Monday, August 29, 2011

#280: He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss) - Phil Spector's Greatest Hits - Number 1

Adriano De Souza was working as a valet parking attendant at the Grill in the Alley (the Grill), a Beverly Hills restaurant. There he met Phil Spector’s chauffeur, who asked if De Souza wanted to work as Spector’s backup driver. De Souza agreed because he could make between $30 and $40 an hour driving for Spector. By February 2003, De Souza had driven Spector between 12 and 15 times over the course of three or four months.

These backup driving jobs were arranged by Michelle Blaine, Spector’s secretary, who would call De Souza a few hours before he was needed. De Souza would arrange for someone to cover his shift at the Grill and then drive his own car to Spector’s house in Alhambra. After going through the main entrance gate, De Souza would drive to the back of the house, park, prepare Spector’s car and wait for him to come out. Spector had two cars, a Rolls Royce and a brand new Mercedes. De Souza testified Spector would tell him where to drive and that he always understood Spector’s directions. He and Spector communicated easily, although if Spector had been drinking he was sometimes hard to understand.

De Souza had been born in Brazil and he grew up there. He began studying English in school when he was 11 or 12 years old. In college he earned a B.A. degree in computer science. The instructional materials for his computer courses were in English. He had served for eight or nine years in the Brazilian military.  On Sunday afternoon, February 2, 2003, Blaine called and asked De Souza to drive for Spector that night. De Souza arrived at Spector’s house in the early evening and prepared the Mercedes. Spector got into the car carrying a leather briefcase and told De Souza to drive to Studio City, where his friend Rommie Davis lived. Davis had gone to high school with Spector and then met him again years later at a high school reunion. During 2002, they occasionally went out to dinner together, but they were not romantically involved.

De Souza picked Davis up and then drove to the Grill. Spector and Davis went inside for dinner. Spector had one daiquiri and at least part of another during dinner. When he ordered the second daiquiri, Davis “suggested that it wasn’t a good idea because he was acting silly.” Spector ignored her and continued to drink. He appeared to be a little drunk. They finished dinner between 9:30 and 10:00 p.m. Davis wanted to get to bed early because she had to work the next day.

Kathy Sullivan was working at the Grill that night as a server. She first met Spector in 1997 and had socialized with him occasionally for a year or two, always in the company of her friend, Susan. Sullivan and Susan would visit Spector at his Alhambra house. Sullivan testified her relationship with Spector was entirely platonic and had never been romantic; she described Spector as acting “fatherly” toward her. She stopped visiting him when she lost touch with Susan in 1999. Then, after Susan came to work at the Grill, Sullivan would sometimes see Spector at the restaurant.

On Sunday night, February 2, 2003, Sullivan greeted Spector and Davis when they came into the Grill. After finishing her shift, Sullivan was eating when another restaurant employee came over and asked if she and her co-worker Karen wanted to join Spector for a drink. Karen declined, but Sullivan went over to Spector’s table and then accepted his invitation to go to Trader Vic’s. Spector and De Souza took Davis home and returned to the Grill to pick up Sullivan. De Souza and Sullivan knew each other because they both worked at the Grill.

At Trader Vic’s, Spector and Sullivan went to the bar. Spector ordered and drank a Navy Grog and Sullivan had an Amaretto sour. Spector ordered a second Navy Grog, but may have taken no more than a sip of it. Then they returned to the Mercedes. Sullivan said she was tired, but Spector wanted company at Dan Tana’s restaurant. Because Dan Tana’s was located between Trader Vic’s and Sullivan’s apartment, Spector had De Souza drive Sullivan to her car. Sullivan dropped her car off at her Hollywood apartment and got back into the Mercedes.

De Souza arrived at Dan Tana’s Restaurant about 12:30 a.m. There, Spector ordered a daiquiri and Sullivan ordered another Amaretto sour. They ate some food and ordered a second round of drinks. Spector then suggested going on to the House of Blues. Sullivan agreed, although she really wanted to go home.

At the House of Blues, Spector tried to get into the Foundation Room, a private VIP section of the club. Euphrates Lalondriz, who worked at the House of Blues doing security, testified he had been training Lana Clarkson to be a hostess and a security officer for the Foundation Room. Working security at the Foundation Room involved taking care of the VIP clientele and checking wristbands to make sure only properly authorized people were allowed in. Spector was a VIP client of the Foundation Room.

Clarkson stopped Spector and Sullivan from entering the Foundation Room because they weren’t wearing the appropriate wrist bands. Spector said, “Do you know who I am?” Sophia Holguin, one of the cocktail waitresses, told Clarkson the man was Phil Spector, a music producer and a multimillionaire. She asked Clarkson to be sure to give Spector a seat in her section because he had previously left her a big tip.

Clarkson seated Spector and Sullivan on a sofa in Holguin’s section, and told them if they were going to order drinks they had to hurry because it was late.  Holguin took their orders. Spector ordered Bacardi 151, an expensive rum which had double the proof of regular rum. Spector tried to order a drink for Sullivan, but she just wanted water. According to Holguin, Spector seemed irritated and upset by this. In an aggressive, agitated manner, he told Sullivan to “just order a fucking drink,” but Sullivan insisted she only wanted water.  Sullivan testified Spector “took the hint and said, “Oh, you want to go home. Fine. I’ll have my driver take you home.”  Sullivan initially thought Spector was being “perceptive and thoughtful,” but then he shouted “Get Lana” and, when Clarkson came over, he said “I’m sending Kathy home.” This made Sullivan “feel like crap” because Spector made it sound like he was dismissing her. Clarkson escorted Sullivan to the Mercedes. Clarkson told De Souza to take Sullivan home and then bring the car right back.

