Passing of Vid Vixen Kitaen Reminds me of my Friend Robb Crosby
The world heard of the passing of model and reality show star Tawney Kitaen on Friday. She was most famous as David Coverdale’s wife and her erotic writhing on the Jaguar XJ in the video for “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake. But, before she was with Coverdale she was seriously involved with Ratt guitarist and my buddy, the late Robbin Crosby.
Robbin had moved to El Paso in the late 90s. We got word that he was in town when a listener called and told us “the guitarist from Ratt is advertising that he’s giving guitar lessons in The Thrifty Nickle”. We picked up one of the free grocery store circulars, called the number in the ad and became fast-friends with Robb. We even had a Mosho affiliated band with Robb, my cohost Patti Steele’s husband Ken and a couple of other guys. The band had two practices and only one show (which had to be cancelled because our sound system wouldn’t work right).
Whenever Robbin was asked what in the world he was doing in El Paso he would always give an answer about “wanting to get away from Cali” or “he just wanted to chill out”. What we didn’t know at the time was that Robb had been diagnosed with AIDS in 1994. His organs were starting to give out on him. It was also rumored that Robb was specifically in El Paso because he had a connection that would sell him heroine at a cheaper price than he could find anywhere else. I want to be very clear when I say this: I never saw Robbin do anything “harder” than a beer and maybe have a joint. But, he did pass away from complications from his disease and a reputed overdose on heroine.
As for the reason that Tawney Kitaen’s passing reminded me of Robbin: it was well known that they had been an item (she appeared on two of Ratt’s album covers). It was around that time that Tawney’s year-long affair with OJ Simpson was introduced in Simpson’s civil trial. Simpson coverage was pretty much wall-to-wall at this time so, one night, I asked Robb if he ever met OJ. He told me that Kitaen had become OJ’s mistress (he was still married to Nicole at the time). But, Robb said, he and Tawney (who he’d known since high school) still had a “friends-with-benefits” relationship and that they would hook up whenever they happened to be in the same town. According to Robbin, he and Kitaen were in a hotel together when he received a call from someone in his crew. OJ knew about the tryst and was on his way TO the hotel to “straighten things out with the rock-n-roll boyfriend”. YIKES!
One of the things you need to know about Robb is that he was a big, physically imposing guy. He was around 6’5” and, when I knew him, he very much looked like a guy that could’ve been a former football player himself. So I say to Robb, “Were you afraid when you heard OJ was looking for you?” At the time this hotel incident happened, OJ hadn’t killed anybody (that we know of). He was a football legend with a reputation as a likeable guy. According to Robbin, he was kind of hoping he would get to MEET OJ because he (Robb) was such a big fan. That never happened and Robb split from the hotel and didn’t see Tawney for several years after that. `Considering what OJ would do later, that was probably for the best. But, Robbin was a sweet guy and I still miss hanging out with him.