First of all, Lindsey made me do this. If you don’t know me you won’t get much out of this. If you do know me you may get less: Annual Holiday Letter

December 2018 (if you believe that you’re a chump)

Good Tidings fellow loved ones,

I haven’t written a Holiday Letter in about a decade. “So what’re you doing these days?” Superhero Lindsey Anderson describes me as a, “Glamazon and author.” I haven’t authored anything other than my blog debbiessong.com.  I posted a few stories about my life back when it moved faster than global warming. People “liked, loved, laughed” my stories.  Most meaningful is they asked for and more. Regina Joskow publicist extraordinaire as well as a friend from the late 80s, a time when most of my compatriots  were beginning our music business careers, sent debbiessong to a literary agent. “This woman has a book in her and I want to read it.” Regina claims she acted out of pure selfishness. She didn’t. This is the most generous act anyone has ever executed on my behalf.

I received an email from the literary agent asking if I’d be interested in writing a book. After I picked myself up off of the floor and thought this must be rhetorical, with all the humility I could muster,  I replied. “I very much like the idea of what—and how—you’re describing the book to be. It sounds exciting & fun, it sounds sexy, it sounds harrowing, it sounds eye-opening.” I am charged with writing an eye-opening book. Not too much pressure there David, but thank you for taking me on, thank you for those highly motivating words, and our “no question is stupid” phone calls. David was secondly most generous on my behalf.   Back to, “What’re ya’ doing these days?” Staring at a MacBook Air trying to conjure harrowing.

David Dunton is also Jeff Tweedy’s agent. The guy in Wilco. I signed Jeff’s first band Uncle Tupelo. Wilco is one of my very favorite bands. Jeff just released his autobiography Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back Again). You need to read it. Here’s an idea, go visit Amazon right now and I’ll wait. I own three copies the hardcover, Kindle version and Audible. Listening to Jeff tell his own story makes me eager to drive  Reading him makes me eager to write. He also makes me feel that being a recovering drug addict isn’t something to be ashamed of.  We only stay sober by sharing and he gave me permission to do that.  No surprise then that sharing an agent with Jeff Tweedy strikes a chord deep within me. Having been asked to write a book and sharing an agent with Jeff Tweedy made for a red-letter year. Understandably I can probably stop here. You’re allowed to I’ve already hit the climax. It’s all descending action from here.  #3

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You can’t leave without knowing Brady turned 15!  (further down in case you bail here)
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And you should see the Annual (this is a ritual)  ‘DGen Beach Baby’ photo. Same beach, same tank top five years running now. Yes, every year “things” are a little different. whateves.

It has been four years since I returned to my roots. Now a bona fide Jersey Girl, I am the best type of girl. Just ask The Boss. I live with my mom who had femoral bypass surgery this year.  This was serious business. She underwent a six-hour operation during which her lipstick stayed perfect. My mother came home and went directly back to bossing me around, an orthodox six hours of CNN, card-carrying colorful statements about the orange guy, and nightly doses of Stephen Colbert. She’s square dancing again and faster than me with a grocery cart.

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Mom, grocery cart, Whole30 prep!  Go!!!

The renovation(s) started with a comfy sectional couch in the TV room. That and the mold behind my bathroom tiles led us to a complete bathroom renovation by a neighbor who convinced us he could renovate anything (I bet you can see where this is going-lawsuit). Our bathroom resembled a crooked house with tiles about to fall, a slate floor that wouldn’t stay put, and a paint job that…I can’t even talk about. I am describing the renovation. While the “You’ve got to be kidding me,” renovation took place I was enduring a high risk root canal procedure. There is a construction god up there who needs a good spanking. Second time around, obviously with new a new contractor, my bathroom is stunning. I have become a pink bath bomb addict. To boot, I finally ventured into my storage unit, and with a little help from my friends worked on feng shui-ing shabby chic. The 2nd floor is finally the perfect place to write a funny, sexy book and then walk across the hall to nap on a velvet rose chaise (quick stop to look at the Italian porcelain tiles). Home finally feels like home. Next year we keep going. Sore assed construction god better behave himself.

