The Tim Buckley Archives

The Fans

Tim Buckley and Me

by Bob Kholos

I was Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley's Press Secretary when I received the phone call from a friend of Tim Buckley's that,"Tim died of an overdose last night."    

He had just come off the road in Texas, I believe, and had a lot of alcohol in his system, when he went over to a friends house and evidently snorted some drug.  He went home, crawled into bed with his wife, "Wu" (her real name is Judy) and subsequently passed away at age 28.

I was first introduced to Tim by novelist and screenwriter, David Thoreau.    

© Bob Kholos
Tim and Judy (left and center left) at Bob Kholos' home in Venice, California, circa 1974
Sometimes, I would pick up Tim at his home in Venice, and he would insist on low-riding, while listening only to the music blasting from my AM radio playing Mexican music.  He couldn't stand to listen to any of the other stations in LA.    

He would tell me that he had the vocal range of Yma Sumac--I believe it was four octaves.    
His main frustration at the time was that he couldn't get out of his contract, so he could go independent and experiment with his music.    

When I asked him how the contract happened, he just said that, "When you are 18 years old and they put that recording contract in your face, you'll sign anything."    

I was so upset when he died, I couldn't stop crying.    

Tim and Wu loved the fact that I didn't know anything about the music world...and I didn't.  But Tim was impressed with the way I thought about PR, and besides I really liked the guy.    

One time he set me up with a date in Oakland at an after hours bar.  It was mostly an African-American establishment.  So, after he introduced me to the lady, and we danced....someone yelled out that I danced like a White Man.  It was true, and everybody had a laugh on me.  But, what I didn't realize was that the entire thing was a set up.  At about four in the morning, when I thought I was going home with the woman, she announced..."Didn't Tim tell you that I'm a Lesbian?" Funny joke.  But, that was Tim.    

As I understand it, when he came off the road from Texas, he was going to sign a contract to do a movie about Woody Guthrie.  Tim told me that he was going to be allowed to use his own voice.

    I have no doubt that Tim would have made a great movie star.  He had the "it"...the star power that only a few performers have.    

I remember once when he performed at the Whiskey in Hollywood, the entire place was going crazy and cheering his stand.    

The famous music critic, Leonard Feather, wrote in the next day's Los Angeles Times, that someone should sign Buckley again.    

He died during the summer of 1975.  Even now, I can remember vividly his sardonic smile, and the warmth of a short friendship which also died that day. Thanks for reading:

Bob Kholos was the First Press Secretary to Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley.

Communications Advisor in 1969 campaign as well as 1973 campaign,
Bob devised an "Alternative News Conference" to unseat incumbent.

© Saigon Bob  

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