxpayer expense. The voters will remember this come November.
Craig wakes me up when he returns early Wednesday afternoon. I clean up my act and we're off to Santa Ana, home of the winds. LA is a city surrounded on three sides by mountains. The open side is south. When the Santa Ana winds blow, the pollution has no way to go but up. When the winds blow, LA disappears under a green orange blanket. This is no time to be a "flat lander" unless you have no need to breathe. From the Hollywood hills all you can see is a green orange sea with the tops of the downtown skyscrapers poking through. Beneath this ocean are five million small, dying creatures.
Out the Hollywood freeway to the San Diego freeway and south bound to Santa Ana. Did I mention both the freeways were already in progress? After looking for a while we finally find the place and it turns out to be a factory as well as a show room. A man takes Craig's bass and plays it. The guitar is about three months old. He can't believe what's he is hearing so he takes it into a back room. About five minutes go by and another man comes out with the guitar. He introduces himself. His name is Adolph Rickenbacker, the owner of Rickenbacker guitars. He doesn't know what's wrong with it, but if we'll leave for an hour and go and have lunch on him, he will find out. He doesn't seem to pleased with his instrument. We happily agree to his offer and when we arrive at his restaurant, he's already called and a table is waiting. Lunch is on him, so I get to have my first real meal since I arrived. We settle for the surf and turf. A fine Alaskan lobster and a large tender loin. Yum Yum.
By the time lunch is over and we return, the guitar is ready and waiting. There is no explanation to the cause of its inability to stay in tune but the salesman assures us that it won't happen again, adding that the old man was one pissed off individual. We grab a hand full of picks and make our exit. Craig takes out the bass and happily plays it all the way back to Hollywood. We stop by Freddie's and relate the story about the bass and the wonderful lunch. Freddie mentions that after the showcase tomorrow, he will announce who the equipment manager will be. To me this means that Dennis already has the job and Freddie doesn't want us to quit before the showcase. This is the second time he's mentioned this. I just wish people would be honest with me.
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You can always deal with the truth, no matter how bad it is. While Craig is in the bathroom, Freddie asks how he did last night? I relate the gory details and Freddie smiles. Freddie twists up a duster and we pass it around. Freddie's got to go see about the new house so we leave.
We go over to the Mary Twins' house and drink some more of their cheap wine. After twisting up a couple of joints loaded with their cocaine we proceed to play kissy face, this time with a different Mary. Talk about your cheap thrills. While I'm there, I call Dave and set up an appointment with him for Friday at 1 p.m. The girls want to get laid so we retire for an hour to their bedrooms. Afterwards the girls decide to take tomorrow off to come and see the showcase. We agree to meet them over here and they can follow us over to S.I.R. The girls kick out a little goose liver and we hang out for a while.
The girls have seen a new "New Wave" group; at the Whiskey, called "Blondie". I hate the so-called new wave. If it ain't rock, metal or the blues, you can count me out. However they insist we go see "Blondie" when they return to the Whiskey. Feed me goose liver, give me a little head and I'll follow you anywhere, even to see "New Wave." I know, my bad!
We return to the Dress Revue to crash. Craig spends about an hour going through his wardrobe trying to pick out his "costume" for tomorrow. I make good sport with his predicament by comparing him to my ex-wives.
He replies with his standard, "Fuck you Ernie!"
Thursday morning coming down. I awake to find Craig snoring off to my right. Now for a little fun. I set up my stereo placing my speakers on either side of Craig's head. I select Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" album. I crank up the sound and put on the bells ringing track "Time," and stand back. The bells ring and Craig eyes are wide open. He stands straight up without bending his knees. He reaches out and his fingers close right around where my throat had been. He looks like Frankenstein's monster. Meanwhile I'm on the other side of the room laughing my ass off. He will try again and again to do the same thing to me, but I always awake when he puts the needle on the album, long before the bells ring. This is the fourth funniest thing that I will see during my stay in LA. He chases me around the studio yelling great obscenities at me until we both collapse in laughter.
We cruise on over to S.I.R. but there is no one at the sound stage. I decide to roll a joint while Craig goes to the office to call Freddie. As I'm sitting on my car twisting one up, Herbert arrives at his studio. He sees me sitting there and comes over. I ask if he would like to help me smoke this. He would. We do. As we sit there toking, Craig comes up just in time for the last toke. Freddie is getting ready to leave and will be there in about fifteen minutes. Herbert asks if I still have some dust left. I do. Would we like to retire to his studio and smoke some? We would. We enter his studio and as I twist up the duster, he brings out a mirror and chops us up some lines. I relate Craig's rude awakening to Herbert and, in spite of himself, Craig can't help from laughing. All he can say is his usual line, "Fuck you Ernie!"
After smoking the joint and doing the lines, I thank Herbert for his hospitality and head back to the sound stage.
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The catering company has just arrived and I tell them that Freddie is on his way and should arrive any minute. Around the corner comes a black, super stretch limo. Freddie has arrived. Freddie unlocks the sound stage and we enter. The caterers start setting up and I turn on the lights and sound. I look around but there is no Craig. As the band enters their dressing rooms, I sneak back outside to find Craig. I walk back to Herbert's studio and inside I find Craig and Herbert still doing lines. I grab Craig and drag him back to the sound stage. We begin to do a sound check as the manager and Dennis arrive. Dennis walks up to the soundboard with a shit-eating grin on his face. Uh huh. He's dying to tell me something, but he has apparently been told not to mention it. He's obviously been snorting coke with the manager so he's going to have to talk or explode soon. I can hardly wait. He finishes the sound check with Craig while I set and check the lights. As I finish the lights, the manager comes over and offers me a one and one, from the rather large bottle of cocaine he has in his pocket. Once again, the things I do to keep a job. I look at the food the caterer is setting out. At least the lunch looks good even though there are far to many bean 'sprouts' for my taste.
We still have about an hour before the A&R people arrive, so we make up a plate of food and walk outside with it. I mention to Craig my thoughts about who is going to be the equipment manager, that Freddie has been stringing us along until after the showcase so we won't quit. Craig agrees, as he has been thinking the same thing. Dennis joins us, still with that smile on his face. I bet I could wipe that smile off his face in a heartbeat. I wasn't expecting to get the job to start with. It's just the way it's being done that is pissing me off. We finish our breakfast while I roll up another joint and pass it around. Even though we are trying to be nice to him, Dennis is picking up on our vibes and that smile is fading from his face. I can't foresee my future but I'm willing to bet it won't be spent with Fresh. We finish the joint and go back inside. We still have about forty-five minutes before show time and things are starting to get tense.
The A&R people arrive, and the champagne flows like water. Our manager is flying around like a bee going from flower to flower. After packing everybody's nose, he goes back to the dressing rooms. I wander over to the light board and put it on standby. Craig gets ready backstage and Dennis stands nearby chatting merrily with one of the A&R people. He doesn't seem to know he's boring her to death. The band enters the room and takes the stage. One, two, three and we're off. Freddie opens up with a number he thinks will be the first 45 release, his number one hit. We continue through the set with the band pulling out all the stops. There is a lot of leaping around and a great spinning of drumsticks. Craig is running the flash pans on time and everything goes according to plan. The set ends and the band leaves the stage to begin to mingle with the crowd.
I look around and see the Mary Twins standing in the back. Damn, I knew there was something we forgot to do. When I'm sure they are looking at me looking at them, I slap my head with my hand and walk toward them. Whatever excuse I'm going to use isn't going to work, by the looks they're giving me. So I just walk up and say, "Sorry. I just forgot. It's been a very busy morning."
I know that it's not going to work but it least it's the truth. Oh well, there are more fish in the sea. Craig comes up, but his smile quickly fades as he sees the look on the girls' faces. I can see the facts dawn on him as he remembers that we were supposed to meet them at their house this morning. His attitude is, fuck'em if they can't take a joke. He proceeds like nothing has happened and instead of chewing us out, they go along with him.
Chapter 2 page 32 Hollywood
Oh, the shit has hit the fan but we're going to have to wait till sometime in the future. Sometime in the future when we least expect it, if I read them right. We take them over to the caterers and we each get a plate and a large cup of champagne. The manager and Freddie are going around and cornering the A&R people, one at a time. This is my first showcase but I can tell it was a success. The band will receive three offers for a contract and will bid two of them up before settling for one of them.
After dinner we decide to head down to Herbert's studio and introduce the girls. Surprise, surprise, Herbert knows both of them. They're hookers. He doesn't say so then but takes us aside before we leave and tells us so. Oh well, nobody's perfect, but it gives me pause to think. Afterwards, we head back to the showcase and the party is over. The caterers are packing up. Freddie comes out in his street clothes and says to pack it up and take it back to the Dress Revue. We'll have a meeting there. Freddie has some good news for us. I just can't wait.
We say good-bye to the girls, and start the tear down. By the time we're finished and everything is packed, a truck arrives and we load it up. The band has left in the limo with the manager, and we follow the truck back in my car. After we unload the equipment and set it up again, the manager approaches Craig and me with our checks. We both get checks for $250.00, $100.00 for this week and a $150.00 for the showcase. Freddie comes in with a case of champagne and hands out bottles all around. He lights up several dusters and passes them around. After we're goodly stretched by them, he announces that the showcase went great. They have three offers from record companies. They will enter the recording studio after the tour. The tour will begin a week from tomorrow and will start in San Francisco. He then takes Craig and me aside and tells us that he's making Dennis the manager because Dennis has been with the band for a couple of years. No shit. He hopes we're not too disappointed, and says he really likes our work. He hopes we'll still work for the band. We say we understand and we'll continue to work with the band. As soon as he leaves, the manager comes back with his bottle and lays out some more. Life's a bitch, ain't it?
After about an hour the party breaks up, and everyone leaves except Craig and me. While we discuss the load of bullshit we've seen today, in comes Calvin. Calvin has been up at Maggie's house on the bay. "What's happening?" he asks.
We tell him the day's events and when we're finished he mentions, "By the way Buddy's looking for a new personal."He's quit.
However he and Maggie will be attending Alice's birthday party tomorrow night. No one has mentioned where this party is going to be held. "It's across the hall in studio B," he tells us.
He also says that Mr. Ketchidorian has quit as Buddy's manager and is going to work for Bootsie's Rubber Band. I'd heard that rumor before. The people, who were spreading it thought it was about time, as Ketchidorian was all but ruining Buddy's career. I had never met him but I've seen his black Mark III parked at the Rainbow with the vanity plate "Ketchidorian" on it. That's too bad. George Clinton's brilliant young bassist deserves more than that. I'd seen Bootsie with the Parliament Funkadelic and he was really hot. Calvin says he's going to see about a job with Rick Springfield, the Australian singer who was currently starring in a soap opera.
Chapter 2 page 33 Hollywood
We wish him luck, and he leaves as Alice comes in. She's got a couple of girl friends with her and asks if we want to help decorate studio B? No, not really, but I go with them anyway.
Over in studio B Alice takes me aside and asks if I would please become Buddy's new personal. I tell her I will think about it and let her know tomorrow. We hang and twist up the streamers and have fun inhaling the helium as we fill up the balloons. We give an X rated performance of Mickey and Minnie mouse. Oh, if Uncle Walt could see us now. Three weeks in this town and three job offers have come to me without asking.
Variety is the spice of life. We finish the decorating and return to studio A to find Craig jamming on his bass. Alice has a dipper handy and lights it up and passes it around. This time she has dipped a joint of weed in the bottle because her girl friends don't smoke tobacco. I ask her about Ketchidorian and Calvin. She's not sure, but does say Buddy had been smoking a lot of dust lately. I wonder if he's like the vast majority of people who love to do dust, but can't handle it? I'll just have to wait and see.
The girls leave and Craig goes out for a late night snack. I walk down to the newsstand and buy a paper. Across the street, I watch as the police pull two men over. After a brief exchange, the cops pull them out of the car and start beating the shit out of them. I walk back to the Dress Revue, thinking to keep on keeping a low profile. The cops out here don't fuck around. Craig returns with some green chili burritos. We talk over the day's events and I tell him about Alice's request. He wants to know if I'm going to take the job. I tell him I'm not sure but I think I might.
Friday morning dawns bright and early but I sleep in to 11 a.m. I ask Craig if he wants to join me at Dave's townhouse to see this computer animation. He does. We head down Sunset to Doheeny and turn left. We find the address and ring the bell. A girl in her bra and panties answers the door. I like Dave's already. We enter the townhouse and have a seat in the living room. There is a large screen projection t.v., the first I had ever seen, in front of the couch. Dave comes in and shakes our hands and asks if we'd met "Mary?" "Not as close as I'd like to," I reply.
"Is that her uniform?" Craig wants to know?
Dave laughs and begins to give us his speech about the process. Most of which goes over our heads. I had a minor in electronics but in ten years it has become antiquated to the point that I can barely follow what he's saying. He lays out the obligatory lines of coke, and then turns on the t.v. He shows us several different styles of his process ending with the bottom line. It costs about $1000.00 a minute to make and is sold for $7000.00 a minute. Dave is looking for someone to invest about $250,000.00 so he can get a studio and upgrade the system.
We walk up a floor into a large meeting room, with a huge round table. Dave lays out some company brochures, and a few more lines. I ask if he would like to smoke a joint or some dust? He in turn asks, "Would you like to smoke some of this Thai stick?
"Oh yeah, sounds good to me," I say, as I put my bags away.
He calls downstairs to Mary who quickly brings up a silver tray with about a dozen sticks on it.
Chapter 2 page 34 Hollywood
"I'm going to have to get me one of those," I say.
"What, the Thai stick?" Dave asks.
She smiles and breaks apart a stick and rolls up two large joints out of it. "Talented too," I say.
Craig says in his best Arabic voice, "How much for the woman? I want to buy the woman!"
Mary's turning a bright red and trying very hard to keep from laughing. Dave sends her downstairs. We both boo his decision. He hands both of us a joint and continues his prospectus. "We're offering "Bob" 20% of the company in return for his investment," Dave says.
"For how long?" I ask.
"Infinitum," Dave says.
"Is that net or gross?"
"Has Bob seen the process and the final product?"
"Yes he has and he's known me since I was born. He's my uncle," Dave replies.
Ah, it's a family affair. Why, then, does "Uncle Bob" need my humble opinion? After we finish the joints, Dave continues his tour of the town house. Up the staircase we go to the third floor and his bedroom. The centerpiece is a two hundred year old four poster bed. The huge backboard is about eight-foot by eight foot, and is intricately carved as is the footboard. Up the stairs we go again to a roof garden. Just to the right of the stairs is a waterbed. We walk over to some wrought iron lawn furniture and Dave lays out a couple more lines and this time joins us in snorting them. "Are you going to see my uncle soon," Dave wants to know.
"Yes, as soon as I leave here."
He seems hesitant to ask the question that I know is foremost in his mind so I answer it for him. "Yes, I'm going to recommend Bob invest in your company," removing the growing tension.
We finish the remaining lines and get up to leave. Dave walks us downstairs to where we watch Mary bend over to put away some files. Craig says what's on all of our minds, "Boy I'd like to fuck her!"
Dave invites us back anytime as we shake hands and leave.
Chapter 2 page 35 Hollywood
We head on over to Bel Aire Bob's and we get stopped at the gate by a uniform. He looks us over, especially my four year old Vega. Craig tells him where we're going and he call Bob's house. Meanwhile about a dozen cars go by without being stopped. OOPS. I'd forgotten Craig is black. Finally we get waved though and cruise on over to Bob's estate. This time the gate opens as we pull up, and Bob is waiting out in front for us. We retire once again to his library, and he goes immediately to the closet and pulls out his bag. My brain may be digging all the coke but my nose is beginning to rebel and I snort one line and rub the other on my gums. We get down to business.
I make my report but before reaching the conclusion I ask, "Can you afford to lose $250.000.00?"
Yes, he can. Boy, it must be nice. I conclude that it might be a risky venture but he might have a winner here. I don't mention that I know he is Dave's uncle. He considers what I had to say and finally replies; "I want to thank you for your report. I think I will invest in Dave's company, after all."
Making it sound like the final straw was provided by me. I think he was just playing head games with his nephew. He invites us to stay for a late lunch. We except the invitation and head downstairs to the terrace. Lunch is an excellent prime rib. Yes, you guessed it, Yum Yum. Afterwards I roll an after dinner joint and we pass it back and forth. Craig brings up the subject of Dave's secretary. "Oh, Mary," Bob says, "Boy I'd like to fuck her!"
Craig and I both break out laughing. I mention that Craig has said the same thing not an hour ago. We chat for another hour and then say our good-byes. Bob says to come back any time, and I get his phone number to his house and his car. We head back down Sunset to Hollywood and home. Back at the Dress Revue, things have changed.
