From 1977 through early 1980, Stephen was spending his time in transit from Santa Monica to Burbank with West Hollywood sandwiched in between. Basically homeless, he was sleeping most nights on Jon Marr’s couch in the living room of his one bedroom apartment at The El Cortez on Fourth Street. It was a difficult time for him, especially when Jon’s fiancée, Carol, was around. Carol had an apartment on the first floor directly below Jon’s and disliked Stephen, to put it mildly, and the feeling was mutual. To escape from the turmoil, he would take the bus to Burbank and visit with Renee, who was becoming a famous Hollywood actress. He would sleep in her spare bedroom and at times would knock on Renee’s locked door to enter, hoping he could cement their relationship, or at least take it to the next level. She would always have an excuse, she was tired, or was reading, and they never did move to the next level. Stephen, to her, was more of a spiritual advisor. He would analyze her astrology chart and decipher her numerology, although being with her in the Biblical way, was just not in the cards for him. Speaking of Biblical, she had now re-acquainted herself with Jesus and, for Stephen; any thoughts of a deeper love with Renee were all but lost. She had Jesus and that was enough for her now.
The day that Stephen realized that Silverspoon was finally over was sometime in 1978. It was at Jon Marr’s apartment. Joey and Jon were arguing about vocal harmonies while I just sat there with my guitar in hand waiting for the dust to settle. It didn't Larry was there too, but left as soon as he saw the writing on the wall. It was the same old story, Jon was trying to teach Joey an intricate harmony which he couldn't grasp, a fight ensued and I myself had had enough, said I was out of there, and left. Knowing that I had Robin Stewart waiting at home who was more than happy to help write another song increased the feeling of independence from the dwindling, almost non-existent band. Stephen was mortified, finally realizing that a group with Jon, Joey, Larry, me and himself was out of the question. Not only that, his love life was in utter chaos between Renee, Robin (who always came in and out of his life like a yo-yo) and Stephanie, the beautiful French model and best friend of Michelle Hormel, who lived on the third floor of the El Cortez. He would fly to Vegas and visit with Stephanie and all they did was have sex. Who could blame him? But when he came back to LA she rarely visited him. He knew he could always find Robin, mostly showing up at precisely the wrong time to squelch a budding relationship with someone new. He also had Renee, if he wanted to have a spiritual companion, but most times he left her feeling frustrated and alone.
Having no money and impacted teeth, Stephen was in dire straits. Ever since the death of his step-father, Tom Gries, in 1977 and the events of the Red House with Christa’s murder, he was a lost soul drifting from place to place in the city of angels. Not being welcome at Jon’s apartment because of the animosity between him and Carol, Stephen began staying at John Shoemaker’s place on Fifth Street, not more than five hundred feet away. Shoemaker was a sports –loving, druggie derelict who needed someone to be with to share his cocaine delusions, although I don’t think Stephen took part in any of the drugging. He was barely hanging on to reality and drugs were the last thing he needed—alcohol, on the other hand was beginning to be a major vice or distraction for him, me too, unfortunately. I would see him from time to time in Venice. We would hang out by the beach, play a little guitar and reminisce and later go to the bar. He had gotten a job at Merlin McFly’s as a doorman and would leave work wasted at three in the morning and somehow make his way back to Shoemaker’s apartment. Stephanie tried to convince Stephen to move to Atlantic City where her father was a pit boss at one of the casinos there. He couldn't see leaving LA, the Mecca for all the music, film and the rest of the arts, to be stuck in some godforsaken place where the only music was covers of cheesy sixties hits. They subsequently broke up.
There was another young woman who lived at the El Cortez named Maria Corvelone who, if you remember, was responsible for introducing the band to Bob Ringe, the hapless agent from William Morris in 1977. It was now the end of 1979 and I was living with Marly, who I had met in January of that year. Maria was acting as my agent and had procured a gig for me at a place in Venice called F. Scott’s on January 9, 1980. I had hired a band of musicians I had found from the Musician’s Contact Service, except for Brent Nelson, the drummer, who I had worked with before with Stephen Paul. Brent was a fine drummer who had an excellent voice, very reminiscent of Joey’s high tenor. Even though Stephen Adamick-Gries was around somewhere and Larry too, I had no intention of using them in my band. I didn't want another version Silverspoon. We rehearsed some of the songs I had recently written for a week or two and it was show-time. The place was packed. Chas had brought Bette Midler (I will go into more detail about this later), who he was seeing on a regular basis. My sister, Susan was also there all jacked up on something. I remember her yelling at the engineer behind the console in between songs to fix the sound, being a bit distorted, but we were loud and the sound guy was doing the best he could to match the vocal volume with the screaming guitars, thundering bass and booming drums. Then Susan stormed out of her seat to fix the trouble, rushed by my vocal mike which banged against my front teeth. I announced to the crowd that she would get the bill from my dentist. She then tried to grab the controls of the mixing console even though she didn't know the first thing about mixing sound. The engineer was at a loss for words but managed to keep my older sister’s hands off the console. The performance was shaky at best but was saved when I came out to do a solo encore. I did a heart-felt version of my song, Final Bow (Susan’s favorite song of mine), and the crowd responded in an enthusiastic way. After that show, Bette had told Chas that she liked some of my songs and wanted to record one called Mr. Lonely. I’m not sure what happened, because she never did record it. I think she and Chas had broken up—so much for that.
Stephen had enough of the pain that Los Angeles seemed to have caused him, or at least that what he thought, and decided to go up to Carmel to live with his father, Chick. He got a job as a bus-boy at one of the golf courses at Pebble Beach. He would wait hand and foot for the elite; people like Clint Eastwood and Johnny River’s ex wife, the latter of which he had designs on. I don’t think that ever happened but it was a good time for Stephen to get out of LA and bond with his birth father. He had saved up his money and bought a guitar and amp to replace the one that Michael and Ciri Japp had stolen from him. When he came back to LA, he told me he was ready to join the Two Guys From Van Nuys, but I told him we were going to keep it as a duo—just Larry and me. I wanted a situation where we would play live and from past experience with Stephen, we never really did play live. I felt I needed to get my road legs exercised, and the only way was to perform in front of people and not just in the studio, a place where Stephen shined and still shines. Larry had plenty of live experience from Vegas and beyond and I thought the nucleus of the Two Guys should be us. I didn't mean to hurt Stephen’s feelings, which apparently I did, but I was on a mission and could not let friendships get in the way of it.
Stephen told me of his escapades in Carmel and I was a bit jealous. Having gone back to the great game of golf and I played at least once a week at Roosevelt, a course in Griffith Park. Golf was a game I began to take seriously at the age of twelve when my father had taken me out to Rancho Park. By the time I was fourteen I was, much to his chagrin, beating him at his own game. My dream was, and still is to be invited to play the Pro-Am at Pebble beach links, but to do so you have to be a celebrity. Maybe someday? But for now, or then as the case may be, I was pursuing a solo career in music, living with Marly and playing golf. Reuniting with Silverspoon was the furthest thing in my mind, although there would be one more re-union in the future and that, my friends, will be revealed soon enough.