Update: Please check the comments section, below, as I received a wonderful comment from Lee Underwood who played with Tim. He corrected me on a couple of things. This is the wonderful part of doing a blog: Hearing from Lee Underwood. He wrote a book on Tim. Info in comments section below.
I was Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley's Press
Secretary when I received the phone call from a friend of Tim Buckley's that,"Tim died of an overdose last night."
He had just come off the road in Texas, I believe, and had a lot of alcohol in his system, when he went over to a friends house and evidently snorted some drug. He went home, crawled into bed with his wife, "WU" (her real name is Judy) and subsequently passed away at age 28.(photo of Tim Buckley,Wife-Judy, and guest, at his Venice home in Los Angeles--by Bob Kholos)
I was first introduced to Tim by novelist and screenwriter, David Thoreau.
Sometimes, I would pick up Tim at his home in Venice, and he would insist on low-ridding, while listening only to the music blasting from my AM radio playing Mexican music. He couldn't stand to listen to any of the other stations in LA.
He would tell me that he had the vocal range of Yma Sumac--I believe it was 4 octaves.
His main frustration at the time was that he couldn't get out of his contract, so he could go independent and experiment with his music.
When I asked him how the contract happened, he just said that, "When you are 18 years old and they put that recording contract in your face, you'll sign anything."
I was so upset when he died, I couldn't stop crying.
Tim and WU loved the fact that I didn't know anything about the music world...and I didn't. But Tim was impressed with the way I thought about PR, and besides I really liked the guy.
One time he set me up with a date in Oakland at an after hours bar. It was mostly an African-American establishment. So, after he introduced me to the lady, and we danced....someone yelled out that I danced like a White Man. It was true, and everybody had a laugh on me. But, what I didn't realize was that the entire thing was a set up. At about 4 in the morning, when I thought I was going home with the woman, she announced..."Didn't Tim tell you that I'm a Lesbian?"
Funny joke. But, that was Tim.
As I understand it, when he came off the road from Texas, he was going to sign a contract to do a movie about Woody Guthrie. Tim told me that he was going to be allowed to use his own voice.
I have no doubt that Tim would have made a great movie star. He had the "it"...the star power that only a few performers have.
I remember once when he performed at the Whiskey in Hollywood, the entire place was going crazy and cheering his stand.
The famous music critic, Leonard Feather, wrote in the next day's Los Angeles Times, that someone should sign Buckley again.
He died during the summer of 1975. Even now, I can remember vividly his sardonic smile, and the warmth of a short friendship which also died that day.
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