Thursday, September 15, 2005

My friend, the liar

A few years ago, I worked with a guy who was several years younger than me. We were on the same team and over a few months we became good friends. We used to go and shoot pool every Monday. He told me that he was a former Navy Seal and he was still close to those guys. He also played guitar and sang and had been in a couple of bands.

One night, I noticed a ring he was wearing and said "That's an interesting ring". He explained that it had been given to him by Ian Astbury of The Cult. Ian gave it him on a night that his band had opened for The Cult at The Roxy or The Whiskey (or some other LA club). Even though this sounded suspect, I had no reason to doubt him (We were friends after all).

I knew that he had recently broken up with a lovely girl who worked for the same company. This breakup caused him some pain and he used that to write a number of songs. He played me a tape with several of these he had recorded in the studio. I thought they were some of the finest songs I'd heard. I urged him to shop it around and see if he could get a record deal. However, there was a problem. The producer or the engineer had stolen copies of the tapes and had sold the songs. ASCAP was going to help him sue and he felt that he would eventually win. This dragged on for about a year. He finally mentioned the name of the person who had recorded the songs. That person was David Wilcox. I hadn't heard of him before.

At some point, he started hanging out with a woman who we both knew. She and I became friends (and we are still). I saw that he was fairly dishonest with her and didn't treat her as well as he should have.

I started thinking about all of the things that didn't seem quite right and in one day, I found out why. I went to Hasting's to rent a video and they have a music computer. I remembered the name of one of the songs, "Eye of the Hurricane". I searched for it and found that (sure enough), it was on a David Wilcox album. They didn't have it on CD, so I bought a cassette tape and took it home. I looked at it and noticed that the song titles of the 5 songs he gave me were all on the same album, How Did You Find Me Here ?. I assumed that what I would hear when I started playing the tape would be my friend's five songs played by David Wilcox and his band.

It turned out that it was the exact performance from the tape my friend had given me. Was this possible ? Did a recording artist just put his name on someone else's work? I saw no other possible answer...until I saw the copyright date on the CD, which was 1989. This was 5 years before the breakup which caused my friend to "write the songs." He had only given me a dubbed copy of half the songs on that album and claimed it as his own.

I stopped hanging out with my friend, the liar after that. I figured if his entire life was based around this series of lies, that it might be catastrophic to confront him. I've seen him a few times since then. Once, I was telling this story to a couple of friends and I looked up and he was sitting at the bar about 15 feet away. I'm sure he was telling the bartender one of his fascinating tales of adventure.


Jonathan P. said...

One time I was writing down the lyrics to "Cocaine" by J.J. Cale and my wife, then girlfriend, thought I was writing it for her. I told her that I did not write it for her, but I should have lied, she would have never known. Ha Ha.

Texas Butt Nuggett said...

I told you he was a liar... told ya...