There is little doubt in the minds of Singer-Songwriter, Country, and
Eccentric Music enthusiasts, Guthrie Thomas is
one of the most imaginary and influential
recording artists in the acoustic music industry today.
career has spanned 42 years, 50 albums, and 5 motion pictures. He has recorded and performed with some of the most elite musicians around
the world. Ramblin' Jack Elliott discovered Guthrie in a Northern California
cafe and bar bringing Thomas to Hollywood where his music career began. With ramblin' Jack's generous help and guidance in Hollywood Thomas soon gained the
attention of many notables and was soon on his way. as Thomas likes to say, "Had
it not been for Jack elliott, I'd probably be selling guitar strings in some
distant guitar shop north of Frisco. Though there were many friends who assisted
me in my journey in recording, most certainly Raynold Gideon, Arlo Guthrie, John Hartford,
Hoyt Axton, David Foster, Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson, and a host of others, still Jack was the one who gave me my
and famed Screed Writer and Producer, Raynold Gideon, produced my first Album.
However, Thomas' talents do not end with music and songwriting. Thomas is also a Registered Pharmacist and a specialist in Oncology Medicine; a Psychologist; an Author; an Actor; a Gallery Artist; a Music Director, and Record Producer. Thomas also maintains and oversees The Guthrie Thomas Companies, Moon and Back Records, The Guthrie Thomas Guitar Pick Company, and is considered by many to be one of the finest singer-songwriter, acoustic guitarists in the world.
When asked how he manages to accomplish all of these exploits in life? Thomas replies, "Anyone can achieve anything they wish to achieve if they possess the tenacity and determination to accomplish what others say, "can't be done." "Set your goal...and go after it!" "Always look at failure as knowledge to be utilized as guidance for future achievements, and always, always look for a back door!" "Everyone is trying to get in the front door..." "Lastly, never give up until your dead...But, don't kill yourself trying."
never forget that Fame is just a word that few truly understand, and for most, only a few short moments in their lives if the specter does present itself. artistic expression well done is something no one ever forgets...
My trip through this maze called life with all of its problems and sacrifices began in Wichita Falls, Texas. This is not to say that everything in life is a major problem or sacrifice, although, there have been times when it has appeared that way…
I did not set out in life to be a Singer-Songwriter or Country Rock artist. Actually, as with many of us, in my youthful days I did not know exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I only picked up the guitar initially to close a communication gap between my father and myself. As fate would have it, as fate always does, I fell in love with the acoustic guitar and the rest is history…I quit school at fifteen; packed up an old 1955 Chevy station wagon, and I hit the road. I have not stopped since…
The first song I actually learned was taught to me by my close, boyhood friend, Gary Brooker. Gary showed me three guitar chords and the song, “House of the rising sun.” I was ten years old. I learned later that this was the first song for many of the artists I would encounter and perform with over the years…
Out on the highway, I stayed with friends and future friends. I slept on couches, park benches, and even in a few corn fields. I made it a point to practice at least eight hours a day if possible. My fingers were so raw at times that I could hardly stand to finger the fingerboard of my Martin D-45, however, my fingers never became open wounds as some myths might have it. Also, I befriended anyone who could show me anything new on the guitar, from the easiest chord to the most complicated passage. I picked up as much as I could from these players and I traveled anywhere and everywhere to learn as much as I could. From the deltas of Louisiana to the Blue Ridge Mountains, and from one continent to another. I was always looking for new ways to play...and I found them.
One summer in the late sixties I befriended a fellow in Santa Barbara, California. He could finger-pick his Martin D-35 like no one I had ever seen. I don’t recall his name, but I asked him if he would show me how to play that way. He agreed, and for the next three weeks I spent every night at his place learning every trick he knew. I eventually adopted this style as my own. And, I knew after mastering this finger-picking style that I wanted to be a professional musician.