We enter the Dress Revue, but before we enter studio A we take a peek into studio B. What was a sparsely decorated empty room has been transformed. There now is a wet bar and around the empty walls are couches and tables. Looks like there is going to be a party here tonight.
We go next door and pick out our party clothes. Instead of trying to shower in the sink we decide to go over to Freddie's and use his facilities. We cruise over to Freddie's and knock on the door but there's nobody home. What to do, what to do? We decide to try Calvin's. Calvin isn't there, but Maggie is and lets us in. Craig jumps in the shower first and I sit and talk to Maggie. Maggie twists up a joint of her abundant Thai stick. My weed is better than most but the Thai is dynamite. I ask if there is any for sale? She says she doesn't have any for sale but she can make a phone call if I'd like. I would. She does. She returns to ask how much I would like? I decide on an ounce. She goes back to the phone and returns to say that her connection is on the way over and should be here in an hour. I say I can wait. Craig returns from the shower just as we finished the joint. Too bad, if you snooze, you lose. I take my turn in the shower. While I'm bathing Maggie enters and asks if it would be all right if she uses the toilet. She asks this while peeking in the shower. Fine by me. She does and then leaves. If it wasn't for Calvin. Its not that I'm afraid of Calvin, it's I just don't fuck around with someone else's lady. I'm stupid that way. I get dressed and rejoin Craig and Maggie in the living room.
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Maggie asks if I'm going to take the job with Buddy. I reply that I'm still thinking about it and will probably make up my mind this evening. I still lack the basic details of the job. Such as duties and salary. I ask about Buddy's dust problems. Most people just dig the buzz. Some people freeze up, unable to move their joints, especially their knees and elbows. Then there are people who get extremely violent. Buddy falls into this last category. I've never seen this in Buddy but I will. I'm not that worried about it, as I've always gotten along with most people that I have met. Even people who are liars, thieves and outright murderers. I've know some people who would eagerly kill their own families, yet have treated me like gold.
The doorbell rings and in walks Maggie's connection, "Bob". Thai Stick Bob looks at Craig and me with a puzzled expression. He wasn't expecting anyone. I can dig that and I ask if maybe we should leave. "No, that's all right," Bob says. "You guys don't look like cops."
To bolster this point I ask if any one would like to smoke some dust. Sure, why not? I twist one up take a giant toke and pass it to Maggie. Damn what a rush. I hand Maggie my money and she gives it to Bob who puts it away and pulls out my bag, which he hands to Maggie, who hands off to me. We sit and talk for a while until Maggie notices the clock. She has an appointment in about an hour. Bob decides to leave but she asks if we want to stay until she has her shower. Sure, we have nothing better to do. Craig and I decide to play a game of chess. I ask if he really wants me to bruise his ego. I get his standard line, "Fuck you Ernie!"
The one thing I do really well in life is play chess. When I was a teenager I played at a master's level. Somewhere between 2300 and 2400 points. Craig hasn't got a prayer. He knows this but insists on playing me anyway. He's smart in this, because the only way to learn anything in chess is to play someone who can beat you. God knows I've had my face rubbed in a chessboard on occasion.* From where I'm sitting I can see the hallway. I lose track of the game as Maggie comes out naked, and opens a closet door, where she proceeds to bend over again and again. She smiles at me and enters the bathroom. Craig just might win this game as I'm having trouble concentrating. Craig plays at about a 1600 level, and though he really tries, the game is over in about twenty moves. Maggie comes out of the bathroom dressed and joins us as I checkmate Craig.
I say, "It's nice to see you again." She giggles and it goes right over Craig's head.
"Are you coming to the party tonight?" Craig asks.
She says she might if she can take care of business in time. We put up the chess set and get ready to leave. She's ready to leave and she walks out with us. She's driving a new Mercedes Benz. Now I know I'm in love. The only question is what to do with Calvin's body?
We cruise back to the Dress Revue and enter studio A. Craig decides he wants to play drums so I pick up his bass. I start playing "Dazed And Confused" by Led Zeppelin. Craig joins in and I do my best Robert Plant impersonation. I have my back to the door so I don't see anyone enter. When the song is over I suddenly get a round of applause.
*See "Uncle Ernie's Hippie Daze
Chapter 2 page 37 Hollywood
Buddy has arrived with Alice and their entourage. I take a deep bow and everyone breaks out laughing. I put the guitar away and say, "Happy birthday, baby," as I hug and kiss Alice.
Although the party isn't supposed to start for an hour yet, we decide to start early. We go across the hall to studio B and I go behind the bar and act as bartender. I fix everybody a drink then twist up a couple joints from the Thai stick bag. I hand one to Alice as a birthday present and light the other and hand it to Buddy. People are starting to arrive and I drift around the room meeting new people. After awhile the wait staff arrives with the food and someone plugs in a ghetto blaster. A table quickly fills up with presents and even though the air conditioner is going full blast the room is filled with various kinds of smoke. I meet a raving 'queen' who is a clothes designer. He's currently working on the new Woody Allen movie, "Annie Hall." He invites me and Buddy to come over to the set on Wednesday. If we arrive in time we can be in the background during a party scene. I ask him why Buddy and me. He says he heard I was Buddy's personal. That's funny, I hadn't heard that. However I say, "I'll ask Buddy if he would like to come?" No pun intended.
I stop by the caterers and fill up on roast beast and a side of goose liver. I find a seat and sit down. Alice's opening her gifts now and everyone gathers round to watch. As the couch is now open, Craig sits down with his meal. Between bites he says he heard that I had taken the job. I tell him I hadn't, and I ask who said that I was. "Quite a few people," he replies.
I decide I'm going to get to the bottom of this as soon as I finish eating. However, when I finish I decide to go to the bathroom. When I walk out into the hall, two ladies approach me. They were with Buddy, when he came in. They ask me if I'm going to be Buddy's new personal. I explain that I haven't made up my mind. They introduce themselves as good friends of Buddy's, actually his girlfriends. They plead with me to take the job. Why me, is the first question that enters my mind. Apparently Alice, Craig and Tom have told them for months that I was the man for the job, long before I arrived. Buddy has told them that he likes me and is going to ask me tonight. They're really concerned for Buddy's health and safety. I tell them that I probably will, depending upon what the job entails, and what I will be paid. The door to the bathroom opens and I excuse myself from them and enter. Curiouser and curiouser!
When I return to studio B, I head for the bar to get a drink and when I turn around, Buddy is standing there. He says, "I guess you heard I have a job available?"
I say, "I've heard a rumor to that effect."
He says, "I want you to be my personal. The job doesn't pay much while in town. $100.00 a week but it pays $500.00 a week on the road and all expenses. Also, you can live with me at my house in Malibu. What do you say?"
"Well, I do have a job working for Freddie," I reply.
He says, "Don't sweat the small stuff, I'll take care of that."
I pretend to think it over for a minute.
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"Well if that's the case, you got a deal."
He says, "Get your stuff together and after the party, you can move in tonight."
So I do.
Chapter 3 page 39
The Buddy Miles Story
George Allan Miles, a.k.a. Buddy Miles, alias Budwyck Von Miles Toben. They all mean the same thing, one kick ass drummer. This is who I had in mind when I came to LA. It's taken me about three weeks to obtain this goal. Even I am amazed. The party is winding down, so I go over to studio A and start rounding up my stuff. When I get it all together, I load it in my car and return to studio B. Buddy's ready to roll so we start to leave, when up pulls Freddie. He's dusted and after looking at Buddy and me, he looks like he could kill. "I thought you were going to work with me?" Freddie says.
"I got a better offer," I reply.
There is a large crowd beginning to gather around us, mostly from the party but other people are stopping from the street. This is beginning to look really ugly. Buddy walks to Freddie and starts to take him aside putting his arm around him. Freddie's not buying it and flings Buddy's arm off his shoulder. Oh well, here's were I start earning my money. I approach to stand in between them, when another man quickly intervenes. I don't know what he says not at the time as I find out later but whatever it is Freddie gets back in his car and leaves. Buddy tells me to follow him in my car and I do.
We head out Sunset to the P.C.H., hang a right and cruise on out to Malibu. I back up to the front door, pop the hatch and begin to unload. I don't have a hell of a lot, a couple suitcases, my stereo, albums and a large box of books. I had just started collecting hard cover books. At the time I had maybe forty hard cover books and could carry my library with me. All this I put beside and behind the bar. I would be sleeping in the living room, as this is a one-bedroom unit. Beside the couches and chairs there are two sets of large pillows. Three to a set. They make an excellent bed. After three weeks sleeping on a hard floor these pillows are like heaven.
Buddy asks me to move my car in front of his garage so he can park in front of the house, I do. When I return everyone is out on the deck and I join them. Alice asks me to go into the bathroom and look around for a large bag of pot and bring it out. I go to the bathroom (not literally) and there is the Ronald Reagan toilet seat. I laugh to myself while I search for the bag. I finally find it on top of a cabinet. It's about a quarter pound. I bring it out and hand it to Alice. She quickly proceeds to roll up a joint for everybody. Directly in front of us is the ocean. Out about five miles a stream of aircraft lights can be seen as planes fly by and line up to land at L.A.X. You can't hear their engines or see the planes, just the lights. It's pretty bizarre. Others arrive and the party that left off at the Dress Revue now continues. I'm kept busy rolling joints and meeting new people. One of the people I meet is a neighbor, "Filthy McNasty."
Filthy and his brother, Wolfgang, own a couple of bars in town. One in Hollywood and the other in North Hollywood. He'll soon be turning forty and he invites us out to his birthday party to be held at the North Hollywood bar. I ask Buddy and we accept. Also, soon to arrive is the guy who talked Freddie down out side the Dress Revue. Alice says that's Michael. Michael's in and out and I don't get to meet him, but I will. I meet an Australian girl who lives on the beach named Carol and several other neighbors. The party continues until just after dawn when Buddy finally throws everyone out and I start to clean up the mess. Alice says not to bother, as she'll do it later. It's almost 7 a.m., so we crash.
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I awaken to the wonderful smell of eggs and bacon. Alice is wafting a plate full under my nose. Ah, breakfast in bed, this is the life. I get up and move to the bar. After breakfast, Alice asks me to take her to town to do a little shopping.
We cruise up P.C.H. to downtown Malibu, such as it is. The Alpha Beta store is a large supermarket, basically the only one in town. We enter and while Alice starts her shopping, I wander around checking out the layout of the store. I walk down an aisle looking at bottles of wine. They have an amazing assortment of wines for a super market. As I walk along I accidentally bump into another shopper. As I turn around to apologize I notice it's Bob Dylan. Wow! He smiles at me and nods and, much to my amazement, I walk away. I've literally just rubbed shoulders with one of my favorite people on the planet and, other than a quick apology, I didn't say a thing. I find Alice and tell her who I just saw, she says he's in here all the time. Far out. We check out and head back.
As we cruise toward home, I notice several restaurants and bars along the way. These I plan to check out later. We get home and unload the groceries. Buddy's up and he's on the phone. He's calling a limousine company to order one for this evening. It's Saturday night and he's ready to party. Alice wants to go to Santa Monica to do the laundry. Apparently Malibu has an ordnance outlawing washing machines, to prevent a sudsy pollution problem so in order to wash your clothes you have to drive inland. I dig out my dirty clothes and add them to Alice's pile. As we're leaving, Buddy hands me a hundred-dollar bill and an address in Westwood. While Alice does the laundry, he wants me to stop by and get an eight ball of coke. I'm about to meet a connection that will, in time, make me a lot of new friends. We leave and I drop Alice at the Laundromat and head on over to Westwood. I find the address and enter a ritzy apartment building. I push a buzzer and get let in. I find the apartment, enter and meet, "Cocaine Bob." Bob tells me to take a seat. I do while Bob leaves the room. He soon returns with a baggie and a scale. He weighs out the coke and then crushes it in a grinder. He pours this in the baggie, then grinds up some more and places it on a mirror. As he lays this out, he questions me about my new job. I tell him what I've been up to and he says he's Buddy's cousin. He goes on to brag about his coke, and tells me I can cop an ounce for $800.00. The current price around town is about $1600.00 an ounce and more than $2400.00 in Beverly Hills. I will later use this information to meet and influence people and go to some great parties.
After doing some lines, I leave and head back to pick up Alice. The clothes have about fifteen minutes to go, so we go out to the car and I twist up a duster. As we smoke this, Alice mentions that I should avoid giving any to Buddy. She wants him to dry out. I say sure, but it will be next to impossible to accomplish this. She goes back in and gets the laundry. We head back down Lincoln Blvd. to the P.C.H. Back at the house Buddy is rummaging around his garage.
As Alice unloads the car, he motions me over to help him move a Rhodes electric piano. We take this inside, then go back and get a guitar and a little Pig Nose amp. Closet space is next to non-existent, but Alice makes a small space for my clothes and I fill it up. As soon as I'm finished, Buddy brings out a couple of bottles and fills them up with the coke. A two-gram bottle for him, then hands me the one gram bottle. The rest he lays out on a mirror to do. He does a couple of lines, passes the mirror to Alice and then to me. He lays the rest on the bar and we walk out on the deck. Alice, meanwhile, starts lunch. Buddy and I lay about in lounge chairs and watch the naked ladies on the beach. Alice brings out some roast beef sandwiches on trays, and a couple of beers.
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Out of my peripheral vision I see a head jumping up and down over the fence. It's Malibu Bob. He says, "Hi," and asks if he can come by.
"Sure," Alice says and goes to the front door to let him in.
Buddy smiles. Bob is his dust connection. Apparently Alice isn't hip to this fact. Bob reaches in his pocket and brings out a duster and hands it to Buddy. Buddy goes to introduce me to Bob but Bob says, "We've already met."
I explain it to Buddy. When the joint is eventually handed to me, I get up and hand it to Alice and explain where it came from. I suggest she pull Bob aside and explain the facts of life to him. Getting Buddy weaned off the "duhzust" is going to be harder than she thought. I roll up some Thai stick and go back outside. I light the Thai up and hand it to Bob. He takes a toke and passes it to Buddy. Buddy doesn't seem to catch the switch. So far so good. We sit and bullshit for awhile. Alice comes out and joins us bringing a round of beer. We finish the Thai stick and Bob reaches for another joint of dust, when Alice jumps up and asks Bob if he can help her in the kitchen. He does. When they're gone, Buddy turns to me and says he knows what Alice and I are up to. I don't protest this knowledge; I just shut up and listen. After he finishes I explain that I had been told he was having a problem with the stuff. I also tell him that as far as I can see that it's the best buzz around, but most people tend to carry it too far. And I say that I think that it is my job to keep him healthy, happy and ready to rock.
He thanks me for my concern but adds the anthem of junkies everywhere, "I can handle it" and "I don't have a problem."
As far as I can see at this point, he is right, however, I will reserve my judgment until I have more personal information. Alice returns without Bob. He apparently went home. Buddy winks at me. Alice brings out the rest of the coke and lays it out in lines. I ask Buddy what's on the agenda for this evening. He says we're going out to see some people about forming a new band. He's also going to meet with Neil Bogart the president of his label, Casa Blanca. Casa Blanca has two major groups that are currently tearing up the charts, Kiss and Donna Summers. I ask what time the limo is arriving. He says eight o'clock. I mention that's its a quarter of seven. We leave the deck and return inside to get ready. As Buddy and Alice have the bathroom all tied up I get ready in the kitchen sink. Alice walks by naked and heads out on the deck to crank up the stereo. She puts on Paul McCartney and Wings' new album. It, along with several Yes albums, will provide most of the background music for the summer. She puts on "Let'em in." When the line "Uncle Ernie" comes on, they both come up to me and sing along and give me a hug. I feel kind of honored every time they play it.
The limo arrives and Buddy introduces me to his driver, Dennis. Dennis is an ex-Green Beret. We head out down the P.C.H. toward Santa Monica. Our first stop is at a clothing shop run by "Ronnie Airbrush." Ronnie Airbrush owns a shop on the boardwalk, just south of "muscle beach." He welcomes us and tells Buddy to help himself to his T-shirts. This could be a big mistake for Ronnie. Buddy takes about half a dozen for himself and a similar amount for Alice. He even grabs a couple for me. Ronnie invites us into his living quarters in the back of the shop. Here, he introduces us to his wife of two years. We'll call her "Mary Jr." Ronnie proudly announces that his wife's fourteenth birthday is coming up, and asks if we would like to attend the party? Where I come from thirteen will get you thirty!
