The Glorious Corner
BOB ‘n NEIL — Great item from Roger Friedman, via his Showbiz 411: It’s good news, bad news for Bob Dylan, bad news for John Legend and Beyonce, and no news for Neil Young on this week’s pop charts.
Bob Dylan’s Rough and Rowdy Ways, a superior album, sold 57,000 CD’s and downloads, had little streaming, and finished at number 2 overall for the week. As far the sales of the former, he finished at number 1. But 57,000 is a very low number, and half the amount his 2012 release sold. Does it matter? No. Dylan’s a genius, a legend, and Rough and Rowdy Ways is A plus.
Rough and Rowdy Ways comes to us from Sony’s Columbia Records, which also released John Legend’s Bigger Love this week. Bigger Love is an unmitigated disaster, selling 12,550 copies according to hitsdailydouble.com and Buzz Angle Music. You can’t say Bigger Love didn’t have a marketing push. Legend had his TV special and he is literally everywhere. He is omnipresent, ubiquitous in the culture.
But Bigger Love is not good. It’s a throwaway. It has no singles of any merit. Clive Davis would never have released it. John Legend is so talented, I expected better from him. He is drifting into the land of Mantovani. These songs have no hooks, no choruses, and no pizzaz. The opening track is a riff on the Flamingos’ “I Only Have Eyes for You.” How old is John Legend? 75? Who is this album for? His grandmother? (And listen, I love the Flamingos. But they are a generation and a half older than me. Kids never heard of them.)
Columbia also has Beyonce’s “Black Parade,” which I wrote about this morning. An excellent single, but it’s a dud sales and radio wise. She dropped it, and Sony Music didn’t pick it up and run. It’s one of many Black Lives Matter-centric songs that are being ignored by the market.
Over on Reprise, Neil Young, the west coast Bob Dylan, released his unreleased 1975 album, Homegrown. It sold 22,000 copies, which is a lot now for Neil Young, who’s turned archive releases into a business. Homegrown will have a life among Young fanatics. But it’s like a sketchbook, not a fully realized album, and I liked Linda Ronstadt’s version of “Love is a Rose” better. I also like Neil’s “Comes a Time” a lot better, from the same era. Anyway, Neil is like Bob and Paul Simon and Bonnie Raitt. He’s forever.
GHOSTS OF THE OZARKS — Ghosts of the Ozarks, which stars Tim Blake Nelson and David Arquette, has kicked off filming in Arkansas.
It marks one of the first films greenlit by local officials to resume production in the state in the wake of COVID-19.
Filming began on June 15 will the support of SAG AFTRA and the gothic thriller has hired a safety task coordinator in order to ensure that all social distancing guidelines and precautions will be enforced on set.
The cast and crew will receive regular COVID-19 testing, temperature screenings, and symptom monitoring. The production team has also worked with local and state government officials including Trumann Mayor Barbara Luellen, Arkansas Film Commissioner Christopher Crane, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and the members of the Arkansas Department of Health to approve day-to-day regulations in order to begin filming.
Set in a post-Civil War Arkansas circa 1886, the film follows a young black doctor who is summoned by his uncle to a remote town in the Ozarks only to discover upon his arrival that the Utopian paradise is not all that it seems to be.
The film is directed by Matt Glass and Jordan Wayne Long and the screenplay was written by Long, Tara Perry and Sean Anthony Davis. Tim Blake Nelson, who recently starred in HBO’s Watchmen, and David Arquette will both star and produce the film.
HCT Media consulted Dr. Charles Barber specifically on the COVID Rapid 19 testing. In addition to isolating and testing cast and crews, the production is enforcing social distancing and masks at all times. Other safety precautions include isolating the cast and crew together renting out an entire floor of a hotel, individually packaged food items, protective gear for makeup artists, and individual makeup kits for each actor. Crew are also wearing costumes to serve as extras to keep the least amount of people possible on set.
