In 1980, I sat in a van headed towards New York. The guys and I were convinced we were going to be rock stars. Big rock stars. Huge.
We sold out the Troubadour three nights in a row. Had a bunch of A&R guys at every show. We were going to be rock stars.
Once in New York, I called my girlfriend back in L.A. Cheryl had been supporting me while the band was struggling. She was my biggest fan.
Once on the phone, Cheryl gave me this ultimatum:
“Listen Jet, after everything we’ve been through, either marry me or I move on.”
“Cheryl, you know I dig you. We’re being scouted every week. We’re going to be making a record any day now. Once the record is out, we’re going to be touring the world. Hold tight.”
In 1983, we were enjoying the success of our first record. We were all over MTV. Touring all over the world. That’s when our business manager called:
“Listen Jet, you need to take the money you have and invest it in real estate. Buy a couple of homes South of The Boulevard. You need something tangible.”
“Seriously? This is party money. Our contract is good for two more albums. I don’t need a house. I’m living out of my suitcase, anyway.”
“Jet, your contract isn’t for two more albums. It’s an option for two more albums. Based on your current sales, you might get to release an EP in six months. Then the label has to recoup recording, marketing, and video costs.”
In 1984, our producer died, our manager quit and started representing a grunge band, “It’s all happening in Seattle, Jet.” And lastly, our record label got bought out or as our business manager puts it, “Absorbed.”
So from 1984 to 1985, we had to get new management and hound the label to recognize us and put out another record. In the meantime, I started doing session work. I was a decent guitar player, and I needed to make a living. After, about, six months, the label said they were going to put out another album since the first one sold so well.
We were happy as hell. We hit the studio to start writing songs and rehearse. In a relatively short time, we had 18 to 20 tracks. Everything was strong. We’d weed them down to 10 and start doing demos for the label to hear.
One night in 1986, at, about, 1:00 a.m. our new manager, Ron, called me and said:
“Jet, the label backed out. They’re going to exercise the option clause and just buy you guys out based on what they feel you would sell over the course of the next two albums.”
“Wait, what, why?”
“Well, what they are telling me is that hair metal is dead. They want something else.”
We kept at it. We took our 20 songs and released them independently as two separate albums over the course of five years.
We cut our hair in the early 90s, no black leather, just flannel.
By 1995, we were done. Now, in 2017, I’m in a townhouse in Studio City. No wife, no kids, no multiple homes South of The Boulevard. I didn’t listen to Cheryl, nor did I listen to my business manager.
Every five years or so Rolling Stone will put out an article about the top 100 hair metal albums you have to buy. Everybody on my Facebook put will start tagging me. They’re proud. The band will show up at around number twenty.
At the age of fifty-five I know I blew it. I chased the dream from the Troubadour to the Forum, then back to the Troubadour.