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                         "LOVE LETTER" TO JERRY LEIBER,
                     The Book that Leiber Tried to Suppress
                   With a Preface Courtesy of Orin D. Snyder
                 An Introduction of Shorts by Michael Stroller
                              The Borderline Press
                              Baja California Sur
                                 LEIBER 2 ROLOFF
                                 LEIBER 3 ROLOFF
                                 LEIBER 4 ROLOFF
                                   HALF TITLE
                                 LEIBER 5 ROLOFF
                                 LEIBER 6 ROLOFF
         CONTENTS                             6
         Preface via Orin D. Snyder           7
         Intro by Michael Stroller            8
         I----A LA GOLDMAN                    9
         II- IN L.A.                          10
             A DAY IN LA VIDA                
         2---HOUSE NIGGERS                    13
         3---THE DOGBITE STORY                14
         4---JL & WOMEN                       15
         5---JL's MEMORY                      16
         6---JL'S GRANDIOSITY& STYLE          17
         7---LYRICS PROJECT II                18
             DEMISE OF THE PROJECT            19
         9-- JL'S PROJECTS                    20
             AS SABOTEUR                     
         10--JL ON MONEY                      21
         11--EMBARRASSMENTS                   22
         12--JL'S 38 YEARS OF P.A.            23
         13--AS A TYRANT: Jake & Our Lord     24
         15--LEIBER'S HEALTH                  26
         16--OTHER ANGLES
             MY ACQUAINTANCE: Cathy           7
             INTERVIEW: Barbara Rose          8
             T.A.D.O. PROJECT/HANDKE          9
             LYRICS PROJECT I                 10
             PSEUDO STEPFATHER               
         unterlagen for the lyrics II project
                                 LEIBER 7 ROLOFF
                        Courtesy of Orin S. Snyder, Esq.
         "It is an integral and material part of this Agreement that
         its terms shall be kept confidential by the undersigned. The
         undersigned are each prohibited from showing this Agreement
         to any third-party and from explaining or discussing the
         terms of this Agreement with any third-party without the
         written consent of all parties to this Agreement. The
         undersigned agree hat they shall not make any statement to
         any member of the press or broadcast or print media
         concerning this settlement or explaining or discussing the
         terms of this Agreement. The undersigned acknowledge that
         breach of this provision constitutes a material breach of
         this agreement. Any party aggrieved by a violation of this
         confidentiality agreement shall be entitled to all equitable
         and legal remedies as may be determined by a court of
         competent jurisdiction. Roloff agrees that he cannot and
         shall not write or contribute to, or otherwise disseminate,
         any books, article or other written material, whether
         published or unpublished about Leiber; nor can he cooperate
         with third parties about the writing and/or publication of
         any book, article or written material about Leiber. If
         Roloff violates this provision, Leiber shall be entitled to
         all equitable and legal remedies as may be determined by a
         court of competent jurisdiction. Any party aggrieved by a
         violation of this confidentiality agreement shall be
         entitled to all equitable legal remedies as may be
         determined by a court of competent jurisdiction."
                                 LEIBER 8 ROLOFF
         It all happened so fast: there I was at the age of four in
         my stroller, I had just completed playing a four-handed
         rendition of THREE BLIND LICE on our stand-up whore-house
         piano with my beloved mother when the doorbell chimed its
         invariable Polonaise. Mom indicated to me that I should
         stroll to the front door and see who it was that was chiming
         so impatiently. Always the obedient and obliging baby, this
         is what I then did. I laboriously strolled the stroller to
         the door, opened it, and what did I see! One blue eye and
         one brown cow's eye staring back at me.
             First I just stared at the oddity for what must have
         seemed hours to my Mom, but being eye-struck, and doubly so,
         I remained quite unaware of the passage of time until my
         mother shouted: "Michael, why don't you let your friend in."
             How she could assume that the oddity I was staring at
         was my friend or would be my friend continues to be beyond
         me after all these years. Put it down to her sixth sense. It
         was her sixth sense after all that told us that there were
         spider webs in the upright.
             I let Baby Brown and Blue Eyes in his color-coded wicker
         stroller stroll into our splendid living room, popped
         another downer for my incipient ulcer, as Baby Brown & Blue
         Eyes said: "I hear you play the piano."
             "How did you know?" asked my mother and she and I did a
         quick rendition of Three Blind Lice for my friend to be and
         he seemed re-assured on that score. Then he pulled the score
         of THREE BLIND LICE off the music stand and, pointing to it,
         said: "I need someone who can do that."
             "Do what I said? Compose."
             "I write the words, you write the notes."
             I said: "What kind of words do your write?."
             "Blues type words."
             "I'm your baby."
             My mother said: "He's your baby all right."
             My life hasn't been the same since. Now and then Baby
         Blue and Brown eyes still pulls me back into the sandbox.
             "Notes for things like this," said Baby Blue and Brown
         eyes, and pulled a few sheets with words scribbled on them
         out of his shirt.
             I looked at the words scribbled there. They had
         something to do with dogs and cats being tossed out and let
         in. Calamine lotion.
             "It's a blues," said Baby Blue and Brown Eyes
             "I don't do blues," I said.
             "What do you do," said Baby Blue and Brown Eyes.
             "I do Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Gershwin, soft,
         ameliorated, innocuous stuff like that. Broadway music with
         a little bit of style."
             "That's all right," said Baby Blue and Brown Eyes, "My
         mom like's shit like that too. If you ask me, Irving Berlin
         is the greatest."
             "He certainly made more money than anybody else in the
         racket ever did," said my beloved Mom. And that settled
         that. We'd be the smorgasbord boys, the smorgasbord boys
         from Minsk.
             I look at what Michael Roloff has come up with on Baby
         Blue and Brown eyes, and it's part of the story, the down
         part of the story, and some of the up part of the story, and
         in a way I'm sorry that I always took those downers, they
         made me so passive, but who would have pulled me out of the
         slough of downers if not Mr. Up. It's all true all right.
         Michael Roloff has a good eye for warts. What a shame.
         Michael Stroller
                                 LEIBER 9 ROLOFF
                               I-A la Goldman...
         Before suffering a deadly, airborne heart-attack in Spring
         94, Albert Goldman -- the keen, occasionally outrageous
         biographer of popular idols John Lennon, Lennny Bruce &
         Elvis Presly -- considered treating his public to a book
         about the rock and roll fuck and fall legend Jerry Leiber.
         Or, rather, as Albert put it to me: he had always wanted to
         do a book about "a cat like that"... where it remains to be
         specified exactly what kind of cat we are talking about...
         coon cat... calico cat... swamp cat... anyhow two cats who
         at least early in their lives had lived the life of white
             If Albert had delved a little more deeply into the
         background of either he would have discovered that one cat
         might never have... for even now, the second ROCKER, dear
         Mike Stoller, his face now skewing your eyes as you regard
         him sags down on one side while the other seems to want to
         slip heavenward, had never really signed on to this project,
         it was all very much Jerry Leiber pushing for its
         realization that kept it alive.  And Leiber.... well, black
         didn't go that deep either... maybe Ukrainian... that's what
         interested Albert, the semi toughs.....the first in the line
         of yet another line.. If one wanted to write about two cats
         like that, yes... it's always interesting to see the general
         cultural conflicts and also the specific personal
         conflicts... intersect!
             Since I've known Leiber so many years it's hard to
         remember exactly when I first set eyes on him. His was a
         face I started seeing around Elaine's probably as soon as
         Frank Conroy took me there the moment I returned from Europe
         at the end of 1964... Or perhaps it wasn't until 1970 at
         about the time that we [all] were leaving our first wives...
         a general event not uninfluenced by congregating at Mama's
         romper room... but it wasn't until JL and I found ourselves
         sitting at the Big Table, the "Stammtisch," the institution
         for the regulars, that we exchanged our actual first words,
         which I don't remember either .. who remembers all that
         gassing around, the conversations.... well, some yes of
         course, but incidents, faces, people more than the
         disconnected gobbledygook of a lot of male bantam roosters
         of insecure sexuality who played under the heavy wings of
         its exploitative mother hen or were amused by Donald Ward,
         the delightful gay son of an Irish New York cop.... what a
         funny hellhole, what an introduction to New York it was
         after all if you didn't know that side of it... Elaine's
         boys: what a rogue's gallery once you take a hard look at
         them one by one... George Plimpton, Buzz Farber, Bob
         Brown... etc. My first favorable impressions of Leiber being
         about the same as they are now: On first sight he struck you
         a little RUNTY... and its implications unfortunately have
         become clear over the years. What litter did that cat come
         from? But he had a sense of humor about himself even when
         crowing competitively, there seemed a serious side as well,
         the way he used words was playful -- three qualities for
         which I am a sucker, though Paul Desmond played with words,
         sang his lines the way he played the sax, and that was
         unbeatable... Also compared to a lot of folks there, Leiber
         actually knew how to listen, well, occasionally he did: was
         he polite, had he learned "listening" the way you can in
         analysis... listening with x-ray eyes? ..
             Leiber, an aging cat now, 62 years young and well
         retarded to somewhere between ages 14 and 17, the face
         pushing 75 +, a venerable millionaire member of that dubious
         institution, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame... A cat who had
         been a hep cat once upon the long ago Fifties... the once
         dynamo, our fun-fun-fun Chico-tyrant feature, Jerry
         "Killerboy" Leiber who still has that famous pair of twin-
         colored eyes, one true blue, the other trust-me-retriever-
         brown -- a schizzy quality that arrested Stoller in his
         allegedly phlegmatic, drugged stomach-ulcer tracks on the
         threshold of the Stoller family home upon the first
         beholding yo these many years ago in 1950 when JL came to
         see someone who "could put notes on paper -- "Hey Michael,
         why don't you let your friend in!" Stoller's mother said,
         and American popular music has never been quite the same
         since Stoller allowed crazy cat to cross that threshold, and
         by and large the music was the better the funkier for it...
         before it started changing, rather early on really, in the
         direction of STYLE... back to the violins, Ganse schmaltz,
         the corruption purveyed by the whores from tin pan alley...
         and transfigured by the likes of Gershwin, Kern and Porter,
         the  days of the youths quickly accommodating the assimilado
         aspirations of their parents... and, later, even injected
         with yearnings for bloody HIGH ART too!
             Leiber, as compared to Stoller [or Stoller's smart wife
         Corky] couldn't have been keener in pushing HIS agent -- MY
         agent you should hear Leiber shout on the telephone like
         some two-bit arrivee -- to find a publisher for Albert's
         project: that kind of attention, the indirect accolade, the
         direct expression of importance, that a book by Albert
         implied kept the project very much on the front burner of a
         mind that otherwise shunts no end of projects and just about
         everything else except what is immediate non-tedious fun..
         shunts it aside... Every scrap is instantly tossed out,
         memos faxing in from the home-office Leiber Stoller Music go
         unread, the surface discontinuity characteristic of Leiber
         for decades is augmented by the enabling act of the most
         stylish of designer drugs, Lithium, the chemical salt which
         performs truly devilish miracles to your system with
         protracted use... It's providers, hired by the biggest drug
         pushers of them all, chortle mightily during their Grand
         Round Lectures as they describe its and its surrogates'
         effects... The chemical dump inside JL, the fundamental
         colic brought on by all that brandy needed to keep him
         braying over the years and further exacerbated by a goodly
         intake of legalized prescription drugs -- old baby Tom's
         stomach is a veritable chemical dump site, Elizabeth New
         Jersey is pastoral by compare to what stews here, for though
         New Joysey may smell like rotten eggs the halitosis
         stenching forth from Leiber's maw, true wonder that any of
         the 19 year olds can love past such a stench barrier...
         shunts everything aside but yet knows how to take care of
         the companies dry goods store.