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This is a terrible photo of art bathroom

For the most part I am happy here (I miss the subway, and the 360 style-I am so not a mall girl). The dogs have a yard. BTW-Brady turned 15 this year! He’s got arthritis but so does everyone I know. His brain is a little “off” but again such is the case with most everyone I know. He’s on medication…ad infinitum. Sadie the shih tzu speaks. She throws shade. I’m tempted to record her giving the furniture a good talking to, but I don’t want her to think I’m taking the piss out of her, and I am as much of a GIF person as I am a mall rat. I have gardens that yield bushels of veggies. I started a strawberry field, blueberry thicket and the butterfly bushes and moonflowers keep us in awe.  On a rainy afternoon a few weeks ago I collected and dumped mammoth bags of horse manure into my compost heap. I realize this is a difficult image for you to conjure. My boots have walked into many an interesting environment I can now add mountains of horse poo onto the list.

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Moonflower

About 18 months ago I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. I couldn’t understand why taking a nap meant blocking out four hours of my day. I woke up like Dorothy’s Tin Man. Completely hinged and hours of joint pain before I could truly kick start a day. You guys know me. Debbie is a gumby yoga person not a piece of rusty steel. I was always asleep so why did my muscles feel overworked? My blood tests were right something was wrong. It took a grumpy rheumatologist to put the puzzle together.  Grumpy rheumatologist prescribed Otezla. My magical chiropractor has been begging me to stop eating sugar and starch (may sound like dreaming the impossible dream-but no says the Whole30 which I start on 1/1/19-please regale me with your own Whole30 tales). The biggest bummer has been the two-year cessation of my yoga practice.  Daily meditation became my exercise medium.  I highly suggest it. I am feeling 75% back to normal and have nothing to complain about.  2019 is the year I will downward dog almost as often as I walk the dog.

A  group of women in Ridgewood, NJ saved my life. They continue to a day at a time. Many of you, have for too long, watched me suffer from destructive and oppressive habits, or you have suffered from them (I haven’t reached that step yet). Russell Brand says, “Addiction is an invisible prison.” I choose to live in a prison? And a prison I built for myself? Really? That is fucked up. “We” is the first word of the 12 Steps. I suppose this is why it took a community of women to give me hope. When I am stressed and overwhelmed they direct me to the solution. Living a solution-based life is how I find serenity (something I wish for everyone). I work hard. Anything worth having is worth working for.  The prize, I stay sober, I get to hold onto hope, and help someone else who needs some. My new life is my best life. Shared hope. WOW! Being that my sobriety is the most important piece of my life I do everything I am told to keep it. May seem almost as odd as standing in a pile of horseshit.  They both create something beautiful. As Michael Alago says, “Giiirrrl! It just ain’t pretty any more.” I like being pretty.

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April is not from Ridgewood she’s from Ste. 303 on Bond St. An old friend who keeps me on my toes, keeps me honest, and keeps allowing me to grow my hair.  I love her.

In 2018 I lost my great friend Gary Harris. He was too unique and far too special for me to find the words that rightfully describe the impact his friendship had on me. A couple times a month I think, “I gotta talk to Gary about this.” All I can do is look up and know he’s listening.  Gary left me gifts, this blog is one and this man is another.  Gary was not stingy.  Q-Tip is a lightning bolt who jumps around like a kid, makes music like a master, spits wisdom and really I wish he weren’t so damn wise-not fair.  We got some plans, maybe next year’s letter.  Maybe not.  Art is a journey.

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Just another toy in the playground.

I also lost a new friend Elizabeth Ortiz who suffered for most of her young life and is now free of pain and disappointment. Selfishly I miss her big brain and bigger imagination. We could laugh over abscesses and feeding tubes. Yeah, she used the hard life god handed to her brilliantly. I have two new angels watching out for me. I spent New Year’s Eve 2017 in the hospital with Elizabeth. I spent the NE Patriots final playoff game 2018 with Gary. They’ll be with me this year too. Always remember THIS last time may damn well be THE last time.  And I am not talking about the Patriots and the Super Bowl.

2018: No exotic trips.  I didn’t go much farther away than East Hampton.  I had a very normal some days are fab and some are shite year.  However, I got to see an intimate Patti Smith show at the teeny Minetta Lane theatre, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Breeders, Kendrick Lamar, Nick Cave, Queens of the Stone Age, Jack White, Lucinda Williams, jeez that’s some fab music in one year and there are probably more, but the age/memory equation…well you probably know. I was taken to the theatre a couple of times. Joined a Book Club. Attended a few book, record releases/art openings. I wrote-see David, if I didn’t lose you at the #3 mark I am writing.

