Sunday, August 25, 2013

Appendix 2

Here it is folks: The video of "You Hurt Me So" by Silverspoon, produced by Mal Evans and Bob Merritt in 1974 and recorded at the Record Plant in Los Angeles. I think it should have been a hit, but for all the reasons I have written about, it wasn't. I'm sure there were things I, or anyone else in the band weren't aware of that kept it from being a success. Tell me what you think of the record. I would appreciate any and all of your comments.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Appendix 1

     Here is a link to a video My son, Morgan shot with me in Nashville a few months ago. It is a song written by yours truly and produced by Blair Aaronson in the confines of his luxurious bedroom in Encino, California. I plan on posting other links to Silverspoon songs from the past if I can figure out how to link up plain old MP3's. So, in the meantime, just sit back and enjoy (if I may be so presumptuous) the video of "Jesus of Nashville".

Monday, August 12, 2013

Chapter 60 – The Last, Last Autograph

It was Valentine’s Day and I had been broken up with Maria, my punk-rock, Finnish born, German raised model, for over a year—but I had still not gotten over her. After being sober for forty-five days and going to AA meetings, I was at my Mom and Dad’s house on Canton Drive, playing the piano and waiting for them to go out to dinner to celebrate their love. They left and I noticed my father had left a half finished scotch on the coffee table. I wanted to alleviate my pain so I downed the drink and then thought— what the hell, I had broken my sobriety so I might as well get wasted. I poured another drink then went upstairs to my mother’s medicine cabinet and “borrowed” a couple of her Ativans. I took one and stashed the others in a rolled up piece of toilet paper. I figured I would feel the effects when I got home which was a fifteen minute drive, so I piled my two dogs into my 1969 TR-6 and left. What I hadn't figured was, being sober for more than a month my resistance to drugs and alcohol was severely diminished. I fell asleep at the light at Cahuenga and Vineland and crashed my sports car into a parked car right in front of a playhouse with a crowd of people waiting in line to enter the show. I was a mess, but not injured, but my car was totaled. I was slouched on the curb waiting for the police and fumbling through my pockets to remove the pills from the toilet paper when I heard a woman yelling, “He’s taking something out of his pocket.” Maybe she thought it was a weapon; it wasn't  The cops came and before they dragged me off to county jail, I begged them to call my friend Larry. I said, “I don’t care what you do to me but please let me call a friend to pick up my dogs that were not injured. Thank God for that.
After that I spent a week in L.A. County Jail, and when I got out I was back on the program. I felt I needed to go back to roots to trace the life I had led up until that point. So I went to New York and stayed with my parent’s long time friends, the Meltzer’s again. It was a beautiful March day, clear and cool so I decided to take a walk. First I headed up the west side and when I got to 96th and Amsterdam I saw a sign that read: “Psychic Reader” on the second floor window. I walked up the staircase and buzzed button. Less than a minute later, a voice that sounded like sandpaper rubbing against an iron skillet shrieked out through the two inch speaker by the door. “Yes?” the voice shrieked. “I came for a reading,” I said noncommittally. She answered, “Go to 33rd and Madison.”
didn't think too much about it since I really wasn't sure I wanted to spend a whole lot of money on a reading in New York where it cost almost ten bucks for a couple slices of pizza, the best pizza in the world, mind you. I found myself walking south, and before I knew it I was nearing the Empire State Building which was very near the place where that scratchy voice told me to go. I walked to the designated spot and saw the same sign in the window I had seen a couple of hours earlier. I rang the buzzer and what I thought was the same voice answered. “Yes,” to which I replied the same answer I spoke on the Upper West Side. Was this the same woman, and if so, how did she get here so fast? These were the thoughts that circled through my head like smoke rings as I was being buzzed in. Apprehensively, I made my way up the stairs to apartment 1A and knocked on the red door ornamented with Egyptian symbols and a wooden cross. I could see a gray, clouded eye looking at me through the peephole and I was asked to enter. I stood there frozen, being in two minds about what I was doing. Did I really want to subject myself to what might be a rouse, or could this person have some real insight? I chose the latter decision and entered the apartment.
