Transcript:

Speaker So high prices. How are you? Um, let's just start with telling you, telling us how you got started in this business, in the music business and in the wrecking of our business.

Speaker OK, um.

Speaker I was originally an architect and I was sort of frustrated, I was wearing a three piece suit and bow ties and sneaking to get high, you know, which was at that time it was a crime, sort of like murder. And through doing that, I designed a house for Mama Cass of the Mamas and Papas, and she invited me to do a cover for the Mamas and Papas, which because she liked my eye and all that, and I didn't know anything about doing artwork or printing or any of those things, which, as it turns out, was a benefit in the end because I did things whatever I wanted without no concern if it could be done or not.

Speaker And from there, it was like I threw away my suit and like here were all these young people having a great time and, like, smoking pot, you know, and making a lot of bread. And I thought, wow was like paradise. And they were all loving each other. And there was all this wonderful music going on. And I was a part of it suddenly from and by that time, I was 10 years older than everybody. I had already served a stint in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. And I had been like a heroin addict and I had been to prison and I was like this old soul, you know? And here are these kids who accepted me. So it was really a beautiful thing. And here I am 40 years later with this in Laurel Canyon. Well, I lived in the flats in West Hollywood, but I'm from Southern California, so I knew the city and I didn't hang out much. But it was around Sunset Strip, you know, and the whole scene that was happening and the whiskey and all that and that whole Laurel Canyon scene was it was pretty amazing.

Speaker You know, I paint a picture for us of Laurel Canyon at that time.

Speaker Well, Mama Cass was kind of like the Gertrude Stein of that time. And we're Gertrude Stein had painters. These were in her house was like a salon where you meet. Anybody would know who it could be. And so a lot of time was spent in her house. Everybody kind of Crosby and Neil and, you know, Simon and Garfunkel and just, you know, a whole mix of people because she was from the East Coast and knew all the people there. And then she knew because she was early on in the game, people from London, where she had played with the Mamas and Papas and then the whole West Coast scene. And so that was a place where people congregate. That's where Crosby, Stills and Nash formed when Graham and was still in The Hollies and Crosby had been kicked out of The Byrds and Stephen Buffalo Springfield had broken up.

Speaker And so in her house, the phone call was made to coax him to leave the houses and join us. And so it was that was a family, a big family thing and some drugs, but peaceful and sweet drugs. Not not the other stuff came later, you know, and it was just a lot of spirited giving and receiving and people making great art. And it was a beautiful thing. Totally.

Speaker And lots of different artists lived and work.

Speaker Yes, they did.

Speaker It's that that little area of Laurel Canyon, even back in the 20s and earlier even, it was like a wooded area in the middle of town when Hollywood was, you know, dirt roads and stuff. But like people like Tom Mix at his house there, Houdini had his house there and a lot of people living there. And it sort of has that spirit that attracts, I think, are artistic types who are in the city and would prefer to have a more spiritual environment. And so, yeah, like Jim Morrison lived there, most of the Eagles lived there. Johnny lived there. Elliot Roberts lived there. Jackson Browne, the, you know, Frank Zappa on and on. You know, so it was like all these people and there was community then and later on it changed and people were very protective of what was theirs when it became a big money thing. But originally it was just a very open sharing, good experience for everybody, you know. And here I was in the middle of all that, you know, just how cool is that? Lucky. I was way lucky and blessed.

Speaker Now, what David told me that this is the scene that he when he left New York, as I understand it, Elliot.

Speaker Calling him and saying there's a bank cropping up on every street corner, you've got to come out here, and that's the scene he walked into. Yes. Tell us about meeting David the first time.

Speaker I think that I met him first, either through Krosby, maybe through David Crosby or perhaps through Elliot. I'm not really entirely certain, but David was pretty young. He was probably in his 20s at the time. Is that about when he came from New York? I think. And he was working, as I remember it was it's I see him, but it was called something else in those days, C.M.A maybe or something like that. And and I used I lived right down the road from there. So once I met him and knew him, it was not unusual that I would walk down and hang out in that building because that agency was loosening up like everything was loosening up at that time. And so you could go and just hang out and talk, you know. And as I remember, I met him first there and I liked him. I always liked him. You know, even when we were adversaries, I couldn't help loving him, you know, because I really get him in a way that the younger guys really didn't, because I had a sense of business from having been in a professional job. And I knew that there were people who did things that contributed to artistic endeavors, who weren't artists at all. You know, they were maybe frustrated artists, but they were the other side of the coin. But they were equally essential to things happening in architecture. And then David's role in the music business, you know, talk about that role. How would you describe his role? Well, it's like if you want to go coast to coast, it's really better if you have a paved road to drive on. And so David was the guy who made the road and paved it and made not many bumps. And if there were, he would smooth them out so that people could get from where they were to where they wanted to be. And it was it's a major contribution. You know, it's like it's like the church and the Renaissance or it's like, you know what I mean? It's like somebody has got to do that job. And when they do and they do it in a very concentrated way like David did, it's like a renaissance and flourish. Things happen, you know, and they wouldn't happen. They would be more random and less effective if they didn't have that element in a way, you know, when they're in balance. And and initially in the early days, the artists were the weight was more heavily on their side and the business people were kind of like knocking at the door. And then, of course, it changed. And look where we are now. It's like it's pretty out of balance the other way, you know? But anyway, I always I always got David in that way and knew that he had a big role to play. And sure enough, he did.

Speaker Are there people who want to talk about his relationship with the artist that he was involved with at that time?

Speaker Was he hanging out with them, you know, as much as they would, letting you have the sense that he was a little bit, you know, knows that the window going, let me let me in.

Speaker Yeah, he was very much he was very much like someone on the outside who really wanted to be in on the inside. And and there were there were incidences of a dark manifestation of the people who thought of him in a certain way, you know, but for the most part, it was like sort of good natured, you know, the photograph of David with the rose in his mouth and his shirt is all wet and he's all wet. That was this illustrates how he he wanted to hang out all the time, not all the time, but he wanted to hang out with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and one day and he would come and he would sort of maybe pontificate or he would he would be very opinionated. And sometimes that would rattle people or would piss them off. And one time he was on like a rant of some kind. And and when he was that Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young House where they were recording and they picked him up and threw him and just threw him in and nobody said a word.

Speaker They just tossed him in the pool and he made something out of the Sehbai. In the end, he came out. He had put the rose in his mouth, you know, so it all worked out.

Speaker But that was sort of the spirit that was pretty good natured, you know, doing that. And he had you know, he he would come down on people and things as well, you know? I mean. He was on a path and he would remove obstacles or smooth the road.

Speaker He describes it that he wanted every single one of these artists that believed him to become a star.

Speaker He totally did. And they absolutely and make money. Absolutely.

Speaker I'm just curious about this, because I know it's given that given that he was the same age as everybody else, you know, that why is he not completely embraced?

Speaker Because he was he was, first of all, not an artist in a recognizable way. I think he was I to get something. David was not an artist in a recognizable way, but he had an artist's soul and he wanted to connect like that. And and but the nature of what he had to contribute was not something that young hip artists would embrace because it was the man in a way, you know, and I'm sure David hated being the man, but that was his role. And he played it very, very well. And so I don't know that people accept it unless they were adversaries. People would understand that. And certainly all those artists got it. Rather, they liked it or not. They might not have liked having to sign their life away in a way, a not sign their life away to somebody else. On the other hand, a lot of people, that's just what they wanted and. It's a little bit like Foust you know, it's like if you turn your soul over to somebody else and they make decisions that are not not necessarily the most moral or the most kind or that sort of thing, even if you're not the one doing it, if the person you assign to do it does it weighs on you, you know, and that is a weight, I think that people who are in the business side of the arts are by the very nature of their role. They do things like that in order to be successful, in order to make it work. And it weighs on their souls. And if they're an artistic soul inside of a business man's body, it's got to be a hard row to hoe. I mean, I really think. Just as a man and just as a as somebody in the world, a warrior in the world, I have to salute guys who do that, even if I don't agree with what they do or how they do, how they get where they're going. And I respect it.

