California Dreamin’ – Ashley – 3 Strikes – Part 2

Los Angeles, CA – 1983

One day I somehow acquired tickets to a David Bowie concert out in Anaheim. (It may have been the Glass Spider tour) We were on our way to the show when my van suddenly stalled. I had never had any problems with it before, but this was the worst thing that could have happened at the very worst time. I remember a truck full of Mexicans was kind enough to push my disabled vehicle off the highway.

We missed the show, but I got the van running again. Ashley was incredibly disappointed so I made it up to her. I took her to a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant. It was the very first time I tasted veal.

On another occasion, we were out partying in a bar somewhere and were on our way to her house. I was on the freeway when the cops pulled me over. They said I was swerving, but I know that I wasn’t. I think they saw the New Jersey tags on an old 1969 VW minibus and decided to stop me.

They took me through a sobriety test which I passed, but when I blew into the breathalyzer, I failed. I remember Ashley telling me that while this was happening, one of the officers was hitting on her. “What’s a nice pretty girl like you doing with a loser like him?” the cop said.

So, they arrested me and took me to jail. They photographed and fingerprinted me and tossed me in a cell with a couple of drunk guys. I remember sharing a cigarette with one of them. It was a rare bonding moment with another inmate. Odd thing was, I wasn’t even scared at all. I was only 21 years old when all of this happened.

I guess one of the cops took Ashley home and they left me in the can to chill. I got my one phone call and spoke with my roommate. I told him where I had some cash hidden in the apartment. He hopped in a cab and came to bail me out.

The cops told us where the van was impounded, but said not to get it and drive it because I could be stopped again. Which would make my current infraction even worse. We agreed and left the precinct.

We immediately went to the impound lot and got my van out. I drove my roommate and me home and we were fine.

Bad night.

I called my father and told him what happened. He was cool about it and was just glad I was okay. I had left a grand in my bank account back in Wildwood, NJ in case of emergency. This was that emergency.

I had to go to court, plead no contest, pay the fine, and attend classes. (All of it seemed like fee income for the city of LA and a waste of my time.) After all of the negative experiences in LA and the feeling that it didn’t matter where you were in the world, it really came down to who you were at that given time in your life.

No matter where you run to in this world… there you are. You make or break the place where you live. I was fed up with all of the phoniness of LA and didn’t see any point in staying out there anymore. I wasn’t going to become the next heavy metal god and was really feeling despondent about my life there. It had all become very mundane. (I’ll write about the deeper parts of this decision in some future post)

My roommate and I eventually decided to pack it in and return to New Jersey. I was tired of LA and missed my family and friends. I was just done with the whole scene out there.

Of course, Ashley was heartbroken that I was leaving, but I had to go. There was nothing I could do. I wasn’t staying out there. She was, and our relationship was over.

I guess that’s how I was back then. My whole existence was about survival and dealing with my anxiety and depression. But I thought nothing of just doing what I needed to do to survive. I know now that I broke some young hearts back then. I never intended to hurt anyone intentionally, I just kept moving. But I see now I was running in circles.

More tomorrow!

 

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Tales of Rock – Guns N’ Roses’ Izzy Stradlin Ends Up in a Coma for 96 Hours After Swallowing Drugs

Guns N’ Roses rode to massive popularity as part of a wave of L.A. ’80s bands that made a career of looking like degenerates.

Guns N’ Roses rode to massive popularity as part of a wave of L.A. ’80s bands that made a career of looking like degenerates. But GNR eclipsed their peers because they walked the walk down to a man. Axl Rose largely stopped doing hard drugs once the band was successful, but had enough experience with “Mr. Brownstone” to sing about it and clearly didn’t dial down his propensity for rage, drinking and insanity.

Slash kept at it; he once told GQ magazine that his smack habit amounted to; “However much I could get my hands on. If I finished a batch, I’d go hunting for it. It never stopped.” Entering Japan on tour and ordered by GNR’s tour manager to get rid of all drugs in his possession, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin swallowed his entire stash and ended up in a coma for 96 hours. Bassist Duff McKagan abused drugs so heavily that in the ’90s his pancreas exploded resulting in third-degree burns inside his body.

Yet, the worst drug casualty of GNR was surely Steven Adler, who was kicked out of the band for being too fucked up in 1990 (Stradlin later claimed Adler’s dismissal ruined the band’s sound) and in the 22 years since, has basically done nothing but occasionally show up in news stories about the band, always supposedly newly sober.

 

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