Phil, Jail, and his hair
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There doesn’t seem to be a terrified breakdown you’d expect from the reclusive dandy who had it all.
The life of Phil Spector serving a 19 to life sentence.
Phil Spector is the legend who produced music such as The Beatles' Let It Be and The Ramones' End of the Century. He had been the hand that steered mainstream music. But in 2003 a woman was shot in his home, which was ruled as a homicide and forced Spector into jail in 2009 to serve a 19-year sentence.
The defense fought it as a suicide, but while the evidence for his conviction wasn't damning, he does have a history of being slightly, how do you say, insane. He loved pulling guns on people. The Ramones were going to leave his house due to an argument, so he pulled out a gun from his pocket, laid it on the table in front of him, and said 'You don't have to leave, do you?' He also shot a bullet into the air during an argument while in the studio recording with John Lennon. According to his second wife he locked her up in his mansion for months because he was afraid she was going to leave him, hiding her shoes and keeping a vigilant eye; she had to sneak out and run for her life barefoot without alerting Spector or his bodyguards. Now that I've colored him a little, how is the man and his mind while being incarcerated?
There doesn't seem to be the terrified breakdown you'd expect from the reclusive dandy who had it all, but rather a somewhat reasonable reaction. In the first months of being in prison he wrote to a friend 'I'm enraged with hate at that judge for sending me here and it's hate that keeps me going. Some say hate is a good motivation. But I don't know how long it can last. This 24/7 lockdown life is slowly driving me insane and killing me.' Strong emotion, but such vehemence is precisely what's reasonable when faced with 19 years of jail. A year or so into his sentence he claimed to have been assaulted by an inmate because he mouthed off, but there are no official reports. Whether he did or lied, either way he was stressed enough at that point to crack a little.
After this the stories die off; Spector seems to have no altercations or grandiose actions beyond his possible assault. He had been working to overturn his conviction in the California Supreme Court, but it was denied. He did try to sue the city of Alhambra for doing construction work that he claims damaged retaining walls for the hill of his mansion, but that doesn't seem to have gone anywhere. The most recent news of him is from his current wife Rachelle Spector, who did an interview with Access Hollywood.
In it she answers basic questions: No conjugal visits (for 19 years? A cold move, justice system), one kiss and one hug per visit, they can hold hands for the duration of the visit, and the two have been focusing primarily on thinking of ways for the media to pick up the story again, but this time with the clear suggestion that he is innocent. She tries to talk in an upbeat way when she visits, to keep his spirits up. She states her position: 'This is about a woman, a wife, defending her husband and standing by her man!'
From the lack of story we can postulate that he has found a rhythm that keeps him alive. That rhythm seems to be a sense of justified hate. Does he feel justified because he is innocent, or because he is deluded? That's usually the question that circles incarcerated celebrities. We do know that he was severely self-absorbed when on the outside, which carried over into jail; so either way he is innocent in his mind. In prison Phil Spector is sustained with, and likely defined by, a now cold anger.
Cody Brooks, Contributing Writer: A Caucasian local born and bred in Hawaii, I have gotten used to being in the middle of things — ideologies, politics, race, culture, whatever. Though I rarely know where I stand on a topic, I have come to be quite good at that. I have done an odd variety of things, from saving people in the surf as a lifeguard, to studying philosophy in New Zealand, to fronting a band in Los Angeles. Do not let the preceding lead you astray, though. I have vehement opinions on nearly everything that I will... (more...)