Meanwhile, Holguin served the water intended for Sullivan. Spector said, “I don’t want it. I don’t want that fucking water.” Spector downed his drink in one swallow. He appeared to have drunk a lot of alcohol and he “definitely appeared intoxicated.” Spector asked Holguin to have a drink with him. When she explained she could not drink with him because she was working, Spector asked her to go home with him. Holguin said she couldn’t because she had something to do the next day. Holguin testified Spector was “hitting on” her, and that he was also hitting on Clarkson.

After Sullivan left, Clarkson came into the room, fluffing up the pillows on the couch and making small talk with Spector. Holguin testified this was not how Clarkson usually behaved with customers, and it seemed she was doing it because she had learned Spector was a wealthy VIP. At one point, Spector commented that Clarkson was “acting like fucking Charlie Chaplin.” He told her to just calm down and have a drink with him. Clarkson had to get permission from her manager, who said she could sit with Spector but not have a drink. After Spector finished his Bacardi 151, he asked for another drink. Holguin said she needed her manager’s approval because of the time. The manager refused to approve any more alcohol and Holguin closed out Spector’s tab.

Lalondriz walked into the Foundation Room just as Clarkson, who had completed her job duties for the night, was about to leave. Spector asked if she needed a ride and Clarkson said yes. Spector then asked, “Do you want to go to the house so we could talk?”, but Clarkson said she just wanted a ride to her car.

Spector and Clarkson left the House of Blues at about 2:20 a.m. While they were standing by the Mercedes, De Souza heard Spector say, “Let’s go to the Castle, let’s go to the Castle.” This was a reference to Spector’s Alhambra house, a replica of a Pyrenees castle which had been built in 1926. Clarkson again declined. She said she was tired and she could get into trouble if she left with a client. She asked Spector to take her to a parking structure near the House of Blues so she could retrieve her car. Spector agreed. They got into the Mercedes and De Souza drove to the parking structure.

Spector said he needed a bathroom and Clarkson said he could go behind one of the walls. When De Souza stopped, Spector got out and urinated behind a wall inside the parking structure. Clarkson got her car and De Souza followed her as she parked it on the street nearby. Clarkson then got back into the Mercedes, telling De Souza she was just going for a drink. Spector got upset and screamed, “Don’t talk to the driver, don’t talk to the driver.”

De Souza drove Spector and Clarkson to Spector’s house. During the drive, De Souza smelled alcohol coming from the back of the Mercedes. Spector and Clarkson were watching a DVD, and talking and laughing. De Souza got to the house at about 3:00 a.m. He dropped Spector and Clarkson in front of the house and then drove around to the back, where he parked in a motor court just six feet from the rear door of the house. De Souza collected some things that had been left in the back of the Mercedes, including Spector’s leather briefcase, cell phones and a DVD player.

Spector came out the back door a short time later and De Souza handed him the DVD player. De Souza then walked to the open back door, reached inside, and put Spector’s briefcase onto a chair that was sitting next to the entrance. De Souza did not see or hear Clarkson at this time. Spector went back into the house and closed the door.

At about 3:20 a.m., De Souza got back into the Mercedes to wait until it was time to give Clarkson a ride back to Hollywood.  Around 5:00 a.m., De Souza was startled by a sharp noise which sounded like a pow or a bang. He got out of the Mercedes to investigate. For two or three minutes he looked around, but he couldn’t find anything, so he got back into the car and shut the door.  A few seconds later, Spector opened the back door. He was wearing the same clothes he had been wearing earlier that night: black pants, a black shirt, and a white or cream colored jacket. De Souza got out of the Mercedes because he thought it was time to give Clarkson a ride. Spector stepped out onto the back porch and De Souza could see he was holding a revolver in his right hand. Spector said, “I think I killed somebody.” De Souza testified he did not have any trouble hearing what Spector said.

De Souza thought he saw a “little bit of blood” on Spector’s right index finger. Behind Spector, De Souza could see a woman’s legs through the open back door. When he stepped to one side to get a better view, he could see Clarkson’s entire body. She was sitting slumped in a chair, sort of half in the chair and half on the floor, with her legs extended out in front of her. There was blood on her face. De Souza asked Spector what happened. Spector shrugged his shoulders but he didn’t say anything. He had a blank look on his face.

De Souza got scared when he realized Clarkson might be dead and he started running away from the house. He tried to use his cell phone, but he was so disoriented he couldn’t manage it at first. Then he ran back to the Mercedes, got in and drove to the main entrance gate.  When he calmed down enough to use his cell phone, De Souza called Michelle Blaine, Spector’s secretary, because her number had been programmed into his cell phone. He called Blaine because he didn’t know Spector’s street address, which he wanted so he could give it to the police. When Blaine did not pick up, De Souza left her the following message: “Michelle. Michelle. It’s Adriano, Michelle. Michelle, I have to – you have to come to, to Mr. Phillip’s house. I think he killed some – a lady. Please call me, call me back. I’m gonna call the police right now.”

