Monday, April 6, 2009



I met with Herbie and Martin Cohen at their offices on Santa Monica Blvd., in Hollywood, as scheduled, a couple of weeks earlier. We talked about publishing and how many available songs I had at the time. I asked them, "How many do you want?" They kind of snickered at me and said, "No seriously, how many unpublished tunes do you have available?" I told them I wasn't being cute, that I meant what I said. "I write so many songs that it's hard to keep track of how many, but if you give me a minimum number I can come up with it, whatever it is." This dance went on for a while and I finally convinced them I could fill up a publishing company by myself in less than a year. In other words create an entire catalogue of finished ready to record songs in less than a year. We came to an agreement that it would be my publishing company, ARIZONA MUSIC, and they would administrate it, whatever that meant. For this arrangement, between Bobby Jameson and the Cohen Brothers, I agreed not to write any songs for anyone else for a year, unless the Cohens refused the song after hearing it, and they would pay me $100. a week for the first year and then we'd see how it was going? I agreed to this because I was broke and because I thought they could get some of the songs placed and maybe get me signed to a new label, because they had some power in the business.

After signing this agreement with the Cohen Brothers I started getting a weekly salary and felt pretty good about what was happening. I moved into Gavin's house for $250. a month and got to sleep on the couch in the living room, while Gavin and Ron Radkovitch both had a bedroom downstairs. It was a lot of money for me to pay at the time but it was a nice house and they treated me like one of them, so all and all it was the right thing to do at the time.

I spent my time writing songs, making tapes and partying with Ron and Gavin. Everything was going along pretty well I thought. I started going down to the Troubadour Club at night a lot, which was located about a mile and a half from the house, at the corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Doheny Dr.. I'd go down there for a couple of beers and hang out and see who was playing.

One night in 1971 or 72, I don't remember, they were having a hoot night at the Troubadour, you know, a time when anybody could get up and play. I ran into Danny Whitten, Billy Talbot, Ralph Molina and some others there and Danny said he was going to play a solo set. He told me he was straight and I asked him how he felt about playing sober? "Hey, I'm alright." he said, "I feel good." I eye balled him for a moment and said. "I don't know Danny. Playin' straight when you're used to playin" loaded is a real bitch." "No really man, I feel good, I'll be alright," he said. I tried unsuccessfully a few more times to get him not to try it but he insisted that he was ok and looking forward to it. When his turn came up a while later, Billy and Ralph and I think Bruce Hines, all got his gear up on stage so he could play. I stood there wishing he would't do it because I knew how important it was to him and if it didn't come off good he would be crushed. He was a sensitive dude and I had known him for a lot of years. I was afraid for him because once you look out from a stage sober, at faces, it's a lot different than just playing for a couple of friends in an apartment. Anyway, Danny was determined to go on and he did. He sat on a wooden chair as I remember and said a few things about being there and wanting to play and then began. I watched him as he started and he seemed to have it together but then all at once it began to fall apart and I knew what was happening in his head at that moment. I'd been there before myself and it sucks! You just go blank and it's like you don't know what you're doing and the panic of public humiliation comes down on you like a landslide.

I stared at the floor in misery, for Danny, as he said he was sorry and left the stage. I knew in the deepest part of my heart what this must have done to him. He left that night and barely said anything to me and I remember his face and how he looked the last time I ever saw him. Later in 1972 I heard that he had overdosed on heroin after Neil Young fired him and it broke my heart some more. Danny was 29 years old.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bobby,
    Thanks for your insight and stories concerning Danny. I'm 57 and remember growing up in Columbus Ga. in the late sixties early 70's listening to Cinnamon Girl and others from 'Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere',unbeknownst that Danny was born here. I feel a connection I can't explain for a guy who left here at 7 years old, yet his guitar riffs bring alive this mill town of the 40's and provided me with a form of music that touches my soul.I would love to talk to you more about you and him if you are interested. My goal is to bring recognition here in Columbus and eventually the Georgia music Hall Of Fame for his important contributions to the music that is ROCK AND ROLL. Peace,