Los Angeles, CA – “Take Another Little Piece of My Heart Now Baby” – January 28, 1999

I awoke with my insecurities screaming.  My nighttime demons haven’t visited me in quite some time and I feel their abuse more intensely as a result.   Without Kipp, I have no one except my pen and journal to console me. The last resident in this hotel room smoked cigars, I’m sure of it, despite the “Smoke-Free Room” signs plastered everywhere and the sweet-stale stench adds insult to injury.

In the dream I just arrived from, I’d been on the phone with my lawyer finishing up a conversation when I “by the way” -ed him.

“By the way, Fred, what’s up with that movie soundtrack we were going out for?  ‘Anywhere But Here.’  Did the producers like Mom’s and my song “Amity” for it?” Pause.

“Uh…..” said dream Fred, “we didn’t get it.”  My dream heart felt soggy.

“Really?  We didn’t get it?  I thought it was a done deal.  Do you know why they passed on it?”

“Yes,” Said Fred “but I don’t think I should tell you…” I woke up feeling guilty, exhausted, and frantic.

I lie in the dark, holding my breath, eyes shut thinking about the audition I have tomorrow for the role of Janis Joplin.  After my ego-petting-zoo experience playing at the Hollywood Bowl with Dad, I somehow wound up with a movie agent despite my disinterest or talent.  Nevertheless, Rick Ax, having seen me perform, insists I have natural talent and sends me for auditions whenever I noncommittally roll through town for music-related things.  I’ve read for “High Fidelity,” “Coyote Ugly” and “Three Kings” and nothing has ever come of it, and never before have I cared.  But… playing Janis in a movie depicting her life would be something else.

I stare at the space between my blanket hem and a crooked sprinkler in the blue-grey ceiling, clutching my anxious rabbit of a heart.   I imagine myself in a casting director’s office trying to mimic Janis Joplin, an impossible task if there ever was one. As I read the lines, everyone starts laughing at me. 

“Sorry, sorry,” they apologize not being able to help themselves, “Please go on,” they insist before exploding into uncontrollable hysterics again.

I turn over, nearly taking out the Aztec-patterned lamp on the bedside table in this wretched downtown Hollywood hotel. I’m hoping to shake the night demons but they come at me from a new angle: Music.   

I hear people saying, “I don’t hear the hit.”  “Where’s the single?” I’m desperate and sad and letting everyone down.  I’ve gotten way over my head.  I feel trapped.  I’ve got to get out of here!!!

It’s noon:30 when I wake up again, slightly hungover. I splash water on my face and answer the door when Scott Sax, my writing partner from Warner-Chappel, knocks.  He drives the demons out with his funky suit jacket and Puff Daddy hat and his sweet, cool, funny vibe.

Together, we partially write, two songs, “All This Time,” and “March Like Soldiers.” He is a lifesaver. I am honored to get to write with him. Thank GOD he came when he did.

Reader interactions

6 Replies to “Los Angeles, CA – “Take Another Little Piece of My Heart Now Baby” – January 28, 1999”

  1. SueAnn 🌺❤️ March 18, 2024 at 3:38 pm

    Your Creative talent of Song Writing and Angelic Lovely Voice Sally is such a beautiful gift to give to this world 🤲💖🎶
    Thankyou !!
    I wonder if we all awake to our demons from time to time ?…as our fears take over and allow us to process them ?
    Good company seems to relieve us of the loneliness and torture our minds fixate on after such nightmares.
    It takes Alot of Courage to Create…as Rollo May’s writings contemplate.

    1. Thank you as always SueAnn. It’s a relief to know other’s have night demons as well.

  2. I enjoyed recording March like Soldiers. We did a bunch of snare takes etc. Thanks Michael White!

    1. You played such a perfect part on that Bri!

  3. Wow – thank you for sharing this. I relate so strongly as a fellow singer-songwriter/sensitive person… my worst thoughts about myself play like a reel when I try to go to sleep. They’re personified in my dreams. I wrote a song about that, actually!

    I’m a recent subscriber – I’ve been loving reading these entries. It’s amazing to realize how many ways the experience of a working musician hasn’t changed!! It’s comforting, too. Thank you for your vulnerability. ❤️

    1. Hey Julie, I’m so glad you find comfort in these tales. I guess the night demons are something that never change. Maybe they just get passed down from one generation of songwriters to the next like beads on a necklace. Perhaps they’re there to make us stronger… not weaker as I’d always presumed.

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