De Souza found Spector’s address posted on a sign outside the front gate and he called 911. The call was recorded at 5:02 a.m. De Souza told the CHP dispatcher, “I think my boss killed somebody.” Asked why he believed there had been a killing, De Souza said: “Because . . . he have a lady on the, on the floor and he have a gun in, in his hand.” After the dispatcher transferred the call to the Alhambra Police Department, the following exchange occurred:
ALHAMBRA: Okay. So have you seen your boss?
DE SOUZA: Yes. He had, he had the gun in his hand.

The first officer to respond to the shooting scene was Alhambra Police Officer Brandon Cardella. He saw De Souza standing next to a black Mercedes, waving his arms frantically. De Souza told Cardella he heard a gunshot and then saw Spector with a gun in his hand. According to his police report, which Cardella wrote less than two hours later, De Souza said he heard Spector say, “I think I just kill [sic] her.”

Police witnesses testified De Souza was not allowed to go back up to Spector’s house.  At about 8:30 a.m., De Souza was interviewed by Alhambra Police Officers Esther Pineda and Garrett Kennedy. De Souza told them he saw Spector with a revolver in his right hand and heard him say, “I think I killed somebody.” De Souza described seeing Clarkson: “She was, I think, half in the – in the chair and half on the floor,” and she had blood on the left side of her face.

De Souza was subsequently interviewed at the Alhambra Police Department by Detectives Paul Fournier and Rich Tomlin at about 9:45 a.m. that same morning. De Souza said that when he picked up Spector and Clarkson from the House of Blues, Spector was “completely drunk.” De Souza said that when Spector came out the back door he had a gun in his hand and he said, “ „I think I, I, I killed somebody.”

Officer Cardella interviewed De Souza for about three to five minutes as part of his initial assessment. Four other police units responded to the Castle. The officers set up a command post just north of the front of the entry gate and coordinated their roles. They created an entry team of five officers, with Officer Cardella in the lead holding a ballistic shield, Corporal P.4 behind Officer Cardella with a Taser and an MP5 submachine gun, Officer Hammond next with a standard-issue sidearm gun, Officer Tamayo with a shotgun, and last, Officer Rodriguez with a standard-issue sidearm gun.

The entry team of officers walked up the driveway through the front gate in single file, Officer Cardella in front with the shield. The team stopped at the top of the first building, a stand-alone garage. The team entered the garage to clear it for other suspects and search it for any other persons needing aid. Officer Cardella posted himself at the doorway at the northwest corner of the garage to cover the other officers and faced the rear door of the house next to the fountain. Officer Tamayo posted near the corner of the house. Officer Hammond, Corporal P., and Officer Rodriguez went inside the garage.

While Officer Cardella waited at the garage doorway, he saw Spector about 60 feet away on the second story of the house through the windows. Spector was moving back and forth. Spector went onto the second floor landing inside the house for about 15 to 25 seconds. With his back turned away from Officer Cardella, Spector would pace and then stop, arms crossed, positioning “his hands like he was thinking,” looking downward as if he were trying to figure out what to do.

Officer Cardella notified his team about Spector so that they could quickly go into the house and address him. The team exited and told Officer Cardella that there was no one in the garage. Officer Hammond returned to Officer Cardella’s position at the door of the garage. There, Officer Hammond also saw Spector with his back turned towards him standing inside the house on the second floor landing above the rear door. Spector had his arms crossed over each other at the upper torso area. Spector’s head was directed downward toward where Clarkson was eventually found slumped in a chair. At this point, the officers’ position was still concealed.

About five or ten seconds after Officer Hammond saw him at the second floor landing, Spector went down the stairs to the doorway of the rear entrance. A short time later, Spector went outside out of the south, rear door, which was already opened, to the top of the outside stairs.  The officers were still positioned at the garage, about 40 to 50 feet away from appellant.  Spector was standing there, looking at the officers, frantic and anxious, hands in his pockets. He did not ask for help.

He made some statements, his voice slurred. The police started to come up the stairs to shorten their distance with appellant. They loudly told him that they were the Alhambra Police Department.

Trying to get Spector away from the house, Officer Cardella at least three times commanded that he take his hands out of his pockets, raise them in the air, and step toward the officers.   The first time, Officer Cardella’s command was loud, serious, and authoritative. Spector did not comply the first time with Officer Cardella’s command.  The second time, Officer Cardella injected an expletive to get Spector to pay attention, forcefully and loudly telling him, “Get your fucking hands out of your pockets.” After this second command, Spector quickly pulled his hands out of his pockets, raised them to shoulder level, and then abruptly placed them right back into his pockets.  Spector blankly stared and did not step forward.

Officer Cardella then loudly issued a third command for Spector to get his hands out of his pockets and to walk toward the officers. Spector did not comply with this third command.  Other than the time that Spector briefly pulled his hands out of his pockets and then put them back in, Spector did not comply with any of the three commands.  About 20 feet away from the officers, Spector said in a slightly slurred voice, “Hey, guys, you’ve got to come see this.”  Spector turned his back on the officers and returned inside the house. Officer Cardella and the rest of the entry team decided to move into the house in order to keep Spector in their sights. With Officer Tamayo staying back, the other officers followed Spector into the residence in single-file formation, continuing forward to make sure they could keep sight of him. Officer Cardella was again in front with a shield, Corporal P. behind him, and Officer Hammond third in line.