I made a point to connect with friends who I had lost touch with and whose company I always enjoyed.  People who make my life juicy. (Shout out to Jeff P., Mitchell C., Regina J., Danny S., Greg G., Rachel, Tip, Miguel, to name a few…).  I stayed close to my friends who forgive me everything and vice versa. (Lindsey and Juli you lead the way).  I made new friends who are so wise and spirited it’s off the hook. (Far too numerous to shout out).  Thanks to all of you for helping me navigate a year of life on life’s terms. You know who you are and you are solid gold. You make the world a better place and me a better person cow poo and all.  Happy 2019.

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Solid gold.

If you made it this far, don’t say I didn’t warn you.  The pinnacle was in the third paragraph, but I’m glad you’re here blessed reader.

****If you are a friend or acquaintance of Diane Gentile (The Bowery Electric, Diane Gentile and the Gentlemen, Jesse Malin’s former manager,  Radio Promotion goddess- MCA/A&M Records)…please donate to her Go Fund Me page.  Her spirit is positive but she’s on a long road to recovery.  Start out 2019 with karma in your piggy bank.

https://www.gofundme.com/dianegentile?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=fb_dn_postdonate_r&fbclid=IwAR3bG_gtsV6F68ltJFabKL3YHfr5jyBUotxpwEe-mGWgwCFyCLErzx-6SlY

 

 

 

You Only Live Twice (part two)

 

The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to Salvation is hard-Katha-Upanishad (via W. Somerset Maugham)

The break-up occurred on May 10th, 1999.   Then the real break-up, “It’s over.  We tried it and it didn’t work,” took place about thirty days later.  Then I dropped thirty pounds in thirty days.  My friends came running, but I was too busy isolating to notice.  I sat at home listening to Moby’s Play the soundtrack to my heartache.  I didn’t start to cry until May 13th and then I couldn’t stop, just like that CD’s constant circling in its player.  But I went to work.  Work was my salvation the one place I always returned to.  Like home.

Sometime in 2001 we bumped into each other.  He was married, ran a marathon and had a dog.  These were all things I knew would happen.  I knew he would try to continue our legacy, but with someone else.  They were actions taken “at” me.  His appearance of a life fulfilled was done at my expense.  While he’d spent time revenge run rampant.   I just suffered.  I feigned happiness for him and his brilliant accomplishments.  At least by then I had put down the whip, picked up a fork and was living my life.  He never bore witness to my incessant flagellation.  2001 came in sharp contrasts, I realize for all, and yet my star had risen.  For me that was a very good thing, and not a thing he needed to know.  I walked away feeling good about myself, and that was a very good thing indeed.

Two months before we broke up, I was working late when a colleague cracked open a bottle of Patron.  I’d felt alienated after the merger.  Interscope was the antithesis of A&M.  I was swimming in the shallow end of unknown waters.  I so desperately wanted a friend to help guide me deeper.  My timing was awful, so was my methodology.  I eventually came home, but two hours late and excuseless.  The general hysteria that goes along with tequila incidents gone awry spewed out of me.  I puked.  I screamed.  I puked.  Why was he even with me?  I was too old for him!  He was a downtown hipster and, “I am totally uncool!”  He cleaned me up.  Put me to bed and left.  As soon as that hangover wore off the breakup was on.

“You can drink. You don’t have to change.  We’ll get through this.”  He claimed to have lost two relationships to AA.  Since I was his third the odds weren’t looking good.  He couldn’t watch me go through it.  “Too few people make it.”  A day later, “I can’t believe I found someone so perfect for me.”  A few days would pass, “I’m trying to work my way back to you.”  I was convinced the dream had shattered in a bottle of tequila, a pool of vomit, and a bed full of denial.  A close friend gently pushing me toward recovery, “Believe me he knows you’re an alcoholic and he’s known all along,”  He maintained, “I like the way you use alcohol.”  Solutions are rooted.  We felt unworldly.  Vaporous incapable of being trapped into something so solid.

On Place St.-Michel he pushed me.  Took two arms and shoved me as if I were a pickpocket caught in the act.  “Get off of me!”  Ten days in Paris, the city of love, we had sex twice.  Angry sex.  Naked and hit by a belt, yanked around the hotel room, completely dominated, left simpering in a corner, and going to sleep with our backs facing each other.  Years I fantasized over visiting The Muse’ Rodin with a lover.  Standing so close we could have stroked The Kiss, “Maybe I’ll get a sex change operation and move to Paris.”  Beaten down I was still trying to share even though he’d clearly decided there was no more “we” it would now be “I.”   Two months had passed since the tequila incident.  Sixty days I spent looking like a Camille Claudel sculpture.