Speaker Can you think of any specific examples, what you talk about here?

Speaker Mean that not that I would share with you, but I know I'll give you a personal example.

Speaker I was working with an artist and and it was something that I really wanted to do in a bad way. And I was very invested in doing it and. Things changed and I was a young, volatile guy and, you know, an ex killer Marine, and I was ready to go to the office and shoot David and Elliot both for what it was like, not because they did anything, but they were the messengers, you know, and and finally, my wife talked me out of taking the gun and I went and then I was going to throw them out the window of the building. And there were a couple of young artists sitting in there. And when I stormed in, it was like they were like to know what was going on, this crazy person, you know, but it wasn't directed at him, although it was very much directed at him because he had the job of being the face on that decision that I didn't want to hear.

Speaker So that's an example of.

Speaker Did.

Speaker I mean, everybody was really young, including David, including David. Yeah, and.

Speaker New, I think certainly you can be apprised of your Nash of Stills or Young or Joni and not know how talented you are, and they believed in themselves. Yes, but they didn't really know, did they? I mean, I'm not how to get an answer from you.

Speaker No, they didn't they didn't know how to do that more. I think more importantly, if you are in that place and you have this, you're gifted in that way and you have those powers that everybody else recognises. Yes. You have to recognize them and believe them and put it across. But it's also like it's a very much a burden and something that you're not all that sure about all the time. Maybe you're full. Maybe maybe you don't really. Maybe you've tricked these people into. And so. Yeah, I sort of lost the thread, I was going to say at the end there, but but it's very powerful, you know, having that power, you know, being like I count among my friends, a lot of people who have that power and some people can handle it. But only to a certain degree, I don't know anybody who is perfect in handling that power, the money, the fame, all that, I think, you know, it's like it gets you it's very it's like eats you up, you know, look what happens. And fast you. The devil gets his due in the end, you know, and it's David helped a lot of people who were carrying that burden and he took over. He he mothered them. He nurtured them in a very family way. You know, our whole scene was very family and he had a big role. He was the dad to a lot of people. And it was not a good probably not a pleasant job all the time. But he did a good job of taking care of his people. And he really did take it very personally. He was very invested in those guys having everything they want. And the problem was it required paying some dues to get there. And he was the one leading them to do that. And they didn't always like doing that. You know, they wanted the goods, but they didn't want to pay for it.

Speaker You know, when you met him, was he was he still managing or nearly.

Speaker Yeah, I actually made it all through my career. I know pretty much every opportunity in the early days that I had was as a result of David being my patron, you know, and putting him in these places. And I did a cover for Laura Nyro.

Speaker I called it the coffee maker.

Speaker That's why David was so, so and so the client that when I first met David David had Laura Nyro as a client and Elliott had Joni and Neil as clients. And that was certainly now we know was the basis for an empire. You know, and I never I was familiar with Laura Niros music, but I had never met her because she lived in New York and I lived there. And what David did for me is he was my patron. He he made sure that I had an opportunity to create art for all the music projects. And he was doing at one point I did everything that David was doing and Laura Nyro being one of them. And she was like, we became very good friends. In fact, I can show you something that she gave me as a little Tiffany Cook file. And I mean, it was very beautiful that she had and she came out and spent time in Malibu hanging out. And I would say that she was maybe the most poetic of all the artists that I've ever met the most. Like her, her chest was wide open and her heart was beating inside there. And she didn't care. She had the power to show you that.

Speaker And yeah.

Speaker And I just like Laura Nyro was like, ready. Yeah. So so Laura Nyro was the most deeply poetic spirit that I've ever encountered in my life. Maybe just like her feelings were so raw and she was so in touch with life and it was not easy and she was heroic. She was a warrior woman, you know, she was very powerful. But at the same time, she was incredibly fragile, you know, and vulnerable and didn't think she had the power. Yeah. And David was a perfect match for that, you know, because he was as deeply poetic in a way into what he did. And she was so it was like a marriage in a way, and it was heavy duty. And I'm glad I got to know her. And it's sad that she left. But she left a lot of beautiful poetry, you know, I'd say her and Jim Morrison, and very similar, although maybe they appear to be quite different, very similar in the depth of their spirits, you know, and their vote, their openness to life and wanting their appetite for experience. Yeah, very interesting.

Speaker Did you spend time with David more together? Did you were you with them when they were probably no.

Speaker I think that when they hung out, that was them hanging out, you know, and when Laura and I hung out, that was us hanging out.

Speaker Yeah. Do you do you know what happened in that relationship?

Speaker Yeah, sort of, and I don't think it's anything that. I wouldn't know how to express it in a way that would be cool, unfair to everybody, you know what I mean?

Speaker Well, I mean, David's talked very openly about it, that, you know, he started asylum and he had announced that she was going to go with his label and very proud of it because she said she would and then she changed her mind. Yes, it was a big blow for him, a huge blow. We have cried their tears and nothing's hurt me as much as my whole life is that you don't. But do you have any insight into why she might have done that?

Speaker It's hard to say it's because she was she had a very soft, weak kind of side to her.

Speaker Maybe somebody influenced her to somebody else. I don't really know. But that's possible. Or maybe she just because she was a very at the same time, she was deep and sweet and all that. She was also very volatile. You know, she was she was carrying that big load. And so she had a lot of power. And who knows, maybe she woke up one day and and thought that he was getting too much or more than her or wouldn't let her do something or anything.

Speaker Hard to say, really. You'd have to be one of those two people to know what really happened.

Speaker I don't I can't imagine.

Speaker Made her name there.

Speaker Yeah, we did that for a lot of people. He was the millionaire maker.

Speaker This is you know, I don't know whether this is true or not. So and you might not know the answer to this, but I got all the answers. She was a very odd looking woman. And as David described, she used to wear Christmas ornaments as earrings and they know. When she finally did, the Carnegie Hall concert was kind of a really pared down, elegant look. Yeah. You know, just the black and the red rose on the piano. Right. Did they make up anything to do with that, with the red rose?

Speaker I don't really know. But it was a big element. It was a big part of her, her image, you know. And I always thought of her as kind of a gypsy, like she was everything Stevie Nicks wanted to be, you know, and in a very magical, deep, poetic way. It wasn't just the clothes. It was the person wearing the clothes and the how she presented herself. I thought she was beautiful.

Speaker I know I'm just such a huge Marinaro family, and I just feel there's such power rah rah yet about her that says a good thing about you, Susan.

Speaker But. David and Lauren seems like an almost incongruous combination, really.

Speaker Yeah, and really to me, it seems perfectly symmetrical. It's like, you know, claiming that your pieces fit, you know, and which is it's a very I see this a lot in bands where you have powerful people who are on their own, are powerful, complete people. And for one reason or another, they become a part of a band, which becomes this democracy in a way. And it's hard to handle. It's hard to handle the power of what makes you make great music. To put that up against somebody else is very difficult to make that mesh, you know, because they keep on. Like, the power comes from the friction.

Speaker You know, Neal and Stephen, same thing. Don Henley and Glenn Frey, you know, on and on. It's a tough deal to be in a band.

Speaker Well, with opinions about this, with the fact that David was involved with Borra, did that attract other artists to him?

Speaker Yeah, but I don't think so much so with the West Coast people, but certainly it gave him credibility, you know, but. Yeah, and all these people talk to each other and know each other. And so if you're Laura Niros Guy and you're somebody and you can talk to people who might not talk to you otherwise, you know, but. Went both ways, maybe people thought, oh, David Geffen's your manager. Well, I mean, who knows?

