So Harry thought Tommy liked to be heckled, and wanted audience participation. Harry and John weren’t working on anything at the time. At the Troubadour, they’re ripped, and Harry has told John that Tommy likes to be yelled at up there, it’ll really help the show. They were warming up on our opening act - it was a girl folksinger - and John was saying four-letter words, drunken, rude stuff. And the crowd was really getting pissed off with him.
"They started doing this during our show. And finally, our audience picked them up and threw ‘em out. Knocked his glasses off. And he had an altercation in the parking lot - he didn’t know it was a woman because he couldn’t see anything."
And Tommy never was mad at them. He said ‘'I understand creative people. They’re not doing stuff, they’re kind of at loose ends.’' Then he found out Harry was aiding and abetting him, trying to help Tom, in some misguided way. But that’s basically it.
"It was unfolding as it happened. I knew they were there. All I know is that we wanted so much to be a hit, and that really took the whole wind out of the show. But they didn’t do it mean-spirited."
"That’s why I don’t drink or do drugs. I used to! But now I don’t heckle anybody."
More on the way: Dick and Tom Smothers will discuss the incident in “WHO IS HARRY NILSSON (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him?),” writer/director John Scheinfeld’s upcoming documentary film.
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