             For Albert, however, shortly before he died, the project
         had been put very much on the backburner: Mere song writers
         rarely acquire the fame or notoriety that the performers of
         their songs do: At the time of his death Albert was working
         on a biography of van Morrison, and the kinds of fees he
         commanded for biographies of stars like Lennon, Presley,
         Lenny Bruce were unobtainable for our pair of song writers.
         More likely subjects were Prince, Michael Jackson, Bette
         Middler, the eternal Mick...  Not that Leiber couldn't have
         paid Albert the semi-lordly advance to which success had
         accustomed him. But there are limits to the extent to which
         Leiber is willing to pay for self-stylization... financing
         an Albert exceeds Leiber's ideology of buying the looks his
         vanity desires. Building yourself a million dollar mausoleum
         DURING your life-time is one thing, hiring an Albert is
         another...and paying him: that's too direct, let's give JL a
         little credit, direct and crude as he can be, his pride is
         fundamentally subtler than that. Besides, when it is is a
         question of exerting your tyrannical will or being rinky
         dink, rinky-dink will always win the day... and tyrannically
         so... read on.
             Considering Albert's "shit detector," and though he
         might have told Leiber: "I love you, what do you got to
         fear!?" why would Jerry Leiber want someone like Albert
         Goldman to write this biography, rather than have the kind
         of "written with" hack who co-authored Jerry Wechsler's
         autobiography, do a credible but safe memoir... a kind of
         grand and final interview... why was he so intent on having
         such a book written at all? Must you not be mad to have
         someone like Albert do that kind of book? If you take a
         close look at Albert's work you would hope that he wouldn't
         write 'bout you dead or alive... Albert was
         psychoanalytically speaking a savvy cat [comparative to the
         crudities prevailing in popular biography]; his multi-
         interview method got into your bedrooms, your bank accounts,
         your drug cabinets: Leiber's drug cabinet, his medical
         records, the record of a cock that in the age of AIDS is as
         loose as a dirtiest pussy-chowing tongue... Albert could
         find out your fetishes... in Presley's case 14 year old
         pubescents with white panties and some pussy-hair showing
         through... To have an Albert Goldman write your biography is
         to invite a fairly formidable detective and academically
         trained intelligence go to work on you. MUCH as Goldman
         still seemed to have loved Presley even at the miserable end
         of our overdrugged pathetic overgrown little boy's
         predictably gruesome demise, the discoveries and analyses he
         made along the way, would give pause to any living
         subject... unless that subject was overweening in the self-
         estimate of his or her importance [which sometimes not so
         secretly is the case with Leiber during one of his upswings]
         or the infinite desire for the TRAPPINGS of something that
         could actually have been earned if we had gone on working...
         hadn't' dropped out of so many things, hadn't stopped over
         at tin-pan alley too long, missed the connection then,
         already in the 60s, jerked so many talented people around,
         wasted their time, either secretly or not that secretly have
         them at our petty tyrant's beck and call... Because JL
         thinks he's so SLY! That's why! JL's been outfoxing himself
         for years now. Or because we never read any of Albert's
         books through to the end, but are impressed by their Rep.
             Wizened and hobbled -- by fat deposits more than
         catfights [He's still ready to fight, even his five year old
         son -- lovable old baby Tom is] he has a few scratches,
         licks and snarls and a lot of braying left in him... though
         the snarling and braying, unless it be someone much
         slighter, a good thing it's via telephone these days; with
         telephone in hand scruffy can rant and roar and cry and
         holler with the best of them and be as funny and lovable as
         ever and if need be pump up himself up into astonishing
         rubber-lionesque grandiosity... especially between 6 & 7 in
         the afternoon once the bullshot hits the chemical dump in
         the otherwise empty rotgut... from one of the eight or so
         telephones in his million dollar Frank Lloyd Wright/Greene &
         Greene Mausoleum, stylized into rich yellowish-brown light
         by $ 25 a throw Osram light fixtures concealed behind some
         real & some copied Wright art deco stained glass... An
         attenuated commodity all the way... Suffused by the sound of
         the same ever-revolving Debussy CDs... la mer de mort de
         style... No, Leiber did not entirely waste his time in the
         New York art world, as stylizer's go he belongs to the
         subtle sort, the fine books are half-concealed... behind
         built-in glass cabinets; this is not Dwight D. Eisenhower's
         library; not the faux antique library. Sotto voce the house
         speaks of restrained wealth, intimates a long lineage,
         "style is definitely back in style" as his fine, also self-
         derisive?, song has it; and when Old Tom, say 'cause of a
         fever cause of the degenerating immune system, is in a
         "feeling too good today blues" mood he still has it in him
         to laugh at the Frank Stella design that he drove his
         workman crazy putting it on the third floor patio so his
         boots can do the walking all over Frank whose ex because she
         was an ex "Star" once turned him on... Yes, and then it is
         hard not to love the old Jerry Cat for a sense of humor that
         in true generosity includes himself. Yes, the ostentation is
         knowingly turned down, enriched; within the screaming
         colors, the hand-me down modernism of Venice beach the
         Mausoleum attracts especial attention to itself... also,
         because from the outside, the mansion is strictly "Addams
         family values"... And if you're a ga-ga pony tail you'll
         have an easy time getting a ride through... while we are
         most definitely "shuffling off to Buffalo"... hobbling after
         ponytails all the way... while he's either cooking or
         "crawling on the floor of the kitchen like a reptile" having
         fun fun fun.
             Yes, what would Albert have had to say about that? To 38
         years of shrinkage having ballooned the primary grandiose
         self to gigantic proportions. Had he staid there for a few
         weeks... What would Albert have said to the horror of
         horrors I was made only too keenly aware: JL may feed you,
         may stuff lobster tid-bits in our mouth the moment you
         enter, give you a care package on the way home like the
         world's best Jewish mother, but maw Leiber keeps track of
         every sandwich she ever bought you, with a memory as shot as
         the most wasp-eaten of apples, through which you can glimpse
         visions of no end of nothingness, the taxi meter never stops
         running when it comes to the price of food... what a
         discovery that was.
             It was quite something to stay in the same house with
         Jerry Leiber not that long ago, to spend some quality time,
         both in the straight and in the derisive sense of the word,
         with someone of whom I was fonder as of scarcely anyone for
         self-deceiving reasons. If you want to get to know Mr. and
         Mrs. Lion, visit their den. It becomes gruesomely clear why
         there is the need for so much preposthumous embalming going
         on... read on... find out... why none of the shows have
         worked out. Why Barbara Rose says: "Stay with him he's got
         no friends," why so many friends do drop out of his lie, why
         some of them at the mere mention of his name, fall silent,
         instantly turn to another subject? Why there is there
         scarcely one lyric to be proud of in the past ten years,
         unless you be proud of the feyest homophobic verses man has
         ever written for a show about::: dear Oscar Wilde!
             Why is there this immense disappointment in Leiber the
         person amongst so many folk... Why why why why why.... the
         answers are at my fingertips... But don't let them ruin the
         music for you. There's a bio aspect to most of the songs,
         too. You've just get to get the right drift on them... Find
         the spin, the configuration... And the fact that Lithium 6
         is also a component of the atomic bomb is the least of the
         reasons why the angry old baby tom is known as Jerry McNasty
         in the neighborhood. JL who once believed in psycho-
         analysis, though he neither thought its implications through
         for himself, now believes in "salts", in dosages...
             When I mentioned to Leiber that all of Albert's subjects
         were dead -- it was the kind of answer that endears Leiber
         to you and to Albert -- he replied that he'd oblige for a
         fee! -- The joke conveyed back to Albert, it broke Albert
         up... Yes, gallows humor, goodly doses of sardonicism is
         about all the pleasure you have left at a certain stage of a
         certain kind of mug's game... But it's Leiber's kind of
         humor... his kind of word play.... that, say, makes him, a
         thousand times preferable as to the, as he put it instantly,
         "terminally" boring David Halberstam... Albert and I, who it
         turned out, had no end of friends and acquaintances in
         common were becoming fast friends...
             "I love you , what do you go to fear!" were Albert's
         words to the occasionally still lovable superannuated 62
         year old wreck, "I love you what do you got to worry
         about..." A writer always worries most about his book, a
         good writer may be a cunt, a lizard, a snake, a swine, his
         ethics are those of the word. There lies a writer's sole
         superiority. No doubt Albert could have said "I love you"
         also to Presley, and in fact despite it all, if you look at
         the last page of the Presley book, Albert did love Presley,
         even in his gruesome death throes... However: love me and
         take me apart into my component parts, fine-line every fault
         and trace it... show what a mean prick, what a low-life I
         really am... what a dirty low-down skunky lightweight
         wrestler... Just as little as a nigger can turn white can a
         white man from the white lower middle class background turn
         really black... How to retain the pleasures of the lower
         class while living upper class, it sure is a problem, but
         money goes a ways towards solving it like every other...
             Stoller, from what little I have observed, and from the
         everything that Leiber told me, had really nothing to fear
         from Albert's examining eye -- unless Albert were to say
         that this cat cut out a lot sooner, or might never have
         become half a cat at all were it not for Leiber's pernicious
         influence... Well perhaps Stoller had actually taken the
         trouble to read a book such as Albert's biography of Elvis
         Presley, or perhaps his wife Corky had.... Albert was no
         embalmer... rather the opposite... he could paint your truth
         in its most garish colors... JL might be fortunate to be
         spared the kind of detailed sniffing and analytic probing
         that Albert was capable off... On the other, though my
         knowledge of the music biz and of its innumerable kinks, is
         minuscule compared to Albert's, in matters of the analytic,
         good daily work for a ten year period can do wonders...
         apply your mind, the best clock can be taken apart, the most
         difficult safe will crack... Leiber, though complicated in
         some ways... is really a pretty simple, a very "primary"
         case, the hipness doesn't go very deep. "Only in America" --
         at heart Leiber has bought into a tabloid fantasy, into the
         nightmare dream, he believes his own press releases and is
         as jealous of Bob Dylan now as he was 25 years ago, he
         grants him only one good song.
             So after the death of friend Albert in the making
         unusually late in life, I wondered what Albert would
         actually have written....WHAT would he have made of spending
         some "quality time" with JL at intimate quarters at The
         Mausoleum and finding out that "Yakety Yak" and "Charlie
         Brown" aren't just records from forty-some years ago, but
         that the 99 ways of tying up Leiber's German shepherd Zoe,
         that each and everyone of them is wrong, the terrible fix
         that puts you in... but that in no short time it is also the
         life at age 60+ in the 2 million dollar Mausoleum ....it's
         the Vougeria Hillbillies all over...
             Albert could wail: take a look at his descriptions of
         Southern songfest, etc. in the Presley book... how he got
         INTO the description of what some of the singers did, he
         could have done justice to Gunther of the Coasters, to King
         Curtiz' chicken-scratch sax playing ... He could have done
         justice to the enjoyable aspect, the gas that the great
         early Leiber Stoller miniproductions: what an "up" they
         still are....
             Though Albert told me from Miami once he'd listened to
         all the records again that he had a different take on them
         than he used to, I didn't ask him what that take was. I
         thought there would be time.... well there wasn't and I
         can't speculate... there wasn't disappointment in his voice,
         just the words "different take"....and we didn't discuss to
         what the take was different, just to the early stuff, to all
         of it? Had he heard all the "covering" that was going on?
         Who knows... unless he was making notes.
             My own response to the Coaster's material, listening to
         all of it again this past Spring, was as positive as ever,
         but reading Albert on Presley and the degree to which
         Presley was educated musically by radio helped me appreciate
         the degree to which the young JL had picked up what played
         on the black stations in LA... JL "covered" material as he
         puts it, and not only in the animal-husbandry sense of the
         word... covering doesn't just meant duplicate, however well
         or badly, new wine into old form, the extraction of the
         essence of a blues song with an added melody, such as Kansas
         City, but it also means to fuck, to fuck over... as in: I
         took my female goat Amy/Chicquita to be covered by billygoat
         Jerry Leiber, and boy did he ever cover them! It means
         "freshened" too....
