Transcript:

Speaker In this short time, I'm not sure to you.

Speaker You know, I actually came in the music business by accident, and I feel very fortunate as to the way it came about. I just happened to end up at the right company and also in a field that I didn't realize would be the case. I ended up loving. I live next door to a guy by the name of Irving Grounds. I just graduated from UCLA. I was an economics major and I needed a job. I was married out. Child Grans had a brother, Norman Grands, who was very, very important jazz impresario. And he needed somebody who would work at the record company. And since I needed a job, I took that job and it turned out to be a phenomenal experience for me. Grande's was a giant.

Speaker In terms of the jazz world, I'll get it. Yeah, huh? I had to deal with.

Speaker Not easy. No, no. I mean, he's a pretty volatile guy and very opinionated and very, very difficult. I worked for him seven years, so I know how difficult it could be.

Speaker The fortunate thing about the company, which was Verve Records, was that it was a small company and. That gave me an opportunity to not be pigeonholed in any particular category. I was able to work in all of the areas of the company, so I had exposure to finance. I had exposure to recording contracts, foreign distribution deals, domestic distribution. I dealt with. The visual stuff that they were doing, the art and so on.

Speaker I had, you know.

Speaker Eh, I had exposure to every aspect, as I said earlier, and. It really prepared me very, very well for my future career. The company itself was probably the premier jazz company in the business and the artists were almost jazz icons. We had Billie Holiday, we had Ella Fitzgerald. We had Oscar Peterson. We had Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie. We Duke Ellington had a band with us, Count Basie. There was Stan Getz. There was every big instrument mentalist of that time. And we did it all. And in addition to having a record company, Granzow also put on concerts on a worldwide basis. So I was also exposed to the performance side of the business. And he also managed Ella and Oscar. So I had some exposure to the management side as well. So the experience turned out to be a great preparation for me in terms of what I would do in the future. It was a, you know, a major, major influence as far as my career was concerned.

Speaker And. Just out of curiosity. What did you learn from Norman about how to deal with. That's what you that's your reputation?

Speaker Well, I as Norman was brilliant at dealing with artists. And one thing I'll always remember is he said.

Speaker You never want to get in the way of the artist. You don't know as much as the artist does. They're smarter than you are. And so I'll never tell Oscar Peterson how to play piano. And I certainly would never tell Ella how to sing what I do as I go in the studio and just get out of the way. So that was at least one of the things he also had a great sense of the visuals besides the side of the sound of the company. He also is very strong on the side of the company. The album covers the posters, all of those kind of things. He used major artists to do all of the visual stuff. And we actually had one album. It was one of the albums I believe we use the TS painting. So he covered lots of ground. He was a phenomenal mentor and he taught me just about, you know, all of the things that you know. And I I what will be required to know in the record business.

Speaker What happened next?

Speaker What happened was that.

Speaker We were essentially jazz label. We did jazz records that sold maybe 20000, if it sold 50000 was terrific. And Ella's case with the songbooks. We did two hundred thousand, which was just phenomenal. And one of our jazz guitarist, brilliant jazz guitarist by the name of Barney Kessel, came to Norman and said, we want to make a pop record, which we had never done before, and normal to Norman told him to go ahead and do it. He made a record with Ricky Nelson and the record. Was. Performed on the Ozzie and Harriet show. The songs were Teenagers, Romance, and I'm Walking.

Speaker And it turned out to be a phenomenal hit. We sold over a million records, which was unheard of. Russ? And because it was so successful, Ozzy and an agent from MCI came marching into the office and told Norman he wanted to have an increase in his deal. Norman said to him that he thought that, you know, that was a fair thing to ask for, but we only had one single. So he said, why don't we, you know, get some more experience, make an album, and then I'm perfectly happy to sit down and revise the contract. And as he said, I want an increase in the contract now or else I'm going to bolt. And Norman said, you can't build. We have a contract. But unbeknownst to him. As Ricky was 17 years old, he was a minor. The contract had not been court approved and so he could disappear it. And so we lost what was potentially the biggest arts would have ever had. And Norman was furious with our lawyer and he asked me to fire him. And he said, I want you to go out and hire another lawyer. And so I went out and I hired a guy and Mickey Rudin, who is Frank's lawyer for some 32 years. And we became very, very close and Frank happened to be a big, big fan of Verve Records. And so we decided he wanted to buy it. And they ended in negotiation. They didn't come to an agreement and grants happened to run into the president of MGM wrecked MGM Records at an airport, and he asked them what he was doing with his record company, says, look, I want to sell it, but I'm already in the midst of a deal. So, you know, I can't talk to anybody else. And the president of MGM said to him, well, come back to me if the deal falls through. So Grant's went to Rudan and said, look, I have another deal. Either we close the deal on the terms that we're talking about or I'm going to go elsewhere. Rudin thought he was bluffing as a go ahead. Do whatever you think is best for you. And what happened was he made the deal with MGM and didn't sell to Frank. Frank, of course, was not privy to all of this. And he was incensed and thought that Norman had betrayed him and double crossed him and wouldn't speak to him. And Nicky Rudin and all the cool amounts. As you know, Frank, I think I have a better idea instead of spending all this money buying a record company. Why don't we start one from scratch and this is I know just the guy who can run it. And so that ended up being the way in which I ended up with Frank Sinatra.

Speaker And that label was called Reprise Records. And we started reprieves primarily with a lot of Franks friends. He put a ban on rock and roll because rock n roll was on the ascendancy. His kind of music was beginning to decline so he wouldn't allow us to sign any rock and roll artists. And we had people like Dean Martin Franks, Frank Junior, Sammy Davis Junior, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Joe Stafford, people he had worked for who fell in the same musical genre. And we were struggling because we weren't being competitive. So I came to Frank and I said him, Frank, we cannot survive if we don't sign rock and roll orders. We have to get in that business. And against his judgment. Being a business man that he was, he recognized that we would have to do that. And he permitted us to sign rock records, rock artists. And when we did that. You know, that really helped us turn around the company. Now, what happened was. That at the end of two years, Frank didn't capitalize the company with a lot of money. We were having difficulties because he had all kinds of other responsibilities with films and he had Count Evea up in Nevada and California. And he decided to sell the record company. And Jack Warner was pursuing him to sign him after it made Ocean's Eleven. And he. He ended up making a deal whereby he bought, although he wanted the film company, he also bought the record company. And Frank ended up with one third of the film company, not one third of the record. I don't have to do this one over, by the way. I mean, because I know I can do better than that, you know.

Speaker Yeah. Right. Well, I don't know about that. You are. I am feeling nervous. What? Soon you're going to forget. I'm I'm actually forgetting the cam.

Speaker I'm just more self-conscious about just doing this because I don't do it.

Speaker You want to start from the beginning. Do you want an order? Do you have to do that? No. No.

Speaker Well, I think I want to have her back. You did great. Well, I think you hope hopefully.

Speaker I think once I get into it, I can. I felt very, very lucky that I ended up in the record business. It all was an accident. What happened was that. I live next door to guy by the name of Irving Grounds, and his brother was Norman Grands, who is the great jazz impresario. And he was looking for somebody to work at his record company. I graduated from UCLA in Economics. I was married and had a child and I needed a job. And I was very, very fortunate to have the opportunity to get. A job in a business that ended up loving and also at a company where I could really learn a great deal about record operations. My job entailed. Being involved in almost every facet of the record business. I was sort of an administrative person, but at the same time, because the company was so small, I wasn't categorized in any way and I therefore got exposed to finance, to contract administration, to international administration. I dealt with the unions, the music unions. We did. I was involved with marketing. I was involved with distribution in the United States and also distribution overseas, where we made a lot of licensing deals. And so I had. The ability to learn all of those areas and we had a phenomenal record company and near legendary record company because we had jazz artists who were probably the greats of all time. Amongst the artists were Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald. Oscar Peterson, bird, Charlie. Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Stan Getz. And on and on. Norman was an incredible teacher and mentor. I learned a great deal from him and he not only had great business instincts, but he also had a great handle on how to deal with artists and also how to market and merchandise. Those artists get a great deal of. He had a great instinct for visual things. He had a great Picasso collection, incidentally. And so his eye was superb. He had a tremendous influence on me. And he was a wonderful mentor figure and he taught me just about everything I had to know to be able to deal with the record business. During the time we were making essentially jazz records and jazz records did not sell very well. They sold 50000 at best. More often, maybe 20000. And we had a brilliant jazz guitarist, but everybody cut Cassell who came to Norman and suggested to him that he'd like to make a pop record, which we had never done before. And Grant consented that he do it. And he brought in as the artist Ricky Nelson, who was a member of the Nelson family, which is on television. He made a record with Ricky called A Teenager's Romance. And I'm walking. And the record was performed on the Ozzie and Harriet show. And it was an absolutely phenomenal hit. We sold over a million records, numbers we would never have conceived of in the jazz world. And so we were overwhelmed by it. But because of that success. Aussie and a guy from MCI came marching into Norman's office and they demanded an increase in Ricky's deal. Norman said he had no Evert. He was not averse adverse to doing that. But he said that he wanted to have another shot to see just what Ricky was able to do. We only had one single I'd like to have made an LP before he made any kind of new deal. He said he would certainly do it once we did that. But Ozzy was insistent that he wanted an immediate raise. And he also threatened that if Norman did not give him that increase at that time, that Ricky would leave the label brands so that he can't leave the label. We have him under contract. But he was unaware of the fact that he was a minor, that a minor recall required court approval. When he makes any kind of contract and we never got court approval, and so Ricky was able to decide for him the contract. Of course, we lost the biggest artist, probably that could have been the highest in the history of Verve Records and it was a tremendous blow. And so Grande's instructed me to fire our lawyer and hire another one. And I went out and interviewed a bunch of lawyers. And I finally, you know, decided after consulting with Norman on a member, that Mickey Rudin, who during at that time was was representing Capital Records, which was a major record company. And that records and also Frank Sinatra on the firm had Bob Hope. And Elizabeth Taylor was a terrific legal firm. And Ruin at first was reluctant to do it. And then after, you know, discussions with him, he finally said he would give it a try. And he did it. And, of course. Rudin. Had a great influence on my career. Frank Sinatra was a huge fan of Verve Records. He loved those jazz artists. And he decided. As he was beginning to expand, his business pays. That what he would like to do is buy verve. So he went into a negotiation through Ruden with Grande's and we got another lawyer because he couldn't represent both sides. And they were in the process of negotiating a deal. Grans, in the meantime, ran into somebody who also wanted to buy the record company. And he told them that he was already in negotiation, he couldn't do it. But in the event that it might fall out, he would get back to him. Grant then went to Rudan and told Ruiner he had another deal and either they should close it on the terms that they were discussing or else he would take the other deal. Rudan thinking he was bluffing. Told me, go ahead and do that. And so he ended up he ended up selling the record company to MGM. When Frank heard about this, not knowing all of the background, he was furious and. Rudin. In order to cool them out. Said them, You know what, Frank? I think I have a better idea. I think that. Instead of spending all of this money, starting a record company, buying a record company. What we should do is start one from scratch on our own. And I know the man who can run it for us. And of course, he was referring to me, who I must say. Didn't feel was ready for that job. But when given the opportunity, I certainly was going to take advantage of it. So so what happened was.

