Sunday, August 28, 2011

#279: River Deep, Mountain High - Phil Spector's Greatest Hits - Number 2

Vincent Tannazzo testified that, after retiring from the New York City Police Department, he started a private security company. One of his clients was Joan Rivers. Tannazzo was acquainted with Dorothy Melvin because she was Rivers’s manager, and he knew Melvin had been dating Spector. Sometime between 1991 and 1994, while providing security for a Christmas party hosted by Rivers, Tannazzo was stationed in the lobby of her New York City apartment building, checking visitors against the guest list. At one point during the party, Melvin telephoned Tannazzo, upset, and said, “Vinnie, get up here. Phil Spector just pulled out a gun.” Tannazzo unholstered his gun, put it in his jacket pocket, and took the elevator up toward Rivers’s apartment.

When the elevator doors opened at the second floor, Tannazzo saw Spector and Melvin arguing. Spector was “out of control” and he “kept saying these fucking cunts, these fucking cunts, over and over again.” not directing his words at her.  Melvin was telling Spector to calm down. Tannazzo did not think Spector was directing his anger at Melvin.  While in the elevator with Tannazzo and Melvin, Spector repeatedly said, “These fucking cunts,” Tannazzo repeatedly told Spector, who was loud and “out of control,” to calm down.

On the way down, Tannazzo lightly patted Spector down for a gun and felt a .38-caliber revolver on the right side of his waistband underneath his jacket. Spector was still ranting, using “the ‘C’ word,” when Melvin told Tannazzo, “Vinnie, put him in a car, get him out of here.” In the lobby, Spector was still muttering “Those fucking cunts.” Spector stopped, turned, and moved his hand in the direction of his pocket and waistband where the gun was. Tannazzo told him “if he pulled out that gun I’d blow his fucking brains out.” Spector replied, “I’m cool, I’m cool. I love cops. . . . All I want is my keyboard.”  Tannazzo and Spector went outside to Spector’s limousine and sent the driver to retrieve the keyboard from Rivers’s apartment. While waiting for the driver to return, Spector showed Tannazzo a gun permit and said, “I have permits for all over the place. Everywhere I go, I carry a piece.” Then Spector said, “These fucking cunts, they all deserve a bullet in their heads.” Asked if Spector appeared to be joking, Tannazzo testified, “Oh, absolutely not.” When the driver returned with the keyboard, Spector left.

One year later, Tannazzo was again working security for Joan Rivers’s annual Christmas party, which Spector and Melvin separately arrived at. About an hour after Spector went up to the party, the elevator doors opened to the lobby. Spector and Melvin exited the elevator, arguing. Spector kept saying, “That fucking cunt, that fucking cunt, that fucking cunt,” but not at Melvin. He was yelling, and out of control. Melvin told Spector to calm down and told Tannazzo something like, “Vinnie, get him out of here, put him in the car.” After another woman came out of the elevator into the lobby, Spector looked at her, took a couple of steps toward her, and yelled, “That fucking cunt, I ought to put a bullet in her head right now.” Tannazzo grabbed Spector by his lapels, and said, “That’s fucking it.” Tannazzo forcibly took Spector out of the building to his limousine and put him in the back, where Melvin joined him before the car pulled away.

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