When the officers reached the threshold of the door, Spector had stopped inside the foyer, his back toward them. Spector’s hands were in his pockets and he was “gazing inward...”   Standing in the doorway, Officer Cardella saw Clarkson slumped with blood on her chest as depicted in a photograph later taken of the scene.  Two or three more times, Officer Cardella ordered Spector to take his hands out of his pockets and put them into the air. Spector turned around and saw the officers but did not comply with these commands. Corporal P., who was behind Officer Cardella, used his Taser on appellant. The Taser did not work; Spector was not subdued. So, the officers rushed into the foyer and charged Spector in single file with Officer Cardella in the lead.   When Officer Cardella entered the house, he heard “weird” organ music playing throughout.

In front of the entrance, Officer Cardella hit Spector with the shield in order to knock him off balance, causing Spector to fall backwards onto the ground. When doing so, Officer Cardella veered to the left because he wanted to push Spector away from Clarkson’s body and not have anything fall on or disrupt it. The officers jumped on Spector to subdue him, taking him toward the staircase to the left of Clarkson. Spector passively resisted while being handcuffed. There were further police commands, “Give me your hand, stop resisting, give me your hands.” It took some effort to get one of Spector’s arms from beneath him. At about 5:42 a.m., Corporal P. managed to subdue Spector and get him in handcuffs.

Turning his attention to Clarkson, Officer Cardella approached her and noticed that she was not breathing. Officer Cardella said, “Are you okay? Are you okay?” Officer Cardella checked Clarkson’s pulse without moving her arm by gently feeling her left wrist with three fingers. Officer Cardella found Clarkson’s wrist cool to the touch with no pulse.

The officers found Clarkson’s body slumped in a chair in a foyer near the back door. Her legs were extended straight out in front of her and her left arm hung down by her side. Her right hand was draped over the right arm of the chair, resting on a purse. The purse straps “were wrapped around her shoulder, and somewhat twisted, and then wrapped around the right-hand arm of the chair twisted in an unnatural fashion.” There was blood on her face and blood on her chest.

Underneath Clarkson’s left calf was a .38-caliber, six-shot Colt Cobra revolver. The gun was loaded with five live rounds and there was a spent round under the hammer. The gun was bloody. There was blood on both sides of the wooden grips, on the trigger guard, on the frame directly in front of the wooden grips, and on the metal strap securing the grips. A part of Clarkson’s artificial tooth had lodged in the front sight of the gun. More pieces of artificial tooth were found on the floor across the foyer from Clarkson’s body.

Next to Clarkson was a bureau or side table. One of its drawers was partially open. Inside this drawer there was a leather holster. The Colt Cobra fit into this holster.  Six feet to the left of Clarkson’s body was a leather valise sitting on a chair.  The valise had the initials “PS” and it contained various personal items, including a three-pack of Viagra, of which only one of the original three pills remained. Underneath the valise was a small portable DVD player. There were two working cell phones clipped to the outside pockets of the valise. There was also another phone in the foyer. There was blood on the doorknob and on the latch bolt assembly of the back door. The thumb lever for the dead bolt was in the off position and did not have any blood on it, which meant it had not necessarily been touched at the same time or by the same hand that left bloodstains on the doorknob and the latch bolt.

There was a formal living room off the foyer. This room was very dark, with the only light coming from some candles on top of the fireplace. On a coffee table, there was an almost empty bottle of Tequila and a brandy snifter containing alcohol.  Background music was playing.  There was a small bathroom nearby. In the bathroom, there was a matching brandy snifter containing a small amount of alcohol. A pair of false eyelashes was sitting on top of the toilet tank. On the floor of the bathroom there was a one white cotton Curity brand diaper covered with blood on both sides. This diaper had also been soaked with water. The diaper was about 10 inches in front of an open toilet.

On the second floor of the house was the master bedroom. Inside the bedroom closet was a white jacket stained with blood. This jacket was lying crumpled on the closet floor.  Sean Hecker, an officer with the Alhambra Police Department, responded to the crime scene and was asked to escort Spector, who already had been taken into custody, to the police station. Hecker did so and also obtained gunshot residue samples from Spector’s hands. During that process, Spector told Hecker he was right handed. Hecker did not notice any blood on Spector’s hands.

Jaime Lintemoot, a criminalist with the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, was part of the Coroner’s response team that analyzed the crime scene. Lintemoot collected blood swabs from Clarkson’s hands and wrists. She took one swab from “the backside of the right wrist” where she saw “red, mist-like drops consistent with blood.” She collected two sets of swabs from Clarkson’s left hand: “One . . . from the backside of the wrist of the left hand, and the other was from the inside of the wrist.” Lintemoot testified: “There were two regions on which I thought there was possible blood. One was the backside of the wrist, and this consisted of the fine, mist-like spots. The other area . . . appeared to be . . . a larger area and appeared to be more of a smear.” By “smear” Lintemoot meant a contact or transfer bloodstain.