For several years I only played instrumental pieces. I perfected my fingering style while concentrating on speed and accuracy. (Actually, I played so fast that Arlo Guthrie once told me that I played too fast; that I should slow down...and I did from then on..) I never played anything for anyone until I could play it flawlessly. It wasn’t until 1970 that I began to write lyrics to go with my guitar work. But, I was a terrible singer which made things even worse…
As I was nearing the ripe old age of twenty-one, I felt I might be ready to take on Hollywood, however, I was stuck in Rohnert Park, California teaching guitar classes at a local university. Then, while reading the morning paper over a cup of coffee, I chanced to see that Ramblin’ Jack Elliott was due in town the following night to do a show at a place called, “The Inn of the Beginning.” I had studied Jack’s work over the years and decided I would go down and see him play. His performance was excellent, as it usually is, and I knew at that very moment that I, too, wanted to be a rowdy, country-folk musician.
Somehow, I managed to get back stage after the show to meet Ramblin’ Jack and I sat down directly across from him. Jack looked up at me and said, “Who are you kid?” I told him some ridiculous story that He had met my family and myself back in the mid-fifties when I was a young boy. Jack was not fooled for a single minute with this blatant lie, but he went along with it just the same, perhaps to humor himself and me. Jack asked me if I could play that beautiful D-45 I was toting around with me. “Sure!” I said. I then played a song that I had written for him the night before, “Song to Ramblin’.” which I later recorded on my first album, “Sittin’ Crooked.” I told Jack after finishing the song that I wanted him to give me a job opening shows for him, but I don’t think Jack was too impressed with my talents as He politely thanked me and showed me the door…
Fate is all I can say. The following day I was driving into town and I stopped by the Inn of the Beginning for a cup of coffee. At a table in the corner Ramblin’ Jack was sitting with a friend so, I walked over and said hello. Jack asked how I was doing, and if I had a car and that he needed a ride down to San Francisco fifty miles to the south. I told him I had a VW van and I would take him anywhere he needed to go. We jumped into the van a short time later and we headed south to San Rafael.
Upon arriving at Jack’s managers office I realized I was in the main offices of the Grateful Dead. I was soon introduced to Jerry Garcia, Bobby Weir, and the rest of the Dead. After this minor shock, Jack and I left for the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown San Francisco. We caught the elevator in the hotel up to the 16th floor. We meandered around the 16th floor until Jack located the room he was looking for and he knocked on the door. A few moments later, the door opened and Arlo Guthrie was standing there. “Hello Jack!” Arlo said, and we went in. We spent the next two hours with Arlo.
After leaving Arlo at his hotel, Jack and I ended up at Bobby Weir's house on Mount Tamalpais in Mill Valley. We stayed the night. I got to know Bobby rather well over the next few years. I recall asking Bobby straight out that night if he would produce a album for me, and to my surprise, he agreed. Although, it never did come to pass but, I was grateful he had even considered it…
After leaving Bobby’s beautiful home we headed south. I took Jack and his girlfriend to the airport. He told me as he was leaving, that if I wanted a job with him to meet him in Denver the next time he played there and he would consider it. Then, we said farewell and he disappeared down the ramp heading for his plane. I was in a state of shock and elation on my trip back to Rohnert Park and my measly guitar teaching position…
After some investigation, I found out when Jack would be playing in Denver. I then packed up my van and headed east to Colorado. Not only had I found out when and where Jack was playing, but I also found out what plane he was arriving on. When the door opened on the plane to disembark the passengers I was the first person Jack saw as he climbed off the plane. He said to me, “Your hired kid.” He paid me ten dollars a night, and room and board. This was the beginning of my professional music career.
Some weeks later after a short stay in Park City, Utah, Jack and I met up with Hoyt Axton in Santa Cruz, California. We all jumped into Hoyt’s Chevy truck and headed south to Hollywood. Hoyt sang songs and played a small martin guitar as he drove the truck with his knee’s. A simple twist of fate and I was in fine company heading for Hollywood...I thought to myself,…”This is exactly where I want to be and where I want to go.”…My music career was moving forward... and all thanks to Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Arlo Guthrie, and Hoyt Axton. I owe each of them a great deal….
