Life in Los Angeles as Melody Maker’s correspondent there during the second half of 1973 was full of surprises, some of them slightly surreal. On October 21 I interviewed Peter Wolf, the singer with the J Geils Band, in his suite at the Continental Hyatt House on Sunset Strip, or the Riot House as it was renamed after Led Zep trashed it. Wolf’s girlfriend at the time, the easy-on-the-eye actress Faye Dunaway, sat in on the interview and, when it was over, asked me about England, about the royal family, about our customs and why our policemen don’t carry guns. She was quite tiny, birdlike almost, and very beautiful, and she spoke to me in a word-perfect English accent that I congratulated her on. I think she was showing off for me, and I appreciated it.
That night the JGB played at Long Beach Arena and strangely enough the opening act was my friends Slade who had a hard time energising an audience clearly interested only in the headliner. I watched the JGB from the side of the stage, as did Faye, not far from where I was stood, and although we acknowledged one another we didn’t speak, probably because of the din.
Afterwards there was a reception for the JGB aboard the ocean liner the Queen Mary, which had been remodelled as a hotel and was permanently docked nearby, and when I got to the room where the party was being held I saw Faye sitting alone at a table. She was wearing a slinky, clingy cream-coloured dress, and high heels, and looked even more outrageously lovely than she had in the afternoon, so I asked her if I could get her a drink. I brought her a glass of champagne I think, and we continued our conversation about English customs. To my surprise and delight, after a few minutes and no sign of Peter Wolf she suggested we take a stroll along the decks, so we stepped outside together, me feeling like that the cat that's got the cream. I felt I ought I ought to pinch myself but I wasn't dreaming. This was really happening.
It was a warm night and as we walked beneath the stars we fell into an improvised dialogue, imagining ourselves as English aristocrats crossing the Atlantic in the age of the Titanic. Warming to our roles, we linked arms flirtatiously and the conversation went something like this:
“Tell me Lord Charles, how was the conversation at the Captain’s table tonight?”
“It was most agreeable, Lady Faye. The Countess of Avignon joined us and was exceedingly amusing. I see you dined with the Duke of Marlborough this evening. How are the Duke and Duchess? We shoot together in the Highlands, you know.”
“The Duke is very well but the Duchess has a touch of mal de mer.”
“Oh, how tiresome. I do hope she’s well enough for deck quoits tomorrow.”
"I hope to play myself. I'm partnering Mr Vanderbilt, the millionaire."
"Indeed. I hear he plays extraordinary well."
It was a hoot. I was thoroughly enjoying this, and I think she was too. We came to a ladder that took us to a higher level and I followed Faye up into a sort of look-out area where we continued our ad-libbing. Then we heard Peter Wolf shouting from below. He sounded peeved, probably thinking something was going on between us (as if!). Faye excused herself and went back down to soothe him. When I finally made it back to the party they had both left.
Faye married Peter Wolf the following year but they were divorced in 1979. I never saw either of them again.
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