Regarding Clarkson’s purse, Lintemoot testified: “It was a leopard print purse with a long black strap, and the black strap was going over the decedent’s right arm. The purse was resting on the floor.   The interesting thing was that the purse was rotated almost . . . 180 degrees. The back of the purse strap appeared to have caught the edge of the seat or the arm of the chair and got flipped around when it landed.”


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.

#278: Be My Baby - Phil Spector's Greatest Hits - Number 3


In the spring or early summer of 1991, Melissa Grosvenor, a waitress in New York, developed a “romantic but platonic” dating relationship with Phil Spector. At this time, Spector was living in a penthouse suite of a New York hotel but also kept a home in Pasadena.

In October 1992, about a year and a half after Grosvenor and Spector began dating, she accepted Spector’s invitation to come to California to see him. Sometime between November 1992 and early 1993, Grosvenor flew on a plane to Los Angeles using a ticket Spector bought for her, arriving at the Los Angeles International Airport at about 1:00 p.m. At the airport, a driver picked her up and took her to a hotel in Pasadena that Spector had arranged for her to stay at.

Sometime before 9:00 p.m., Spector’s driver picked up Spector and Grosvenor and took them to a restaurant at the Beverly Hills Hotel. They had dinner there, and both ordered alcoholic drinks. Spector drank his drink. Their dinner was pleasant and lasted between an hour and an hour and a half. After dinner, they went back to Spector’s house in Pasadena, arriving there at about 11:00 p.m. Grosvenor was tired and had jet lag. At Spector’s house, in a great room, he fixed himself and Grosvenor a drink and then played music. Spector drank his drink but Grosvenor did not drink hers because she was tired. At this time, Spector had had more than two drinks and was “a bit drunk.”

Between 1:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m., Grosvenor was very tired and decided that the evening with Spector had come to a conclusion. Still in the great room, Grosvenor told Spector that she wanted to leave.  Spector’s whole demeanor changed. He appeared angry, enraged.

Spector turned and looked at Grosvenor, pointed his finger in her face, and said, “What? You want to go?” Spector said, “You just wait. Wait right there.” Spector left. Grosvenor sat down and waited for Spector to come back. A couple minutes later, Spector returned, holding a handgun in his right hand. Spector walked up to Grosvenor and pointed the gun at her face, the barrel a couple of inches away. Spector said, “If you try [to] leave, I’m going to kill you.” Spector put the gun into the shoulder holster that he was wearing. He was tapping the holster, rambling, and walking back and forth from where Grosvenor was sitting. Spector angrily made statements like, “You think you’re leaving. You’re not going to leave,” except with profanity.

Grosvenor started crying and was very upset and afraid for her life.  She believed that the gun was loaded and feared that he would shoot her if she tried to leave. Grosvenor stayed in the chair and did not say anything, closing her eyes because she was scared. At some point, totally exhausted, Grosvenor fell asleep, crying.

About five hours later, Grosvenor awoke to Spector tapping her on the foot. It was daylight. Spector did not have the shoulder holster on and was not holding the gun. Spector was “back to normal,” as Grosvenor knew him before the previous evening. Spector asked if Grosvenor would like to get some breakfast. Grosvenor said yes because she knew that was a way to get out of the house and because she could ask for help at a restaurant. They went to a diner where Grosvenor felt safer. She flew back to New York that day.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

#277: To Know Him Is To Love Him - Phil Spector's Greatest Hits - Number 4


In 1982, after having several dinners with Phil Spector and others at La Maganet in Beverly Hills, Dianne Ogden agreed to have dinner alone with Spector there one evening at about 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. During dinner, Spector drank alcohol. Ogden then agreed to see Spector’s home in Beverly Hills.

Ogden and Spector went inside his house.  After talking and seeing Spector’s house, Ogden told him that she needed to go home and had to work the next day. Spector did not want her to go home.   He “disappeared”––ran off and left Ogden alone.  Ogden got ready to leave and put her purse over her shoulder.  She heard a buzz; Spector had locked the door on her. She pleaded with Spector to go home. She had never seen Spector act this way before. She was worried but also considered that she had known him for a few months and thought that he was just playing with his door and his buzzer. She begged Spector a couple more times. After 30 minutes, Spector finally unlocked the door, and Ogden left.

From that time in 1982, until 1988, Spector and Ogden kept in touch. Spector would send Ogden birthday messages and was sweet, kind, and considerate.   In 1988, between jobs, Ogden accepted Spector’s offer to be his paid assistant.

In March 1989, Ogden went to Spector’s party in Pasadena.  Spector drank alcohol at the party.  At about midnight, when people were leaving, Ogden told Spector that she was going to go home. Spector did not want her to leave yet.  He went away and left Ogden alone.  She put her purse on her arm. Spector went over to Ogden, placed a rifle on her right side, and screamed at her, “You’re not fucking leaving.” Ogden felt that this was “not my Phil” and “not the man I loved.” They had been good friends for eight years.

Ogden sat down and said, “Please don’t do that.” Spector pointed a pistol at Ogden “all over” her, repeatedly touching the right side of Ogden’s face with the gun. Spector screamed at her, over and over again telling her that he was going to “blow [her] brains out.” Spector screamed “the ‘F’ word” and “bitch.” Ogden pleaded with Spector to let her go home and put the gun down, but he refused. She thought that Spector was going to kill her.

