Thursday, March 24, 2011
(part 242) THE CALL TO MARTIN COHEN
I had run on empty before, but in 1985 I was completely out of gas. The wear and tear of twenty-two years of "keep on keeping on" had finally taken their ultimate toll.
Suicide attempts, record deals that never went anywhere, endless songs, no money, failure after failure, addiction and hopelessness, had finally won out over any resilience I may once have had.
I was sitting in the compound ruins of my life when I called Martin Cohen's office on the day I will never forget. Dialing his number was the direct result of having run into John Rhys.
It was that chance meeting that brought Martin Cohen's name up at all. It was John's success with Martin that gave me the idea to call.
The fact that Martin and Herbie Cohen still owed me $3700 dollars was a vague thought in my mind at the time. It was desperation at it's finest that led me to the slaughter.
"Martin! How are you?" I said uncomfortably.
"I'm fine," said Martin, "what can I do for you?"
"Well,"I said, "I ran into John Rhys the other day, and he told me that you were his lawyer in The Rose thing."
"Yes that's true," he replied.
"Well I told John I ought to call you, because I have been trying to get paid for stuff I did for years, and thought maybe you could help me get my money," I said.
"Money from who?" he asked.
"From everybody I ever made a record or wrote a song for," I said.
"What are you talking about?" he asked.
"ASCAP, BMI, record companies, publishers, everybody," I said.
"That's impossible," said Martin, "that can't happen."
"Well it happened to me Martin," I said, "It's still happening. I've never been paid in my life."
"I'm sorry Bobby, but that just doesn't happen," he said again.
"It does happen Martin," I replied, becoming more urgent, "I have never gotten a penny from anybody for any song I ever wrote or record I made."
"Listen, Bobby! That's just not the way it works in this business. What you're telling me just doesn't happen these days, there are too many ways to prevent it," he said.
"Martin!" I yelled, "Why do you keep saying that? I don't care how many things there are to prevent it. I have never been paid in my life."
"Look, Bobby," he said, "I don't want to sit here and argue with you about it. What you're telling me is an impossibility, so if there's nothing else you want to say, I don't think I can help you with your problem."
I stared at the receiver in my hand in disbelief, and then put it back to my ear. "Yeah Ok, Martin," I said, "I understand, sorry I bothered you."
"No bother at all, Bobby," said Martin, "Sorry I couldn't be more help."
"OK thanks. Thanks for taking my call," I said.
"You're welcome," he said, "have a good day."
I sat with the phone in my hand, listening to the dial tone. It sounded like an electric drill digging into my brain. My anger, and feelings of worthlessness, collided inside me like freight trains slamming into each other head on.
I wanted to drive to Martin's office and kick the shit out of him. "That fucking asshole!" I thought, "That can't happen! Yeah sure, Martin," I said out loud, "It can't happen except it did. It happened to me. Over and over and over. Fuck!" I screamed, "That fucking asshole and his brother are two of the pricks who did this kind of shit to me. Why the fuck did I ever call him? Why the fuck do I do this kind of shit to myself?"
My emotions spiraled out of control. I could not contain my reaction to Martin Cohen's arrogance on the telephone. "It can't happen! It can't happen! Fuck!" I screamed again.
My mind raced back to the day I'd tried to kill myself on St.Ives Dr. in the 70's at Gavin's house, because Martin and Herbie had cut me off, and now he had the balls to tell me it couldn't happen, when he had been one of the assholes that had done it to me.
Where the fuck was I supposed to go? What the fuck was I supposed to do? It seemed that everybody had an answer about me. No matter what part they played in it, I was always the problem.
No one ever looked at their part, just mine. Carol and that fucking telephone. Martin fucking Cohen and his asshole brother Herbie, my ex-girlfriend and her father, Dennis and George, Steve fucking Clark, Ken Handler, Randy Wood, Andrew Oldham, and Tony Alamo...
All of them had had a part in it. All of them had fucked me over one way or another. I couldn't take it anymore. I was losing my fucking mind.
I had to get out of this town before I killed someone, before I killed myself...