She was ancient woman, about ninety or so with long, thin gray hair tied back in a pony tail. She told me her name was Mama and she spoke with a thick Eastern European accent. I was invited into her kitchen and sat down on a wrought iron chair facing her. I was willing to bet it was going to be a tete รก tete—a meeting of the minds. She took out an Aquarian deck of Tarot cards, lit a red candle and the first strange thing I noticed was the flame. It was slanting at a ninety degree angle o the left. I told her a little about myself and why I had come to New York.
It didn't take her long to get down to business. “I see you have two dark spirits that have been following you for some time now,” she said as she closed her murky eyes while waving her arms over her head then cupping them over her nose and mouth. “Do you ever notice that in your music you have a little success and then it all falls apart after awhile?” I anxiously nodded my head in agreement.
“In your love life, you get together with a girl and then it also falls apart after a year or two. Am I right?”
I was taken in by her spiritual acumen even though I knew all about the parlor games psychics play, but this woman was different. She was half Romanian and Iroquois Indian and I had the feeling she was totally authentic—the real deal.
 “Here’s I want you to do. Tonight I want you to take a carton of eggs and put them under your bed when you sleep. Tomorrow morning at ten, I want you to come back here and bring the eggs. Can you do that?”
 I said I would and asked her how much I owed her for the reading. She said not to worry about it today and I could pay her twenty dollars after the reading tomorrow. I wondered  down to a local deli on the East Side and bought a carton of eggs and a coke. That night I slept with the eggs under the bed in the Meltzer’s guest room.. I was glad the bed had legs since it would have been awkward to sleep with the eggs under my pillow and I knew they wouldn't have survived the night stuffed between the mattress and the floor.
Back at 33rd and Madison, I entered her apartment with the eggs tucked firmly, but gently under my arm, then sat back down on the same iron chair in the old woman’s kitchen. I couldn't for the life of me figure out how she did it. I didn't see her get up from the table except to get a bowl from the cabinet watching her every move like a hawk. She placed the bowl on the table and cracked open the first egg. I could feel my hair standing up on the back of my neck as I looked down into the bowl. The yoke was jet black. She took another egg and broke it open into the bowl. It also was black. She cracked open a few more eggs but they were normal, as yellow as the  late winter sun peeking through her small kitchen window.
“The two black yokes represent those two evil spirits that have attached themselves to you aura,” she said. I was flabbergasted—it was a shock to say the least. I wondered how she was going to help me since I had to fly back to Los Angeles the next day. She told me not to worry because she had a daughter, Paula, in Van Nuys, California, who was also a psychic.
 “Is that very far from you?’ she asked. I told her it was relatively close and it would be no trouble for me to drive there—as long as it wasn't rush hour.
When I got back to L.A., I would visit Paula and get readings from her while she lit special candles and prayed for my career and love life. At that point in my life I was more interested in love. She said I was going to meet a pretty blonde girl with a round face and blue eyes.
On the Fourth of July 1988, I got a call from Paula. “You have to get out of the house today. You are going to meet her.”
“Yes her, the blonde with the blue eyes and round face.”
I was living two blocks down from the Hollywood Bowl on Camrose Drive. That day I met not one, not two, but three women with blonde hair, blue eyes and round faces. I went back home to sort it all out. I had a 1958 Austin Healey 100-6 that I was restoring and was covered from head to toe in oil and grease. My Grateful Dead T-shirt was ripped and my gray loafers had holes in them and were coming apart at the stitching. I weighed about 130 pounds soaking wet, when normal weight for me was around 155. It was starting to get dark, so I decided to go down to the Hollywood Bowl and check out the fireworks. I was standing in the courtyard by the ticket office when I noticed the sign read: sold out. I didn't really care since it was Andy Williams performing that night. I only wanted was to witness the fireworks display and I could see that  perfectly fine from the parking lot.
Suddenly, I heard a sweet lilting voice speaking in a Scottish accent. “Oh no, Shelley, what are we going to do it’s all sold oot?” I turned around and saw a young woman with blonde hair, blue eyes and a pleasing round face. She reminded me of Haley Mills.