While pointing the gun at Ogden, Spector demanded that she go upstairs to his bedroom. She went upstairs to Spector’s bedroom while he walked behind her. At gunpoint, Spector had her take off some of her clothes and tried to have intercourse with her; he “wanted to rape” her.  Ogden found it “icky because it wasn’t him.” She spent the night in Spector’s bed but did not want to be there.

A week or two later, Ogden received telephone messages from Spector, none of which made any reference to the events of that night.  She tried to rationalize what had happened. A few months after the incident, Ogden forgave Spector and saw him again at his Pasadena house with his music publisher, Alan Klein, and his son Jody, whom Ogden knew.  After the Kleins left, Ogden started to leave.  Once again, Spector went away and left her alone.  From behind Ogden, Spector screamed, “You’re not going anywhere. I can’t stand the sound of your voice.” Spector said, “I  have an Uzi here. I am going to kill you.” Ogden said, “What are you talking about?” Spector was holding an Uzi in his hand. Ogden said, “Phillip, stop it. I am just going to go home and don’t do this to me again. Please.  You’re drinking too much. Just go back in the house.” Spector said, “No.” Ogden ran toward her car. Spector ran after her while holding his Uzi. She got into her car and started it up with the window closed. Spector banged the Uzi on her window while yelling. Ogden escaped by driving away fast, ducking because she thought he was going to shoot through her back window, while hoping her car would not hit a tree.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

#276: Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Phil Spector's Greatest Hits - Number 5


Beginning on June 23, 1975, Devra Robitaille, a British pianist, worked for Phil Spector for about four to four-and-a-half years as the administrative director of his label, Warner-Spector Records.   Robitaille idolized Spector and thought he was a genius. About a year after Robitaille began working with Spector, they began a romantic relationship, which, for her, was an extramarital affair. During this relationship, Robitaille frequently organized parties for Spector at his home in Beverly Hills.

At one of these parties, after the other guests had gone home, Robitaille stood in the foyer, very tired and wanting to leave. The door was locked so she asked Spector if he would let her out. Spector left the foyer for a few minutes. While Robitaille was ready to leave, looking at the door and wearing her purse and jacket, she felt the cold barrel of a gun at her left temple. Robitaille turned and saw the gun; Spector held it with two hands at her left temple.

Spector had been drinking alcohol that night and was very drunk. Spector said, “If you try to leave, I’m going to blow your fucking head off.” Robitaille told Spector that she had to leave. Holding the gun at her head, Spector swore and shouted at Robitaille, with different permutations of “I’m going to blow your head off. I’ll blow your brains out. You can’t leave. I’m not unlocking the door.” Robitaille stood her ground and said, “Just stop it. This is ridiculous. I just want to go home.” After “a little moment of suspension,” Spector went from being maniacal to being “Phil again” with a diffused demeanor. Spector got the keys, unlocked the door, and let Robitaille go.

Robitaille felt disrespected and violated from this incident. Her affair with Spector stopped and their relationship became solely a business one. About a year after this incident, she quit working for Spector for the last time because their work relationship had deteriorated. Eventually, in June 1980, she returned to England and had a successful musical career there for five or six years.

In 1986, Robitaille returned to the United States because her musical career was beginning “to peter out.” In Los Angeles, she re-established contact with Spector and accepted a part-time job working for him in Los Angeles.

On one occasion in 1986, Robitaille went to a party at Spector’s house, a different house than she had been to in 1975. When Robitaille arrived, she was sequestered in another room as she typically was as his employee at Spector’s parties. After many hours, possibly at about dawn, when everyone else had gone, Robitaille was very tired and decided that it was time for her to leave. The door was locked.

Robitaille found Spector and said, “Please, I really need to go home. Let me out.” Spector was drunk. Robitaille stood in the foyer with her purse, wanting to leave. After a “sort of time of nothing,” Spector suddenly pointed a shotgun at her face, holding it with both hands.  The shotgun appeared to be similar to the one that Spector pointed at Robitaille’s temple in the 1975 incident.  Robitaille thought, “Oh, not again. I can’t believe it.” Spector was swearing, saying “f’ing” a lot, and making threats like “I’ll blow your head off. I’ll shoot you. I’ll kill you. I’ll blow your brains out. I could shoot you right now.” Robitaille told Spector to put down the gun and unlock the door and let her leave. This incident seemed like it went on for hours and was more protracted than the first incident. At one point, Spector went away. Robitaille stood there in the lobby, not knowing what to do, still unable to leave.

Spector returned to Robitaille. The situation “started to unwind, and the tension broke again like it had the first time . . . .” Again, Spector had a “switch” in mood. Spector unlocked the door and Robitaille hurried away.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

#275: Da Do Ron Ron - Phil Spector's Greatest Hits - Number 6

In about April 1994, Stephanie Jennings, a professional photographer with a focus in the music business, began a long-distance dating relationship with Phil Spector. Jennings lived in Philadelphia but had an agency in New York City while Spector’s primary residence was Pasadena. When Spector was around Jennings, he frequently carried guns on his person.

On January 12, 1995, from about 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., Jennings was Spector’s guest at an after-party at the Waldorf Astoria for a Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee award dinner. Spector was drinking and unpleasant, making obnoxious statements; this change in demeanor was something that Jennings had seen before. The drunker Spector got, the louder, more obnoxious, and more unpleasant he became.

