Sunday, July 26, 2009

(part 184) THE RETURN OF DP

Seemingly out of nowhere, I got a telephone call from DP. You remember him, the cocaine dealer from Nashville I wrote about. He said his call was to let me know that it had been him who had gotten RCA to buy my four songs and release "Stay With Me" as a single.

He went on to say he wanted to manage me, and that he expected me to accept this notion as payment for his help with RCA. I remember the feeling I had when I first heard this.

I was literally stunned by his remarks and the confusion this caused. It tore into my unsuspecting emotional state like a chain saw. The questions it raised about my beliefs and the rebuilding of my life nearly leveled me on the spot.

It was the last thing on earth I expected to hear that day, and after getting off the phone, I had to think long and hard about what this might mean to my fragile new world.

To try and fit DP, and his lifestyle, into my world at that point was as far from where I thought I was headed as I could imagine. There was no reasonable way to talk about him and my girlfriend's father in the same breath, let alone put them together in business.

Think of it! A middle aged, middle class Catholic from New Jersey, who was in AA, paired up with a younger cocaine dealer from Nashville, and the two of them investing in and managing Bobby Jameson.

Yeah sure! I knew this was a non-starter from the moment I heard it. What I didn't know was how much truth there was to DP's claim about RCA.

Once more, the weird-ass luck of Bobby Jameson was staging a come-back in my current life. I'd thought that kind of shit was finally behind me, but suddenly realized it might not be.

Out of the blue, the possible tearing of the fabric I was weaving, was now front and center, and threatened the very foundation of what I was doing. The God awful pushing and pulling of the past had descended like a black curtain on my semi-peaceful world.

I immediately told my girlfriend about DP, and explained how he fit into my past life, and what he wanted to do in the current one. My new life was her new life as well, so I felt the need to tell her about the looming crisis.

I assured her I wasn't about to let a cocaine dealer from my past manage me, whether he had played a part in RCA's decision to get involved with me or not.

We agreed I should speak to DP further, and offer him 10% of what RCA had paid me for the four songs, if, in fact, his claim was true.

I had seen cocaine get into the heads of music people a lot, before I got clean and sober, so in the back of my mind something told me that DP had probably made his way inside RCA using cocaine as the pass key.

If he had someone at RCA that he was supplying with that shit, then he probably had more leverage than I wanted to admit. If this were true, "Where the hell was God in all of this, and where did that leave me?"

Later in December of 1977, me, my girlfriend, and her sister would fly back to New Jersey for Christmas with their family, and that would be when I could to see to the business with RCA.

I talked to DP on the phone, and told him I'd meet with him when I came to New York, and we'd get things worked out in person, which he agreed to. I kept it as positive as I could, so he wouldn't know how I really felt about his involvement.

Because of the amount of money my girlfriend's father had invested in me, I decided to keep the problem with DP under wraps until I knew for sure how it was really going to go.

By then, "Stay With Me" was beginning to attract attention around the country on various radio stations, some of which could be heard in New Jersey, where my girlfriend's parents lived.

They were very excited to hear the song on local radio, knowing they had something to do with getting it there.

Imagine how they must have felt, being straight laced people on the east coast, hearing their daughter's boy friend, from California, singing a song on the radio that was written about her, and that they'd paid for.

As the weeks passed, I continued writing and going in the studio to record until the time came to go back east for Christmas.

It was the end of 1977 and a lot had happened, and a lot was about to happen. I was excited about going to New Jersey and New York City, but extremely uncomfortable knowing I was going to meet with DP face to face.

I had already decided I was going to tell him he couldn't manage me, and I knew how he was going to react. It was going to be a showdown, and DP was gonna be pissed.