When we arrived in Hollywood, Jack and I had no place to stay. Arlo asked the two of us to stay at his rented palace in Laurel Canyon. Warner Brothers Records had rented the Boris Karloff estate for Arlo while he was recording a new album. Before arriving at the “Frankenstein” mansion, I had visions of macabre and dreadful dark hallways where ghouls abound but, as I stepped into the Spanish adobe layout, I was surprised to find only one picture of the great horror film star in what was once Mr. Karloff’s study. In any event, we settled in nicely and I was quite comfortable. This was quite different from living in a garage in Rohnert Park, California just a short time earlier. I was feeling on top of the world, but “Where to go from here?” I asked myself.
Eventually, we ended up at Arlo’s recording session down at Warner Brothers Studios. It was the first time I had experienced the making of a record in a “first class.” fashion. Everything, from the engineer to the musicians, was strictly professional. It was great. I was learning every step of the way, but I was still a rookie in the world of music, and I wanted to be a professional quickly.. perhaps too quickly if the truth were known…
After the Arlo sessions we found ourselves at Emmylou Harris’ recording sessions, also at Warner’s ...she was delightful, and I was quite fond of her. She could really lay the tracks down to tape. Emmylou was just starting out in the industry but, a blind man could see that this girl was going places...and she certainly did… After meeting everyone at the sessions, and stopping by the main offices at Warner’s, we headed back to the Karloff mansion...It had been a great day...a really great day indeed…
A week passed me by at such a rate, that I hardly noticed the time passing at all. I was living that Hollywood dream. But, as with dreams, everything comes to an end eventually. At the end of this week in Hollywood, Jack and I found ourselves down at Paradise Cove near Malibu Beach on the California coast. Jack was meeting someone there, although, I don’t recall who that might have been. We sat down at the bar in a restaurant in the cove and waited for this person. After a few moments, a husky looking fellow with a beard sat down next to me and ordered a beer. Out of the blue, he turned to me and asked me if he could buy me a beer. I said okay, and we started talking. I suddenly realized that I was sitting at the bar having a beer and a conversation with Steve McQueen, the film actor. Steve and I would become good friends over the next few years.
After this great conversation with Steve, I wandered outside to the beach. A film crew was setting up to do a toy commercial, so I stood around and watched for a while. I had no idea where Jack had run off to but, I assumed he had located the friend he was looking for and would show up sooner or later. As I was standing there watching them shoot this ridiculous commercial about a toy race car, I started talking to one of the actors in the commercial between takes.. His name was Raynold Gideon. I told him I was a folksinger and he said He would like to hear some of my songs. To make a long story short, a few weeks after meeting Raynold I was in the studio recording my first album, “Sitting Crooked” and Raynold was the producer. Raynold Gideon is one of my closest friends, and has guided me in and out of many absurd situations, especially in the seventies. Ray is now one of the top screenwriters in Hollywood, and along with his partner, Bruce Evans, the fine film director, the two produce some really amazing film scripts and films. These films include “Starman”, and “Stand by me.” It was really surprising to me, that at every turn I made, I was going forward in my musical endeavors. It got to the point that I believed anything was possible, and it was...for me...The only problem that I had to face was...I could write good songs, but I couldn’t sing them worth a damn...
For the next few days Jack and I meandered around Hollywood. Jack had to go back out on the road soon and I had to decide whether to go with him, or stay in Hollywood to pursue my recording career. This was a difficult decision for me but, after careful consideration, I decided to stay in Hollywood, after all, I could not realistically find a recording contract if I was rambling around the country swapping road stories in bunkhouses and truck stops with Jack. Don't get me wrong, many up and coming singer-songwriters would jump at the chance to hit the highway with Ramblin' Jack Elliott, the education alone is worth a dozen recording contracts but, I felt my future lay in Hollywood and I just had a feeling that I should stay...and, as it turned out, it was the right decision in the end. So, I said farewell to my mentor and teacher as he climbed into the cab of a Peterbilt semi truck that was heading east, and he ever so slowly faded away down that highway he loves so much...so long Jack.. I'll see you later...
Now what was I going to do? Arlo had finished his sessions at Warner Brothers and I had no place to stay and I was running low on that essential building block of life... money! "No problem," I thought to myself. I had been stuck many times without cash and no place to stay and everything had always worked out before, something would turn up. Actually, I really didn't care... I was in Hollywood and my life in the recording industry was just around the corner. I mean, in my mind, I was not concerned with whether I "would" get a record deal...I worried about which company "I" wanted to sign me... boy, you talk about confidence... this was arrogance in its finest form...and I wasn't going to take "no" for an answer...
