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CRAWDADDY... November 1974 Issue #42



by David Talbot and Barbara Zheutlin


From Spector to the Stones
to the Springfield to The Exorcist
to a solo album he won't,
or can't, sell.

For composer-arranger-producer Jack Nitzsche, the dream is over. He don't believe in Phil Spector...he don't belive in Bill Friedkin...he don't believe in AM music..he don't believe in Warner Brothers...he don't even believe in his old musical cohorts, the Rolling Stones - he just believes in himself. Bob Downey (Putney Swope, Pound, Greaser's Palace) and himself.

Joni Mitchell wants him to arrange her album Blue. "Imagine a white canvas - pure white - and then a dash of blue!" she trills to him. He writes her off as a phony.

He is asked to score The Taking Of Pelham 1.2.3 what promises to be a hot Hollywood property. It doesn't tickle his fancy.

Director Bill Friedkin rents exotic instruments for him, buys him expensive studio time and gives his muse free reign to soundtrack The Exorcist. Nitzsche appreciates the big-letter screen credits, but is not overly impressed with Friedkin's finished product.

To most people in the music business, Warner Brothers and its corporate sibling Atlantic/Elektra/Asylum are record heaven. The Warners sound is the sound of money. Nitzsche's on the Warners label and he wants off.

Nitzsche visits the Rolling Stones during their royal '72 tour of the States. The Stones, the undisputed kings and queens of rock 'n roll: they define what rock music is today. Nitzsche tells them bluntly that their music has gone stale - they are repeating their past sound and are destined to become the Chuck Berrys of the '80s, faded but not forgotten.

Jack Nitzsche hates con men, phonies, liars, hypesters, hustlers, cheats, and entertainment industry executives, who - he believes - embody a little bit of all the above. "Record executives really don't care about the music - they care about 'numbers'" aserts Nitzsche. "They refer to the music as 'product' and the only thing that matters with product is numbers - big sales. Record companies are accounting firms."

So who does this surly studio musician think he is - biting the hand that feed him! Scoffing at Hollywood's tinsel culture just when camp afficionados and Peter Bogdanovich have proclaimed it art. A kvetch like this the business can do without. Stylish Warner Brothers execs sporting aviator shades and cuffed baggies may assert their uniqueness by proudly displaying Thoreau posters on their office walls, but this Nitzsche isn't just marching to the beat of a different drummer - he's out of tune with the whole band. Why not pull the plug on him?

The trouble is, Jack Nitzsche knows too much. He arranged everything from "He's A Rebel" to "River Deep" for the legendary Phil Spector. He started banging back-up piano for the Rolling Stones when they were a bad boy British blues band. He's played with everybody from Elvis Presley to Neil Young. After a point, rock 'n roll held no mystery for him so he ventured into film. Performance, a curious cult film Nitzsche scored in 1969, was proclaimed the best integration of music and moving images ever by golden boy Bill Friedkin. Nitzsche is familiar with all the nuts and bolts in the Hollywood dream factory. He's kept around because he knows how it all works - not because of his enthusiasm for the management.

Jack Nitzsche is the Nick Carraway of the music industry. His intimate involvement with the superstars makes him privy to all the inner secrets, the dirty dealings, the cries and whispers at the top. The antics of the rich and famous evoke feelings of ill-concealed disgust in him. Yet on the other hand he still hasn't brought himself to sever all his Hollywood connections. Nitzsche may find the big shots bad company, but he's been under their spell since the day he stepped off the bus from Michigan.

Rock 'n roll was languishing in a post-Elvis, pre-Beatles slump when Nitzsche hit town equipped only with a diploma from a mail order music conservatory. Plaintive teen ballads topped the charts; the sound was chokingon its own tears. After a stint as a music copyist for Sonny Bono, Nitzsche met record producer Phil Spector in 1962 and took part in rock's great revival. Spector put the beat back in rock 'n roll and added super-echo and super-amplification to make sure it came across. Spector songs all sounded as if they were recorded at high volume in your bathroom shower. The formula was a resounding success - it made the songwriter-producer a millionaire at the tender age of 24.

Spector was a misfit, a street punk in a business dominated by older and more predictable dons. Spector eccentricities became disc legend. Spector was unstable before it was stylish. The music industry feared and distrusted him. Nitzsche adored him.