             As JL told me, early on at home he was already composing
         lyrics, long before he had the confidence to look for a
         Stoller.... and enjoyed the admiration that his productions
         elicited there, perhaps not just from his mother but also
         from his sisters....He knew it would rivet attention to
         him... just as his story telling can now... teller of tall
         tales though he may be... pumping himself up into the tale.
             One can say about these early joyous productions what
         Albert said about the early Presly: that he was best when
         young, in his earliest playful recordings...as soon as
         Leiber started taking himself seriously... it's when he
         doesn't take himself seriously, such as thinking that Mae
         West's rendition of Santa Claus is Coming up my Chimney
         Tonight" that he's unbeatable.
             Leiber, as compared to a lot of would be hipsters who
         read Normal Mailer's white nigger, did lead fairly briefly a
         life among a lot of black performers, and if I am to believe
         him, not so much among jazz players, who interested Stoller,
         but among the Saturday night crowd pleasers, delta ditch...
         Many of the early lyrics were written for black performers
         even before the Coasters were transformed at his hand... But
         the hey days of Leiber did not last long beyond his leaving
         LA. and probably ended pretty much with the famous car ride
         down Laurel Canyon... where the allegedly young-one of his
         two black whores got killed... and which sent the Jerry-cat
         into a tailspin that landed him in analysis for 38 years
         which dire experience nor analysis in fact keep him from
         making the same error over and over again.
             A real change begins to occur with the work for The
         Drifters, fine as many of the lyrics are, already finer on
         paper on many occasions than the music which begins to
         compromise with the "soft" "white" commercial sound of the
         fifties, violins, harmonies, the shit is drifting back in,
         and Phil Spector only continued the progression, much as I
         love Mountain High River Deep and its metaphysical
         aspirations... Wow! ...And this comes from someone who was
         seduced into that kind of music by Little Richard Long Tall
         Sally I Saw Her Walking Down the Alley at the Blue Comet
         diner on Lancaster Pike, the mainline diner for
         Haverfordites and Bryn Mawr girls 35 years ago... Seduced:
         anyhow, such fun... And for Little Richard rock and roll and
         sex and religion are still ONE! ... Seduced, tantalized
         perhaps earlier on. A.F.N. radio back in the late forties in
         Bremen gave a hint of rocking my way out of the confining
         classics... No wonder I think of the marvelous lunacy of
         Thelonius Monk as America's Mozart.. even atonality begins
         to swing in Little Rooty Tooty... absurdity becomes
         bearable, becomes just another part of life.
             From The Drifters it was but a short step to the Dixie
         Cups and the pure commerce of Tin Pan alley, where it should
         never be forgotten how much expertise, savvy and
         craftsmanship goes into American commerce for it to sell to
         the resistant yet receptive always hungry sheep on which
         commerce grazes the same old grass repackaged as the new,
         any Time Magazine cover used to tell you the story of the
         compromise that is involved in becoming a successful cog in
         that creaky machine known as "the economy"... which exists
         for whose sake or we for its.
             But even the vilest commercial products of that period
         had the Leiber Stoller touch of doing it one cut better, one
         cut less cynically... still: the lyrics last, a lot of the
         productions don't, records like the collaborations with Dino
         & Lamborghini... and with Elkie Brooks, both of the 60s, are
         drenched in the corrupt Sinatra style... and not even
         Sinatra at his arrangers' best... I didn't appreciate until
         not that long ago how much time JL had spent at Luchow's
         with the tin-pan alley crowd... Not that I lack appreciation
         for all those wonderful hucksters... who provide the
         horrendous public with what its ears desire, and always
         leave the ears hungry enough to want to buy more.
             By the late Sixties already there is the inception of
         "style" with perhaps Leiber's best song, "Is that All There
         Is"... inspired as it is by a Thomas Mann short story...
         inextricable as it has become with Peggy Lee's rendition...
         Allegedly written after the International Wrestling Match
         fiasco, [1] it led to the last great album that the two-some
         over-produced, the MIRRORS album for Peggy Lee who'd
         allegedly hit the road with ALL THERE IS and didn't return
         to record the two sides until five years later... But there
         it already is: the best oboist, the best this and the best
         that... polished to death... the Mausoleum Style that haunts
         JL's Venice Beach Mausoleum has set then... a kind of
         dreadful hollowness echoes through all that style... "let's
         keep on dancing" even then, and Leiber took Goldie dancing
         not all that long ago and said, "might as well drop dead on
         the dance floor"... That's how much he cares about himself,
         don't stick around people who don't care for themselves,
         they'll do you in... A far cry from the funk of the
         Coasters... who would have predicted that???? On the one
         hand the death-mask style on the other the cheap ideology of
         fun fun and let's keep on dancing while we don't give a damn
         and treat no end of artists to being treated like shit..
             And as they say, there hasn't been much since.... for
         twenty years now we've been trying to shoe-horn songs from
         those days --Leiber re-cycling himself -- into various
         productions out of which we've dropped out of [see "the
         Leiber Projects" anon... that these songs haven't belonged
             But mostly the work becomes that of tending the "back
         list" as it would be called in publishing...
                                LEIBER 10 ROLOFF
                                  LA. 1986-91
         When Leiber showed up on the West Coast in 1986, I must have
         seen him a dozen or so times... First he was living in one
         of Gil Garfield's apartments in West Hollywood....Stayed
         over one night, in the morning he offered me one of his
         pills, I was rather frightened of any kind of pill at that
         point with all the shit doctors had prescribed, who knows
         what it was, it put me to sleep, I recall the look of one-
         upmanship that overcame Leiber when he noticed that I was
         groggy on waking... I also noticed that the only book there
         was his rhyming dictionary...
             I arranged for Tom Noonan to rent the place for a few
         months... Leiber broke the agreement they had, threw him out
         after half that time, a change of mind... the usual Leiber
         story... his total arbitrariness, his callousness...His
         excuse: Noonan was only paying half price!
             Leiber was dating a woman who had a fine home in Bel
         Air, he knew her from New Orleans... once he started fucking
         her callously and unlovingly she told him that that was not
         what she wanted... Leiber is callous in just about every
         regard, especially towards women... She obviously was not
         someone who would leave him, but that is not really what
         Leiber is after who claims that being a Don Juan is
         something new with him...
             I didn't really see too much of Leiber during those
         years, the occasional phone calls, once he called to
         apologize for dicking me around for six months in the his or
         L & S Music's attempt to acquire Urizen Books as a tax
         shelter... I accepted the apology and said "All those things
         would then not have happened." I was not referring to Rachel
         with the "all".... but to my on the one hand cowardice in
         dealing with one of the Urizen partners, and MY slyness and
         grandiosity in thinking I could carry someone like that and
         run Urizen as an eminence grise.
             During one visit back to NY in 1986, to close up my loft
         and move to the West Coast for good, we had dinner at
         Elaine's and I walked JL back down to 57th Street, and it
         was like walking an 80 year old man that mile or so...
         something or other, however, seems to have rejuvenated him
         since then, and it ain't the lithium I don't think.
             However, I recall a labor day when Leiber called and
         asked me belatedly to dinner, and I had to fight myself for
         two hours through the traffic to get to Venice, and within
         half an hour Leiber had disappeared in the bedroom, leaving
         me together with the same equally puzzled painter whom I met
         being chased up and down hanging pictures in the Mausoleum
         this spring....
             Then there were three or four incidents towards the end
         of 1990, including Thanksgiving and New Years that convinced
         me to keep my distance from my man.
             Friedkin had dropped Leiber and the famous infamously
         dragged-out movie of JL's early life... As usual, Leiber had
         wasted his time. In 1979 I once got snookered into staying
         at the Beverly Hills Hotel on that project and Warner
         Brothers never did pay the bill... The nearly as infamous,
         bloated "Ballet" had not gone well in the workshop in NY...
         allegedly because the director walked out... he should have
         never walked in of course, only a friend would... These
         matters upset JL and of course for good reason not that he
         has the power to reflect on the reasons why these things go
         wrong, or if he did, have the incentive to draw the
         consequences... Oh yes, JL was also suffering from the
         aftereffects of having been slammed by a load of drywall
         that the cat hadn't listened to not to look behind while
         Jed's apartment was being built...The belly was billowing
         from the lack of exercise and it wasn't the breeze....Leiber
         still doesn't listen to warnings;, say, about not wasting my
         time. I am just another different drywall.
             But there were those four instances... on three of them
         I came to town, not that small a matter for someone who
         lives 35 miles up the coast and whose every hour is precious
         to him for his work... During the most grievous of three of
         the instances, which sort of have the air of "broken dates"
         about them!, I was at Hal's with my agent Ken Rosen and
         about to go to Le Chinois where JL wanted to take me for my
         birthday, which happens to coincide with Jake's! There JL
         waltzed in with with a black painter friend of his, I am
         informed that the dinner is off, something came up! Also,
         interestingly -- coming from someone who claims never to
         tell stories about me -- I was introduced to this black
         painter, who instantly gave me his business card! -- as the
         very someone about whom JL had just been telling the
         infamous Michael and Rachel story... that is Leiber's "I am
         touting Michael to Barbara" version of it, where he keeps
         forgetting that I didn't need to be touted to Barbara whom I
         had known for 6 years and was nearly in business with... and
         of course it bothered me that my time was once again totally
         disregarded, that the story was skewed, that Leiber was
         stewed to the gills... and that I was being introduced to
         someone who knew Barbara Rose! who still owes me $ 10,000!
             On the matter of Leiber's never saying anything negative
         about me or other folks, that is simply not the case. By and
         large Leiber has nothing but negative and frequently nasty
         stories to tell about no end of mutual acquaintances, even
         about his partner of 40 some years standing... and at their
         expense... especially when he is irritable or in a foul
         mood... and he gossips and raconteurs with the best of them,
         and he passes stories on as soon as they are told to him
         absolutely obsessively at times, so I know that I am not
         spared, that I don't enjoy favored nation status in that
         respect! Let Leiber pay you no false compliments... No man
         hath worn as many gossipy skirts as Jerry Leiber!
             Hals was the third of those instances.... and this
         despite spending Thanksgiving together at Nadja's whose
         family seemed extremely nice despite all the unpleasant
         things Leiber was saying about them....and especially about
         Nadja.... the main thing being then that she had dated the
         producer of the Gongshow... the underlying homosexuality of
         such a statement seems to pass Leiber by entirely....Also at
         Hal's, this evening, I was treated to the happy boast that
         Leiber had once been controlled by Morris Levy, through
         Golden I suppose, now that I've found out a bit more about
         this story. Leiber is happy, too, as long as the criminal
         who controls him is a FAMOUS CRIMINAL!...
             One evening Leiber suddenly showered me with some new
         and some old clothes... at his place....he had been fussing
         with my clothes as only an old spinster might.... It was the
             Another evening, I was so upset I shouted at him in the
         corner of his apartment to tell me what was going on, but
         Leiber was like a bank vault... I had seen him like that
         once before: Cathy had laid into him like that once at
         Elaine's.... Elaine, who witnessed that, said: "It's more
         complicated than that." I don't know.
             Anyhow: on the one hand wonderful hospitality, some very
         good talks, and then some very odd behavior that seemed
         anything but friendly...
             Fairly horrified if not nauseated at Leiber's dislike of
         Nadja [especially for having dated at the age of 17 Mr.
