August 1, 2021

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Maybe or maybe not last thoughts on Lloyd Fonvielle

Lloyd Fonvielle, was a screenwriter and novelist. He directed Tommy Lee Jones in Gotham(1989)wrote the screenplays for the 1980s films The Lords of Discipline (1983) and The Bride (1985) and received a story credit on the 1999 blockbuster The Mummy. He died February 19th 2015 at age 64. The below remarks come from an email Peter sent to Trev Gibb on March 16 2015.

A week or maybe two before the news I applied for a job as a music critic for a paper in Las Vegas.  I didn’t think I had a snowball’s chance in hell of getting the job, but you never know, so I applied by email, thinking that if I got the job, well I’d know Lloyd and Lloyd was fun to have a drink with.  The way my life was going once I heard the news, I figured well of course, now I’ll get hired and know no one there.

When the obituary finally appeared on his blog, I wondered if he ever knew he suffered from either ailment.  He sure kept quiet about it if he did.  Up until the time he left Facebook he was a huge smoking advocate and the fact that Manhattan had become an anti smoking paradise drove him up the wall in a big way, something I understood.  I inherently knew what Lloyd dug about New York City, but that New York City sadly and unfortunately is now gone and gone forever because once it’s lost, it doesn’t come back.  I kind of figure that even if he did know about the COPD, he was crazy enough to defiantly keep smoking anyway.  When I saw the part about hypertension being the other culprit, all I could think about was his posts on Obama which some mistook as coming from the Right when I think they were coming from a profound sense of disappointment from Lloyd’s crazed vision of the Left combined with a slight streak of Libertarianism. 

I used to greatly enjoy when he’d come to my shows and was always gratified afterwards that he took the time to go home and write a review.  I always wanted him to write liner notes if I made another record.  I used to love talking to him at those gigs.  It was funny because we didn’t talk that much about Dylan, we talked about writing. 

Last week, the day you made that film for your class, you talked about how you procrastinated before starting, tidying up your desk and stuff like that.  Well that is exactly the kind of stuff I’d talk to Lloyd about because I used to do the same exact thing and so did he.  It’s a crazy thing where you really want to get down to it and start writing and at the same time you will do everything you can to avoid getting down to it unless you’re on a deadline and then you’ll wait as long as possible until you finally get down to it.  Lloyd totally understood.

The Lloyd I knew wasn’t that gray bearded guy in the pics on Facebook, nor was he that almost insolent long haired preppy with the NY Times and the top hat in that photo where he looks not 28, but 15.  I wasn’t surprised to read in the obit that he went to boarding school.  He had that air about him.  But he didn’t let it pervade if he was interested in who you or anyone else was.  He had a lot of energy and loved to talk and discuss things. 

I remember I’d just read this book on the music biz, Mansion On The Hill which was about the business people in the biz and there was this chapter on Albert Grossman that went into detail about his break up with Dylan and other stuff.  One of the things Grossman would do was have his desk be very high and whoever was negotiating or talking with him when in his office would be sitting in front of the desk in this tiny chair, all the lights in the room would be off except for this tiffany lamp on his huge desk which would have like a 10 watt bulb in it.  Grossman’s other great tactic usually out of his office when negotiating a contract was not to say anything at all.  He would just stay quiet until he heard a figure he wanted.  I told that story to Lloyd and he told me about one of the major Hollywood execs he met with (might have been Daryl Zanuck, but I can’t remember) but this guy did a similar thing where the room would be dark and he’d have a huge desk and whoever would be in the room would sit on a couch that was lower than the desk and the longer you sat on the couch, the deeper you sank into it and the blinds would be drawn, and then Zanuck would change them ever so slightly so the sun coming through the blinds would go right into the eyes of the person sinking into the couch. 

One of my favorite things Lloyd did was when I reviewed the Bob show at Madison Square Garden in the fall of 2001.  Usually I try to write my reviews right after a show, even after a 2 hour drive from NYC, but I think I was just too tired when I got home and wrote it the next day.  I turned off the internet.  The phone rang, it was fucking someone bothering me about some total asshole I’d gone to a show in DC with, I told them “I AM WRITING,” and hung up the damn phone.  It took all afternoon to write the review and when it appeared, Lloyd emailed me (or maybe it was on RMD or both) and said, “You totally channeled into the concert,” and he was right.  And to me, it was the highest praise.