Saturday, November 14, 2009


In 1980 I was able to reach a verbal agreement with Dennis and his law partner, George, with a written contract soon to follow.

As I wrote earlier, I was going to be paid $500 a week for a minimum of one year. The agreement allowed me to rent a small house in West Hollywood for $750 a month.

It was a lot of money for me to spend, but it was my new home, and I did a lot of work there writing songs and making demo recordings.

Initially I was quite pleased with my life, and began to allow myself the luxury of dreaming about new and positive possibilities for the future.

My nights were set aside for AA meetings, where once again I was viewed more favorably by various members, simply because I wasn't broke and miserable anymore.

"Everybody loves a winner," I thought, and I mused that my new supporters had not too long ago been my worst detractors. This was truly one of the more callous realities of my experience with Southern California 12 step programs in the 70's and 80's.

None the less, I did enjoy the freedom that a regular salary and home made possible, and once again I fell into the "Hey look at me, I'm successful" bullshit.

After a few months, Dennis and I decided, it would make sense for me to get a band together and go into the studio and cut some of the songs I'd been writing.

He and George were gung-ho on this idea, because they saw themselves as two hot-shot go-getters who believed they could and would conquer the world of music the same way others they read about had.

I did not try to quell their enthusiasm with horror stories about the music business. Their beliefs about the future, and the notion of guaranteed success, served my needs as well.

Once again, I contacted Ben Benay, and asked if he would be interested in putting together a band to do some studio recording with me. I told him everybody would get paid in whatever way he suggested, and that the money wouldn't be a problem.

Ben was excited that I contacted him, and agreed immediately to take on the project. He came up with Colin Cameron on bass, Jim Ponder on drums, Dave Pearlman on steel guitar, John York on backup vocals and guitar, Amy Philbin and her girls doing backup vocals, and himself on lead guitar, arrangements, and co-producer and arranger with me.

As usual, I made some demo tapes of my own at home, and then gave them to Ben so he could make up leed sheets for the players.

He also incorporated my lead guitar parts for the song "Outlaw" in the video below. There were four songs recorded in the studio in 1980, but there were many other songs that remain in only demo form to this day.