Monday, April 6, 2009

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2008

(part 94) EDGEMONT HOSPITAL AND BIG SPOKE WHEEL


I ended up in the locked ward of Edgemont Hospital on suicide watch after my Continental Hotel experience. Edgemont Hospital was located right around Vermont Ave. and Hollywood Blvd., in the east end of Hollywood. I stayed there long enough for the staff to decide I was no longer a threat to myself, and in time, was moved to the west wing and allowed the freedom of the hospital hallways and inner outdoor patio where I could get some fresh air and sunshine. I was on medication to help calm me, but in my way of thinking the crisis was over for the time being.

It had been the combination of booze and cocaine that had gotten me so crazy but I'd since cleared my head and body of those effects. While I was in Edgemont, "drying" out as they say, 3 members of THE ROCKETS, Danny Whitten, Ralph Molina and Billy Talbot came to see me. By this time, The Rockets had morphed into CRAZY HORSE and somehow were able to get me out of the hospital on a 6 hour day pass and took me to a recording studio where they announced, "we're going to make a record!" They'd all decided that this would be the best therapy possible for me at that time and I was ecstatic at the prospect of cutting a record with my old friends Danny, Billy, and Ralph.

So armed with a fifth of J and B scotch, purchased at a liquor store on the way, we headed to the recording studio, of which, I have no memory of the name. When we got there I was reintroduced to Red Rhodes, whom I had not seen since the Working sessions in 1969. He was playing steel on the tunes we were doing, and Gib Guilbeau I met for the first time and he was playing fiddle. The songs we recorded were "BIG SPOKE WHEEL," written by me on a rooftop in West Hollywood in 1969 during an eclipse of the sun, and "My Body Doesn't Care." I have no memory of how they even knew about the songs or who was gonna pay for the session. Possibly it was Gavin Murrell who got it all together.

It was a remarkable gift they gave me and is captured for all time in the finished recordings. Both Danny Whitten and Red Rhodes are gone now but will live forever through the their music, which I am fortunate enough to be a small part of. These recordings are more important for their sakes than mine. It is another part of the historical record of music from the times, created by chance and circumstance, and the friendships of those who lived and died the music they loved and created. To me Big Spoke Wheel and My Body Doesn't Care are recordings made out of love and respect by those who participated in their creation.



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