I ended up staying with Carl Clemens, my life long friend from my teenager rebel without a cause days. Carl was a writer and a piano player and, a terrible influence on me according to my mother. But, beggars can't be chooser's...(Truthfully speaking, Carl was actually one of the better influences in my life...) In any event, one Wednesday night, Carl and I went to a small club on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City. I don't recall the name of the club but it had an "Open Mike" night on Wednesdays and I thought I would go in and play a few tunes for the masses. I had kept in contact with Hoyt Axton who was still in town working on publishing deals with A&M records, and Hoyt recommended I stop into this place. I played my usual open mike standards, "Song to Ramblin," "Don't think Twice," and "The Ramblin' Talkin' Blues." After my set, I went back to our table and a young lady came up to me and said she had a friend who wanted to meet me. I wandered over to their table in my cowboy fashion and introduced myself to her. We talked for a few hours until the club closed down and she gave me her phone number before she left. Well, to cut to the chase, I called her the following day and moved in with her the following night. Her name was Ginny and she had the perfect apartment from which to pursue my recording career. The apartment was located on Beechwood Avenue, just four blocks from the infamous Hollywood and Vine, and just minutes away from every major record company in existence...
I took a job working the graveyard shift at an
all night, sleazy adult bookstore in the worst part of Hollywood. I had no real
education having quit school in the ninth grade so, finding a good job was out
of the question and the graveyard shift, midnight to eight in the morning,
worked well in my plans to relentlessly target the record companies in the
daytime. Ginny worked for RCA records as an executive legal secretary and paid
all the bills associated with the apartment. After each shift at the bookstore,
I would sleep until about one in the afternoon and then I would hit the record
companies with my pitiful, homemade cassette recordings. I had a little Sony
cassette recorder that was nowhere near what I needed for presenting my material
to the majors but, it was all I had... I was finally happy. I had a faithful,
and very jealous lady, no bills to worry about, my VW van, a sleeping bag, my
guitar, a few cassette tapes, a place to stay, Hollywood at my fingertips, and
all the sex books I could ever possibly want to read... read! I mean... look
at... I was the cat bird sitting in the cat bird's seat...
I very quickly learned it was not quite as easy to get into the majors as I had thought it would be. The only person that would even see me for the first few weeks was the lawyer at RCA that Ginny worked for, and he knew nothing about the whims and expectations of a young, starving artist, and the only reason he agreed to see me was because Ginny worked for him. But, I did not let it get me down. I went at it with a vengeance. I knocked on every door, every car door, any door that I thought might help me get through the "next" door. I now have come to understand that being in the entertainment business on the level that I find the most rewarding is a never ending series of passing through one door after another until you finally reach that special golden door that someone else opens for you...
It had been several weeks since Jack had left. I had talked to Hoyt on several occasions asking for advice, which was always "Don't be too sensitive GT, your too sensitive kid..." I never have understood what he actually meant by this but, I am sure it was good advice. I did take things a little too personally in those days... None-the-less, I found myself getting a little discouraged and Ginny recommended that I call that fellow, Ray Gideon, the fellow I had met on that commercial filming at the beach. So, I thought, well what the hell... and I gave him a call. Ray invited me over to his place in the San Fernando Valley and we talked for a few hours and I played him some of my songs. There was one thing I liked about Ray Gideon from the very beginning,, and something I appreciate in him to this day, Ray truly believed I was as talented as I believed myself to be. And, this was not that self centered ego belief that we all see within ourselves at times. I deeply believed I had what it took, and Ray believed it also. Ray and I talked for a few hours and, out of the blue, I asked him to finance my first album. After a short discussion concerning the details of such an investment, he agreed and our partnership, and friendship, was sealed... It goes without saying that I was absolutely elated. I went home, kissed Ginny, and proclaimed, "I am on my way... I am finally going to be a recording artist"...Thanks Ray... Yes, the door was open, the first door, and there would be many...
