In September, 1978, I was a busy boy. I opened a restaurant with my partner and cut a sponsored demo tape with my band. At the time, I was drinking heavily, snorting coke and gobbling up pharmaceutical speed. Anything that would move the needle. For me, being horizontal more than four hours was a coma.
Phil was my partner, my friend.
He got his father-in-law to front us the money, and we started the fiscal plunge even before the doors opened. We were stroking though. The place was packed on the weekends because we were sucking the foam off of Fantasia’s beer, their business. Fantasia was a legendary restaurant back then. Phil and I were their chef and sous chef, respectively.
Phil wanted to be famous and so did I. He, a world renowned chef, and me, an Allman Brother.
Phil had a problem with my band. It was taking too much away from the restaurant and his screaming Sicilian wife, who didn’t care for Irish drunks who snorted that white stuff on her nice new chopping boards. He also didn’t care for some of my more callous band mates. Callous, for sure. And very talented.
So there was some friction.
One night after a gig at the Hofbrau in Brookline, outside of Boston, Phil invited us all back for a real late night breakfast to show he was cool with everything. A nice gesture considering the amount of work he had to put in that night. Without me.
We all show up at 2:00 am. Phil opens the bar and dining room and starts cooking breakfast for everyone. Roadies included. There was manicotti, gnocci, eggs any style, wine, grappa and all those Italian cookies that look like Christmas ornaments. And he wouldn’t let me help. I felt blessed.
At 4:30, it was time to go. Phil was so tired he could hardly stand up. He started drinking the previous morning as I did. Poor guy, he had no pharmaceutical help.
Phil opened the overhead door at the back of the kitchen and told the band to slip out that way.
We went back in the kitchen and stayed cleaning up until almost sunup, talking, laughing ….and drinking.
I was at the bar getting myself one for the road, when I heard him scream. I ran out in the back and saw him standing up past his ankles in dirty water. All the freezers were open and food was missing.
The good stuff, Prime Rib, veal, chicken and steak. There was frozen cow tripe in a big sink and the water had been turned on to gush. After it was plugged.
It was the drummer who did it. A coke dealer from Natick. He stayed behind and left some evil. Not only did he steal the goods, he shut the restaurant down for the whole following day by flooding it.
We almost drank ourselves into alcoholic shock over that. I was inconsolable. I felt like a fool.
Phil said, “Not only did he rob me, he left the water runnin’.”
40 years later my wife divorced me without telling me. Told the judge I was “parts unknown.” She took most of my valuable possessions and she left me with a mountain of IRS and marital debt. Half of which was rightfully hers. I was shocked.
Then she placed a restraining order on me for good measure. Like a thief in the night.
So I would say to her, as Phil might say, “You not only robbed me, you left the water runnin’.”
And it’s still runnin’.