Troy Martin

There was a time that I lived in a purple bathroom for 2 years at the corner of Hollywood & Western.
It's when I lived at The Billiards. I did a lot of drugs and fighting.
I also got laid a lot. And I do mean a LOT.
I also managed to get some work in film and make some good music while I was there.
The Hollywood & Western Building is a four-story Art Deco office building.
It's located at 5500 Hollywood Boulevard. That's the southwest corner of Hollywood & Western.
Designed by S. Charles Lee, and built by Louis B. Mayer, the building opened on December 8, 1928.
The building was the first location for Central Casting, and The Ben Hecht Company.
It was declared a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #336 on January 1, 1988.
That still didn't help the place much.

Living in Hollywood, I always knew that it was pretty much an evil place.
The neighborhood had been a genuine ghetto long before I lived here.
Hollywood & Western was one of the roughest areas in L.A.
And The Billiards was one it's worst shitholes.

My friend Dino Spells was a blues musician working in L.A. during the 1940's & 50's.
He used to say, "Lord, if my car breaks down, please don't let it be at Hollywood & Western."

Charles Bukowski lived in the neighborhood for years. I actually met him once at Book City.

The Billiards was unlike unlike your average suburban rock club, rehearsal space, or doll hut.
It was the kind of place that sucks the life and sanity out of people.
The Billiards was 24/7 of genuine urban sex, drugs, rock & roll, violence, and mayhem.
The posers and the wimps usually moved out after a coule of weeks. Only the hardcore remained.
A lot of people went crazy. Some went to prison. Some died horribly.
I managed to survive.

The building had 4 floors and a basement.
Hollywood Billiards, Hollywood's oldest pool hall, was located in the lower basement of the building.
Upstairs was Hollywood Rehearsal Studios & Studio 9.
There was a black door in the lobby that led to a staricase that went upsatairs.
Once you went went up the staircase, the odds were already against you.
The first thing you saw as you walked up the stairs, was grafitti written in blood red on the ceiling.
Studio 9 was able to keep most of the losers out, but not Hollywood Rehearsal Studios.
It got all the freaks.
That's where I enter the picture.

My house in Phoenix had burned down on the Fourth of July ("Fuck you, Debbie!")
With nowhere else to go, I returned to Hollywood in August of 1989.
I squatted in an apartment building off of Franklin Ave., but that got shut down after 2 months.
My most vivid memories of that place was screwing girls, tweaking,, and the Fall of The Berlin Wall.

I met Stringmaster and Mr.Impossible on Beachwood Drive. We hit it off right away.
We were all in the same boat...broke and nowhere to live.
Jay rented a the last studio on the fourth floor of The Billiards.
The situation was just like the Cramps song, "Caveman".
( "Caveman...fourth floor...Caveman...last door!")

The place was filled with junkies, rock 'n' rollers, sluts, and gay prostitutes.
Bands would also rehearse there.
There were community bathrooms and no showers or bathtubs.
Any bathing would take place in one of 2 sinks. There was no hot water.

Out on the street, the Crips would deal crack in front of TNT Burger on the Northwest corner.
The Hotel Rector was a dilapidated welfare hotel on the Northeast corner.
The White Fence gang was in control of the Southeast corner.
It was rare that a a Friday night would pass without hearing gunfire..