Ray and I spent just a few days in the studio recording "Sitting Crooked." It does not take too terribly long to record a solo record if you know the songs fairly well. It was at this recording session that I met Larry Hirsch. He was a second engineer "in training" for the studio, and the studio felt he could handle a solo record. Larry and myself would record many albums together in the future, but we had a falling out over a twenty dollar debt owed me by a second party. This falling out never has recovered but, I got my twenty dollars. I guess I now know the value of some friendships. After all, I can vividly recall the days when twenty dollars was more than I had. But, this has nothing to do with Larry's ability as an engineer and producer. He is a fine example of perfection when comes to session work. He strives only for the best the artist can deliver, and will stay there all night long to get it if that is what it takes.
When "Sitting Crooked" was finished, I could not wait to get my hands on it. It took several weeks to have it manufactured and I was chomping at the bit. I mean, I couldn't even sleep at night thinking about it. It was the end of all poverty to me. However, as with most first recordings by unknown artists who release their own records, my chances of gaining the stardom I so desperately was seeking, were slim to none. Looking back on it now, It was the most exciting release I believe I ever waited for. Ray had 500 copies of the record made which we eventually couldn't even give away. I still have two copies in their original shrink wrap in my tape vault today. This record today sells in some countries for as much as $500 a copy, and more if I have signed it. Although, my two copies are priceless to me and shall be given to my daughter, Sarah, and then she will probably sell them within a week...so, give her a call when I drop dead, but be aware, she'll probably jack up the price a bit more. In any event, I was now staring down the throat of the post production blues. That sinking feeling you get when what you have in your hand is pyrite instead of the gold you've been digging for for years. But, I was proud of "Sitting Crooked" and if you listened to it today and compared it to my last CD, you could not make yourself believe it was the same person. But where to go from here.
Ginny and I were beginning to have a few problems and she was an extremely jealous lady six years my senior. This is an explosive combination, especially with an ego as inflated as mine was in those days. I mean, I was twenty-one years old, and not too bad looking, and I made records for a living, sort of, and the girls were everywhere... Not a good idea to settle in with a "lets get married and settle down forever type girl" when all you want to do is play music and chase girls. Most of the problems we had were really associated with me, and not with Ginny. She was good hearted and worked hard at the relationship, but I just wanted to party. And, really, who even knows what love is at twenty-one. No one I ever met. Never-the-less, things were not going well. I had sold my van for extra cash, and I was driving her little Toyota when she went to work, and things just got progressively worse when I quit my job at the peep show bookstore. I was broke, and trying to write and sell my songs, and Ginny was working eight hours a day and paying for everything. It was at this moment that Marc Edelstein knocked on my door.
I had drifted down to McCabes guitar shop one afternoon in Santa Monica, California. It was the closest thing to a folk music shop in town. (It is now a very famous guitar shop and nightclub for high class talent.) I needed some strings that day for my guitar, so I drove down there. While in McCabes that afternoon, I decided to post an ad for a writing partner. (The one and only advertisement I have ever put on a musicians board anywhere.) It read, "I am going to make records, and I am looking for someone to co-write with!" and at the bottom I had left my address. Marc Edelstein, a brilliant singer and fine acoustic guitarist, was the only individual to answer the advertisement, and here he was, at my door. And, to this very day, Marc and I have worked on, or recorded together on, over thirty-five albums combined. Marc was a real likable guy, and still is, as we are still very very close friends, as friends should be through thick and thin Larry. We were the two Musketeer's of folk land. And together, we wrote a great many fine songs. I have recorded only a few of them, but we may finally do an album as a duo in the near future. Well, here we were. A duo of nobodies. But, we worked hard everyday writing the perfect songs and we tramped all over town playing here and there as a duo. You see, Marc could sing, and I couldn't, well, I could sing, but not worth a damn as I have already stated so, Marc really made the songs come out sounding good. I wanted to be Bob Dylan, and Marc wanted to be Steven Stills...A perfect folk combination. I soon ended up drifting away from the Dylan emulations and Marc started driving a bus...We were getting nowhere..fast...
