-February 2006-

Other Fein Messes

elvis flyer: Kista Cook

Elvis Birthday Bash Photo Gallery

The Elvis show went very well, and lost money again. Furthest travelers this year were the folkie Ronstad-Ramirez Band from Tucson. Twenty five acts, all terrific. It’s the greatest show on earth.



It’s Monday morning the tenth of February in the year of you-know-who 1964. The world is different place to me this morning; everything is in turmoil, everything is up for grabs and there’s something new and strange in the mirror. I stare for a few minutes until I suddenly realize that the strange reflection is me. I wonder why I’ve never seen this person before but I do know it has something to do with those four English guys with the Moe Howard haircuts that were on the Ed Sullivan Show last night. Shit, I had no knowledge of, interest in, or even the faintest awareness of Rock’n’Roll or anything that went along with it. I do remember the older girls a few years earlier singing along to “Big Boys Don’t Cry” but that too came and went. Something was afoot here and even at my freshly achieved age of 10 I could tell that much.

So, at 8pm est on the night of February 9th, I tuned into to see spooky old Ed Sullivan to see what was the hub-bub, Bub. Well, let me put it this way, when, because of my association with the great Dion DiMucci, I met (for a brief lightning bolt of a moment, met) AND shook hands with Paul McCartney, 30+ years instantly melted away and there he was holding that Hofner Violin bass left-handed and, with those big puppy dog eyes, singing All My Loving. And now, here I was. A full circle of life. Like finally meeting an estranged birth mother. And, this was a Paul McCartney that had recently lost his wife, had already lost his best friend, and his band, but to me, in that instant he was smiling and singing, and looking into the sun and not being able to look away, too. So mighty was that appearance. So mighty! I am who I am, what I am, and what I will always be since, and ultimately because of that moment. Just trying to chase down that magic, hold it for as long as Heaven will allow, leave a mark, and then move on to the next town and rock ‘em all over again. And again.

So, the evening of the tenth, my dad comes home holding Meet The Beatles and hands it me, happily and casually, and glad that I have an interest in something other than the New York Yankees, totally and blissfully unaware of what he has just handed over, what he has unleashed on the world. And right under his roof. Nothing less than a religious missionary. An eternal seeker, hunting down a deep magic first revealed in a long ago TV instant, and carefully doled out in shining Rock’n’Roll moments ever since.

And, do I really have to tell you how unbelievably great and life changing Meet the Beatles was/is?? I think not.

Concerts, now that was a tricky proposition. Ya see, in those first years of my true birth (1964) and life (’64 on), I’m just a little kid living up in the Bronx, and concerts, well they were happening in Manhattan, which involved a subway ride to and from, and maybe just me, or maybe me and another young ‘un to brave the 5 train. While NYC was not the OK Corral it would become under Dinkins and during The Crack Era, it was still not a comfortable scenario for my folks. But, in the summer of 1966, The Mothers Of Invention booked a theatre called the Garrick on Bleecker St. above the Café Au Go Go (where I would later see Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy, Furry Lewis, and even Mitch Ryder’s Detroit) and they were doing Sunday afternoon matinees. This was a negotiation I could win, and did.

So me and my buddy Sammy Klein took the D Train down to West 4th Street, and walked down 3rd, turned right on MacDougal, left on Bleecker and there we were. Now, in 1966, there was little you could find that better represented the new changing attitudes, sounds, sights, sensibilities than the Mothers. All the new bands that were popping up everyday seemed to know something you didn’t, none more than these guys. They were funny, outrageous, musical, and very theatrical. Unbelievably hip. Being there felt like I was I now inside the walls of the city. It was comforting, like I was on the winning team. I looked around at the others in the audience like I was greeting the survivors of a great disaster, and maybe we were.

I remember Frank Zappa coming out and greeting us with, “Good afternoon, Buckaroos”. I remember them doing the 50’s style, Big Leg Emma, the freaky (their word) Help, I’m A Rock,
the awesome blues rock Trouble Every Day (“I’m not black but there’s a whole lotsa times I wish I could say I’m not white”). Everything was magical, and daring, and subversive, and so completely identifiable. Yeah, even at 12.