Speaker That.

Speaker I met with Rudan and his manager. Frank's manager knows thanks, Santa Cola. They agreed that I should have a job, but I also had to get approval from Frank. And so Frank was doing the devil at four o'clock at one at Columbia Pictures at the time with Spencer Tracy. And they took me out on the set to meet them for the first time. Well, you can imagine how anxious. And nervous, I was. And when I walked upon Assert. Those Frank engaged in an enormous argument with the director, Mervyn Leroy. I mean, Frank and attach room displaying all of his anger is scary. And I walked into that and I thought, oh, my God, what is in store for me? And I then went on to Frank's dressing room and waited for him. When whatever took place on the set blew over, he came in the dressing room and I was tremendously apprehensive and he came in and he did like a 180 degree turn around. He was up. He was positive. He was charming. He was excited about starting a record company and asked me who he would hire and and, ah, he could not have been more appealing or supportive or excited about the prospect of the record company. And so that was the beginning of Reprise Records.

Speaker Give you a great.

Speaker So now how you got to water is what happened, right?

Speaker Yeah. Well, what happened was that. At Repreve, we signed a lot of Frank's friends, we signed being we signed Bing Crosby. We signed Sammy Davis Junior, Dean Martin. There was just starford. There was Rosie Clooney, people who were out of the big band era, the so-called swing era. Who did the site. Same kind of music that Frank did. And Frank. Had a real problem with rock and roll rock at that time was on the ascendancy and the kind of music that Frank was in love with was declining. And so, Frank, for bad us to sign any rock and roll artists. But as we. Started putting out records and getting a sense of what the business in the marketplace was. We realize that we could not survive if we only stayed in that limited category of music. And so I went to Frank and I said, I'm Frank. If we are going to be able to continue on this business. There is no way we can compete properly without having rock records. And so it's necessary for us to sign rock artists. And even though it's something he didn't like because of the fact that he was a real good businessman or realized the reality of the situation, he consented to our signing rock artists who were some of the first artists.

Speaker Well, the first important rock artist was The Kinks.

Speaker And, you know, they were a major, major artist, but we also signed a very gifted and our man out of the rock well, whose name was Jimmy Bowen, who produced a lot of very, very important records for reprieves over the years. And later at another time during my winter days. He came back and ran our country music operations. So he was a pretty important factor.

Speaker We were struggling. We were losing money. Nothing significant because we're dealing with the 1960, 1961.

Speaker I think the first year we may have lost one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. But Frank had a liquidity problem.

Speaker And he had a lot of businesses that he had to deal with. And so. He decided that he might not be able to support the record operation properly at that time. Jack Warner, who just had a huge success with Frank in Ocean's Eleven. Wanted them to come to the studio very, very badly. And he. I told him that he would make a major deal with him, given his own building, a very, very attractive situation, and he wanted him to sign with Warner Brothers film company.

Speaker Rudin. Who was the negotiator at that time, said that in addition to signing Frank for films, we'd also like you to buy our record company.

Speaker And so, Jack, being anxious to have Frank. Even though he didn't want the record company ended up buying it. And what happened was that Frank ended up.

Speaker With one third of Warner Brothers records and one third of Reprise Records and Warner Brothers own the other two thirds, now, that was one of the smartest deals that was ever made.

Speaker Because what happened was when Frank eventually sold all of his holdings and his records come record companies. It was probably the biggest financial deal he had ever made. In fact, I'm told that he got more money for his limited interest and the record company than one or did for selling the studio, the library, the lot, all of their real estate. Warner Publishing, all of the assets that they had. It was just an amazing situation.

Speaker Now. It's absolutely incredible. And the reason for that, I think it might be interesting if you could set the stage with this, is that this was the door, the music business, really?

Speaker Yeah, I was it was, you know, the 60s. And, you know, in the 60s, we had a music explosion. So the timing could not have been better. And of course, I ended up at Warner Brothers, which turned out to be a legendary record company. I was fortunate to have. Some of the most brilliant artists.

Speaker Ever in recorded history. I mean, just to name some. We had the kinks, as I mentioned earlier.

Speaker We signed Jimi Hendrix. We had Prince. We had Madonna. We had Neil Young. We had Joni Mitchell.

Speaker We.

Speaker Actually ran the gamut through a whole host of big artists.

Speaker Who are some of whom are still viable today, like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Green Day. And in addition to that, we had great executives.

Speaker The executive staff of Warner's, I don't think had any peer names. Well, there was Joe Smith. He was. A vice president at Warner's. We had a Felmingham, a don't stand Cornyn, who was.

Speaker Head of Creative Marketing and Creative Services.

Speaker We had Joel Friedman, who later became the head of the whole we are distribution operation, and he was involved in marketing and press.

Speaker You know, we had Lenny Walker, who turned out to be a superb producer and also ended up becoming the president of Warner Records under me.

Speaker Many years later, it was Michael Austin who ran the Ainaro staff. That was Ted Templeman, who is a major producer. Russ Titelman, another great producer.

Speaker Our production staff was outstanding. And.

Speaker Once we started our distribution operation both domestically and internationally. We'd all come out of the independent area. Atlantic was an independent company, elektro as an independent company. And so as Warner's, I was instrumental in the acquisition. Of Elektra. And when we added Elektra to the other two labels, we decided we had the critical mass to start our own distribution. And once we started rolling in terms of our own distribution.

Speaker We became the number one record company. In the United States, and we had no one share of market for 19 years in a row. It was just phenomenal.

Speaker That's amazing. Amazing story. So this was this was the beginning of a consolidation. That was then carried on by Steve Ross, who just kept widening and widening.

Speaker Right. Well, what happened was that winners actually bought Atlantic. Before Steve Ross, that was in 1967, Steve Rostand come along until 69 and then we bought Elektra in 70 or 71.

Speaker But once those three companies were merged, then we became a powerhouse.

Speaker So how did you first meet David and what did you think about him when you first met?

Speaker I know I don't know that I can recall exactly how I met him, I don't remember the circumstances.

Speaker But.

Speaker I do know that having met him, he made an enormous impression on me. I mean, there was this high energy guy, you know, who is. You know, incredibly passionate about what he was doing. He had been a successful agent and signed many rock artists to his agency. He then became a very, very successful manager and he and Elliot Roberts, who was his partner at a management company that had Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, who are under contract to Warner Brothers Records. And David was very, very smart about his relationships. And he made it a point to cultivate relationships with the heads of various companies because he knew that if he had that relationship, that would help advance the careers of his artists. So he sought me out. We talked a great deal on the phone.

Speaker He had this amazing quality.

Speaker Of almost shocking you with his honesty, there was disarming, but charming at the same time.

Speaker He was always positive. I mean, it was always the glass as half full. He always felt very, very strongly about that. You knew he was highly intelligent.

Speaker And.

Speaker His commitment to his artists were enormous.