“I am pleased to welcome HCT Media back to Arkansas for the production of Ghosts of the Ozark,” Governor Hutchinson said. “This is one of the first films approved to resume production in Arkansas since the beginning of the COVID-19 public health emergency. I appreciate the dedicated efforts of the state and community partners who made this possible by creating a comprehensive action plan designed to prioritize the health and safety of the cast and crew. Today’s announcement demonstrates once again that Arkansas is open and ready for business.”
“As independent filmmakers, we know that we have to find a safe way back to filming in this new normal that will be here for years. This is a scary time, not only the state of the world, but financially for so many of our team who are freelancers and we want to support them as best we can. It’s the least we can do when they’ve had our backs for years. Our team is like family to us and our number one priority is keeping them safe and employed in these strange times,” said HCT Media’s Jordan Wayne Long, Matt Glass and Tara Perry.
THE GRADUATE— Author Charles Webb, whose first novel The Graduate inspired the 1967 film, died June 16 in Eastbourne, England of a blood condition, according to his friend, journalist Jack Malvern.
The Graduate was published in 1963, and was adapted into the Mike Nichols film starring Dustin Hoffman just four years later. The book and the film follow Benjamin Braddock, a young man who embarks on an affair with Mrs. Robinson (played by Anne Bancroft), the wife of his father’s business partner.
Webb claimed the story is based on his own experiences growing up in Los Angeles after graduating from an East Coast college. He said that the book is not autobiographical.
The film version was faithful to the book and won an Oscar. But Webb, an eccentric, did not bask in its glory, and earned just $20,000 from the film rights.
His later works included the novels The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker and New Cardiff, the later made into the 2003 romantic comedy Hope Springs.
Webb claimed no interest in wealth and materialism, donating much of his earnings and possessions, including what he said were “three or four houses.”
Along with his partner, Eve Rudd, with whom he had two children, he lived on the road for many years. They homeschooled their children and ran a nudist camp in New Jersey. Eve later changed her name to Fred in solidarity with a support group for men with low self-esteem. The couple divorced to protest US marriage laws, but stayed together. Rudd died last year.
Webb published a sequel to The Graduate in 2007. His Home School was written largely for the money, he claimed.
SHORT TAKES —BFA’s Zach Martin interviewed celebrity-scribe Mark Bego and Glen Campbell’s daughter, Debby, who Bego collaborated with on the book Life With My Father: Glen Campbell. Listen here:
Did you know that when PR-pasha David Salidor worked for Long Island’s Good Times magazine eons ago, his editors were Kurt Loder and David Fricke. Loder went onto much success with MTV and Rolling Stone, while Fricke is still a major writer for Stone.
Amazing! … I watched the Amazing Spider Man movie with Andrew Garfield yesterday, directed by Marc Webb and was amazed at how good Garfield was and how emotional it was. Emma Stone, as Stacey, was terrific as well. I was, in a word, astonished. Garfield did 2 movies as the masked web-crawler … both directed by Webb. Webb, by the way, also directed the first episode of the TV-drama Instinct: one of our faves with the great-Alan Cumming. Exemplary director … Lots of chatter about grunge-rockers Daeodon (John Torstrick and SamLeMay) and their new Forever Strangers album. Will a big label come along and re-release it?
Stay tuned … With law and order quickly becoming the defining issue in this year’s state general election, and quite possibly next year’s citywide elections, Guardian Angels Founder Curtis Sliwa abruptly changed course from endorsing State Sen. Andrew Gournardes (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park) two years ago and is now endorsing his opponent, Republican Vito Bruno. In a press conference outside the Bay Ridge subway entrance at 95th Street and Fourth Avenue, Sliwa said he felt bamboozled by Gounardes when he endorsed him two years ago – not so much because he opposed former State Sen. Marty Golden, but because he is for term-limits and felt Gounardes would do the right thing in representing the fairly conservative district. “In the last election, Andrew Gounardes used political tricknology on me. I was assured he cared about law and order and was not a de Blasio Democrat. He turned out to be even worse—he is an AOC Democrat. He voted for bail reform and stands with those that want to defund our police. Gounardes tweets and condemns any alleged police misconduct but is silent about looting and attacks on our cops,” said Sliwa, who reportedly had his jaw broken recently as he and other Guardian Angels protected shops from being looted during Black Lives Matters protests. My, a far cry for Bruno from producing events in Atlantic City and The Palladium and Tunnel here in NYC (via Kings County Politics) … RIP Milton Glaser.
