Sunday, April 5, 2009



I was on that roof for one reason. I was refusing to be forgotten by all who had prematurely written my epitaph in it's many forms. I was saying to the world, I am here, I exist. This was my need, to prove to myself that I had some modicum of power over my life, no matter how desperate. I owned this thing. It was an assertion of my presence in the world, and born out of my focus on those who had used me in the past. In my abstract battle with the music business, this was my version of a thorn in their side.

Ever since the days of Tony Alamo, and the massive Billboard ad campaign, local music industry's regard for me had been muted and for the most part negative. Their disapproving view of Tony Alamo was so complete that I had been held responsible for his sins. It doesn't matter to me whether the reader agrees with my conclusions, that is irrelevant. They were mine then and now, and are what drove me to do what I did. I had no capacity to sit by and be systematically swept under the rug by the self-annointed leaders of L.A.'s record and radio elite.

I slowly stood up, feeling the pain in my feet and ankle as my bones adjusted under the full weight of my body. It had been days since I'd slept and I was now feeling the effects. The crowd began reacting in anticipation of my next move and I drew energy from them as they waved and yelled up at me. We were connected. The atmosphere was more like a concert than a situation headed for a possible tragedy. I stretched out my arms toward the sky in an attempt to recharge myself with the invisible energy all around me.

I moved along the outer edge of the roof and headed for the extreme southwest corner of the hotel. There are 3 things worth noting about the roof of the Hyatt House. The swimming pool at the eastern end, the roof area itself, and a second structure at the western end opposite the pool. This second structure is almost all glass on the side I was on. While making my way along the edge of the roof, I saw a television cameraman on the other side of the windows, aiming a shoulder-mounted camera at me. Being the ham that I am, I could not resist playing to what I perceived to be live TV. The trouble with this was, I was not paying enough attention to what I was doing out there.

In my exuberance to put on a good show, I began looking for something I could do that was more than just making stupid faces. When I reached the very corner of the building I noticed a steel frame of some kind jutting out from the wall above the window on the second structure. It appeared to be a frame for an awning, but at the time was not in use. I decided that I could jump from where I was and grab onto the frame with both hands, like a monkey bar, which I'd done on the tower. It appeared to be made out of 3/4 inch galvanized pipe and was approximately 2 feet above me and 12 to 18 inches further out from where I stood.

I had not taken the time to notice that the wall of this other structure was made of stucco and not concrete like the sides of the hotel itself, or that the frame was fastened to that wall with screws and didn't appear to have been designed to hold any extra weight. Without thinking, I just leapt off the ledge and flung myself out in midair, grabbing the bottom part of the frame with both hands. As I hung there like an idiot, I realized I could not get back to where I'd stood seconds before. This was unplanned and scared the living shit out of me.

I hung there by my hands, 12 stories above the ground, in danger of falling, as the result of a stupid accident. The camera was now pinned on me at the window, and I was starting to panic. Looking up, I knew I had one chance only to save my life, because I was quickly running out of strength. It's amazing what fear can do for you when applied at exactly the right moment. I had to pull myself up on the lower bar, like a chin-up, and then drag my entire body up into this framework. There was nothing to put my feet on for leverage, so I was stuck with what I just described, as my only way out of this mess. I kept looking at the fasteners on the wall and watched them moving in the soft stucco.

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