Scott Thunes has written several times that he calls In Cold Sweat “his book.” He told me the same thing. I can’t express how happy I was to hear that. Scott is like me; he generally keeps his thoughts and feelings to himself, and then he surprises the hell out of you by revealing something that you’d never even considered. Though Scott gave me his blessings to write In Cold Sweat and cooperated fully in getting me photos, I worried that he did so simply because he felt he didn’t have the right to tell me to not publish.
If he’d asked me to not publish his unexpurgated interview, I wouldn’t have published it. Not publishing it would’ve broken my heart, but I would’ve honored his request. He was the Collateral Ghost at the time, and I would’ve done anything to keep from adding to his burdens.
So I was deeply gratified to learn that he loves the book. As for him calling it his book, look at the seventh image of the In Cold Sweat gallery and see who’s listed as the co-author. I’d give five years of my life to see that particular person interview Scott Thunes. It might actually lead to a tear in the time-space continuum, but it would be worth it.
Here’s a revelation about me: I hate being teased, and I hate male banter. In 2000 I visited Scott at his house to get some of the photos he provided for In Cold Sweat. Truth be told, I just wanted to see him, his staggeringly beautiful wife Georgia, and their new baby Hazle. Scott, Georgia, and I went to a party, where I—the only stranger in this group of friends—was interrogated about why I was there. I explained that I was picking up photos for a book I was writing, which would be mostly devoted to Scott.
Every single person who asked me about the book concluded the exchange with something like, “I’ll make sure to never read it,” or “Why would anyone want to buy a piece of shit like that?”
Being a fat, weird kid kind of ruined the joys of teasing and banter. I’ve know a few people who could do it in a way that didn’t raise my hackles. My late friend Steiv Dixon was one. He called me “guy,” which I liked. No idea why. Maybe it’s just that I always wanted to be a regular guy. Once Steiv watched me eat a bowl of chicken salad that came with a massive packet of mayonnaise. In addition. I squeezed all the mayonnaise onto the salad (Hey, I was twenty-three), and Steiv said, “That’s a lot of mayo, guy.” I laughed for an hour. He always—always—called me out on my failings, but I could tell he did it to help me overcome them. And he used humor as a balm.
Carmen could tease me without making it hurt. And so can Scott Thunes.
It wasn’t always that way. We’re both way too sensitive to be out in public. When I felt wronged, I sulked. When Scott felt wronged, he went on the attack. In 1997 I spent a couple of days at his house in the Bay Area. One of the worst experiences of my life, it culminated in a near fist fight and me driving back to L.A. at 11:30 p.m. As Scott says about himself, that was the “teenaged Scott Thunes,” who no longer exists.
I now recognize that most of the friction Scott and I experienced in 1997 was my fault for not speaking my mind. It was never easy for me to tell people to please knock it off. Instead, I went into what Tim calls the “rabbit trance.” These days I have no problem explaining what upsets me and why. It feels as though I’m channeling someone a lot tougher than I am, like a merchant seaman or a soldier of fortune. Or an archangel. The words just come out, leaving me amazed.
My intolerance for boorishness would seem to be a problem. But it isn’t, because the people I care about the most have changed along with me. Against the odds we all continue our upward trajectories.
Now, my only interests are improvement, my friends, beauty, art, and writing. If I’m lucky Scott will claim Ghosts and Ballyhoo as his second book. It’ll be a superb compliment.