by William Claude Carbone © William Claude Carbone 2022  
     
 

Prequel 

  In the 70s I was working at a used-railroad-tie company in Denver operating a fork-lift, and driving a truck delivering railroad ties to the goldmines in the Rockies. And in the city, I was delivering ties for landscaping. The yard wasn’t more than 100-yards from the outward-bound train-track along the Santa Fe Corridor.

 
     
 

In the 60s, I worked for my late, 1st X father-in-law who operated a high-volume scrap yard. At first, I picked up little scraps of metal from off the ground until I learned how to differentiate between all of the different metals and steels. After a year I was moved into the office, still occasionally driving a truck. 

After the junkyard, I studied for, received, and used my real estate license; I had some success selling real estate for John Bruno Realters at 1190 So. Colorado Boulevard. One day I was on the sales floor and a process server walked in and handed me divorce papers. That was mostly all she wrote for domestic life. After that I worked the graveyard shift at a gas station pumping gas. The only good thing about that literally cold, thankless job was that the young guys I worked with usually sparked a bud behind the station around 2:00 am. The next job I had was working as a headhunter at an employment agency specializing in computer programers. 

 
     
 

Basically, I had a bunch of jobs that let me hold on to my dream. I worked as a day worker for Manpower whose parent company was Parker Pen. I survived that misery thinking that since I was a writer and writers wrote with pens among other things, so… Some of the jobs I had with Manpower were: unloading semi-trailers, loading and unloading furniture vans, waxing the floors at a bakery on the night shift, on and on.  

After hours, I continued to write songs as well as buying studio-time at Applewood studios in Golden. Michael Martin Murphey; Jerry Corbetta; Firefall; Maze, Featuring Frankie Beverly; The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and others were also recording at Applewood at the time. I was in pretty good company. I was making music, building momentum, honing my craft, and getting ready to meet my fortune and fame—and Chuck E Weiss in Los Angeles. 

There was a song in ‘56 called, THE WAYWARD WIND, it was sung by Gogi Grant, Tex Ritter and others. There’s a verse that’s so appropo to my life at that time: “In a lonely shack by a railroad track—he spent his younger days—and I guess the sound of the outward bound—made him a slave to his wand'rin ways.” The railroad-tie company was a long piece of fenced property that was adjacent to the railroad tracks. There were several flatbed trucks, fork-lifts, and a little tin shack. 

 
     
 

One day, when I was alone in the little, 10x10 shack, the boss’s wife came in, sat down, and said very suggestively, “Bill, I get so lonely.” Oh oh, I know what that means. I knew I was doomed! Two weeks later I was fired. The boss probably thought that I was stealing because I couldn’t look him in the eyes.

So several days after the firing, I packed a few things, along with my guitar and demo-tapes, parked my white, VW bus in an airport lot, and flew out of Denver—over that great barrier, the Rocky Mountains, a barrier that I thought kept me apart from my dreams for years. I left my wife Susan and my girls enough money to last until I returned.  

This story takes up where I left off in the tale about staying at the Stardust motel on La Brea Ave. in Hollywood. In that story, I mentioned the Hollywood pimp, Eldorado Red, as well as running out of motel money and having to move out of the motel and onto the street.

Both of these stories are within these pages.

 
     
 

It’s a funny thing about the Stardust motel, the fact that Chuck E Weiss was staying at a motel that was called the Tropicana. Anyone who has been to Las Vegas, pre 2006, knows that there were two monster casinos/hotels in Las Vegas at the time with the same names, the Tropicana and the Stardust (the Stardust closed in 2006.”) They had nothing in common with the little motels in LA, just the names. Chuck was at the Tropicana, so of course I had to compete—as we did practically all of our lives, most of the time he won. I also had to have a Las Vegas clone-named motel, so when I saw the Stardust, I knew it was the place for me...but I digress.