NAMES IN THE NEWS: Brad Lebeau; Freda Payne; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Vic Kastel; Freddie Cannon; Allen Klein; Fred Goodman; Gene Cornish; Richard Branciforte; Barry Fisch; Barry Zelman; Gene Brunswick; Andrew Sandoval; Glenn Friscia; and, CHIP!
The Glorious Corner
HERE’S BEKKA — (from Rolling Stone) Bekka Bramlett grew up around John Lennon and George Harrison, but nothing could prepare her for joining Fleetwood Mac in 1994, during one of the rockiest periods in the band’s history.
The Bekka Bramlett incarnation of Fleetwood Mac released a single album, 1995’s Time, before dissolving the next year to make way for a lucrative Hells Freezes Over-style reunion album and tour by the classic Rumours lineup. This period of the band may seem like little more than a footnote to some rock fans, but it was a pivotal time for Bramlett, and she looks back on it without any regrets.
“I knew my job was to get Stevie back,” she tells Rolling Stone from her home in Nashville. “I wasn’t a moron. I also knew this was a dangerous job when I took it. I knew I was facing tomatoes. But I didn’t want to wear a top hat. I didn’t want to twirl around. I wanted to be me. I even dyed my hair brown just so people in the cheap seats would know that Stevie wasn’t going to be here. I didn’t want anyone to be discouraged or let down.”
Joining Fleetwood Mac at 26 would have been a shock to the system of most singers, but Bramlett had been living in close proximity to rock stars her entire life. When she was very young, her parents toured and recorded with George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and many other A-list rock stars, winning renown as Delaney & Bonnie and Friends. Those artists also spent a lot of time at her mansion in the Hollywood Hills.
Bramlett didn’t realize any of this was unusual until she boarded the school bus one morning gripping her Disney Princess lunchbox. “This other little girl had a Beatles lunchbox,” she says. “I said to her, ‘I know him. He’s on our couch right now.’ I pointed to George Harrison. ‘I know him too.’ I pointed to John. She started hitting me since she thought I was lying. I was petrified and confused. I thought they were just Daddy’s friends that had accents.”
When she was just four years old, her father recruited Bekka and her sister Suzanne to sing background vocals on his song “California Rain.” “My mom had to get some gaffer tape to keep the headphones on my head since I was so little,” she says. “I used to hate the way it sounds, and now I love it so much. It’s so endearing.”
Right around this time, her parents split up, and she went to live with her father and grandmother. “It was weird, since mostly the moms got the babies back then,” she says. “But my parents were alcoholics. My grandmother never even smoked cigarettes or said cuss words. She brought us to church every Sunday, Wednesday, and Monday. We were in safe hands with our grandmother. I think both of my parents trusted that.”
Delaney and Bonnie both struggled to find solo success in the Seventies, and they dealt with significant substance abuse issues, but Bekka inherited their talents, and she knew from a young age that she’d devote her life to music. “I briefly thought I’d be a lawyer, but I thought I’d be a singing lawyer,” she says. “Then I wanted to be a jockey since I love horses, but I thought I’d be a singing jockey. Music is just what I’m good at.”
As a teenager with a fake ID in the early Eighties, Bramlett spent many nights checking out bands on the Sunset Strip. “I remember standing on the side of the stage as Guns N’ Roses played,” she says. “Seeing it up close, I was like, ‘This is why you never try heroin.’ But then I’d go into the audience and be like, ‘This is why you join a rock & roll band!’”
SUCCESSION — (via Deadline) The Roys are back with a vengeance. The Season 4 premiere of Succession drew an audience of 2.3M on Sunday across HBO Max and linear telecasts, which is a series high for same-day viewers. Total viewing for Sunday night was up 62% compared to Season 3’s premiere viewership of 1.4M in October 2021. At the time, that marked the best premiere night performance of any HBO original series since HBO Max launched in May 2020. Sunday’s viewership is also up about 33% from the Season 3 finale’s 1.7M. Season 3 averaged about 7.2M viewers per episode, according to HBO.HBO also says that all previous seasons of succession saw a 4x increase in viewership in the week leading up to the Season 4 premiere, compared to the week prior.
