the time came for our day in court.
even though no one was going to jail, I was nervous.
a large courtroom full of old wooden chairs
and the smell of musty books.
"all rise for the honorary judge such and such."
he was an old man with white hair and glasses.
he fiddled with his glasses all the time
but rarely put them on.
he seemed distracted and stared vacantly
at the papers in front of him.
ron's attorney began with a lengthy explanation
about the studio, the microphone, and ron's role
as executive producer on several of my records.
twenty minutes of explanation which seemed like eternity.
talking about AKG C-24 microphones and studio gear
while the judge fiddled with his glasses
and looked at the paperwork in front of him.
at the end of all the explaining the judge slowly asked,
"now I see mention here of an item called, ummm...
let's see...A K G
which has a C, a dash, and a two four after it.
now what does that signify?"
"well, your honor", the attorney patiently noted,
"that is the item in question which Mr. Belew is being sued over."
I knew it was going to be a long day.
ron gave his testimony first. his case rested on
the idea that I had attended his Christmas party,
which was true, and that sometime during the party
he told me all the details of his deal with rich and dan.
that may be true, but if so I didn't remember a word of it.
I didn't want to know the details and I don't know them to this day.
what he should have done legally was to file public notice
that the studio items were covered by a lien
and therefore not for sale or trade.
but he did not do that and I did not know that.
what I had was a legally signed and dated agreement
between rich and dan and myself making a trade for the
as part of the proceedings after each testimony the judge
was allowed to cross-examine the witness.
in ron's case the poor old guy seemed confounded
by the term "executive producer".
in his creaky voice he slowly grilled ron:
judge: "now I know when they make movies
the producer is the one who puts up the money.
is that correct?"
ron: "yes, your honor."
judge: "now when you make records what does the director do?"
ron: "well, there is no director when you make records.
that's done by the producer."
judge: "and who was the producer on these records?"
ron: "adrian belew was the producer, your honor."
judge: "so, he put up the money."
ron: "no sir, I put up the money."
and on it went like a marx brothers routine.
the judge clearly had no idea what this was all about.
next came my turn on the stand.
"I solemnly swear..."
ron's attorney went right into the alleged Christmas party
trying to misguide me into saying I knew all about the lien.
but I didn't.
after a dozen questions or so the attorney sat down.
now it was time for the judge's cross-examination.
I was still nervous as he quietly fiddled with his glasses.
all of a sudden he blurted out,
I said, "I'm sorry your honor, I don't understand the question."
he said, "isn't the King supposed to be from Memphis?"
I still wasn't getting his train of thought.
"Elvis was from Memphis, wasn't he?" he asked,
"he made his records there, sir," I replied.
"so why did they put that Hall Of Fame in Cleveland?"
" I really don't know, your honor."
three months after the trial we received a written judgement.
full of legalese, I read it and had no idea what it meant.
martha read it and said, "we won the microphone."