Back to the main story. I ran out of cash and didn't want to call anyone mostly because of dumbass pride. I could have, but chose not to, and in this case pride definitely went before the fall. Also…and this is important. Being a small-town boy, I knew if I was going to “make it” in the big city, I would have to know how to survive the streets. So I stored my gear: guitar, demo-tapes, and a few sundries at the motel office, walked up to Hollywood Boulevard, turned west, and walked into a nightmare.

 
     
 

At first it wasn’t so bad, I still had a few bucks in my wallet so I wasn’t panicking yet, and I thought that I’d easily be able to survive the streets. WRONG! That first day I walked and walked, enjoying myself, not a care in the world. I happened upon a pizza joint and like any good Italian fellow, stopped to buy a slice. Now we're cooking. This city has it all, I thought. 

Everywhere I went, I would hear Supertamp’s TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME blasting out of business’s windows. I also remember hearing that other song, Maxine Nightingale's I’VE GOT TO GET RIGHT BACK WHERE I BELONG, it was everywhere. Oh wait, this is wrong, those are from another time in the 80s when I hitchhiked from Denver—through the Nevada Proving Ground—and ended up homeless in Las Vegas; both songs were so damned relevant to my situation. But that's also a tale for another time.

I walked and walked and walked...up and down Hollywood Boulevard—past Grauman's Chinese Theatre and the Walk of Fame, up and down Sunset, La Brea, and a few side streets; I hadn’t discovered the Fairfax area or Melrose—yet, apparently a whole lot of people hadn’t discovered Melrose either.

Finally the glorious, California sunset began to dim; night was falling and so was I, falling into a state of malaise, an uneasiness. For the first time I was scared. Where in the hell would I sleep, would I be safe? There’s no backing out now, my back was way up against the proverbial wall already. 

 
 

 Hollywood Boulevard was much too crazy and too crowded, so I headed over to Sunset
Boulevard where on the south side there were areas of green-lawn, bushes and trees.
I settled into a cozy, little patch of grass in some bushes that overlooked the sparkling city
to the south. Well, I thought, this isn’t so bad, the ground is hard but it’s warm and probably
as safe as any other place I’d find in Hollywood. Sunset Blvd. seemed to be fairly safe with
the exclusive restaurants and stores—upscale, with rich people like “Rockin New Years Eve’s
Dick Clark,” who had an office there. I even passed that old-time comedian, Shelly Berman,
walking his dog in front of a tall building, he gave me a frostyl ook.I thought at the time,
“man that guy’s cold,” get it, Brrr-man?

 
 

 

I guess several days went by, mostly uneventfully, and I still had a few bucks left, so I wasn’t going hungry, yet. I’d go to a restaurant, order coffee or tea, load it with sugar or honey and sit for hours. One night, I was lying in my ‘den’ looking at the yellow wall of the building to the west. The Moon, if not full, was very brite, like a spotlight. There were leafy-trees in front of the wall. When the Moon shone on them they cast a shadow on the wall. There was a slight wind so the leaves were moving and dancing about. It sort-of reminded me of a motion picture projected on a wall, that yellow wall.

For some reason, Bob Dylan’s BLOWIN IN THE WIND was going through my head, over and over again: “The answer my friend is blowing in the wind.” Well ding dong, I need answers, Dylan says that the wind has the answer. Just how does one contact the wind, I pondered?

 
     
     
     
     
 

I thought about it while watching the ‘movie’ play and hearing BLOWIN IN THE WIND in my head, thinking real hard. Let's check out this wind thing. I stood up and felt a slight breeze, I felt it mostly in my hair; my hair was rather long in those days, so the breeze was moving my hair about. Hmmm, I had an idea. Maybe if I let the wind blow my hair around, I could follow and see where it takes me. I mean, really, what did I have to lose? So, I shoved off, letting the wind—which I kept at my back—gently push my hair in whatever direction *it/she/he/they wanted me to go. 

If I felt the breeze blowing my hair to the left, I’d go left. Maybe I’d walk for half-a-block, take a turn and walk a few more yards, all “under the power” of the wind. What a trip, maybe Dylan does know about that of which he speaks.