The Roy family saga picks up as the sale of media conglomerate Waystar Royco to tech visionary Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) looms. The prospect of the seismic sale provokes existential angst and familial division among the Roys: patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox) and his four grown children, Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Siobhan (Sarah Snook), Roman (Kieran Culkin) and Connor (Alan Ruck). A hopefully Roy-esque power struggle will ensue as the family weighs up a future where their cultural and political weight is threatened.
Succession has 13 Emmys including Best Drama Series wins for its Season 2 and Season 3, the latter of which premiered in 2021.
We had mentioned earlier that most of the advance reviews said the writing was the star of the premiere episode and I definitely agree. Creator Jesse Armstrong wrote it and delivered just a stellar job. The episode began with a grumpy-Brian Cox at his birthday and took a few moments to develop into the powerhouse it has become, but it was very, very enjoyable.
Sure some of the dialogue and plot harked back to earlier episodes, but it’s so good, you hardly noticed. And the ending with Shiv and Tom, alone at at home and contemplating their futures, was just splendid and reeked of the amazing emotion the show almost always conjures up. A class act all around.
Variety confirmed this week, that the locale of the next White Lotus, from Mike White, will be Thailand. Now, if we could only get Jennifer Coolidge back … Congrats to New York Independenteditor Keith F. Girard on his second novel –
just out: The Curse of Northam Bay …PR-pasha David Salidor was interviewed by Charles Rosenay for Monkee Mania Radio … Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer open July 21 and it is indeed 3 hours.
It stars Cillian Murphy and the trailer looks rather stupendous. Check it out here:
The Mayor of Times Square Meets One of the World’s Oldest Holocaust Survivors
I arrived to a packed lecture room at a Library in South Florida. This lecture caught my eye weeks prior and I made sure to have it in my calendar. After all, how many more times will I get a chance to hear a 99 year old survivor tell his remarkable story of inconceivable hell, survival and ultimately impressive success? What I heard in the room that day was hard to fathom it wasn’t part of a Spielberg movie with some creative liberty thrown in to embellish an already unbelievable true story. This was the real deal. A vivid description of hell on earth. What I couldn’t understand is how did this survivor go on to create a vibrant family and a very successful business career and not be bitter every day of his life? Equally remarkable is how someone his age could tell a story from 85 years ago as if it happened yesterday and with energy and charisma of someone half his age. He spoke for 45 minutes without a break. Little did anyone in the audience know that, just prior to arriving at the Library, he fell and injured himself, making his perseverance in even making it to the Library even more heroic. This is no ordinary man. I approached the stage after the lecture, patiently awaited my turn to speak with him and asked if I could interview him for my podcast. I am pretty sure he knew little to nothing of what a podcast was, but he agreed as you are about to learn why telling his story over and over is his divine mission.
Sam Ron bears personal witness to the greatest atrocity in human history. He is one of the only remaining Holocaust Survivors his age who survived four concentration camps…and a Death March. He turns 99 in July. His story is remarkable…and he himself is equally as remarkable.
Here’s what you will learn when listening to this World Exclusive interview on The Motivation Show podcast:
-Where did Sam grow up and what was life like before the Germans invaded his country
-How life changed once the Germans invaded and how long did the changes take
-Why and when did Sam and his family decide to go into hiding and where did he hide
-How did Sam end up in the Krakow Ghetto, how was it different than the infamous Warsaw Ghetto, and what took place in the Ghetto
-When did Sam first realize that the Germans were not just transporting Jews to what they disguised as labor camps, but were actually killing them.
