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BECAUSE OF HIS OVERinflated self-importance and inability to tell the truth, Jimm Altman and I parted company several years ago. I would have been happy to allow him to continue to be a legend in his own mind, except that he does so at the expense of the ones left behind (“Artifacts,” 2/17).
Jimm could spin a yarn like nobody else. He made up so many stories it was hard to know what was the truth and what was fiction, but I know that most of Washington City Paper‘s story is pure fantasy.
I met Jimm prior to his move to L.A., and it was me he stayed with during his “Los Angeles years.” I was so impressed with Jimm’s talent that I helped him to further his musical career. In my A&R capacity at a major recording label, I introduced Jimm to many opportunities, all of which he squandered because of his obsession with substance abuse. The fact is, I paid for a state-of-the-art recording studio for 30 days for Jimm to do some demos, and all he accomplished was to waste my money and his own mind doing drugs.
As for Jimm’s fidelity, I was far too aware of his comings and goings. Jimm was a heroin addict and more than once I found him and a sexual partner lying around with their works strewn about them in my own apartment! Jimm used to steal my compact discs and trade them in at a record store for cash so he could buy drugs.
And as for the ridiculous yarn about Bryan Ferry lending him a sax player: Jimm happened to be at my home one night when Ferry stopped by. I introduced them, Jimm said hello, and that was the extent of their meeting, professionally or otherwise. The way he got to record at the Record Plant was because a former boss of his got some time there and let him use it. Period.
As for Jimm offering ugly stories from his deathbed, that comes as no surprise because that’s what his life was full of: ugly stories he made up about people so he could paint a victimized picture of himself. My purpose is not to belittle Jimm’s memory, but to vindicate those disparaged by his immoral and immortal accounts.
Los Angeles, Calif.