As surely as “I’ll Be There” is played at weddings and “Thriller” is a favorite at Halloween,  “Little Christmas Tree” directed by Sebastian Prooth, is poised to be an everlasting tribute to the life and work of Michael Jackson.

Written by George S. Clinton Jr and Artie Wayne, “LITTLE CHRISTMAS TREE” Originally released in 1973 on Motown Records,  as part of  “A MOTOWN CHRISTMAS”,  is currently is on the new “Ultimate Jackson 5” Christmas album available now at


Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne

To reach Sebastian Prooth


I’m very fortunate to have reconnected with my old friend Songwriter and producer, Artie Kornfeld (“The Pied Piper”, “The Rain, The Park And Other Things”) on FACEBOOK during the last few months. I was able to share his joy in the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the most important cultural event of our generation, which he co – created…Woodstock 1969.

Everybody’s talking about Artie’s new book, “The Pied Piper Of Woodstock” with fascinating anecdotes about the festival. He also talks about writing songs like “Dead Man’s Curve” for Jan and Dean and “Tonight You’re Gonna” Fall In Love With Me” for the Shirrells.

“My memories of my most wonderful days were after three recording deals and managers while attending Queens College at night that, as I tell in my book “The Pied Piper of Woodstock” that I met Charles Koppelman and Don Rubin. With a 25$ demo I took the subway into Nevins Kirchner a/k/a Aldon Music and left with a 75$ a week advance against royalties and a $ 500 advance from BMI.The bread meant nothing as I was now a writer for what soon became Screen-Gems Music. I was accepted in a world of Goffin and King, Mann and Weil, Barry and Greenwich, Leiber and Stoller, Artie Kaplan, Artie Wayne, and so many others who I had only read about and got to learn with the whole Brill Building gang and was lucky enough to have hit songs with Toni Wine my first collaborator and then Steve Duboff and Jan Berry and Brian Wilson. Even my idol Steve Allan, I thought I was in heaven and I was. That is why when I got into position my door was always open. Although we all competed we all were happy at our friends successes.. It is this love of making music and affecting others through song that the seeds for Woodstock 69 were born, I used all my knowledge of music, I actually made a living out of while learning.”

EXTRA! Check out Artie’s radio show every Tuesday 10 pm EST on


The only time I met Disc Jockey Clay Cole face to face was in 1963 during the Kennedy Assassination, when Joey Powers, sang my first hit as a writer and producer, “(Meet Me At) Midnight Mary”, on Clay’s WPIX – TV Show.

When I reconnected with him on FACEBOOK, I wasn’t surprised that we had a lot of mutual friends. His new book is filled with Rock and Roll Memories we all wish we could’ve been part of!

“The New York television host traces the roots of rock ‘n’ roll, Top 40 radio, the Golden Age of Television, the Brill Building songwriters, doo wop, girl groups, the twist, the shag/beach music, mom and pop record labels, and Beatlemania, all set against the background of a boozy, Mafia-run Manhattan .”

Editorial Reviews
“Back in the day, everybody in New York watched Clay Cole.” — Frankie Valli

“The Clay Cole Show was on of television’s greatest rock and roll shows. Clay had the whole music industry to draw on and watch him. Clay Cole imprinted a powerful image onto the memory of a few million teenagers.” — David Hinckley, New York Daily News

“Clay Cole. Saturday Night. Rock ‘n’ Roll. New York City. Glued to the tube. I should know; I was there.” – Dion DiMucci

“Clay lit up our Saturday Nights. Clay didn’t know it, but I had a secret crush on him.”                                                                                                                            — Connie Francis


To reach Artie Kornfeld

For Clay Cole

Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne


I’m really tired of my friends bitching about how music isn’t as good as it was “back in the day”. I agree there’s not as much to choose from, but there are many contenders fighting their way into the soundtrack of our lives.

Here’ the hottest song from “NEW MOON” by Death Cab For Cutie – “MEET ME ON THE EQUINOX”


“WHO SAYS” By John Mayer

“FIREFLIES” by Owl City

“HAPPY” BY Leona Lewis


“LE PETIT TRAIN” by Rita Mitsouka

Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne


To reach Ken Schaffer

For Alan O’Day,


It was November 22, 1963 and I had been preparing to record the entire “Midnight Mary” album during the four day weekend. I’d been flying to Columbus, Ohio every week to rehearse Joey Powers, who was going for his Masters Degree at Ohio State.