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Thirty years in jail, that is. Ronnie is thirty-two. I think of asking him about the obvious child abuse, but I don't think it will do any good. Where on the planet could you go to marry an eleven-year-old child? It finally comes to me, Duh, Mexico. We leave Ronnie's with our arms full of T-shirts and our minds full of disgust, and head inland.
Our next stop will be the Rainbow. "The Rainbow Bar and Grille. Where Demons go to hang."* We go in, grab a booth and relax with a drink as we wait for our dinner to arrive. Buddy excuses himself and heads for the private clubs upstairs. Alice says he's meeting Neil Bogart upstairs to talk about his next album.
His current album, "More miles per gallon," was released in March. He fired that band, and is currently forming a band he wants to call, "The Road Runners." Beep, beep! As we await our meal and the return of Buddy, I look around the room. I guess I'm the eternal tourist. I'm still looking for stars. I don't see any but I do see people disappear under the tables and then, magically, reappear. I wonder what's going on? Yeah, right.
Our meals arrive and Buddy still hasn't returned. Alice wants me to go find Buddy but if he's in a meeting I don't want to bother him. However, Alice still wants me to go get him, so I do. I had never been up stairs at the Rainbow before. There are two private clubs at the Rainbow. As I reach the tops of the stairs I see one off on my left. I enter and see Buddy talking to someone. There are different levels in this area and apparently the higher up you get the more your status. Buddy and Neil are as high up as you can get. I've just walked in without being challenged. Either I was mistaken for someone again or the doorman is absent. I approach Buddy, and wait until he acknowledges me, I tell him of Alice's concern and the arrival of dinner. He says he'll be down shortly and for me to go down and sit with Alice. I do.
When I return to the table Alice is gone. Oh well, I guess I'll just dig in. I do. The prime rib is excellent. As I continue to people watch with my meal I see Alice's head peek up from under a table. She's busily rubbing coke from below her nose. Duh. She sees me and waves; I wave back but continue with the meal. I'm about finished when she returns and begins to pick at her salad. Buddy finally arrives as Alice finishes her meal. I ask how the meeting went. He says that we'll have to continue it at Casa Blanca on Thursday. We sit and talk while Buddy eats his dinner. When he's finished we leave and head for the limo sitting out in front. As we walk between the Rainbow and the Roxy, which share parking lots, a number of people approach Buddy to say hi or ask for an autograph. Buddy's in a good mood, so he signs or chats with his admirers. One of the seekers wants us to join him at Mary Pickford's old house. Buddy quickly agrees. He's a good friend of Buddy's; we'll call him Hollywood Bob.
We cruise on over to Hollywood Bob's house. He lives in one quarter of what had been Mary Pickford's house. The house she was living in while she built Pickfair in Beverly Hills. It has been turned into four three-story townhouses. We enter Bob's and it's huge. It's the size of two regular three or four bedroom houses and it's only a quarter of its former self. We retire to an upstairs bedroom and meet Bob's wife. She has been chopping coke and rolling dusters since Bob called home on his car phone. She gets out of bed and gives Alice, then Buddy, a hug and a kiss. She turns and smiles at me. I offer her my hand and introduce myself.
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Bob joins us by handing me the tray. I snort my lines then hold the tray for Alice, then Buddy and, finally, Bob and his wife. By the time I'm through, Buddy's already got a duster in his mouth. He has gotten it from Alice. Oh well, I might as well get wasted too. I do. Bob's wife brings in an ice bucket with a magnum of Bollenger's. Bob pops the cork and pours us all a glass. We stay in the bed for about an hour getting toasted. Eventually we leave, thanking Bob for his hospitality. Buddy says we'll be back in a couple of days, when the shipment comes in. Whatever that means? I'll soon know.
Our next stop is one of Buddy's old girlfriends, Maria. Maria is from South America, Venezuela, actually. She's awaiting deportation and is looking to marry someone in order to stay in the country. She's having a good-bye party in about a month and invites us to attend. We promise to, then hang out for an hour or so doing lines on her glass topped coffee table and smoking some of the dust that Buddy had gotten from Bob.
When we leave Maria's, I notice the sun is about to rise but the night is far from over. Our next stop is out in the valley. When we arrive Buddy tells us to stay in the limo until he returns. Alice already knows what's going down and I can guess. "This wouldn't be his dust dealer, would it?" I ask.
"How did you know?" She asks.
"Lucky guess," I reply.
About fifteen minute's later, Buddy returns and without comment tells Dennis to head out to Santa Monica. We hit the freeway and are soon pulling into an ocean side apartment building. The building is under reconstruction and in the early light looks like it's been hit by bombs. Most of the windows are missing, along with some of the walls. We walk up to the top floor and knock on the last door facing the beach. A girl in her under wear answers the door and lets us in.
This is Santa Monica Mary and her husband, Bob. The fact that she is married to Bob will escape me tonight. Which will explain why I keep on hitting on her. Although the outside of the building appears to be set in Beirut, the inside of their apartment is another story. Large marble pillars are at the four corners of the room. Rich tapestries line the walls and a plush Persian carpet graces the floor. Buddy reaches into his pocket and brings out a large bag of dust. I watch Alice's hackles rise and hope that we don't have a fight brewing.
Santa Monica Mary offers us breakfast and coffee and we accept. Buddy rolls up five joints, then passes them around to everyone. We sit and bullshit with Bob as Alice joins Mary in the kitchen. Bob and Mary are the assistant managers of this building. They currently have about ten percent occupancy, as they and the manager are replacing most of the windows and dry wall. Buddy invites them to come out Tuesday night, as it seems that Mary is a songwriter who has some songs she wants Buddy to see. The girls return-carrying trays filled with eggs, pancakes, potatoes, toast, juice and coffee. After a filling breakfast we retire to their sundeck and watch the muscle men exercising on Muscle Beach. It's seven a.m. and already the beach is beginning to fill up. I leave the deck to use the bathroom and when I come out I'm suddenly surrounded by Santa Monica Mary. She has her hand down her panties and is masturbating herself. She walks up and kisses me full on the lips and sticks her tongue down my throat. Unfortunately, Buddy is leaving the deck and catches us together. He gives me a sly smile, then clears his throat to let her know we're being watched. She jumps back but gives me a wink and enters the bathroom.
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We leave, telling them we'll see them Tuesday night in Malibu. The partying is beginning to wear off so Buddy finally decides to call it a night. We head back up the beach toward Malibu and home. It's about eight thirty when we let Dennis go and enter the house. Well, that was fun. I know I'm going to have trouble sleeping with Santa Monica Mary on my mind but I'm wrong. As soon as my head hits the pillows, I'm asleep. When I awake, it's four thirty in the afternoon.
I'm the first one up so I immediately take advantage of this and get a shower. As I stand in front of the mirror combing my wet hair, Alice comes up from behind and rips the towel off my waist. She grabs my ass and says she's been wanting to do that since the first day we met. I leave the bathroom and shake my hips for her amusement as I walk to the living room and my clothes. Boy, I'd love to fuck her but I also love this job. She'll have to wait until I have another job. Alice follows me out to the kitchen and starts to make coffee. As I get dressed I can hear Buddy rising. I wander out on the deck. Alice brings the coffee out and Buddy joins us. Buddy can't remember where he put his coke, so I hand him the bottle he gave me. "You still have this?" he asks.
I nod and Marry hands him the tray. He lays out the gram and hands it to me. I rub both lines on my gums, as I have run out of Contacts. I think I'll give my nose a day off.
There are currently two "in things" to do. One, getting your nose relined for about $6,000.00. Two, spending a week or so drying out at Santa Monica Psychiatric Hospital. As I don't think either of them sounds like fun, I decide I had better slow down.
After the coffee and rolls, I twist up a joint of Thai stick and pass it to Alice. Somewhere on the beach is a ghetto blaster going full blast. I crank up Buddy's to cover it up. I choose the Band of Gypsy's tape. I put it on and there is Buddy singing "Them Changes." At the time I had no idea what he is talking about, although I knew all the words. I just had no idea, however I soon would. Buddy Bogarts the joint, so I roll another and toke on it. Down on the beach we can see Malibu Bob walking with a fat red headed man. Bob spots us and waves, Buddy spots Bob and tells him to come on up. I go back inside and let them in. Bob introduces me to his roomy, "Fat Jack."
Fat Jack is from New Orleans and is currently here hiding out. He doesn't say this but we figure it out eventually. He was a New Orleans classically trained chef. Of all the bad things I can say about Jack, I still have to admit this guy is a Muther Fucker in the kitchen. I learn more about cooking from him than I had spending most of my life in my family's various restaurants. His Cajun food is unbelievable. If I were gay, I would have proposed marriage on the spot.
Bob and Jack join us on the deck. Alice leaves to take a shower. I get the feeling that she knows what's going to happen and wants to avoid it. I sympathize with her, but there is little I can do about it. Right on cue, Bob reaches in his shirt pocket and retrieves a duster and hands it to Buddy. Buddy asks me to look and see if we've got any beer. We don't and I tell him so. He asks me if I will go to town and get some? He then hands me a twenty-dollar bill. I say sure, and as I'm leaving to go Jack asks me if he can ride along. I say fine and we go out to the car. We cruise up P.C.H. to the Alpha Beta store and go in. I get a case of Coors and Jack gets a couple bottles of wine. When we return Buddy has another task for me.
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He wants me to go to Westwood and see his cousin again. He hands me a hundred-dollar bill and tells me to get an eight ball. I suggest instead, a quarter or even an ounce, as it will save time and effort in the future. He agrees and I end up scoring him an ounce. On the way back home from Westwood the car starts running rough. By the time I approach the house, it is barely just running. My big aluminum block engine has melted down at 52,000 miles. We are are now out of transportation.
I enter the house and tell Buddy about my car. He suggests I call a Chevy dealership in the morning and see about getting it repaired. In the meantime he wants me to get on the phone to Michael and get his Cadillac back. He hands me his phone book. Under Michael's name there are at least ten phone numbers. This should have set bells ringing in my head but it didn't. I call all of the numbers but Michael's isn't at any of them. I tell Buddy this and he says to try again later. In the meantime Buddy calls for a limo. Malibu Bob doesn't drive for good reasons and Fat Jack loaned his Corvette to his brother. Buddy has another Cadillac that he's loaned to his parents. He also has a three-wheel bike with a 327 Corvette engine but he's left it out around Long Beach at a gas station. We could go and get it but he's forgotten where it is. Oh well, I've been stranded in far worse places than Malibu. Alice says she has a car but it's currently up north in San Francisco. The limo is coming about nine p.m., so we hang out on the deck getting blasted until it arrives.
Dennis arrives right on time and we're away. Buddy says he wants to introduce me to someone and has Dennis drive us there. The person in question, he explains, is a rich kid with direct connections to the Mayor's office. His name is Ed and he is the Mayor's nephew. He likes to hang around the stars and has much more money than sense. Buddy gets on the limo's phone and gives Ed a call. By the time he hangs up, we're in his driveway.
Ed is a tall, skinny black man who is immaculately dressed in a Armani suit. He gets in and takes a jump seat. Buddy introduces us as we leave. Buddy asks if he has any dust, he says he does and rolls one up. Buddy wants to go to the valley and sends Dennis in that direction. As we pass the joint around, I notice that Ed is having a little problem with his speech. By the time we reach the valley, Ed is wasted. We pull up at an apartment complex and as Ed gets out he trips on the curb. Buddy pulls me aside to say that Ed once broke an ankle getting out of a limo while dusted. He says, "Watch him try to walk."
I do and it's funny. Ed has lost the ability to bend his knees. As a result he walks back and forth like the Frankenstein monster. Ed will continue to entertain us for as long as I know him. Buddy has brought us to a pair of twins that bare a scary resemblance to Anita Bryant. These identical twins, age 35, we'll call the Anita Bryant Twins. The closest I come to getting killed in Los Angeles will be the fault of these two ladies. My first impression is they seem pleasant enough, but looks can be deceiving.
We enter their apartment and take a seat. Buddy wants to know if they are ready to begin rehearsals? They say they're excited about the prospect of working with him on the new album. They ask him when this will begin and he answers that his new manager is currently setting up a new tour. Immediately following it they will enter the studio. However, he wants to take them on the tour, which should begin in November. He says he's currently putting together a new band and hopes to start rehearsals soon. He wants to know if they can tour with him? As far as they know they are available and would be happy to go on the tour.
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Buddy says he'll let them know as soon as we have the plans worked out. He says he'll be in contact with them, but he has to run and says good-bye. As long as I know Buddy, this will be the fastest stop we will ever make. We're in and out in less than five minutes.
When I say, "Well, that was fast." He reply's that the girls are great singers but there is something about them that gives him the Willie's. I'll soon know what he's talking about.
I decide to have a little fun with Ed. I twist up a duster and winking at Buddy hand the joint to Ed. My dust is about five times more powerful than what Ed has and I can imagine the results. Alice gives me a dirty look but I pay no attention to her. I know I can get Buddy off the stuff but I have to gain his trust to do so. I have plans for Buddy but pissing him off now isn't going to help in the long run. As predicted, Ed suddenly clams up. You can see it in his eyes. He may have a lot on his mind but he's incapable of expressing himself. Buddy wants to go to The Record Plant over on Third, and he sends Dennis there.
The Record Plant is one of three such recording studios originally set up with the assistance of Jimi Hendrix. There are two others, one in New York City and the other in Sausalito, across the bay from San Francisco. As we enter through the front door Buddy waves to the girl at the desk and she buzzes us in. We pass studio B on the right and a break room on the left. Buddy enters the second door on the left. We enter a room with a large sunken hot tub and a sand bed. A hallway leads to the showers and a steam room. Buddy takes a seat next to the tub and makes a phone call. Ed and Alice take a seat while I explore the rest of the rooms.
He talks quietly, almost whispering, for about a minute, then hangs up. He says to wait a minute and he'll be back. As soon as he's gone Alice says he's gone to meet Cary at his bedroom, to get some dust. The Record Plant has three bedrooms and Cary leases one of them. These are specialty bedrooms, each one a different theme. They go for $100.00 a night and I will eventually stay in all of them. Alice asks if we'd like a beer. We would, so we follow her into the break room. There is a pinball machine, a table and chairs and a pop machine. Inside the pop machine they have, besides the pop, twenty five-cent Coor's beer. What a convenience. I will take advantage of the cheep beer time and time again. As we wait for Buddy, I ask Alice if she would like to play a game of pinball? She would, so we do. I'm pretty much a wizard at pinball so I decide to take it easy on the boss's girlfriend. Big mistake, Alice doesn't need any help. She's also played this game before and it's all I can do to keep up with her. On my last ball I "accidentally" lose it and she wins. She tells me that in the future, she would appreciate it if I wouldn't throw the game. She's far smarter than she lets on.
Buddy returns and we leave the break room. He stops and chats with the secretary, asking when Jim will be in. She consults her book and says he'll be back in town on Tuesday. Buddy says he wants to record the new album at The Record Plant, and will discuss this with Jim this week. We leave and enter the limo. Our next stop is at the Rainbow for a late dinner. This time Buddy takes us upstairs to the private club and we take a seat at the top of the club. We order our meal from here, over drinks and a couple of lines. Again I just rub the coke on my gums. Buddy asks me about this and I tell him, with coke, my nose is like a river, always running. This sets off a round of who do you know who's having, "the operation?" Below us to our left sits a couple of members from "America."
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I will meet and party with one of them, Gerry Beckley, but that is still in the future. Tonight I just nod as we go down to dinner. About halfway through the main course we're joined by Greg Allman, who stops by to say hi to Buddy. The girl with Greg isn't Cher. I'm beginning to see a pattern forming. Greg say hi and bye and is soon gone from our midst. It's just as well. Greg is currently being shunned by everyone who knows him. He had just saved his own worthless neck by ratting out his road manager to the system over a bag of coke that he'd gotten for Greg. This would result in a 75 years sentence being handed down, fortunately it was overturned. No one else trusts Greg anymore, so I wonder why Cher does?
After dinner Buddy remembers his car again, so I get on the limo's phone to call around to Michael's numbers. This time, however, I leave the impression of, return the car or else. He isn't around to be found, but I will soon get results to my calls. Ed is beginning to regain his speech and soon informs us about Buddy's new lead guitarist. He says he was by his house the other night and bumped into Bootsie Collins. He wonders if Bootsie isn't trying to get him in his new band? Buddy calls but there is no answer. We cruise the strip, stopping at several hotels looking for someone who we can't find. Buddy's gone quiet and isn't talking, so I just lay back and dig the ride. We finally end up at Chaka Khan's house at the bottom of Lookout Mountain.