After arranging four or five Spector hits, Nitzsche mastered the formula; "Four guitars play 8th notes; four pianos hit it when he says roll; the drum is on 2 and 4 on tom-toms, no snare, two sticks-heavy sticks at least five percussionists." Spector paid Nitzsche a meager $50 a tune to arrange such smashes as "Be My Baby," "Da Do Run Run" and "Then He Kissed Me" but Nitzsche didn't complain. He was satisfied just to be a part of the rock renaissance, as were a collection of other struggling musicians in the Spector hit factory: Sonny Bono (who played tambourine), Cher (who sang off-mike) and Leon Russell (who played boogie-woogie piano).

Spector and Nitzsche became friends. Spector phoned him in the wee morning hours when he couldn't sleep. "Would you like to get some ice cream?" he asked Nitzsche. Spector also invited his arranger to accompany him on flights to New York; Spector has a stomach-wrenching flying phobia. "He told me he didn't want to die alone," says Nitzsche.

Spector ate a handful of tranquilizers before boarding planes but they rarely succeeded in blunting the onrushes of panic. "He got on this United flight once," recalls Nitzsche, "And he looked around and decided there were too many losers on the flight. He said, 'There's too many losers in here - this plane is going down!' So the plane was on the runway getting ready to take off, and he stopped it - he started yelling that he had to get off the plane. They took the plane back and had to take everybody off because they thought it was a bomb scare. So there was Phil, stoned out of his mind on pills, sitting there in the airport waiting room - and Cher was with him. He was half-asleep and the people from the flight were all staring at him, because he's really kind of a funny looking guy - he had long, scraggly hair for the time and these round dark glasses. His eyes suddenly popped open and there was this crowd standing around watching him and he looked at them and said, 'Wha-what's the matter? Haven't you people ever seen Caesar and Cleopatra before?'"

How did Spector do it? How did he create that distinctive sound? One producer swore Spector sprayed shaving cream over his microphones - it was a fact, he had slipped unnoticed ino a Spector session. Other less imaginative producers simply tried to buy the sound; they hired Nitzsche to reproduce Spector - like arrangements. This kid from L.A.'s Fairfax High had spun the industry around, but Spector was keenly aware his life could have gone differently. On a trip to New York, with Nitzsche in tow, the rock producer reflected out loud upon his good fortune.

"He dragged me down to this giant hot dog stand in Times Square; very strange big city scenes were being played out all around us," remembers Nitzsche, who was experiencing New York for the first time. "Guys with handkerchiefs around their heads-that kind of tough guy-were walking down the street. I saw someone pull off a pickpocket routine right in front of me. It was the first time in my life I'd ever seen drag queens in two-piece bathing suits. These black prostitutes were threatening to beat up Phil because they said he was staring at them strangely. I said 'Phil, let's get out of here.' He told me, 'No, we ha-have to stay here and soak it all in, man - we have to see how it would be like if it had gone the other way.' Very serious."

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Jack Nitzsche is lucky. He managed to harmonize with two adventurous and highly successful musical enterprises during the'60s: Phil Spector productions and the Rolling Stones. Both changed the course of rock 'n roll and youth culture.

"The Stones stood for something," states Nitzsche. "I thought they were going to be leaders of change. They were telling record executives to go fuck themselves a long time ago, and not cracking under any of the social pressure and not doing it the way other people would have done it."

The Stones wielded more power in the record industry from the very start because they were riding the crest of a new wave in music - British rock 'n roll. Vinyl platter magnates couldn't ignore the screaming, sobbing audiences: this, not American Bandstand, was where it was at. Nitzsche first met them in Spector's studio - the delinquent band parents told their teenagers to eschew in favor of the cuddly, mop-haired Beatles. Andrew Loog Oldham, the Stones' original manager-producer, was a Spector fan.

"When they first breezed in, everybody in the studio stopped what they were doing and stared," says Nitzsche. "Mick came in bobbing and weaving and snapping his fingers. Keith looked like he always looks - like a Gypsy criminal. I'm sure he would've become a convict if he hadn't made it as a musician. Brian was dressed ultra-mod, in a suit and vest. I mean it was all totally out of place - it just didn't fit."

Since he adopted James Dean's sullen stance as a tennager, Nitzsche has had a soft spot in his heart for rebel cult figures. His first impressions of the cocky Stones evoke Spector's anti-hero worship lyrics; "See the way he walks down the street/Watch the way he shuffles his feet/How he holds his head up high when he goes walking by/He's my guy." Nitzsche fell for the Stones on first sight. They were impertinent and flamboyant - here was a pack he could run with. Five hip mal-chicks with whom he could commit a bit of ultra-violence on the plastic halls of culture. Fade out, Crystals: "He's a rebel and he never - ever does what he should."