 

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There’s only one in the bed… Or, how I spent my Paris vacation.

Making love in a rooftop Jacuzzi while Grammy night lights swirled around us, cuddling up to a fire place at Long View Farms studio while an ice storm raged outside talking about everything we hoped for us none of which was true, driving to Boston telling stories about the past while the The Idiot played on rotation and we tried to hold hands across a stick shift Barracuda named Bernadette, those days were gone.

Sobriety requires a relationship with something greater than oneself.  Over the weeks our conversations turned to seeking.  He was didactic, an excitable boy searching for something beyond the experience of reality.  I was often left mystified yet confused by his musings.  Frankly I often found them sophomoric, dorm room fodder.  Lacking clarity I did engage although I had spent far more time thinking about Led Zeppelin lV than about god.

Much earlier in the relationship he’d given me a copy of The Razor’s Edge.  Claimed it was his favorite, and inscribed with many declarations about my eyes, my breath, rain. The final lines read; With you there are no walls. Together we escape burden, and culminated with Debbi- you make me cry.  I read his page long benediction so often I never read the novel.  I couldn’t quite make sense of how making him cry was a desirable effect.  I decided the inscription had something to do with love, but he didn’t sign it with love.  He’d also spelled my name wrong.

Eventually I read it.  I indulged in anything, size don’t matter, he’d left me.  Obviously Larry spoke to him, “I want to make up my mind whether God is or God is not.”  I was an Isobel (is a belle), who wanted to meet interesting people, but not if it meant giving up her Chanel dresses.  Larry (I wish I could interpret that name as ‘liar’ but I don’t think Somerset Maugham would agree) knew she would only be experimenting with, “a sort of cultured slumming.”  Isobel could also give herself an orgasm just by staring at Larry’s arm.  She couldn’t have him.  She was forced to settle, and his would be a lone journey.  In the end Larry finds his salvation.  He escapes bondage.  Poor Isobel, well, you can’t have someone who isn’t there.  Dharma-bums, social strata, the ultimate question, none of that meant anything, the only answers I was seeking made habitat behind those blue eyes. Perhaps it should have been obvious that my boyfriend needed to find something, and he couldn’t do it with me.  But I didn’t read the book.

 

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I could always find my way back home.

In 2003 he called with an invitation to dinner.  He requested that I come that same evening.  So on an indifferently cold evening I walked west to east arriving at the same building.  He was cooking fried chicken and corn bread.  An aside, by the end we had both gained about 10 pounds.  We feasted on food instead of flesh.  We swallowed up all the truth so there was nothing to say.  Rib roast, homemade bread, macaroons one of my favorite things, were all forced on me.  I didn’t want any of it, except the macaroons, but I ate anyway.  I would take anything he offered.  I finally figured out what happens when you’ve been consumed, you start consuming.  Once you gain 10 pounds you get depressed and your doctor puts you on anti-anxiety meds, anti-depressants and sleep aids.  Then you refill those fuckers as often as you need.  By the spring of 1999 I was a beggar with an extensive medicine cabinet who could no longer fit into her jeans.

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When Ile St-Louis calls you go no matter how big your thighs have gotten.

Whatever this dinner was, it was not going to be a hostile takeover.  Thanks to a couple of green pills my emotions were well barricaded.  I entered the same building but different apartment.  That helped keep a few sensory triggers at bay.  His red hair was long, and greasy.  He was wearing some make-up along with tight red glam pants tucked into Paul Stanley’s boots.  The most striking piece of his countenance was the perfectly plucked eyebrows.  The brows becoming the entrance to his face, replacing what used to be blue eyes.  The lightening bolts on his cheesy boots were enough to strike me silent.

He fried up chicken and rambled on about his ex-wife.  She was now the dumpster for all his rubbish.  She wanted money and she took her dog.  Aside from the dog it seemed her best asset was the ability to apply make-up; then they would go out together.  I immediately imagined her in a suit and him in a dress.  Our gangster and gun moll act done in reverse.  I was thankful for her.  He no longer had a reason to do anything “at” me.  I snuck a peak into the bedroom.  It contained the double sized bed we’d bought together.  Seeing it there with the same headboard did beget sorrow.  I could still see my hands wrapped around the poles.  Still and all, we had been living perversely different lives for seven years.  I owned a new bed, an extraordinarily expensive one at that.