Speaker I mean, he had a real. I think love affair with the archcity represented. And he. You know, I represented them accordingly.

Speaker So that initial meeting really had an impact on me. I think it may have been in nineteen sixty seven, so we're talking forty two years. So we've known each other a long time and we've had our ups and downs and all those years. But those early meetings certainly convinced me that this guy was a comer.

Speaker Couple follow Bill a little bit on that. Give me. Can you give me an example of of this disarming honesty?

Speaker There's nothing that comes to mind at the moment. I mean, you know, he would with talk about personal things. You know, that that just threw you off guard. You know, you didn't. Normally, I find that people would reveal themselves in that way, and he would. And what it did was completely engaged you. And also won you over.

Speaker That's terrific. Thank you. When you talk about his love affair with this artists, some examples.

Speaker Laura Nyro. He was her manager and. I mean, he took care of her.

Speaker Like no manager I was exposed to, he would he found her living under very dire circumstances. And he immediately moved her out of what might have been almost a slum like apartment into a decent place to live. I think she might have been one of the burrows and he moved her to Manhattan. He supported her.

Speaker He fought for her every way he could. He also formed the publishing company with her and he was completely devoted to her. And he said that the first time he heard her songs, she actually brought him to tears.

Speaker Thank you for telling that story because.

Speaker I've been trying to get this is because I had my sense is that there was time when it started that it really was about the artist.

Speaker It was no question about it. And I think the same applied to Neil. And Joni as well, Joni, even more so than Neal, because he was much closer to Joni. And for a while they even live in the same house together. So they were very tight. And, you know, they also managed Crosby, Stills, Nash. And then later, in another configuration, added young to that group, which made him even more successful. So, you know, he did very, very well by all them and another artist that he was completely enamored with, with Jackson Browne. That was not only. A great artist, but also somebody would with whom he formed a very, very close friendship. And he would kill. For Jackson, as he would for all of his orders.

Speaker Well, you've raised to mention two things that for which we've got to go into more stories. Number one, I think Jackson Browne was the impetus for starting sound.

Speaker We'll do that, right? Yeah. That's very much so.

Speaker Let's talk about Crosby, Stills and Nash, because isn't that how he first came to the attention of Ahmed? Because tell a story that Jerry Wexler did.

Speaker It's a good story. Well.

Speaker This may be jumping the gun, but.

Speaker David managed Jackson Browne.

Speaker How did you start? Sure.

Speaker David Manege, Jackson Browne, who we believe was an extraordinary talent. There's no question.

Speaker A problem, huh? The phone rang for a second. I thought they should love. I ask them to shut off the phones. Huh? Right.

Speaker Yeah, I think we'd better rather do that because I didn't.

Speaker Shall I go?

Speaker Sure. Yeah, sure. You like sugar?

Speaker You don't want to get in the Brill Building before you.

Speaker That door, but I mean, if you could kind of set the stage for that and then Jackson is then the impetus from starting his own life. Right. It's like we will go because the Brill Building is really it's really great if you could set that up. But we'll just go with the flow work. OK.

Speaker He and Eliot. Managed Crosby, Stills, Nash.

Speaker David Crosby had come out of The Byrds as she was in Hollies and Stevens spill, Stills was in the Buffalo Springfield. And the combination of them. Actually constituted what would be called a supergroup. And he decided he wanted to. Make a record deal for them. And there were some complications because. Clive Davis at Columbia had. Crosby and Nash under contract. And Ahmet Ertegun and Atlantic Records had stills under contract. He knew Clive well. They were very close, in fact. And one time they even started about talked about starting a label together. And so he was drawn to bring them the Clive. And he presented them to Clive and Clive immediately said he would sign them. But then he had to go to Ahmet. To ask Ana if he would consent to allowing stills become part of the group. And when he talked, Armitt Ahmed's response was that. Stills is more important than those other guys. I'll never give Mirrlees to go with that group. I want the group to come over to Atlantic and honor, of course, was very, very charming, very, very witty and unpredictable. And David really was taken to him. And he also was immutable in his position. And so he ended up going back to Clive and saying, look, I can't get stills are out of his contract. You'll have to release Crosby and Nash to go to war to Atlantic. And Clive resisted it at first. And then after much badgering on the part of David and also. You know, they affected some sort of a trade for a group which turned out to be pocho. And what happened was that when then that trade was agreed upon.

Speaker Then Crosby, Stills, Nash and that up on Atlantic and their first record was just superb.

Speaker It was an enormous hit and it was one of the biggest things that that Atlantic ever had. And, you know, Atlantic started as a RB label dealing black music and they were just beginning to recognize. That white music was far more profitable. They had Sonny and Cher, that Bobby Darin and then Crosby, Stills and Nash, you know, was so the crem to crem of their activities in that area.

Speaker And. In the course of.

Speaker Their relationship at the Atlantic. David Anomic, really bonded.

Speaker Let's go backwards.

Speaker You want to go back to when it Jackson now?

Speaker No, no, no. We'll get to Jackson later. But before that, I didn't go into Jerry Wexler's offices to tell that story.

Speaker This is what you know. And I don't remember what was that was like. Was that on Crosby? Stills Nash was Alan Jackson. What was it on Jackson or Chris?

Speaker He went to Jerry first. He does. And Jerry said, picture the OP, right?

Speaker Call it you told the story.

Speaker But I don't the inmates actually told that, David.

Speaker You know, Susan, I actually believe that that might have been the Jackson Browne thing. Sure. It's Crosby, Stills Nash.

Speaker Yeah, he went to speak to Jerry first. It was obvious that you have to look at the contract. Yeah, well.

Speaker In order to get the rights to Stephen Stills. David had to deal with Atlantic, and I personally knew as Jerry Wexler, who is a real curmudgeon and very, very difficult and very, very volatile. And a guy who could be set off. Very, very easily. And he walked in to Jerry's office making all kinds of demands as if he were entitled for a release of Steven Stills. And as he talked. Jerry got angrier and angrier. And finally just blew up and threw him out of his office.

Speaker And that's what.

Speaker And then when Hamied heard about it. He contacted David and he suggested that he come in and see him.

Speaker OK, vacuum system is set up for that now.

Speaker Let's go back now before we get to Jackson, because. You know, you want to stay with chronologically in a different place, but this whole talk about did you? I mean, David started out, you know, he was that way Mars and then left, as you said, to go and change the model at that time was a very different model. Then eventually, what became the basis for foresight. Which was. Everybody suitability writing songs for the artist. And that change later, you can sing your song. Can you kind of establish for us?

Speaker Yeah. Actually, we went when you talk about the Brill Building model you're talking about. A situation whereby.

Speaker The.

Speaker The activity of record companies would be to go to. Songwriters and publishers for recording artists materials. In those days, artists were not recording their own materials. So you had a fine material for them and the model was built around those songwriters and publishing companies who were located in midtown Manhattan, 16 19 Broadway, to be exact. And that was the hotbed of all the music activities. Those songwriters were very accomplished. And they were sort of hired guns who would be hard right songs for different artists who were recording at that time.

Speaker They didn't write songs that were particularly introspective or political or commenting on the times.

Speaker But they were very, very effective in the songwriters. Would write for people like Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, kind of Dan Hewson, for instance, or Elvis Presley, Lieberman's stolen. But in the early 60s, out of the folk movement.

Speaker Bob Dylan emerged. And he was singing a different kind of song.

Speaker And his songs, actually. Dealt with very, very deeply personal issues. And also with a strong political orientation.

Speaker You know, blowing in the wind commented on racism. The times they are changing. Certainly was indicating that there was something brewing at that time. An undercurrent that was about to happen that might be revolutionary.

Speaker And he influenced a lot of.

Speaker Other riders who felt in some cases that their songs weren't interpreted properly by the singers who were singing them, who may have had limited voices as Bob did, but felt that they didn't care because they thought they could perform their songs. Even better.

Speaker Randy Newman is a perfect example of that day, but no Dave.

Speaker Dave Van Ronk wrote Carole King certainly falls into that category. She came out of the Brill Building, worked in the Brill Building, wrote songs for the Cheryl's and many other groups will, along with her husband, who is Gerry Goffin. And she's very important. So there was Paul Simon well, who wrote his own songs and who was absolutely brilliant. Neil Young wrote his own songs. And then what happened was you had. The British explosion, the Beatles came along, they were bigger than anything anybody could have possibly imagined. And they established the fact that members of a band could write songs. Were there bands so that ushered in? A whole new situation. Of song singer songwriters that became a model. And David Geffen became a very, very important part of that, as I will talk about when I talk about asylum records.

Speaker Just I think this is. Correct me if I'm wrong. Right. It is not a war in Europe, wasn't she? All right. So I don't know.

Speaker She may have been, but I don't know.

Speaker Her partner, Burt Bacharach, was in the Brill Building writing. I mean, a lot of people are, you know, and then and then Carol actually was across the street at 16 fifty Broadway without our music.

Speaker But Paul still in 69 is still here.

Speaker And so. Lorne Michaels. Yeah.

Speaker I love you.

Speaker As you know, I do do. In fact, you told me. You tell me. Right. Applause He must be spending a lot of time in Connecticut.