The Stones asked him to play piano at their recording sessions. Nitzsche balked at first, explaining he wasn't an experienced studio musician. "Taht's alright," Jagger assured him, "Neither are we." Nitzsche played on most of the Stones' early albums - Rolling Stones, Now!, Out of Our Heads, December's Children, Aftermath. Some rock writers credit him with having a heavy influence on the band's early sound. His deepest imprint, says Nitzsche, was on the frenzied "Paint It Black"; "They didn't know what to play on the back up and I started playing the piano Gypsy style, and they just picked it up. I thought it was just a joke."

Nitzsche prefers to think of the early recording sessions as madcap exercises in music - making, where the finished tracks came together magically through sheer spontaneous energy. When they ran into trouble playing the string bass on "Ruby Tuesday," Keith Richard laid the instrument on the floor, chalked each note on the neck, and pressed the proper chalk marks while Brian bowed the strings.

"The Stones sessions were like nothing that had ever happened before," exclaims Nitzsche. "They didn't know what they were going to do until they were in the studio. Sometimes they would come in stoned and play for 12 hours and nothing would come of it - but they didn't care. They would walk out at night laughing."

Nitzsche built a close friendship with Jagger and the Stones during ideal times - they were not yet jaded rock royalty. "I don't know if I could ever have gotten along with them if I had met them after they made it big," says Nitzsche. "Because Mick is so hard to talk to the first time for anybody. He was even rough back then but it didn't matter because I wasn't looking at him in awe or anything. I thought he was an asshole at times too and so coming back at him the same way would make him laugh."

The band stayed at Nitzsche's home whenever they blew into Los Angeles; Nitzsche - the seasoned studio musician with the characteristic dark glasses and pallid complexion introduced the Stones to light green marijuana. He arranged their first major U.S. appearance - on the all-star TAMI show in a Santa Monica auditoriun packed to the rafters with possessed teeny-boppers. Initially, the Stones were reluctant to accept Nitzsche's big-money offer because their first U.S. tour had been a disaster. The little-known band had just played a rodeo in Abeline. "We played to a bunch of fuckin' cows," Jagger growled.

Nitzsche was with them at the pivotal point in their career. Brian Jones' break with the band and his subsequent death is one of those cold moon shadows which seem to periodically eclipse rock 'n roll. The break was a long, strung-out process; Nitzsche was in London for the final phase. He and Ry Cooder were taping some informal sessions with the Stones. Jones, no longer certain of his status as a Rolling Stone, came by the studio in a desperate mood to try his hand at an instrument. Nitzsche recalls, "He came up to me, looking pretty shaky, and asked me what I thought he should do - he didn't know where he fit in. I told him to just pick up a guitar and start playing. Then he walked over to Mick and asked. 'What should I play?' Mick told him, 'You're a member of the band, Brian, play whatever you want.' So he played something, but Mick stopped him and said,'No, Brian, not that - that's no good.' So Brian asked him again what to play and Mick told him again to play whatever he wanted. So Brian played something else, but Mick cut him off again - 'No, that's no good either, Brian.'"

Brian then tired of the congas. Jagger beat out a rhythm for him to follow but he couldn't match it. "Brian was just not built like Mick - he wasn't as loose, so the beat sounded stiffer," says Nitzsche. Brian ended up drunk in the corner, stamping his foot out of beat, and blowing harmonica, with a bloodied mouth. Jagger stared at him icily, threw his coat over his shoulder and exited the studio.

Brian Jones never did rediscover a niche for himself in the band. He died at the bottom of his swimming pool not long after leaving the group. "Coming down again, where are all my friends?"

Nitzsche was a witness to the musician's crack-up; the cool onstage observer in a tortured matiness weeper. There is an aloofness in Nitzsche's first-hand account which is vaguely unsettling. Why didn't he intervene in the centerstage action? "I thought [Brian] could work his way out of it," Nitzsche says with a trace of annoyance in his voice. He doesn't like to be pressed into analyzing these rock tragedies. "I thought he was putting on an act too - I didn't know. I wasn't thinking anything special. I thought Mick and Keith were being really shitty to him, but that was their problem. I talked to Mick a couple times about that; he said he had tried everything he coulsd possibly try to make it work out with Brian, and it just wouldn't. So that was that. You don't tell Mick Jagger to...I mean he's really strong-headed. It isn't like he'll take advice very easily from anybody."

