Davy's On The Road Again Ch. 10byoldhippie1949©
Our story progresses. There's a lot of exposition in this chapter with a bang-up scene toward the end but don't worry, life is only getting better for our heroes and there's plenty more to cum!
I won't bore you with all the business shit but at one o'clock, Jimmy pulled up with Graham. The Warner's guy showed up a half hour later. We sat in the bus and shot the shit about last night's benefit. Jimmy was kind enough to bring some deli from Greenblatt's and a cold case of Landshark. Graham amplified his ideas about the summer tour. Smoking a joint, we blue-skied about it. Amy puttered around for a while doing some housekeeping chores. It was difficult for us to stay focused as she moved around the bus in her little daisy dukes and her t-shirt. Half of her sweet butt hung out and every time she leaned over, her nipples swayed and poked the shirt. Oh, my.
Ideas flew around. Graham said that he and Crosby had passed some ideas around, too. They were calling it "The Breadbasket Tour" and the idea was to have a loose amalgam of artists raise money for local food pantries around the country. I suggested that we could play a couple of big outdoor festivals like Bonnaroo and pass buckets around raising money for local outlets. Also, we could play a couple of big arenas like the Garden in some select cities, too. Jimmy brought up some corporate sponsors and then video rights. I gave him the names of my people in New York and he said he's have his people do all the heavy lifting.
"Here's where we play Warner's," he said. "We offer them the film and video rights in exchange for freedom from whatever contracts they claim to still hold on our rights. I know we could fight them in court and win but it's so much easier for them to take the carrot."
"That would be sweet," I added. "I don't want anymore deals from these guys. I'd rather sell my stuff online - through a web site, the iTunes Store or Spotify in Europe."
And that's pretty much how our meeting went. The suit showed up and took the carrot. It seemed too easy but I admired Jimmy's knowledge and ability to speak their language. Not for nothing was this guy a multimedia success but he made me uneasy. I thought that he was somewhat of a sleazebag. He offered us a $100,000 dollar option right there on the spot but Jimmy and Graham waved him off saying that it was premature. After he drove off, we smoked another one and tossed some names around for the shows. We'd pull big name locals to join us in their areas to help hype the venture, like JT in Massachusetts, Billy in New York, and like that. It sounded like a plan. I asked them about the option offer and Graham pointed out that our presentation was simply a ruse to make him salivate and it worked. Jimmy suggested that when the time came, several studios would be tripping over themselves and raising the ante considerably. We left the bus to walk Santo but it was too difficult to keep the conversation going as we were recognized and too busy signing autographs. We quickly headed back and shaking hands, we parted. As they were getting into Jimmy's car, he pulled me aside.
"Davy, it's good to have you back in the game. Especially now that we can do it our way. When I heard you at the Woody Creek, I saw that you still had that instant rapport and I knew this could be good thing. And don't worry about your publishing rights either, that will all work out in your favor. They have nothing on you anymore and it will all revert to you, even the movie stuff. I'll call you in the next couple of days."
I breathed a huge sigh of relief. The last thing I wanted to do was get involved in a lawsuit. Even though I knew I'd win, I hate to pay litigators. Amy was all smiles when I sat down at the table.
"Davy, you are on one fucking roll, you know that?"
"Pardon me, partner, but that should be 'we'...we rock, do you know that? Wanna take a drive?"
We put Santo into the car and dropped the top. For the next couple of hours, we just drove around, taking in the sights. So many places brought back fond memories; The Chateau Marmont where the parties were demonic, Wilshire and Doheny where I once bumped into Groucho Marx and his Erin, Laurel Canyon where Lowell George and I flew his little model planes while stoked on acid...such memories. We drove through Topanga where Phil Spector once told me he'd make me a star. Thanks anyway, Phil. Driving through that area, I avoided the ranch where the Manson family took up residence. I headed up toward Point Mugu and then south, stopping a few times to take in the Pacific. It was a relaxing little excursion.
Back in the bus, I polished off the rest of my pastrami on rye. Amy said she had some lyrics she wanted me to look at.
"This has been running through my head for days. Maybe you can help me polish it," and she began to read to me.
"I'm hearing birds cry to me as they fly by,
In formation, they pass and they wave goodbye,
I'm alone with you somewhere up in the sky,
It's where I want to be - with my guy."