“Excuse me lassie, where are you from?” I inquired  If she was all alone she never would have followed me, but since her friend Shelley, a compactly built specimen, was with her she felt safe. I said I knew a secret way in to the Bowl, and I promised them I could and would get them in to the show. All they had to do was walk right through the front entrance and then get in line at the concession stand; if you have a coke or a hot dog in your hand they are not going to bother you, especially on Independence Day. I rushed ahead thinking they were right behind me but they had slowed their pace and were twenty feet behind me. I walked back and asked what they were doing, but I guessed they were discussing the situation amongst themselves. They told me later they thought I was a homeless person sleeping on the benches in the park, but they decided that I was a harmless homeless person.
“Come on,” I said, “Just act like a roadie.” The pretty blonde looked at me blankly and said,
“What’s a roadie?”
“It’s someone who carries the equipment for musicians. Just act like you work here, that’s all.”
They followed along and did what I had told then to do. We rushed to the concession stand and I bought them each a hot dog and coke, and the same for me.  Then we sat down in the middle section of the outdoor venue and listened to Andy Williams sing Moon River, and a few other of his hits. After the show, we wanted to get a drink. As we walked past my apartment on Camrose, she noticed the lights were left on and it appeared that the TV was on, too. I told her that my dogs felt less lonely if there were human voices around and that’s why I had the TV on. I knew I had scored point number one with her. The night was mild and clear so we walked all the way to The Cat and Fiddle and got a table outside in the courtyard. I ordered a gin and tonic and she and Shelley ordered the same. While I was sitting, a scruffy looking cat had wandered up to me and jumped on my lap. I was cleaning out its ears with a napkin –I noticed they were in pretty nasty shape. Although she thought it was a bit gross, I felt I had scored point number two with her. I found out her name was Donna and she was from Fife, Scotland, and had been living in Joliet, Illinois for the last few months on a one year working visa and was due to go back home to Scotland that December. I got the phone number where she was staying in L.A. and I also got her home number in Joliet, in case we didn't have a chance to hook up while she was on vacation.
On the day she was heading back home, she called to thank me for the nice time on the Fourth, and wanted to say goodbye. I had to think fast. I spontaneously said, “You have a rental car, don’t you?” She  nodded her head then said it was Avis. I told her that Avis Rental place was over a half mile from the airport and I would be more than happy to escort them to the gate. She agreed. That morning I took a nice, long, hot bath and washed up like I had never washed up before. I may be a slob by nature, but I clean up well. Later that day, I pulled my TR-6 into the parking lot at Avis and I spied them sitting on a bench outside the office. They were squinting their eyes at me, probably wondering if I was the same guy they had met a few nights ago. Donna had a stuffy nose and we had a congested and awkward kiss goodbye at the gate.
A few days later, I called her and we had a delightful conversation. She had a great sense of humor and was worldly as any woman I had ever met at the tender age of twenty-four, like most European women, not that most European are twenty-four but they are more worldly and sophisticated than American women, in my humble opinion. The next day she called then i would call her and it went on like that for a more than a week. By the second week we were talking two times a day. She then said out of the blue, “I am coming back out there to see you.”
“Come on, really,” I said, “I’ll make a date with a girl to meet me at the local bar and they usually don’t  even show up, but you’re going to come all the way from Joliet after a month and I am supposed to believe that?”
“Be there on August, 20th, American Airlines flight 1970 at 8 pm.”
I went there thinking she might not be on the plane. But when I arrived at the gate she was the second one off the plane. She looked great and seemed to have lost five pounds of baby fat, not that she was fat or anything. I myself had put on about five pounds. We went to Magic Mountain,(which I failed to get to three times with Marly) Catalina Island and the Queen Mary, but it wasn't until we drove in my Healey to the Laundromat on Fountain; the piles of dirty socks and holes in my underwear were piled up in the rumble seat, I knew, yes I knew, she was the woman for me.
She went back to Joliet and I went to visit her there in September. We had decided that she was going to move in with me at the apartment on Camrose, so I started cutting out physical therapist job positions from the newspaper and would mail them to her. This was the day before email and fax machines were only seen in office suites, banks and insurance agencies. She had contacted several physical therapy clinics, and had six appointments lined up by the time she got off the plane and decided on Centinela Medical Clinic. Two days before the tragic incident at Lockerbie, we, along with her best friend from Scotland, Irene, who arrived at Camrose with her friend Fiona on the way to Australia, spent Christmas together. We all wore funny paper hats, they call crowns, pulled Christmas crackers, and ate our Yule Tide dinner from a blue table without legs on the floor since there weren't enough chairs in my humble apartment.
