Part II of the Upside of R&R Home

Page 166

The Upside of R&R Home

December 1974: Leaving Three Dog Night


Chuck and Jimmy were secretly doing heroin, while cocaine permeated all our lives, except Cory's and Skip's. Looking back, I was not even aware of the heroin problem. I thought it was "downers," such as barbiturates. It was that, but a whole lot more. Danny was also in a dangerous condition and for a period of time, was unable to perform. Jay Gruska had taken his place in the interim period.


For days at a time, I would hang out at Ike and Tina Turner's studio, Bolic Sound, in Inglewood, CA. My marriage was falling apart and I was overcome with my unhappiness, due to the situation in the band. We were operating on "automatic," and the transmission was going south fast. In the previous few years, I had made more money than I could relate to and thought I was being reasonable with my spending, but that was a misconception on my part. I was feeling more and more alienated from a band that was the love of my life. There were business disagreements that also forged a wedge between us during an increasingly erratic period.     I was hearing from Joe Schermie, asking me and Floyd to quit and come join him. Ultimately, the drug abuse, financial issues and the "hunger" for the music structure of working with Joe, got the best of me. I rendered my resignation.



A 1974 publicity shot of Three Dog Night




    Legal disputes followed that pitted Floyd, Joe and me, against Danny, Chuck and Cory, but to all our credit, we were able to settle it ourselves without the court's having to intervene and make a determination for us. In retrospect, the demise of 3DN in the mid 70's, aside from drug abuse and member changes, may have been inherent to the structure of the band. That is, when it came time to renegotiate the band's catalogue of music, there was a struggle between those that were signed directly to the record company, and those that were signed to an internal agreement. An almost unavoidable situation, when you think about it. The drug abuse fueled the discontent, like only it can do. I personally know nothing of the rigors of heroin abuse. Only years later did I hear of it through the experiences of Jimmy and Chuck. I thank God that I never used it myself. Thanks to a healthy fear of needles from my childhood, in the early days of modern dentistry, I never had a desire to experiment with anything that required needles. However, cocaine abuse made me, and others, effectively impossible to work with in the band. Not a cop-out or an excuse, just the facts. We were a mess and our attitudes were becoming progressively more confrontational. Danny and Chuck were "toast" due to substance abuse. Podolor and Cooper were gone. Our original management, Reb Foster Associates, was gone. Schermie was gone, and soon, Floyd and I would also be gone.

   The last gig I did with the band was in late 1974, at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles. I had tears in my eyes that last night onstage, and could hardly speak after we ended the concert. I did NOT want to leave the band, but had already made my stand and had set things in motion. My resignation had been accepted. It was just awful leaving the group. Really awful. It broke my heart. Yes, Floyd and I were excited to start playing music with Joe Schermie again, but leaving "3 Dog" was not something to celebrate. Not at all. We never felt that way about it.

   In the preface to this book, I apologized if there wasn't enough reference made to drugs and the downside of rock n roll. When I began writing, it was my intent to make very little mention of it. As you can see, I fell short of being true to that concept. I have found it unavoidable to write of those times in earnest, without including some of the drug abuse issues that existed. After reading this book, I hope it's not the main thing that you take with you. That would be a shame, to dilute the good that exists between us, our music and all of you. It is my wish that you continue to enjoy the music and the humor that is Three Dog Night, as you get to know us even better.

End of Chapter 17

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