Love Stinks (Part 1)


The above picture is a photo of Peter Wolf, he of the famous J. Geils Band and a personal friend of mine and local legend, Martin “Tino” Gross, front-man, funky daddy (and grandpa now, boy Carol Ilku and I had him pegged 25 years ago) and musical genius who fronts the even more local legendary band the Howling Diablos.

But this isn’t about my love for him, or Geils or Mr. Wolf.  This is about love and loss, something both bands cover very well.  And I know a lot about.  Loving and losing, that is.

A little history here first, back in the 70’s, long before MTV (and Adam Ant, Billy Idol, Duran Duran, the Go-Go’s and Madonna), J. Geils was working the road 320 days a year.  Not unlike James Brown, or Bob Seger, they played everywhere, including the long-gone Cinderella Ballroom here in Detroit that produced “Full House Live,” which is one of the top five “live” records you should have in your collection.  They were loved here in Detroit before “Centerfold” made them famous.

One of their pre-MTV songs was a little song called “Love Stinks.” It was written by Wolf about his breakup with the actress Faye Dunaway.  Well, as we (most) know, love does stink sometimes.

It was about 20 years ago when I first heard the term “Best friend and soul mate.” It was said to me by a woman who a) had no business telling me that, and b) wouldn’t know a friend or a “soul mate,” if they walked up to her and explained it to her.  Her name is unimportant, but it set a pattern for me over then next 10 years would come to define me and ultimately break my spirit when it came to matters of the heart.

She was young and could talk a good game. I recall the one time she said “I love you,” it sent a chill down my spine that made me realize that I was being used.  It turns out she was lying about everything, how she was getting a divorce, how she was going to school, where she was living.  It was all a big lie to achieve what, I have no idea, but she was a wily one.  One night, she came over and threw a bunch of clothes in the laundry, I went to get them out and lo, and behold, was her husband’s clothes.  I threw them back in the dryer and went back to my apartment and asked her about it. She said it must have got mixed up when she brought over her stuff.  I told her to leave when the stuff was out of the dryer.  She did.

So much for that, right? Wrong. She somehow gave out my phone card to a few of her husband’s friends who then proceeded to run up my bill to an amount that even the Koch Brothers wouldn’t pay. Then she told me that she wasn’t getting divorced, had dropped out of school and was going to have a baby with her husband.  That is always the end game, getting what she wanted the way she wanted it.

Little did I know that pattern would repeat itself twice in the decade that followed, each time inflicting more and more pain, hurt and resentment on me that only allows itself to continue to this day.

Whenever I hear that term, “Best friend and soul mate,” I cringe.

As J. Geils so aptly put it…


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3 Responses to “Love Stinks (Part 1)”

  1. Robert C. Quinn Says:


    I married my high school sweetheart. She was 19. I was 21. We had a beautiful son and a beautiful daughter. At her age 35 she started suffering with bi-polar illness. There were some extremely difficult times for both of us and naturally for the two children.

    After all of her years of suffering, she died in my arms in her middle 60s very near our fiftieth wedding anniversary.

    It was a bitter sweet romance. How extremely fortunate I was to have had such profound love in my life.


  2. Dan Riley Says:

    Here’s hoping Part II has a happier ending.

  3. rollingwheelie Says:

    No, it doesn’t. (well, in a cockeyed way, it does) And Part 3 will make you even more cynical.

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