It wasn't until he was hired to score Performance that Nitzsche began to feel estranged from the band. The film, which starred Jagger as a faded superstar, transmogrified everyone connected with it, according to Nitzsche. James Fox discovered acid, Anita Pallenberg hasn't acted since, director Donald Cammell became a Stones groupie, and Jagger...well, Jagger decided not to remove the make-up.

"I was in London to see the rushes of the movie," Nitzsche recalls. "Mick was going to come by my apartment and take me to the screening. He appeared at my door wearing lipstick, eye shadow, a ruffled red shirt, black tights, and a mink stole draped around his shoulders - just like Turner in the film. We got into his white Rolls and he sucked in his cheeks like a model and didn't talk much the whole way there."

Nitzsche was disoriented by the band's personality changes. "I think Satanic Majesty was when they all started changing a lot; they took a lot of acid. I wasn't there, I didn't work on any of that, so I mised that whole period...and the next time I saw them they were different people. They'd become more, well, decadent. Whole different attitudes - it wasn't loose and friendly anymore. It was all of a sudden real affected, I thought. They were performing all the time whenever anyone was around it was into the act. A whole new attitude comes over Jagger in those moods - this aloof look where he looks down on everybody, and he'll dance whenever he gets the chance - do little movements - and say nasty things every once in a while." Nitzsche sounds confused and disappointed.

But then he changed too while working on the film. Performance conjures up magical associations for Nitzsche. He wrote the score in a "witch's cottage" off Laurel Canyon. Cammell, the godson of Aleister Crowley, supplied him with regular allotments of cocaine to propel his work pace. The overall effect of the score - which combines exotic sitar sounds, Merry Clayton's unearthly wailing, satanic choir music and graveyard blues - is bone-chilling. One of the score's more eerie effects is what sounds like amplified sheet metal: "I was trying to capture the effect of taking one breath in and letting two breaths out - it creates an uncomfortable feeling feeling in the viewer."

Performance led to other screen credits for Nitzsche and ultimately The Exorcist. To hear his account, he was possessed when he wrote the Performance score. "It's just that demon life has got me in its sway." But arranging the crystal glass orchestration for The Exorcist was just a job. Bill Friedkin, asserts Nitzsche, is nothing more than a sideshow spiritualist.

And the composer should know. He wears a locket from a New Orleans voodoo-woman's tomb, has seen a ghost hovering right before him, worked love charms and read infinite amounts of supernatural literature. "Friedkin doesn't give a shit about the occult - it's just a hot commodity as far as he's concerned," sneers Nitzsche. "It doesn't make a good occult film." He means to expose the great Friedkin just the way Toto pulled back the curtain on the all - powerful Oz. Both charlatans are heavy on the special effects but lack real punch.

In fact, thinks Nitzsche, all Hollywood is pretty much of a tin horn stage act. He hates Hollywood's taste, resents it's power, even bridles at the way it talks: "I was coming out of an elevator in the IFA building with Kitty Hawks [Howard's daughter and Nitzsche's West Coast business representative], and this agent stops me and says, 'Hey! I got one coming up for you that's right up your alley - it's got some dynamite stuff: black magic, witchcraft, sorcery...Oh, but maybe that's not such a good idea comin' right off The Exorcist.' I mean what kind of language is that? "'Comin' right off The Exorcist'!" Hollywood has become a parody of itself, and Nitzsche is bored with it - bored and embittered because his musical options are so rigidly defined by its whims and fancies.

They want big band jazz on this Taking of Pelham thing, his New York agent tells Nitzsche. Director Hal Ashby ordered a military cadence for The Last Detail. They'd fill his cup if he'd play their tunes....but he's choosy. He likes to experiment with his compositions. Jack Nitzsche's problem is that he's wanted to be an artist ever since he studied modern harmony at a fly-by-night music school - and they only need someone to play the nickelodeon.

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A showdown was inevitable. Nitzsche had paid his dues in Hollywood - now he was itching to innovate. The music executives, on the other hand, couldn't understand why Nitzsche was not content to produce good, commercial compositions - he had done it so nicely in the past. They faced off in a Burbank bungalow - in the simple executive office of Mo Ostin, board chairman of Warner Brothers Records. Nitzsche planned to play his new solo album for the Warners management - the vinyl fruit of $114.000 worth of studio time.

Everyone was anxious, but they were all friends. There were photos on the wall of Mo shaking hands with Frank Sinatra, Mo with Sammy Davis, Mo grinning at Alice Cooper - Mo is friends with all his recording artists. He is friends with Nitzsche. The vice-presidents present were rooting for Nitzsche as well. One had even assured him before the conference that he too felt "Hollywood is just an illusion - and once you get through the illusion, you find there's not even a smile." He was the kind of exec who...well, would go out on a limb for you, you know.

