Saturday, January 10, 2009

(part 110) ST. IVES DRIVE

Frank Zappa and Herbie Cohen

I woke up this morning in tears, because the pain in my head is so bad. In the last few months I have been in agony. This morning I looked at my life and saw only hopelessness and misery. After a couple of hours, I wrote this trying to continue the story. (from 2009)

I have had difficulty in remembering, in context, the sequence of events in their correct order. Forgive me if I make mistakes. This is something of a double edged sword, in that I don't want to do it, but feel compelled to finish what I have started.

Because the two songs, "Junkie Jesus" and "Jesus Was An Outlaw Too," were in the movie "Clay Pigeon," as background music, I went to ASCAP, and signed with them. I got a $1500 advance, the only money I've ever received from either ASCAP or BMI in my life.

It helped at the time, believe me, because as usual I was broke. I felt as though it was a sign that things were going to get better, and I looked to the future with positive anticipation.

Months later, following the Jesse Ed Davis and Randy Newman session, I'd been hanging out with Gavin Murrell, and his roommate Ron Radkovitch, at their house in the hills. Gavin too, was convinced that things were looking up for me, and for himself as well, because of his work on the film "Clay Pigeon."

During that time, I met with Herbie Cohen and his brother Martin, who had represented Frank Zappa. I'd met Hebie Cohen before, with Frank, so it was a not a meeting without some prior context. Herbie was aware of the songs I recorded with Davis and Newman, and the movie, and he wanted to hear what else I had written that was unpublished,

I invited him up to Gavin's house, on St. Ives Drive, in West Hollywood, which overlooked the Sunset Strip near Doheny Drive. It was a nice place with large windows all along the back of the house, that opened onto a deck that looked out on a panoramic view of the entire city.

As usual, I had a lot of new songs. Some were fully finished and others partially completed. I played some things live for Cohen, and then played him a rough demo tape of other songs I'd recorded in Gavin's living room, both on piano and guitar.

Herbie seemed impressed with what he heard, but was an understated guy. It was hard for me to get an emotional read on his reaction. I guess the best way to put it is, that if he didn't say anything bad about the stuff I played him, it was good. Herbie said he would talk to his brother Martin and we'd all get together again at their office in a week or so, which we did.

After Herbie left, I asked Gavin what he thought. Gavin said in his opinion it had gone very well. Playing music for someone is different than just talking with them. When you create something, and then play it for someone, you kind of want to get an emotional response from them, to guage their reaction, but with Herbie this didn't happen.

As I said, Cohen was real low key. Gavin on the other hand was an onlooker, so he viewed the situation from a far less emotional stand point than I did. He was convinced it was positive, so I opted for Gavin's opinion on the matter.

After some general research I found that this song was written and recorded in 1972 on St. Ives Drive at Gavin Murrel's house, and was one of the songs played for Herbie Cohen. It says 1981 in the opening credit, but should say 1972.


  1. Believe me I understand what it does to you writing everything down and digging deep into your memory for all the details,I did the same thing when I wrote my short book "Raped By The Federal Government"..and I am going through the same thing now trying to piece my life back together, too many tears.I haven't worked on my new writing"In The Shadow Of Music" for about two months, it brings back too many memories.My ex Randy was here before Christmas with his wife, he spent three whole days here ..came over to my house sat at the piano and sang a new song he had written, that brought back many memories, I guess I still don't know how to deal with my in "Hellywood" I can't even get in my car to drive to the store without an Eagle's song coming on the radio and so it was with our divorce, no escaping.
    Anyway, hang on, I look foward to your writing and I wish I could help, I am always thinking of you.

  2. "Maybe tomorrow Bob, but not today."

    NEVER today!!!

    I wish I had more to say, but Ive never been very good with encouraging things to say in light of a bad situation. :-(

    Love you, Bobby!


  3. Bobby, PLEASE hang in there. I know how it is, and it's hard sometimes. But, PLEASE hang in there.
    And, let me know if I can do anything for you.
    Love ya--

  4. i read about native american.
    I never know about jesse ed davis.
    Is a native american compossitor?.
    ABout your music, folk fantastic.
    My favourite singer is johnny winter, i think this type of musica have true spirit of american, the past of america.

    I head your myspace, fantastic your songs...i liked Vietnam.
    and rest songs.
    Good work...i add to my visits..i want read, very interest.

  5. Dear Bobby
    Suicide is a bad idea - don't forget you'll never know what happens next - that's the worst part of being dead! You just never know whats around the next corner - I'm sure in your case it's good things - you've had enough bad for one life.
    Here's to your future.

  6. ps I can understand how hard it is to write about the bad times in your life - I never have myself - but you had the guts to start and you've got the guts to finish ... and it's really worth doing because it's a great story. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
    Best Wishes.

  7. come on!, BOBBY!
    song of the jesus and mary chains.