The year before, I had broken my ankle by sliding into home plate at a pick-up softball game at the park right underneath the Hollywood sign. The doctors had put in a plate and screws and I had them removed right before Donna came out to L.A., so I couldn't drive my stick shift car. Donna drove and did an exemplary job at it. After all, she is from Britain and learned how to drive on a manual transmission.
To make matters more difficult, I had lost my driving privileges after smashing my first TR-6 into a parked car in front of a crowded theater on Ventura near The Baked Potato. That was Valentine’s Day 1988. It was after my softball accident on Labor Day, I was taking pain medication and drinking single malt scotch—a really stupid thing to do. I wanted to get sober. I went to AA meetings and was sober for 45 days and stayed that way until that infamous Valentine’s Day, that is. I was still upset from my break-up with Maria, a Finnish girl who was brought up in Germany and was just barely legal, when I met her—not only that, she was pregnant. This story is too long and involved to get into now, but it might be included in the sequel, if there is a sequel to this story.
I had sold my second TR-6 to John and Marion Hamilton and all I had left was my 1958 Austin Healey. I used to drive the back road loop around Camrose without a valid license just to keep it in  good running condition. Other than that, Donna did all the driving until I got my driving privileges back a few months later. Then tragedy struck and my father got cancer in August of 1988 and was oing downhill fast. He died on November 18th and a week later I said: “Why don’t we go downtown. I want to buy you a ring.” That was my marriage proposal. She said yes, and we got married on June 9, 1990. I am happy to say that we are still married and have three beautiful sons. Life is good, most of the time.
Although I have recorded four solo albums, I still think about Silverspoon and how it formed the basis of my musical education. I am happy to say that I am still friends with Larry and Stephen, although they don’t speak to each other over a falling out over a bad business deal. Stephen almost checked out of life about a year and half ago and was pronounced dead, but somehow survived, and is rehabilitating with Portia in Venice, the same house they have lived in for more than twenty-five years. Larry decided to re-record some of the Two Guys from Van Nuys songs with a modern country flavor, After All, isn't modern country nothing more than a twangy adaptation of eighties rock? He did a great job with the demos and I even flew in some bass, guitar and pedal steel parts from my studio in Thompson Station. Although I have gone back to L.A. many times in the nineteen years since I left, nobody from Silverspoon has ever come to Nashville to visit—but my door remains open. It is sad that we had lost so many members of Silverspoon along the way: Doug Fieger, Michael Kennedy, Joey and Jeff Hamilton, Peter Gries, Mikel Japp, Marshall Battjes, Louis Jordan, Richie Moore and many other colleagues and mentors: Tom Gries, Mal Evans, Keith Moon, George Harrison and John Lennon, and all the friends and lovers: Patricia Chilcote, Christa Helm, Caroleen Fisher and Carrie Hamilton who were along for the ride. It was a great ride—the best and most unbelievable musical and friendship experiences of my life. Although we never became famous—I still believe that Silverspoon was the world’s greatest band that nobody, or at least not many people, ever heard, but we touched the lives of more people than I thought possible, especially since I have heard from so many of you and your recollections of those amazing and fabulous days.