“I’m having a sex change operation.”  I don’t know why I was surprised.  It was in my face throughout our entire relationship.  In Paris he had said the words.  If that statement were spray-painted on the wall my reaction would have been, “Wall? What wall?”  Hear, speak, see…no!  If I had to be The Three Monkeys I would, and then swallow another macaroon.  My eyes welled up but I didn’t cry.  I squeaked out, “But why?”  This was his razor’s edge.

“I always knew I would do this.  That’s why I had to break up with you.  I knew you couldn’t live this way.  I knew you need a man.”  Larry needed to find truth.  Isobel needed to live within her comfort zone.  But we were not the characters Maugham created.  And it was never the tequila, and it certainly wasn’t a relationship that fizzled after the excitement of the first 60 days.  There was always a thread between us that we tangled up, like the necklace you carelessly throw into your jewelry box every night even though you put it back on the next day.  If you never pause to fix it eventually the chain breaks.

During the months our break-up dragged on, before, “It’s over.  We tried and it didn’t work,” he also said, “I know how I feel about you. I just don’t know how I feel about us.” “I’m trying so hard to work my way back to you.”  “I need to take a break from this relationship and I don’t even believe those are my words coming through me because I could never say that to you.”  I also wondered where those words had come from.  How could I know they came from she not he.  He said he couldn’t see himself in the mirror because I was standing between him and the mirror, “I have to remove you if I’m ever going to see myself.”  My boyfriend wanted to be me.  And thank god he managed to remove me, because eventually he decided to look like Brittany Spears.

I got to bear witness to some of the process.  Throughout the next year or so she helped me sell off some records, she helped me move some boxes.  When I lost my job her new girlfriend helped me look for a cheaper apartment.  She finally acknowledged my success when she started playing in a band that loved Queens of the Stone Age.  Gone were the days when my cell phone was an embarrassment.  I was even invited to the studio a couple of times.  The make-up, the breasts, the hair, the nails, never fully disguised the man.  Eventually I heard rumor that the transition had been wholly consummated.  Over ten years have passed since I last saw her.

“I knew you couldn’t live this way.”  I was never given a voice in the decision.  Maybe I could have.  Maybe I would have stayed.  At the least we could have tried to live in the truth.  Maybe I would have walked away.  Maybe I wouldn’t have made him cry, and he could sign a novel With Love.  I always wished him to be happy.  That was the unselfish piece.  I wanted him to love me forever.  That was selfish.  “I knew you needed a man.”  Well thank you for making the decision for me.  I’m not going to go on a tirade about gender specific roles.  I only know I’ve had plenty of men (and a couple of women) since, and not one has ever given me an ounce of what he did.  I’ll never know what she could have.

I silently mourned his death.  I didn’t starve myself, I didn’t over medicate, I didn’t worry my friends.  But, I did mourn.  I will never again see that blue-eyed boy I loved.  There was a time he came to me almost nightly in my dreams.  Like Peter Pan visiting Wendy. To be perfectly honest, fleetingly he still comes I wake up happy.  He managed to crawl up inside me.  Inside of me resides a beautiful blue-eyed boy who ate candy for breakfast and called me “Kitten.”  But outside there is no grave marker.  He simply faded away never again to be.  I miss him terribly.  Yvan-you make me cry.

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Addendum: For many years I wondered if this entire saga unfolded in my head.  One evening my intern entered my office and closed the door.  She was young, zaftig, with long black hair, punk rock clothes and a beautifully kind face.  She had a story for me, but she approached with caution.  This could be dangerous territory.  A few years after he and I broke up she walked into a bar on Avenue B.  He stared, and I have made it quite clear those eyes were no joke.  He appeared to be awestruck.  Once she settled on a barstool he said, “I’m sorry.  I thought you were someone else.”  I looked at her, yes, I could see it at a distance he would have seen a ghost.  He continued, “I thought you were a woman I had a relationship with years ago.  It was the most intense experience I’ve ever had.”  They chatted some.  Her drink was on the house.