Speaker So you were there at the very beginning of and Robert's management.

Speaker Yeah, I could show you the letterhead.

Speaker When? So describe that relationship.

Speaker It was my I was my first. I was going to say it was a marriage of convenience, but it was way more than that. It was, again, Eliot and David, they they mesh perfectly because there's a lot of the job of of being a manager and an agent that one party or other may not want to do. You know, I mean, David didn't hang out and smoke pot all day. You know, we all did, including Eliot, you know, and it was good. That's what people did, you know. And at same time, I mean, Elliott's a businessman, a good businessman. But there were meetings when he didn't what he wanted to have this fringe jacket on. He didn't want to go and present himself in a suit and be the front man. You know, David could do that. So it was good. I think it's evidenced by what they accomplished, you know, and how they both how they both are to this day, true to who they are, to their roles in life. You know, Eliot is like the manager of all managers is the artist guy. David is everything we know David to be. So they both succeeded and continue to have to get something to drink. Would you mind handing me one of those bottles in the refrigerator? There will be easier in the beginning. And he would have done.

Speaker And you thank you in it's wisdom.

Speaker It's you know, it's it's interesting to me. Like, I, I truly am a guy who went from through the 60s and 70s and I don't remember a lot of stuff. But when somebody asked me and I started talking about it, I start thinking about what do they think they need to remember?

Speaker You were there, right?

Speaker I mean, you mean before you I'm curious about how you got from being a Marine and a heroin addict to architecture, because I was always an artist, but I was born of my family, were very straight and they were ranchers in Southern California, citrus ranchers. And I was a weirdo. You know, I was the odd kid. I had six brothers and sisters and I didn't get along with any of them. I didn't get along with my mom over love to me. And my father didn't know how to love me. And so it made me like an oddball, you know, like so I joined the Marine Corps when I was 16. I made my mother sign that I was seventeen, signed the papers and I got out of there. I never looked back, sadly, you know. So as a result, I've always tried to be a good father and a family guy because I know what I missed here. And I don't I don't dislike my dad. It's just in those days, my fathers didn't hug their sons. You know, they they say that and it's the truth. They really didn't. You pass to lie? I'm sorry. You no. They died quite a long time ago.

Speaker They'd be 100 years old by now.

Speaker You talk like that. Well, well, it's not like I can like it's not like he's not sitting here talking to you on some level.

Speaker What was it like? I mean, that nobody's given us a really good description of what it was a day in the life of the building. You know, the Gaffin Roberts. I mean, it must've been a lot of fun. There was. Can you kind of paint a picture for.

Speaker Yeah.

Speaker The first the first Gaffin Roberts office was in a building on La Cienega Boulevard, and just like La Cienega Boulevard in the 50s and 60s, was where all the art galleries were. And every Monday night they would have gallery night and people would flow up and down La Cienega Boulevard going into the galleries and stuff. And there was this building called the Clear Thoughts Building that was owned by this old woman who was sort of a spiritual kind of woman. I don't remember a lot about her, but a lot of people wound up in that building. David and and Elliot had a little tiny office upstairs that was paneled by some hippie carpenter guys with Redwood. And so it looked kind of homey, you know, down home. And coincidentally, I was cutting a film about Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young that I had made a documentary downstairs. And next to where I was cutting was Jim Morrison cutting his film. And in the front of the building on La Cienega was Jim's wife, Pam, her clothing store. And so it was this all this energy was right there and this one little building and it was humming. And here was David, who was sort of like, you know, I'm trying to remember if he wore t shirts a lot, probably. And and he was like this little pencil thin kind of dude and Elliott. And he was very high energy. And he was he was he not he was well turned out, you know, in a way that other people were not everybody was trying to be as unwell turned out as possible, including Elliott, who his thing was the fringed jacket. You know, the letterhead that I did for Gaffin Roberts was an image, a drawn image of this little room with beautiful, like paper on the wall and a plant hanging. And there was two hands in the left of the frame. One was an arm sticking in with the fringe jacket and the other was like a cashmere sweater. And they were like, welcome you in. And there was a couch there. And, you know, it was it was the office, you know, in this one frame. And you could type right over this before computers. So he would type letters, but you could type right over that image. But that was pretty much how it was, you know.

Speaker Do you have some of that letterhead here? Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Speaker But it does it is it says kind of like what the office was about. So that was their first office. And it was you know, it was as big as this room was a little bigger. It was very small. It was just a desk. I don't think there was like another office. I think it was just one room, if I remember correctly. And, you know, it maybe there was a back room. I think there was an office. Come to think of it, it was very small and it would be packed. And they always had pretty secretaries, which was a magnet for the guys to come and hang out and hit on the girls, you know, and. It was like it was a it was the heart of everything that you hear about that period. The family of love and peace and everybody, it was all that in this little room. And and you can see anybody there. Neil would come by Steven, David, Graham, Joni, and they'd just be hanging out and we'd sit around and smoking and talk and listen to music and just hang out and go to get lunch, maybe meet in the morning for breakfast. And people, you know, they would spend the whole day just hanging out, you know, doing whatever, going to antique stores.

Speaker The people taking pictures of all this.

Speaker Yeah, actually, Henry Henry has some and Joel Bernstein has some probably late a little later because he he kind of came on the scene later. He was like a teenage kid at the time. Know, but not enough. But there are some there are shots of in that little office of I think of both David and Elliot in there. And you can get a sense of what it looks like for sure. And then when that when things started happening in the scale of the business was succeeding and everything got grander, then they moved up on the sunset to the building where after that David bought the building and it was Geffen Records. But initially it was just a slight step up from the little office. It was in the bottom corner of a building that was owned by Hoagy Carmichael. And I used to see him walking around because he lived in an apartment upstairs. And none of these other guys, they didn't maybe David, they had no idea who this guy was, you know? And I'm going, who? Hoagy Carmichael, man. And we. And so it became that was weird that he was there of all people, because he was certainly he might not have known it. He probably didn't like the hippies there, but he was in the spirit for sure. But anyway, everybody would come hang out small talk. David would make a few deals on the phone. Elliott would be setting up a tour. You know, they would people would flow in and out. Different people would come by. It was it was a great place, man.

Speaker It sounds absolutely wonderful.

Speaker And David was sort of I have to say, David was kind of like he was not amused sometimes by the goings on in his office, you know, but he he he he handled it.

Speaker What what would not amused him?

Speaker Just people hanging out and smoking pot and, you know, not really doing things and getting things done, you know, or getting in his way when he wanted to make phone calls or something important he had to think about. And don't disturb me, you know, but in a kind way.

Speaker Why do you think he was not part of the drug scene?

Speaker Because I don't think he would be willing to surrender himself in that way. I think he needs to have his hands on the wheel and his eyes on the road at all times, I think. And I don't that's not a bad thing. That was just what his job required, you know, in the same way that our job required us smoking pot and hanging out and having a good time.

Speaker What was going on with I mean, asylum work is only lasted two years for four days or so, and during that time, Crosby, Stills Nash had some of their biggest hits and then they also fell apart.

Speaker Right. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Speaker Well, also, I mean, one asylum record is I think of it as being this hit factory in a way.

Speaker I mean, if you think about the artists who came together under that label and the music they made and the money that was generated by all of that, I mean, impressive man, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Crosby, Stills, Nash, Crosby, Stills, Nash Young, Jackson Browne, the Eagles, David blueD, Laura Nyro, almost. You know, I mean, it's like that's very powerful. Imagine just that's what that's your stable of artists. Now look back on it and imagine what that was.

Speaker What do you think? I mean, this is a hard question to answer because obviously something in the time was right. I was there for the singer songwriter movement. Right. They've been songwriters before. Record companies, you know. But what made if you can, maybe you can't. What is impossible to talk about? What made that? What was what coalesced for that movement to happen at that time? And everybody was there. Was pretty phenomenal. Do you have any ideas about it? And thought, hmm, that's a big question.

