Ritchie Havens
My Bloody Life


Richie Havens would not have such a successful career without the unique sound of the extremely talented musicians --- Eric Oxendine on Bass Guitar/Vocals, Paul "Dino" Williams on Lead Guitar/Vocals, Daniel Ben Zebulon on Congas/Vocals, Emile Latimer on Congas/Vocals, and Joe Price on Percussion --- who were refereed to as the "back-up band."

When Richie Havens played the famous Woodstock Concert, he was quoted in the Rolling Stone magazine as saying that " when the group went on stage, the Bass player was late" --- but the real truth is that he told him he couldn't play the show because it wasn't that kind of a gig! This is the Richie Havens that he doesn't want anyone to know about!

He claims that he is Native American, another lie --- he has no documented proof, in fact his heritage is African American and Dutch.

Their "Live Concert" was always a sellout because everyone came to see the finale song "Freedom" in which Eric Oxendine, formally with Van Morrison, would lead the group playing lead bass and dance for over 30 minutes and send the audience into a wild magnificent frenzy.

Richie Haven's jealousy and failure to give proper credit to the musicians/under payment/and disrespect finally ended up with all the original musicians leaving him (RPH of course lied about that too).

Eric Oxendine was the first to leave the band --- seeing no future as a discredited musician --- afterwards Richie's career never took off again. The one and only Hit Single was recorded by the original band members. I read the "book" --- what a load of horse-shit! He mentions all the musicians but conveniently leaves out Eric Oxendine and various other people and events. That is why he can't tell the truth in writing --- What goes around, comes around --- and right, Richie, you can't HIDE ANYMORE!!!

--- A friend of the original group

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that inspired this letter

Subject: My Bloody Life


I don't know it is O.K. to say something...

I just finished reading this book, it brought back memories.

I grew up in Humboldt Park on California and Lemoyne and I lived through what was happening. There are many events that brings memories good and bad. The PR Stones lived in my building, until my brother almost got killed for being mistaken for a Disciple. We did not know, it was supposed to be only a family of 3, We are not associated in any way.

I remembered the Puerto Rican Festival that turned ugly when the cops shot the elderly couple sitting on the bench eating and chaos broke out cops were everywhere. The gang bangers ran into my building to hide, we had empty apartments, the cops tried to break down the door but the landlord had a steel doors on all entries of the building.

I went to Von Humboldt School, Tuley H.S. as a freshmen until Clemente was opened. This first year was scary because the gangs hanging around, I was timid and very shy only stuck to my books. I had a girlfriend who dated an Unknown and she would come to school with bruises on her body. She told me what had happed, but I already knew why. She told that she wanted to leave him. In my second year of H.S. I never saw her again.

I know some of the characters in this book like Afro, Lil Man, Loca. I met Afro at Humboldt Park .... he worked with my brother cleaning the seaweed out of the water ... it was a summer job.

He saved my life, I was walking down the street on Rockwell and the Latin Queens (Loca) were picking on me and Afro recognized me and told them that I was cool and they left me alone.

Lil Man lived 2 blocks away from me. He was dating my friend she knew too much and talked to much. One day there was a shootout on Lemoyne Street by the alley, it got Lil Man shot in the neck and he ran into my house bleeding it was scary, we helped him. His left arm was no use to him he didn't want to have therapy. Shootouts were constant and yes the cops came, but nobody talked.

I almost dated a King, he lived with us, for about a year, but under my father's rules. He didn't hang out late at night, in fact he helped my mom do errands, he was I guess a good King because he didn't talk about his ways always kept to himself.

Today, he still is a King and remember this was back in 1972. I still see him around in Humboldt Park on the Puerto Rican Festivals with his children, he winks and I smile, I guess it is a good thing.

It is very brave for Reymundo to speak out. If you knew the members it was fine, but when the drugs hit stay away. Sometimes listening is all they wanted. My advice: be careful what you say, it can freak them out if they don't understand and they will hurt you ... don't show your wealth they will take it from you. ... friend or foe.

Everyone has their own rules for life ... it is up to them to change.

--- Carmen Cruz
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