"What do you think? Where do I want to go with this?"
"It's a good chorus. What is the story you want to tell?"
"I want to try to express - politely - what it feels like when we make love. I want to get that 'floating in the clouds' message across."
"Okay...maybe we could make it more universal...make the verses non-specific and more abstract. Maybe a verse could start with 'In a place above the tree line where the air is pure and clean...the ground below is so far away, blending into green...somewhere in a special place where everything is serene...there is no place better than in your love and I think you know what I mean.' Maybe that's too moon-june-spoon but it might work. It's always better to speak in your own voice and keep it simple. It makes the listener get it right away."
"Uh-huh, I see that. I wrote all that down and I'll play with it. Thanks for the tips. I want to work on this alone. I want to see if I can express myself this way."
"That's a wonderful goal. Here's another tip. If you are stuck and don't know where the story is going, look in my rhyming dictionary, you might see a word that spurs you on. You'd be surprised at how quickly it will help to finish your thought and resolve the line."
"Ok, I will. In fact, that's a good idea. I seem to look at this as though it was a crossword puzzle and not a story."
"It has to be a story. You have to tell a story or you will lose the listener. It has to be somewhat linear, too. It starts and it ends. Everything gets resolved."
"Cool. I'm inspired now." She curled up in the couch and began to write. I let her alone and rolled on the floor with Santo. After a bit of this, I gave him his favorite beef jerky treat (as it is not fit for human consumption) and I went back to my computer to check out more videos from the benefit. I noted that the videos seemed to be in high-def so the photographer must have been using the latest cell phone or pocket camera. Well, that figures, this being L.A. I also noted that all the videos came from one person because the angle was the same on all of them. He must have been busy all night. Finally, I was glad to see that the videos that included me were getting a lot of hits. I know how vain that must sound but I was not thinking of myself so much as my marketing possibilities. Also, in the back of my mind, I'm thinking about putting up a web page, a facebook page, a MySpace page and maybe even Tweeting.
Looking upon all the videos, I really liked all the artists sets. Dylan especially looked at the top of his game. Ronstadt sounded sweet and I loved the warm sound the band provided. The video of "Stretching Out" included my introduction and Jimmy looked and sounded terrific. It hardly surprised me that whenever Amy appeared, she stole the scene and what could be better than that? Taken as a whole, it was a great bunch of videos and I hoped they would become viral in a short amount of time.
Amy stopped writing and waved to me so I pulled off my headphones. "You hungry?"
"No, not really. I'm good. I was just watching the videos and baby, you are the bee's knees."
"Aw, you're just saying that. You lookin' to get laid?"
I laughed. "I don't have to look far. Hey, what's the dress code for tonight?"
"Debby said to dress very casually - jeans and sneakers. Debby also requested that we bring Santo to keep their dog company."
"Oh, good, he'll enjoy that. I'm not really in the mood to get dressed up, so that's good news, too. I want to be dressed up to get messed up."
Now it was her turn to laugh. "I know what you mean. I'm feeling sexy so I hope you don't mind if I dress a little provocatively."
"Mind? How could I mind? You just want George and Jack to drool all over you again." She turned red and I knew I was on target. Why shoudn't she want that? It's every girl's dream. I stood up, walked to the front of the bus and stared out at the ocean.
"Amy, come here quick!"
"What is it?" she said as she hopped up.
There in the Pacific, not too far off shore, was a school of dolphins playfully breaching and diving.
"Wow! I've never seen that before, Davy. Let's get closer!" I leashed Santo and we ran out to the shoreline. There must have been a few dozen dolphins arcing through the water. The sunlight played and bounced off their skin.
"Look at how graceful they are and they all seem to be smiling." There were several dozen people watching the scene. Many were snapping pictures but not us. We were transfixed. Even Santo sat still and watched. After a while, they turned west toward the horizon and disappeared. Saying nothing, we held hands and walked north along the beach. The seaside homes perched over the water. They all seemed so precarious but you knew they weren't.
"Wouldn't you love one of those, Davy?"
"Sure...but none of these houses have any property. They all seem to be on top of each other. I'd rather have land and view and privacy. I like the views I used to have in East Hampton. Different oceans, different styles, same stupidly exorbitant prices."