Speaker He's got three children and completely devoted to them. And his wife, Edie Brickell, who was an artist on Geffen Records, later down the line.

Speaker First is called me the other day, said that Paul only made this thing so that he told me and he said, Paul seems to think or one of the musicians that Paul seems to think that when we were in sound. They're the the players in the band had a softball game in a hangar, an airplane hangar, and they think you shot it. And could you find.

Speaker Were you in South Africa with them?

Speaker No, I don't think so. I would remember this. Look, I don't know why, Paul. Look at me.

Speaker Yeah. A million other. I found a song that you wrote when you know it was Tom and Jerry. That was probably the only song he never published himself. I was able to acquire and give it him as a birth control.

Speaker Oh, yeah. Anyway, let's move on. Paul Simon is somebody that actually never entertained, stable at all, but they are friends.

Speaker Well, in a way, they they did have a relationship, even on a recording basis. And it was one of the. Reasons why David and Paul had a falling out. What had happened was that. During the Gaffin records days.

Speaker Paul, and already we're going to do a. Concert in Central Park, it's a reunion concerts. I'm unguardable Funchal at Central Park. David Geffen had a deal with Warner Brothers Records for U.S. distribution and for foreign distribution, although Geffen Records and Warner's got the proceeds of it. He had a deal with Columbia Records. And so in order to put out the Simon and Garfunkel record. What we had to do was we would get the US rights and Columbia would get the rights to the overseas markets. And. David prevailed on Walter Yetnikoff, who was running Columbia at the time, to allow him to put the Simon and Garfunkel record on Geffen Records. And then told Paul after the fact.

Speaker And Paul was upset by.

Speaker David did things like that.

Speaker She just had this. You know, incredible.

Speaker Need.

Speaker To be successful, I mean, he was absolutely driven and I believe that in that case, he was very, very friendly with Paul. And. He actually thought Paul would prefer being on Geffen Records because he knew that he had this huge battle with Columbia before he left to come to Warner Brothers. So I think he did that.

Speaker Always thinking, you know, that his situation would be the most desirable and that Paul would love it. And he went ahead and did it and just didn't follow, you know, the proper protocol in the way that he approached it. Yeah. I mean, Paul didn't like the idea of being on a label where he was not even asked, you know, he just ended up on that label and so that defended him.

Speaker Paul and Lauren were one of the reasons that he went back into the music business and started getting records.

Speaker Yeah, and that'll be part of the Geffen Records story. OK.

Speaker So anyway, after this this shift out of that release, a change, is that the shift to.

Speaker The songwriter's becoming also the performers and started this whole burgeoning movement. How did that change the music?

Speaker Well.

Speaker The you know, the music business was changing and a lot of ways during that time.

Speaker You had F.M. radio.

Speaker Which was beginning to play records that the pop stations, the AM stations would not play.

Speaker And they were playing a lot of these artists. Who did not? Who did not necessarily have had singles, who would have otherwise been who would not be played on pop radio. So you had a whole underground radio activity that pushed a lot of these records. There was also the fact that. The business was shifting from a singles business to an album business. The advent of the LP and then subsequently C.D. converted the record business into a much more profitable business because albums were far more profitable than singles and the market really expanded tremendously.

Speaker You also had independent record companies that were quite formidable than. A&M was a independent record company, Bird who an independent record company.

Speaker Atlantic was an independent record company, Warner Brothers, with an event like Record Company, as was Elektra. And while they were independent, they would be recording some of the artists that the majors would not record. And therefore, they were able to sign a lot of the cutting edge artists that turned out to be so important as the music business evolved over the next decade.

Speaker I'm sorry that was thrown up, the phone going off. Oh.

Speaker It's okay. I think it was OK. So about 1969. Well, David, when you know. I think Elliot called in and said, you got to come to California. Everything I mean, your back band's singer songwriter is popping up out of the woodwork, you know, in every garage, as you know, it's probably gonna come out. Right. And he sort of. Explain the kind of transition from New York being the center of the music world to L.A. becoming. Yeah. Because there were no there was I think it was just Capitol Records and, you know, there was more, but.

Speaker You know. Even though New York was the center of the record business in Los Angeles and California. You know, we're all so important. There was a major label out here, Capitol Records. They were very, very powerful independents and verve, imperial liberty and DOT records.

Speaker L.A. was a great place to live and a lot of the artists were gravitating. Toward Los Angeles.

Speaker You know, you also had.

Speaker Sort of a California sound, you know, as exemplified by the Beach Boys, the mamas and poppers and even the Eagles. And then in San Francisco, you had another kind of rock movement that was very, very important involving the Grateful Dead and the Jefferson Airplane and Janis Joplin, the big Ann-Britt, Big Brother and the holding company. There were studios that were out here. And David had come out to visit L.A. when he was an agent and develop friends here and admired how they live. Really, you know, took note of the weather and the lifestyle that was possible in L.A.. And his own artists living in L.A., many of his eyes were live in L.A., Laura.

Speaker So.

Speaker He decided that he should move to L.A. and.

Speaker He and Eliot set up offices on Sunset Boulevard. And, you know, they did very, very well in L.A. And although, you know, David probably considers himself an Angelino. There's a lot of New York and you talk about it.

Speaker You know, David was attracted to the lifestyle, whether he saw how well everybody lived. Did he talk to you about that?

Speaker You know, there probably was another underlying, maybe even unconscious. Motivation there. And that was the Hollywood dream because David. Had. Then very much into films, he read about all of the motion picture moguls and even talked about having read Hollywood Roger, which was a biography of Louis B. Mayor. So deep down somewhere, even though he was still very, very much immersed in the record business, there was always this sort of fantasy about films. And so that I think two might have been part of the attractiveness of Los Angeles, where they actually save you.

Speaker It's a low. I want to become a mogul. I mean, how did expressed to you?

Speaker I don't believe he is anything like that.

Speaker How did you know? How did he tell anybody? They say, I read Hollywood Rajha when I was nine years old. And it really had an impact on me. I you know, these.

Speaker It probably took place in conversation that we had, but I can't recall the exact words of it. I know that. He always yearned. To be in the. Film does this. And, you know. David always was looking for security. He was looking for a financial. SCOR.

Speaker And one of the reasons that he left management at the agency business to go and imagine, because he felt that that was much more lucrative. One of the reasons that he was brought in, he left the management business to go into the record business, although he had them both at one time, was because he knew that the liquid record business was even more profitable and he could build an asset. And his ultimate goal was always to sell and make a lot of money.

Speaker So you had a good sense of all of that, and then when you talk about the film business, I think, you know, in everybody's minds, although it may not necessarily hold the film business is the ultimate in terms of achieving financial wealth.

Speaker So let's go back to silent. So. How did David start asylum and what was the relationship between Warner and Swidler would have it all that come about?

Speaker Well, you know, it was Atlantic, which was part were part of the want to record group.

Speaker I had no responsibility for Atlantic. I just ran my company, which is Warner Brothers Records. Ahmet Ertegun ran Atlantic Records. And then there was the government of Jack Holzman, who is a superb record executive.

Speaker So I guess this is where Jackson. Yeah.

Speaker What happened was that David was managing Jackson.

Speaker He recognized what happened. Fantastic talent. Jackson was rightly so and felt that it was time for Jackson to make a record. And because of the Crosby, Stills and Nash relationship that he developed with Ahmet. He decided to bring Jackson Browne to Ahmed. And you know, the way the story of this is that David came in to see Ahmed. And pitched Jackson Browne and all of his merits and how he felt he could be a big hit artist. And he also said, Ahmed, not only that, David Ahmed, but you can make a lot of money. With Jackson Browne at home, was response was David. I don't need any money. I have a lot of money. But if you want to make money, he said, I have an idea for you.

Speaker Why don't. You start a record label with Atlantic Records and have Jackson Browne as your first artist.

Speaker And deep down, David had actually explore the possibility of a label before, but never could really get one with anybody. And suddenly Armitt presents him with this gift of a label, you know? Out of the blue. And he immediately jumped at that prospect. And, of course, it wasn't doing it out of pure love of David or any kind of altruistic motivations on his part. He did it because he saw how. Big talent. David was. And he felt that if he could bring David in with his ability to attract artists, that he would broaden his A in our scope. And he would help him grow Atlantic Records. So there was a real business reason for Ahmed doing it. There was, you know, the recognition of David as a major talent and also the desire to enhance the stature of Atlantic Records itself.

Speaker And he didn't have to ask Steve Ross. There is no. So. David Lane.

Speaker No, I really don't. I think, you know, he talked about a bunch of names. He explored it with all kinds of people.

Speaker But.

Speaker How we arrived at asylum, it might have been a conversation within Jackson. They may have gone through a fence or us or something. I'm not sure how they got to it. But, you know, they had this idea of their management operation and their record coming being a sort of a haven for artists. And so.

Speaker Asylum seemed to be the appropriate name for the label to encompass that idea.

Speaker The story goes that one that Laura told David that she would sign with asylum and then she decided to stay with Columbia and story is one of the reasons that she hated the title. That sounded like it was mad.

