Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It's Paul Collins' Vinyl District!

New York City 1973, I was just a kid living on my own and all I wanted to do was play in a rock n roll band. I had left my home in New Jersey at age 17 and moved into the big city in search of stardom and a rock band.

I was living up on 103rd Street & Broadway, working at Tech HiFi a retail stereo outlet chain and I was selling stereos. A great job for an aspiring musician as all we did was listen to rock n roll music all day long. The big records at the time where Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” and Lou Reed’s “Take a Walk on the Wild Side.” Those two records where the ones we loved to use to try and sell some young college girl her first stereo.

One day this guy comes in and he looks a helluva a lot like a Pimp, with a big hat on and flashy clothes and a cute looking girl on his arm. He says, “I want to buy a stereo, and I want a good one!” The manger just so happened to be in the store so he says, “I’ll handle this.”

Well, they proceed to get down and boogie with all the fine speakers and receivers we have in the A room and all the while the guy is saying, “Yeah man, that sounds bad!” Then after about an hour he turns to my manager and says, “Hey Man, don’t you have anything good!” We all laughed our asses off but my manager did manage to sell him a stereo for $2000 which he paid for with 1 dollar bills and then returned it the next day!

Those where the days, and we were playing all vinyl! Unfortunately I had no luck whatsoever in trying to find a rock n roll band. I went to one audition after another but all I could find was hippy type jam bands or jazz fusion groups, the most memorable of which was Cornel Dak. The all wore silver space suits and played music from outer space!

One of the great things about playing music is you get to meet all kinds of great people. I was lucky in the fact that I had come to seek my fortune in Hollywood, California, home to all the stars. I met my fair share of them and it was really neat.

When we were making our first album we were recording at United Western Studios where the Beach Boys had done some of their records. One day while were tracking someone told us that Benny Goodman was rehearsing with his band for a show he was doing at The Hollywood Bowl. We were delighted and some one took us over to meet him. I knew who he was but at the same time I was pretty well caught up in what I was doing, but when we walked into the room where he was rehearsing, he stopped what he was doing and came over to talk with us.

I was impressed with his openness and how he really wanted to speak with us and that he listened to what we had to say. He was genuinely interested in us and he looked us right in the eye when he spoke to us. He was a big star and he didn’t know us from Adam but he treated us like we were all brothers in arms…playing music for the folks…that was our bond and he respected it.

I will never forget that moment with Benny Goodman and I refer to a lot nowadays, especially if I am talking to some young musician who is just starting out in his or her career. It is a great opportunity we all have being entertainers and it’s nice to share that with other entertainers, it is after all a kind of brotherhood.

The Beat - Rock N Roll Girl (Mp3)
The Beat - Wait Up For Me (Mp3)
(Downloads authorized by the artist. Got that Google?)

1 comment:

Tony said...

LOL great story the pimp paying in 1's is classic!