We enter the house and I notice I'm getting some very serious stares. I also notice that besides Alice, I'm the only white person there. Buddy goes upstairs and leaves us alone in the living room. Apparently Chaka is having drug related problems. To me this screams of heroin addiction. I eventually overcome my whiteness with the crowd and break into a conversation with her manager. They're getting ready to tour with her band, Rufus and her sister's band, The Tower of Power. Rufus is currently looking to replace their drummer. Here's a fact I will retain until later. I take his card and tell him I'll get back to him if I hear anything. Chaka comes down and she's obviously wasted. We get introduced but I don't think she'll remember that we were ever there.
We hang out for a while, but it is obvious that Chaka is too much, even for Buddy, and we leave and head back to the beach. Ed decides to stay at Buddy's overnight, so we go directly home. By the time we arrive, the sun is up. As I look down on the beach I see what looks like a school of squid. I show Buddy and he say that it happens all the time. Apparently there are a lot of sharks in the surrounding waters. The squid beach themselves in order to escape the sharks. Buddy tells Ed and me to follow him to the beach and we pick up about three dozen dead squid.
I awake about three p.m. to find Ed is gone and so is Alice. Buddy's still asleep so I make a pot of coffee. I'm about half way through my second cup when there is a knock on the door. It's Michael, and he doesn't seem to pleased. I awaken Buddy and as they gather in the living room I put my 38 Smith & Wesson in my boot and join them. Michael comes right to the point. "Who in the fuck do I think I am?" he wants to know.
As he says this he reaches into his bag and pulls out a chrome plated 45. I slip my hand into my boot and casually grab the 38. Though he doesn't point his gun at me he makes it clear that he is one pissed off individual. Buddy quickly interjects that I was acting on his direct orders. I have no idea who this clown is but I'm not all that impressed with him. However, I will be. Strangely enough we will become the best of friends. This isn't the only time I will become fast friends with someone who pulls a gun on me during our first meeting.
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Buddy calms the situation down to the point that Michael pulls out the inevitable vial of coke and lays us out some lines. I explain that I didn't know who he was when I was calling the numbers. All I knew was that Buddy's $25,000.00 Cadillac was missing, and he wanted it back. I find out that all the numbers I had called were to his various apartments, with a couple of hookers in each one. Michael is the front man, probably a Cappo, for a family. Michael is the black Mafia for the LA area. There is no real black Mafia, but the people he works for are a well-established "family." I mention my uncle's connection to the wise guys and that seems to calm him down as well. Michael is the first man that I have met that carries what we mid-westerners would call a purse. It's really just a brief case with shoulder straps. Even though I initially find this bizarre, I soon have one of my own. What's more, I will come to find it indispensable.
With the return of the Cadillac we at least have some wheels. I'm concerned about Buddy's outrageous limo bills, amongst other things. Michael wants Buddy to go riding with him. They both own show bikes. Buddy has the three wheeler and Michael has a hog with all the frame and forks twisted. Both the bikes are show winners and both worth about $25,000.00. I explain Buddy doesn't remember where he left his, but Michael knows. He gives me an address out by Long Beach, and says it's been in storage at $2.00 a day. When I call the bill is currently about $450.00. I call a Chevrolet dealership on Lincoln Blvd., and they come out and pick up my car. I take Michael home and then go over to the dealership to find out the damages and repair costs. As I drop Michael off, he apologizes about pulling the gun on me, and says when he arrived he had plans to shoot me. I pull the 38 out of my boot and say that the question was really up in the air. Michael finds this extremely funny and we part friends. I cruise over to the dealership and find the cost will be $650.00. This will eventually rise to about $900.00.
By the time I get back to Malibu, Alice has returned with some girlfriends. They're currently raping Buddy out on the deck so I sit in the living room and watch the tube. Fat Jack comes by and invites me to eat a little crawfish au gratin. Sounds hideous, tastes great. We sit at Malibu Bob's sampling the cuisine and Fat Jack's drug supplies.
About nine p.m. Alice comes looking for me to say Buddy wants me to drive him to town. A wise move since Buddy's license has been suspended. Buddy knows how to drive only one way, 90 m.p.h. What Buddy doesn't seem to understand, is that the LAPD has no sense of humor. None. I'm all for avoiding any imperial entanglements so I happily drive whenever possible.
When I return to the house, Buddy is ready to rock. He hands me a eight-gram vial of coke and his tape box. We jump in the Seville and head out the P.C.H. He wants to go over to Hollywood Bob's house. I head inland on Sunset and soon we're at Bob's. We go upstairs and it looks like the party in the bed is still going on, two days later! I see a couple of people I recognized from the Starwood. Buddy asks me to lay out some lines and I do. In just a few minutes the bullshit is really flowing and Buddy pulls me aside and tells me to go down to the car and wait for someone. I leave the third floor bedroom and walk to where the car is parked. I don't have to wait long. A limo pulls up, a man gets out and walks toward me. He carries a brown paper bag. Inside the bag, are two eight-ounce bottles of pure PCP. This is Danny the dustman. He hands me the bottles and says this will make two pounds of dust, when dropped on tea. He says that this makes him even with Buddy. He then reenters the limo and leaves. I put the bottles in the trunk and return to the party. I've been absent from the party about three minutes. No one, not even Buddy, is aware that I left.
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He asks when I'm going down and I tell him that the package is already in the trunk. He smiles.
With the package in his possession we quickly leave the party and head back to the beach. Fortunately Alice is gone by the time we return. Buddy hands me two hundred dollars and sends me to the Alpha Beta for some strawberry flavored tea. I buy a couple of pounds worth. The cashier smiles knowingly but doesn't comment when I make my purchase. I return home with 64 boxes of tea. We open all the tea bags, put the tea in two large storage bags and then pour a bottle of dust in each. We then shake them up real good and put them in the refrigerator. Buddy takes the empty bags and boxes, and puts them into the fireplace. We have a cheery little blaze. This unfortunately raises the temperature a few thousand degrees. We decide to sit out on the deck while the air conditioner attempts to cope with the heat. We sit and talk about Buddy's life. He's originally from Omaha, Nebraska. His family owns funeral homes there. Buddy was partially raised by Indians and has a full Chief's outfit, full eagle feathered bonnet and all. He actually considers himself part Indian. I don't want to burst his bubble, but he's about as much Indian as I am. He continues with his Electric Flag days and eventually comes to the part that really interests me, Jimi Hendrix.
Buddy has four gold albums on his wall from working with Jimi and he describes the details concerning each one. He ends with The Band of Gypsy's and then tells me something shocking. It's his belief that Jimi didn't die from a mere accidental drug overdose. Buddy says he was murdered. He says before Jimi went to England to join Mitch Mitchel for the Isle of Wight concert and the German tour, he was carrying over two million dollars in cash. Buddy says that in New York, before Jimi left, he and Buddy had gotten wasted in a hotel room. Jimi had brought the money out and they played with it. Throwing it up in the air and rolling in it. This money disappeared after Jimi's death. Buddy says one of Jimi's roadies and Michael Jeffrey, Jimi's manager who Jimi was about to fire, murdered Jimi by stuffing pills into his mouth and washing them down with several bottles of red wine. Jimi was given this and allowed to choke to death on his own vomit. I don't know whether to believe this or not, but it does make more sense than the official story.
This is the first time I've heard this story but it won't be the last. After this sudden revelation, Buddy says he's tired and goes inside to crash. I remain out on the deck with my thoughts. In fact, I'm much to comfortable where I'm at. With thoughts of murder most foul in my head and the sound of waves crashing on the beach, I'm soon lulled to a deep sleep.
A barking dog awakens me. It's that damn shepherd from down the block. I wish his owner had at least the brains of a duck. I get up and look down the beach to see what he's barking at. It's low tide and the dog has something, "treed" on a rock, about four feet off the waters surface. I'm too far away to clearly make out what it is. I decide to go and take a look. When I walk down the stairs to the beach I meet with the Australian girl, Carol. She has just come up from the beach and she's really pissed off. I ask her what's happening, and she says that the dog had chased the mother off the beach. "The mother of what?" I ask.
"That baby seal on the rocks," she says.
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Apparently sharks have chased the mother and child on to the beach. Then the dog has chased the mother back into the ocean. The baby seal has crawled on a rock and is now separated from its mother. The mother seal is nowhere to be seen. Without her, the baby will starve to death. She's going in to call the A.S.P.C.A., to see if they can help. She also mumbles something about killing the dog's owner. I walk down the beach and sure enough, high upon the corral, lies a baby albino seal. I scan the surrounding ocean and there is no sign of its mother. There is nothing I can do for it, so I return to the house and sit out on the deck thinking about the baby's plight.
I see Australian Carol walking back down the beach. I ask her about the A.S.P.C.A.? She says they won't come out. I ask her if she's heard of Marineland of the Pacific? She has. I tell her to call them, and mention there's a baby albino seal stranded on the rocks. I say, "Make sure you tell them that it's an albino seal."
She thinks for a minute, then turns around and goes back to her house. Ten minutes later she's back and says thanks. She has called Marineland and they say since it was an albino seal, they will come out and catch it. The baby may be thrust into show business but at least it won't starve to death. With my good deed for the day completed, I feel I can now face the day.
I twist up a Thai joint and return to my perch above the ocean. I think I'll do a little people watching. For example off on my left there are three teenage girls who are daring each other to go topless. They eventually get up there nerve and shed their tops. Meanwhile off to my right I see Fat Jack adjusting his telephoto lens, and snapping pictures of them. From behind me I hear signs of Buddy's awakening. So much for cheap thrills.
Buddy joins me on the deck. He has a hand full of the dust we made last night. He puts it on a tray and asks me to roll him some. I take the tray and begin to roll some joints. I ask what's on the agenda for today. He say that he has his new band members coming out tonight, for a meeting. He says Alice went back to San Francisco and he needs someone to fix dinner tonight,for his guests. I say I can cook, having been raised in my family's various restaurants, but why don't we ask Fat Jack to cook a little Cajun. He agrees, if we can get Fat Jack to do it. I say, "Why not ask him, as he's next door on their deck, taking pictures of the naked little girls on the beach?"
He says fine and walks back inside to call. When he returns, he says Jack has agreed to fix the meal. Will I take him into town and pick up the ingredients? I say I will, then I go back inside and get dressed. I return to get his keys and a couple of dusters for the drive into town. When I leave the house, Fat Jack is already waiting.
We jump in and head for the Alpha Beta. Fat Jack says he just needs to get a few things. He says that his father had just sent him a large box full of Cajun spices and other goodies. I ask him what's on the menu for tonight, my mouth already salivating at the thought. He decides on a recipe of his uncle's for shrimp and lobster. We arrive at the super market and go in. Jack is off down the aisle before I get out of the car. As I wander around looking for him, I spot a familiar figure roaming the aisles, Bob Dylan. I'm beginning to have a Deja Vu, so I take particular care in not bumping into him. I do give him the thumbs up sign and he smiles at me in return. Far out. We check out and return to the car and I light up one of the dusters. I pull out into traffic on the P.C.H. and begin the drive back. As I look in the mirror, I notice a big black and white behind me. He hits his lights and siren as I pass the joint to Jack.
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I pull over, but praise the Lord, he passes by and pulls over a truck in front of me. We both breathe a sigh of relief as Fat Jack passes the joint back. We return home and I help Jack carry the groceries back to Malibu Bobs.
Meanwhile back at Buddy's, his parents have called to tell him that his sister "Tootie" is coming down to LA this weekend for a visit. Buddy warns me his sister is gay and she'll be bringing her girlfriend with her. If I value my life, I won't be hitting on her girl friend. Buddy says Tootie carries a gun and she has been known to use it. Buddy, as big as he is, won't fuck around with Tootie. I say no problem and look forward to meeting her but I'm wrong on both counts. Buddy says to stay home and wait for a phone call, as he's going next door to Bob's. If Neil Bogart calls, he wants me to come and get him. He leaves another eight-gram vial of coke for my friends and me. That is basically why he has coke, to win friends and influence people. Like me, Buddy doesn't really care for it. He's basically a pot smoker, who got hooked on angel dust. Unlike me, Buddy can't handle the "duhzust". That's what he calls it, duhzust. Myself I'm perfectly happy with weed. Sure, I enjoy the occasion hit of acid, but that's about it. I don't like alcohol and I've never bought myself any cocaine. Any opiate makes me sick. I don't need or use any of those drugs because I'm hooked on reefer! It is basically the only drug I enjoy that I can handle. Being able to control the drug, not be controlled by the drug is very important to me, but I digress…
Ed calls to say that he'll be coming out tonight. Alice calls to say she'll be back in town this weekend. Michael calls to say he can't make it tonight and will call Buddy later. Craig calls to ask how it's going, and to say that his girlfriend from Detroit is coming out to visit. Tootie calls to say she'll be coming out Saturday morning. Wolfgang calls to remind us of his brother's party Friday night. Everyone except Neil Bogart. I even get a call from the clothes designer, reminding me of the movie shoot tomorrow morning in Beverly Hills. When Buddy returns, I give him the messages, and ask how the meal is coming. He smiles and licks his lips but doesn't say anything. I can tell that he's duhzusted. I take the telephone out on the deck and put on some Frank Zappa. With the soundtrack of "Two Hundred Motels" in the background, we sit and watch life on the beach.
Yet another yacht has gotten itself tangled in the coral, just off the beach. Buddy says it happens all the time when I tell him of my experience yacht watching. This one is more fortunate than the last one, as it only takes about an hour and high tide, to get him off.
I wonder why this keeps happening, as that coral reef must be marked on the charts. I would seriously like to have a boat repair shop in Malibu. I bet business must be booming. Fat Jack calls to say everything is ready except for the lobster. He wants us to call twenty minutes before dinnertime and let him know. I promise we will.
Ed arrives driving his Volvo. Since we have limited parking I ask him to park next door at Bob's. I haven't a clue as to what to do about parking tonight. Buddy only has two parking spots and we're expecting about sixteen people. Since this is LA, I'm expecting sixteen cars. Across the street is a mountain wall, below which there is emergency parking only. Much like the "White Zone," you can not park there. If you do, you will be towed. Oh well, it will work itself out. I follow Ed into Bob's to check out the meal. Heaven, it smells like Heaven in here.
Fat Jack has outdone himself. There is a delicious fillet gumbo. Three different shrimp dishes.
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A crayfish au gratin and red beans and rice. Inside the kitchen sink swim about two dozen lobsters. Both sides of the sink are filled with seawater and the lobsters are doing quite well. There are two five-gallon pots of water on the stove awaiting the lobsters. Jack is currently putting together a shrimp salad. I follow Ed around with a small plate, sampling the fare. I tell Jack he can call me anything but late for dinner. Jack takes enormous pride in his ability to cook. His beer belly isn't from drinking beer. I know I'm going to like having Jack for a neighbor. Bob comes up from the beach looking wasted but happy. He pulls out a joint of dust and hands it to me. I light it and pass it to Ed. Jack watches me and then winks. Apparently he's seen Ed in action. As much as I would like to stay, I've got to get back and watch Buddy. Yes, part of the job is baby-sitting. Maybe the most important part is protecting the star from others and himself. A never-ending quest.
I go back to find Buddy in the shower. I decide to set up the kitchen for dinner by turning the bar into a buffet. Buddy doesn't have a dining table, just the bar, so this could be tricky. Even with the t.v. trays, I can't imagine how this will work out. Oh well. Buddy is out of the bathroom so I dive right in. I take a quick shower and get dressed as soon as I can. It's a good thing, too, because people are beginning to arrive. Buddy has been busy rolling joints of his Maui Wowi and now switches to the duhzust. I pass out the joints to everyone and in my spare time I mix a few drinks. Buddy introduces me to the members of his new band, telling them that I will be his road manager. He also announces that he has a new manager. He says he's currently talking to Neil Bogart about financing the new album. Buddy calls everyone together for the meeting. He asks me to go next door and tell Jack to start the lobsters. He then says to come back and greet his guests. He wants me to send in band members and put every one else out on the deck and entertain them until he sends the band home. He is expecting another dozen or so later.
I go next door and tell Jack. Jack says dinner will be served in twenty minutes. I begin immediately to drool. I return with Ed and seat him out on the deck. I open up the side door to the deck. The side door is actually in the front of the house and forms a hallway on the outside of the house, ending in the deck. I decide to hang outside the front of the house and steer the guests one way or the other. I'm missing only the Anita Bryant Twins and when they arrive, all other guest's get sent out to the deck. Santa Monica Bob and Mary arrive with someone they say is their Attorney. I put them on the deck, pass the tray in their direction, and tell them it will be about an hour and a half before they can meet with Buddy. I notice the food arriving and enter to help set it up. When it's ready I make up two plates for Buddy and me, then bid everyone else to, as my dad would say, "come and get hit."
