The clearest description I have managed so far about my blog is that it is not about cats. In general, I find predators pretty predictable while prey on the other-hand, because they live in universes of anxiety, develop more textured personalities. I also have as a writer a deft hand when it comes to making matters worse, so of course , the already panicky are ready made for me. I will try to grow this blog into an assortment of laughs, because that is what my life has mostly taught me to do. I will use the famous people I have known to get your attention and then tell you small but many times wonderful things about them. I will never name the ones I say ugly things about but I hope you will guess who they are.
We were not friends but there was a curiosity between us. Sometime later I heard Keith Moon say to him, “You know he is never going to forgive you”. Townshend made me doubt myself. He did make me cry, as he said he would the first day I met him. Their manager confronted me in the lobby of a hotel, in front of everyone, the morning after a difficult incident between Pete and me and urged me to forgive him. In Bill’s words,” He told you he was sorry. He did that for you, you have to allow it to be enough.”. In real life, it is never a good idea to imagine you know someone. It is barely passably accurate to say you recognize yourself let alone another. No one was a fool inside the touring party of The Who. These people were smart. Nothing was new to them. We had all passed the humiliation test. Band included. Rock bands live in vacuums. They move from city to city and encounter people who are affected by them while they are not at all. The Who never treated the people around them badly. But if you were with them, closely, day to day you had better watch out. You had to remember who you were. And that’s what made it so much fun. It was the first time in my life I forgave someone who had seriously hurt me. I have a lifetime of frozen people. Revenge never even comes into it. I stopped worrying about retaliation early. I knew that there are ways of ignoring people that hurt them more. The Who placed you deep in an exposure you had to live with. You needed to understand that you were less than you thought. This was in exchange for living so grandly entitled, it took your breath away.
I would spend hours on hot summer days chasing ants, on my hands and knees, trying to burn them with a large magnifying glass angled perfectly to the sun’s rays. I had built fires this way in Boy Scouts. I used twigs, not ants, for that. The ants often adopted a “clump together” stratagem in their insect terror, and this was a bad move. In retrospect, there is a cruelty in children that blends agreeably with innocence.
Women never base long or short term affection on their sexual hysteria. For this reason this makes them more reliable than men. Even in the urgency of the bar’s “last call,” they will calmly counterfeit for themselves a romantic landscape that will help forgive the alleyway or the cheap hotel where they wind up on any given night. They invent excusable poetry to surround their poor decisions.
I have had many “best friends” in my life and they never shared one another. This is a rider on my contract with the rest of the world I guess. Phil was my best friend for years. He is an ordinary guy save for the talent part. He was not crafty enough then to be otherwise now. I loved the other members of the band but he was the one I got stoned with. We would hunt for hippies in the early seventies to cop grass or psychedelic mushrooms from. We did this all through Canada, the US, and Europe. Some asshole once sold us mushrooms soaking in a plastic bag. We were happy until It turned out they were from a can made by Green Giant. More fool us. We were arrested coming out of Canada at customs. He had some grass and I had a tiny Meerschaum pipe with marijuana residue in it. We were frightened. We sat in jail. As we were released the agent held the pipe in front of my face and snapped it in half. The Canadian Government had to release us to allow the tour to continue. It was not a good time to be busted. I still miss that pipe and have bad thoughts about that cop. We would sneak out to find hamburgers after the show ended. No small task in the places we played. The others were all vegetarians so there wasn’t anything to eat backstage. Vegetables were different back then. All their food was brown like mud. The cooks expected no digestion would be necessary. They never wavered from this diet. Nor did we. We made the promoters provide us with “Blue Nun”, a shitty german white wine which even today releases Nazi based scorn from me when I see the label. I listened to Phil bitch forever about not being in “Earth, Wind, and Fire”. Genesis was never his kind of music. They didn’t let him sing and perform. He stowed away his rhythms for later. He did have a great song he performed while holding a now-famous mechanical monkey. It was darling. That same monkey was in “Close Encounters of a Third Kind”. It had a tidy little career. I think Spielberg stole the idea from him. My guess is he turned Genesis into Earth, Wind, and Fire” after Peter left. But I am more vindictive than him. So this might not be the case. I was the highest paid employee of Genesis at that time. I handed them a per diem each week. All their money from the shows was plowed back into the elaborate production. Most shows, in the beginning, came nowhere near selling out. Profit meant we could get to the next show. He came to me nearly in tears one morning in Europe because he had fallen asleep while on phone with his wife in Canada ( or maybe girlfriend, I can’t remember). He couldn’t pay the bill. Mostly we traveled by rented car, never by bus like most bands seem to. Sometimes in Europe even by trains. Their young children came too. I always drove as did Phil and Mike. Peter Gabriel was not a good driver. He wasn’t a linear thinker enough to manage the A to B nature of a car. That said, Peter did save our lives one day when I fell asleep and he grabbed the wheel from me. I always denied this happened. American men can’t admit to that kind of shit. It was true though. Jill Gabriel had a big accident while driving on ice in one of the Dakota”s. She was skidding out of control and I yelled, ” don’t step on the brakes” of course causing her to use both feet to hit them. The car spun and slammed into a snow wall. We all forgot the baby in the back. All except Phil who saved her. I hit a taxicab circling in a crowded roundabout in Madrid. Just Phil and I. We were in a brand new Range Rover rented for the entire tour. The little cab was crumpled rather decently. No one was hurt but every Spaniard in the vicinity converged fiercely on us hesitating only because most had not brought their knives and I am big. Suddenly someone yelled ” Genesis ” with their wonderful pronunciation. They became fans before our eyes. The band was big in Madrid. We gave them all tickets. There are no better fans than Genesis fans. We needed help filling up a venue somewhere in America and hired Lou Reed, a real badass to open. His fans beat up our entire audience. Our fans were smart and gentle. We saw The Alamo for the first time together. It had a profound effect on him. We always booked shows close to it. I hear that through the years he has bought most of it. He fired me from the stage while on mike after I caused the ruin of an entire show, ( See “Rock’s Most Embarrassing Moment”.) I survived but the event shook me and I nevermore involved myself in production. I stuck to the money. It changed my trajectory. I didn’t see him again after Peter left until one Madison Square Garden show years and years later. I never return willingly to the past, as mentioned, it is part of some subconscious understanding. I did it for my kid’s sake. He treated my children like his own. He was still my friend and I his.