Saturday, February 7, 2009



The hours turned into days, and weeks into months. There was nothing to do in the hospital but think about my troubles and take drugs. The routine was killer. No therapy, and no change to speak of, just a repetitious circle to nowhere.

I became the victim of my own warped perspective on what it all meant. One would have thought that someone busted up for the reasons I was, would have been a star candidate for psychiatric consideration.

Why was I still alive? I didn't know. When I'd started, back in 1963 and 64, it all made so much sense. I had a plan then--write songs, make records, become a star, and everything would be wonderful.

It was a far cry from that now, nothing made any sense. My feelings of failure and resentment were like quicksand, and no matter how I struggled, I could not free myself from sinking into the abyss of my own self pity.

I learned over time, that by redirecting my feelings of depression into anger, I could focus the destructive energy outward, as opposed to a self debilitating inward beating of myself.

Suicidal thoughts became aggressive thoughts. Aim it at them, I thought, instead of at me. Kind of like turning the gun on someone else rather than holding it to my own head. Although this was truly screwed up thinking, it did allow me to cope with my own demons.

I was suffering on many levels. Isolation, no security of any kind, feelings of failure, a damaged body and mind, and an overall sense of futility. This acute and chronic state of demoralization was lethal. I knew instinctively it had to be checked in some way, so anger became my ever present and increasingly important ally.

The main thrust of this particular form of personal psychology was my rock bottom belief that I had been used and then discarded by numerous persons in the music business, as well as the business itself.

My daily consumption of drugs and alcohol had only served to magnify these feelings and beliefs over time, and had finally led, unfortunately, to my destructive and bizarre behavior. Had I ever been clean and sober during these times, which I never was, possibly things would have been different, if only to have been less destructive.

Reality for me during those years was that drugs and alcohol were my only friends, and I was completely dependent on them for everything. It is clear to me now that my personality simply protected the practice of using, without ever acknowledging, that using was the main cause of most of my problems.

This kind of blindness had finally led me to more permanent forms of personal damage that would remain with me, to some degree, for the rest of my life.

* * *

As a kid, the first time I ever remember drinking was after parties my parents had the night before. My brother Bill and I would get up in the morning and go find unfinished drinks and sample them. We acquired a taste for this early on and always looked forward to those parties.

As the years went by, we learned how to get in to my stepfather's locked liquor cabinet, without a key, and we'd steal booze from various bottles refilling them with a little water.

I found too, that the buzz I got from drinking allowed me to shed my inhibitions when singing. This knowledge, once gained, served me for years, until it finally turned on me and began taking a toll.

But in earlier times, drinking beer on the weekends was just part of growing up in America. It was the social grease that many a young zit-faced teenager used to get past his own awkwardness and self doubt, particularly with girls.

Every guy I knew wanted to get laid, but the trouble was that those same guys always came face to face with their nerves. Once we learned about alcohol, we were all destined, to some degree, to rely on it for getting over the humps.

Growing up in Tucson, in the 50's, I learned that knowing how to fight, and being popular with girls, were the two most important things in life, and that where there was doubt, a little alcohol would fix it.

* * *

I stared at my feet, wondering why my problems with the music business always ended up with me getting hurt, or nearly killed, by my own actions. "Why didn't I take it out on them instead of me?" I thought. "These pricks deserve to be fucked with, I fucked me up enough."

My crazy thinking went a lot deeper than I knew at the time, and was singularly the basis for a critical change inside me. At the deepest levels, I decided in an instant, to cease being the prey, and from then on to be the wolf.


  1. Bobby, I've only recently come across your blog, and I went back to the start and started reading your remarkable story. I have nothing insightful to add, but I just wanted to say thanks for telling everyone your story, and thanks for all the wonderful music you've made over the years that I'm just now starting to discover.

  2. You are very welcome my friend, thanks for comin" around.

  3. "From prey to wolf"-at last! I hope you gave some of those music biz assholes the Molotov cocktail they had been so richly deserving for so long.


  4. Bobby, I'm afraid all I have to say this time is, thank you for keeping up with your story! I look forward to reading your blog every night now. I now can hardly wait to find out what happened after you decided to be the wolf rather than the prey.

  5. Paula is quite right about how prolific you are. As I've said before, to crank out very interesting videos to accompany your songs, to maintain a YouTube site and four or five MySpace sites, to create two or three poems a week, and to publish a remarkably cogent and insightful autobiographical anecdote nearly every day is nothing short of amazing.

    In this episode, especially, younger people reading this saga have your powerful testimony to the seductive and eventually self-deluding nature of all sorts of addictions: from the abuse of various debilitating substances to the addictive nature of the pursuit of fame and fortune. You came closer than most to the ever-elusive dream of fame and fortune in "show business"; you gave it many more tries than most; and you connected and worked with an amazing number of industry figures, musicians and middle men, certainly more than many who had a greater "commercial success." Your story is a constant reminder of the very difficult and torturous life the talented artist leads. For every one that makes it, thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands equally or more talented, fall by the wayside.

    Your continuing tenacity—both in the story itself and in the continued creation of your videos, your poetry, and your blog— are a true inspiration!

  6. I don't remember reading this before, but it starts to sum everything up. You have definitely got an addictive personality, which messes you up at the worst time when it should be the best time. And growing up you sure had the basic training for it. But that's history. Drugs sure skewed your reasoning. That's for sure. It's never too late to put it all back in perspective. Your body of work, musical and poetic is huge. I hope you can bind it all together in one place or project.
    I mean, gather it all together like a good shepard does his flock. Good luck my friend.