         Gongshow], yet noticing that Thanksgiving an X-mas were
         spent in her company at Linney Canal, where JL had bought
         himself a house to ensconce her and his son Jake, I was
         getting it: the homosexuality mingled with the starfucking
         and abysmal sense of runty inferiority of it all, the
         cruelty of it....  With all the complaints and dislike of
         Nadja that Leiber expressed to me, I was a little puzzled
         about what was going on... Nadja seemed about as nice a
         woman as I'd seen Leiber with... if not an educated
         intellectual, if no "Stella", Nadja was sharp... and unable
         to find out from Leiber himself what was going on, I made
         the perhaps unpardonable mistake of calling Nadja. Still, I
         was then shocked at the disappointment with Leiber that the
         perfectly intelligent Nadja expressed and how accurate, much
         less colored by sentiment, her assessment of my man was than
         my own. She had him right on every count, but was still
         puzzled at his occasional generosity, whose genuine
         instincts I would say there is absolutely no doubting at
         instances. [Which do not include the publicity generosity of
         establishing scholarship funds for the deprived music loving
         ghetto bunnies]. Hearing mutual dislike from both parties,
         being full of good advice as I still was at the time I
         mentioned, thinking I could solve two stones with one bird I
         offered: why not get yourself another guy.... Wrong move. I
         heard it at once at the way I stopped Nadja short.
             Happening to call Leiber in NY a few weeks later, he
         told me how pissed he was, but then said not to beat a dead
         horse...I said I would write: now I know that Leiber does
         not read letters, neither letters, nor memos, nor faxes, I
         realize that of course he did not read my letter of apology:
         "My man, never again, let me not step into that mare's nest.
         It's all yours. Please forgive."
             But Leiber is the kind of fellow who likes to have
         things on folks and that he doesn't forget, he'll bring it
         up, like a wrestler who knows every nasty hold and every
         weak point in his opponent, JL has no compunctions about any
         of these holds, there's something to be said for being
         brought up in a ghetto.......
             Of course all matters in writing are consigned to the
         wastebasket, he does not want to litter the transfiguring
         dead-set mind... and of course every horse is beaten over
         and over, not one nag has been forgotten or forgiven, each
         and every stallion gets whipped all over, every mare gets
         fucked twice and each yearling chased around the corral...
         until it drops... The memory may be shot but not his
         negative memory as it were. .."Hey sorry my man, never gain,
         forgive me for intruding, the path of good intentions is
         paved with disasters, let me stop being a paving stone..."
             Well yes, Nadja had taken the advice to the point of
         being a little cool to him on the telephone a few times, and
         then had confessed why. Leiber said: "I am incredibly close
         to her." How can you be close to someone about whom you say
         all those horrible things? --Oh my Gawd!
             And now recently I heard "entrapment", emasculation, she
         is compromised.... A la la.... And no doubt he's still very
         close....Well, he spends a lot of dinners there, son Jake is
         a product of his loose cannon days of the late 80...
             Oh yes, during our last face to face conversation when
         that incident suddenly popped up again out of Leiber's
         unforgiving heart, my telling Nadja that he'd waltzed in
         drunk into Hal's meant that I came within a hair's breadth
         of being hauled as a witness to some trial... More Leiber
         phantasmagoria, now of a paranoid kind. But anyhow, these
         events of late 1990 led me to conclude it would be a good
         thing to keep my distance from JL who, after all, even now,
         can be terribly good company. And it's tough not being fond
         of the old bugger....He is one of a kind....
             After sending him a wild cucumber during a trip to Big
         Sur -- no act of kindness if you've ever put tongue to a
         wild  California cucumber -- and bowing out from a rock and
         roll ASCAP function for L & S, I called him to alert him of
         my trip to Mexico....I sent him the various sections of my
         screenplay BOOGIE [a.k.a. "Graduation Party"] that features
         eight versions of his and Stoller's "The Last Man in New
         York Who Can Really Boogie," and called Mike Stoller, to
         alert him to the existence of the script and that my then
         agent/producer Ken Rosen might be in touch with him during
         my absence.... I didn't trust Leiber's memory even then...
         Stoller, as in some other respects, was in a state of total
         denial about JL's memory.
                                LEIBER 11 ROLOFF
                          RE-ENCONTER IN THE MAUSOLEUM
         But what a pleasure on returning to Venice three years
         later, and to seeing JL again initially calmer, and suddenly
         he came through for me: he put me up in the Venice Beach
         House for five days, we had five nights of really first rate
         conversation, a lot of it dealing with psychoanalysis, on
         which subject, it turned out Leiber really knew a fair
         amount, though I think what he expects from it is what he
         thought he was getting with lithium: a magic pill... the
         fact that it involved work, well analysis is not only fun...
         perhaps you must love understanding more than anything else
         to get out of it what you can and bear the pain of it....
         The MAUSOLEUM is of course the SHOWIEST example of GRANDIOSE
         STYLIZATION... exquisite & dead....it's like the Peggy Lee
         MIRRORS album.... and the fact that Leiber drove the workman
         crazy putting a Frank Stella design on the top floor patio
         roof -- these boots are meant for walking, they'll walk all
         over you -- of course I forgive him when he laughs at
         himself for doing something crazy like that [but such laughs
         about himself have become rarer, and I mean an
         unselfdeprecatory laugh... ] and it is truly dreadful to
         behold how precious these matters are to him... and how
         ghastly when he loses his sense of humor about himself...
         What is being memorialized in the MAUSOLEUM? each Saturday
         morning we buy a couple of hundred dollars worth of
         wonderful flowers... the MAUSOLEUM becomes a little ghoulish
         with the same Debussy CDs playing over and over again... I'm
         reminded of Faulkner's A ROSE FOR EMILY... hard to find a
         warm livable spot in it, the third floor office and patio
         would seem to be it... if only the deck furniture wouldn't
         all have to be exactly the same green! But the Mausoleum
         can't stylize the smell of rot coming out of JL's mouth... a
         true wonder that any of the 19 year olds can love past such
         a stench barrier...The corruption, the hypocrisy of all of
         it. It can't be stylized away, anyone who knows about the
         obsession with such subtle style knows the rot goes deep.
         JL's fine Latino employees hate JL's Mausoleum, they smell
         that it's cold and dead. "Only one guest room," they, the
         family bound, say.
             Yes, I called JL from Rosen's and we met that day and I
         went shopping with him, he told me all [?], anyhow a lot
         about the tough time Barbara Rose was having, She had sued
         her Italian financier of the art magazine for $ 150,000
         expenses at the same time that she was buying him out! The
         infinitely amazing Barbara Rose! And as a consequence lost
         the magazine as well as her art collection that she had
         given as security to the bank for the loan to buy out the
         financier.... that he was paying her $ 1,000 a month.
         Meanwhile, knowing Barbara and her ilk, and how she hates to
         pay and claims never to have any money, I expressed my
         doubts about the truth of those expenses she was trying to
         dump on her financier at the same time that she was buying
         him out.....anyhow: madness and pettiness rule the roost,
         and the simplest understanding of what might constitute a
         realistic self-interest needs to be tossed out the window...
             It was a nice hour or so at Gerbers and talking... JL
         seemed calmer than he had been when last I'd seen him about
         three years before....and I was too after most of three
         years spent on country time in Mexico... he seemed less of a
         loose cannon.... He asked me why I was so self-absorbed, I
         tried explaining it to him... the Tao of country time, the
         voyages of self-analysis, that I was not so much absorbed in
         myself but in a variety of projects that I could only get
         done living like that and with that kind of devotion...
         These are things that are beyond him though he will at
         instant's notice boast that he too is a country boy because
         he went on a hayride once ... We went to the Mausoleum....
         he had shown me around already.... I had joked that all I
         wanted was the top floor, which was loft-like, or rather one
         half of that floor is like a loft, the other is the patio...
         I knew that was one place in the joint where I could work...
         It was quiet, removed from the boardwalk which Leiber likes
         to watch for passing pony tail while he is sitting at his
         small 18 century desk.... actually inviting some of the
         gawkers in for a tour...
             The top floor had a great view of the ocean.... Little
         did I know that I actually would inhabit it in a few months
         for two weeks, one week sans Leiber, then a week with
             Leiber asked me whether I had anyone to talk to at my
         idyll in Baja California Sur, I said no not the way we can
         talk....and descried Mulege to him, I must have described
         Mulege to him about ten times, it never seemed to
         register... nor did he read Part One of my Baja book...But
         then I began to notice a pattern, whenever he asked those
         questions again, it meant that he didn't want me around any
         more... This day, the first time this happened, he was going
         into the downstairs's bathroom to toss down some pills....
             I called him a few times. We started seeing each other
         again. I adapted two plays from the German while at Rosen's,
         got the second half a screenplay finally drafted...
             One evening we went for a nice long walk along the
         boardwalk and made up, I forgave the "loose cannon" days
         during which my time had been wasted and whatever else there
         was to forgive and get on with it, Leiber allowed how maybe
         there was something wrong with the "belly" , he said the
         only troublesome thing about my affair with Rachel had been
         how upset Barbara had been by it! Her tit had come swinging
         out of her bra when she heard about it on the phone... weird
         that of all the details of the saga that one should stick...
         but perhaps not... JL is not known as "booby" Leiber for
             So much for resentment! I had put them all into the past
         until he managed to rekindle them with the switch on the
         lyric project & the outburst of his resentments at Hal's the
         night he'd A FIGHT WITH HIS FIVE YEAR OLD SON!
             One evening JL said he was going to be hard on me:
         always let someone be, you can pick up some of the best
         things from what your enemy says about... Leiber still bats
         a solid 500 in his observations... but what's good in
         baseball....If JL only knew how to be hard on himself....
             But was it possible after all to have one really close
             However, it then turned out, all these talks, and
         anything that might flow from them, is instantly
         forgotten... besides: four or five nights without some young
         women around... Leiber was getting antsy...
             But wasn't I amazed on finally hearing the Mailer Fight
         story from 30OO years ago that a certain Frank Conroy had
         started it, a cunt according to Leiber who has such an
         aversion to Conroy he can't really pick up his books.....I
         get to hear the most marvelously told story about the now
         deceased Buzz Farber and his bullfighting photo adventure in
         Spain, a long detailed story about Farber & Mailer & Terry
         Southern at Elaines.... but somehow or other there is no
         mention of Conroy having been instrumental in any of this...
         well, maybe he made some nasty gestures or comments like "go
         at it guys"... and not derisively either, but nasty as he
         could be then... THAT IS WHAT IS REMEMBERED, the slightest
         of possible slights to our lord's self..
                                LEIBER 12 ROLOFF
                               A DAY IN THE LIFE
         It's quite something to spend some "quality time" with JL at
         intimate quarters and finding out that "Yakety Yak" and
         "Charlie Brown" aren't just records from forty-some years
         ago but that in no short time it is also the life in the 2
         million dollar Mausoleum ....it's the Vougeria Hillbillies
         all over...where the daily routine goes something like this.
         Depending on how badly we caroused the night before... we
         rise looking ashen or spry...
         THE MORNING
         The little tyrant descends from the master bedroom around 9
         in the morning... mornings are the worst periods perhaps
         because we have gone without medication for some 8 to nine
         hours or we haven't since our nite's are of a light sleep
         and restless... or because the dreams have brought up the
         dream beasts from the deep and they have not been repressed
         yet... Anyhow, we are most irritable then... After a Maria
         breakfast or during it we hit the the telephone... There are
         heroes of labor, heroes of sport, and then there are the
         heroes of the telephone: it is the perfect medium for a JL
         to brag, to show off, to laugh, and roar and tell funny
         stories to tell jokes, to appreciate jokes, for verbal
         foreplay and pastplay.... to cry perhaps... to spew venom at
         those who have slighted our lord in some way...not paid
         proper deference....You become witness to a lot of it.....
             Darling Maria, the maid,will have coffee ready - -
         shortly upon my visit to the upstairs quarter Leiber bought
         himself a coffee maker so he could have one at the ready
         there too, nothing like learning from a guest who knows how
         to turn a dead space into a living loft within days... Yes,
         Maria will make eggs and the dog will get the yolk... JL is
         upset if there's as much as a crease in the Times. Yet
         scarcely any of it is read, one glance is all sometimes and
         it is tossed into the garbage.. as a matter of fact,
         everything is tossed.... nothing stays for long....
