He was a bright guy with a sense of humor and to write this means he's gone.
But he can't be. I just heard from him two weeks ago, we were discussing cars!
Milt loved cars. Had a passion for them. When I first met him at A&M he was driving a Merkur. Ford guaranteed to buy it back at a high price so he got one. For the last decade he'd been driving a Subaru Forester. Because of the high performance turbo engine. He hated the gas mileage, but it was paid for. We commiserated on this. That's one of the last times I saw him live. For lunch in Bel Air, when he paid the bill and said "I'm a patron of the arts." And I've been thinking a lot about Milt because with the freeway constantly closed I've been driving through that neighborhood on the way to Felice's.
I'm not saying I never cry. But when I got the e-mail today tears came to my eyes. How could it be?
Must have been a health issue.
But then to find out he was run over by the police, supposedly while in the bike lane…
What did Elvis Costello sing? Accidents will happen?
And his family had no suspicion. This is when it's worst. When the last time you see them they're alive and vibrant, and the next time it's in the box.
That same first time I saw Milt it was in his office at A&M. He gave me a record. That's what was different back then, everybody remotely attached to the music business was a fan. Sure, you could make money, but that's not what it was about.
And when A&M was sold and merged Milt went back to practicing law. First at Manatt, then he hung out his shingle, with David Altschul.
And he had his clients. Because Milt was sharp. And knew everybody from that era. And a lot of them still have force in the business.
And oh yeah, in the middle he worked at Napster. That's what all the headlines are saying. I'm sure if Milt were here now he'd laugh at that, how far and wide the word spread. Because Milt wasn't about fame, and he could find the irony and the joke in life experiences.
But he won't be having any more.
And just before I got the news I'd been OCD'ing about something. And then it hit me, how irrelevant my petty problems were in the face of death.
We think we're gonna live forever.
Then we get cancer or have a heart attack and realize our time is limited.
Still, we expect to live to a ripe old age. Near ninety. Even though the older you get the more frail you become, and so many are gone, no one remembers what you do.
But I remember when the Police was the biggest band in the world.
And Bryan Adams ate up the chart with "Run To You," the entire "Reckless" album.
When A&M was owned by Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, when artists came first, when quarterly numbers were not important. It all worked out in the end if you had the right acts and the right team, and they did.
So, so long Milt.
I just wish we'd had another lunch or phone call, or I'd run into you at an event and we'd had another conversation. That was the great thing about Milt, he was never jive, when you connected it was always real, he'd make a sly comment, illustrating that you and he were just cogs in the wheel, but were enjoying the ride.
What a bad pun, unintentional.
So here's where I whip out the cliches.
Hug your loved ones.
Live every day like it's your last, because it just might be.
And if you're doing it to be remembered, know that no one will be. Not even the Beatles, certainly not Steve Jobs. The sands of time will bury them like the pyramids.
Life is about experience. Eat it alive, while you still can.