After the show, at the record store downstairs I bought a copy of Absolutely Free, the second Mothers album. I remember that for some reason the album would be delayed about another six months, so now, I had an album no one else that I knew had. I am cool.

There ya have it, a couple of firsts on the road to becoming Top 10. Pretty soon, this would all be a blur as my life would be consumed by records, concerts, magazines. Hey, still is.

Scott Kempner is a singer-songwriter-guitar player with good pedigree, with someone in the dugout at all times and a quarter to call 'em... He now lives in L.A. Til he moves to Nashville.

Another Fein Mess/
AF STone’s Monthly
February 2006

Publick Notice

Last ish I wrote about some mental pressures, and some people became concerned about me. I’m sorry to have alarmed anyone. All Things Must Pass, and by George they did. (And the lost weight has stayed off! So far.)

Good Vibe Radio

Recently a program host at KCRW, the world-music NPR radio station1 in Santa Monica, was busted2 on suspicion of improper behavior with a 14-year-old girl. This got big play in the L.A. Times on a Friday.

The following Tuesday (1-17-06), the paper ran a glowing, if not worshipful article about Nic Harcourt, one of their air-men not under investigation.5 This article, by Deborah Netburn, refers to Harcourt’s “iconic” program, and effuses about the wonders He performs, including “his other job” as music supervisor of a new tv show which, though not yet seen by most newspaper readers (unless the readership is as small as people are claiming and only read by Variety readers), Netburn informs6 us, is just, well, wonderful. (With St. Harcourt providing the music, how could it be other?)

Harcourt, a “pioneer on the musical frontier” -- he’s been there eight years, we all remember what wilderness radio was before 1998 -- has, uniquely - miraculously! - “booked buzz7 bands.” Nic has “credibility” and “is credited” for being the first to play Moby, Norah Jones, and Coldplay (ergo he is responsible for their popularity), though his magnificent music-consultant presence on a “short-lived” ABC show last year is not held against him.

If your name is Netburn and you are gaga, Harcourt can do no wrong.8

(For another opinion on the KCRW conflict-of-interest front, see Neal McCabe’s letter at the end of this column.)

1 How do you describe such stations now? NPR it is, but once that would’ve meant the hippie station, like KPFK the Pacifica station that broadcast Patty Hearst’s statements when she was on the run. I find NPR stations suffocatingly politically correct, chock full of women and men who speak anemically. And we know who their audience is! Volvo-driving (Wait, I have a Volvo), liberal (uh...), middle-aged (I hope still!), kids-going-to-private school (uh....), bland taste (finally, a break), west-side (not me!) rich (and away we go!) Baby-Boomers (that tag extends to births as late as 1964, so Shut up, half of you!).

2 Actually the article said there was an investigation going on, no charges, but the article aired all the case’s possibilities and negative speculation.3

3 What‘s with American libel law? In Britain you can’t discuss the terms of an untried case in the press. Here, you can levy all sorts of dross and put ‘allegedly’ in front of it, or ‘the suit says.’ Recently (1-3-06) Robert W. Welkos in the L.A. Times imputed Christian Brando with details from a suit against him by his former wife. Do ex-spouses hold grudges? Do they exaggerate claims to whittle down their adversary to admit to lesser ones? Are claims, as such, untrue bec they’re not factual - yet? This “article” quotes “The suit paints...,” “the suit alleges...,” “allegedly...,” “the suit alleges...,” and “according to the suit...,” ‘”the suit alleges...,” “the suit claims...,” “according to the suit...,” while also, just to be completely one-sided, quoting HER lawyer, “According to Deborah Brando’s attorney, Brian Oxman, of Beverly Hills4 (sic)...,” “Oxman said...,” and “Oxman said....” Irrespective of the sexual assault charges, what IS known is that Welkos is really screwing Christian Brando.

4 What the hell? This is inserted as a positive, to buffet the wife’s case (with her fancy-shmancy lawyer.) If Christian Brando’s attorney was from Pacoima, it’d’ve been mentioned here - bec it’s not cool!

5 Was this spin control at work? Was a later article about Nic Harcourt rushed it into print to offset the bad NPR PR at KCRW, a most-favored-station of Timesies?