Speaker Yeah. No, I know. I've heard that, too.

Speaker How did. Can you talk a little bit about David? Talk to you about the situation of Laura. And I felt that she didn't sign.

Speaker Yeah, he was. He was crazed.

Speaker You know, his idea was that.

Speaker The people that he managed Will Elliot.

Speaker Who, by the way, was also a part owner and partner in asylum records. And import will all sign with his new label. And because of his incredible closeness with Laura and what he felt he had contributed to her career. He just assumed. That she would sign with him. But. She had some misgivings about that. I think as. David got involved with the management and other people. He might have not been there for her. He was living in L.A. You know, David at the beginning was constantly at her disposal. Any time she needed him, he was there.

Speaker And, you know, he just wasn't holding hands anymore.

Speaker And the way that he did and there may have been other problems between them.

Speaker They had the publishing company together. I'm not sure how she felt about his owning 50 percent of republishing. Most writers resent it, but I don't know that that was the case with Laura. I mean, she might have felt that he was innocent. Indeed he was. He got a lot of very important artists to record Laura songs. So there was some sort of abrasions between them. But I don't know that I'm familiar with exactly what happened. I think Clive had a big influence there because she was signed the Columbia Records and's and they had talked about selling the publishing company to Columbia Records. And so, you know, she, you know, might have also had an attractiveness to Columbia, which was a New York based company, very, very powerful. Probably the number one company in the business at that time.

Speaker Yeah, absolutely. It's not one of the questions that is coming out here. This is something. How much of an impact? And other than, you know, getting other people to to record her songs and eventually making her make a lot of money and he sold the publishing. What did David do with more narrow a billion euro? And as successful without it? Because after he no longer managed her career.

Speaker Yeah. I don't believe so.

Speaker You know, to to say that I talked about the.

Speaker I think David was a vital, vital element in lawyer's career.

Speaker He fought for her.

Speaker He did everything he could to make sure that she had the best environment possible in which he could she would create.

Speaker She had. Performed at the Monterey Pop Festival and Bond. It was a disaster. She also had. Another management group at that time, Marty Mogel, NFL. But then Milt Oaken.

Speaker Who I think had a record rights and also her publishing rights and after the disaster at Monterrey, nobody thought Laura would become an important artist. David jumped in there and came to the rescue and completely resurrected her career and fought for her constantly.

Speaker And.

Speaker Actually gave her almost anything she wanted.

Speaker I mean, she had strange desires and interests and he pretty much indulged all of those.

Speaker I remember. I had a group at one is called Pellant Pentangle.

Speaker And I threw a party for Pentangle at my house, which wasn't this one other place, and Encino, and I've invited David to the party and he asked me he would be there. And I told them some of the people that we invited and one of the people. That's Randy Newman. Laura Nyro absolutely adored. Randy Newman, she respected him, she thought he was one of the finest songwriters of that time, which is the case. And when she heard that Randy would be at this party, unlike Laura, she actually decided she would fly out to Los Angeles.

Speaker She was not a proper party person. She was a very reclusive person. And she came to the party and, you know, she came in.

Speaker Dressed in unusual garb, dark. All kinds of jewelry. Very, very insecure and withdrawn. And she sat in one place the entire night and never once talked to Randy. And David, in effect, he might have introduced them, you know, and that was it. But, you know, here she was, she made a three thousand mile trip. Come out to Los Angeles to meet him.

Speaker And so what ended the Laura's career after the. We do know that that after she didn't sign the sign, that was the breaking relationship they first ever spoke. Yeah. And could you say that? And then what happened to her career back there?

Speaker Is there no way of pulling the plug or something? You know, I mean.

Speaker There must be a way that you can disconnect the phone. Is that.

Speaker Then you'll have a buzz. OK? But there are so many other phones here. You know, you just you you just disconnect one line. Yes.

Speaker Actually.

Speaker Laura's recording success. Was. Spotted from a commercial standpoint. She was artistically very much revered and respected.

Speaker And.

Speaker Her records would sometimes do very well and others would not do as well. And that happened during the time that David manager. Then when David and Laura parted company. It almost seemed as if she fell off a cliff. And a career never seemed to regain. The status that it had. When she was under David's ages.

Speaker Thank you. Very good. How great.

Speaker You know, one of the reasons that I'm enjoying making this film that, David, is that all those artists. But the people that I said I probably pay deja vu for a year. Laura, as you know, I recently went back to listen to them.

Speaker Now she's phenomenal. She's a great, great artist. In fact, I have a friend I may have told you this, Rosanna Arquette, who has done some documentaries and she's dying to do a documentary on Laura Nyro, which I told her I thought was a phenomenal idea. I thought you should do that because it's interesting. Not only in terms of the music and the songs, but the personality and also her relationships going to be difficult because it's very tough.

Speaker Yeah. And Laura is definitely going to be a chapter in this song. I mean, I write better because it's because it's it's it's so tell me about him. And because nobody's ever done anything that war.

Speaker That's a little opportunity. Yeah. I thought I mean, I really, you know, important, very important role in this place.

Speaker She was. What do you think from an emotional standpoint, David was drawn to? If you can speak.

Speaker Well, as I mentioned earlier.

Speaker He first fell in love with her because of her songs. He found that the songs were terribly emotional. They. Really connected with him.

Speaker And moved him considerably, and I think it was those songs which actually. Convinced him that he should represent LA Laura and that's you. That you could be a star. Then there was, you know, Laura's look and her demeanor and the sort of oddball personality. That in many ways made her attractive. I mean, you know, there's something interesting about somebody who is not like everybody else. I mean, she was really distinct and different and a real individual as a person.

Speaker Did you identify with that in some way, having been a bit of an outsider? So.

Speaker He might have. I think he might have. I think he could have, you know, felt that. You know, maybe there was some similarity. In terms of laws, life and how he was able to bring her to a better life and David's own.

Speaker Lovely, lovely, lovely, lovely. So.

Speaker Kind of touched on this a little bit. Let's sort of just talk about asylum. Who was the roster? Why were they attracted to. Right.

Speaker What did he do differently than other record labels in asylum? You know, take us the asylum story.

Speaker They've never wanted to have a big label. He always thought that you'd be better off. With few artists. And a small operation. And asylum was a small boutique. Kind of label. The artists who are involved with a song with asylum were.

Speaker Essentially and the singer songwriter area, and he identified.

Speaker With that kind of music enormously.

Speaker He also had strong friendships with a lot of these artists and he managed these artists and he was sort of a person who is their protector.

Speaker And their shrink and their friend.

Speaker And his relationships with them in many cases were quite was quite intense.

Speaker He by virtue of his management operation.

Speaker Felt that if he could combine the marriage management company and a record company.

Speaker That he could create for them the best possible environment, both. Creatively and financially.

Speaker And as I mentioned earlier, Jackson was the first artist that he signed for asylum.

Speaker And Jackson was incredibly valuable to David Acerbity and our Skout. He had relationships and he was aware of a lot of the potential young guys that were emerging on the scene at the time. As a matter of fact, Jackson was the one who brought David to the Eagles. He also brought David to Linda Ronstadt. The Eagles were even in Linda Ronstadt house band. Some of them were. So they were very, very important.

Speaker The hit here, Joni Mitchell.

Speaker He he had Neil Young, Tom Waits, all singer songwriters other than Linda. Who had great strength in her own way. I mean, Linda was a great Ainaro man and she had a great sense of song. She was a brilliant interpreter.

Speaker The label.

Speaker Actually, in a very, very short period of time. Became very, very hot and everybody talked about them. I mean, if there is such a thing as a zayde KAIST of that time, you know, that was Geffen Records and, you know, asylum records. And that certainly, you know, is the result of both Elliott and David's, you know, enormous impact on on the level.

Speaker What was that relationship you describe? Their relationship and their differences and now the government.

Speaker Well, David.

Speaker Had met Elliot. At William Morehouse, when they were both in the mailroom and they became very friendly. Elliot has a wonderful sense of humor. He's a good athlete and has a wonderful way of endearing himself to artists. So he was effective. In signing hours in his own right. David was. The person who actually dominated the relationship with respect to the record company and was certainly influential on the management side, but Elliott ran the management operation, was combining the management and the record label.

Speaker And, you know, it happened from time to time combining a record company. Management happened with small operations. There's a lot of it that happened in England.

Speaker For instance, Chrysalis Records was a company which was a combination of a management company and a record company in the United States. You had Capricorn records. Phil Walden was both manager and the label head, and there is Vill Records was also a record company which out Albert Grossman was the principal of.

Speaker And he also managed simply. So it was not unusual, but there was always a tricky part to it because of the fact that, you know, there was the impression that there could be a conflict of interests and that. You know, could create all kinds of legal problems. Now, David always took the position that, yes, there was the potential of a conflict. But at the same time, whatever detriment the conflict itself may have been, may have created, were far outweighed by all the benefits of having both the management and the record company together.

Speaker So when Asylum's started. How did what did Ahmed do to help set that up? What was the specific role of setting?

Speaker Well, when. When?