We spend the next fifteen minutes eating way too much of Jacks seafood snack. About a dozen burps later I find myself back on the deck talking with Bob and Mary and their Attorney, Bill. As it's going to be another hour or so before they can talk to Buddy I suggest we go next door to Bob's to talk. This is a bad mistake.
Have you ever assumed something? I mean have you ever made an ASS, out of U, and ME? Well, I just had. We go next door to Bob's and have a seat around the kitchen table. Santa Monica Bob and Mary have written some songs and would like Buddy to try them. Now I don't know these people very well as they are Buddy's friends, whatever that means. But, I begin to feel a little like Brian Wilson when first he met Charles Manson. There should have been alarm bells ringing, but there weren't. I can only explain it now as a certain youthful naiveté. Basically I wasn't paying attention. Malibu Bob comes in from next door along with Fat Jack and Ed, caring empty trays.
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I introduce their guests and Malibu Bob hands a duster to their Attorney Bill. He sits quietly bogarting the joint as the rest of us move quickly to see what was left of dinner. Sadly there will be no second helpings. As we return to our seats Mary puts the make on me, seriously puts the make on me, in front of her husband. I had figured the night before at Mary's had been a fluke. Now I was sure that it was. There was something in the air. Have you ever felt the hair on the back of your neck stand on end? Get those Deja Vu feelings? I was getting them now. So it was of no great surprise when Attorney Bill stood up and pulled out a gun and announced a robbery.
He tells us that this is just a robbery and if we cooperate, no one will get hurt. I'm thinking, if you get out of here alive you're going to be one lucky individual. I've got my 38 in my right boot, but I'm not sure who all the robbers are. Santa Monica Bob and Mary seemed as shocked as the rest of us. I can't be sure at this point what this is all about. He tells us to go into the back bedroom and shut the door. I, for one, am beginning to become a little hesitant about that last request when Bob gives me a sign. At least I hope it was a sign. We enter the bedroom and he closes the door. We can hear him start to steal things in the other rooms. What our thief friend doesn't know is that this bedroom is part of what was once a garage. The other half contains a small second bedroom, a storage area, and a door leading out to the front of the house, and the P.C.H. where he has parked his Mustang. Attorney Bill isn't here at the moment, so I take everybody next door to Buddy's. I leave Ed to explain what has happened. I return to watch him pull out into traffic, heading back toward Santa Monica. I get his plate number and return to the party.
Jack is over in the corner threatening Bob and Mary. Ed is freaking out to Buddy. Malibu Bob seems happy to be alive. Michael takes me aside and asks what just happened. I tell him and he seems quite pleased that I had the good fortune, to take those people next door. He seems to think Buddy will look favorably upon this episode. I, however, am one pissed off individual. No matter what is said, I brought that on Bob, who certainly didn't deserve to get ripped off by some space cadet. We return to Bob's to take an inventory. In the space of three or four minutes he managed to steal a new t.v. a stereo head, turntable, eight track tape, a set of speakers, a telephone and a bag of Bob's stash. I remember seeing him, vaguely, in the building when we were at Santa Monica Bob and Mary's. I decide a little talk with Bob and Mary would be in order so I return to Buddy's. Michael approaches me and says he's talked with Bob and Mary. They say that they had no prior knowledge of Attorney Bill's actions. Michael said that after he chatted with them for a moment, they had changed their tune. They then said that their attorney was, in reality, their boss at the apartment building. He is the manager where they live. He told them he wanted to meet Buddy and offered them a ride when their V.W. mini bus wouldn't start. The reason it wouldn't start, we found out later, was that the battery had been disconnected. However, a plan had begun to form in my mind. I was, after all, responsible for this little disaster and it was up to me to repair the damage if I could. This plan includes Ed, who like me, was one pissed off individual and, more importantly, it includes Ed's bottomless wallet and Dennis, our ex-green beret limo driver, who knew the exact location of the building. I give Dennis a call.
Forty minutes later Dennis arrives. In the meanwhile, Ed has come up with two 38 colts from his car. He gives one to me and says not to worry about the gun, as it's his uncle's. Well, that's interesting. The mayor's own guns. I feel somehow special. Dennis heads the limo toward Santa Monica as Ed and I toke down on some of my Thai.
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It's been about an hour and a half since the robbery so he's had plenty of time to prepare for our visit. Whatever we do, we had better be quick about it. I decide to tell Dennis what has happened and what our plans are. If he doesn't want to become involved, he can drop us off. He says he will be waiting in the parking lot. We turn off the P.C.H. and pull up beside Mr. Bill's Mustang. It's time to rock and roll.
First things first. Mr. Bill's Mustang convertible with multi-layered silver pearl paint job. We can't get in as all the doors are locked. Ed has an opener, a large hunting knife. Perfect for opening a convertible. Nope, nothing inside. Lets look in the trunk. It's locked. Dennis had an opener in the trunk of the limo, a tire iron. The trunk breaks open. Nothing there. Meanwhile Ed is giving the paint job a "keying" with his Bowie knife that it will never forget. OK, enough of the foreplay, let's get down to it.
We enter the apartment building quietly, searching for the manager's apartment. There aren't many apartments that are occupied; most stand open and empty. We are wondering what to do when Santa Monica Bob and Mary enter and start for their apartment. They had taken off as soon as Michael told them to go. It has taken them the last hour to hitch hike back home. Ed stops them and asks, in no uncertain terms, where Mr. Bill lives. When Bob hesitates, he finds himself looking down Ed's revolver. Bob reconsiders and says Mr. Bill lives directly under him. As it's two floors up, we say shhhh to Bob and Mary and tell them to wait in the lobby until we return. We go up the stairs three at a time, and place ourselves on either side of his door. I knock gently as we pull out our guns, and Mr. Bill says, "Who's there?"
"It's Bob," I answer in my best imitation of Bob's voice.
"Wait a minute," he replies.
We hear the chain go off and the other lock open. As the door swings open, we make our move. We burst in together, knocking Mr. Bill off his feet, yelling freeze. I quickly kneel on his chest and place the thirty-eight between his lips. "I'm going to ask you this just once," I say. "Where is the stuff you stole?"
He can't really speak with the gun in his mouth so he tries to point in that direction. "I said, Freeze, Muther Fucker." I yell as I cock the gun.
Mr. Bill's eyes have become extremely crossed as he looks in horror at the Colt. I want Mr. Bill to understand that we are extremely disappointed in his actions. I want him to feel my embarrassment. Ed comes back to say that he's found everything plus a lot more drugs than what Bobby had lost. Ed says he'll confiscate them and turn them in to the police. I also ask Mr. Bill the location of his money, as Ed hasn't found any. He mumbles in his wallet and Ed relieves it. There's about $150.00 in his wallet, Ed collects it for our trouble and to pay for the limo. One more thing I want to know about is the location of his gun. He mumbles about a drawer next to the couch. Ed finds the automatic and pockets it. I pull the gun out of his mouth and pull my knee off his chest. He begins to cry, thinking I've stepped back to kill him.
I tell him to shut up and get up or I will let Ed do a little carving with his knife. He gets to his feet. I tell him to pick up Bob's stuff and put it in the limo. I also say, "Run or make a noise and we will kill you on the spot."
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Sobbing, he picks up the t.v. and we march him down to the limo and put it in the trunk. We return and make a second trip this time with the stereo. By the third trip we have recovered everything and decide to lock Mr. Bill in his own trunk. The lock was pried open, so he will have literally hours of fun before getting out. We get into the limo laughing our asses off and return to the beach.
As we ride back to the beach reality sets in, at least for me. I came within a hair of blowing Mr. Bill's brainpan into little jagged pieces. Had he been anything but cooperative, we would be wondering what to do with his body. Fortunately, it hadn't come to that. This was the closest I had ever come to intentionally killing some one. A time for reflection. Just one thought. I had better start paying fucking attention! In the background Ed and Dennis are congratulating one another, for the fine payback they had just participated in. I finally decide that, like Billy Jack, I'm basically a hippie. You know, peace, love and pass the joint. Also like Billy Jack, I try to follow the peaceful way. It's just that some people piss me off. Also, it occurs to me there will be no repercussions from this as we all know who Mr. Bill is. Michael had mentioned something to that effect before we had left. We arrive back at the beach and pull up at Bob's house.
Dennis is nice enough to help us unload, and we arrive at Bob's door in under an hour of when we left. Bob and Fat Jack are happy to see us return with Bob's property. After we set up the t.v. and stereo, we realize we have an extra telephone. Oh well, the spoils of war. When everything is working once again, we pay off Dennis with a righteous tip supplied by Mr. Bill and send him on his way. Then after he leaves, we split up the eight and a half ounces of Mr. Bills Mexican Gold amongst ourselves, giving two ounces to everyone, leaving half an ounce to party with.
I go back next door and the party is still going strong. The band has left and this is near the end of round two. These are mostly business contacts. The third round is on deck, out on the deck. I check in with Buddy and bring him up to date. As Buddy is busy, I tell him we'll talk about it later. I find Michael out on the deck. He's engaged in conversation with a man we'll call "Fluegelhorn Bob." Fluegelhorn Bob was considered by most to be the best Fluegelhorn player around. He is also a president of a well-known record company. That should give you enough clues. He is also a dust bunny and, therefore, a lot of fun to be around. Bob also drives a Lincoln Town car named "Jumbo," but more of Jumbo later. He has been boring Michael to death. Michael seems to cheer up as I sit down and begin to roll up some of the liberated Mexican. I see Calvin and Maggie sitting at the end of the deck and wave to them. They wave me over and I pull Michael along with me. When we get out of earshot, he says thanks. We join Calvin and Maggie and I pass the joint to her and light it up. My hand is shaking, and it's not from the drugs. She asks me what I've been up to lately? I tell her, Calvin and Michael the whole story, leaving nothing out. Besides I know that Ed must be in his tenth retelling, and I want to get the story told right. So I do this, amid much laughter and merriment, much to my chagrin. Nevertheless, it seems to work and I feel better. Everyone seems to approve of my actions but I'm not sure that I do. Oh well, like the lady said, "Life senior, she is a bitch!" * Get over it. I do.
Maggie has some good news. She has gotten starring roles in two of next summer's blockbuster drive-in movie hits.
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"Teenage, Spanking Candy Stripers" and my personal favorite "High School Girls In Bondage, Part Two, Mary's Revenge!" "We begin filming in early September," she says. "We start up in Monterey and we end up in Mexico in November."
Wow, an international locale. I'm really impressed. Not! I have sudden visions of Calvin falling over the rail to his death, twenty feet below, on the hard packed sand of the ocean. I flash back to Mr. Bill and the image of Calvin isn't so funny, anymore. But boy, I sure would like to get at all her, "hot monkey love!"
Round two of the party is over and round three begins. Most of the people joining the party are either friends or free loaders or both. Michael and I remain on the deck when everyone leaves for the house. Even though I'm still a little worried about Mr. Bill, fucking up the neighborhood harmony, Michael assures me that I have scored major points with Buddy. Removing a problem from the premises is the way it will be seen. I hope so. Malibu Bob and Fat Jack join us on the deck. I put on some music as Malibu Bob kicks out another duster. It seems Malibu Bob isn't holding any grudges. In fact, he seems pleased with his new telephone and two ounce profit.
Buddy joins us and hands me a bag of dust, and tells me to roll some up. He pulls Michael aside and they talk quietly in the deck hallway. When they return, Buddy sits down next to me. With a smile on his face, he tells everyone how I took care of business and how happy he is about it. As the rest of the party joins us, he will tell the story again and again. It is primarily from these retellings, that I get a bad news reputation among the Malibu set. As the story gets retold, I become some sort of "Detroit hit man." This couldn't be farther from the truth but I do nothing to mar this image. In fact, I go with the image and use it whenever I have to.
As I move around the party, I'm offered congratulations from everyone I meet. Oh well, I'll go with the flow. I notice Calvin and Maggie are gone. I learn later that Buddy had told them to leave and not come back. I start to clean up the living room and the kitchen. We've had the common sense to use paper plates and cups, so most of the mess quickly disappears. Buddy comes in and takes me into his bedroom to give me some coke to lay out. I notice his large collection of hats and admire several. One of the hats I'm digging on is a black English Bowler. He picks it up and sets it on my head. He smiles and says it fits and looks good. It does. He says this hat was made for me and it's mine. My costume is complete. Wherever I go from now on, I'll be wearing this hat. It will even save my life one night, but that's in the future.
I return to the party and begin laying out lines. Fat Jack and Fluegelhorn Bob are sitting in a corner. They're busily rolling joints of weed and arguing over whose is better. By this time nobody can tell the difference anyway but that doesn't seem to matter. The bullshit flows for the next couple hours until the sun rises and we decide to call it a night. When we get everybody out, we're still stuck with a lady from down the beach, who's crashed out on the couch. We decide to let her crash as we can't get her to wake up, and go to bed.
Someone banging on the door awakes me the next afternoon. I look through the peephole and there is one pissed off individual holding a shot gun on the other side. He screaming at the top of his lungs, "I know you're in there, Buddy. I told you to stay away from my wife." Ah, the lady crashed out on the couch last night. Well there are three things I can do. One, open the door and let this mad man come in.
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Two, shoot through the door and drop him where he stands. Or three, call the CHP in Malibu. I call the cops. The cops arrive in under three minutes. They catch our gunman, who is still yelling great obscenities at the front door and take him into custody. I come out and explain the situation to the cops and the husband. I tell him and the cops that if in the future he will keep his business with his wife between him and his wife, I will drop my charges. With a little prompting from the cops he decides to cooperate and the cops let him go. They do however keep his shotgun. As I shut the door Buddy wakes up. I tell him what just happened and he smiles and says, "I'm going to have to raise your salary." Far out!
After Buddy wakes up, I ask him if he would like to be a movie star today. He says he would, and what the fuck am I talking about. I remind him of the clothes designer, and the Woody Allen movie currently shooting behind Beverly Hills. I add that it's probably too late by now, as we were supposed to be there an hour ago. He says we can go anyway, as he wants to stop in Beverly Hills today. He gets ready in a hurry and we split. I find the address and park the car. It's a scene you see all over LA. The power trucks, the trailers, the catering trucks, the honey wagons, the drunken security guards. I approach the house, looking for someone to OK us. I can't find anyone, so we walk to the background of the set. The movie is called "Annie Hall" and is currently shooting the "party" scene.
I run across the clothing designer, who says we're too late to get in the scene. Oh well, I didn't want to be a movie star anyway. However if we want to watch the filming and can be very quiet, we can stand behind the cameras and watch. We do. We watch Woody Allen act and direct for about and hour until they take a lunch break. Woody is frantic; it's like watching a ferret on four double espressos. I would really like to talk to Woody but he's gone off the set and into his trailer in the blink of an eye. We decide to leave, as Buddy has business at the 9000 building on Sunset.
Buddy's new manager, Alan, has his office there. Alan is a CPA, and has an entire floor for his business. Buddy doesn't know how or why he became a business manager but that he certainly has the bucks cannot be denied. We go up to his office, and he takes us downstairs to the restaurant, and buys us lunch. Over lunch he lays out plans for the upcoming tour. Ron Stazner and Associates of Beverly Hills is booking it, with the backing of Casa Blanca. Apparently Alan has no problem getting a hold of Neil Bogart. Oh well. I enjoy the meal and pay close attention to Allen, when he mentions how to avoid paying taxes. Every time I meet with Alan, he always closes our conversation with tax tips.
Our next stop is Ron Stazner's house. His office is in a nice old house. Initially I wait in the car getting dusted and listening to old Jimi Hendrix tapes but as Buddy doesn't return, I enter the building with a group of people. They turn out to be Black Oak Arkansas. Stazner is booking their tour, too. They will also return to LA after the tour to record a new album. They're hoping to record at the Record Plant. They will. I finally find Buddy in an office, doing lines with an agent. Rather predictable, really. He introduces me to Ron and we shake hands. We sit and chat about the upcoming tour and Buddy asks me to find him a rehearsal studio. Unfortunately, what he wants to spend per week is about what a decent studio costs for a day. It won't take me too long to find one, but what a difference there will be. We leave Ron's office and I introduce Buddy to Black Oak Arkansas, as they had said that they wanted to meet him. We stand and talk for a couple of minutes, and I say we will stop and visit them at the Record Plant.
