Monday, January 10, 2011
Hollywood California, it even sounds romantic when you say it. My whole life had been about the town, the place, the concept.
The dream machine, a place where childhood obsessions of stardom and fame were acceptable, even preferable. That magical place known all around the world as Hollywood, city of stars.
I had always been one of those wide eyed children with a vision. Had always thought of myself as part of the mystique. It was my home as far back as I could remember.
I'd gone to grade school in Laurel Canyon in the 50's, before we went to Arizona. The Wonderland Ave. School at the corner of Lookout Mountain Dr. and Wonderland Ave.
I had always felt the pull of electricity from the city below at Sunset Blvd. and Crescent Heights, where Googy's and Schwab's drugstore were.
I loved the town in a way I cannot put into words. It was just as much a part of me as breathing, and when I wasn't there I always knew I would be...eventually.
* * *
I drove south for a long time, down 101 to L.A. I plotted in my head a story to tell to someone, anyone, about why I needed to be there. Carol Paulus? Lois Johnston? Someone I hadn't met yet?
I would find a way, a place, like I always had. One more time, one more try, one more run in that town...my town...my world.
I don't remember with any accuracy where I landed at first, but I know that I did find a way and a place to put myself. I had learned long ago to conform to the needs of others to get what I wanted.
I was a human chameleon, always changing colors to fit into my current surroundings, while privately planning my next move.
Wherever I landed was immaterial, in many ways, to me. The fact that I knew I could sleep there and go there, was the point.
I would cultivate, as I always had, a series of places where I was welcomed, or allowed to enter and leave as I chose.
If a problem arose, and it always did, I would leave and go to one of the other places. It was just something I'd learned to do over the years.
I was a gigolo as much anything else. It had been that ability which had kept me going through thick and thin in this town.
To me it was no more than a tool I used to get by, to keep going. The point was always the music, the rest was just a means to an end.
I was callous as hell in a lot of ways, and this was one of those ways. Like a dope fiend or drunk, the whole point was to get what you needed, so I was like that.
I had a tape deck set up at Lois Johnston's for awhile, and Carol Paulus had a tape recorder at her place, so I used them. I had a lot of tapes at Carol's, a lot of years worth of work.
I'd listen to my own music and try and figure out why I had never been accepted. Try to learn by listening over and over, what the missing component was.
Ultimately I'd just get pissed off and frustrated, saying, "Those stupid assholes in the music business just never got it. It was there," I thought, "they just never heard it."
Every day I'd roam around trying to meet people to use, trying to expand my world into something that finally made sense, that worked. Women who wanted me around, and would buy me a microphone as a gift, or an amplifier, or a box of recording tape.
I was one big manipulating mass of self-need that thrived on the thought of accomplishing that which I had never accomplished, namely, to be recognized and accepted for my work. To finally be treated fairly by an industry and town that I'd poured most of my life into since 1963.
Somewhere in my troubled mind I was conjuring up, for the thousandth time, the outcome of a dream...my dream, one with a happy ending.