"Yes, I think you're right. I think I'd rather have land and privacy, too. Still, if I ever wanted a beach house, this could work."
We turned and started to walk back. Amy asked if I would give her a massage. She said that she felt a little muscle-bound and said that it was from the inner tension she experienced last night. "I didn't realize just how keyed up I was until I got out of bed this morning. Don't you feel a little sore today?"
"No, hon, I got over that years ago. When it's fun and not work, it's easy. It's part of my routine. When the spotlight hits or when the guitar gets strapped on or when the mic is live, I become 'Davy Harper - Performer' and I fall into that role without even thinking."
"I don't get that sense...that is, that you change persona. You seem so natural, So 'Davy' all the time."
"That's nice to hear. It's just a matter of switching to the other side of your brain and I suppose it's become a natural thing for me. But that's really nice to hear because, many years ago, I decided that I was going to be the same 'me' all the time. I didn't want to become affected. There are too many of those people around already. And, it is so much less stressful."
We reached the bus and Santo instantly flopped down in his new favorite place and fell asleep. I stripped the bed and threw a fresh sheet over it. I closed the shades and I turned on some gentle sitar ragas. I asked Amy to lay on her stomach and relax for a few minutes. While she quietly lay, I warmed up some scented body lotion. By the time I returned she was relaxed and buns-up beautiful. I started at her feet and with whatever shiatsu and deep tissue knowledge I had, I gave her a firm massage. She let out little sounds of pleasure. I moved up her legs and then to her arms. I worked on her shoulders and buttocks with a strong, steady motion. As I worked on her shoulders, her breathing was deep and steady and I realized that she was in a deep sleep. I tiptoed out and closed the door. Back in the salon, I stretched out in the recliner and turned on the television. I flipped around until I found a CSI rerun. I don't remember what it was about because I fell asleep, too.
The phone woke us. "You two coming or what?" It was Mark and we were late. I apologized and told him that we'd fallen asleep. I said we'd be over in a little while. He gave me directions and told me to hurry up. I asked if we could bring anything and he replied, "Your dog, your axe and your ass. Now get a move on!" Amy walked out of the bedroom stretching and yawning.
"That was about the best nap I think I've ever had. I feel refreshed. Who was that?"
"It was Mark and we're already fashionably late. Let's dress and get out of here."
"Okay. Give me a few minutes in the bathroom and we'll go."
I got dressed in my favorite outfit: jeans and sneakers, a black t-shirt underneath a battered light blue work shirt. No underwear. Amy came out of the bathroom and approved. She'd already put on her makeup and it took her no time to dress either. She wore jeans and sneakers, too, a dark red cotton top over a lacy red bra. The v-neck of her blouse plunged into her cleavage and she looked as sexy as I've seen her. Each time she bent over, I could see down her shirt and glimpse those perfect melons. I told her so and she preened, smiling. Her jeans seemed poured on and I took a firm grasp of her butt.
"Save it, stud. Let's go."
I grabbed the guitar and threw it into the truck. Santo found his spot in the back seat and before you could say, "boo!" we were winding around Laurel Canyon toward their house on Beech Knoll Road. As we pulled up, a security guard checked off our names and a valet took the car. The house sat on a ridge with a spectacular view of the canyon facing southeast in the direction of West Hollywood. As we were so late, the party was in full swing when we entered.
"Hello, Sleepyheads," said Debby as she took our hands and led us through the house and onto the patio. Waiters were serving little hot dogs, slider hamburgers, wraps and burritos. Santo was introduced to a couple of dogs, Marion and Orson. He seemed nonplussed. He was more interested in the hot dogs and hamburgers. I took him off the leash knowing that we would never be too far from me and he walked around looking at the ground for crumbs. Mark was at the side of the rectangular pool which was lit by lots of floating candles. He was busy talking to someone as I approached.
"Davy! Nice of you to wake up and join us!" I shrugged and apologized. "Davy, do you know Mark Harmon? Mark, Davy." We shook hands and Harmon complimented me on my set at the benefit. Mark took my guitar from me and set it down by a bunch of other cases. A waiter came by with cold beer and tequila shots. Mark scooped up three shots but I passed telling him, "Not yet."