6 Debbie, new to my eyes, has a new word and she’s loving it! This tv show is “INFORMED” by music details, such as that a restaurant is square bec it plays Air Supply music and a woman is cool bec she gifts Bob Dylan music. (This in fact is an important explication bec most people don’t read rock critics, whose opinions she apes. And when they leased the Air Supply track for thousands of dollars, did they tell the band that it was being used to “inform” us that someone’s character is “cheesy”?) Music “INFORMS this world” she tells us, and tells us St. Nic “INFORMS” the music selection. I thought someone who “informs” was a fink.

7 When I think of a ‘buzz’ band I think of the Ventures, whose “2000-lb. Bee” was played entirely in fuzz tone. Harcourt would never play it.

8 “You Can Do No Wrong,” a great song by Carl Perkins, has never been
played by Harcourt, which is why I never listen.

Crick Crick

I like to save money as much as the next guy, but the Sony digital camera I got came with rechargeable double-A batteries. AA’s, in bulk, cost 40 cents each (or less, drugstore house brand), how badly to I need to save 80 cents by recharging? It seems silly.

And also, what’s with digital cameras’ “film speed?” It’s never indicated. This baby is 7.1 mega-pixels, so then if I drop it down to 4.0 (I can do that, they tell me) does that increase the “film speed” to allow me to shoot in darker situations, like increasing film speed, and graininess, on a real-film camera?

Jerry Lee! Jerry Lee!

I was interviewed by phone in my office by a guy in SF. He had a sound-recordist there to direct-tape my answers. Someone (the Smithsonian?) is honoring fifty important songs, one of them “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” and a SF friend suggested he talk to me.

I gave him an earful. I think WLSGO is a revolutionary record; when I hear it on the radio I am surprised they are allowed to play it -- it is a clarion call, a call to battle! For what, against what I don’t know, but it is an emotion-rousing battle cry, in part responsible, like Elvis, for the kids’ revolution of the 60s. “And let’s not overlook the fact that of the five big guys of the 50s, Elvis, Jerry Lee, Fats, Chuck Berry, and Little Richard, three were piano players, and piano played a big part in Chuck’s music. Pianos should be the symbol of rock & roll, not guitars!”

But when he asked me if I thought the sexual content of the song was a factor, I was struck dumb: I had never thought of it. OF COURSE “wiggle it around just a little bit” from the thrice-married 21-year-old was suggestive, but when I heard the record I was eleven, and like so many of my thoughts from that age, I never updated.

Oh, Bob, stick with movies will ya?

On Turner Classic Movies, Bob Osbourne was explaining Ed Sullivan (did they air “Bye Bye Birdie?”) and said “He was a newspaper columnist, but he introduced many of the era’s biggest music stars like Elvis Presley and the Beatles.” Elvis had been on tv at least six times before with the Dorsey Bros, Milton Berle and Steve Allen (who, by booking Elvis beat the pants off Sullivan in ratings and prompted Sullivan to cough up $50,000 for 3 appearances, a colossal amount of money).

Reminds me of my appearance on Split Second in 1973. I won the game but picked the wrong car. Afterwards I explained to them that one of the questions was wrong. In the category of Sullivans they had three to choose from: Helen Keller’s teacher, the turn of the century boxer, and the man who introduced Elvis Presley on his tv show. The last was “Ed,” and I told them it was wrong. They panicked, but since I won the show I wasn’t contesting the outcome.


Joe Queenan, in the 7/31/05 NY Times book review section, opens his review of a bad book thusly:

“Ten years ago, Kevin Costner’s career took a turn for the worse when he made a hugely expensive film called ‘Waterworld.’ Since then, the film has become synonymous with megalomania, hubris and all the other fancy words that journalists like to use when things fall apart and the center will not hold. But unlike his other movies ‘Wyatt Earp’ and ‘The Postman,’ which are really bad, ‘Waterworld’ is simply a dumb, expensive dud, not an epic studio-imploding disaster like ‘Heaven’s Gate’ or ‘Battlefield Earth.’ If you are in the market for a truly horrendous movie, one of the worst motion pictures ever made, you are going to be cruelly disappointed. ‘Waterworld’ stinks, but it does not reek.”