When I think of Silverspoon now, I see Stephen hiding behind his long, blonde hair and never knowing what sounds would emanate from his screaming guitar. I think of Larry, smoking his trademark Marlboro Red and drinking a shot of Jack Daniels at the Rainbow. The night we sang oldies in the Crow’s Nest on top of that infamous club with Keith, Ringo and Mal and in the morning, after only two hours of sleep, I got the call from Mal that Keith was doing an album at the Record Plant, and I (along with Stephen) were to transpose the song, write the charts and lyrics out for the icons of rock who soon would be entering the friendly confines of studio C. I think of Bum and Super-bum (Stephen and Larry) sitting at the Old World restaurant on Sunset and wondering if Stephen would still be wearing his gold ring or had left it in the cash register in payment for a hamburger and gallons of coffee. I think of Joey, poor Joey, who never did realize his potential as a singer, but did have some glorious moments—the one where he sang Final Bow while I accompanied him on George Gershwin’s piano in Rosemary Clooney’s living room, and her telling him that his pitch was perfect. I think of BJ and all of our escapades together—the wheel falling off of Rafi’s Porsche and rolling into a supermarket. If it weren't for BJ, this story might have never been told—he was the one who coerced me to write something about him which eventually led to all this. I think of Miguel, and how I laughed when I heard him playing his “Hawaii Five-0 drum fill on Be My Baby in Between. I think of Chas and all of his parties and connections and how we went out to the desert to find God, or desert women. I think of the Robins’ in our lives— Stephen’s, Larry’s and mine with their counter-melodies, timely influences and momentary shelters from the storms, both external and internal. I think of all the friends, the women, the drugs—some almost lethal—some very lethal, the other-worldly experiences, the hanging out at parties with the cream of rock and roll society and especially the music and the recordings of that music, the comradely, the petty jealousies, the laughter and the tears. It was a privilege (and believe me, we felt privileged) to be part of a band that had as its goal to be as great as The Beatles, at least in its songwriting and vocal prowess. If we came close to that goal, reached one tenth, or even one iota the musical aptitude of our mentors, then we succeeded.
No, Silverspoon never made it to the big-time, but if this story makes it to the “show” and if I did my job properly and the fickle finger of fate points once again in our direction, there is still hope and the music, which springs eternal will remain eternal.

The End for now—August 12, 2013

Monday, August 5, 2013

Chapter 59 - Last Autograph part 2

Bridget (Ray Charles) Bardog
Bridget Bardog

After the Two Guys broke up in ’83 or ’84, Larry took his series 7 test and became a stock broker. He made a ton of money and bought a condo off Sunset in one of those high rises. A few years after that he had a scare—they found a grapefruit sized tumor in his stomach. Although it was benign, Larry had decided that life was too short not to do the thing he felt he was born to do—play music. He sold his condo and moved into a one bedroom apartment on Waring Drive in Hollywood. He sold his Porsche and bought a fifteen year old Toyota Celica. Soon after that, he did a solo instrumental record and, through Joey’s brother John Hamilton, got a gig with Vickie Lawrence playing piano. He soon grew tired of being on the road, and after a few years, ended up in Encino, where he still plays music, but made millions in the annuity trade. He bought three and sold two Ferrari’s and owns some other extravagant sedan, the original mixing console from RCA Studios in Nashville—the one Elvis Presley used and Chet Atkins had left a coffee ring stain by the talk back button. Larry never could refuse a good deal so when he was offered an ungodly amount of money for the console, he sold it. Larry is not the most sentimental or nostalgic person in the world, and he hardly ever thinks about the past like Stephen and I do. His favorite saying is: I see life as a man driving in a car looking through a windshield, not a rear view mirror. I guess it makes sense for a person to keep looking forward, but there comes a time when a little reflection is necessary to keep things in perspective. After all, that’s how we all got to the point we’re at now, right?
Flash forward to 2012 - 2013: Larry and I were writing music together over the phone and he decided to re-cut some of the Two Guys songs. But like the Gemini he is, he flip-flops on the notion of looking back. For someone who doesn't like to live in the past, why on earth did he decide to re-cut songs of ours from the eighties? After all, country music today is nothing more than rehashed rock from that afore mentioned decade with fiddles and twang thrown in for good (or bad) measure. They actually sounded fairly professional and he hired some of the best singers and musicians—I even flew in a few parts from my computer in Thompson Station to his hard drive in Encino. But after being swindled by a song-plugger who did a Bernie Madoff on us, making things up out of thin air. He would send us monthly reports of certain artists in Nashville who he said had listened to the songs. They either passed on it or would keep it for consideration. About twenty artists a month made it to that spreadsheet and the ratio was about fifty/fifty. It seemed a little too good to be true. It’s funny one of the artists was my neighbor, Billy Ray Cyrus, who is a helluva nice guy. He came to our house dressed up as Santa Claus one Christmas bearing gifts, but I was so sick with the flu I missed it. Anyway, I thought it was ironic that I had to send a song that was recorded in L.A. to a song-plugger in Nashville to a guy who lived across the road. After the sixth month of reports, Billy Ray had passed on the two songs he was holding. I had a sinking suspicion this song-plugger was just pulling facts out of thin air but had no way of proving it until I contacted Mr. Cyrus and he said, not only had he never heard the songs but he hadn’t worked with the representative indicated on the spreadsheet in over five years. After confronting the song-plugger with this information, he said he would give us our money back. He was caught red-handed and he knew it. I would like to mention his named but I’m afraid he could sue me for libel. Some things are better left unsaid, but I know he will get his comeuppance someday.