-For Molly who got to live twice

Drug Farm

“Got a knife in my back got a hole in my arm when I’m driving the tractor on the drug farm” Lyrics Dave Wyndorf/ Photo: Michael Alago

 

Once again Gary Harris schooled me, “Debbie stop the bullshit! Get over it. I have never known an A&R person who had hits that didn’t get high. Debbie I have never known an A&R person who had hits that didn’t get high. I have NEVER known an A&R person who had hits that didn’t get high.” This A&R executive had mad crazy skills at both. *An aside-Before this roller coaster takes off, I must confess two important factors: I lived a life where timelines didn’t exist, and I spent many years picking up and putting down alcohol. 1989 through 2004 was a fast lane. Please be tolerant.

The late 80s came with Uncle Tupelo. East St. Louis may be the most depressing place in America. I think in order to live there, which they did, you were compelled to drink. “Whiskey bottle over Jesus.” Plus the beer at Cicero’s cost about fifty cents. Eventually I could outdrink Jeff Tweedy. Although chaotic and potentially disastrous the whole gig was fun. Teenage Fanclub and Uncle Tupelo played CBGBs. My red shoes ended up on the wrong side of the bar. Tony Margherita and I spent a good part of the night shouting for more beer, trying to retrieve my shoes and more often knocking each other over. Uncle Tupelo’s No Depression started a movement, and a magazine. CMJ ruled the 80s and an indie-hit record was still a hit.

While pounding down beers at Don Hills he spoke and I slurred about the Wilco masterpiece Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Also, I may have fallen off my seat. Jesse Malin was so upset he thought the logical thing would be to tell everyone how worried he was. New York City rock & roll rumors do one thing, they get back to you. “I could think of only one person I would want to take to this show.” Jesse was offering to take me to see The Stones. “You’re telling people I’m on pills??? How dare you! I wouldn’t see The Stones with you if you were the last person alive.” I was too high and too arrogant to see my favorite band with one of my favorite people. I never had a hit record with DGeneration, but I did sign them to a major label and in turn they put me on the map below 14th St. the equivalent of a hit.

Around the time Andy Gould arrived, strip bars, the Cigar Club 666, The Ivy, The Palm, chic hotel bars, anywhere fun and everywhere we could drink became the norm. Andy was a combination of Arthur, and Austin Powers (and possibly any role Dudley Moore ever played). We worked ourselves to exhaustion. We drank and joked and danced. Andy even danced like Austin Powers, I had Axle Rose perfected. Andy helped me settle into L.A. The one where you drank Bloody Mary’s at Barneys for breakfast tablehopping to kiss-kiss. Drank Pina Coladas for breakfast while Andy Gould and Bob Chiphardi cheered on that nefarious Gene Simmons make out session. Martinis were as commonplace as naked pool jumping. I was scrupulous about keeping my clothes on, even though most of them were sheer and stained with red wine, they never got wet, and they always stayed on. L.A. is manifest for voyeurism. Andy ensured us a front seat. He was a genius, and I loved being Andy’s wingman. A cheeky twosome who shot for the stars, and every album, single and video we worked on together went big. Went larger than our collective malfeasance.

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Me and Andy Gould at The Four Seasons Hotel. Last call. Good thing my leg was there…

On “Black Thursday” I landed safely and securely at Interscope Records. Eventually Andy left me for Jordan Shure, and I filled the void with Queens of the Stone Age. I was signing the most important band of my career. I was also heart broken. That’s a story for another day, but involved vomiting a great deal of tequila on one of the cutest boys on the L.E.S. One bona fide fuck up. In absolution I gave up drinking alcohol and eating food. Instead I ate pills. When I walked my purse rattled. Still good fortune shone down on me. Black Thursday + a job = major hit.

Dave Wyndorf cornered me in a hallway at The Chelsea Hotel. “Are you on pills? You look terrible!!! You think you look junkie chic? You look fucking hideous!!!” (P.s.-I’m worried about you) Of course I was doing pills. I was eating pills all the time. My jumping off point were the sleeping pills I discovered that would get me through all the sleepless nights that finally gave birth to Power Trip. Having just been pierced from tongue to toe I did what any pilled, pained, pummeled waif would do ran down the stairs. Space Lord Motherfucker getting you through Power Trip almost killed me! By the way, once we had that hit record the drug farm seemed a very nice place to hang my cowboy hat with matching boa.