He could have stated simply that the book -- remember, this is a book review - was bad but not the worst, but instead trots out opinions agreed-upon by all critics and merrily trashes Kevin Costner, whose entire career, by Queenan, is a comedy of errors.

What are Queenan’s big works, that he can trash him so freely? He writes about filmmakers’ HUBRIS? What does he think his trash-talking is? Someone put a muzzle on him. And by tossing in “Heaven’s Gate” he is aligned with the Patrick Goldstein “I’m superior to what I write about” school, which ain’t even accredited.

More Things Everyone Knows But Me

In the 11/23/05 NY Times, there was an article about a White House tradition of “pardoning” turkeys instead of killing them - and sending them to Disneyland. It said nothing about when this tradition started (it says “previous years”) but I guess I was the only person shocked to see President Bush sparing their lives, after his record of executions in Texas.

I Should Have Invested in Stale-Bread Futures

I went by the post office at 7:50, drawn by their “We’re Open At 7.” Thought I’d beat the rush. I did, by 40 minutes. They still open at 8:30 (“for your convenience,”) but they let you in at 7 to get stuff from your postal box. Why, I ask incessantly, do postal WORKERS open fire at the post office and not postal patrons? At Xmas, the Hollwood branch on Cherokee had two windows open at noon and a long line. “Exactly what time of year do you open all six windows?” I asked the manager. “Oh, we don’t have the staff to do that.” But with the rate raise it’ll all be solved.
Already they’re closing the one near me on Saturdays - for my convenience of course!

Crystal Geyser water now comes in bottles that are thinner than before. When you grip them the sides collapse - a miniature version of the blimpish gallon soda bottles that must be grasped like a balloon. Mfrs skimp. One grocery chain thinned their produce bag to the thickness of milk scum, so an apple thrown in would exit the bottom. And when I used to go to 7-11 for Slurpees, I felt the thinning of the wax-paper cup so that it, too, collapsed in your hand. Cut cut cut. An 11.5 oz pumpkin filling can when the recipe calls for 12 oz. “Maybe they’ll buy 2 cans.” The Nestles chip bags that weigh in just below what every recipe requires.

Ah it harks me back to my childhood at the movies when they had 10, 15 and 25 cent soda cups. One was about 8 oz, the other about 12, the big one was something like 32! Needing the brain food that’s made me what I am today, I opted for the big one, and they handed it to me half full.

“You didn’t fill it” I said. Yes, he responded, and showed me a line halfway up the cup which said “Cup Full At This Point.” Someone manufactured a cup to cheat children, and the theater owner bought it!

And in a non-grace note, Ralphs Grocery has raised the price of stale bread. Once, outdated Halloween cookies, bread loaves, baked goods went on a wire rack for half off. Now, thanks to some calculations by the Main Office, a bag of dried-out danishes marked $3.98 when they were edible are now $2.79

That’s business!

Keen Eye For the Vambo Fan

Watching a PBS show about Broadway musicals, they get to the 60s and show some young people singing, outside in a park, a song from “Hair.”

Am I the only person who spotted The Sensational Alex Harvey strumming the guitar at the mike? Guess it was in England.

A Link To Smokey

Twice lately, walking through supermarket I heard “Hi, this is Smokey Robinson.” Whoa! He’s in the store! The manager asked him to say something on the PA!

... ‘and if you’re in the frozen food aisle, stop and pick up a container of my Bowl Full Of Soul gumbo.”

I probably will. I still regret not buying Conway Twitty jeans at K Mart in the ‘80s.

Travelin’ Man

Last week in December I drove around west Oregon - Medford to Eugene to Portland. Big snow had fallen 2 weeks earlier and I anticipated the worst. Yet it just rained. Part of the trip was scary. I left from Bend, and went south. At the Crater Lake road I considered cutting west to save 20 miles to Medford. I drove ten miles past “Chains Required” signs but figured the recent rains and mild temps had eliminated the snow. When I passed a Jeep wagon lodged in a snowbank (the road itself was clear) I wondered what had happened, then immediately encountered packed snow on the road. It was a downhill road with nothing but white on the ground and black clouds and night sky above. It looked like the end of the world. I tapped the brakes and the rental car slid. I made a cautious u-turn and headed back to the main road (97) to Klamath. If it had been an hour later it’d’ve been dark and I would have been scared to death.