Speaker That's a big question. I well, there was songwriters like Tin Pan Alley and then sort of heading towards rock and roll. There was Goffin and King and the people in the Brill Building that was called, you know, there was that movement sort of that was kind of moving from the old days of, you know, Tin Pan Alley towards this. And then those people started flowering and then people all turned on, tuned in.

Speaker And there was a need for a lot of music and music led the way. It was music that how people communicate. That's how people in all parts of the country, all parts of the world talk to each other is through these people who were there, their icons and who entertain them deeply and spoke for the times. And so our people had to write the poetry and give the directions of like how we're where we're going next. The Beatles would give you an advice. Now, this is going to happen not exactly like that, but sort of like that. And these bands, there were a lot of poets came together to fill the need. And great riding man. Wow.

Speaker Do you think, David, how did David, it's hard for some of these questions, like, do you think he he he loved the music totally.

Speaker I think David is a big music lover. I think. I think probably and he may not agree with this, but I think even in front of his own ambitions, it was he was there for the music. You know, I I truly believe that. And I think probably got in his way sometimes to get what I mean, because he would have to be in the interest of doing what he was doing, his business things sometimes that didn't always coincide with the best interests of the music, you know.

Speaker I don't know.

Speaker Well, I'm very happy to hear that you say that, don't you think so? Oh, I mean, I do think so.

Speaker I've seen him dance when I was a good dancer. Yeah. I'm just looking to see what I have covered here. I mean, I'm planning to go. I think you've talked about this burgeoning rock scene explosion of the culture, anti-war, how is it affecting music?

Speaker Well, I'd like to say something about like about the war and what was going on. I have an interest. I have a unique perspective on the anti-war movement and all that. And it was because I was a child during World War two and I was completely propagandized by every movie, every song, every image I ever saw. And being a person as a kid who was tuned into everything, I really got a big dose of that.

Speaker And I used to dress up when I was like 12 years old or something. He put uniform at Tarin Kowt and I couldn't wait to serve because I bought the ticket. You know, I believe with all that, you know.

Speaker And so I joined the Marine Corps, went through that whole experience and then came to rock and roll. And here was the dichotomy of what I had always invested my life in being a patriot, being, you know, being a Marine. And here were these people who were totally against that and the Korean War during the Korean War, the attitude of the American people, how they dealt with veterans and how they dealt with war and people who were warriors.

Speaker It was a huge shift from it being everybody being behind it. And the people would take you home to dinner because you had your uniform on during the Korean War. That changed. They even they didn't they couldn't call it a war even they called it a police action, which was disheartening because there were people dying, you know, in fighting a war.

Speaker And then it became very distasteful, I think, to people.

Speaker The idea of war and the hippie movement, the what he called the baby boomers, that volume of energy and people who were swayed by the idea of not going to war totally changed everything. And here I was, a guy who I saw both sides you and I went for. Yeah, don't have war because I knew what that meant and. And it was suddenly here I was like, I mean, doing things against all that, I love being against the government, I never had a problem with that, but against war. And that really I feel that in those times, these people that we're talking about, along with other people, had a big a lot to do with stopping that war and changing people's minds about war.

Speaker And along with everything else, with all the social changes and the freedoms that were granted, I think that I feel very proud to have been a part of stopping that or creating the mood so that people would want to stop it, you know. So I believe that, yeah, David was there in his way. He wasn't on the picket line, but he allowed the artists to do shows that, you know, and he would fight for them, for them saying things that were not too popular with the guys who owned the companies.

Speaker Yeah, definitely the whole counterculture movement. Yeah.

Speaker You know, isn't that funny that a guy like David, just Medici Prince, landed in the hippie movement?

Speaker Funny is that and he made it work, but he didn't spread it from the streets of Brooklyn. Yeah, I know.

Speaker But, you know, he landed in a very fertile place and, you know, recognized early on.

Speaker Yeah. But to his credit, there were a lot of other people in his field far more experienced and supposedly in on their case, didn't get it.

Speaker And there are a lot of people that probably look down their nose, David, because he was a proponent of it, you know, was he says, you know, I mean, that's when he decided to start asylum.

Speaker And he's a pretty big story. He went on to try to get to sign Jackson Browne and he wasn't interested. But he's going to make you a lot of money. And obviously, I got enough money to start your own label and you make a lot of.

Speaker That's right. Give him good advice.

Speaker But David says, quite honestly, it was genius on our part. Know, we knew that these people were really talented and other people did not want to sign them.

Speaker So they started this company called Asylum's.

Speaker Had a reason for the day, but, you know, it went both ways because all of these artists were looking for a daddy or someone to take care of them or somebody to do the things they couldn't do so that they could do what they do do. And that when I did the logo for asylum, when it started, it was it was this door in the sky that was partially open. And inside was an Indian miniature painting of paradise. And that was sort of what what it was all about. It was meant to be like you found asylum the same as the greeting hands walking you into the office. And they did offer asylum.

Speaker Today, we have to talk to you about what kind of record company he wanted it to be.

Speaker Well, I think, you know, we all we knew sort of what it would want to be. Yeah, I think it evolved out of what what he was doing, what Eliot was doing with all the artists were doing it. It was a logical thing to happen, you know.

Speaker You think there's any truth to the story that one time he was sitting in a sauna with me, was never wanted Saddam to be bigger than the people that can sit in this Senate?

Speaker I think I've heard that story from several different people, different perspectives on that story. And David, David, sonna was was a well-known meeting place. Right.

Speaker Which we have yet to find. Anybody was actually in the sauna. So maybe. Maybe.

Speaker Well, I think in the hot tub more.

Speaker And, you know, if it's an apocryphal story or not, talked a little bit about the troubador as a kind of place for emerging talent, right. What how that fit into all of this, right.

Speaker Well, they're in L.A. starting back in the 50s. There were it was folk music was the thing and comedy acts and everything, but mostly musically, it was folk music. And there was the one on Melrose take o the Ashgrove was a famous folk club. And then the Troubadour was a folk club also. And it was strictly folk. I mean they didn't have rock and roll. Well it wasn't rock and roll wasn't really around yet, you know, in a way. And so the Troubadour started as a folk club. There was a time when Henry's band called the Modern Folk Quartet would come out and do a set as folk musicians play folk songs, Woody Guthrie, whatever, you know, Pete Seeger. And then they'd say, you guys, wait a minute, we're going to go back. We have some friends there and come out and play. And they would come out and they would play electric. And it was like the people were doing that. And Doug Westin hated electric music at that time, you know, and that was before the Byrds, who sort of carried that another step. And Crosby, Stills and Nash were happening in this wing over here. And the Eagles and all those jacks and all those people came to the Troubadour first. And because every Monday night was a huge night and anybody could get on stage and play, and that's how those people all met each other and how they formed bands. You know, Pocho came from that, you know, Crosby, Stills and Nash and Away and The Byrds, certainly.

Speaker So it was David hanging up, not not on a regular basis, I don't think, but I think he was like everybody else knew that there was a lot of talent there and that was the talent pool. And he certainly would come by and check it out. You know, I don't I I wonder if I can I'm not sure about this. If that's where he first met Jackson and that group of guys, I'm not sure.

Speaker Be curious to know that he did meet Jackson that way. In fact, Jackson sent him a letter in a demo. OK, he threw it in the trash and he was his secretary pulled it out.

Speaker That's why you might want to listen to this. That's funny. I didn't know that. That's very funny.

Speaker And he listened and he went, oh, so that's funny. Now, you were a huge part of this scene and you were hanging out with all the artists. Was David there? I mean, I know I've asked this a couple of different ways, but I mean, yeah, was he there hanging out with the artist? Did you have a chance to observe his relationship with the different artists that he was working with?