-How many times was Sam transported in cattle cars and what was that like
-Which concentration camps was Sam in & what were they like
-What was life like in the concentration camps and why did they move Sam around to different camps
-What is a Death March, why and how did that happen and how did Sam survive it
-What lessons should listeners take away from Sam’s experience
-What does Never Again mean to Sam and why is it so important for him to share this and other Holocaust lessons
You can listen to this interview on any podcast listening app or use this Spotify link: https://open.spotify.com/episode/3KBPe9jhTdYw1iA9UN7UiK WARNING: This interview is GUARANTEED to move you to tears!!!
Inside The PR Brain
For PR-guru David Salidor, late-February proved to be as hectic a week in his 40+-year career as ever. With client Micky Dolenz in tow; Monday night was The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon; Tuesday held four different interviews at SiriusXM; later that night was the premiere for actor Willem Dafoe’s new movie Inside; and, Wednesday held an early spot back at NBC for NY LIVE with host Sara Gore.
For the music industry veteran, it was the latest chapter in a career that was sealed back in 1967 at Long Island’s Lido Beach Club when he saw a new group, The Who: Says Salidor, “My father who worked for Decca Records asked if I wanted to accompany him and go see a new group the company had just signed. Believe it or not, it was The Who, playing around the club’s swimming pool. It was unlike anything I had ever seen; Keith Moon with day-glow drumsticks and Townshend literally destroying his guitar at the end of the set. For me, that was it, this business was for me.”
Salidor also worked for the legendary My Father’s Place club in Roslyn, New York, that launched everyone from Bruce Spingsteen, to Todd Rundgren and Hall & Oates. “If The Who whet my appetite, My Father’s Place solidified my journey,” Salidor adds.
His first job out of college (where he was music director the college-station) was for the much-missed London Records. “All of a sudden, I was working with the Rolling Stones and Moody Blues, Al Green and Gilbert O’Sullivan. I was the new kid in town, but learned about everything all at once. I was doing ad layouts, writing press releases and taking the artists to radio stations. It was a trial by fire for sure, but I loved it,” adds Salidor.
He went onto to work for other labels like Atlantic and the PR-firm the Howard Bloom Organization, which at the time was the hottest pr-firm in the country, with clients including Billy Joel; Prince; Genesis. Genesis stands out for him. “It was right when Peter Gabriel left the band and there was a tour which I went on. Imagine every night not only seeing a terrific show, but also a dazzling visual show. No question, they were the tops at that point,” he says.
He also formed a relationship with Tom Silverman – then running a very influential tip-sheet called Dance Music Report. He and Silverman, who was also his first and only partner for a spell, went onto create the New Music Seminar, which became a focal point for all the new labels and artists to network. Adds Salidor, “That first event was held at SIR Studios in NY and everyone who was anyone attended. It’s funny now to recall that we started it because we couldn’t get properly accredited for the Billboard Music Forum, which was then the featured industry event in the business; but really neglected the up-and-coming acts and labels.”
A two-year stint with indie ZE Records was also a fascinating run. “This was during the burgeoning new-wave/no-wave movement and I just loved it. Kid Creole & The Coconuts; Cristina; Material; Suicide ; james White and the Blacks and it introduced me to the The Mudd Club, which became an instant favorite.”
A life-long association with August Darnell and his Kid Creole & The Coconuts began as well. “August is without a doubt one of the most creative artists I’ve ever worked with, Totally unique.”
He decided to start his own firm in 1984. He adds, “I learned very quickly that working for someone else is a double-edge sword. If a good campaign happens, the head of the firm gets the credit; if the campaign doesn’t work, you get called on the carpet.”
His first success via his dis Company was with Profile Record’s Run-DMC. “Profile was an amazing label back then. Cory Robins was one of the premiere music guys and had a prescient nuance. Together we got Run-DMC on the cover of Rolling Stone and made them a major marquee attraction. They started the whole urban, hip-hop era. I know it was a long time ago, but they were the first along with Kurtis Blow. No question.”
The next big project to come his way was with a 15-year-old from Merrick, Long Island, named Debbie Gibson. “This was something I had never encountered before; a performer who wrote her own music; produced it and had just an engaging personality. Needless to say, she was a smash. Tours, videos, hit singles followed. Totally engaging and creative. I remember being in Bremen, Germany, when I sat with her at a piano and she played me her entire second album … that hadn’t even been recorded or released yet. Totally amazing talent,” adds Salidor.
