Monday, April 6, 2009


(part 109) "THE TOWER"

In 1972 and 73, the world of Bobby Jameson had crumbled into a state of chaos. Once again, the dichotomy between the twin heads of publicity and the true nature of events occurring in my life were at odds. The reality was, that I had become a walking time bomb. The publicity, as in the Rolling Stone article, did not fully make clear the depth of the problems I was engulfed in. It lent itself more toward the view that I had irons in the fire and projects in progress, without ever seriously analyzing the authenticity of my complaints. Like most things written about me, both then and now, Rolling Stone's article was a cursory overview, or glimpse, at eight years of my life in a nutshell.

I suppose it was due, in great part, to the fact that I was not famous enough to waste too much time or space on. Inside my broken world of thinking the article was just enough to hold onto, but not enough to do any real or concrete good in my life. No one particularly gave a damn that some "has been or never was pop star" had complaints about the record business and not being paid, which still holds true today. As well, the standard opinion was and is that I should be grateful that anyone even knows who I am.

I have never been foolish enough to ask anyone, ever, for anything beyond what I was due for the work I did. My complaint then, as now, fell into the ranks of, "I just want to get what I earned." Even though this simple fact and request was a valid one it was not attended to then and remains exactly the same today, some forty years later. I have heard every conceivable reason and variation of reasons why I wouldn't and don't get anything.

This constant state of rarely getting paid for my work, other than a few hundred dollars here and there over an 8 year period, literally beat me senseless. The lack of any tangible value for my work was devastating at best to my capacity to subsist by earning a living. No attention whatsoever was given to how I could possibly afford to meet my basics needs. The few times in 8 years that I managed to get a $100 a week for filling up someone's publishing company, was all I ever really made.

That amount, if broken down, came to $2,000 a year for 8 years. Think of it! From 1964 to 1972, on average, I made $2,000 a year for everything I had written, recorded, arranged, produced and performed in 8 years. Yet even now, as it was back then, I am sometimes ridiculed for even suggesting that I be paid anything for my work.

The point of this exercise is to give you some idea as to what kept driving me. What was in my head that I would think about for days at a time, while drinking and taking any drug I could lay my hands on? My anger and obsession over these problems would pile up inside me like an over-stuffed closet, until finally, there was no room left to fit anything more inside. I would just literally run out of space to fit in any more misery. It was at these times when the dramatic and deadly effects of all that had happened would explode into another self destructive event in the life of Bobby Jameson.

In late 1972 or 73, I don't remember, I was standing in the parking lot of Hughes Market on Highland Ave. in Hollywood. It was just before dawn and I had been loaded for days on pills and booze. I was frantically talking on a pay phone to Carol Paulus, and have no recollection of that conversation's subject matter. I can surmise that it was the same old thing, but don't really know for sure. I was just out on the street with no place to go and had called her out of desperation. I do recall vividly though the end of the conversation and you will understand as I continue.

I don't know how long we spoke but at some point she said she had to get off the phone and get some sleep, because she had to go to work the next day, Carol was a top hair stylist in the West Hollywood/Beverly Hills area. In the state of mind I was in, I felt like the last thread of hope had just been cut. I held the phone tightly to my ear and turned around gazing at the Hollywood skyline silhouetted against the coming dawn and locked on the shape of two 125 foot towers on the roof top of the Pacific Theater on Hollywood Blvd.

They looked like twin oil derricks poking up at the sky like skeleton fingers. As I listened to Carol's final words I said, "It's OK, don't worry, I understand." She then asked, "Are you alright?" "Yeah," I said, "I'm Fine. I'm gonna go and climb that tower." I hung up the phone and started walking toward my new goal, the tower.

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