After the party, Jennings took a taxi back to Spector’s hotel by herself, went to her room, and fell asleep. Later, between about 3:00 and 4:00 a.m., Spector’s bodyguard woke her up with a knock on her hotel room door. The bodyguard said that Spector wanted her to come join him in his room. Jennings said that she was sleeping and would see Spector the following day.

After the bodyguard left, Jennings went back to bed. Spector knocked at the door and said that he wanted Jennings to come join him in his suite. She responded that she was sleeping and would see him the following day. Angry, yelling, Spector insisted that she come to his suite.

Spector said that he was paying for her hotel room and that if she did not come to his suite, she would have to leave and pay for her own room. Jennings said then she would pack her bags, pay for the room herself, and leave.  Spector came into Jennings’s hotel room and they continued arguing about her refusal to go to his suite. As Jennings moved about the hotel room packing, Spector followed and yelled at her. Threatened by Spector’s anger, Jennings was upset and crying, trying to figure out how to get out of the situation. She started to pack in the bathroom, and the argument got more heated. Spector came into the bathroom and pushed or slapped Jennings, causing her to fall backwards onto the toilet. Jennings rose quickly and pushed Spector backwards. He fell into the bathtub, the shower curtain coming down. Angry, Spector sprung up and left the hotel room.

After Spector left the hotel room, Jennings finished packing all her bags, still upset and crying. Spector came back into the hotel room. He pulled a chair in front of the door and sat down, blocking the exit. Spector had a small handgun in his hand and still appeared angry. At times, Spector was waving the gun and pointing it in no particular direction, and other times he pointed the gun in Jennings’s direction.

Jennings was more frightened than before because Spector had brought a gun into the situation. Jennings could not leave the hotel room because Spector was holding her at gunpoint. She sat on the bed, crying, and asked Spector to let her leave. She said that she would go to the front desk, leave her bags there, pay for the room, and then “that would be it, the situation would be over.” Agitated, Spector would not allow Jennings to leave. Still holding her at gunpoint, Spector said that Jennings could go pay for the room but that she should leave her bags there and could not take them out of the room.

Jennings picked up the telephone and, at 6:23 a.m., dialed 911 because she believed that this situation was dangerous to her life and that she needed help.  At 6:27 a.m., police officers were dispatched to the scene.  With the 911 operator still on the line, Spector left the room.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

#274: Then He Kissed Me - Phil Spector's Greatest Hits - Number 7


While living in New York, Dorothy Melvin, Joan Rivers’s manager, dated Phil Spector from about 1989 or 1990 until 1993.

On July 3, 1993, Melvin, who was seeing her family in the Los Angeles area, visited Spector at his home in Pasadena. In the course of the evening, Spector drank a lot of vodka from a “somewhat full” bottle, becoming increasingly talkative and outgoing, laughing and quoting.

Later that evening, Spector went away for a period of time. At about midnight or 1:00 a.m., Melvin lay down on the couch and fell asleep for several hours. Melvin awoke before daybreak, looked out the open front door, and saw Spector pointing a .38 snub-nose revolver at her brand-new car in the circular motor court. She moved to within a foot of Spector and started screaming, “What the [fuck] do you think you’re doing?” At this time, Melvin was angry, not afraid, believing that it was just “another one of his shows of bravado.” Spector turned and said over his shoulder, “Get back in the house.” Melvin kept jumping around and screaming at Spector. Spector backhanded her right temple with the gun in his right hand. He said, “I told you to get the ‘F’ into the house.”

Melvin stood next to the front door while Spector sat down on the stairs going through Melvin’s purse. Spector accused Melvin of looking for things to steal and sell. He also told her to take her clothes off and go to the third floor. She was sobbing and repeatedly asking him why he was doing this. While rummaging through Melvin’s purse, Spector sometimes pointed the gun at her and other times pointed it up or at the floor.

At some point, after Melvin would not take her clothes off, Spector said, “I told you to take your [fucking] clothes off.” His right hand holding the gun, Spector again backhanded her right temple and then returned to the stairs. Melvin was terrified, afraid for her safety; still sobbing, she took off her bright pink jacket. Spector asked Melvin to throw the jacket to him. Spector found a lipstick in her purse and asked her what it was. Throughout this exchange, Spector always used profanity when he talked and did not answer her repeated questioning about why he was doing this.

While Melvin was sobbing, Spector said “to get the [fuck] out.” Melvin said, “You have my keys. They’re in my jacket pocket.” Spector threw the keys at Melvin, who ran out of the house. Melvin got into the car and drove down the driveway to leave but the gate was closed. As Melvin sat in her car with the gate closed, Spector ran down the driveway holding a pump-action shotgun. When Melvin heard the pump of the shotgun, she felt more terrified. Spector screamed at Melvin menacingly, “I told you to get the [fuck] out of here,” and Melvin screamed back, “The gate won’t open.” Spector approached her on the driver’s side. Spector stopped and said, in a quizzical way, “Gate won’t open?” Melvin noticed another “personality change” in Spector at that moment. Crying, she again said, “The gate won’t open.” Spector said, “Well, I’m going to go back and open it.” Spector ran back into the house, the gate opened, and Melvin drove away.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

#273: Knocking At Your Back Door

Back in around 1658 I worked as a person who’d lease shrubberies to the underprivileged. One of my customers came from a place that made Borstal look white, clean and neat, but there he sat, waiting for someone to spring him to freedom. He was born with a mild intellectual, and a physical, disability, as a result of which his family shunned him and left him to fend for himself. He basically pinballed around the place, always looking for a new shrub to hide beneath and hopefully call his own, instead of the branch that he currently had.