That night, as Al Gorgoni put some finishing touches on the arrangements, and Jeannie Thomas polished the background parts for her and Lettie Hamblet. Our usual crew of musicians, augmented with Paul Simon and Roger McGuinn on 12 string guitars, was going over the charts for the first session, due to start in a half-hour.

Joey Powers and I were riding into the city from the airport, listening to a new record by the Beatles, “I Want To Hold Your Hand!” on the radio. Suddenly, the announcer interrupts with a terrible unconfirmed report from Washington. By the time we walk into the studio and see the tears in everybody’s eyes, we know it was true, “President Kennedy had been shot!

Joey Powers recalls, “You met me at LaGuardia and had a cab waiting to go to the city. You are very nervous and keep looking away from me. The cabdriver is listening to the news on his radio, but I’m preoccupied with studying the music and not paying much attention.

Then you finally say the President has been shot. It happened during my flight so I was completely in the dark. I’m in such shock up that I don’t think I can do the album!”

The mood in the entire nation is somber, and the collective grief in the studio over the next few days is overwhelming, but we have a deadline to meet. Al Gorgoni keeps the session moving, while Jeannie Thomas comforts us all. “What a sad day is. It takes the wind out of all of us and takes us a while to get back to working. Even when we do, it’s with a very heavy heart. but we finish the tracks over the next three days.”

Gorgoni recalls, “I guess concentrating on meeting the deadline was a good way for me to avoid the emotion evoked by such a tragedy. After one of the sessions I recall a conversation with Roger McGuinn about where Folk music was heading. He predicted the whole Electric Folk Rock thing that blossomed a while later when he formed The Byrds.

Imagine being in the studio with Roger McGuinn and Paul Simon, who had started to record the “Wednesday Morning 3AM album”. They were about to help establish a whole new stream of Pop music. Artie certainly could recognize talent. Even through all the sadness I was happy to be there.”

Amy Records promotion man Freddie DeMann drops by, but even his usual “Shtick”, can’t lighten things up. Larry Uttal comes by as well, but he can’t even make it in to the studio and breaks down in the hall. He says just before he leaves, “I don’t know how you guys can do it.”


In between the tracking and overdubbing sessions, Joey and I go down to WPIX TV, where Joey tapes the Clay Cole Dance show. Clay is old friend of Joeys’, who once worked with him as an NBC page. In between takes, the mood is dark and apprehensive, while we watch all the footage of the assassination as it comes into the newsroom unedited.

As we watch the surreal events unfold, I have images forever etched in my memory, including the entire 8mm Abraham Zapruder home movie clip of the Presidential Procession, in which the President is getting his head shot off! The entire staff keeps watching the tape over and over again, getting more and more depressed. I don’t know how they’re ever going to be able to show this to the public. Finally, we decide to call it a night, and arrange for Joey to come in the next day to finish up his segment with Clay.

It’s hard not to think about this history changing event, and stay positive the next day. As soon as Joey is finished lip synching “Midnight Mary”, and doing an interview with Clay, we all go into the control room. Everyone is crowded around a monitor and watch the assassination of alleged JFK killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, by Texas night club owner, Jack Ruby!

Stunned by another history altering day, everyone wondered what could happen next? Joey and I rush back to the studio to finish up his vocals before he has to catch a plane back to Ohio. Exhausted, I fall asleep in the cab on the way back home to the Bronx, while on the radio, Murray the K plays “This Boy” by The Beatles.”

Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne  from his  forthcoming book, “I Did It For A Song”

After sending my friend Clay Cole my account of the events of 45 years ago, he e-mailed me back, “Damn, Artie! Thanks for the refresher. I blanked out on that memory….. that JFK nightmare dooms any good memories of that day”




EXTRA! Just released here is the long awaited ADAM LAMBERT VIDEO “Time For Miracles”from the film “2012”plus the KRIS ALLEN VIDEO “Living Like We’re Dying” as seen on MTV…released 12 MINUTES AGO!





Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne



November 19, 2009

Here they are…FREE YOUTUBE VIDEOS of 89 #1 hits from MOTOWN Records, Diana, Marvin, Smokey, Michael, The J5, Temptations, Miracles, and Stevie, all engineered or mixed by the amazing Russ Terrana!

In 1971, I was living in Hollywood and working as the General Professional Manager for Warner Brothers Music, plugging songs. One of my objectives was to get more of our songs recorded by Motown Records, one of the most successful independent labels in the business, and one of the most secretive!

It took me months of hanging out in the Motown lobby and reception area, until I met and became friendly with songwriter/producers Norman Whitfield (“Cloud Nine”, “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”), Freddie Perren (“Say Goodbye To Yesterday) and Hal Davis (“I’ll Be There”). As they started to invite me into their sessions, I noticed that they all used the same engineer.

Russ Terrana is a name that you seldom read about, but who played one of the most important parts in the success of what is called “The Motown Sound”. If the Guinness Book of World Records listed recording engineers with the most number one records, Russ would top the list with 89 hits he did for Motown!

When New Media Joe, told me he was doing an on line article  with our mutual friend, I thought this would be a perfect time to post THE MOTOWN VIDEO JUKE BOX with the 89 HITS engineered by RUSS TERRANA! Thanks to New Media Joe and Christie Terrana Hunziker for helping to compile and organize this collection!


1966 The Supremes – You Can’t Hurry Love

1966 The Marvelettes – Don’t Mess With Bill

1967 The Supremes – Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone

1967 The Supremes – The Happening

1967 The Supremes -You Keep me Hanging On:

1967 The Supremes – In and Out of Love

1967 The Supremes – Reflections

1967 Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

1967 Stevie Wonder – I Was Made To Love Her

1967 The Four Tops – Standing In The Shadows Of Love

1967 Martha and the Vandellas – Jimmy Mack

1967 Martha and the Vandellas – Love Bug

1967 Four Tops – Seven Rooms of Gloom

1967 Gladys Knight and the Pips – I Heard It Through The Grapevine (Recorded Version)

1967 The Marvelettes – The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game

1968 The Supremes – Love Child (Nothing to the video but excellent sound quality)

1968 Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell – Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing

1968 The Temptations – I Wish It Would Rain

1968 The Supremes and The Temptations – I’m Gonna Make You Love Me

1969 Stevie Wonder – My Cherie Amour

1969 The Temptations – Run Away Child Running Wild

1969 Rare Earth – Get Ready (Studio Version)

1969 The Temptations – Can’t Get Next To You

1969 The Temptations – Cloud Nine

1969 Edwin Starr – War (Original video)

1969 The Supremes – Someday We’ll be Together

1969 Stevie Wonder – Yester Me Yester You Yesterday

1970 Jackson 5 – Medley (From Motown 25 Special)

1970 Funkadelic – I Bet You

1970 Smokey Robinson & The Miracles – Tears of a Clown

1970 Jackson 5 – I Want You Back/ABC/The Love You Save (Ed Sullivan Show)

1970 Jackson 5 – ABC (Recorded Version)

1970 The Temptations – Ball of Confusion

1970 The Temptations – Psychedelic Shack

1970 Diana Ross – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (Live in Central Park 1983)

1970 Stevie Wonder – Signed, Sealed Delivered (I’m Yours)

1970 Rare Earth – Born To Wander

1970 The Four Tops – Still Waters

1970 The Supremes and Four Tops – River Deep, Mountain High

1970 The Four Tops – It’s All In The Game

1970 R. Dean Taylor – Indiana Wants Me

1970 Jackson 5 – Mama’s Pearl

1970 Freda Payne – Band of Gold

1970 Gladys Knight and the Pips – If I Were Your Woman

1970 The Supremes – Up The Ladder to the Roof

1970 The Supremes – Stoned Love

1970 Frijid Pink – House of the Rising Sun

1970 Rare Earth – I’m Losing You

1971 Rare Earth – Hey Big Brother

1971 Rare Earth – I Just Want To Celebrate

1971 The Temptations – Just my Imagination

1971 he Supremes – Nathan Jones

1971 Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On?