             By lunchtime the phone business becomes wearying....and
         shortly after lunch time we become restless, we are sliding
         into the mother Leiber mode... and we have to go
         shopping.... this can take many forms, but shopping for food
         is certainly the favorite mode...."Shopping for Clothes"
         needs to have a new set of lyrics... But maybe "herring bone
         you'll never own" actually does the trick....
             By 3 or 4 in the afternoon, if not well before, we are
         most definitely worn out from the frazzle, the frenzy.... of
         actually not having gotten anything done! ... A million
         dollars a year clean does not buy quiet, as much effort as
         is put into keeping the world at bay, at transfiguring at
         remaining impervious, insulated: Everything from lithium, to
         the stylized house -- the yakety yak life sprouts forth --
         we are beginning to think of dinner, to prepare for it and
         the guests... If we began the day as a colicky tyrant, the
         afternoon is for shopping, for six or seven different kinds
         of olive oil....for the most special of the special... and I
         appreciate all that and enjoyed many of the trips... but it
         sure as hell is no way of getting any work done...I've been
         living on 12,000 a year or less for the past ten years and
         I'm not surprised any longer why the medieval monks were so
             By six we are beginning to cook and have our first drink
         for which we've been hankering since the morning.... so that
         once we have downed those one or two or sometimes three
         bullshots [also on top of anti-biotics!] which taste nothing
         of the vodka -- and delicious they are too -- on an empty
         stomach ... we are ready to cook, and literally, not
         metaphorically: if Leiber loved music and shows as much as
         he does cooking, if he were as good at that as preparing a
         cabbage borscht, a beef bourginion, American popular culture
         would probably be enriched to a degree it could not consume
         for generations... Instead we cook for a grab bag of young
         things, preferably ignorant of the dire past and present,
         for whom we can "perform" tyrant fashion, like little Hitler
         at the table talk of the Fuehrer... sometimes these stories
         are fine, at other times, they are at the expense of no end
         of old friends, including his partner of many years
         standing, who -- on the basis of these stories -- you would
         assume would have been dropped as a partner many years...
         sometimes a good deal of self-deprecation goes on too... but
         it, too, really is an inverted from of self-flattery...
             Sometimes we "crash" already during these dinner parties
         and go to sleep in this royal-sized leather monster well
         before midnight..... a few pages for a book never to be
         completed which will lie by the bedside for many a month...
         The light sleep is frequently interrupted by a urethra that
         is irritated by the enlarged prostrate, which may easily be
         a symptom of ten year's lithium...
             As already mentioned, Saturday mornings is flower buying
         time, the afternoon, if we're around, is devoted to Jake...
             Around 7 PM we "walk the dog" [Zoe] and chat up the pony
         tails... We try to stay away from the office as much as
         possible, and we receive awfully few dinner party return
         engagements from that rabble of guests... That overgrown boy
         Moishe, sweet befuddled Moishe, is a frequent companion....a
         lot of folks of course beg off...
             When I mention that my time matters, as does my mind-
         set, he finds it bizarre: everyone else's time is not wasted
         as he wastes his...especially not mine, who has all these
         books to finish, and who got blindsided last year: no
         respect for other folks time means no respect for them, but
         it merely reveals how little he sometimes thinks of his own
         work, and I know only too well what that signifies.... I go
         for a walk in nature when that happens to me.... the humors
         the medieval folks called it, and the word liverish is still
         in the vocabulary...
             The way he deals with other people's time, and has over
         the years, and his own, is nearly deliriously psychotic,
         since time is being... First the seduction of people into
         the participation... then the destructive handling of
         being... Freud felt that even a psychotic's delirium had
         significance if only one could see the sections that the
         super-ego had so arbitrarily and brutally excised...
             JL complained that everyone in LA. is so stupid: I make
         it a point to introduce him to three highly accomplished
         trustworthy friends... Jim Krusoe of the St. Monica Review
         who can be interested in publishing some of the lyrics as
         poetry; Peter Loewenberg, a fine analyst and historian -- JL
         instantly thinks that Peter will help him with his lithium/
         alcohol dosage [it sounded as though his NY doctors were
         cutting him off!]; and Sam Kaplan, the design critic for the
         LA. Times... It's a nice afternoon, everyone sits around the
         splendid dining table... suddenly I notice what a little boy
         JL is when he doesn't have his crowd of teenagers around
         him.... He's quite unable to answer Sam who asks him why he
         built a Mausoleum like that "I don't know." -- My ass he
                                LEIBER 13 ROLOFF
                                LEIBER 14 ROLOFF
         When I first re-contacted JL & saw a whole lot of him at the
         Mausoleum I also met Ken Buchanan who was then the office
         factotum there... But then Ken suddenly wasn't there any
         more... Sweet Ken is represented to me as being ineffective,
         a mother's boy. Not my experience of him at all if you treat
         him nicely, not to the yakety-yak world where there's no way
         of doing it right... That is, if you don't need to get your
         jollies by treating him like an "employee". Ken begged
         office duty it appears, he explained that he felt treated
         like a "house nigger" -- well, counter-phobic mother's boy
         Leiber treats everyone like a house-nigger, depending on who
         it is... either within minutes of entry, or hours, but
         invariably, within days. {Aside the fact, that Leiber can't
         stand anyone for long in his proximity; gets tired, bored,
         irritated, a kind of allergy to himself; yet can't stand
         being alone for long either. Even with Ken no longer there,
         Leiber is fuming, livid, talking about the "short leash" Ken
         is on... JL is invariably at the trigger stage...
             POR EJAMPLO: The painter curator friend from Santa Cruz,
         upon arriving, is near instantly chased up and down the
         stairs to rehang the art... and then the pseudo-Picasso, a
         nice set of jagged lines & plane and colors, is hung all
         wrong where the vacuous classical "three pointillist eggs"
         used to hang, now the pseudo-Picasso is weighed down by a
         directly overhead vertical beam: but you SEE the pseudo
         Picasso as you ascend the stairs... The BREATHLESS house
         guest is then, in the afternoon, locked out for the night -
         no, there's no extra key! My ass there isn't! Take a powder
         after a 300 mile drive -- 'cause Jerrycat is taking Nadja
         out for dinner and home for a drink, and it wouldn't LOOK
         RIGHT to have another woman there, "even though I'm not
         sleeping with Nadja" [well no, we did so only once in our
         life, and what an expensive fuck it turned out to be!]...
         And horror of horrors, the curator moved her stuff into the
         guest room... and I joke "You just got me and my shit moved
         out and she moves in with hers!" The curator brought more
         than a toothbrush... the absolutely perfect guest doesn't
         even bring a toothbrush to the Mausoleum/madhouse!
             After a few days I of course became a factotum too, not
         that this bothered me too much, the quake-tossed television
         set needs a repair service, the channel surfer switch...
         light fixtures in the event of future earth quakes... the
         new Mausoleum requires continuing attention from various
         contractors, the afterthought of a third floor propped onto
         the first two like that extra act to the "Ballet" too
         creates problems...[a crawl-space there is so narrow only a
         man as skinny as a polecat will be able to squeeze between
         the balcony and the walls] and I don't really mind but
         notice these things being unloaded on me....
             Certain moves however then do catch your attention, are
         a little unusual: "Michael, why don't you come upstairs and
         show Karen" [the pretty replacement factotum] how to run the
         fax machine" -- but then our lord already knows better;
         "Could you come upstairs and tell Karen and me how much more
         filing space I need." But he already knows: it's just to
         demonstrate to Karen that I [and Moishe in this instance]
         are at the lord's beck and call... The small becks and calls
         and the large becks and call of the primary lordly system at
         work, acting out... pettily as it were.
             Since I don't like feeling too obligated I make it a
         point to replace a lot of the food I ate during the week I
         lived in the Jerry-less Mausoleum with Maria and Talia's
         German shepherd bitch Zoe.... Surprisingly, this is not
         appreciated; nor is the selection of California wine I
         buy... and being poor I know how to buy good wines at half
         the price at Trader Joe... the price on the bottle is what
         matters since ONLY THE BEST will do & THE BEST HAS A
         PRICE... In no time it is pointed out to me that our lord
         [who was not rich but never poor as a child but had to watch
         his pennies] actually keeps track of just about every
         sandwich and cup of soup he provides you, and if he's in the
         complete Mother Leiber mode you can't leave without a care
         package goody... An ineradicable rinky-dink quality,
         dreadfully, embarrassingly, is beginning horribly to be
         admitted to my consciousness, and such a quality I would
         doubt is congenital... You are told that staying at the
         Mausoleums worth the price of a $ 350.00 a day Hotel... One
         day you are told to wash your coffee cup, the next day as
         you are washing it, you're told not to, the maid will do
         it... the theoretical solution to this conundrum: there is
         none except not to be there. You can always go listen to
         Yakety-Yak or Charlie Brown! -- I begin to appreciate why
         Oliver absented himself for eight years entirely from the
         five ring circus at Mrs. Leiber's deli.  -- Meanwhile, maids
         tittle-tattle and all the news of the amazing goings on at
         the Mausoleum travel freely to Linney Canal... The only
         person Leiber fools for long is himself. The maid says: he
         doesn't get along with anyone. Well, it's obvious why.
         Still: domage. ..I let it happen, I watch, I register, I
         remember... find rhyme and reason for it in time, notice the
         pattern... put two and two or whatever together.
             The gardener is driven crazy getting the exact color
         match for he deck furniture... The workmen are, knowingly,
         driven crazy to get the exact pattern for the Frank Stella
         pattern on the deck....
                                LEIBER 15 ROLOFF
                      THE STORY OF ZOE & JERRY & "GOLDY".
         The dogbite story is instructive. Even Leiber's bitch will
         get him in trouble; or, rather, Leiber will find a way of
         getting himself into trouble even over his perro.
             JL is the man who NEVER but NEVER walks Zoe at midnight.
         And though I was told to do so, it was then resented. As it
         was resented when I followed instructions to tie the dog up
         on the outside, or take the dog in. There are times no one
         can do anything but nothing right for JL. And then people
         are being malicious to him! However, wasn't it grand of JL
         to point out that I was not to blame for the fact that Zoe
         chewed up the corner of one of the $ 1.000 dining table
         chairs. I forgot to express my immense gratitude for being
         so generously spared responsibility for that misdemeanor! On
         the other hand, I really AM GUILTY, indirectly, for that
         mishap... While I was sitting Nadja's place I happened to
         walk by the Mausoleum one evening and there was Zoe, totally
         wet in the runway! Drenched, the poor thing by the watering
         system! And I explained to the quake-bound couple whom the
         at times utterly SPONTANEOUSLY generous good-hearted lovable
         Leiber had allowed to stay there during his absence that
         they should dry the dog and keep her inside the kitchen for
         the night whereupon Zoe chewed off the corner of that night
         barrier... Leiber of course spoils the hell out of the dog,
         spoiling is loving, and you have to love Leiber for spoiling
         his dog, gets little extra goodies in the food...the eggyolk
         for her coat  etc. etc.
             Let's get to the "dog walking."
             JL only takes Zoe out when some of Zoe's friends are out
         playing, the 7:00 p.m. part of the "daily routine." These
         friends of course have owners and at least half these owners
         have pretty pony tails, no dearth of those along the Venice
         beach walk... Leiber, after some 7 years on the Venice
         boardwalk, is of course notorious for his yen for fresh
         young pony tail... Some of the pony tails, but especially
         their young studs, resent our 60-something 75-year-old-
         looking I'm just folks Hall of Famer hitting on their women;
         they have picked up, just as I did, on his frequently
         uncontained but ever-present and frequently instantaneously
         primary system resentment of their youth, health, whatever,
         none of which money will buy... the resentful multi-
         millionaire... The neighborhood will come up and ask: "who's
         your nasty friend?" "He has the colic now and then" becomes
         the formula reply.