After several months of relentless pounding on record company doors in Hollywood, and a few short interviews with A&R executives at various companies, I was becoming a bit discouraged. "What in the world does it take to get through to these people?" I would ask myself at the end of every day. I mean, Marc and I had the talent and the sound..."Can't they hear it?" I wondered...It would take me two years to realize that having the sound is fine but, having the money and the clout is better...
The Phone Call
I was sitting at home one afternoon practicing guitar when Arlo called me from the Howard Johnson hotel a few blocks from our apartment. He wanted to know if I could come over that evening and baby-sit his children while he and Jackie, Arlo's wife, went to an evening party. I said, "Certainly Arlo, Ginny and I would be happy to." Arlo and I agreed on a time frame and the conversation then drifted off in another direction. When Ginny arrived home from work, I informed her of the evening plans and we made haste in getting to the Howard Johnson hotel exactly on time. Arlo and Jackie greeted us kindly when we arrived and told us to order anything we wanted from downstairs in the way of cocktails or food. After a few short instructions from Jackie, Arlo handed me a phone number where he and Jackie could be reached in the event of an emergency. I asked Arlo where it was he was going to be, and he replied, "We'll be at Ringo Starr's house...so, give me a call if there is any problems." Soon the two made it out the hotel door and headed down the hallway to the elevator...
The entire evening was completely uneventful. The kids behaved perfectly and each of them dozed off while we all watched a television show. I don't recall exactly when Arlo and Jackie returned but, it was the following day. When they arrived, Arlo suggested Ginny and I stay in the spare room and catch some shut-eye. I thanked Arlo for the invitation but assured him that our apartment was but a few blocks away. Arlo, Jackie, Ginny, and myself sat around for a short time and talked but, I could see that both Arlo and Jackie were quite exhausted so, we bid them both a good morning and we headed back to our apartment...
Two days later, I was again sitting in the bleak, over lit apartment practicing my guitar, day dreaming of things to come when the phone rang. I answered it in my low, baritone voice only to hear Hoyt Axton on the other end of the line. Hoyt's voice was rather direct and matter-of-fact..."Guthrie." he said, "Get your butt down to Capitol Records right now and see Al Courey...he's the head of A&R at Capitol, and he wants to sign you to a record contract!" I was dumbfounded, but I followed Hoyt's directions to the letter...I grabbed a copy of "Sittin' Crooked", my guitar, my hat, and I headed out the door as if an earthquake was crashing the building in around me...I was moving quick. I sped down the Hollywood freeway at eighty miles per hour and I exited the freeway at the infamous, Vine street. I zoomed in on a parking spot, threw some change in the meter on the sidewalk, and rushed across the street and in through the glass front doors of the platter styled building of Capitol Records. I then walked casually up to the reception desk and introduced myself to the guard sitting there, and declared to the guard, "Hello my friend, Al Courey, the Vice President of A&R, is expecting me.""Is that so?" the guard uttered in that, "Crap, another damn musician."..."17th floor, and I suggest you take the elevator.." he said. I walked over to the elevator with an air about me that said to everyone standing there..."I belong here, I really do!"
I got off the elevator, and there surrounding me, was at least a' hundred secretaries, art department people, mail clerks pushing baskets of mail around, long hairs, short hairs, and about a million posters of famous musicians hanging on every free space of the rounded walls. I approached the closest secretary I could find and politely explained that Mr. Courey wanted to see me. She showed me to an office over-looking Vine Street, asked me to sit down and, if I would like some coffee, and then she quietly left. Moments later, Al Courey and another fellow entered the room and introduced themselves. "Ringo tells me you are quite a talented young man!" Al Courey exclaims. I was speechless. "Is that your latest album?" "Let's have a listen!" Courey said. I handed him the album, knowing that it was just "Okay" while seeing my chances going right down the tubes if Al was to play this LP. He would then know, I could write but, I could not sing worth a damn. On went the LP. He listened to it for no more than three minutes and took it off the turntable. I was thinking to myself, "Oh well, so much for Capitol Records." Courey and the other fellow excused themselves for a few moments and left the room. I was extremely nervous, obviously. A short time later, Al came back in to the room and said, "You've got a record contract with us here at Capitol if you want it, and what producer did you have in mind?" Nick Venet was the first thing out of my mouth. Nick was producing John Stewart, and I knew he would do a good job for me. "Okay, Venet it is." Courey said. Courey and the other fellow got up, and said, "Guthrie, we'll be in touch with you soon." He then personally showed me to the elevator, shook my hand and said, "Glad to have you with Capitol." The elevator doors then closed, and the next thing I knew, I was sitting by the phone in my apartment waiting for it to ring. I sat there next to that phone waiting for Capitol to call for the next sixty-three days.