1971 Marvin Gaye – Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology Song)

1971 Stevie Wonder – We Can Work It Out

1970 The Undisputed Truth – Smiling Faces

1971 The Isley Brothers – Love The One You’re With

1972 Michael Jackson – Ben

1972 Diana Ross – Lady Sings The Blues

1972 The Four Tops – Bernadette

1972 The Temptations – Papa Was A Rolling Stone

1972 Gladys Knight and the Pips – Neither One of Us

1973 Stevie Wonder – You are the Sunshine of my Life (Recorded Version)

1973 Jackson 5- Get It Together

1973 Eddie Kendricks – Boogie Down

1973 Eddie Kendricks – Keep On Trucking Pt I

1973 The Temptations – Masterpiece

1974 Jackson 5 – Dancing Machine (Recorded Version)

1974 Jimmy Ruffin – What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? (Original Version

1975 Do You Know Where You’re Going To (Theme from Mahogany)

1975 The Miracles – Love Machine

1975 Smokey Robinson – Quiet Storm

1976 Diana Ross – Love Hangover

1976 Charlene – I’ve Never Been To Me

1977 Thelma Houston – Don’t Leave Me This Way (Extended Version – Recorded)

1979 Billy Preston and Syretta – I’m Born Again

1980 Diana Ross – Upside Down (Recorded Version)

1980 Diana Ross – I’m Coming Out

1980 Diana Ross – It’s My Turn

1980 Diana Ross – To Love Again

1983 DeBarge Family – All This Love

1985 DeBarge Family – Rhythm of the Night

Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne

(c) Edward Wolfrum, All Rights Reserved
Used with permission

Copyright 2011 by Artie Wayne

EXTRA! EXTRA! YOU CAN BUY MY BOOK ,“I DID IT FOR A SONG” AT AMAZON or Barnes & Noble or from Smashwords

You can read read New Media Joe’s Blog at

You can follow New Media Joe on Twitter:


yes j n d

Long before he became known as the Father Of  Woodstock, Artie Kornfeld was a hit songwriter/producer (“The Pied Piper”, “The Rain, The Park, and Other Things”)

When I went to Los Angeles for the first time in 1968 there were three places I wanted to see Malibu Beach, MacArthur Park, and “Dead Man’s Curve”. Now 40 years later, I asked my longtime friend and sometime collaborator to tell me the story behind Jan and Dean’s  “Classic Hit”, and how he co -wrote “Dead Man’s Curve”, with Brian Wilson and Jan Berry.

One day, Brian and I were chilling and trying out this tiny Honda that the company had sent him as a thank you for writing the Hondells “Hey Little Honda.”  We were cruisin’ about 3 miles from his ex-wife, Marilyn’s mom’s house. Brian, as he was known to do, was pushing two hundred pounds way over what a 60 cc Honda could handle. I said Bry you should slow down, as in Santa Monica there is a lot of sand on the streets. We went over and the bike and were torn apart.  We carried half a Honda each 3 miles, bleeding like crazy, to an open door in an empty house.

bry pianoWe noticed a piece of blank paper on the piano and Bry sat down and I pulled up a chair and, I guess because of recent events I wrote down the words, “Dead Mans Curve”.

Brian started a two four piano rhythm but I don’t have any idea for the lyric…except I always envied Jan’s Corvette, sang to Brian’s chords” I was crusin’ in my Sting Ray late one night and an XKE pulled upon the right…” Bran repeated what I wrote down with the melody and I almost finished the lyric in about 30 minutes with me writing the words, some with Brian, as being a New Yorker after I put us on Sunset Blvd.

I had no idea what landmarks we would pass to that curve after Doheny where it turns right and heads into Beverly Hills.

We were laughing and Brian said, lets hear what we have, laughing at the whole trip and tripping on our wipeout still. I jumped up and said Brian stop, “I think we need an accident here”.  He responded “you are nuts Artie”, but stopped and hit a chord, for some reason at that moment I thought of Robert Frost Poem about two roads in the woods and went metaphoric putting in an accident.

