Saturday, April 11, 2009

(Part 7) Tony Alamo



Tony and Susan Alamo a few years after I met Tony

I met Tony in Hollywood in 1964, probably at the Carolina Pines, a local coffee shop hangout for struggling musicians, writers and actors. He was just another of the long list of "I'm gonna be somebody someday" people like myself, who scouted the streets, rumor mills, and hangouts for any info on the bizz. He owned a mail order company company called Mr. Maestro Records that sold boot legged oldies through the mail, and I always figured that's how he got by.

I don't recall exactly when it started, but when I would see him he'd say things like, "I'm gonna make you a star." I just figured he was mouthing off, but part of me wanted to believe this guy. I mean I was so hungry for fame I think I would have believed damn near anyone if they said anything good about me. That's part of the trouble with show business. People are in such need of being approved of that they trust others, who looking back at it now, shouldn't have been allowed to take out the trash.

Anyway, Tony pretty much had the magic touch when it came to bullshit, so I began inching my way closer to him, the more candy he dropped in my ears. Again, looking back on it now I guess he was practicing for the Tony And Susan Alamo Christian Foundation, which came about a couple of years later. When I knew Tony he was a pot smoking hustler from Hollywood via Montana. I was living in an apartment of his in Hollywood in 1964 when 2 Federal Postal Inspectors showed up at the door, with guns drawn, looking for him regarding an alleged mail fraud scheme concerning his mail order record business which he ran out of that address.

He must have worked it out, because it never came to anything while I knew him. It was just another example of how knowing him was like, "What's next?" He used to keep plenty of pot around so me and a few friends Danny Whitten, Bruce Hines, Billy Talbot, and Ralph Molina could stay high and work on songs. In those days everybody smoked grass so we were just glad to have it. Hell it was free. Danny, Ralph, Billy, and Bruce were guys I'd met in Hollywood when I'd first gotten there and we started living together so everybody would have a place to stay.

We lived in an apartment on Franklin Ave. near Highland and used to talk about when we would "make it" a term relating to "making it in show business." Strangely enough Billy, Ralph, and Danny went on to become the band "Crazy Horse" and Bruce was their roadie. The three of them had come from Ohio and were a doo-wop vocal group called Danny And The Memories, and they were damn good, I mean really good. And me, the scared kid from Arizona with a dream, I too went on to survive one of the strangest voyages anyone could ever imagine.

From the streets of Hollywood to London and back. From the nobody bottom to the nobody top and back again. I was still the human yo-yo on a string. Never sure of who I was, who I had been, or who I was becoming. From country to country and style to style I was Bobby Jameson the goddamned quick change artist always ready with another song, another look, and even another name.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I just figured out who Tony Alamo is. Federal inmate is what he is, child molester. You make him sound like a bad guy, but he was quite a bit worse than even that. Interesting read.