But I was scared on the road from Klamath to Medford. It was a mountain road, and in the encroaching darkness, terrifying. I had driven in plenty of snow in Chicago and, especially, Colorado, but that was 35 years ago so I was full of dread on my climb, especially when a 4-wheel-drive vehicle in front of me slid to the right and lodged backwards in a snowbank. The road wasn’t icy, just slush between the tires! Mr. Scaredy Cat made it to Medford OK, but shaking.

I never had an audio book before, but wanted one for the long drives, so bought an Elmore Leonard CD set cheap, ten bucks with damaged cover. I’ll not buy another one. You must pay strict attention when you’re being read to: miss a name or an action and you’re lost. You can rewind, but what the hell, it’s not the same as poring back a couple of lines in a book, it’s tedious and inexact. At least for me. And even though it’s read by an actor (readings by authors, who are not speakers, is usually deadly dull), it’s still wrong. Stagings, with actors, is the only way.

At Powell’s in Portland I bought “The Story Of Classical Music (Read By Marin Alsop)” CD-set intended for kids. I know nothing about classical music, and thought an elementary primer would be perfect for the road. When she said “In Mozart’s day there were no CD’s or DVD’s” I winced but left it on, but then she gave 3- or 4-minute bios of the composers and 30-second music snatches, so I didn’t learn nuthin’.


In the 12/31/05 NY Times, Jodi Wilgoren laments the passing of an old restaurant, The Berghoff, in Chicago9, falling back on the meaningless old price/new price tack: “Started as a humble tavern where a mug of the house brew was a nickel...”

What does that mean? She’s talking about 1900. A week’s wage was $2. If you make $200/wk now, that makes it a $5 mug. And why say home brew? All beers were locally-made then. Why do editors allow this argy-bargy to go through?

9 I’m surprised this wasn’t scooped by the L.A. Times. Since being purchased by the Chicago Tribune the L.A. Times has had an inordinate amount of Chicago coverage - recently we learned there are 2000 coyotes in the Chicago area.


In that same piece, it said customers were stealing The Berghoff’s logo beer steins, for personal nostalgia or resale.

That resale value could be nebulous. Fr Rip says many people bought up 1976 Cadillac convertibles bec they were, by proclamation, the last year for convertibles. They cost, then, $15,000. Then they stored them at some expense, and kept the parts greased and the top fixed and the paint clean for twenty years, only to find out that they could only get about $17,000 for them as the 21st century neared. Nobody wanted the big old boats.

Likewise, when the Los Angeles Herald Examiner ran their last issue in 1989, the papers disappeared off the newsstand as soon as delivered. The only people who didn’t get them were newspaper-readers. You see those papers in plastic bags at swap meets today for $2 and $3. Deteriorating.

Cell Phone Etiquette

I am a big cell-phone booster. Champion. Fan.

In my early adult life I dreamed of three things and got them all: a typewriter with correctability that didn’t involve liquid or correction sheets (I’m writing on one now); a telephone that I could walk with: and a child. All have been very satisfactory.

When people criticize cell phone users I point out that the abusers are just boors: period. And I’m quick to whip mine out in a crowded elevator when anyone is broadcasting their call and half shout “Hey, Mom, how are grandpa’s hemmorhoids doing?” Or “Yeah, I’m in an elevator right now, talking at full blast.”

But you don’t make important calls on a cell phone. Especially in a car. (On a Seinfeld he tells Elaine that she cannot break up with a guy on a cell phone.) By definition - by its instability - a cell phone call is one that might give up at any second. You just don’t do it.

Xmas Business News

My wife bought the wrong camera at Target in Burbank. After Xmas she returned it to a Target in Walnut Creek, 360 miles away, without a receipt and they credited her charge-card. I can only guess that the store has its own bar-code on the box which shoots back the purchase-point info.