In my mind symbolic with the point we make those decisions that may change or end our lives. I wrote something like it says on the record and Brian Started a Kick Ass chorus.korn

In walks the ever great loving talented Jan Berry who with Bry and a little me worked out the complete song. As Jan tightened up the song for a Jan and Dean Record, he was already hearing a finished product.

Jan sat down at a table, hardly touched the piano, except to find the changes and as only Jan with Brian there could do…wrote out the entire arrangement, that as I remember, and was not a note off when we went in with it to play for Lou Adler. It just seems like moments but it was really days later when we went in and recorded it. The reason we had to put DJ Roger Christians name on the song, Lou Adler would know more than I.

The musicians on the date included Glen Campbell, then a tough tee shirted ass kicker on guitar, and Leon Russell (wearing a suit). Then there was Earl Palmer and Hal Blaine, the only drummers you could put together, and it came out great.

Of course being about 19 or 20 I could not help but notice Lou’s Fiancée Shelly Faberes, in a very tight sweater. Dean did not show. I did stand behind Bry to get a falsetto sound that was a little different.

When the record came out it was the B side to “New Girl in School”

I guess I did my first promotion as for reasons so few know I reversed the Charts and “New Girl in School” stopped shooting up the charts and “DEAD MANS CURVE” RULED! Brian, Jan and I all lived “Dead Mans Curve” in our separate lives.

I’m really crying a little now as I write.  Love Brian and miss Jan so much still.

Artie Kornfeld

P.S. “69” was the only other time I let someone put their name on something I wrote.”


By Wilson, Kornfeld, Berry, and Christian

I was cruisin’ in my Stingray late one night
When an XKE pulled up on the right
And rolled down the window of his shiny new Jag
And challenged me then and there to a drag
I said, “You’re on, buddy, my mill’s runnin’ fine
Let’s come off the line now, at Sunset and Vine
But I’ll throw you one better if you’ve got the nerve
Let’s race all the way
To Dead Man’s Curve”

Dead Man’s Curve, it’s no place to play
Dead Man’s Curve, you best keep away
Dead Man’s Curve, I can hear ’em say
Won’t come back from Dead Man’s Curve

The street was deserted late Friday night
We were buggin’ each other while we sat out the light
We both popped the clutch when the light turned green
You should of heard the whine from my screamin’ machine
I flew past LaBrea, Schwab’s, and Crescent Heights
And all the Jag could see were my six tail lights
He passed me at Doheny then I started to swerve
But I pulled her out and there we were
At Dead Man’s Curve

Dead Man’s Curve, it’s no place to play
Dead Man’s Curve

Well, the last thing I remember, Doc, I started to swerve
And then I saw the Jag slide into the curve
I know I’ll never forget that horrible sight
I guess I found out for myself that everyone was right
Won’t come back from Dead Man’s Curve

Dead Man’s Curve, it’s no place to play
Dead Man’s Curve, you best keep away
Dead Man’s Curve, I can hear ’em say
Won’t come back from Dead Man’s Curve

Copyright by Screen Gems – Columbia

Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne






Picture at top…Jan and Dean 1964




I always wondered why Billboard magazine didn’t include catalog items when tabulating sales on their Top 200 album and singles chart. Now finally all of that has changed! I’m especially grateful that it’s happening at a time when I have four tracks on three recent Michael Jackson re-releases.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Good news for fans of Michael Jackson, the Beatles and other veteran artists.

The compilers of the Billboard 200, the benchmark pop albums chart in the United States, said on Wednesday they would dramatically overhaul the listing later this month to include catalog recordings as well as current releases.

The Billboard 200 generally lists only albums released in the past 18 months, and accordingly failed to reflect two of the biggest events in the music world this year: Jackson’s death and the reissue of the Beatles catalog.

Fans scooped up millions of copies of both artists’ albums, but an 18-year-old policy at trade publication Billboard meant that the stampede was marked in its relatively obscure Top Comprehensive Albums chart, which combines both current and catalog releases.

The comprehensive chart essentially becomes the new Billboard 200. The change takes effect for the week ended November 22. Sales data, collected by tracking firm Nielsen SoundScan, are published on Wednesdays.

If last week’s Billboard 200 were based on overall sales, 35 catalog titles would storm the chart, led by Jackson’s “Number Ones” at No. 13, Billboard said.