Speaker Yeah, well, a lot of that happened. A lot of the hanging out happened in the office. And he would come to people's homes and we would hang out. Yeah, I would say he did. He he wasn't a hang guy in the same way that we are, were, you know, but he came and went. And when he was there is very funny guy. I mean, he's like he could be the life of the party at the drop of a hat, you know, and he did. So he he sat in on that level and also people respected him and he you know, he was a heavy guy. And even then, I mean, he was a star in his way, you know what I mean? And people recognize that or they wouldn't have been attracted to him, you know.

Speaker Do you can you say anything about his relationship with Johnny?

Speaker Well, they were a team, they were kind of like in a way different entirely, but in similar to his relationship with Laura Nyro, except that there was another guy in the in that triangle because there was Elliott was there, too. So but I think they were very like intellectually and spiritually connected in a big way and spent a lot of time where David was extremely helpful to Jodi. I mean, in in he and in Elliott being partners, David, helping Elliot and the partnership and himself, he helped all these artists at the same time, you know, and he helped Johnny very much and.

Speaker Was there any kind of perceived or imagined conflict between the management company and the record company in a way?

Speaker Well, it was like it was what you call it, a.. What we call it's like there's a legal term for that. You know, it was like no conflict of interest, most definitely. But it wasn't really because it wasn't like a company and the artist, it was a company. And the artist, you know, it was like it was a logical extension of the family as opposed to those guys. So but, yeah, there has to be conflict between those two elements because one is working for the artist and the other is working for the man. You.

Speaker Did people talk about it?

Speaker I mean, not really.

Speaker Yeah, and what I mean, yeah, people if people were pissed off because they couldn't get something or things didn't go exactly the way they wanted it. Yeah, of course they would think of that. And it was pretty obvious. No, but it was too friendly. It was it was more friendly than that, you know. But, you know, the people's lawyers would point that out or, you know, that that on that level and it didn't I don't know, it didn't last that long, really. I mean, it became the company over here when David sold out and then the management side or the artist on the other side, you know, people surprised when David. That's a yes and no, I mean I mean, it was pretty obvious that David was on a mission. I mean, and so.

Speaker I guess some people would go, yeah, I it broke my heart and it was awful. And how could he do that? But it was doing what he wanted to do and it was he wasn't shy about I don't feel like it was he sprung it on somebody, like behind their backs.

Speaker Did that maybe that did happen. I don't see it that way.

Speaker He was just moving on. And if you're pissed off, it would probably be because he wouldn't be available to you anymore. And I think that made some people upset, you know.

Speaker Yeah, that's the sense I get a little bit. There was a feeling among the artists of many of the artists that he was a. Yeah. And lots of complicated feelings going on here and wanting them to be in the group, not wanting them to be in the group, wanting to be taken care of, resenting being taken care of, then being for fear of abandonment.

Speaker I mean, it's and it's all true. It's all very close.

Speaker But it was it was all preordained. I mean, David was always going to be just exactly who, you know, in 2010 and the artists were always going to be who they are. And there were times when that comes together and it works because it helps each side and there's times when it's total out war. You know, it's just it's the nature of the game, oil and water, you know.

Speaker But isn't it a miracle that for a moment, for some period of time, those forces were held together and David was the glue in many ways that made those things work, you know, and savagely.

Speaker It's like by my talking about having a band and having two powerful elements come together and it's like, whoa, way more than the sum of the parts, you know, same deal. And it lasted a long time. What David was a part of creating was he was sort of in the footsteps of what Ahmed and Natsui did with the Atlantic and how their role that they played. And I think in some ways maybe it was a model for David in many ways, his elegance, his love of the artist and, you know, all those things. You know, I would think so. And David certainly was the next step in that progression. Yeah. You know, yeah. Yeah, I'm happy to say I did actually.

Speaker He gave me the rights to do the fortieth anniversary of Atlantic Records, which was the 13 year and a half hour live show at Madison Square Garden, started with Ruth Brower and The Drifters and all those people and wound up with Led Zeppelin was the closing act.

Speaker When you say you did it.

Speaker Well, Ahmed gave me the rights to do it, and then I had the idea of how it should look and feel, and I knew the artist helped pull it together. And so I was a co producer of it.

Speaker Yeah, it was a big deal to the that. Did you really. Yeah, that's funny. So I got to know on a very low way. I know him very well. So this is my wife Gentling David and Stephen Stills.

Speaker I don't really I'm sorry to say I, I mean he was David was taking care of Steven as he was everybody else at the time, and they worked together. And what's maybe what's interesting and that's why I am so sorry.

Speaker Well, that's kind of like like you are giving him permission in some way.

Speaker Can't possibly be like, yeah, you got that right.

Speaker Actually, he was Carrie Snodgrass was a friend of ours.

Speaker And she when she was married to Neil for a period of time and she was in Diary of a Mad Housewife and Frank Langella was the gigolo guy and that totally different character, you know, and I've always been he's a great actor.

Speaker I think I thought I actually think he should win, won the Oscar, but.

Speaker Well, he was Upworthy that I thought also that Mickey Rourke performance, I like both of them better than I like Sean Penn's performance. OK, tell us about.

Speaker Well, around the time of having the second office in the Hoagy Carmichael building, Irving Irving was a guy who was a college promoter in Illinois, in Peoria, and he was making a name for himself as a college promoter. And he was very successful at what he was doing and he was managing Joe Walsh and Dan Fogelberg. So it's there's a parallel.

Speaker It's like now the line moves from, you know, from the old agencies to the young guys doing it for their friends to like the next generation of that, you know, because he's a manager and he's a business guy and he has these artists, not unlike David Elliott senior.

Speaker And when I first met Harry, like I said, he caught David's attention, obviously, and he came to work for and Roberts as a sort of junior manager and. And he knew how he knew about promoting shows and he knew about touring and he knew all that nuts and bolts stuff, so he fitted in and he brought with him Joe Walsh and Dan Fogelberg, not on the label, but as management clients.

Speaker And he wound up being assigned to work with the Eagles. And then his life started, you know, and he walked out the door with them and he made his shop here.

Speaker Sort of jumping around here.

Speaker I apologize for that, but we just saw the style of that, I'm still curious about what what role did Elliot and Robert and David play in sort of helping to shape the image of these artists in any way, or did they stay away from that? I mean, what was that?

Speaker No, they were very they were very involved. They were very involved.

Speaker They didn't sit around and draw things up and or tell people how to dress or any of those things, although they might have said something about that, even perhaps. But because Elliot catered to the artist and nurtured the artist and David was the guy in the iron uniform on his horse in the field against the enemy and bringing home the spoils, you know. That was their function. That's what they did. That's how they were a part of the family. That's how they drew all these people to them is because they kind of lost my way there for a minute. But but that that was what they did. And that's that's how I think that's why they were given license to be to hang out with all these people, because they're artists. They have these artists, such as Elliott is like Elliott is an artist. And he's like it's by default that he has to do the business stuff, which he does really well because he's skilled at it. But, you know, he's an artist. And David is, too, in a way. I mean, a guy who has a house with that art on the walls and chooses to live in the middle of that, that's got to be an artist. You know, it's like. You know, and I know that he loves that art. I remember what he was like, a very young guy, and he started buying art. And I was very impressed because these other guys, these sort of collected like Escher's and, you know, sort of groovy things, you know, but he was a serious art collector then.

Speaker And wow, what he's painting was a Picasso. I'm sorry. His first painting that he bought was a Picasso. Hello. You know, I mean, you know, that's pretty amazing.

Speaker This guy for this rock and roll that was way ahead of his time. You know, people weren't even thinking about that, not on that level.

Speaker Um.

Speaker Guys, before we kind of leave asylum, you have anything you want to throw in here, just Ellen.