             So what friend would Zoe need to be walked for at night?
         Zoe's friend is called "Goldy," and of course "Goldy" walks
         herself... sure! Goldy is the mascot of Gold's Gym, just
             Next to the Leiber Green & Wright Debussy Mausoleum
         lives a Belgian shepherd, whom JL describes as a "trash"
         [what a surprise! how "trashy" JL himself is then!].
         "Trash," too, is out being walked at the same midnight hour
         next to the "Addams Family" values Mausoleum and Zoe and
         Goldie meet "Trash's" owner who tells JL to play ball with
         "Trash" -- and JL, naive as he is, is in part, also, the
         "obedient" JL: that's one of the fatalities that goes with
         being possessed by the ghost of a tyrannical and picky
         mother; yet one other aspect of the aboriginal event that
         produced the death of the young girl: Leiber can be bullied -
         - perhaps not for long, but half an hour, one moment can be
         enough...[As compared to being pussy-whipped by some very
         special pussies, but that's another story]  After being
         bullied twice to go on playing with the relentless "Trash",
         JL, -- again as is his want and habit -- begins to object:
         "Hey, call your dog off!" and raises his small tyrannical
         arm and the ill-trained "Trash" strikes JL's thigh full
             All of this is witnessed by "Goldy" who would soon be
         working for Leiber and Stoller Music. Then, belittling the
         injury but sans "Goldy," our aging lord behooves himself to
         bed, but wakes up in pain and with a goodly bruise -- which
         I saw, the skin may have been broken a little too. I offer
         to drive JL to a hospital, but no... Nadja, one of the
         legion of mothers in waiting for the injury and accident-
         prone lord is already doing so. I mention to JL that "Trash"
         may of course have been consuming and playing with all kind
         of vermin; and as is JL's wont, upon his return from the
         hospital to be properly attended, he informs me that
         "Trash:" may of course have been playing with all kinds of
         vermin, and I get a dumbfounded look when I inform JL that I
         just told him so a few hours ago: no one hearing JL say that
         "Trash" might have been playing with all kind of vermin
         would ever guess that this had not been an original
         inference of JL's -- his statement is delivered with such
         real, genuine, authentic visceral authority, such force, it
         comes so much from JL's heart, which is how so many are
         deceived, convinced by JL -- for even as he, in this
         instance "covers" a tiny piece of information, he has
         covered much larger tracks of knowledge... and frequently
         through SHEER DICTATORIAL ASSERTION... which of course is
         fine if he knows the field he's talking about; say, the
         blues, pop music until about 1965.
             As we know: "Goldie" has a job with L & S music, Goldie
         is going to be her master's vice, there was a little heart
         drawn next to her name on the desk-sized calendar on JL's
         upstairs desk on the date that "Goldie" would start working
         for L & S.: how cute, how touching, it's just like junior
         highschool; JL, the killerboy, may be hobbled, but the
         junior highschool sweetheart heart can still go sweet on no
         end of "Goldies"... JL is a walking sucker for another
         paternity suit, he and Goldy go out to dinner at 72 Market,
         I return from shopping at Trader Joe's -- if the wallet with
         all the credit cards isn't lying on the kitchen table. I
         call JL at Market Street & he's true blue: "Are you all
         right!" I am touched by such concern, the fundamental
         soundness of part of him, it could not be sounder. Zoe and I
         walk the wallet over to 72 Market; JL & I go shopping for 17
         kinds of olive oil, JL leaves the credit card behind: I
         joke: "And there wasn't even a pretty girl walking across
         the way." The saleswoman laughs!.. All "Goldys" of this
         world, however, are at at high risk from someone as
         promiscuous as the aging foulbreathed Hounddog...
             What, then, are the other consequences of taking Zoe on
         a midnight walk with Goldie? A very important conference
         call with St. Martins' Press is not made, it takes the wind
         out of those sails; I spend the afternoon buying $ 75.00
         worth of "natural: medicine for Leiber recommended by a
         painter friend Mark Schlesinger, another four hours of my
         life is shot, another day of his. So it goes. And of course
         it goes on like that for some days.
             Oh yes: "Goldie" broadcasts the good news of the lyrics
         book being accepted all over the boardwalk... and I am
         congratulated by all the other dogs, confounded... now,
         aren't we being a little premature??? At the same time that
         we're not living up to the agreement with me.
                                LEIBER 16 ROLOFF
                                   JL & WOMEN
         Obviously JL is born of woman, though looking at him these
         days you might think river or muskrat, otter... but as a
         young-man, which he still tries to be, he looked uppity
         o.k... and he seems to have known all the holds of a the
         bantam weight wrestler who'd been through the ghetto wars...
             But there is the fatality of being born into a hen-
         house, of losing your father at an early age...
             At the very least the emotional and physical attachment
         to the mother was incestuous and has been and still is being
         lived and acted out.. and not just in little ways... a
         little incest may be good and inevitable but incest on a
         grand scale can have grandstand consequences... besides, the
         wages of incest are subtle...
             Within the Leiber henhouse, JL was pecked at by an older
         sister, not just pecked at, beaten up, until one day JL
         turned matters around.... the discovery that he could beat
         up the hen, something he's been doing off and on all his
         life...when they become too obstreperous...some of them even
         like it...
             After moving out of mom's house in late adolescence --
         JL was so pissed at his mother remarrying that he literally
         pissed from the roof past her bedroom window! -- there came
         that stream of young black chicks, one of whom was killed in
         a car accident when another black chick told JL to drive
         faster... the inception of psycho-analysis... the beginning
         of the early end of living a wonderful delta ditch life and
         also of writing delta ditch music..
             With Gaby Rogers JL was marrying "high class"...If one
         is to believe the matters JL insisted on in his screenplay
         on his life in NY, Gaby was a fag hag... However, being with
         JL seemed to have made her wander the streets... to what
         extent the chemistry between them produced those semi-
         somnabulistic altered states of mind is impossible for me to
         ascertain...However, Gaby seemed to have picked some rather
         odd men subsequently too....She would not seem to have been
         that strong woman that Leiber needs in his life, and Barbara
         Rose and Nadja certainly are, and that also constitute's
         "Goldy's" attraction...
             However, Leiber divorcing Gaby because his analyst
         feared that JL would kill her in his embarrassment-induced
         furies, the way he was shaking her head like a ragdoll's...
         what kind of analyst? ... Does she know how incurable JL
         is/was... and considered this the feasible pragmatic
             The smelly Rose was so attractive for her having been
         married to Frank Stella, not that she lacks other
         attractions... it's just that she's a hustler on a rather
         low life scale....but she certainly was the incest type....
         Having myself lived with JL for a total of 12 days makes me
         anything but surprised that JL drove her batty...
             After the Rose rid herself of him, JL, in the usual
         reversion to the previous love, regressed to Gaby for a
         while, but then there ensued [since the inception of Lithium
         approximately 10 years ago] the pursuit of an endless series
         of 19 year olds who then are sent to school, far away to
         school!, once JL tires of their inevitable childishness...
         or vice versa... Inbetween these comparatively stable
         relationships with three young things there is an endless
         series of older and younger women.... one of whom, the
         nicest of the women I've seen him with, is the level-headed
         Nadja, Jake's mother... The way JL goes for young girls
         you'd think he was a 19 year old himself...though an Arthur
         Rubinstein they have not turned him into...-- and of course
         within the grammar of the unconscious each woman is property
         of. JL. At heart JL is a Nabob who sticks his cock into no
         end of floozy's in the age of aids...
             During those many walks and drives JL must have
         mentioned a dozen times that he didn't trust women any more
         and that was why he was such a Don Juan... and I invariably
         evaded into the enigmatic analytic sphinx position: "You
         didn't used to be like that." -- In some ways I knew better,
         there were instances where JL would pick up young girls at
         Elaines, one evening he even proposed a foursome with two
         young things who'd sort of sat down on our laps at the big
         table - young girls did start to be more forward, to put it
         mildly, in those days...and so if one writes about sexuality
         and narcissism... you will always be describing aspects of a
             One day I brought over what I knew was his incest type,
         Gail Fokelsman...what an addict Leiber is... couldn't wait
         to start "cooking" with her... All danger was ignored... how
         they went for each other... I knew Leiber would go for her,
         but I hadn't really known how materialistic and venal Gail
             Nadja would seem to have it right, incredibly dependent
         as Leiber is on the company of women, to the extent that
         there are moments that he is one of the girls, he doesn't
         much like them... he keeps doing them harm, though he also
         keeps his harem together....
             Leiber ultimately gets along much better with women than
         men... and he has only two male friends left, the flaming
         faggot Gil Garfield and the wonderful father surrogate
         Lester Sills... On the other hand, though Leiber mopes a
         times about being lonely and then fills up his life and time
         with no end of people and dinners that he doesn't care
         about.... perhaps he really doesn't give a damn either that
         he has no friends, not giving a fuck, not really caring by
         and large would seem to be the chief explanation for a lot
         of things...
                                LEIBER 17 ROLOFF
         What's amazing is that it functions at all, if erratically.
         And actually you ought to be surprised as hell that JL
         remembers anything but the "Goldys" of the world... but
         sometimes he makes a real big effort.....
         The effects of Lithium, or of that drugstore of irritants
         and deposits in the veins, the gut and in the brain, of
         their long term effect... the distortions, the concoctions,
         the phantasmagoria are manifold... of the whole damn
         chemical dump inside JL.
             I called a few friends, and just about every friend has
         a friend who takes lithium and if some of the effects aren't
         the same...
         I have a hunch that my home away from home the UCLA Bio-Med
         Library will give me the answer: indeed, that very month
         there is a piece in the Lithium Review, the journal of the
         lithium pushers: "Does lithium affect memory,", the
         customary abstract, here at the beginning of the piece,
         wafflingly purports that it doesn't, anyway, not directly,
         but read on & you find out that "indirectly" it then does in
         about 25 different ways, and you find out all the other
         deleterious effects of that designer drug....
              No wonder Leiber doesn't remember things that one tells
         him ten times over and that he won't remember, that he
         doesn't remember the simplest things he himself says... it
         takes a while to get used to it, no there is no getting used
         to it, especially for someone who came out of analysis with
         "mnemic hypertrophy" [a questionable effect I know -- you
         are willing to remember, and remembering "everything"
         obligingly "covers" the one thing that simply is too painful
         to remember, etc.] I am someone who can't conceive of such a
         loss of memory from one day to the next, it's the truly
         inconceivable factor that cannot be factored in, it isn't
         just the chaos of life, but creates an EXTRA DIMENSIONAL
         CHAOS... you are at the mercy of the madhouse...  It's worse
         than a true junky's somnolent forgetfulness... and this
         coming from someone who still has his moments of genius...
             Among non-directly non-drug-related reasons for the ill-
         functioning memory there's the instantaneous compulsion to
         eject anything regarded as superfluous, anything that might
         penetrate the impervious fortress, any form of dirt: either
         it is stowed away, but chiefly it is "tossed out", spat
         out... this applies literally to any piece of paper that
         might turn up, the newspaper within a few glances, and,
         metaphorically, to stray pieces of information that are not
         slyly appropriated as being of practical use to Mother
         Goose... altogether, a very "primary" complex of denial
         mechanisms is at work and is not merely reinforced by
         anality, especially it is influenced by the shame factor,
         however exacerbated by the Letter-A factor, the fear of
         coming out looking like a slob, the other-directedness of it
         all by that outward projected archaic EYE IN THE SKY...but
         allegedly pride is also a motive, no I don't doubt it...JL
         ultimately still thinks of himself as "hot shit" .... the
         pride in being a know-nothing would seem to be a perverse
         variant of that ... the "normal" course of remembering and
         forgetting is thoroughly disrupted... the result, not that
         unpredictably, is HAVOC! Whatever penetrates doesn't stay
         there for long. Memo's go unread, memos memorializing
         agreements, plans of action... dates..."I don't hang my tits
         into this the way Stoller does" he'll say regarding business
         matters, and of course I laugh... at the image...
