You know that old saying about how “four walls do not a prison make?” Nor can prison silence Phil Spector.
The legendary music producer, currently serving a 19-year prison sentence for murdering actress Lana Clarkson, has been writing to musician / music journalist / friend Steve Escobar about his life behind bars.
What’s Spector been up to since his incarceration earlier this year at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison at Corcoran, Calif.? According to Spector’s letters to Escobar, he is working “to get a better prison with people more like myself in it during the appeal process instead of all those lowlife scumbags, gangsters and Manson types. … They’d kill you here for a 39-cent bag of soup.”
But not every prison day is a bad one for Spector. The record producer says his spirits are up because his wife, Rachelle, visits him twice a week, even though the journey from the couple’s Alhambra home to the prison is a 400-mile round trip.
“She’s a real trouper,” Spector wrote. “All in all, it’s like a dream come true having her by my side again.”
Spector’s especially happy that his wife brings him packaged food so he doesn’t have to go to the prison’s dining hall and eat his meals while surrounded by other convicts.
“I know it is a chance to get out of my cell going to the dining room but the less I see of the inmates, the better and safer I feel,” Spector said. “Even though 24/7 lockdown in a 3’ by 7’ cell is very tough.”
Spector, known for producing classic hits such as “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” and “Unchained Melody” for the Righteous Brothers, as well as working with major music acts like The Beatles, Ike & Tina Turner and Leonard Cohen, was tried twice for the 2003 murder of actress Clarkson.
The first resulted in a mistrial after the jury couldn’t return a unanimous verdict, while the second ended with a second-degree murder conviction.