And we rented a car at Avis Media Ctr/ Burbank, an Impala whose brakes chattered and slipped when descending the Grapevine. (A steep hill 60 miles north of L.A.) On level land they worked alright, and we drove the other 300 miles with trepidation but no problem. I phoned the Burbank site and they arranged for a new one to be acquired in San Ramon, 15 miles from our destination. We got there tired and inconvenienced: had to unload the car completely rather than relaxing after the long drive.

The guy said “Did you fill the tank?” We said, “No, we came here directly. We don’t want to be here. The car was defective.” He said maybe our Burbank unit would cover the cost. We later got a bill that had an $87 charge for gas (1/3 tank). I pointed this out to the Burbank Avis people and they called Customer Service (for me!) and had the charge removed. They have also booked us cars in other cities so I don’t have to go through the maze. I’m still an Avis fan - it’s cheaper than Enterprise.

iPod Nation

My fr Don has 14,000 songs on his iPod. So then how does he make a decision what to listen to? I suppose random-play produces surprises, but what the hell is going on? People used to buy one album, one single, and listen to it til it was ingrained in their heart. Now what? You have more plentitude than you can possibly use. Just making a decision must be mind-breaking. And let’s hear it for movies the size of a postage stamp!

I’m For Equality

At Mayfair grocery in Hollywood, I walked past a woman with my arms at my side when she pushed a hip in my path. Did she say “We have to quit meeting like this?” or “Sorry?” No, she smiled and said “Next time I’ll call the police.” It was an ugly joke. Her daughter said “Mommmmm....”

My 44-year-old woman friend smiled and said that now that her 15-year old daughter is having boys come over, “I’m in love with all of them.”

I got it, she’s saying that young boys are attractive. Harmless comment. But if I said my daughter’s 15-year old girlfriends sure look good to me someone’d call the police and put an ankle-monitor on me.

Das’ Boot

The same gal had a date a couple years ago with a spiritural chanter (very big right now, crossing over) at his house. She discovered he wore an ankle-monitor bec he is under federal indictment for money-laundering for the Mafia in India. (She found that “intriguing.” She is an idiot.)

Lost, and Found, On the Net

"Liten film, En" (1999) (mini)

Art Fein: They probably didn't know what to do with their lives, I think. So they started doing things that, you can compare to Elvis, things that didn't make sense. I think that's what happened to them.

A quote from me. I have no more idea what it means than you do.
Maybe it was translated into German and back into English.

Al Kooper, AF, Todd Everett 1/16/06 IPO Festival chief David Bash, AF - Studio City Lanes,
Paul Body, writer John Tottenham, AF 1-4-06 Jessie Fein gets her ears pierced. 1/7/06
AF, former Rollin' Rocker Jimmie Lee Maslon Rhino Record Store's final day

- 57 -

Mark On The Move

Went to McCabe’s in Santa Monica January 14th to see the masterful Geoff Muldaur, whom I’ve seen several times, so was surprised and ecstatic to see him introduce a band consisting of John Sebastian, Greg Leisz and Van Dyke Parks!  (3 outta 4 on stage were simultaneously signed to WB Records in early seventies.)  They played in front of a large photo of Fritz Richmond, who died November 20th, and a pamphlet that Geoff wrote in tribute to Fritz was placed on every seat in the room – what class!  Sebastian played baritone guitar, banjo and harmonica, Greg everything with strings and Van Dyke accordian and piano. The set list was a dream (tunes I first heard from the Lovin’ Spoonful like “Wild About My Lovin’ and “Fishin’ Blues,” plus Blind Willie Johnson’s “Trouble Soon Be Over,” Sleepy John Estes’ “Drop Down Mama” and devastatingly sublime encores of Irving Berlin’s “Waiting At the End of the Road” and the setting of Bix Beiderbecke’s “Clouds” with words by Linda Thompson and Rufus Wainwright).  But it was the casual, friendly stories swapped by Geoff and John (about smoking grass with Mississippi John Hurt in Greenwich Village for inst) and the ESP-like instrumental interactions that gave us the hearts of those on stage.  “We even rehearsed some of these numbers, and it’s your job to figure out which ones” Geoff said to the audience early on.  I was too busy swooning to care.
-- Mark Leviton