             Once the maid leaves, you come on Leiber foraging in the
         cupboards... looking for places that she has left undone...
         it's hysterical in both senses of that word... Perhaps
         Leiber really does wear a Scarlet Letter....
             A further major determinant would seem to be the wish to
         transfigure, to be someone who he has aspirations to be,
         e.g. grand, and the merest inkling that he might not be who
         he would like to be, the slightest slight to the grandiose
         self-image releases no end of furies... thus all that ...
                                LEIBER 18 ROLOFF
                         STYLIZATION,all that STYLE...
         that covers up the bile... and all the other things that
         need covering up...
             Add to all this that bull shot between 6 and 7 in the
         evening on a stomach empty save for its chemical slosh...
         and we are flying... add the wine of the evening... perhaps
         the nightcap.... add the simple wages of age... and
         stress.... not too surprising that the perforated hernia
         will disgorge the acid in an upward direction, both
         literally and metaphorically... So Leiber's memory by and
         large is a negative one: he is a reservoir for negative
         stories, downstories, tearing down stories of old
         acquaintances... about nearly every early and old
         acquaintance, including his old partners "What personality?"
         The negative, unfavorable appears to register differently...
         Still, there are moments when this is contradicted: say when
         someone asks about "Elaines" , and he'll revert to his naive
         boasting how great the writers were that hung out there,
         Mailer Styron etc. whom, otherwise, he has nothing good to
         say about.... but the fact that they are publicly acclaimed
         or notorious names....
         Memory, POR EJAMPLO: The Venice Beach House where JL put me
         up so generously for five days when I had a row with my
         agent, the drug addled Ken Rosen, makes the mistake and
         subsequently wants to charge me for two London calls made
         two months before I even staid there... I tell Leiber five
         times since he bring this up five times, and more likely
         than not even now he's got that event skewed wrong in his
         mind...A memory so devoid will find itself going in the
         simplest of circles over and over again... Now and then the
         positive will spurt out too, just as impulsively...
         Hard to say when I first caught glimpses of it. Perhaps it
         was when Leiber said, sometime in the late eighties: "I'm
         going to produce films with Bette Middler." -- I could see
         her as his incest 'type', the rest was obviously fantasy.
         "Don't tell anyone!" -- Whom was I going to tell? The
         coyotes in the St. Monica Mountain preserve! They're still
         There followed the famous collaborations with Scorcese &
         Friedkin, always well publicized at least by ours truly, the
         one and only Jerrycat! "Scorcese... we're doing something
         together..." No wonder once you look at the screenplay...
         it's story line... that Scorcese wouldn't pay another
         penny... The whole notion that every part of your life is a
         MOVIE is grandiose to begin with... permissible, inevitable,
         in dreams.... actually this connects with Leiber confiding
         to me, one of those times I had come futilely to town and we
         encountered at Hal's, "I was controlled by Morris Levy!"
         Weird how pride can work perversely, too. Just as long as
         the criminal is famous!
         FRIEDKIN...HE'S HOT: Watch out whenever Leiber is touting
         someone! He'll find a way of ruining it... He's on the tear-
         down attack! I heard myself presented that way and all that
         flattery does is put me on guard, particularly that kind of
         flattery and coming from that person... "Great publisher,
         great editor..." at the New Year's party at the Mausoleum,
         and subsequently, too.
             Or was it when Leiber denied having once said that Serra
         was a "great" sculptor... I didn't insist, I let him off the
         hook... This is on the same level with: "I shook his hand,"
         re Heiner Mueller, Peter Handke, Samuel Beckett... I don't
         know: better to face those archaic grand admirations... and
         also the envy and competitiveness that go with the attendant
         inferiority COMPLEX... Leiber knew that at one time, but the
         complex and its attendant archaisms have not passed...
             The second glimpse most definitely was Leiber's famous
         "Belly" as I call 'The Ballet" -- though he asked for an
         opinion for it in 1990, he didn't really want to hear the
         slightest criticism; written under the influence of a lot of
         hootch and running for approval and inspiration next door to
         one of these girls who indulge our lord by thinking him the
         cutest thing that ever was her toy grandpa, the 'ballet'
         ballooned into the 'belly' in the same fashion that the
         Mausoleum acquired a third storey, as an afterthought, a
         kind of final grandiose fillip... but whereas you can do a
         third story on a house if you've got the bread, and doing
         so, ultimately, creates comparatively few architectural and
         building problems, just a few peculiar tight spots and
         roofing quirks and extra sinkage and strain all around, a
         third act on a "belly" when we've never written "bellies"
         before, and try to use it as a vehicle for songs from this
         and that old smorgasbord... the concoction of songs from
         over a 25 year period stuffed and shoe-horned into the
         "belly"... it comes out as a bloody fruity whale pudding...
         well, that lack of a concept only proves that LAZINESS is
         yet one further motive for STYLIZATION... though if you
         compare the effort over the years, and expense that has gone
         into style to what might have been devoted to substance...
         it's not a tough call..
             Surprisingly, reading the "belly" text again, I realized
         that about half of it is a usable vehicle... and one of the
         demos of the shoe-horn-songs had some really interesting,
         arresting new music...
         Admission to the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME rather than a
         prideful and calm self-assurance about good work done, or
         some of the songs themselves, if not in the present then the
         past... has swollen our lord's head... with APPROVAL coming
         from the OUTSIDE & ON HIGH. This is on par with screaming MY
         agent like some would-be author....All this is in stark
         contrast with Leiber's sense of realism, his humor, his
         wit... but the grandiosity seems to be winning the day... A
         madder hatter by the year...
         with Leiber and the clan itself...I, too, am transfigured
         into someone invariably clean and smart in my past
         incarnation.... whereas I know that i was pretty much at
         least half a walking zombie until I even had to be told in
         analysis that I was waking up -- it was as though starting
         to come out of a near life-long narcosis; yes I too am
         transfigured in my past reincarnation as invariably clean
         and polite; perhaps because I was Leiber's unobjecting
         creature --
         One of the greatest moment of surprise came when Leiber told
         me early one evening that HE had left Barbara Rose.
         Gentlemen who leave women leave them at least a house!
         LEIBER THE GENTLEMAN, THE TORY! Perhaps that's the only way
         that fact can be made acceptable to the transfiguring
         grandiose self. Yet, a] I visited Leiber for several weeks
         running as he was heaving upon the leaving and held him in
         my arms, at about the same time that I suffered the same
         consequence... the questionable quality of feeling
         "stronger" when you are helping... and then I was asked if I
         couldn't baby sit him another weekend... I even would have
         but I happened to be writing the one screenplay for which I
         was actually getting paid...
             Leiber later told me that the duplicitous Rose had told
         him she was leaving him while he was in the clinic either
         right before or right after his triple bypass operation...
         why one would go on heaving for someone like that that, well
         it turns out it isn't because her name is Rose... by
         inference of the fact that what he holds deeply against
         Nadja -- the fact that she when she was young had an affair
         with the producer of something as lowdown and loathsome as
         the Gongshow -- it would seem that a Stella, however, really
         does ring our lord's gong. That aspect of Leiber is so
         nauseatingly, wretchedly loathsomely cruel.... but it is
         certainly on the level with the archaic... no doubt, that
         was the biggest turn-on about the duplicitous pseudo-
         Stella... more so than the insult of being left!
             Further, self-pride is taken in the fact that we
         allegedly don't TATTLE-TALE... First of all, JL has no end
         of ugly stories to tell, to everyone, even about his partner
         of 40 some years... He is one of the biggest male gossip I
         have ever known, and not only to me, you'd think that his
         skirts weren't just metaphorical... Lo and behold the
         evening that our lord confronted me with the question
         whether he had ever tattle-taled on me. I simply had to lie!
         Either that or have nothing further to do with him. Yet he
         was someone with whom, in many respects, I had been more
         open and truthful to than my analyst, since after all, in my
         transference to Leiber he had been in analysis all those
         many years, and it turns out at least took some real
         knowledge of it away with him -- if unapplied, knowledge of
         the subject; Leiber was also a kind of father grandfather
         figure, for his sense of humor, his story telling and
         wit.... No end of extreme confidences were passed on to him
         and passed on to other people as recently as Paul Sylbert's
         visit with him.... What do you say to someone like that who
         makes such claim with total conviction? The same apparently
         fundamentally necessary assertion with which he needs to
         state everything...
             Well, the reference is really to himself: he doesn't
         want you talking 'bout him to anyone... it might give the
         game away...etc..... Yet you become loaded down with our
         talkative lords confusing confessions... You spend some real
         time with him and he rattles on contradictorily.... And of
         course I once did call Nadja [see LA. section]...And though
         this was forgiven with the words "Let's not beat a dead
         horse" in a telephone conversation a short time afterwards,
         our lord from Kiev, who I think sometimes has a little too
         much Ukranian blood flowing in his veins, has the further
         fantasy, make-believe of the treasured self-image of being a
         FORGIVING LORD WHO HOLDS NO GRUDGES: this is something that
         occurs both in real life and on the telephone, and perhaps
         he really could if he didn't forget that he had forgiven, if
         he could forgive anyone: who knows he might be able to
         forgive himself! -- So much for wordplay.
                                JL'S SELF-IMAGE
         You'd think that someone with JL's kind of past -- vehicular
         homicide, broken marriages, an illegitimate child,
         alcoholism, a triple-by pass heart operation, a perforated
         stomach hernia, a fat deposit in on thigh that hobbles him
         to snail's pace, a face that looks ravaged by alcohol and
         hard living, the intake of lithium, tagament and all the
         other goodies, no end of shows that he has dropped out of --
         might have some qualms about his self-image.
              Not so. He's perfect. He's never done a bad thing in
         his life. You ask him, that's what he'll say. No wonder he
         can be the loudest Tory hypocrite at a party. That herring'
         bone you'll never own... to ring no changes on that fine sad
         Coaster's song... Our lord's hipness doesn't go very deep...
         It's more like a MASK...a style...
             JL's condescension is the obverse of the assumption of
         his lordship.... E.G. to the Peter Handke play on which we
         worked twenty years ago: "That little play"....Well, Leiber
         might of course have become part of the Yale Drama school
         with it... I have a Dramatization Rights agreement with
         Verlag der Autoren, with JL signature on it, on the
         adaptation of Handke's THEY ARE DYING OUT. After three
         months of Sundays work on it with Carl, JL suddenly dropped
         out. According to JL, as of February at Hal's, Mike Stoller
         is to blame: Mike Stoller didn't sign this, JL did, Mike is
         JL's creature. JL's not supposed to sign things without
         having JL's house in order. The song The Case of MJ
         allegedly* derives from this work, no credit for Mr.
         Handke... this is called covering, including the "animal
         husbandry" sense of the word... The condescension towards
         Handke is the same as towards me, after all we won an Obie
         together in 1972, Handke's plays are done by the greatest
         European theaters and with he greatest actors... Leiber has
         had my version of WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES for years.... I
         keep giving it to him... it keeps getting stuffed in a file
         of my own....well, that's something at least! It's only
         gotten done at the National in London.... but as I recall L
         & S's "Only in America" never got out of Camden Town back in
         the 70s... I give him Handke's THE HOUR THAT WE DIDN'T KNOW
         EACH OTHER, the strongest play-ballet without words ever
         written, he won't look at it...
