Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Assistant and the Garage

I have an assistant. His name is Adam. The ad I put in Craig's List was for an intern but he wants to be called an assistant. Who am I to argue with a guy named Adam? He moved to Los Angeles from New Jersey a couple of months ago to be a writer. Adam comes over one day a week. Mostly Sundays. He probably spends the rest of the week looking for a better assistant job.

Generally, you will find Adam sitting on the black leather couch in my home office, researching on his laptop. If you read my blog because you received an email from me, you have Adam to thank because he's the one that did the research to find all the email addresses. If I invaded your privacy by sending you an email, you have Adam to blame.

Yesterday (we worked Saturday instead of Sunday), you would have found Adam in my garage. That's the great thing about having an assistant. You can ask them to do anything. Not that they will do it, but at least you can ask. Adam is nice. So far, he hasn't said "no." My garage is a disgusting mess. Until yeaterday, you couldn't even find a space to walk. It's full of crap from years gone by. I have decided to empty it out, organize my junk and have a garage sale. I even set a date - June 17. Let me know if you want to come. Maybe I'll turn it into a bar-b-que.

I also have another motivation to sift through my junk. I'm hoping to find more of my pictures. Especially my Canned Heat photos. I spent three weeks on a bus with those guys, touring Eastern Canada in the dead of winter and I can't find one picture to prove it. Motivation. So, Adam and I started emptying my garage. Of course, when you're looking for one thing you always find something else. I didn't find Canned Heat (yet). Instead, I found this:
It's the original transparency for "Mick At Dinner" by Ron Wood that I used for my book, Starart. If you're new here and haven't read the archives, Starart is a coffee table book of artwork (plus interviews) by Joni Mitchell, Ron Wood, John Mayall, Klaus Voormann, George "Commander Cody" Frayne and Cat Stevens. It seems being in my first book was a life insurance policy...I'm happy to report, even though I shot them, they're not dead.

My rock'n'roll photographs are not very well organized. My Starart materials are. Or so I thought. I have a special file drawer (at a secret location) that contains all the transparencies and interview tapes and video we shot. "Mick At Dinner" should have been in there. I should not have found him in a random envelope in my "looks like a bomb hit it" garage.

My next find was a big black leather zippered portfolio. I had no idea what was inside. Dust it off. Unzip it. Wow. At some point in my life I put together a portfolio of Starart publicity. Who knew? It is chock-full of articles and blurbs from such illustrious publications as Rolling Stone, the Toronto Globe & Mail, BAM, People, and my favorites, Playboy and Hustler. Can I actually say I was "in" Playboy and Hustler and get away with it?

In addition to articles, the portfolio contained pictures. I love pictures. I found this one of me...
...hard at work at the printers.

I also worked tirelessly to publicize Starart. I had to. I was also the publisher. I had some offers from the BIG houses in New York but I turned them down because they wouldn't guarantee the printing quality for the book. And I had made a promise to the artists that it would be a coffee table art book, not an exploitive rock'n'roll book. So I did it myself. I was in my very early twenties. I didn't have a clue what I was doing. Sometimes that's a good thing. I just did it. I sold directly to the chain stores, like Walden and B. Dalton and also made a distribution deal with Ingram. I even convinced individual stores to put up window displays. Like this:
B. Dalton Bookseller

To launch Starart, I decided to have an art gallery tour with some of the original pieces from the book. We did four cities over a period of several months. The shows were the real thing in real galleries. They were swank. Check this out:
Like I said...swank. We also had a big opening party at each gallery. Much more fun than your normal art gallery parties. I mean, even though it was art, it was still rock'n'roll. The Los Angeles opening was first. Since it's my home town and most of the artists lived here, I went all out. An ultra-cool guest list, limousines, and a huge array of food and drink. I even managed to finagle Lucy's El Adobe secret margarita recipe out of Frank (years later I tried to get their secret salad dressing recipe, but unfortunately Frank passed away before I could manage that one). If you've never been there, go. It's across the street from Paramount Studios on Melrose. Yummy.

Anyway, the L.A. gallery opening photos were also in the portfolio. It was an awesome good time.
John Mayall, Joni Mitchell, Klaus Voormann, Ron Wood, George "Commander Cody" Frayne
and me on the floor trying to beat John Mayall in the 'nicest legs' contest.

Me and my hot date, Michael Georgiades. Google him.

Klaus Voormann and me. (How many drinks am I holding?)

Me and George Frayne, aka Commander Cody.
I think there's a good caption here...any suggestions?
Definitely looks like I'm slurring my words.

Me and the very cool and beautiful Joni Mitchell.
I must have had a thing for her. I'm surprised she didn't
have me arrested for indecent exposure. But then again,
she's the one with the plastic carrot protruding from her belt.

Me and the unstoppable John Mayall.
I love this pic and John, too.

This is how we treat our attorneys in L.A.
Well, only if they're as brilliant and hot as Gunnar Erickson.

Me and guess who?

So, what does all this have to do with Everybody I Shot Is Dead? I'm planning to do the same thing with this book. That's right. Gallery shows of my photographs from the book. And of course, big opening parties. Seeing the Starart party photos has inspired me. I can't wait. And the guest list will include every single one of the people I shot who are dead (don't laugh...I bet a few of them show up). I will also invite friends, former bandmates and families of the dead, as well as other infamous lumineries. Let me know in the comments section if you want to be on the list.

BTW, did you notice someone missing from the "Me and..." party photos? (besides Cat Stevens, who was a no-show because he was no longer Cat Stevens) The photo I picked of Me and... was-- well, I decided it warrants a Photo Caption Contest. Check back tomorrow and be ready to write.


lizzie said...

Debbie, I've never been a blogger before, but you are too cool.


Kirsten said...

Oh me! Me! Pick me! I wanna go! Mememe!

Uh, I mean, it would be lovely to attend such an august gala, and if invited, I would promise not to lick any of your guests.



Harry Funk said...

Great to see the photos behind "Starart"! Please, please, please seek this book out if you're interested in some very talented musicians who also are extremely talented artists. (Klaus Voorman's stuff is incredibly cool!)

By the way, a great bit of viewing is John Mayall's 70th birthday concert on DVD, featuring guest appearances by Mick Taylor and a guy named Clapton. I'll send you a copy of that, DC.

Anonymous said...

the blog is looking wonderful. i especially like the george photos, the blues dudes (keb-mo and albert king are among) and being referred to as a big, fancy, executive. but what i'd really like is to see more photos of your legs.



Lucy said...


I esp. love the one of you and Ringo. (my first rock star love...)

And I love your blog. :-)

All the best,

Rebecca Davis said...

Did you ever find the Canned Heat pictures? Are they from the 'classic' era including vocalist Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson? I'd be very interested in seeing these ... hope they turn up!