Also, a life-long association with celebrity-scribe Mark Bego began. Called the “prince of pop bios” by Publisher’s Weekly. 62-books later, their relationship continues to this day. Bego will be releasing a bio on Joe Cocker later this year via Yorkshire Publishing – also a client.
Bego would go on to pen several books on Salidor’s clients; including Debbie Gibson and Madonna. Also, Bego wrote the authorized bio on Micky Dolenz (I’m A Believer) in 1993 and Salidor set up a launch party at NYC Hard Rock Cafe. That was the first time Salidor met Dolenz,which foreshadowed a Dolenz/Salidor PR-connection down the road.
He was also involved with Madonna in her early stages. “Madonna was always a star. You could just feel it. Repping her then boyfriend and producer John Benitez was key. She and I would constantly discuss pr and together we accomplished a lot. Signing her to Seymour Stein’s Sire was a major move for her.”
Salidor also recalls repping a number of prominent DJs turned producers as well, including Jim Burgess; Arthur Baker; Shep Pettibone and Mark Berry. Remembering, “It was an interesting time; people today forget the amazing contributions they made to music. Pettibone’s production and writing of ‘Vogue’ is still a gem to this day.”
Amid so much success, Salidor also recalls the low-points of a career. “When a client leaves after so much success, there’s certainly a mourning period, but it’s also part of the business. Loyalty is a word that gets thrown around a lot, but is not as evident as one would assume in this business. I just read where a major music personality personally delivered tour bonuses to his road crew. In all my years, I’ve never heard of something like that happening … never. Loyalty and professionalism are rare, rare traits.”
Gibson and Profile would eventually leave his purview; although he worked for Gibson on many of her other endeavors.
In 2004 Salidor met Micky Dolenz and they began working together. “No shade to former clients, but Micky is the most professional client we’ve ever had. Certainly, growing up in the family business, as I had, had everything to do with it. Last year Dolenz did a sit-down with CBS Morning’s Anthony Mason which was sensational. Mason, a fan, did a no-holds barred interviews that was universally embraced by not only Dolenz’s huge fanbase, but by other PR-persons as well, which is always an interesting development – having other experts compliment you!” Salidor recalls.
“When you set a campaign up, three things can happen. #1, everything goes well and it’s a smash. #2: It doesn’t go well, and, #3. It happens, but there’s no feedback. The reality is that sometimes, even bad feedback is good. It’s a funny business, but your reputation, contacts and experience is key.”
Regrets … he’s had a few: “There was a jazz/rock/fusion band that made some terrific records, on SONY of all places and though they had a #1 jazz album, they just did not get the respect that they should have had. I love jazz and watching them perform live was just great. The powers-that-be there had their own ideas, which weren’t at all realistic.”
And, “When Debbie Gibson was a hit, every parent that had a child who they thought could sing called us. 99% of them didn’t have it. Talent, success, know-how … it’s something that I’ve always been able to recognize. We’ve worked with several young female-singers, but they just didn’t have the right people in place. One from New Jersey had her father paying for everything, but doing exactly what he wanted and he just didn’t have any idea about the business. He installed solar heating panels!”
Continues Salidor, “Management is key and finding the right one is often not easy; there are a lot of people who profess to be a manger and they’re clearly not. Organizing a campaign is a lot of meticulous work; knowing what the client is capable of is key too. Being a PR-person is akin in some ways to being a closet-psychiatrist – you’ve got to know your limitations. That NYC-week with Micky Dolenz was prodigious because I knew exactly what would work and I knew how well he’d perform.”
Salidor is also currently repping involved writer Terry Jastrow (Anne Archer’s husband); Donnie Kehr’s Rockers on Broadway and writer C.W. Hanes.
What does Salidor see in his future. “Certainly, more of the same. Identifying the talent and trying to develop it to the point of releasing it in the most effective way. Many of my peers say the music business has changed and not for the better. I disagree as there are more opportunities for music and musical artists than ever before. bring it on!
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