Monday, April 6, 2009
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2008
(part 91) "ROCK N ROLL HOTEL"
I stood on the sidewalk waiting for the light to change. I was on Sunset Blvd. in front of the Park Sunset Hotel, directly across the street from the Continental Hotel. The Continental was nicked named "The Rock N Roll Hotel" because so many 60's and 70's bands had stayed there. As I waited at the light, rapid fire thoughts of Diane Linkletter's and my father's suicides raced through my head. I looked over at the old Ciro's building to the left of the Continental's west side where I'd once performed to a packed house in 1964. I have little or no recollection of leaving Cleveland or arriving back in L. A. in 1971 or how it was that I ended up at the Park Sunset Hotel, where I snorted coke and drank myself into a suicidal stupor of depression and rage. I saw my life as a series of unending failures and disasters in 1971 and had convinced myself of the hopelessness of my situation.
I'd spent days going over each record deal I'd been involved in since 1964, starting with Tony Alamo and progressing on to my last deal with GRT and the "WORKING" album in 1969-70. I made and released 8 singles and 3 albums, writing most of the songs, from 64 to 69 and by 1971 I'd managed to make $15,850. for all of those records and 7 years of my life. As I drank and snorted myself into oblivion I'd decided somewhere in that darkness to throw myself off the 11th story ledge of "The Rock And Roll Hotel." The light turned green and I walked across Sunset to the Continental's front door and lobby. I remember watching my feet as I walked with a purpose toward the hotel.
I walked through the front door and headed directly over to the elevators where I pushed the button and walked on as if I were a guest going to my room. I did not hesitate or have second thoughts. I was like a mechanical man, built to do one thing and one thing only. The elevator stopped at the 11th floor and the doors opened. I walked out in to the hall and saw a door with exit on it it. I opened it and stepped out onto a concrete landing with a short wall and a pipe railing around the top, separating the landing from the 11th story ledge at the back of the hotel. I looked north from the landing up into the hills dotted with houses and trees. I stood there for a moment and then swung my leg across the railing and then the other one. I was standing 11 floors up on a concrete ledge some 10 to 12 inches wide. In front of me was nothing but air behind me a 3 foot stucco wall with a pipe rail around the top.
All of a sudden the door I'd come through swung open and some guy with a uniform shirt said to me "Hey, you're not supposed to be out here and." He stopped in mid sentence as I stared at him glassy eyed and desperate. He disappeared and I knew that it was just a matter of time before the whole place would be crawling with cops. I sat down on the edge of the ledge with my legs dangling over and stared at the concrete driveway 11 floors down. My head raced and my emotions blew up like a bomb inside me and the tears raced out of my eyes like a river and I watched them fall to the ground below. I listened to the sounds I made as I sat there totally alone and in absolute pain sobbing like a broken child. "If only somebody had paid me, if only I'd met one honest person in the music business, if only if only," I thought, "if only."