Another tour bus, another OzzFest, boys jerking off to another Pantera set, Ozzy performing night after night in those awful sweat pants with that stupid hose. It clicked, “What would Nick do?” WWND? “It must be five o’ clock somewhere.” That’s exactly what Nick Oliveri would do. I was still living in absolution for the tequila incident. So when that first beer got gulped guided by a handful of klonopin my body had a party. Rated R was rearing towards Gold. I was high.

Debbie Nick
WWND? Obviously I’d done the thing Nick would do. Photo: Lindsey Anderson

Those days felt magical. Josh and Nick showing up unannounced at my NYC office, “Let’s go do stuff.” Stuff got done. Me showing up at The Academy in London, while a still fully clothed Nick palmed off a handful of Percodan. “Want these?” Josh, his brother and Brody called from Niagara. “Okay, I’ll meet you for ONE drink.” Sitting down at the booth, Josh locked eyes, “I’m gonna get you so fucked up.” Next thing I knew it was 5:00 a.m. and I was barefoot hailing a cab. The February barefoot walk of shame is not pretty. We already had one hit and apparently I was dancing barefoot to another.

Somewhere in the midst of all this self-imposed chaos Asif Ahmed showed up dangling The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Some people black out and end up in Vegas. I ended up in Copenhagen. Asif and I wrestled on the floor of the Soho Hotel (an evil place). He broke bottles of red wine and drank from them. I drew a line. It was white. “If Jimmy doesn’t come to the L.A. show we won’t sign with you.” It takes a lot of sedatives and liquid fortitude to talk Jimmy Iovine into a rock club. “If you don’t come to the UK we won’t sign with you.” We shoved half eaten lobster shells into the Polygram executives’ man bags. Asif and I never walked into a meeting with anyone, not Jimmy Iovine, not David Joseph, not Lyor Cohen, without bringing bottles of red wine and demanding sandwiches. By this point I could lick my wardrobe and get drunk. However, somewhere between New York, Los Angeles, Lost Vegas and a whole lotta UK, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs signed with us. They delivered not just a hit album, but “Maps.” Fever to Tell made everything I did excusable (even though most of it was Asif’s fault).

QOTSA opened for the RHCP at MSG. It was Josh’s birthday. I drank magnums of champagne with Karen O and during the bacchanalia lost a couple of my hair extensions. One became the centerpiece of the big man’s b-day table. Asif notified me of the sad, sad, loss. Brody and I spent as much time in the Ladies Room as we did dancing and hugging. I was outlandishly skinny, I was highly successful and did not care that I was outlandishly high. Here’s the catch, other people did. Care.

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Me and Brody. If you’re lucky, and I am, you find out there’s a life filled with love outside of the Ladies Room. Photo: Lindsey Anderson

I fell down. A lot. I wrecked romantic relationships with my head in a toilet, a drunk- dial, or a temper tantrum. I threw money around like a member of G-Unit. I was always bruised. I wrecked thousands of dollars of Marc Jacobs clothing. Everything was excessive: dancing, sex, working, the number of people a bathroom could hold, shopping, exercising, apologizing, money, lack of money, travel, dinners, outfits, embarrassing myself…everything. But hey, I had hit records, Grammy nominations, charisma…Suddenly something stalled. I got tired. I got lonely. I’d had it with hits. I stopped getting high.

Sex, drugs and rock & roll compose a contract I signed with no legal representation. I made the mistake of believing the holy trinity must be grossly indulged. I would like to say the “Tractor” stopped there. Now and then there was a drought, or a break down. Finally the day came when the farm sold, and the tractor rotted.

Recently backstage at MSG, one of the most badass women to ever walk the earth whispered, “Debbie, sober is better.” Truth told not all A&R executives who have hits get high; it’s more like 85%. Gary knew I had something most don’t. Stories. When he demanded, “Debbie, stop the bullshit,” he was giving me permission to tell them.

-Dedicated to every person who came to my aid circa 1989-2004. Dave W, Phil C, Nicole H, Matt H, Jesse M, Danny S, Diane G, Steve K, Kristin H, Lisa B, Ellen M-P, Michael A, Thom E, Cid S, Asif A, Liz B, Julie F, Dana M, Mark W, David C, Jimmy I…more than I can list (or remember-oy the mind). I’m sorry if I’ve left you out, you are all my angels. Mom and Daryl you have the biggest wings, by far.