I gotta dig out that Bitch Magnet cassette. Not the midwest Bitch Magnet, but Santa Barbara’s, with George Davison and Cecil B DeMille III. I’ve been meaning to do that since I heard George died. Hope I still have it. I remember loving it back then, playing it for everybody. Blasting it in the car as I took Edwin on a beer run down to a Mexican grocery in Lincoln Heights prepping for yet another party. It was Edwin Letcher’s pad where years later I ran into George on that riotous 4th of July. We recognized each other as we passed a joint. I can’t remember if he was passing it to me or vice versa. Brick? George? we spluttered in clouds of smoke. It was very Santa Barbara actually, tho’ downtown L.A. loomed large in the distance, and just added to the beautifully surreal experience, the sudden brush fire just across the street, two stoned old pals, hipsters fleeing in every direction in blind panic. What a perfect day that was. What a perfect bash.
Ya know, I spent so much time reminiscing about George Davison in ye olde daze that I completely forgot to mention something I had only discovered about him via Facebook. George was a talented writer. I’m not talking music here, I already talked about that, but language. You can see that almost immediately in someone on Facebook (or in emails or tweets even) because they can spin little stories even if they’re ony a couple sentences long. When he was on the farm you could see the farm, when he was in Santa Barbara could see the streets, and the trees, and feel the sun. You don’t even have to describe it, a reader fills all the background in if you say the right words. Which he did. Towards the end his stuff got very, very dark…he told us some awful things and warned us he was going to tell more. I was glad he didn’t. Maybe he had second thoughts, maybe the drugs kicked in, I dunno, but it spared us an evil side–we all have those, I certainly do–but I don’t recall ever seeing his on display before. Not even in his most punk rock moments in the early days. Those dark stories he forewarned of us were stories that didn’t really need telling, I guess. Cancer was a world we all might face sometime, but no use letting us in on it now. If it happens–and it will, to some of us–it happens. Worry about that when it comes.
I remember how much I admired his skill with language, his flare for words, and I told him so. He was surprised, I think, most natural writers never even think of themselves as such. They just write naturally. I figured as he recovered we would see endless threads of George stories. It would be part of the recovery process. When I heard he’d finally slipped away I felt cheated that he never had the chance to spill like that, to pour it out in that breezy style of his. I didn’t say anything because, well, it was a selfish reaction and would have been just one more thing for you all to be sad about. But it’s been bugging me. So I said it here.
I don’t think there are that many natural writers. It’s a rare thing still. Writing is new, only a couple thousand years old, and it comes far less easy to people than music which is probably a hundred times as old at least. And when I spy someone with talent there’s a bond, like we’re in on a secret most people don’t know anything about. And I always hate to see them go, because when somebody goes they take a zillion stories with them, and we’ll never know what they would have been. And crazy George, like all the rest of us crazies, would have had some stories to tell.
George Davison has left the building. We went back a long ways. He knew Fyl and I before we knew each other, ancient history. One of those guys who never saw the point in being regular…a boho freak to the core, and sweet as hell. Stoned, …too. Some very fond memories. Became a fine guitar player. When I first met him he knew two chords, sometimes three. What a night that was. The girls rushed the stage and shredded his tee shirt. It hung off in tatters, his glasses were askew, and they did I fought the law three times because they barely knew any songs. That was 1979, I think. Wild wild times, wonderful times. The future was forever and no one ever died.
I once wrote about the time i ran into George at a party and he told me 315 was dead. Cancer, he said. Now George is dead. Cancer again. What goes around, I guess.
George Davison rocking out. (Photo by Peter Aiello.)