 I haven’t written anything with Larry since and he thinks I’m probably wasting my time and talents now on a different kind of writing. It’s just what I have to do now. Besides, I was getting a bit bored with songwriting, not that it isn’t a craft in itself but after forty years of doing the same thing, you need a break. Besides, I likes ‘dem dare book writin’. But who knows, I may get back to songwriting again if I am compelled to do so. I do miss playing in front of a crowd (where you get immediate feedback) and recording in the studio.
                                                            *          *          *
Now back to 1981. After breaking up with Marly for the second and final time, I was at the beach in Malibu climbing north through the rocks and sand. I thought about what I needed at the time, and after being with Marly and her sweet dog, Marou, I decided I needed a dog, yes a dog would fill the gaps in my life and give me something to do besides mope about lost loves and broken up bands. One day I was looking out of the window at Radford at Ventura Blvd, when I saw this emaciated, blonde dog, around six months old, wandering in circles on the sidewalk. A bus pulled up at the corner and the dog actually entered through the double doors. A few moments later the dog exited the bus and meandered to the alley outside of my apartment. I ran downstairs to see what she was all about. There was a retired aircraft mechanic who lived in the laundry room of the small apartment complex whose name was Jack, and he looked like the man on the label of Jack Daniels Tennessee whiskey. I asked him about the dog and he said she had been hanging around the alley for a couple of weeks. They had even named her—Bridget Bardog. It was a perfect name for a perfect dog. I told Jack that I wanted her but he said that would have to be up to her. I then went up to Bridget and whispered in her ear that if she wanted she could come upstairs to my apartment and I would take care of her. After that, I went upstairs alone hoping that she would follow me, but she didn't  I sighed a heavy breath and resigned myself to the fact she might be better off with Jack and the rest of the old wild men in the alleyway. But in my heart I didn’t believe it. I knew that dog was special, so I closed my eyes and prayed that she would come upstairs. About twenty or thirty minutes had elapsed and I could hear the faint sound of clip-clopping of claws on cement. It was her, and she had decided to pay me a visit. I guess she had to say goodbye to her friends in the alley in her own doggie way. We stayed together for sixteen years after that and she even made it to Tennessee where she died peacefully in my front yard on June 21, 1997—Sunday’s final round of the British Open.
     Bridget was my constant companion and I realized that I needed to go back to work to support the two of us. Central Supply had moved to Van Nuys and I started working there again. I buried Jim Phillips and now a new persona was created—Jeff Henry. Jeff was much nicer than Jim and made a lot more money than Jim as well. When Jim found a phone book in the supply room from the Virgin Islands, he (I) made a small fortune. After I got through with that phone book, the Virgin Islands were virgin no more, and were now known as just “The Islands”. I bought a Porsche, and for the first time in my life had enough money to buy my own white powdery substance. This became the start of one of the loneliest depressing periods in my life. Thank God I had Bridget Bardog to keep me company or I might have done something irreversible. I was “out there” for more than two years, losing weight and losing my health. I knew I had to put a stop to it but it was very difficult—almost impossible. I would promise myself I wouldn't buy anymore, but nevertheless I would find myself at my dealers house buying another gram he would always front to me so I would be indebted to him. It’s a common game that drug dealers play to keep you coming back. I drove my Porsche back to my apartment on El Cerritos in Hollywood with a fresh gram in my pocket. I went upstairs and did a line. I don’t know what came over me—maybe it was guilt, or providence, but I decided that my health and welfare were at stake, and it was time for me to put away my childish toys and I promised I would never do the evil drug again. I put the stuff in my jacket and drove back to the drug dealer’s house, slammed the vile on his coffee table and said. “I can’t do this anymore.” He looked at me inquisitively and said, “Why, is there anything wrong with it?” I just shook my head and said, “No, the game is over.” He took back the gram and we were all square. I did cocaine only one more time in New York City in the late eighties. I was at an apartment on the west side, where a dark haired, Jewish girl named Karen who I had met in Aspen on New Years Eve of 1986 lived. She had a little coke and gave me a few lines. I was so wired and felt terrible, so terrible that I had to get out of there right away— even though it was three in the morning. I fast tracked at a rabbit’s pace along the west side, past the U.N Building for more than thirty blocks thinking I was going to get mugged, killed or something. I finally made it back to 72nd and First Avenue safe and sound. I never did that white powdery stuff again. Smart move, wouldn't you say?