"Come on, Davy, it will take the sleep out of your eyes. One shot...to us!"
"Ok, Mark, twist my arm! Here's to everything you wish yourself."
We drank our shots and I sipped my beer. Amy was on the other side of the pool talking to Debby and Courtney Cox. "Let me introduce you around," said Mark.
I exchanged pleasantries with all sorts of icons from the entertainment industry. A photographer who seemed to hang around the periphery took several pictures most of which I knew would land on TMZ and ET. Eventually, we made our way around the pool toward our partners. Amy pulled me aside and said, "Can you believe that we're at a real Hollywood party? This is so exciting. I was talking to Kevin Costner's wife and, get this, we went to high school together! What a small world!"
"Speaking of being a small world, there's Judd Apatow. He grew up with my daughter on Long Island." We walked over to say hello and Judd recognized me right away. He was in conversation with Shia LaBoeuf and Russell Brand. Someone handed me a joint as I approached. Judd threw his hand out, "Mr. Harper! How are you. I haven't seen you in years!" He introduced me around telling them that I was the first celebrity he ever knew. Natalie Portman rushed over asking if she could join the reunion. Natalie was also from the old neighborhood and we all had a happy time regaling stories, some of which I never knew. Natalie said that she bumped into my daughter a few months ago in New York City and that she looked great. Judd asked me to say hello to her and to ask her to call him.
He also gave me a wonderful compliment. "You were just amazing last night. It reminded me of a day when I was at your house and you were playing guitar and singing..."
"Wasn't that the Sweet Sixteen party," Nats asked Judd.
"Yeah, maybe it was. That was a good party. Last night, I felt that you were singing in your living room again. You seemed so casual."
"Yes, that was fun. But, to be honest, I was in really in paradise playing with my idols. A lot of last night was a big blur to me."
Amy asked them about what I was like when they were growing up. Judd shrugged and said that I seemed a whole lot happier now. Just then Will and Jada Smith walked up and we shook hands. Linda Ronstadt was approaching Amy and Julia Roberts was at her side. Within moments, we were all pleasantly in conversation. Amy and Julia had met several times in Aspen and they were catchng up on gossip about some of the characters. I felt perfectly comfortable in this company when I heard my name being called. It was Jimmy Buffett asking me to get out my guitar. I excused myself and joined Jimmy and George Porter, Jr, one of my favorite bassists.
We started to play "Cheeseburgers in Paradise". Jimmy makes you feel like a pair of loose shoes when you play with him. Nothing changes with him over time. When we ended, I kicked into a slow funk groove and kicked into "Get Out My Life Woman" just because I wanted to hear George lay it down. Jim Keltner set up a snare and a high hat. His foot tapped a wood block and we had it going. Geroge was smiling. Mark had his fiddle out and the sound was so cool it made us all smile. Linda came over and we kicked into "The Shoop Shoop Song." A bunch of the woman joined her as a backup and they all started to do some Motown choreography. What a scene!
Mark brought it down a little with "As The Years Go Passing By" and I had the opportunity to stretch out on a blues lead which felt very satisfying. As we ended it, I recalled that many years before, I hung out with Lowell George at his house which was not too far away up by Blue Jay Way. I started to play "On Your Way Down" and was happily surprised to hear Paul Barrere playing a Lowell-esque slide. Linda sang lead and when the song ended, we all took deep breaths.
"I hope Lowell liked that," she said.
Jimmy started "Like A Rolling Stone" and we had a great time playing it in a barrel-house, drunken style. Will Smith took the lead with a very comedic rendition. As we closed that song, Debby called out that there were fresh hot ribs available and we should grab some now.
"Uh-oh, the battle-axe calls! We better go or I'm in big trouble." Everybody laughed at Mark and we put down out instruments and headed for the table set up under the awning. More people were now joining the party and the house and backyard filled up. I saw Crosby and we waved to each other. Amy gave me a poke in the ribs when she spotted Clooney and his beautiful girlfriend. There was Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker. Johnny Depp and his wife were deep in conversation with Steven Soderburgh. I saw Richard Lewis laughing with Bruce Willis who was holding a harmonica. Hooray for Hollywood!
But ok those ribs. I complimented Debby but she waved to the chef. "He's from Memphis. He worked at Corky's? You know Corky's?"