Speaker The job be there the first time that Crosby, Stills and Nash sang together.

Speaker I don't think he was at Monegasques when that happened, I was actually you were, but David wasn't. Oh, no, David was just about to hear that.

Speaker Yeah, describe that, because that was an incredible moment.

Speaker Well, like I said before there, Graham was still in The Hollies. And so it took a while for that to come together.

Speaker And the cast really was so instrumental in that because being a harmony singer herself, she knew what those sounds were and she knew what the effect would be if those three guys sang together. And so she initiated that and it came together like in her house. And what they did when they made their first record, they had the record and all these great songs. And what they would do is they would go to these record company offices or whoever might be a potential investor or whatever, and they would stand in your face and sing these songs that we all know now. And they would just do it in these amazing harmonies and people would just be like flabbergasted. You know, they would be blown away. You know, there were they didn't you didn't send a demo to the office. They showed up and did it in your face, you know, and David would make that happen.

Speaker And he would like said he would stage manage that, you know, do you think that the three of them were surprised when they heard themselves together?

Speaker Yeah, they definitely were. I mean, it wasn't like they could predict what it was until they saw it. And then, like, as they got, they trusted their wings and singing those harmony parts and let go. And it grew and grew. I'm sure it blew their minds. Yeah, I'm sure it probably still does. I mean, can you imagine what it must feel like to sing one of those parts that those guys sing? Hello?

Speaker With the day after the opening night of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th anniversary concert, I was having lunch with David at the Carlyle the next day, and David Crosby was staying there and he came and joined us. And he was even he was blown away. So we were really good last night, weren't we? But I mean, it was like, yeah, it was so meaningful. Yeah. To to all of them. That long was really. I'm sorry you weren't there.

Speaker Yeah, well, actually I had been invited to go and I couldn't break away and go. It was quite something. That's what I heard, actually, Steve told me about it and he invited us to go with him on the plane with Crosby, Stills and Nash and Elliot and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Speaker Oh, yeah.

Speaker I'm glad you were there. Yeah, me too.

Speaker You can represent for one point as Crosby, Stills, Nash, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne on the same stage.

Speaker Not too bad. It was the first time Stephen Stills, Bonnie Raitt played. Could they. Yeah, I'm not sure. Announced that. Oh, yes. Well, there you go. They're both good guitar players.

Speaker Steven is a great to me.

Speaker I think Stephen is the undiscovered great one. In a way. I mean, he's discovering everybody knows who he is, but he has. So nobody knows that guy. So powerful.

Speaker Well, I certainly knew it, they would not deny prejudice, which is like a rite of passage. I mean, you could play that, right? Yeah, you had to be pretty. Yeah, absolutely.

Speaker I was going to say something. I think maybe that I don't know, maybe I I'm going to say it again anyway. I think if there was any, like, not ill feelings, but if there was any any any shadow that may have been cast between David and Steven, it was perhaps because in a way, Steven was Ahmet Ertegun the boy in a huge way. I mean, Ahmet worshipped Steven. Steven worshipped Ahmet, you know, dressed like him, learned how to clean himself up and present himself, you know, in an elegant way from a moment, you know.

Speaker And so in the way that these other guys were, David's people totally you know, Steven wasn't totally I mean, he was in a way, but not totally. He was on this guy, you know.

Speaker Well, when David fired Steven, which he did, I think it was because of drugs, probably he just thought, you know, this was going to self-destruct.

Speaker They were always firing each other and then didn't, didn't he?

Speaker Stephen makes up some kind of a bumper sticker.

Speaker Yeah, it said who who is David Geffen as well and why they say those awful things about me that, well, they remember this. That's very funny.

Speaker Was meant as a joke in some sort of and sort of got a joke here. In the end, though, it's pretty funny. I mean, if you think about it, you know.

Speaker Do you how do you think those guys feel about David today?

Speaker I think they respect him immensely. Them, you know, they. They're always the they always get everything they wanted and most of the time they did. Was there a time or two when they didn't? Yeah, probably. But I don't know. I think they're. They should. They're both very indebted to each other. David is indebted to them and they are certainly indebted to him. Yeah, it was, but now they're different people that do different things. But I don't know. I would think that they would be friends. I hope so.

Speaker And I interviewed them together and basically start off saying, listen, it's a love hate thing. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker It's really tough being the dad. You know, if you're going to be a good dad and be and be supportive, but like no one just say no. It's not always very popular, you know, and it goes deeper than that, that's oversimplification, but it's kind of the deal here.

Speaker This is do you mind saying this? And I don't have the facts here, but.

Speaker Crosby, Stills, Nash Records. So, like, I mean, they were just as they were as big of the American band as you could be at the time, right?

Speaker Yes, because you just say that of these like.

Speaker Three hippy guys, one from The Byrds. One from the Buffalo Springfield and an English guy from The Hollies, who, you know, The Hollies were successful, they they made pretty big money. Buffalo Springfield was, I think, the greatest American band. They were the Beatles, at least, you know, maybe more. And Buffalo and The Byrds were like seminal. They were like at the Troubadour we talked about they were the guys from the Troubadour who first broke like rock and roll record with the Bob Dylan song and what happened with them. Those are great, very powerful people and. I lost myself here with what we're saying like.

Speaker Then they came together. They became oh, yeah.

Speaker And so they had never made like a huge amounts of money on their own. You know, the birds certainly not in Buffalo Springfield way underpaid, Holly, sort of. But when when David came on the scene and took this group, this entity, and opened all the necessary doors and presented it to all the right people to present it to that only he knew it became something that was immense. They were huge worldwide. They were a force in every way. And financially there were great Ward's rewards, you know, that made a lot of other things happen from the trickle down effect, you know, to other artists who were allowed to happen because the asylum had the money to be able to make these records. And the beat goes on, you know, but but definitely think about what what David and Elliot were a part of creating. That wouldn't have happened without them. You can say, yeah, could have happened. It wouldn't have been the same. Would not have been so.

Speaker David puts it very well, he said. He said he said, I think I contributed a lot to the careers of Crosby, Stills, Nash County and so forth, he said. But if I hadn't existed, they still would have been successful in a way not the same, though.

Speaker He's very modest about. Yeah, well, I think I can be sure of that.

Speaker Joni Mitchell wouldn't have written Man in Paris, but that's one that's very that's true, though.

Speaker The thing is for all of his power and his that he wields. He deserves to be who he is here. He's very successful and I don't mean just he's made a lot of bread, but he's very successful at being David Geffen. And he always wanted to be David Geffen. And he's a great David Geffen. I can't imagine a better one ever anywhere, but it's deserved.

Speaker Very nice. I tell you about it, I get it starring in the role of David David Geffen. So what happened with the Eagles?

Speaker I mean, what went wrong there between David?

Speaker Well, they were I guess you could say and I'm not the last word, certainly, but I guess that he would feel like he was ripped off. Maybe, but but it would go both ways because the the Eagles would probably say the same about him. And in that mix, you have Irving, you know, who is certainly not discouraging them from having those feelings and you know what I mean? And it was it was this opportunity. And you can't blame him for doing what he did either. He was just being Irving Azoff to the max here. And do you know about the lawsuit? A little bit. It was like there were lawsuits over publishing, I think, as well. But, you know, it's like I don't know enough about that. And I wasn't in the room with the lawyers or I don't know about that. And it's like, yeah, I know it all happened. And I've heard from both sides and but it doesn't matter. It doesn't really matter in the end, you know, the Eagles and those guys couldn't be more happy. You know, they couldn't be more happy, you know. And Irving has made them everything they wanted to be.

Speaker You know, there's no grudges, self-interest there.

Speaker So there's still a grudge. Oh, for. Yeah, for sure. No, I know that. I'm just saying I'm not saying that the participants are saying, oh, forget it. I'm saying that's what I say.