Nitzsche sat them all down, made Mo promise not to take any calls, and spun the disc. Was he anxious? "No, that scene doesn't bother me anymore - I'll sit with the enemies anytime. I really will. I love it as a matter of fact. I love to put them on the spot."

The music was hard to label: an odd conglomeration of Beach Boys-like tunes, John Fahey guitarwork, and string crescendos with puzzling lyrics by Robert Downey ("If you believe in a key/You believe in a lie"). Nitzsche even tested out his voice on several numbers. It was the kind of album sympathetic critics would tag "ambitious."

The high command hated it, but they had problems expressing this clearly to Nitzsche. How do you break the news to a sensitive (occasionally temperamental) artist that his offering lacks commercial pzazz?

"At first they all looked ill at ease," remembers Nitzsche. "Then one of them said. 'Well, it's different - I'll give you that." Mo said that personally he really liked it, but that doesn't mean anything because he's got a tin ear anyway and he lets the assholes underneath him evaluate the music." The company decided not to press Nitzsche's album. And Nitzsche's sympatico executive? Well, what could he do? He always knew that Hollywood was as cold-plated as Clint Eastwood's magnum.

Nitzsche no longer lives in Los Angeles. He and his family fled north to a ranch-style manor in the redwoods. We find him there writing his memoirs, rejecting film offers, and fuming. "You want to know how a record becomes a hit - alright, I'll tell you." Nitzsche is aroused. Nitzsche is venomous. He is prepared to spew everything. "There's various ways a record company will decide what to push. 'OK. this guy's got David Geffen as a manager and he's friends with the Stones and he's friends with Paul McCartney, and he's got an agent and he's gonna do a tour - this record sounds like other hit records we've heard, so we really like it - let's push this one. Let's pay off the program managers and the jocks on this one. Let's forget this one here because Randy Newman ain't gonna sell anyway, we know that already.' So they take it to the disc jockey and that's the one that gets on the play list; and they can put on just three new records a week out of 400, and those are the ones that make it. Because what's played on the radio is what sells - what people are exposed to. That's the system that has to be cracked."

Years after orchestrating Spector's songs of teenage defiance, Nitzsche is still the rebel. Undisciplined as a high schooler brought before his counsellor. More intent than ever on turning Hollywood around. "I mean it," he swears, "I'll work in a gas station before I go their route."

But he's on his own now - the ones he ran with in the past have gone different directions. Phil Spector allowed his production techniques to become a stale formula ("He thinks that everybody will miss it if it doesn't have the echo," remarks Nitzsche). Sonny Bono put together a TV act ("I realized I couldn't talk to Sonny anymore," says Nitzsche. "after he sat me down on a couch and gave me a fatherly lecture about dope - 'Jack, are you still taking that...stuff? Because I'm just afraid you're going to end up in a mental hospital'"). But the biggest disappointments for Nitzsche were the Rolling Stones. "They just copped out when they hit that peak." He shakes his head ruefully. "I guess they got to where they were heading, I guess....they may have a real good deal for themselves. And I guess they don't have any obligations to change things for everybody else. They've done enough, you know, they really have done quite a bit. It still disappoints me. I think they should keep changing and fighting until the day they die - if you mean it, you know. There's no reason to ever repeat yourself."

Nitzsche is in lonely exile. He trusts very few people. Old friends have deserted him; he scoffs at musicians' union politics and the thought of an organized musical assault on the recording industry. "All musicians and composers in Hollywood care about is filling up their datebooks - 'I have a session tomorrow, I got this movie score lined up,' that's where it's at." He even looks the part. His chin beard and unkempt hair call to mind Solzhenitsyn, driven into exile by cultural tyranny.

Don't even mention his past association with Neil Young - it only embarrasses him. He buries his head in his arms and moans when we bring up "A Man Needs a Maid" and "There's a World" - the two heavily orchestrated cuts on Harvest which Nitzsche arranged. He swears he only took on the arranging task because it gave him the opportunity to work with the London Symphony Orchestra. "After collaborating with them on the Harvest thing, I got to use them free of charge on my own album, St. Giles Cripplegate," says Nitzsche.

