Saturday, December 27, 2014

1975 Contnued - Speaking Ill of the Dead

One afternoon, the ABC Records art department, which commonly went to lunch en masse, and commonly drank itself paralytic, staggered back to Beverly Blvd. to learn that someone had observed my mentor, the former king of LA rock publicity, being fellated in his office by his notably protuberant secretary. 

Speaking ill of the dead makes so much more sense to me than speaking ill of the living, as the dead don't mind in the slightest. While we're talking about Immorality in the Music Business. Ahmet Ertegun, who is widely understood to have exemplified class during his reign as the head of Atlantic Records. I have a woman friend whom the great man, failing to seduce with assurances of impending wealth and fame as a recording artist, loudly and publicly decried as a lesbian, back in less enlightened times, when lesbians pretended they simply Hadn’t Met the Right Guy. Call me old-fashioned, but I view with particular contempt older men who use their power and influence to get laid, as I do men who imagine that only lesbians could resist them. And yes, I have indeed considered that my disdain for the power-'n'-influence complex might have to do with my having neither, though God knows I certainly have the older part covered.

Within a few days of starting work there, I fell in love with the hair of a female member of the publicity department — a huge, globular, honey-colored Afro of the sort that the Brit chanteuse Julie Driscoll had sported notably years before. Its owner turned out to have a pretty face too, and a fetching manner, and I lusted after her in my heart (as Jimmy Carter would put it the following year) and elsewhere, only to learn that she was married, with a little girl. 

Bob Marley & The Wailers made their LA debut, at the Roxy. None of my romantic entanglements from the Starwood had lasted over 48 hours, not even that with the call girl with the heart of gold, so I took my friend and former bandmate The Kiddo. I hit on a waitress, only to realize that she was the former girlfriend of a former roommate, whom she’d treated like a human doll. I was’t nearly as pretty as he'd been, or as The Kiddo was, but she went for it anyway. 

Feeling pretty pleased with myself, I repaired to the upstairs of the Rainbow, a narrow parking lot’s width to the west, there to see if my sexual charisma might open additional doors. Honey-Colored Afro, of all people, made her interest in me manifest, marriage or no marriage. We jitterbugged to Sparks’ “This Town, Etc.”, which it had previously pained me to hear (I'd briefly been their drummer, and why them, Lord, and not me?), and repaired to my apartment across from the Comedy Store. She left her marriage, to an up-and-coming songwriter, and moved in with me. As a great many of her friends rang my phone off the hook trying to ascertain what had gotten into her, I took to referring to her as Her Nibs, later changed to the shorter, punchier The Nib. 

Once home from ABC Records, we would smoke Thai stick, listen to the Pink Floyd album with “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” and copulate with considerable zeal. She would make pork chops, indescribably delicious friend fish in the southernmost Minnesota style (she was from Austin), or a weird folksy concoction of tuna, cottage cheese, and dill, after which we’d resume copulating, after which we’d watch Honeymooners reruns. It was a nice life.

We observed Thanksgiving in a woeful restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and then, on getting back to Los Angeles, were both fired from AB fucking C Records. Learning of my return, after five months, to joblessness, I put my fist through a wall in the art department, wishing that it were the face of the former publicist. In fairness, it wasn’t a terribly thick wall. 

Writing this has given me a headache. I don’t like to remember having been a smoker, or an eater of pork, or a fairly prolific consumer of benzedrine, or promiscuous. The long and short of it is that I was rather a sleaze in 1975, mere mention of which gives me an unpleasant feeling, as too, come to think of it, do 1968, 1978, 1986, and 1996. I realize that doesn’t happen so much any more because one year turns into the next lately in around a week and a half.


  1. Well, I, for one, was entertained by this account, so it was not all for naught. Hope your headache subsided.

    1. Many thanks, rap. The headache comes and goes.