Oct. 26, 1982
Perhaps the first questions you should ask should be: What exactly is the rock & roll life?
I guess this has a number of answers, depending on the degree of success and personal ego.
Sex is a big issue. For rock and roll men, it is often the real motivation.
But I keep thinking about Janis and how this life destroyed her, and how I have watched most women connected with the rock world destroyed.
Groupies who gravel at the feet of allegedly great musicians, used and abused, then tossed away like used condoms.
Strangely I feel connected to Janis, as if every women Iíve seen used and abused was here spirit returning, vulnerable, even stupid with their desire to please and be pleased.
I delivered paperwork to a New York Apartment that October in 1970.Even before the news media spread the word of her demise, I knew of the death. Her ghost has haunted me ever since.
I tell myself sometimes that had she been a man, she might have survived, although her death came so close to Hendrixís I know this isnít true.
Yet Morrison and Hendrix seem to have developed more historic clout, men of the world whose deaths simply extended their lives by shaping them into myths.
I donít think of Janis as a myth, also some people do.
I see her as the confused girl who likes so many girls Iíve been in the local scene, got used and didnít know how to deal with the misuse.
As work these dives these days, I keep wondering how women can be such suckers, trading their innocence for a questionable maleís attention, sucking up cocaine and abuse as if they loved both.
I watch each seduction each night as if I watched someone being murdered, and indeed, realize that something important is dying with each event.
I keep wondering what happens to the women when they wash out of this gig. Where do they go? What do they think of themselves? What do they tell their husbandís and children later if they even get any?
I know the club scene is a way for people to come together, to get their rocks off, to have a good time.
But when I look out at the faces of the men and women, I see brutality -- like that image of an iron fist in a velvet glove, and that some people somehow manage to survive the exchange, but many do not, going home crippled later.
Freud said women will give sex to obtain love, while men will profess love to obtain sex.
This scene is rawer than that. If women find love here, it is an insane ego-driven love that doesnít last more than the act of making love, recreated like an off Broadway play each night with different actors and a different audience.
Contained in his brief moment is a universe of self-delusion, people playing roles that are not their real selves, getting their kicks before going back to their ordinary lives where real love may be found.
Most of the men I know survive better than the women, going off to other lives later that they can act out as if this one never happened.
But most of the women seem bruised after these encounters, the wounds deeper and more evident the longer they remain in the game, creating generation of internally scarred people who will carry around an illusion of love for the rest of their lives.
I have only seen one or two men and women come through this world unscathed after a long duration, and those few never took the world or themselves too seriously, and never considered this a place worth. One was a rock and roll singer, who did this for the money not the sex, the other was a slumming rich girl, who knew what she wanted, took it, and then went home.
But then, Iíve only had a narrow view of this world, a tiny window vision of those around me. Perhaps beyond my view, all the Janis Joplins come out on top, and people return to ordinary lives without wounds.