The careers of Nitzsche and Young have criss-crossed a number of times over the years - from Young's "Expecting to Fly," which Nitzsche produced and arranged on the second Buffalo Springfield album, to Young's last solo tour which featured Nitzsche on back-up piano. But Nitzsche has closed the door on the possibility of any future collaboration. "His lyrics are so dumb and pretentious." scowls Nitzsche. "I mean anyone who would write lyrics like 'Someone and someone were down by the pond, looking for something to plant in the lawn' or 'Are you ready for the country?'! The tour was torture. Everyone in the band was bored to death with those terrible guitar solos. He would turn and face the band with this stupid grimace while he was playing, and I would nearly roll on the stage laughing. He takes himself so seriously.

"You know, Neil presented a different image...he appeared to be a really hip, of the people guy. But it turned out to be bullshit. Neil Young is the biggest offender of all of them - his whole lifestyle is the millionaire who doesn't give a shit about anything, about anybody but himself. He doesn't even write well. But everybody's fooled because they think they should like him - I mean if you don't like Neil Young, how funky are you?"

Where are the new breed of recording artists who were going to storm the citadels of sound? The unbought and unbossed rockers who promised to revolutionize the music industry? The new wave crashed several years ago - was it with the Beatles' demise or the Altamont fiasco or long before, when contracts were signed and decisions reached in corporate board rooms - and Nitzsche was left high and dry.

The artist's powerless rage burns itself out in wicked little fantasies. "I'll get real nasty for a minute - I really think there should be something happening like a liberation movement in Hollywood - a drastic one. Like the Symbionese Liberation Army, they may be crazy and they may have been outlaws and all that shit...but something's got to shake this loose." His talk is full of empty bravura. The Hollywood artist as armchair terrorist.

There is only one comrade-in-arms. One virtuoso who matches Nitzsche's cynicism and intransigence, and then some - filmmaker Robert Downey. Hollywood has not found all Downey's masterpieces of caca-peepee comedy marketable. To Nitzsche, this is one more sure sign of the entertainment industry's lack of taste. Nitzsche delights in Downey's biting wit, considers him his fastest friend, and confers almost daily with him over long distance wires on the miserable state of culture.

"When I first met Downey, one of the first things he said to me was, 'How many people do you think there are in the world that really know what's going on and are trying to change it and are really creative?' And I said maybe 1% of the whole population. And he said, 'I think there's about 20 people - and I think you're one of them.' And I said, 'I think you're one of them!' And he said. 'Great!' And we shook hands."

A formidable alliance. It's now Bob and Jack against the world. There's a renaissance in the offing, Downey is fond of telling Nitzsche, and culture visionaries like themselves are destined to lead it. The money-changers and the Pharisees will be driven from the temples of the arts, prophesies Downey; the pure and unadulterated will inherit the sound studios and editing rooms. It will be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for Mo Ostin to enter the new kingdom of culture. And Nitzsche, faithless as he tends to be, wants to believe it - wants to believe with all his heart and soul. "Bob really feels the change is right around the corner, and it's gonna happen fast and big and turn everybody around. And everybody in power is going to lose their job and it's going to be a new world just like that. And I really hope he's right - Jesus! He's given up on film but he thinks it can be done through television."

Nitzsche is wide-eyed as a holy roller at a backwoods revival. Maybe there will be supreme retribution for Hollywood's sins. A fiery apocalypse on the order of Tod Hackett's "The Burning of Los Angeles."

We've reached a delicate point in our encounter with Nitzsche. We too are dedicated. We too are principled. We too want to turn it all around. We want to broadcast the message. But Nitzsche is wary of turning his private crusade into a public one. Few publications, he is convinced, would do justice to his mission.

We suggest two or three magazines.

No! he shoots back. Those are all phony. He doesn't even want to he "a part of that." He doesn't want his name to be mentioned in their pages. "That's like being part of it. That's like saying, 'OK. I'm with you' - no!"

He is vehement. He has taken a vow never to be a phoney. The mere mention of flashbulb publicity threatens him. How could we even suggest it? We must not be serious believers. He ridicules the strength of our convictions. "Why deal with magazines like that?" he scolds in a voice as taut as a guitar string. "Why contribute to something you know is not right? You're pretty that it?"

Nitzsche is filled with the righteous indignation of the newly baptized who burns to atone for all his past transgressions and weaknesses: all the silly arrangements he had to pen to pay the rent, the wretched films he scored because his agent told him he needed "just one more major screen credit." He wants to spare us from the temptations along Hollywood's gold brick road. "If I had it to do all over again," he swears to us. "I never would have put up with all that shit."

Honest to God.

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