Speaker But Glen Fry is going to do an interview.

Speaker Oh good. Don Henley. It would be funny. That's see. That's right. I totally get that because that's totally both of them being Glenn Fries, being Glenn Fry and Darnell is being done anything. But Glenn is very funny. You know, he'll give you a really good interview.

Speaker Susan, do you want to go back and just talk, because we didn't really talk about how when the Eagles formed the David really nurtured them, they kind of got their teeth fixed. I mean, I don't know what I want to say to them, but I'm sure must have been around who I was around.

Speaker Yeah.

Speaker I mean, when I knew them first came together, it's like there's kind of a story there about, you know, putting this band together. And David was obviously involved in that. I mean, can you shed any light on that?

Speaker Well, I think probably because of the respect that that. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young had Joni had Laura Nyro, had just the salon of people who were under David and Elliott's wings, gave them great cachet with these younger artists who they wanted to be Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. They wanted to be Joni Mitchell.

Speaker And so on a certain level, the key to that door came went through David and Elliot, you know, and David certainly I mean, there was a before David, but not in the rock and roll way. There was Clive Davis. You know, there were a few other people. But I think I think David and Elliott really they set a whole different tone for how people doing that job worked with the bands they were with, you know, how did the Eagles come and will they at the Troubadour?

Speaker Strangely enough, they were all like folkies, early rock and roll musicians who met at the Troubadour on Whoot Nights and would drink in there and play in there. And Crosby plays a role in their somewhat because he introduced David to certain people in that scene and those guys decided, hey, let's make a band. You know, Bernie Lennon had been in the Burrito Brothers and Glen and Don were in Linda Ronstadt band. And Randy Meisner was sort of around that scene like he was in another band, I can remember. And Henley had Long Branch and J.D. Holloway were in Long Branch Pennyworth. So so they were like guys around. And like I said, it was not uncommon for musicians to get together and play, go to their houses, play you know, pass the guitar, whatever. And so they had played together and they all admired each other.

Speaker And then into that mix comes David Geffen and Elliot Roberts, both of whom were acknowledged to be masters and what they did. And David saw this and knew what to do with it, whatever that may be. He didn't write the music or play it, but he could have. I mean, he certainly contributed his part of it and he made it what it was through it. And just, you know, the whole thing, you know, came together and went on to become the best selling of all those people, I would say.

Speaker Would you say that the the outcome of that of the Eagles coming together and David, what David did for them and the way he paved the road for them, they became the biggest selling band. I mean, there's still huge selling, huge touring band. I have a friend who plays bass with them, and it's like they can go out and play a corporate show one night and make a million dollars, you know, sort of, OK, we're ready to go talk about the rock scene, you know?

Speaker Yeah, well, it was like a collaboration between because sort of Piers of David and and and and Elliot were like Lou Adler, Elmer Valentine, the guy who owned the whisky, and some of those people who knew the and it was there was there was a need for a very high class venue on the strip.

Speaker There was the whisky and there was you know, there was Cazares and but there was no place like the like the Roxy. And so they they all joined up forces. And the opening night of the Roxy Neil played, he was the guy who opened it. And it was a great, amazing, amazing show. David was out front of the Roxy directing traffic cars to park up here.

Speaker Come on, David Geffen in the middle of the street. This is a little guy dressed to the nines, like, come on. Yeah. Hey, great to see you. Yeah, unbelievable.

Speaker And then they, like, he blew the roof off the place. It was a great show. Everybody was there. The first person that always comes to mind and think about this is Elton John was there and he had these silver, like, metallic pants on with like a fake penis padded sewn in there. It was like, oh, it was unflagged believable. And it was a great moment. And we felt a lot of that because we started at the hotel, the at the Westwood Marquee where Neil was staying. Just track with him in this old 48 Buick to the club. And then the show. Oh, was unbelievable.

Speaker And all that thought. Yeah.

Speaker Oh out. Oh yeah. Yeah.

Speaker Well here's here's a here's a really sad story.

Speaker That night, I had like a little I wasn't maybe it was a Super eight, I had I have just like a little handheld camera and I had bags of film. I'm a big believer in film is the cheapest thing you and I shot that whole night. Everything that happened at the end of the night, as I remember it, I gave all the film to this guy, David Briggs, who was Neil's producer, and that's the last I ever saw it. I never saw any of that imagery that I got. It was unbelievable moment. And I don't know whatever happened there. I have no idea. I've sort of resigned myself that it was sort of too kind of a heavy a moment for anybody to see or who knows.

Speaker It's probably still there.

Speaker Where where is there David Riggs's, though? He passed away and he he told me, oh, I don't have that bad. Oh, you mean you and I. Oh, yeah. I tried it just it just disappeared. And it was like it was a lot of stuff.

Speaker I cannot rest. I don't believe it.

Speaker Yeah, I know. It's hard to believe we'll find a man like this film that I gave you to used in Johnny's show. I had that for. I want to say 30 years I shot all that footage, 16 millimeter, I shot old school video with the old cameras again, remember how to describe how they look. But they were weird cameras. They didn't look like that. And I had like eight cameras at this art opening for this artist named Boyd Elder. And I put all that footage. I took it off the the nargus that they were recording and put the spools, taped them up, took all the film out, put it in the cans, taped it up. I didn't have the bread to have it processed or developed. So for 30 years I carried it around in those cans undeveloped. I moved to Montecito, I moved to Colorado and carried with me these like boxes.

Speaker They got wet sometimes because that would rain at the bottom of the boxes were, you know, for being raid damage.

Speaker You know, the cans were still taped, closed, you know. And once when I did my DVD, I had the budget. So I sent it to this place to be processed, this film, and they advised me not to try and print it as a color film, but as black and white. And so I did. And that's that footage, man. So talk about.

Speaker So maybe someday this stuff will show up, you know, still, like, I just don't want to throw it out. It's got to be something got David, which is family sort of. Sort of.

Speaker I think Neil has been given though he doesn't really have it.

Speaker You know, he didn't you know, the thing is, it could be David Briggs could have like a storage unit somewhere and it could be there and nobody knows what it is. But it was that opening night and David was in that moment. I just have to say, since this is David's party, he was he was the host with the most he was like I'm saying from our front parking the cars to like inside it being a great host.

Speaker You remember Cher that night?

Speaker I don't really she's not somebody who I probably would have, like, focused on, you know, although I knew a little bit of her from the Sonny and Cher days because that was like early on and there really weren't that many people. So pretty much everybody bumped into each other one at one time or another. But I didn't I didn't ever really know her. I was the pretty glamorous couple, though, David. And share some images come to mind of him with her. You.

Speaker You look very cool, like Beauty and the Beast, and you never say which is which.

Speaker Well, we talk among ourselves some time, try to understand this, I mean, she was sexy and gorgeous. Oh, my God. In the world wanted her. And so she was just one iconic image. David got. Yeah. And then it was cool.

Speaker He really loved working with Marlo Thomas. You know, that girl that's been absent. That is funny. You know, he was like he was like a very dapper young man at that time.

Speaker You know, his hair, as I'm sort of remembering his hair was like very full. Yeah, he was cool, man. And he was he was like a big deal. He was very successful young guy who made it happen for himself.

Speaker Well, Cher apparently came in wearing a fabulous hat like a cowboy hat with the feather in it, and I'm sure he was he was a goner.

Speaker That is funny. That is so cute. No, I didn't know were there that they had met there. You know, I probably have footage of that. Yeah.

Speaker That last footage is probably their first kiss story, though.

Speaker I was doing the Joanny film. We knew that she had she recorded a very important concert. The BBC recorded her doing a very important concert, you know, both in 1970 and 1974. And we knew from a collector who had a really, really rough VHS of the whole concert, that's not a blip. Wow. And but when the BBC for some reason edited the program down and they didn't include Blu, so we knew that she had done it because we had this bad, bad, bad, bad VHS, which we couldn't use. And I was going absolutely crazy. Well, the only performance of her doing blue period. Wow.