When I met him he was in a bad, yet positive shape. In the place that makes Borstal look good he was being exploited and easily led down garden paths that he shouldn’t have been led down. I worked hard and spoke with people, the end result was that we got some more gardeners involved, good gardeners, the kind of gardeners who would, and did, help him. They helped him get new clothes to replace the rags he wore, little things like food and televisions and the like. Good stuff. He was happy, but he didn’t want to sit out on the branch at the place that made Borstal look good. That’s where I really kicked in.

I found him a shrubbery. It wasn’t a pretty shrubbery, but he could move into it whenever he wanted to and live in peace and quiet. He was overjoyed, but dismayed as he’d have to find a way to break his agreement with the owner of the place that makes Borstal look good. “Jeez,” I said, “I can fix that.” I then picked up my tin can on a string and spoke to the owner, who was happy that our lad had found his own shrubbery. All was good. We then piled into the Flintstone car and visited the shrubbery. We moved him in the following week.

All was good. He’d have his moments though. He didn’t know how to clean the bottom of his shrubbery, after all he’d been in and out of places since he could remember, abused and abandoned. I bought a mop, bucket and some cleaning products, took them to him and showed him how to clean his shrubbery. While there I noticed that someone had moved in, so I told them to leave, which they did. I then told our lad that his shrubbery was just that – his shrubbery, and that he shouldn’t allow people to move in. He agreed, but damn, it was hard when people asked because he didn’t have many chums, and who cared if they sold things they shouldn’t? I liked him in with more gardeners.

After a fashion the good gardeners fell away as our lad just stopped visiting them. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to visit, it’s just that he often forgot, or was just too silent, so people forgot about him. I kept working with him though and he was happy. We had bad monkeys move nearby and we went to court, our lad came along and I was with him all the way. The bad monkeys left and our lad was happy that he’d done the right thing. Then things happened.

A gorilla decided that he wanted to build a new place where sick people could go, so he withdrew a lot of bananas from a lot of gardeners. Another gorilla decided that he wanted to build a place where other monkeys could go to screech and yell at apes throwing coconuts at each other, so he sacked a lot of gardeners and took away yet more bananas. Yet another gorilla decided that he wanted to make his shrubbery look good, so he spent a lot of bananas and closed down several departments of gardeners to do it. All this resulted in our lad going to appointments only to have the doors shut on him and him being left to fend for himself. Even I had to leave, and when I did he cried and said, “But who’s going to help me now?” “You’ll be fine,” I replied, “you know what to do.”

Every so often I’d see him in the trees, he’d stop me and say hello and we’d speak. He seemed happy, yet sad, and he began to look as dishevelled as he was at the start of the process. He’d stopped washing all the time, his clothes were manky and he smelt. But, he assured me, he was doing his best and just waiting for more gardeners to come on board and help him. I’d tell him I wish I could do more, but the ape who was in charge of me didn’t like me and had me removed. Such is life.

Eventually our lad did something very dark and unspeakable. He didn’t take a life, but he came very close to it, and now our lad will have to face the consequences. He'll end up in a place that'll make Borstal look like Heaven, a place that'll make Bedlam look like holiday camp.  Eventually he’ll be placed into a system that won’t help him, because it can’t help him, because it hasn’t the resources or bananas to help him and he’ll just vanish, forgotten until he fades away. It may not be my fault but I feel partially to blame as I wasn’t there to help him through his issues as much as I should have been. Other gardeners probably feel the same, but we’ll have a new place to throw balls, get better in and someone has a lovely shrubbery with a great view for the days when he wants to turn up to yell at monkeys. And, frankly, that’s all that seems to matter these days. Apes can take monkeys one third their age out clubbing and pick fights, apes can crack onto anyone, apes can do what they want, but monkeys that need help the most just aren’t getting it, nor are they likely to get it.

This world is neither kind, nor is it just, nor is it fair. It abandons the people who need help the most so that those who do not need, nor deserve good things can have them. People talk about the ‘legacies’ that they leave behind. Next time an ape says that near me I’m going to tell them, exactly, what kind of a legacy that they have left behind. A legacy of broken people, broken lives and cracks so massive that people don’t slip through them, entire buildings fall deep into them without ever hitting the sides. When some apes retire, millionaires, to the shores of the Mediterranean, when they slip off to make more wealth for themselves, perhaps one day they’ll hear the voices of those perfect strangers as they call into the wind, they won't know who it is or what they want, but they'll hear them.  And even then, as they do now, they'll ignore them.

 In the meantime, this week at least, I’ll keep walking in the rain, that way everyone will continue to think I’m tough and heartless because they’ll not see any tears running down my cheeks.  The Bear told me, "You can't save everyone," and she's right.  But I can try, and when I fail, it hurts.  Perhaps they were right when they told me I wasn't cut out for that line of work.  I'm not detached enough.

Thank Buddha for that.