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Our next stop is at the Record Plant, where we visit with Jim the manager. For what we're going to need, the cost will be about $25.000.00. I know for a fact, we can get the same amount of time in a similar studio, for about $8.000.00 to $9.000.00. I sort of doubt that Casa Blanca will pay for the Record Plant at $25.000.00, but we'll see. We sit in Jim's office drinking up the contents of his wet bar as I lay out a few lines from Buddy's stash. Jim is checking his schedule for the three studios, and he finds an opening in February, right after our tour is over. Buddy says he'll ask Neil Bogart to contact Jim and iron out the details. As we leave Jim's office, Buddy wants to stop at Cary's room to see if he's in. We exit the building in the back beyond studio A. We cross a parking lot, enter another part of the building, and come to three doors, behind which are three bedrooms. We enter bedroom number one and I meet Cary.
Cary is a short, fat, black man about 25 years old. A very wealthy, short, fat, black man by the look of his new Mercedes Benz and Rolls Royce in the parking lot. I'm told he has a mansion in Beverly Hills. He keeps this bedroom, at $36.500.00 a year, as a hideout from his wife and family. His bed hangs from the ceiling and sways back and forth on ropes. He is constantly on the phone and only hangs up when he sees what Buddy has brought. Buddy reaches into his bag and pulls out a pound of dust. One look and Cary is licking his chops. Buddy hands him the bag and says that's $1.500.00. Cary takes the bag sniffs it and reaches for his wallet. He hands Buddy the money and reaches for the tray, sitting on a table next to the bed. He twists up a couple dusters and lights one up. Only after several tokes does he seem to notice me.
"Who's this joker?" he asks Buddy.
"This is my new road manager, Uncle Ernie," Buddy tells him.
"Is he the guy Ed was talking about last night?"
"He's the one. I'm very proud of him," Buddy says.
"Well, Uncle Ernie, have a seat and tell me what's happening."
I sit on the bed and it rocks slightly. "We just came from Jim's office. Buddy's trying to book some time for the new album." I tell him. He lights the other joint and passes it to me while continuing to toke on his joint. I take a toke and pass it to Buddy and say, "You've got a nice spare bedroom here.
"Yeah. It's my office." He turns to Buddy. "When does your tour start?"
"Sometime after Thanksgiving."
"I'd like to go with you, when it starts."
Buddy replies he'd be happy to have him. This statement would prove to be a major disaster. We party for a while, drinking up Cary's champagne and then leave.
Buddy wants to stop at the Alpha Beta' to stock up on groceries for his sister's arrival. He warns me, once again, to stay away from Tootie's girl friend if I don't want my nuts cut off.
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Apparently, Buddy had to stop Tootie from killing a roadie on her last visit. I can hardly wait to meet her. We finish our shopping and head home. When we return to the house Buddy calls his service to get his phone calls while I put the groceries away. Keith Moon has called. He wants to get together with Buddy this weekend. He leaves his current number and Buddy calls him back. They decide to meet Friday night and party at the house, then go out and raise some hell on Saturday. This is a party I don't want to miss. Two out of four of my favorite drummers. If I can just get a hold of Carl Palmer and Corky Lang, my life would be compete.
Fat Jack comes by with a plate of shrimp. We sit out on the deck munching on shrimp and doing lines of Jack's coke. Jack had brought his camera and wants to get pictures of Buddy and me. So after we finish the shrimp, we go out in front and pose for several pictures in front of Buddy's Cadillac. This finished, Buddy decides to go down the block and talk to some friends. I retreat back into the house and do a little cleaning. I had just finished loading the dishwasher when Craig arrives. He's brought his girlfriend, "Mary," from Detroit with him. Mary is voluptuous, an hourglass figure and extremely long black hair, a green-eyed beauty. I can see why he sent for her. My tongue is getting hard just thinking of the possibilities. I bid them enter and show them the house. I sit them on the deck and twist up a couple joints of Thai weed and light one up for Mary. She's digging on the beach and wants to go for a swim. She's never seen an ocean before and she does a strip tease out of her clothes. Unfortunately, she has a bikini on underneath. Fortunately, it's a very small one. I take her out front and show her the staircase between Bob's houses. I go back to the deck and ask Craig in my best Arabic voice, "How much for the woman? I want to buy your woman." He laughs and says that she's not for sale. I ask if he'd be willing to lease her? No. Well then, can I watch?
Fat Jack stops by and asks who's the girl in the blue bikini? When Craig mentions that she's his ole lady, Jack is visibly stunned. I can read what's going through his southern educated mind. Craig doesn't notice, but I do. I lay out a few lines to cheer him up, while we watch "Mary," splash in the ocean. Buddy comes in and asks what were watching. We tell him of Craig's good fortune. He joins us in our beach watch until Mary sees us all staring at her. She covers herself in mock embarrassment and heads for the stairs to join us. Craig goes and lets her in, as we sit and make bad jokes about him.
As she joins us, Buddy gets up, takes her hand and introduces himself. He kisses her hand and bows before her. She's eating this up and Buddy keeps laying it on her, thicker and thicker. Buddy can be extremely charming when he wants to. We all take turns welcoming her to the beach and California in general. When this is accomplished, I turn on the stereo and Jack brings out a duster. He lights it and hands it to her. She takes a toke and holds it in while she passes it to Craig. She immediately starts choking and asks what the hell is this. Buddy says, "Its Duhzust."
"Oh, I've heard of that. I've always wanted to try it."
"Well you're in luck then," I say.
This could be a lot of fun. Malibu Bob joins us and lights up another duster. Bob and I are the only ones that can handle the second joint. Fifteen minutes later Craig and Jack are gone. They can neither move nor speak. So Bob starts to fuck with them. This is a side of Bob I've never seen before and I like it.
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Meanwhile, Buddy, who has that "Look Of Love" in his eyes, is busily trying to talk his way into Mary's pants. Mary seems to be taking the buzz in stride. "This is just like crystal T," she declares. No shit. She doesn't seem to be aware of anything but her buzz. Fortunately for her the phone rings for Buddy and Michael distracts him.
I finally get her alone and ask her the usual questions. Where you from? Who do you know? Blah, blah, blah. I had met her briefly one night back in Detroit. She and her brother and his band had come out during Christmas vacation. Craig and I had jammed with them that night. I hadn't said more to her that evening than hi, and bye, as she left, right after our jam although her brother and his friends had stayed the night, after dropping acid with us. We chat for a while, until Buddy calls me in from the deck. He says for me to take Craig and Mary home when they were ready, as he was going out with Michael. He leaves me the keys to the house and car, then gets ready to go out. I return to the deck and join Bob in ribbing Craig and Jack. Mary, meanwhile, sits looking out over the ocean at the diving pelicans with a smile on her face. Life can be good.
Michael arrives in his "Beemer" to collect Buddy. He calls me in from the deck to do a line with me and ask how it's going. I ask when Buddy is coming back. "By noon," he says, as he goes out the door. Far out, alone at last. Well not quite but it's a start. I decide to take every body next door and blame it on Buddy. All he had said was to lock up when I left. I say, "I've got to close up the house. Can we all move next door?" Jack seems straight enough to walk next door but I have my doubts about Craig. Bob and Mary get up and leave the deck. Jack is trying to get up and I lend him a hand. That leaves Craig, who seems to realize that everyone is leaving. He suddenly snaps back to life and joins us in the living room. I lock the door and head them back towards the front door. Mary has forgotten hers clothes and goes back to get them while I wait. She picks them up, takes her bikini off in front of me and puts on her clothes. She doesn't say a word but smiles as she walks by.
I steer this group next door, somehow managing to keep them out of the street. The Pacific Coast Highway is about thirty feet from the front door. Although the speed limit is 35 mph, the average speed is closer to 60 mph. It's no place to lose kids or space cadets.
We reform on Bob's deck. Jack seems to be waking up. He decides to make a little Cajun snack. While Bob attracts a large group of hovering sea gulls with rotten lunchmeat, Jack begins boiling water. Mary is helping Bob feed the gulls; I help Jack with a huge box of Cajun spices. The whole box must weigh about 80 lb. I notice it was mailed from New Orleans. It must have cost a fortune to ship. Inside this box must be every hot spice known to man. Jack takes three Alaskan King Crabs out of the refrigerator and puts them in the boiling water. Too bad, the one seafood I don't like. Wrong! The way Jack cooks them, they're absolutely delicious. I've tried to eat crab over the years and I've never liked the taste. This doesn't taste like crab. I don't know what he did, even though I watch him like a hawk. Oh, how I wish he were a woman. Jack whips up a salad and we dig in. Ten minutes later and there isn't a crumb left. The sun is beginning to set so I decide it's time to take Craig and Mary home.
On the way inland I ask Craig where they're staying? It's been a couple weeks since we shared the floor at the Dress Revue. Craig has managed his money well. He's managed to get an apartment of his own. It's just south of Sunset and I drop them off, then decide to join them in the apartment to check it out.
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I spend about five minutes inside before making my exit. I can't really hang around Mary too long without wanting her. I've got to get laid. I bid them good-bye and ask if they want to go to a party at Filthy McNastie's North Hollywood club tomorrow night? They do. I tell them I'll be back to pick them up and leave.
I stop by the Mary twin's house. Nobody's home. What a drag. On a long shot I cruise by the Dress Revue. Of course, she isn't there. But miracle of miracles, I spot Mary at the taco stand on the corner. At first she doesn't recognize me in the Cadillac but then I see a big smile cross her face. "Don't fear the reaper," I say.
"Don't fear the reefer," she replies.
I ask her what's she's up to? She says she's just out to get some dinner for her and her roommate. I ask her if she needs a ride? She does so I take her back to her house. She's sharing a house off Western Ave. with a girlfriend. She says she's been looking for me for the last couple weeks but nobody would tell her where I went. I mention the fact that she never told me where she lived or gave me a phone number. I ask her and her roomy if they would like to spend the evening in Malibu? Mary is hot to trot but her girlfriend is a little hesitant until she sees were going to leave her at home and decides to join us. As we drive out Sunset toward the coast I fill her in about the last couple of weeks. She seems impressed by my rise in life.
We arrive at the house and go inside. The girls are getting off on Buddy's gold albums. I lay out some lines and turn on the stereo. We move out to the deck and sit digging the ocean.
"Anyone for a swim?" I ask. "We didn't bring our suits," they reply.
"It's a private beach. You don't need any suits."
As if to back up my statement, a group of naked teenage girls run out into the surf. They're still not taking the bait. "Got anything to smoke?" Mary asks. Oh yeah. I go get my supplies and ask her to pick her favorite flavor. Before she can reply her girl friend smells the dust.
"You have Angel Dust," her girlfriend asks?
"Sure," I reply and roll a couple up.
I hand them both a joint and sit back to watch the fun. I put "Relayer," by Yes on the stereo and search the refrigerator for something to drink. All that's left is a six pack of Coors and a bottle of wine. I bring three beers back to the deck and join the girls. The girls have managed to smoke about half of their joints by the time I return. They're both getting pretty wasted. I twist up a duster for myself and sit back and wait. I don't have to wait very long. Mary's roomy decides she would like to take a swim and asks if she can borrow a towel. I get her one and show her how to get to the beach. Mary, however, has something different on her mind.
We watch as Mary's roomy strips and runs into the ocean. We watch her play in the surf but we're not the only ones. I can hear Jack next door, talking to Bob about her. Mary is as horny as I am. I'm not about to believe Mary has been faithful to me but I do believe her when she says, she hasn't had sex since we were together. She does a slow strip tease to "The Gates Of Delirium." She comes over and sits down on my lap facing me. She starts to gyrate on my lap and that's all I can take. I gently push her off of me and rip off my clothes. We get it on, on the deck. Afterwards she decides to join her girl friend in the surf and I tag along.
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I grab a couple of towels and the keys to the house and we go down to the beach.
I've never liked swimming in the ocean. For one thing, it's too much like work. For another I know for a fact, that there are sharks in these waters at night. So after a brief dip, I roll out the towels and decide to get a moon tan on the sand. The girls join me and we lay down looking at each other's bodies. We're not the only one watching as Jack joins us. I introduce him to the girls and he offers them a couple of lines out of his bottle. We sit and chat for a while and finally decide to go back up to the deck. As we come up to street level, we notice the CHP has someone pulled over in front of Bob's house. Now if the cops only have a since of humor. There are four nearly naked people, walking by their headlights, but they don't seem to mind. As we get back inside, I breathe a sigh of relief. Jack hangs out for a couple hours, but can't seem to talk the girls into sleeping with him. I don't want to throw him out or piss him off. He, being my good food connection. He does eventually leave us alone.
I'm wondering what every man would wonder. How can I get these girl together in my bed? I know the odds are against it. I don't want to blow a good thing by asking. The girls are starting to get tired. So am I, for that matter. The girls have been sitting in their towels, since returning from the beach. They want to take showers now and I show them to the bathroom. As they take turns showering I'm going crazy thinking of the possibilities. Deep down I'm sure it's not going to happen, but you never know. When they return from the shower, I notice that they haven't bothered to get dressed. I see that they have something planned when they sit down on either side of me on the couch. I spend the next hour or so getting ravished and enjoying every minute of it. Afterwards we fall asleep on the living room floor. In the last six weeks I've been laid more often than I have in the previous two years. I love California.
Early next morning, after another three-way bout, I take a quick shower and round the girls up. As much as I would like to keep them here I don't want them here when Buddy returns. I take them back home and drop them off with a kiss. We say our good-byes and I head back to the beach. I get back just in time to clean the house up, before Buddy and Michael return. I give Buddy his messages and decide to tell him of last nights events, before someone else does. He says he doesn't care that I had the girls over. In fact, he'd like to meet them. "Fat chance of Fong."* I had way too much fun last night. Buddy shows me a knife he got last night. It's a huge knife with what looks to be a rhino horn for a handle. The handle is an intricately carved affair with inlayed stones of red and blue. Michael has a similar carved knife that he hands to me to check out. My only thought is I hope it isn't real rhino horn in the handles. Michael says he's got to run but will meet up with us tonight. I ask him if he's going to Filthy's party. He says he hadn't heard about it, but he will meet us there about ten. He splits and we walk next door to see what Jack is cooking. They're still crashed out so we return and settle for eggs and bacon.
We spend a lazy day at the beach. Buddy had at first wanted to go and check out some rehearsal studios but had decided to take a short nap instead. I wake him up about 8:30 p.m. He gets up, takes a shower and we head inland. I ask him if he wants to swing by and pick up Craig and Mary? At first he doesn't want to, then he remembers Mary and changes his mind. We stop at Craig's apartment for a minute, and pick them up.
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Then it's off to the valley. By the time we arrive it's just about 10 p.m. As we're walking to the door, I notice Michael pulling in. We wait outside until he catches up and all go in together.
We enter the bar and go back to the office. Filthy and Wolfgang are in the office. We sing a short chorus of, "Happy birthday to you." Filthy is forty. As his hair is longer than mine is he really looks more like 30 than 40. He's giving away his Filthy McNasty T-shirts and we each get one. As I collect T-shirts, I happily fold mine up and put it in my bag. That's right. I'm now carrying the "purse" everywhere I go. (Oh, and by the way, I still have that T-shirt in my closet today.) We hang out in the office for awhile ingesting great amounts of drugs until Buddy joins the all star band on stage for a couple of numbers. While Buddy joins the band, Craig and I help ourselves to the buffet table. Craig has a bag like mine and he fills his up with chicken parts from the buffet. When Buddy leaves the stage we leave the bar with best wishes to Filthy. We stop by Hollywood Bob and Mary's and Mary is still in bed. I wonder if she ever leaves her bedroom. We drink their champagne and snort their coke. Buddy kicks out some dust and we proceed to get wasted. I can't seem to remember what we were discussing but it must have been interesting for when I look at my watch, it's eight hours later and the sun is up. When I point this out to Buddy, he says we've got to go. Tootie is coming in this morning and he doesn't want to miss her arrival. We say good-bye to Bob and Mary. It's our last good-bye for within a week they will both be dead. Their section of Mary Pickford's old mansion burns to the ground killing them both. All these years later and I still feel the loss.
We drop off Craig and Mary at their place. We take Michael back to his car and return to the beach. Fortunately, Tootie hasn't arrived yet. There will be no sleeping today. I had better get used to this. I will run with Buddy for a week at a time without getting any real sleep. In fact, there will be a time when we sleep only on Wednesdays. I check the house over and decide that it will pass Tootie's inspection. I can hardly wait to meet her. I've heard so many stories and wonder how many can be true. I don't have long to wait. There is a knocking at the door and when I answer it, in walks Tootie.