Speaker As Ahmed proposed the label deal to David. He had a structure already in mind. I think he had made other label deals before. And so he had a roadmap as to how to involve himself in those things. And the arrangement was that David, who had this incredible ability to find artists. To sign those artists, to nurture those artists, to build those artists, he would cover all of the creative side. And then Atlantic would take care of manufacturing. Marketing, promotion, international, all the back room services and do the so-called business side, Atlantic would also provide all the financing. For the label, and they also agreed that they should have a sort of a joint venture arrangement whereby David would have a 50 percent equity in the label along with Elliott and. I'm at or Atlantic Records would have a 50 percent equity, and then they agreed that. Atlanta, good cover, all the costs and those costs would be recouped before they would get to the profits and once they got to the profit number, that would be split 50/50 between them. That was a very, very good deal, given that it was made to somebody like David who had no record business experience before. It was a tremendous deal. It was a very, very attractive deal.

Speaker The relationship between.

Speaker Well, I mean, you've talked to David, you may know, lost his father early in life.

Speaker And Ahmed became a very important father figure to David.

Speaker And it was sort of the worldly, fun figure.

Speaker The fun father figure that David attached himself to.

Speaker It was a man who. Had great wealth.

Speaker He he moved in high society circles. He was the son of an ambassador, I spoke many languages and had lived all over the world because his father was the ambassador to Germany and to France and then the United States. So it's very, very worldly. And he was very, very taken with David recognized. David's enormous talent and both he meager against, sort of adopted David, introduced him to their social friends, took them on trips so that he could expose himself to the greater world. And did one other very important thing, which was to introduce him to art. They had a fine art collection. And when they were in London visiting an art dealer one time, they talked him into buying a Picasso. And that was the very first. Painting that David bought. And I'm sure most people know today David has one of the great art collections in the world. So it was a very impactful. Kind of relationship. And really, in many ways set David on the road to becoming wealthy.

Speaker So you've run and did run and many record labels. What what does it take? How do you balance? The need to have a successful company deal with the needs of the artist. And make it all work. And what qualities did David have that made that work?

Speaker You know.

Speaker You're you're dealing with the music business. We've got two words, music and business. And the attempt on the part of any executive. Is this sort of balance, the two? I mean, you know, it's the perennial clash between art and commerce. You're dealing with that kind of situation. I always took the position in the case of my running of a record company that if you do right by the art, the commerce will follow. And so that worked well for me.

Speaker David, I think, had.

Speaker That same kind of sensibility.

Speaker I'm probably a lot softer. Then he was in terms of how I dealt with the artists.

Speaker But.

Speaker David has incredible business instincts.

Speaker He.

Speaker By virtue of his mother's influence. Is very careful about what he spends. I mean, he will not countenance. Any wasteful spending? He's always mindful of making a profit.

Speaker He's got. This wonderful ability.

Speaker And we discussed it before to relate to artists.

Speaker I almost feel at times he's like one of them. He's got this. Unbounded energy. And, you know, like a great athlete. He has this tremendous will to win. So I've heard him say, you know, that I'd rather die than fail. So he is just driven to be successful. He also, like a chess player, thinks ahead. I mean, I remember somebody once saying to me about David Mo, when you're on page 10, he's going to be on page 100, but he can think things out. Into the future. And that's an incredible gift. We both know that he's. Wonderfully smart. I mean, there's a enormous brain there.

Speaker And you know, when you add all of the various attributes, you know, the guy is a you know, he's a stoic stone cold winner. I mean, any time.

Speaker That I would be given the opportunity, I would bet on David.

Speaker So he's in with his artist. He's made of haven. Is it true that he he said, he said and so on and said, I never want this company to be bigger than the people?

Speaker So that's what I heard, too. I wasn't in the sun to say to say that I wasn't so sure. Do you want to say I went inside? I wasn't in the sun. But I believe that's true.

Speaker You have to tell me your ideas. We all know anybody who was actually in the thoughts. We don't it a true story, I think.

Speaker I thought I'd heard that the Eagles and that, you know, maybe Jackson, you know, but I don't know anyone.

Speaker Oh, no. So it's in a pocketful story.

Speaker So I have this idea that it might be a sequence in itself, but the only reason that it's actually an important story is something funny.

Speaker Is that, of course, it became much bigger than the sauna and he sold it two years later. Tell us that story, how did that come about? Why do you think he did it? How did the artist feel about it?

Speaker What was the.

Speaker You know, as I said earlier, David was always. Concerned about financial security. One of the driving forces in David's life was to become wealthy. And I think he thought that if he had a label, which he could build into a very, very valuable asset, that, you know, he could really cash out in a big way. What happened was he got a phone call from Steve Ross. And Steve Ross asked them to come to a meeting at that meeting, and I don't think David anticipated this. Steve told them. He would like to buy his record company. The other half that they owned. And David, I think, might have been caught off guard. And probably make one of the poorest decisions he ever made when he responded, you know, because when Steve said, how much would you like for your record company? David came up the biggest number he could think of, which was seven million dollars. And when you think of the earnings of asylum at the time, which may have been one hundred fifty thousand. The multiple was enormous.

Speaker Steve was a masterful negotiator. David wasn't sophisticated at that time. He had a lot to learn and he learned quickly and he never forgot if he made any mistakes. So.

Speaker He made the era of going first when Steve asked him how much he want, wanted and blurted out seven million dollars. I don't think he ever did that again.

Speaker And.

Speaker Steve said he would be prepared to do that on two conditions. One was that David had to come give up the management situation because, again, the conflict of interests was an issue for Steve and he didn't want to take any chances and didn't want to, you know, encounter any legal liabilities. And the other was he wanted David to sign a seven year contract. It's a long term contract, but Steve had this tremendous belief in executives. And he even with inventory executives at times, even if he didn't have a place for them, he felt so strongly about them. And it certainly impacted me, you know, because. I remember thinking, you know. As one was so successful that I went through Jimmy Hendrix dying the Who. Breaking up James Taylor, leaving the record company, and yet we cannot continue to grow and get bigger. And the one constant. Was the executive team, so you can never underestimate that and Steve. Was painfully aware of that fact. So he went to lock up David in the worst way because he knew. That David was a star. And the other thing that was part of the deal was that the 17 dollars would not all in cash and cash, there was two million dollars in cash and five million dollars in stock. And here again, you know, there was a flaw in David's deal and that what happened was that the stock fell and became less value valuable.

Speaker He never froze the price of the stock. So he found himself with an asset which he sold, which was now worth less than what he thought he got.

Speaker Didn't you rectify?

Speaker Yes, he did. That's part of the electric story.

Speaker Yeah, so. Well, how did the artist feel?

Speaker Different artists feel different. What is? You know, some artists think, you know, that going to a. A bigger company with more resources will give them a better plateau from which to function. In the case of David Zardoz. You had the Eagles, who are the biggest artist on the label. Phenomenal hits, I mean, there are Eagles greatest hits record. I think it's the biggest selling record of all time in the history of the record business. I don't know, maybe Michael Jackson's thriller will surpass it now with all that's going on. But the Eagles. Sold even more records than Michael Smikle Thriller. And here they sold the company. The Eagles felt that they were such an important asset in the company. And they didn't participate in any way. And then you have to deal with the element of change, which is not easy for anybody. And when your. Surprised by that change. You've never consented to it. You had no choice. It even becomes more distressing. It almost makes you feel like chattel. And so. The Eagles were very, very upset and angry at David. And he even made them angry because he owned 50 percent of the publishing, which they wanted back. And he would not give them back. And he gave Jackson back his 50 percent, the publishing, publishing, and they were aware of it so that, you know, exacerbated their feelings toward him.

Speaker As far as people like Linda were concerned.

Speaker You know, they were sold a bill of goods on the small.

Speaker Boutique he label where there would be very, very few releases and every record that was released would have a shot. There would be great focus on those particular albums. And suddenly they were going to be they were sold to the corporation. And there's a certain kind of anti corporate attitude on the part of many, many artists and, you know, I don't think they felt good about the idea that they were now.

Speaker Owned by a corporation they signed with David. Ellie.

Speaker You've got a stable of our.

Speaker And it's like you gave more OT's to some of them than others. Do you know why you ever talk to you about it?

Speaker I think I know why.

Speaker In Jackson's case, as I mentioned earlier.

Speaker You know, Jackson had done so much in terms of attracting talent. To asylum that I think David felt an obligation to an. And this was something. He was happy to do. And that's pretty generous about that kind of stuff. And he did it. I don't think he had the same kind of relationship with the Eagles. So he wouldn't it ended up in a settlement, but could have come to a lawsuit had it not been resolved. Yes.

Speaker Did he ever did he? I'm just curious. I actually don't know that. Did it come as a big surprise to the artist Unity Comolli?

Speaker I mean, with an individual single, this one did not only came as a surprise to the RNC, came as a surprise to Elliot Roberts, his partner, who had one third of the company. He just, you know, saw the opportunity to reach his goal of becoming financially secure and wealthy.

Speaker And he decided.

Speaker To jump at that deal and then told Elliott afterwards, an enzyme, as I understand it, Eliot felt that he was he he made a premature decision there, that he should have sold it at that time.