Speaker And this just I kept saying you I remember we got to find that. We got to find that. We've got to find that. So they come to the door and I say, did you find it yet?

Speaker You know, I mean, it's been on for months and months and months and we found it. You did. In Joni's own warehouse.

Speaker Oh, go figure. That's a great song. That's I'm proud to say that I made that album cover for Blue. And it's like I think it's the only cover that's not her art of her albums that she made. And I love that cover and I love that song. All the songs on that album are amazing. Thank you for that. I think so, too, was it was sort of transition from being this sweet hippie folksinger chick to being a very sophisticated person, you know, and it's like it's lovely that that record really in a big way reflects her becoming a woman. In a way. I think it's very like she really stepped up for that one.

Speaker She was going through some very hard times. I mean, that album came out of a very deep place for her. Yeah, yeah. And. I know we're almost finished. Just I guess, you know, the Laurel Canyon scene began to break down a little bit.

Speaker And I think what I think you could you could put like a title over that scenario and say, OK. And that's probably all you got to say, you know, it really changed everything. Well, because it encouraged the natural evolution of this process of these artists coming together, the times being right, all that stuff is sort of the natural evolution as it sort of turns into chaos again, you know, and Coke fueled that in a big way because it was all about me, me, me, instead of us as us. And so it was like it was like perfectly symmetrical that the way people were thinking and who could say which came first, you know, the Coke or that attitude, you know, and it was really sad because it did really end. It did it was part of the end of things, there were people conscious of it.

Speaker That it was happening now, I would say not right away, because all the evidence was there. It's just like smoking pot and it's not bad for it not, you know, it's fun. It makes you feel up. You laugh, you have a good time.

Speaker And so and because everybody was so wide open to experiencing drugs, you know, and I don't mean getting high, but experiencing drugs, you know, pot, you know, and that euphoric state and taking acid to get further into yourself. And Coke was all about getting out of yourself and and like, you know, and being just you and isolated.

Speaker And before that, it was like a community, you know. So, yeah. And Laurel Canyon, it's still kind of has its thing going on, you know, in a way.

Speaker Did what was going you did what was happening in Laurel Canyon. How did that get reflected in the music scene? Community.

Speaker Sharing and community and great artists collaborating, and I want to begin to break down over again to be able to break down, I guess people just stayed home with the curtains closed, you know, and and they didn't get out and mingle as much. And they or they would go to parties where it would be Coke parties, you know, we're like. You know, it was not good, it was it was like you'd laugh and have a good time all night, but you if you saw it on film, you'd be totally embarrassed, you know, because those heavily meaningful things that you would say and the tears that would run down your face like it would be embarrassing because it was like it was.

Speaker No, wasn't real here. I don't think. You know, there are people who who some rock critics.

Speaker I can't remember any specific right now who do feel that. Come on, name names, Robert Krystkowiak.

Speaker I don't know who I think felt and wrote about that corruption of the music business when when it stopped being just about the music and became about money. Yeah. And there are some people who think that David Geffen had something to do with that.

Speaker Uh, not. And I'm sure the artist did when they all got really, really, really rich. Yeah, but isn't there some kind of correlation between the richer they got, the cocaine beginning to become an issue and everything sort of changing?

Speaker No, I, I can see why somebody would think that and maybe I just didn't get it or something, but I just think it was like a coincidence that.

Speaker Well, the Coke fueled this greed and selfishness and all that for sure, but. I don't think David really like David was just being very successful and you could equate like people who are obsessed with being successful with his path but that he invented. I don't think so. Did he feel it? I don't know. He he maybe you could say he fed the idea of really making it, you know, you know, making it for yourself.

Speaker Some people probably would point at that and not like it, but flagman. Like I said, is the greatest David Geffen you can imagine. Just this morning.

Speaker I don't know only that I believe you are going for something, but then, you know, after David left asylum, he basically was running Electricidad up the road.

Speaker It was it was directly across the street from the clear thoughts building.

Speaker It's a very funny.

Speaker And he became this was a rising executive, I mean, where did he sort of leave that in his old world behind? And was he, like, off into another universe or I mean, what was the person who was he now? Was he just corporate executive who was sort of out of the scene?

Speaker No, I would say I would say that at the time that David sold. Asylum and decided that he wanted to move into the bigger game, the corporate gave the big the big labels the big sign that required changes and it required him changing his focus and. You know, I'm sure that he was he was. I'm sure it was very difficult for him to become fully this person that he was only part of. Does go, I just know I think that what David made that commitment, it like certainly said, a lot of people back on their heels, some people didn't like it or whatever because it impacted them. But I would think that it was very difficult for David to be stepping into the arena with these the big guys, with all the big guys and all of the politics of being a guy in the corporation. And so, yes, he did have to focus on doing those things. And he wasn't around in the same way he was in the beginning. But that was his destiny to do that. And that's what he wanted. And he did it.

Speaker Did you stay where you are? You and David have stayed in touch since the incident today. Yeah.

Speaker Around him when he was diagnosed with cancer. Absolutely.

Speaker Can you talk about that period and what he was going through? I mean, he's talking very much about it. Yeah. Interesting to hear from another perspective.

Speaker Well.

Speaker At the time, I lived right across the street from Cedar Sinai and a little bungalow there, and when he was in the hospital, I remember him calling me and talking about, you know, he was scared.

Speaker I mean, as well, anybody would be, you know, and he didn't know I mean, he thought it was all over for him then. It was like it was a shock. I'm sure I can't even imagine what that was like to be on such a an upward movement and then suddenly out of nowhere to have this thing strike at you. And it was the end. I'm glad he survived. I'm really glad he survived. It was it was turns out it was like wasn't it like misdiagnosis?

Speaker It was like for four years. I'm thinking that he was. And he had cancer. Yeah, and I don't think he thought absolutely was going to. Di, I think he was worried he was going to have a colostomy bag or something.

Speaker Oh, OK. That's another kind of dying, right.

Speaker But did you observe a different David Geffen after this experience than before?

Speaker Not that I could point out that I would, you know, how could you not be sobered by that, you know?

Speaker But I think I don't think it was like he was he sat around in. Dwelt on that too long because I think he was a moving spirit, you know, and he got back moving. Thank God it was what it was, but how horrible it some doctor would make that mistake. Unbelievable.

Speaker Well, maybe it was supposed to happen as a way of like a course correction for David in a way, maybe God is really is perfect to.

Speaker I don't know, maybe.

Speaker Well, he said when he heard it, when he found out he had cancer.

Speaker He thought to himself, if I if I die tomorrow, I'm not going to be so happy with necessarily the way I live my life and that he set about to change that. Well, they consciously.

Speaker And went through a lot of soul searching and lots of you know, I don't entirely change, I think he finds a softer, gentler version of himself, you know, but I think you see, the thing is, I think he's always been the artist inside who was wearing this like a suit of armor and like sort of me.

Speaker So I didn't know that. But that makes sense to me.

Gary Burden
Interview Date:
2009-11-12
Runtime:
1:36:21
Keywords:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
cpb-aacip-504-dr2p55f24q, cpb-aacip-504-rn3028q78v, cpb-aacip-504-dv1cj88687, cpb-aacip-504-x921c1vc1c
MLA CITATIONS:
"Gary Burden, Inventing David Geffen." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). 12 Nov. 2009, https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/660
APA CITATIONS:
(2009, November 12). Gary Burden, Inventing David Geffen. [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/660
CHICAGO CITATIONS:
"Gary Burden, Inventing David Geffen." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). November 12, 2009. Accessed March 01, 2021 https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/660