She's actually a little bigger than Buddy is. She's not as fat as Buddy is, but bigger boned and slightly taller. She is accompanied by her girl friend "Little Mary." Little Mary is the exact opposite of Tootie. She is barely five-foot tall and must weigh about 90 lb. I can see why Tootie is in love with her. She is extremely beautiful with an hour glass figure. If it weren't for my prior knowledge of Tootie, I would be all over her by now and probably dead by now, too. I go outside and get their luggage and bring it in to Buddy's bedroom. Buddy will be joining me either on the deck or the pillows in the living room. I ask them if they have eaten lately. They have. I ask if there is anything I can get them or do for them. There's nothing. O.K. Would they like to do a line or smoke a joint of weed. Yes, they would. I hadn't mentioned any dust on purpose. Although Tootie smokes dust she doesn't want her brother to be doing any. I had gathered all of Buddy's dust up and hid it in his car. I twist up a couple joints of Thai and we settle on the deck doing lines and smoking weed. I mention our Cajun chef next door and Tootie, for the first time, smiles.
We sit and get stoned on the deck, until "Little Mary" wants to go for a swim. She and Tootie go to the bedroom and change into beachwear. Little Mary comes out in a suit that barely covers her nipples on top and next to nothing on the bottom.
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It's the first string bikini I've ever seen. I try very hard not to notice. The girls go down to the beach and Buddy and I remain on the deck and watch. Buddy says, "You know that Little Mary is bisexual, don't you?"
I say, "Thanks man. Are you trying to get me killed?"
He laughs. Very fucking funny. As big as Tootie is, she could probably kill me with her bare hands. Their swim finished, the girls return to the house and lay out on the deck in their suits getting a tan. Tootie like Buddy is dark skinned, but Little Mary is almost white and she actually has to put on vast amounts of lotion to keep from burning. Tootie is happy to dose her with lotion. I know I wouldn't, even if she asked me. It's about noon now and Jack should be waking up. Buddy sends me next door to see him about cooking a meal for us tonight.
I go next door and knock on the door. Bob is up but Jack is still in bed. We awaken him by blowing great amounts of dust smoke in his face. He wakes with a smile on his face and says, "I know that smell and I love it!" I give him a few minutes to wake up before asking him if he will cook us a meal tonight for Tootie. "Is she here yet?" he asks.
"Yes, she and her girl friend arrived about two hours ago. If you value your life, you won't fuck around with Little Mary!"
Buddy had given me two hundred dollars for the meal, and I give it to Jack to purchase what he wanted. I tell him to let me know when he's ready to go shopping and I'll take him to town. I leave him and go back next door.
Meanwhile Tootie and Little Mary have changed back into street clothes and are getting ready to do a little shopping. Since they arrived in a limousine, Buddy has given them the keys to the Cadillac. As soon as they leave, Buddy wants to know where all the dust has gone. He's a little upset when I tell him it's in the trunk of the car. He's worried that Tootie will find it until I tell him I put it on top of the spare tire underneath the cover. He cheers up when I reveal my dust stash and twist up a joint for him. I take a couple tokes and pass it to him to finish as we sit out on the deck. I ask him how long she will be in town. He says that it will be for three or four days at least, before they return to the Bay area. I tell him that I got Jack up and he agreed to cook diner and that I gave Jack the money and promised to take him shopping when he's ready. He says that Tootie should only be about an hour, as they are going to shop in Malibu.
As we await the return of the girls, Jack and Bob come by and join us on the deck. Jack has decided to make a blackened orange roughy. Three different shrimp dishes. Red beans and rice and a special Cajun salad. I immediately begin to drool. He'll also try to find a couple bottles of wine to go with the meal. We sit on the deck getting wasted waiting for Tootie to return. When they do get back, I take Jack and Bob to the supermarket to make their selections. When we return Jack and Bob go next door to begin preparations for the meal and I go back to Buddy's to await dinner. While I was gone Buddy had checked with his service and found several calls from Keith Moon. He calls Keith back and they agree to meet at Buddy's about 9 p.m. Tootie, meanwhile, wants to go and collect some shells and star fish to take back with her. I tell her that I know a spot and volunteer to go and get her some. I wade out to the same piece of corral rock that Alice and I had picked from before. Although it's only been a month or so the rock is crawling with star and shellfish.
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I pull a couple of gallons worth off the rock, and take them back up to the house to prepare. Tootie and Little Mary watch as I boil and then rinse them. They are very happy with the results. For the second time Tootie smiles at me.
Jack arrives with dinner and it's every man for himself. I'm beginning to see how Jack got so fat. Or maybe I'm just a guy who can't say no. The food is incredibly good. We polish off all five courses in about twenty minutes. I basically don't drink so I know where my beer belly is coming from. We stumble out on the deck feeling like boa constrictors that just ate some cows. Nothing six months of hibernation won't cure. After about an hour, we're starting to move around a bit. I'm first on my feet, and more important, the first in the bathroom. I get my shower out of the way, and get prepared for this evening's entertainment. Buddy, surprisingly, gets past the girls and claims the bathroom. It's a good thing too, for in a few minutes Keith Moon is at the door. I invite Keith in and he joins the ladies on the deck. Keith is wearing a rather bizarre jacket. It's a little number from World War Two. It's a SS General's jacket. Nice touch, Keith! The ladies excuse themselves and Buddy joins us with a vial of coke. He lays out some lines for Keith and me. When he's sure Tootie is gone, he hands me a bag of dust and has me roll everyone a joint. We sit and get wasted while Keith and Buddy relive old times. The sun is sinking by the time the girls return and I can see it's about time to go. Buddy hands me the keys to the car and asks me to drive them tonight.
We leave the house and head towards downtown Malibu. Our first stop is The Crazy Horse Saloon. The Crazy Horse Saloon is pretty much a stand up bar with stand up tables with just a few sit down tables. The furniture is made out of heavy oak. Good solid stuff in an Old World style. We get a pitcher of beer and take a seat while Buddy and Keith continue their old times talk. As I get when I'm around new people, I'm quiet. I do mention the fact that I saw the Who's last tour at the Pontiac Silverdome last December*where we talked our way inside, and up to the stage without tickets or stage passes and saw an excellent show. I tell Keith they must do something about security. Other than that, I keep my mouth shut and listen to the stories that Keith and Buddy are telling. It's too big a thrill, to be here listening in, to open my mouth and chance sticking a foot in it. Everything is quiet and cool when we run out of beer but can't seem to get the attention of a barmaid. To solve our problem, I take the now empty pitcher and go to the bar for a refill. Keith hands me a twenty-dollar bill and tells me to keep them coming. As I leave, someone comes up to the table and starts talking to Keith. As I stand at the bar waiting for my new pitcher, I hear a commotion behind me. As I grab the new pitcher and turn around, things have definitely changed. Where there had been a crowded, table filled bar room there is now a vast empty space. Well, not quite empty. The people are gone but the heavy oaken furniture now lies in little pieces. I see Keith with someone in his hands. He's using this guy as a battering ram to break up the furniture, and he's doing a real good job. Knowing when to leave is very important in life, and since The Crazy Horse Saloon is virtually next door to a CHP post, the time is now! As much as I would like to stay and watch the finale, I pull a much protesting Buddy away from the fight and out the door. As I jump in, start the car up and head for the P.C.H., I notice several cop cars heading our way, with flashers flashing, and sirens wailing. As we pull out, they pull in. *See "Uncle Ernie's Hippie Daze."
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I decide to take us out of town, in case someone remembers that we were with Keith and comes calling at the house. So I take the canyon inland as quickly as I can. As we have to go through the valley to get to Hollywood, Buddy wants to stop at Dan the Dustman's apartment. Dan is part of a group that smuggles dust in from Amsterdam. The dust leaves Amsterdam and arrives in Toronto. From Toronto it enters the US through Detroit. From Detroit it comes to LA and from here, it is distributed.
In case I forget that Buddy is a star, I'm reminded by it everywhere I go. By now I know Buddy for what he really is and I treat him accordingly. However, here at Dan's place he might have been king of the world. Buddy makes another deal with Dan for about 16 ounces of the liquid at about $100.00 an ounce. Buddy gives me the bottles and tells me to take it and put it in the car. I do. When I return, Buddy is playing the guitar and generally entertaining Dan and his other guests. I grab another guitar and join Buddy in playing "Them Changes." Buddy says, "I didn't know you could play guitar."
"Sure," I reply, "I've been playing since I was five."
We then do a Neil Young medley ending with me singing in my best falsetto, "Down By The River." After snorting great amounts of cocaine we move on. As we walk to the car Buddy says he didn't realize I could play and sing so well. He's thinking of having me join his band. That just goes to show you what Angel Dust can do to your brain!
We've laid low for a couple hours now and it's probably safe to return to the beach. Buddy wants to go to the Roxy to see some friends but I talk him into going back home. What with the bottles in the trunk and his sister being home and all. However, wishing to avoid the north end of town, I drive out to Santa Monica and come in from the south. It's barely midnight when we return. The girls have gone to bed and we decide to go next door to Bob's to hang out for a while.
When we enter the house we find a party going on. One of the guests is Fluegelhorn Bob. He's incredibly dusted. He is standing on the porch lighting books of matches, and waving them back and forth. When I ask him what he's doing, he says he signaling the airplanes. Out about five or ten miles you can see the airplanes lining up to land at L.A.X. Well I'm glad he isn't trying to contact UFOs like a crazy person! I sit and watch, making the occasional comment, but they all go over his head. He does keep me amused for an hour or so. He says we're surrounded by fairies. No, not those kinds of fairies. The fairy tale kind. And for a moment, I think he may be right. There is something flying around us. I have a really righteous buzz on and I can't quite make out what they are. There are no mosquitos in LA, and very few other flying insects, LA being in a desert and all. So what the hell am I looking at? I eventually catch one, and when I take it inside into the light, I'm still not sure what the hell it is. It's almost glass clear, you can see its insides. Some sort of fish fly I eventually conclude. But just for a minute there...
Jack returns from a liquor store, where he went to purchase various forms of booze. Jack and Bob have a couple girls here that don't smoke or snort. Hoping to confuse them enough to get them in bed, Jack has gone out and bought a liquor store. He proceeds to get them wasted and into bed. We hang around long enough to see him succeed and then we go home.
By the time we get back the girls are asleep and Buddy gets the dust out of the car.
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He brings it into the house and hides it under the bar. We sit and watch a movie on the "Z" channel and then crash out on the rows of pillows.
We are awakened the next morning by the girls fixing breakfast. They are already dressed and getting ready to go to Bel Aire for the day. I can see Buddy's not too happy with the prospect of losing the car for the day but he would be far less happy if he told Tootie no. The girls leave about a dozen strips of bacon behind when they leave. We immediately dive into them and begin munching furiously. As we are thus engaged someone knocks on the door. When this happens Buddy begins to sing, "Someone's knocking at the door. Somebody's ringing the bell. Someone's knocking at the door. Somebody's ringing the bell. Do me a favor, open the door and let'em in."* I do. There is a white Rolls Royce parked where the Cadillac had been. It's Keith. I let him in and we join Buddy in the living room
Keith has just bailed himself out and is making arrangements to pay for the damages. The damages total about eight thousand dollars. Keith could care less about the cost. What he would really like is his SS uniform jacket back. I go and get it for him. He doesn't ask what happened to us, as when he finished beating the guy senseless the cops were placing him under arrest. As he doesn't ask, I don't tell. Someone arranged for the bar to drop the charges and Keith's victim isn't pressing any charges himself. I just wish I could have caught it on film. Keith does have a rather substantial drinking problem, and within two years he will die from it. He sticks around for a while and we get him wasted again. Keith Moon is a lot of fun!
Keith leaves and Buddy decides to take a little nap. I go next door and find a collection of bodies all over the place. The only one up is Bob, and he has a tremendous hang over. We decide to go down to the beach, sit under our deck and watch the world go by. We hang out for a while smoking some dust, until Buddy calls out to me. I get up and take a couple of steps, when something sets one of my feet on fire. When I look I see a stinger sticking out between my toes. The venom sack is still attached and is still pumping venom. I sit down on the steps and pull it out. This will be my last bare foot beach walk. As I'm not allergic to the wasp's stings I don't bother with any medicine but decide its time to buy some flip-flops. The next time I go to town I do, and I've never walked on a beach since without shoes of some sort.
Buddy has called for a limo for this evening's adventure. Dennis comes out about seven and takes us back to Hollywood. Buddy is hot to trot to get laid. It's been a while since Alice went north. She was supposed to be back in town this weekend but we haven't heard from her. I remember the Mary Twins and suggest we stop there. We do and, surprise, surprise, they're home. The girls are digging on Buddy and he feels the same way about them. They were going to The Whisky to see Blondie, and they ask us if we want to go along. Buddy says sure and we head out for The Whisky.
The Whisky is one of three showcase bars in Hollywood. Every weekend you can generally get up close and personal with a lot of famous bands at half the price of a concert ticket. We pull up in the limo and get star treatment. No standing in line, no entrance fee and most important, free drinks. It's about ten minutes to show time and we decide to lay out a few lines for the ladies under the table.
*See Paul McCartney and Wings
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I notice a lot of people temporarily disappearing under the tables. Blondie comes on stage and I'm in love. I leave the girls and Buddy sitting at the table and walk up to the stage. I remain there for the entire show. For a punk band they're all right. Debra Harry, however, can sit on my face for a day, a week or forever. I can tell that this band is heading for the big time. After the set, I return to the table and every one has a snide comment about me. We return to the Mary Twins' house and they send out for dinner.
Buddy invites the girls out to the beach and they promise to come out next weekend. A five course Mexican dinner arrives, and we spend the next hour feeding our faces. Afterwards, I twist up a couple of joints, laying a line in each before the girls ask me too. The girls both want to take Buddy to bed but they don't want to hurt my feelings. I don't really mind and I tell them so. With my blessings, they remove themselves to the bedroom while I wander into the library. I find a book called Hollywood Babylon and I sit down and begin to read it. They're in there about an hour. By the time they come out, I've finished the book. Some really interesting reading. When the Twins return they ask me if I would like to join them, but I decline, never being one for sloppy seconds.
We return to the beach via Sunset. The girls have returned but are a little slow answering the door. Apparently they were busy. We enter and I go out on the deck and use the phone to call the service for messages. Buddy, meanwhile, is talking with Tootie. When he joins me on the deck he says that his parents are coming down tomorrow to visit for a couple days. He says that Tootie and Little Mary are going to stay in Beverly Hills when his parents arrive, so they can have his bedroom. I look forward to meeting his parents as it might explain a lot about Buddy and his sister. We spend the rest of the evening on the deck listening to stories about Buddy parents and his adventures growing up.
Tootie and Little Mary wake us up before they leave. Tootie says it's been a pleasure meeting me, and looks forward to our next meeting. I say the same to her and we hug before they leave. I'm amazed, but no one more amazed than Buddy is. I help Buddy clean the house as he wants it spotless, before his mother arrives. I then take a load of laundry to Santa Monica to the Laundromat. When I return I notice a black Seville parked in Buddy's slot. I enter the house and I am introduced to his parents. They seem to be nice people but they are incredibly black. Well, so much for his Indian theories. Buddy's dad "George," is quite a card. He has us laughing our asses off in no time at all. Buddy decides to take us out for lunch and calls the limo company. While we wait for the limo, Buddy mom wants to do a little shopping so he takes her into town for a few items. George and I wait for the limo. When Buddy's gone, he asks me how his son has been. Apparently, he's heard about Buddy's dust problem. I tell him I've heard the same rumors, but as far as I've seen, he's perfectly normal. George asks if I have anything to smoke. Why this surprises me I don't know. I guess it's because, I couldn't see my own father wanting to get high on anything but beer. I twist up a couple of Thai weed joints and pass one to George. He takes one toke and says, " Good weed. Is it Thai?" I like George already.
Buddy returns with his mom about the same time the limo arrives. We head up the beach towards Malibu, to a local restaurant. We enjoy a pleasant meal, and Mrs. Miles decides to join her daughter in Beverly Hills. We drop her off there and Buddy, George and I head out to do some serious partying. Buddy is running low on dust, and decides to stop by Dan's to score a bottle. We head out to the valley to Dan's. George keeps us entertained and laughing, telling us joke after joke. The man should really become a stand up comic. He's brilliant.
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When we arrive at Dan's apartment complex, we notice about two dozen men running towards Dan's place. It's a federal bust going down. If we don't leave immediately we're going to be part of it. I tell Dennis to get us out of here and take us back to Hollywood. We leave just in time and head inland. I tell Buddy that I still have about an ounce of dust left, so we can take our time making another connection. Buddy says he has about the same amount left at the house, and didn't know I had any. We cruise around Hollywood showing George some of the sights before heading back to the beach. When we arrive, we let the limo go. Buddy says he wants to replace the tires on his dad's car.