Speaker I think Elliot told us that you interview.

Speaker Let's talk for a moment about this financially secure thing. Where did that come from? Tell us a little bit about David's way of why he felt so strongly about that. I mean, it is not atypical from people who come from a poor background, but talk about.

Speaker Well, you know, his parents were immigrants. They came from Russia. His father.

Speaker Never did well financially. And his mother, I guess you would say, or the pants in the family and. You know, she started her own business. She was very, very frugal. She had good business instincts, but she always pounded in to with the necessity of saving money. Watching what you spend. And he once said to me that he had been so conditioned by his mother to think in that way.

Speaker That.

Speaker Even when it would became enormously wealthy, he found it difficult to spend money. He eventually got past that. But. I think his mother had a huge influence. And the fact that they came from, you know. A more impoverished circumstance. So his early New York. Days. You know. We're tough. Father, not I don't know if he worked all the time. And the mother caring, you know, the business, she was the breadwinner.

Speaker I don't think the father really did work in a factory. Senior.

Speaker Well, I don't know about that, but I'm sure he didn't have the same.

Speaker I mean, you know. The same feeling toward his father as it did towards mother.

Speaker It's interesting, I come from an immigrant family as well. I'm first generation. My parents were very much like that, too.

Speaker And I went the opposite direction. Yeah. Not that I ever had the resources to, but, you know, my parents and I literally count the number of fourth meal. Right.

Speaker We get it. You know, I don't want to do that to my kids. Yeah. Much what you want.

Speaker Yeah. Listen, my wife is the same.

Speaker So that.

Speaker Anyway, after he sold it and let's talk about Steve Ross now for a little bit, Steve Ross's mama. Well, we talked about it.

Speaker We don't know yet. Right off the bat, Steve.

Speaker Oh, women. Is there some way to say bet on it? The ups and downs in that relationship, maybe we should.

Speaker You know, I don't think I want to get into that. I mean, it's a lot of hearsay and stuff, and I don't know that it's. I'm uncomfortable with that one.

Speaker Okay.

Speaker Yeah. Well, again. David. Saw in Steve. You know, this wildly successful. Father figure.

Speaker Steve was a really, quote, big business man. He ran a conglomerate. They had the Kennie companies, they had the Warner Brothers films. They had cable companies. I think they might have you bit a funeral operation involved. So he had, you know, a big palette, the paint on and.

Speaker He also was very, very wealthy.

Speaker He lived a grand lifestyle. He had access to airplanes and boats and water, even had homes in Aspen and in Acapulco. And then Steve lived in the Hamptons, where he has a beautiful place. And David was exposed to all of that.

Speaker So.

Speaker Steve may have had even a bigger impact on David than on it, because he got David to see a much bigger picture, not just restricted to the record business, but to all of the possibilities that big business can bring to one.

Speaker And.

Speaker Stephen's wife. To David and. Took David to trips with them. In fact, at one one trip, Quincy Jones. Lorne Michaels.

Speaker Evelin and I were on a trip in the Caribbean. Another trip we had, another important, interesting group. Paul Simon and Kat. Carrie Fisher was part of that group.

Speaker And David was also. On the one with Quinsy and Laun. So all of that opened David's eyes and. Although they had differences, primarily business differences. Steve had. A very, very important goal in David's life.

Speaker How do he feel about it?

Speaker He admired him and respected him.

Speaker He saw this big star figure.

Speaker And.

Speaker You know, he may have loved him, and I think David, the same with both Steve and Ahmed. And. You know, I think they had problems whenever they got into some business dealings. And, you know, that made it sometimes a strained relationship.

Speaker From that one, from what one reads, Steve, very much indulged.

Speaker Don't let me leave me alone in the room with David because I end up giving. I heard that, too. I heard this.

Speaker I mean, you could talk about how he endorsed him. I am not taking him on chips and so forth. But in the business.

Speaker Well.

Speaker And you'll get to this later with Elektra Asylum and then with with Geffen Records and giving them back 50 percent of his company.

Speaker But.

Speaker You know, Steve always was great to most of his executives, I always used to say that, you know, he handled us as if we were stars. I mean, you would have thought that we were the actors.

Speaker But in David's case, he had a very tough time saying no to David. Whenever and whenever ever David asked for anything. Steve pretty much granted him his wishes sometimes to the disadvantage of the business.

Speaker But David was aggressive with him. David realized that Steve was a soft touch for him. And, you know, certainly utilized it when it suited its purpose.

Speaker And he dislike conflict.

Speaker Steve never like confrontation.

Speaker And David took advantage of that. I suspect. So what positions did David hold in Warner after he sold us out?

Speaker Well. He's still continue to be the chairman of asylum records.

Speaker In fact, what he said to the artists, you know, when they were upset by the sale. Was, you know, this was gonna be better.

Speaker We'll have more capital and more resources and I'll still be there along with Elliott.

Speaker So, you know, he tried to allay their fears. I don't know whether it necessarily worked, but at least that was his rationale.

Speaker We're women in other positions. Oh, yeah. Well, what happened was.

Speaker David felt that. Asylum records was a small fish in a big pond when he was up against the Atlantic and Electra. We were much bigger companies. And he was interested in expanding his base.

Speaker And.

Speaker Jac Holzman, who is the founder and owner of Elektra before he sold to Warner. Was phasing out. And I always admired him and he was a good friend. But he was phasing out.

Speaker And.

Speaker Steve was concerned about the leadership of Elektra Records. He wanted to make sure that that asset would continue to build. David contacted me knowing my role with Elektra and knowing that I had a strong relationship with Steve. To. I recommend to Steve that he should get Elektra so they can merge the two companies. I called Steve because I felt, you know, David was certainly perfect for the job. And Steve was already ahead of me. He wanted David. He felt elektro needed. New leadership.

Speaker And so he.

Speaker Talk to David. And in order to. And Tyson, to make the deal, because David have played it coy. What he did was he offered him a huge salary. I think that he was making a hundred and fifty thousand dollars and I think it went to a million dollars. And also, David had.

Speaker Evidenced and publicly spoken about how upset he was about the stock which had lost value. He offered to make. Him whole so that he would get back over a period of time. All of the value of the stock that had declined. And he also told David to sign a seven year contract. And so he gave them back, he gave them all.

Speaker He let him take a lecture, but he also extracted something in return. And it was a considerable quid pro quo.

Speaker Now, from a music standpoint. Were there any differences between what it did to separate companies and now the merger of electric asylum, was it not?

Speaker Not yeah. There might have been because Electra.

Speaker Was a folk lib label and had a lot of singer songwriters. But, you know, they had Carly sign, but they had The Doors, which was a rock group. They had Queen, which was also a rock group. It was Judy Collins, Carly Simon.

Speaker And also they had a classical label, which was a really prestigious, wonderfully conceived label called Nonesuch. And they had a building in Los Angeles, a studio in Los Angeles and a staff.

Speaker So. When David merged the two companies, he had all of these additional resources at his disposal.

Speaker And.

Speaker Elektra Asylum was a you know, a very, very successful record company, as a matter of fact, one year they had the number one album with. Bob Dylan, the number two album with, I think was Joni Mitchell. Court and Spark and the number three album with Carly Simon. They had a wonderful run.

Speaker That's a great record, that chromosome. They're all. So did David as the head of this. Did he operate any differently than he had when he was in asylum, was able to accomplish this wider?

Speaker He did he you know, he he delegated a lot.

Speaker And.

Speaker He I don't know if he was in the office every day. He might have operate a lot out of his home during the asylum days. I think he would be in the office regularly. He now how to manage people, much more people, and he did that very effectively. So, you know, it was just playing in a bigger playing field.

Speaker Woodstock was a big negotiation. David negotiated, you know, this?

Speaker No, she hated me for Crosby, Stills, Nash, for that to be the theme song of the movie, basically. And, you know, the whole story that, you know, galaxies that were stuck in 400000 people.

Speaker Right. And Johnny wrote that wonderful song called.

Speaker You know, I Did for Johnny, too. I think we sent it to you.

Speaker So I didn't know you were gonna send me.

Speaker I don't get. I don't remember. I think you were going to some. Paul.

Speaker I'm sure we sent you on a saying we did. Jack had to send it. Really? We'll send you. It will send you Jaime.

Speaker There's Johnny Bitter. Have you done or yet?

Speaker But whenever into the interview with Tom King, he was pissed. He said, tell the truth. Say anything you want. And so she told her about an incident and I mean, she told him about it and said that he had. Call me up on the phone. Who is it?

Speaker It was a mad and unsettling story. Terrible story. We hadn't talked to two years after that. We're not going to ask you. I won't I won't talk. I won't talk. We figured that figure.

Speaker But he from day one, he said to me, you know, I graduated. She's got nothing else to say.

Speaker You can't tell. You cannot tell. She really owes him a lot. She doesn't think that now, but she knows anybody.

Speaker But he'll be very upset if she's not.

Speaker Look, she was a pretty important part of those early days. It would be their personal relationship was so strong. I mean, you know, the House and the Holmby Hills and then the Paris.