         [* Though the song might equally derive from wife # 1's JL-
         enraging walking about like a sleep-walker -- maybe it was
         just JL driving her nuts? -- and have been shoe-horned in:
         anyway, it fit T.A.D.O. perfectly!]
         Why do we not care for Handke.... because "no one is talking
         about Handke," at least no one he knows beside me,  --
         though of course occasionally he's glad that he shook his
         hand, just like Heiner Mueller's about whom people ARE
         talking, or at last WERE talking!
             The aggression in all of this is obvious, it fits in
         with everything else, and Leiber may extol you for a while
         but the condescension and aggression invariably return, is
         quick on the draw is one way of putting it, nothing
         especially concealed about it...    
             "You're not doing anything with your time, as little as
         I am." is how it can be expressed too. Well, no. I did not
         waste my time at Bio-Med or with my coyotes in the St.
         Monica Mt. Preserve.... I'd done enough of it, and lots of
         it with Leiber.... with the whole kit and kaboodle as a
         matter of fact....Trouble is, Leiber feels that way about
         anyone he collaborates with, Leiber doesn't care, least of
         all in some dreadful way about himself... though there are
         then the occasional moments of regret at some of the matters
         he has dropped out of. For more of this, see THE LEIBER
                                LEIBER 19 ROLOFF
                             THE LYRICS PROJECT II
         Well yes, it all started with that early morning call to me
         while I was staying with Lisa. A gungho Leiber, and I was
         ready to go at once too. Before there had been an odd moment
         when I entered the Mausoleum one day and it was Jed's voice
         on the phone asking JL, what do you want with him?, and JL
         answered: "There's something I want from him." The
         references were to me, and of course something like that
         puts you on the alert. My guess is that JL must have had the
         lyrics project in mind... Some years back it suddenly was
         very important to him if there wasn't at least a set of the
         Urizen galleys around somewhere...
             We agree to talk about it. Our date is for the morning
         of February 17.... the morning of the 1994 LA. Earthquake it
         turns out!... Nonetheless, after recovering from the shock --
          for me, caught in a house, boltlocked from the inside,
         there was no escape, and JL from a big TV set dropping at
         the foot of his bed -- we nonetheless sit down to talk, and
         I make JL the following proposition: for a loan of 2,500 I
         will spend four weeks, four thousand dollars of my time, on
         the project, the four thousand dollars I'd otherwise be
         making translating; one major point for me is to get a hunk
         of money at once, to have my teeth fixed, I came back north
         & find myself unpaid for work in some instances a year
         old... I had forgotten what it was like...or rather, the
         country has become even meaner in the meanwhile, which was
         why I needed a surcease from it in the fall of 1990.
             I notice that upon making the proposition, JL goes into
         a kind of hunkering down position which, heretofore, I had
         never noticed in him before; but I had noticed it among some
         ratsos from the ghettos during my years in NY.... money has
         never changed hands, time yes, but not money; Leiber
         explains, convincingly, that he's had bad experiences
         lending money; I mention that I'll repay him in the form of
         buying him $ 2,500 worth of wonderful books, since I
         allegedly am one of his sources for information on the best
         of literature, though, these days I'm better on analysts who
         write interestingly. The upshot is, he will pay me 2,500
         dollars upfront... there is no mention of once the contract
         with a publisher is signed... it never occurs to me that
         with Leiber you ought to sign an agreement... I didn't
         remember at the time that we once had a signed agreement on
         the Handke project on which he walked out... I actually end
         up staying with JL for the next five days, and I am the
         perfect guest because I didn't even bring a tooth brush! And
         it's always good to have been in the lion's den to see what
         Mrs. Lion really does: here. a guest may only bring a tiny
         toilet kit! I don't go back to Wavecrest for five days I am
         so spooked by the 4:30 quake in what could have been my
         coffin, I find myself listing, the quake occurred in a
         dream, it shook loose some of the worst childhood traumas
         and dreams which had coincided then.
             But it is a nice five days with JL... I don't recall
         anything untoward at the moment. And towards the end of it I
         start to house-sit for Nadja in the Venice canals so that
         Nadja and Jake can flee to Utah... there are no end of
         aftershocks of varying severity... A sheaf of lyrics arrives
         from the L & S office, I start collating it with a sheaf at
         JL's Mausoleum office, with Mike Stoller's Bibliography from
         the long ago Baby, That was Rock and Roll book, and its
         update...I start calling my contacts... Viking/Penguin, St.
         Martin's Press, our mutual friends the Seaver's....
         everything starts to cook, the old magic comes back... JL
         creates a nice interface with Lisa, Ken, Randy Poe and  the
         rest of the L & S office...
             I happen to stop by my friend Elja Katz while picking my
         stuff up at Lisa Lehmann's & Elja gets a call from a friend
         at Governors Wilson's office who says the Governor received
         the news from Cal-Tech that a major earthquake is expected
         within the next 24 hours... The first person I transmit the
         information to is JL.... who quickly arranges for an end of
         the earth dinner... at which he is rather amazingly nasty to
         me, the only two other guests who could be rounded up at
         such short notice are Wendy & Moishe who comment on the
         nastiness... but the reason for it does not become clear
         until the last face to face conversation we happen to have,
         three months later... From this February 24 conversation
         though I recall Leiber asking me what I had said to Wendy
         after she'd commented on how nasty he was, and I said: "We
         have a rich complicated 25 year relationship." I wanted to
         let him off the hook, the asshole. Then I asked him if he
         knew why I used to sleepwalk, something I had told him years
         ago and which had disturbed and frightened our counter-
         phobic moral chicken.
             Leiber flees to NY the next morning, though we have this
         alleged agreement I haven't received the money yet... what
         am I to do, dun a friend whom on that level I hadn't the
         least reason to mistrust?
             I stay at Nadja's house for two weeks working near
         exclusively in assembling & sorting the lyrics, far more
         than I ever saw, and listening to the various CD's and
         tapes... get the first rough out to the publishers... keep
         finding gaps...I memorialize our agreement in the form of a
         memorandum and it is fedexed from the L & S office to NY....
         the memo includes mention of the fact that Sheed, with whom
         I am in touch, will cost at least 2,000 for the
         introduction...not that it would occur to me that JL doesn't
         read matters fedexed to him from his office!..  The rough
         100 lyric selection gets fedexed to Sheed, I also get
         involved in the Goldman project, Leiber wants Goldman to
         write a book about him [see Opening]....and I feed Albert
         information, records, tapes, lyrics...and get to know him a
             Emma Sweeny ["MY AGENT"] gets copies of all the
             While already several weeks into to project we come to
         talk about money during a conversation to NY... Leiber says:
         Let me send you $ 500... I'm astounded. And say: look, I
         need a hunk, this trickling in of small sums, it's killing
         me, I can't move... Leiber says: I'll send you a thousand...
         I think: all right: that means 1,500 when I'm done in a
         couple of weeks, and I agree.
             At some point Nadja, now returned from Utah and her and
         Jake's adventures there, asks: "Jerry is paying you, isn't
         he?"-- which alerts me to the possibility that maybe Jerry
         doesn't like to pay...
             I said yes, he is.
             No end of wonderful totally upbeat conversations to NY,
         also regarding Albert who and I are creating a fast phone
         friendship, turns out we share oodles of other friends, even
         some old lovers...
             Leiber says I should get a point in the royalties of the
         project and throws in another $ 1,000 if we get the kind of
         good advance we expect from St. Martin's. "Oh, are we going
         to have fun. There is so much to talk about."
             I move from Nadja's to the Mausoleum and make the top
         floor inhabitable. I sleep on the floor, good for a kink in
         my lower back...am in my routine, up with the birds, to bed
         never later than midnight.... Maria watches Spanish
         television upstairs while I play with the lyrics.....
             Zoe runs herself in shape chasing nightbirds on the
             I get to know the 7 o'clock crowd on the boardwalk...
             Leiber returns... it's nearly four weeks after the
         earthquake...no end of things aren't perfect any more, I
         dragged the tape deck downstairs... too many of my the
         Pacific coast traveler's things are in the house.... the
         sofa upstairs has my smell on it... the dog has dug up some
         Japanese grass where I was told to tie it up.... my food in
         the refrigerator, since I made it a point to eat as little
         of JL's things as possible, is all wrong.. I can't keep the
         Sunday paper longer than the day... and all this is alleged
         to be maliciously directed against JL personally... I stay
         at the house another week, feel anything but welcome or
             Late at night I hear him on the phone going "Booby,
         Booby"... I have heard that before, 15 years ago... It's
         bound to be to Talia, the newest 19 year old that's been
         shipped off to lawschool.....
             One night I actually get Leiber to sit down and go over
         the list of 500 songs... he picks 130, about 50 more than we
         want, his judgement, which I notice has a hard time
         differentiating any more [as compared to 15 years ago]
         between what's a good text on paper and a successful
         record... picks some truly dreadful songs like "Only in
         America": ... but as he says, "he's easy" when it comes to
         excluding them...
             The question is are we going to keep the old
         "chronological" presentation? No, JL wants to try something
         different, during one magic moment on the roof I hit him
         with the idea of the four main categories for verse: lyric,
         dramatic, narrative, and comic... and explain the origin of
         the word "lyre" and Leiber explains that he's always been a
         "liar" as of course every poet is... and I am very happy for
         the funky word play. Now and then there are some fine
         moments: he's actually happy for a day when the "complete
         lyrics" comes to exist in four white ring folders.... but
         only for one day, then they're stuffed away in a drawer [say
         like the Tabla drums] and he doesn't even remember where
         they are stuffed... He jokes why within the alphabetical
         listings they aren't even more finely arranged, I joke back
         that it's not he bible of rock and roll...
             But those seven days are also the days when Leiber, when
         something is eating him, suddenly explains to me the cost of
         every sandwich....When I hear that he thinks the 50 songs in
         the L & S Songbook are also the 50 best lyrics... that he
         doesn't need me or the project, that any factotum at the
         office could put it together... Actually, those are moments
         one should simply slug him.
             The morning I come to the house to work with him, also
         we have to make a call together, it's around 9:30 AM, and
         ask for the rest of the money.. "It isn't fun any more."..
         Rage.... then I explain our original agreement.... He says:
         "Oh, I didn't' realize that." We have a nice chat with Emma
         Sweeny, he think's he's cleared up the air... well, at least
         she's not saying "the publishers will be delighted" any
         more, perhaps I won't be sabotaged on that end because her
         main interest is a big score with JL's Albert project if
         only she can find a publisher for it... Emma is at ease with
         St. Martins who apparently short-counted Albert on his
         royalties... and who've got some funny discounting
             Leiber comes upstairs where I am on the phone, and slips
         me a further $ 500, and says "I don't want you to suffer.
         I'll get the rest to you." I say: thank you, and pat his
         hand: and say: "Hey man, we ought to be able to live with
         each other's quirks." Still, it's not what we agreed to!
             The project, in part because I can't get Leiber to sit
         down, is now taking six weeks instead of four; the other
         problem is that Leiber wants to try every which way of
         categorizing them including the 15 zillion different kinds
         of music categories... I realize we're going to end up
         exactly where we left off in 1979... There are the dinners
         [invariably including the sweet overaged young-man hippie
         Morris/Moishe Sherman from Bensonhurst who realized JL's
         Greene & Greene/ F.L. Wright Mausoleum dream for him],
         there's the shopping, there's the going out with dreary
         girls whom JL has picked up, I wait around whole afternoons,
         for days for hours on end... The old magic is disappearing,
         the waste of time starts in again, this way and that way,
         the waste of time, I've been through this before...Hard to
         believe the guy ever produced records at a record pace at
         one time....And he hates it when he sees me working on my
         own things.
             Staying at the Rose Inn I mention on the phone that I'd
         just as soon have the remaining thousand now, and he can
         forget about the one percent and the extra thousand he
         suddenly threw into the pot from NY if we get an advance on
         the order that St. Martin pays...

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