His dad's car is just like Buddy's except it is black. Buddy bought both of them and gave one to his parents. They're both about six months old and they really don't need new tires. Still, he insists on buying his dad a new set. He wants me to follow him to the dealership in Beverly Hills in his dad's car. As we leave I notice a large joint in the ashtray. Its dust and I decide to take a few tokes. On the way in on P.C.H., I apparently take one toke to many, as by the time we enter the freeway I'm far beyond buzzed. In fact I'm beginning to wonder if the car I'm following is Buddy's, boy I hope so. If it is or isn't I'm going to follow it anywhere, regardless. I've been wasted before but this is ridiculous. Fortunately, it is Buddy's and we eventually arrive at the dealership. Well, I hope this has taught me a lesson. It hasn't!
As we wait for the car to be serviced, I remember my bottle of Niacin and take a hundred-milligram pill. By the time the car is ready I'm straight, and we return to the beach. George takes his car to join his wife in town. Buddy and I decide to go to the movies to see the new Mel Brooks film, "Silent Movie." Ed arrives and wants to join us at the movies. The three of us take Buddy's car and head to the Wilshire Theater. By the time we arrive Buddy is wasted and can't seem to park the car. He's all over the curb and up on the grass. After several attempts he hands me the keys and says from now on I'm his chauffeur. I park the car and we enter the theater and see the movie. Afterwards we head over to the Rainbow for a little snack and then head upstairs to the club. Buddy is feeling good but is far higher than I was when I was driving his dad's car. I go to bathroom and when I return, Buddy is being hustled down the steps by two bouncers. Ed says he's gotten into a fight with someone while I was gone. Oh well, shit happens.
Our next stop is over to the Mary Twins' house but they're not home. We finally end up going to a house in Beverly Hills. This is Record Plant Jim's house. Jim and his secretary "Mary" are out in the pool. We join them and Buddy decides he wants to go swimming. I point out that he hasn't brought a swimming suit. He doesn't seem to mind. He simply removes his clothes and jumps in. Much to the distress of Mary. Ed and I take seats along side of the pool and twist a few numbers of some excellent gold Mexican that Ed has brought. Buddy, meanwhile, keeps us amused by doing cannon balls in the deep end. This goes on for what seems like hours and Mary finally leaves the pool. I hadn't noticed before but she wasn't wearing a suit either. Buddy and Jim eventually get out and get dressed. Buddy doesn't bother toweling off so when he gets dressed he's soaking wet. This should have been a clue for me of things to come. It wasn't. We hang out at Jim's until the sun comes up. Buddy is constantly smoking dust and is far beyond wasted. We stop and get some breakfast at Denny's, before heading back to the beach.
When we arrive, Ed gets into his car and heads home. When we go in, I head for my pillows and crash out. I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillows. However, I begin to have strange dreams. I can hear Buddy calling me off in the distance.
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He's saying, "Ernie, help me. Help me, Ernie. Help. Help." I awaken and it's no dream. I follow Buddy's cries and I see him strapped to a gurney about to be loaded in an ambulance. Buddy, being totally wasted, has scared the hell out of his mother. She in turn has called Santa Monica Psychiatric Hospital. They have sent an ambulance to collect Buddy. This has apparently happened once before. After he is gone I talk with his parents. I tell them about his actions for the last month. They thank me for keeping him alive. They say he'll be in the hospital for the next couple of weeks. They want me to remain at the house and take care of it. They will be returning to San Francisco today but will be back as soon as possible, to take care of him and find out the results of the tests. They give me their phone number and tell me to call them if anything comes up. They leave and I go back to sleep.
When I awake, I find I'm alone. Alone, for the first time since I arrived here. Ah, feels good. I take a leisurely shower and clean up my act. I call the hospital and get a report on Buddy. He's doing fine and is sleeping. Michael calls and I tell him what happened. He says not to worry, this has happened before. He says Buddy will release himself in a couple of days. After I hang up I decide to go next door to Bob's. They ask me all about it. I fill them in and Jack wants to know what I'm going to do tonight. I tell him I have nothing planned and he asks if I want to join them for a party. Since I never met a party that I didn't like, I say sure. He says he's called an out call service and they have a couple of hookers coming by. Variety is the spice of life so I say, "I'll be there."
I go back home and call the service but no one has called. I check the food supply and decide to take a trip to the super market as I'm getting a bit low on groceries. I do my shopping and guess who I run into? Good guess. It's Mr. Zimmerman. I really want to talk to him but I feel that I shouldn't. Having had some experience with famous people, I know the one thing they like to be is unnoticed. Everywhere they go people are constantly coming up to them and bothering them. I know it goes with the territory. Still, if I were to put myself in his place, I would wish for people to leave me alone. Performance is one thing but everyone needs a private life. Unless I'm asked, I will leave him alone. So, I just smile when he looks my way and go on with my business. I pay for my groceries and go home.
Back at the shack there's something happening. Just south of my house there are several fire engines and a cloud of smoke. There is a Volkswagon Beetle across the street on fire and they have the northbound lanes shut down. All the neighbors are outside checking out the fire. When they see me arrive, several of them approach and ask what happened with Buddy this morning. I tell them he's O.K. and should be back in a couple of days. I go back inside before their questions get to the point. While I'm putting away the groceries Jack stops by.
He's gotten real bad news. His parents have called from New Orleans to say his brother has been killed in a traffic accident. Jack has to return home for the funeral. He hints that he doesn't think it was an accident. He really thinks its murder. He's called the airport and wants to know if I can give him a ride out to L.A.X.? I tell him no problem, and to let me know when he's ready. He leaves and I pull out a steak to thaw out. I'm sorry about his brother but I just lost my favorite food connection. He calls back to say that he's got a 5:30 flight and needs to be at the airport by 4:30 p.m. I tell him to come over whenever he is ready. As it's already 3:30 he comes by and we head out for the airport.
On the way out to L.A.X. he says his brother was driving his Corvette when he died.
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On a clear night, on dry pavement, in light traffic his brother lost control and rolled the car. He hints that there are certain people after his brother and himself. I wish him the best of luck when I drop him off at the airport. I ask him if he'll be coming back and he say he will as soon as he can. I turn around and head back to the beach.
I return to the house and begin to fix some dinner. Bob stops by to say the girls have arrived. I tell him I'll be over after I eat and he leaves. I've only been a paying customer for a prostitute once and even then my buddy paid for her. * It was his 21st birthday and his uncle, the "Wise Guy," arranged the affair. Oh, I've paid for pussy, don't get me wrong, I've been married twice, remember? I have a leisurely dinner and head next door. Unfortunately, Jack hadn't paid for their services and by the time I arrive the girls have gone. When I ask Bob why he didn't pay he says they wanted $1,000.00 for the evening. Oh well, probably just as well. I've never had a venereal disease and I'd like it to remain that way. I console Bob with a fat duster and invite him to come next door, as I want to be there in case anything happens. He joins me and we spend the evening watching the tube, in between phone calls and goes home about midnight. As soon as he leaves Alice calls to ask about Buddy. I tell her what I know and she asks if she can come and spend the night. I tell her by all means do. She says she'll be out in about an hour. I can hardly wait. I wonder what she means by spending the night? I don't want to get my hopes up, but ever since I met her, I've had it bad. I spend the next hour in anticipation of her arrival. It's almost an exactly an hour later when she arrives. I invite her in and help her with her luggage.
I place her luggage in the bedroom and join her on the deck. We talk about Buddy's latest problems for a while. She says that it's nothing new and not to worry. "They'll run a few test and let him go in about a week," she says. I ask her how long she'll be in town. She say she doesn't know. She asks about Craig and I tell her about his new apartment and old girlfriend from Detroit. She asks if there is anything to eat and I tell her that I just went shopping and to help herself. We go on small talking, avoiding the issue at hand for about an hour. She fixes herself a salad and a sandwich. I twist up a couple of Thai weed joints and pass her one. You can cut the sexual tension with a knife. After her meal she says she wants to take a shower and leaves to do so. I watch Dean Martin join Jerry Lewis on the telethon and wonder what Alice is up to. I'm still watching t.v. when she rejoins me in the living room. She dressed herself in a small towel. She finishes her joint, gets up and drops her towel. I drop my jaw. She grabs my hand and leads me to the bedroom. I'm on her like a big dog.
She wakes me up in the morning by sitting on my chest, and we go at it again. I get up and fix us some breakfast. We don't bother dressing and have breakfast on the deck in the nude. After breakfast we smoke a wake up joint and do it on the deck, then we take a shower together. When we get out she says she has to leave but will be back in a couple of days before Buddy gets out. I see her to her car, and kiss her hand as she leaves.
When I call the hospital Buddy isn't in his room. He off getting an EKG and some other tests. As far as the hospital knows he's doing fine. I decide to head into Hollywood today and visit Buddy at the hospital on my way home. I stop off at Calvin's and hang out a while with him and Maggie.
*See "Uncle Ernie's Hippie Daze."
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I ask him if he knows where I can get some more weed, as Maggie says the Thai man is out. He says he does and makes a phone call. He returns to say that he found some. We can go over to his friend's house and get some. We head on out and as I turn up Laurel Canyon, I notice a guy hitch hiking up the street. I slow down to pick him up but he is the spitting image of Charles Manson. I'm fully aware that Manson is in prison but I speed up and pass him by. Calvin laughs at me but agrees that in Hollywood you just never know.
We arrive at "Laurel Canyon Bob's" house. Laurel Canyon Bob was a member of "The Jug Heads" band. I've never met a cartoon character before. I'm surprised that Bob welcomes both of us in. He brings out some golden Hawaiian and we smoke a joint. Good weed, man. He opens his refrigerator to get us a beer and suddenly there is a overwhelming smell of dust. I ask him about it and he says that he indeed has some. I buy an ounce of the gold and tell him if he doesn't mind I may be back for some dust when Buddy gets out. He's a fan of Buddy's and tells me to bring him by anytime. We hang out for a while and as we leave he gives me his phone number. As we cruise back down the canyon, Calvin points out Frank Zappa's log cabin on Look Out Mountain as we pass by. It's almost kitty-corner from Chaka Kahn's. It's back out Hollywood Blvd. to Hollywoodland and Calvin's. I drop him off with thanks and head over to Craig's. No one's home so I head back out Sunset to the beach, having forgotten about the hospital. By the time I'm almost home, I remember and decide to call him instead.
When I arrive, I call the service and get the messages and then call Buddy. He's back in his room awaiting the test results. I give him his messages and bring him up to date about what's been happening. Alice's arrival, Jacks departure, a new source for dust and things in general. He says he's feeling fine and looks forward to getting out. I tell him that if he needs anything at all, just to call and I'll take care of it.
I decided to take a day off tomorrow and just hang out at the beach. I crash on the deck and get a great nights sleep. When I awake it's past noon, and I feel much better. I relax and soak up all sorts of energy. Fortunately no one comes by and I'm left alone for a day. I go to bed early and sleep out on the deck again.
It's eight a.m. and some one is banging on the front door. I get up, put on my pants and answer the door. It's Buddy. He's gotten a limo and come home. He's standing there in his hospital gown and slippers asking me to pay the limo driver. I let him in and pay the driver. I tell him I thought he'd be in the hospital for at least a week, maybe two? He says that the test showed him normal and he checked himself out this morning. I told him I could have done the same thing for him with a hundred milligrams of Niacin. I tell him in future if he overdoses with dust, just to eat a hundred milligrams. I'm surprised he wasn't aware of that fact. He takes a shower while I lay out some clothes for him. He spends the next half-hour on the phone and then joins me out on the deck.
He wants to know all about Jacks problems, and more to the point, when he will be returning? I tell him what I know and what I figured out. He's bummed out, no doubt about it. I get a shower and when I'm done Michael is at the door. Michael rode out on his bike. Heretofore I'd only heard about his bike. It's all he'd said it was and more. I've never seen a Harley like it. From the handlebars all the way down the fork the bike is twisted around and round. The frame is the same way. The bikes color is a metal flake gold. I take one look and I begin to drool. Michael says he has over $25,000.00 in the bike. He says he's won all sorts of first place trophies with it.
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He reminds Buddy of his bike and tells him that if he likes, we can go and get his bike. I can see Buddy dreaming about his bike and he immediately agrees to go and get it. Michael makes a phone call and says to follow him and he will take us there. We follow Michael out the San Diego freeway, past Long Beach to somewhere just north of San Diego. We exit the freeway and soon arrive at a gas station. Parked in the garage is the trike. It's a two-seat trike powered by a 327 c.i. Corvette engine. The storage bill is about $450.00 and Michael pays it. Buddy gets on it and we push it over to the gas pumps and fill it up. Buddy tries to start it and it starts up on the second try. Buddy says to take the Cadillac back to the beach, as he is going riding with Michael. They take off and I drive back home. Along the way I stop and pick up a hitchhiking hippie. He's amazed that a fellow freak is driving such a nice car. I tell him that's it's not really mine but it belongs to my boss, Buddy Miles. He's a big fan of Buddy's and says so. I ask him if he would like to smoke a joint of Mexican gold? He would. We do. I drop him off at the Harbor freeway as he's heading downtown and I'm going to the beach. I know I've made his day.
Back at the beach I await Buddy's return sitting on the deck and watching the naked ladies. Malibu Bob stops by to ask about Buddy. I tell him that he released himself from the hospital this morning and is now out riding his bike with Michael. I don't expect him back until tonight or tomorrow. Bob whips out the usual joint of dust and we get toasted. There is something going on down the beach. One of the naked ladies is laying on the ground writhing in agony. We go down to investigate and find that she stepped on a sea urchin. She has several spines sticking out of her foot. We decide that there are enough people ogling this lady and we return to the deck. So far we've encountered shark, squid, mud wasps and now sea urchins on this beach. All that are missing is barracudas and jellyfish. I think I'll do all my swimming in swimming pools and fresh water lakes from now on.
Buddy returns the next day looking like he hasn't slept for a week. He says they rode up to the Redlands and back and he is just a little tired. He crashes out and sleeps for eighteen hours. While he's asleep Alice comes home and joins him in the sack. I know better than to hit on her with Buddy around and find myself a little jealous, but just a little. When she asks me about it I reply, "We'll always have Paris."* I'm not surprised that she gets the joke.
When he awakens, Buddy says that he and Alice will be going to San Francisco for about a week and wants me to stay and watch the house. He will be leaving tomorrow and wants to take the bike in to the shop for some repairs. We'll pick it up when he returns. We drive out to the valley and drop the bike off. We return to the beach so he can pack for the trip. It's early afternoon when I get a call from New Orleans. It's Fat Jack and he wants to know if I can join him in New Orleans for a couple of days. He says he needs someone he can trust to assist him in his investigations. He's convinced he knows who has killed his brother. He can't convince his parents or the police that it was murder. His brother's death was ruled an accident by the coroner. He says that if I agree to help him, he will get me round trip tickets and pick up the tab for everything. I tell him that I will if I can get Buddy's permission to leave for a week. He says to put Buddy on the phone and he will explain it to him. I do, he does. Buddy says that since he's going out of town for a week that it's OK with him.
Chapter 3 page 74 The Buddy Miles Story
Jack says he'll call right back as soon as he arranges a few things and hangs up. Buddy says I can go and gives me $500.00, my back pay, he says. He actually only owed me $200.00 but that's Buddy. Jack calls me back in about ten minutes saying it's all set up. I leave L.A.X. about seven arriving in New Orleans about midnight local time. The tickets are at the airport in my name. I tell him I'll see him then and hang up. I have about five hours to get ready and I spend it packing and partying with Buddy and Alice. Before we go to the airport, Buddy takes us out to his favorite seafood restaurant for a lobster dinner. We've been smoking dust all day and are pretty wasted. After the meal Alice brings out some orange double barrel mescaline and gives me a couple of hits for the flight. I drop these on the way to the airport and by the time we get there I'm already starting to get off on them. Well, this should be an interesting flight. Buddy and Alice accompany me to the gate and we make a big deal out of my leaving. To look at them, you would have thought I was going off to war, rather than taking a flight to New Orleans. I wonder if maybe they're right. Now that I think of it, this could be very dangerous. We hug and kiss our last good-byes and they say they'll be back at the airport when I return. I give Alice one long last kiss and then board the 747.
Chapter 4 page 75
|Uncle Ernie Explains It All|
|Uncle Ernie's Go-Go Daze|
|Uncle Ernie's Hippie Daze|
|Uncle Ernie's Road Trips|
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The picture at the top of the page was taken during the Prolog. The picture below was taken during the Post Script.