KCRW radio host Chris Douridas is alleged to have drugged a 14-year-old girl in a Santa Monica bar (Jan. 14).  I believe there is a more plausible explanation for what seems, at first glance, to be a serious crime. 
Any listener to Mr. Douridas's radio show knows that his soporific delivery and bland musical tastes rapidly induce drowsiness, followed by deep sleep; driving while listening to KCRW constitutes a hazard to public safety.  Is it so unlikely that he may have put a young woman to sleep with his frightening lack of personality and non-existent conversational skills?  I suspect that the girl he carried out of the bar was comatose as a result of time spent in the company of Mr. Douridas. 

Perhaps she became woozy after listening to the mind-numbing musical selections Mr. Douridas played over the bar sound system, or maybe he let her to listen to his iPod, whereupon her head landed on the table.  Is it so surprising that a teenager would keel over from boring and derivative music programmed for unadventurous middle-aged dolts from the west side?  I think not. 
I have long feared that the entire KCRW staff would be arrested in an FCC raid and taken out in handcuffs for violation of payola regulations and criminal conflicts of interest.  Thank God they're all still on the air, still slavishly doing their bosses’ bidding when not working at their real jobs at local record and film companies. 

How wonderful that they have all parlayed a gig at a college station into big Hollywood bucks!  I look forward to more crummy movie soundtracks put together by Mr. Douridas and the other talentless music coordinators ”moonlighting” at KCRW.

-- Neal McCabe


ART - Your ‘mental’ story in Jan was pretty touchy-feely, so maybe you’ll like this. I have no one else to show it to. (I’d never show it to “her!”) When I wrote it, I was all teary-eyed. Now I don’t give a damn. This woman drove me around the bend.

A few years ago I met a woman. We became lovers. I was married, she was not. Her beauty made me gasp. I wondered what wonderful Fate brought her to me. We shared passion for music and each other. But after a year she moved to Texas. Still I managed to see her occasionally. She was resigned to a life of celibacy, broken by visits from me. “Men no longer look at me” she said, at age 43. “I’m old.”

She’d led a torrid life. Grew up in the southwest, moved to NY at 18 and lived fast: punk-rock, escort work, heroin addiction. Married in 1994 and moved to LA, and got clean and sober, then divorced.

Our affair was somewhat torrid. Even though I’d been long without sex and was quite pent-up, I often felt I was not entirely up to the challenge. Her sexual experience FAR outweighed mine. Once I suggested something I thought was extremely intimate, and said lovingly, “I’ll bet nobody ever offered to do THAT to you.” There was awkward silence. Sheeplishly I realized it meant “Everyone does that to me.” I was humbled.

Last summer she met someone in Texas and they began a relationship. “We both knew this could happen” she said on the phone and I suddenly realized that this was the end of us. I said “Oh, sure, I know....” and fell to the floor. I sobbed every day for 80 days.

I knew I was the luckiest man in the world, and I also knew I was due for a terrible fall when she left, for we were doomed. When she told me of her new love, she said nothing more, just goodbye. I was left with a heart full of love for her, unwanted. It was cold, but it was necessary. She needed a real relationship, which I could not provide.

She calls once in a while to say how happy she is. She is not sadistic, just oblivious. The strong eventuality of us parting was always high in her mind, while the slim possibility we’d go on forever was high in mine.

I went to Texas last fall, and she dropped in on me at a friend’s house “to say hi.” After she left I sat perfectly still, hoping to collect myself, then ran to a bathroom and sobbed. I growled violently from my gut, trying to dislodge my lungs and stomach. I anticipated, and somewhat welcomed, death by strangulation. It was the screaming animal low-point of my life.

I lived alright before knowing her, but then she surrounded my heart with joy. In its absence, incoming light was swallowed by the void. I heard an unknown ferocity in my voice when angry, which was often. I saw darkness and emptiness all around.

Well-meaning friends give me books, suggest help groups (SLAA) and offer condolences. My AA friend insists I am addicted and going through withdrawal. Another looked at me with cold pity and said “Grow up!”

But I was over 50, and in over my head.

-- Bill W, L.A.

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