Sunday, February 22, 2009
Continental Hotel roof
I was on that roof for one reason. I refused to be forgotten by all of those who had prematurely written my epitaph in it's varying forms. I was saying to the world, "I am here, I exist."
This was my need, to prove to myself that I had some modicum of power over my life, no matter how desperate. I owned this thing. It was an assertion of my presence in the world, and born out of my focus on those who had used me in the past.
In my abstract battle with the music business, this was my version of a thorn in their side. Ever since the days of Tony Alamo, and the massive Billboard ad campaign, local music industry's regard for me had been muted, and for the most part negative.
Their disapproving view of Tony Alamo was so complete that I had been held responsible for his sins. It doesn't matter to me whether the reader agrees with my conclusions or not, this is my belief.
They were my beliefs then, and they are my beliefs now. They are the things that drove me to do what I did. I had no capacity to sit by forever and be systematically swept under the rug by the self-annointed leaders of L.A.'s publishing, recording, and radio elite.
I slowly stood up, feeling the pain in my feet and ankle as my bones adjusted under the full weight of my body. It had been days since I'd slept and I was now feeling the effects.
Below, the crowd began reacting in anticipation of my next move, and as before I drew energy from them as they waved and yelled up at me. We were connected.
The atmosphere was more like a rock concert than a situation headed for possible tragedy. I stretched out my arms toward the sky in an attempt to recharge myself with the invisible energy all around me.
I moved along the outer edge of the roof, and headed for the extreme southwest corner of the building. There are a couple of things worth noting about the roof of the Hyatt House. The swimming pool is at the eastern end of the roof itself, and there is a structure at the western end of the pool.
This structure is constructed of nearly all glass on the side I was on. While making my way along the edge of the roof, I saw a television cameraman inside this structure, and he was aiming a shoulder-mounted camera at me.
Being the ham that I am, I could not resist playing it up to what I perceived to be a live TV broadcast featuring me on the ledge. The trouble with this was, I was not paying enough attention to what I was doing out there.
In my exuberance to put on a good show, I began looking for something I could do that was more than just making stupid faces. When I reached the very corner of the building, I noticed a steel frame of some kind, jutting out from the wall above the windows on the second structure.
It appeared to be a frame for an awning, but was not in use. I decided that I could jump from where I was on the ledge, and grab onto the frame with both hands, like a monkey bar, which I'd done before on the tower.
It looked like it was made out of 3/4 inch galvanized pipe, and was approximately two or three feet above my head, and stuck out of the wall some twelve to eighteen inches beyond where I stood.
I had not taken the time to notice that the wall of this other structure was made out of stucco, and not concrete, like the sides of the hotel itself, or that the frame was fastened to that wall with screws that didn't appear to have been designed to hold any extra weight.
Without thinking, I just leapt off the ledge, and flung myself out into midair, grabbing the bottom part of the frame with both hands. As I hung there like an idiot, I quickly realized that I could not get back to where I'd been standing seconds before. This was completely unplanned and scared the living shit out of me.
I hung there by my hands, twelve stories above the ground, and was in danger of falling, as the result of a stupid choice. This had been my downfall on the tower as well. The camera was now pinned on me at the window, and I was starting to panic.
Looking up, I knew I had one chance to save my life, because I was quickly running out of strength. It's amazing what fear can do for you when applied at exactly the right moment.
I had to pull myself up to the lower bar, like a chin-up, and then drag my entire body up into the steel framework. There was nothing to put my feet on for leverage, so I was stuck with what I just described, as my only way out of this mess. I kept looking at the fasteners on the wall and watched them moving in the soft stucco.