You are probably thinking that I did my fair share of drugs and was a raving alcoholic. Yes and no. I was habitual in my drinking and the only drug I really was partial to was grass. My Dad was what you would call a five o’clock drinker and he would reward himself when he came home from the day’s activities with a scotch or vodka. I wish I had that much self control, because once I got started it was hard for me to stop until either I passed out or got sick. And it WAS making me sick. I would try and temper my drinking by pouring myself White Russians thinking, if the booze was mixed with milk it would sooth my stomach. I didn't even realize that I had acid reflux disease. It wasn't until I got married in 1990 that my wife insisted I go to the doctor’s office where he scoped me with one of those long cameras on a string to diagnose my illness. Nothing that a little Omeprazole can’t remedy now.
Back then, I wasn't really a social drinker, but I was afraid of drinking and driving, so I would usually have a beverage by my bedside table. My friends could always hear the ice clinking in my glass when I was on the phone with them. Then there was divine intervention. On the eighteenth anniversary of John Lennon’s death I knew things were getting out of hand when I started hiding the booze from my wife and my mother, who was staying in our guest room here in Thompson Station. My wife Donna, was pregnant with our third son (I didn't know it was a boy at the time), when the obstetrician told us the baby had a high risk of being born with Down syndrome. I freaked out and said a prayer. “Please God, I’ll do anything in the world if you see to it that the baby is a happy, healthy child.” Suddenly a voice like thunder on steroids echoed in my head. “STOP THE DRINKING NOW!” It was earth shattering and I acted. I knew I could have blown it off like a dream or an audio hallucination, but I didn't  I took every drop of alcohol I had in the house and poured it down the sink. I remember when my mom walked into the kitchen she asked, “Jimmy, are you drinking at this time in the morning?” I said, “No Mom, I’m never going to drink again.” I said to God, “I promise I will never touch alcohol again from this moment forward if you make good on the deal. But if the baby is born with any defects, I’m going to pick up my drinking where I left off.”
On May 11, 1999, Morgan David Haymer came into this world a happy, healthy baby boy and I made good on my promise. A deal is a deal and you can’t Welsh on the man, or woman upstairs, but the voice definitely sounded male, hey maybe it was my own super voice I was hearing. I guess I set it up so it was more than for myself I was quitting. It was for my son—after all I am a superstitious man. I know if I ever started up with the booze again, something terrible would happen to him and I could never let that happen, especially if I knew I might be responsible. It is much more than for me that I gave up the terrible addiction (although I did pick up plenty of benefits from stopping), it was for my family. On December 8th of this year, I will be fifteen years without a drink and I never had to go to an AA meeting. I was a lucky one to have divine intervention, and that’s what I believe it was. I have seen too many friends leave this planet due to alcohol and drug abuse and that includes over one third of the member of Silverspoon. Yes, it’s true that some of them went by the wayside by disease but their past was riddled with abuse. Doug Fieger and Mikel Japp had both been sober for over twenty-five years but they succumbed to cancer. Maybe it was too much and too late, I don’t know. Yes, I miss alcohol sometimes, especially a good single malt scotch, or real imported beer, but I figure I did enough drinking to keep an army drunk for a decade. I feel so much better and I think, and I pray that I have added years to my lifespan. I did smoke pot from time to time, but recently I had to give that up too because I was having episodes with vertigo. It’s odd to be sober, and I never thought I would be. Life’s pretty good, most of the time. Sure, I still get pissed off and I lose my temper, but it is never as out of control as it used to be when I was drinking. It was definitely providence that saved my life. I recommend it to anyone and everyone.