Speaker Yeah. She wrote the song. I kind of got to be in the no samsa. She has a little bit of some kind of odd skin condition called the.

Speaker Home when last month. Course, you know, you got a phone call from during. It's only because you want something, you know. And asked me if I could do something from for her in relationship to Warner. It's because she knows that I consult with them. But you know, the way she talked. She felt that she was entitled to certain things, which contractually she was not. She said it's a moral contract. They have a moral obligation to me, you know. Well, can you imagine people who no longer. Have any relationship with her. This isn't like during the winter days when I was there or during the gap in this and we all had personal relationships. I got a good Bomford. She does he does know her from Adam, you know. I mean, knows who she is. How could he not?

Speaker But she gets kind of emotional connection. Yeah.

Speaker He you know, he's strictly business contracts as such and such. Why should I do. You know.

Speaker I tell, you know.

Speaker But she feels she's entitled and misused and.

Speaker That nobody ever did anything for her.

Speaker Everybody heard her. It's it's so sad. Yeah, it is. When you think about, you know, how brilliant she is, when you think about how much she can take.

Speaker I mean, there's no doubt. Really? You try reaching Joanie. She doesn't do e-mail. She got it.

Speaker I know. I know. I had to reach her through her business manager, Sam.

Speaker Oh, no, that's her art artist, artistic manager Sam Feldman. You know, there's something else with this. This is terrific. Good guy.

Speaker I mean, I do know because James Wood being managed by a very good friend of mine who lost them, unfortunately, and I don't know why coming into Gary Blauman.

Speaker Didn't know that. Oh, all these artists. It's like a trip through the past. OK.

Speaker So let's just start with a birthday party and why that came about and why is there a back story to it and then describe. No. Oh, yeah.

Speaker David is not somebody who has issues of surprise. But.

Speaker What had happened was that David seemed to be in a funk.

Speaker It all came out of an incident to do it. The Dylan band reunion. And he was very, very upset. Robbie Robertson. Was one of his close friends. And SchirĂ² was dating him at the time.

Speaker And so Robbie went to share and said, what can we do to lift his spirits? Let's do something, you know, to make him feel good and get him out of this kind of condition he's on. And they came up with the idea of throwing a surprise birthday party for him.

Speaker And.

Speaker I was enlisted along with my wife to bring him to the party. We concocted some sort of a story about meeting Barbra Streisand. We had been to some. Industry functions or in black tie.

Speaker And we.

Speaker Took him to the Beverly Hills Hotel. And as we were walking toward the ballroom where the party was to take place. He kept seeing people he recognized. And just as we were at the entrance of the ballroom, it struck him. You know, he was really had up to that moment. At least I think he was. And then he turned to me and he said, Mo, what is going on here? But by that time, we were walking inside of the ballroom and there was shear and there was Dylan and Ahmed and Robbie and the band Warm Baby was there. Jack Nicholson was there. Ringo was there. I mean, all these people, you know, and they proceeded to sing Happy Birthday, Cher, leading the group. The atmosphere was like a sort of a carnival circus atmosphere. And they had flame throwers and fortune tellers and acrobats and all kinds of people like that tumblers. And then.

Speaker Sheere got up and sang. All I really want to do, which is Bob Dylan song. Then Cher sang a song with Rick Danko of the band called Mockingbird.

Speaker And then Dylan got up and saying, Mr. Tambourine Man. And. You know, it was just fantastic. And. You know, it was like David having his bar mitzvah, except that, you know, he wasn't 13, he was the inverse of that. He was 31 and. I really believe that. You know, it lifted him considerably. That he enjoyed the evening and that got him, you know, out of that sort of depressive state that he was in.

Speaker Do you know? Can you tell me you know it and I'm sure you do. What? The purse, but the perceived slight was that I do know and I'm not going to talk about it.

Speaker If he did, that's great, he talked about Bill Graham and what happened on stage, I'm sure.

Speaker What's what's surprising or maybe not surprising, but revealing. Any idea? Oh, yeah.

Speaker He could you know, he could be needy at times, you know? No, absolutely.

Speaker I do.

Speaker OK. You around them?

Speaker No, because, you know.

Speaker It might have been after that that I had a conflict with him. And I may not have been around much at that time, I didn't have any contact with them for a long time. I think that's OK.

Speaker This is know we have some.

Speaker I'm sure. And I'm sure you got good stuff. And Robbie would be a better source of information for the party than I am, because, you know, he actually was part of the planning.

Speaker So let's move on now to he's a winner. He is his appetite is growing and he wants to get leaked into the movie's.

Speaker Doesn't work out so well. Now.

Speaker I really wasn't at the movie company that time.

Speaker So, you know, I have no firsthand information here. And I heard stuff and there was some conversation you and I had, you know, of frustrations that he was experiencing.

Speaker But.

Speaker I feel uncomfortable dealing with hearsay. What I did know, and I believe I mentioned earlier, was he did have this incredible desire to become a Hollywood mogul. That was part of a fantasy that he. I wanted his his his interest in the music business seemed to be waning. And he was very restless at the time and he was looking for other worlds to conquer. And so. He mentioned that he was interested in going the film company and he asked me if I would talk to John Kelly and Frank Wells. I recommend him. He'd already, I think, sold Ashley and Ross. So that wasn't a problem. But he wanted to make sure that every case was covered and I gladly did it because, you know, I sincerely felt that he had the talent to do whatever he wanted to do. And I knew that deep down this was the burning desire on his part.

Speaker So.

Speaker I spoke to them. They listen and then say very much. And that really was the extent of my involvement during that whole period.

Speaker Did he ever talk to you that his frustrations or his struggles are was because he talks? Quite honestly, I know he said I didn't work very well in the corporate environment.

Speaker Well, you know, you're dealing with another kind of culture.

Speaker And what works in the music business? Doesn't work in the film business. And we talked earlier about, you know, how brutally honest he can be. And there are some times when he would say things that I'm sure some people were offended by. He also can be quite confronted. And that, too, can upset people.

Speaker So.

Speaker I'm sure that during that period. You know, which I would characterize as his time when he was sort of an arm Fonte Terry Ebe. You know, he rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and it eventually ended up in his dismissal, which was a unbelievable blow to him. He had never been. Fired in his life. And he had a tough time dealing with it. And then he went off and retired to the beach, but.

Speaker What was unfortunate for him was that he still had three years to go on his contract. And Steve would not release them because Steve still believed in them. Steve certainly did not want to see him working for a competitor.

Speaker And he figured that somewhere along the line it would blow over and David would come back and, you know, really do a great job for him.

Speaker And this is about the time that David got this diagnosis.

Speaker He got that misdiagnosis for cancer. And, you know, that shook him up as it would anybody.

Speaker That's kind of a double whammy in a way.

Speaker Yeah, I think it was a very difficult time. I mean, you know, it almost was like he needed to get away and going out to the beach and sort of sorting out.

Speaker Various things that might have been troubling him getting himself together. Was a good therapeutic kind of process for him.

Speaker And then you go to New York.

Speaker Well, he he always maintained an apartment in New York and would spend. A lot of time here and a lot of time in New York when he was didn't have a job here. He spent a lot more time in New York. So he was in New York. I think a great deal during that period.

Speaker Did you talk to him often? Well, there was the period when we were not talking about.

Speaker No, I think it was we were friendly by that time.

Speaker Right. He hadn't. And. You know, we we were we were in communication, we were in touch with one other.

Speaker Did you share?

Speaker You know what he was going through? Does she had fears? Did he talk about being afraid of dying?

Speaker No.

Speaker No, I never had that discussion. Sandy would be the guy who would. I think give you the best insight into that.

Speaker Is there is any single story that you feel comfortable telling about his days at the studio?

Speaker That, you know, only that I thought.

Speaker That he was involved with a lot of interesting people.

Speaker And.

Speaker That he did some positive things in connection with the stars born where he insisted that Frank Pierson be the director. He was involved with the casting about God and recommended John Denver, who is a big. Big hit his friendship with Wawn. They had brought. Warren to the studio, and they were going to do a film called Having Can Wait. And that was in the works. And when David left. That film left after he did and went over to Paramount and it turned out to be an enormous hit. So, you know, he had the chops. But given all of the circumstances of the adjustment that he had to make from one business to the other. I guess the timing wasn't right for it to work.

Speaker It's probably the darkest time in his life. I would think so. You know. And how do you climb out of that?

Speaker I think, you know, he did all kinds of.

Speaker Therapy.

Speaker He went into a lot of these self-help help programs. He was an ass. He was an Lifespring. He was always interested in things like that.

Speaker He really went to work. You know, sort of pull himself.

Speaker Up, you know, on his own, and he did a great job of it. And. During that period.

Speaker I was on the phone with him. We would have meals together, I'd go out to the beach. So we were in constant communication.

Speaker And when enough time had elapsed and these. You know, I would say with a five year period.

Speaker I thought, you know, it's time for me to talk to him about getting back in the record business. I thought it was such a horrible waste of talent.

Speaker I mean, here's is this guy, just Fidele, loaded with ability, being unproductive.

Speaker And so