When the call never seemed to come, I began to get a little nervous..I thought to myself..."Could I have come this far, in so short a' time, just to have them forget about me?" So, I called Hoyt Axton up in Lake Tahoe. Hoyt said, "Relax kid...let me give my attorney, Abraham Sommer's, a call and perhaps he can get the fire started over at Capitol. I thanked Hoyt, and once again, I found myself waiting for the phone to ring..."Damn..is this phone even working?" I worried..."I can't remember when the last person called me.." Oh yeah...Hoyt called me back..so, the phone is working fine...shit...surely, this isn't the way Dylan started out..."Did they even have phone service when Dylan started?" Idiot..of course they did...my mind was a bowl of red hot chili...I was obsessed with nonsense...and getting worse by the minute...No wonder Ginny and I were on the skids...I was so submerged in my vat of ego and the record business, that a wild badger probably wouldn't even chew on my leg if I were to step in its hole....sickening really...is it the pursuit of fame, or is it the quest for art...either way...both are deadlier than the disease itself..
A few days passed by when I received a call from the Abe Sommer's office. Abe got on the phone and asked me to come down to his office in Beverly Hills. This cat was "Big Time." He was one of the most influential attorney's in the music industry, and here I was.. driving my old, piece of junk, excuse for a car down to meet him. "I hope this guy doesn't ask me to drive him to lunch!" I thought to myself, as I weaved in and out of traffic on Wilshire Boulevard. My car wasn't worth the cost of one of the tires sure to be found on this Attorney's Rolls Royce...let alone the torn front seats..."Nah...this cat doesn't go to lunch with anybody unless they earn, at least, six figures..." Well, if we did go to lunch..he'd have to settle for the cheapest diner I could get my wheels to roll into...maybe we could go in his Rolls...I smiled.."Ridiculous, Guthrie...I'll bet the front seat of his Rolls has never seen the rear end of a real pair of blue-jeans...that seat is for satin butt's and Calvin Klein only..." Well, with all that was going through my mind, I can't imagine how I ever found Sommer's office, let alone the parking lot...but, I decided to park my car a few blocks from the entrance to his building, in the event Abraham's office over-looked the parking lot below...This was a very big deal..my first "top of the pile of shit" meeting in Beverly Hills no less, and I wasn't about to let an old, beat up Chevy ruin it for me...Looking back...that 1964 Chevy was probably one of the best cars I ever owned..It had a radio, a heater, and an engine...it's probably still running...
As I walked up to Sommer's building, I took a deep breath, brushed back my hair, cocked my triple X Beaver Stetson in to the perfect position for meeting the big wigs; I then pushed on through the most expensive walnut door my old, worn out boots had ever tread through...I must have looked like Clint Eastwood walking into Macy's in New York City...I just didn't fit into this painting at all..."Fuck all these suit and tie freaks," I thought to myself as I headed for the elevator..."All you guys would get fired if you showed up to work looking like me... And, all these girls..they love it... maybe you guys ought to head on down to the local feed store and pick out a hat..." In no time I found myself sitting in the reception room of Sommer's office...my mind was drifting, wandering in and out of fantastic delusions of grandeur...I could see myself on a stage with a thousand people waiting for me to play something, anticipation written on each and every face in the audience...Suddenly, my conceited daydream was interrupted by the the voice of a big titted fox whispering in my ear,..."Mr. Thomas...Mr. Sommer's will see you now..." My life was about to change...and I do mean change...
To Be Continued...
Guthrie Thomas Company
All Rights Reserved