Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Day Roy Orbison Died

I went out to dinner the other night with friends that I knew from when we all worked together at GreenWorld Records, a California based company, in the mid-eighties. I've kept in touch over the years with Paul Marotta , I consider him to be one of my greatest friends, but for some reason or other lost touch with Steve Bromlee after GreenWorld and Holly Lane since 1995 (she told me at dinner that she came to see my band that year, better memory than I) . We were all re-united when my wife Jill put up a Facebook page and found out that former employees of GreenWorld/Enigma had a group page. I've been on the page and funny enough found out that someone I knew from LIFEbeat, The Music Industry Fights AIDS (I worked there for about 9 years) also worked at Enigma.

In 1984 Paul talked GreenWorld into opening a NYC office and shortly after hired me. We only worked together for a few months but I learned so much about the record business from Paul. To this day I still learn something interesting every time I see Paul. When Paul left I wound up becoming the manager of the office, with practically no experience under my belt. I subsequently hired Don Brody to do sales and Holly Lane to do everything else that Don and I didn't have the time to do. The three of us worked together in a small cramped office on Lafeyette Street for about 14 months, but had the time of our lives. Who could argue with bad Heavy Metal indie groups, calzones from Sal's and cheap beer from the local bodegas? But the good times faded and I left right before the ship sunk. I got tired of selling the few crappy records we had left after being cut off for past due bills by all the indie labels we carried, and the pressing plant that made the discs for our own label, and the long distance trucking company to boot.

We had camaraderie that only exists when you like the people you work with and when you all really care about the music, not just making money. Catching up with people that your respect and also had good times with is special. After a few margarita's I brought up Don's name and regrettably changed the subject. Don died suddenly on December 27, 1997 and I guess I still have trouble dealing with losing friends too soon. I tend to get sentimental bordering on maudlin if I have too much tequila and I wanted to keep the night festive. When I think back about Don I can remember every time I'd see him he'd say "so what's on your turntable today" (cd's weren't quite prevalent yet)? He loved hearing what mattered about the music his friends listened to, he wanted to soak it all in. I also remember the great songs he wrote being a terrific singer/songwriter and the honesty he performed them with. He was in a band from Columbus, Ohio called Cryin Out Loud when I met him and then later he had a duo called the Marys above all he just was a really good guy and funny as hell to be with.

For the Marys he wrote a song called "The Day Roy Orbison Died", which still gives me chills. You can listen to the song without leaving this blog, just click on Roy's youtube clip in the upper right corner of my blog or you go to youtube at you'll hear the song with photo's of Roy Orbison. I always liked Roy Orbison, but a few years back I downloaded an anthology in ITunes of his music. I had Roy on vinyl but needed some songs for a wedding I was doing the music for the father of the groom. I downloaded a compilation of Roy's music from iTunes.

Now when I shuffle my ipod Roy's music comes up frequently and of course the hits are familiar (Pretty Woman, Crying, Blue Bayou, Love Hurts to name a few) but I didn't realize how prolific, ahead of his time and talented he was. Of course he had a voice unlike anyone else, with an unbelievable range and tone. Now when I hear Roy's music I also think of my friend Don and how much I miss him. At Don's memorial there were so many people, mostly musicians, that came to the Elks lodge in Hoboken that the crowd spilled outside.

Thanks to the internet you can find people that you haven't seen in awhile, music you care about, meaningless facts about anything plus important stuff too and luckily in this case the memory of a good friend and talented musician will remain alive in so many ways. You can see a clip of Don with Cryin' Out Loud: You can also find out about Don at Of course while checking into Don's life and music why don't you stop by and check out Roy Orbison's too, Don would be "pleased as punch" if you did.

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