The 2003 compilation was the top album in the United States for six weeks in the wake of his June 25 death, and Jackson is the second-biggest selling artist of the year, just behind country star Taylor Swift.

The first new-look Billboard 200 could include up to seven of Jackson’s solo catalog titles, as well as a pair from the Jackson 5, depending on overall sales.

The Beatles reissued their digitally remastered catalog in September. First-week sales would have sent five of the group’s albums into the top 10 of the Billboard 200, led by “Abbey Road” at No. 3. The new chart could also include up to seven Beatles albums.

Greatest-hits albums by the likes of Bob Marley, Journey, Guns N’ Roses and Creedence Clearwater Revival could also make the cut.

“The events of 2009 and the continuing creativity in the repackaging of catalog titles have led us to conclude that the Billboard 200 would be best served presenting the true best-sellers in the country, without any catalog-related rules or stipulations, to our readers, the media and music fans,” said Silvio Pietroluongo, Billboard’s director of charts.

(Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Jill Serjeant)

Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne




November 10, 2009

munsonI recently reconnected with my longtime friend and sometime collaborator, guitarist Art Munson, who’s worked with Phil Spector, Paul Williams, John Lennon, Billy Joel, Barbara Streisand, The Righteous Brothers, and Paul Simon. Art told me about a new project that he considers one of the most important in his career.

Two Months ago Art, who has had his music cues used on “Oprah”, “America’s Got Talent”, “World News Tonight”, and “Entertainment Tonight”, put up a new website that’s become the talk of the internet. It’s called The Music Library Report, a free website that is an ever expanding listing of music libraries from around the world. In effect it is a one stop resource for music creators looking for outlets to help place their music in money earning situations.

Munson explains,” I spent a large part of my musical life working in high pressure situations with many big name artists, writers and producers, but I’m at a point in my life where I don’t want the stress of working on deadlines and in high pressure situations. I do want to keep on creating music though. Fortunately the technology has evolved to the point where one can create convincing music with limited surroundings and resources. Some say it’s killing music but I find it liberating!

In the last few years I’ve become aware of “production music” and the music library business. More and more of this type of music is being used in places that were once unimaginable. From films to TV shows to ringtones. I inadvertently got into this when we were offered the opportunity to write a large number of music cues for a TV production company. Since that time I’ve placed music with a few music libraries which has resulted in earning money, mainly through BMI performance royalties, and having our music appear on many, many shows from cable to major networks.

Because there are hundreds of music libraries out there, it’s difficult to know which ones are good and which are accepting submissions. To that end I created a web site to address that problem, The site went live on August 25, 2009. As of November 1, 2009 we have over 200 libraries listed and nearly 800 comments from composers and songwriters. The site has become the de facto standard for music creators all over the world to research music libraries. I myself have been helped immensely by reader’s comments and experiences.

Based on these readers comments I now have a starting point with libraries that I would consider working with. A nice feature about the site is the search function. For example you can search only for the libraries accepting submissions and then review the reader’s comments about a particular library. It is really a time saver!

Please come and visit us at, add to the knowledgebase and share your experiences. You do not need to use your real name or e-mail address when leaving a comment and, best of all, it’s FREE! Thank you Art Munson

Thank you

Art Munson

Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne


ken sting

I first met Kenny Schaffer in 1968, when he was the publicist for Alice Cooper and the Left Banke. My friend Allan Rinde had just joined the staff of Cashbox magazine and rented a room in Kenny’s “Funky” penthouse apartment, which adjoined the Plaza Hotel in New York.

After every rock concert at Madison Square Garden or show at the Fillmore, everybody would wind up at Kenny’s. It was a lot of fun to hang out with the stars and their groupies, even though Allan and I had to eject rowdy guests from time to time. I wonder if Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart have ever forgiven us.

Of all the things I admired about Kenny was his imagination…but he didn’t just dream, he turned his dreams into reality. He conceived, designed, built, and sold the first wireless guitar and wireless microphone that forever changed staging and the way music was performed.

Ken remembers, “The idea to make the first wireless guitar stemmed from Lynne Volkman being my girlfriend… Lynne was the first female tour manager in rock ‘n roll, doing everyone from the Rolling Stones to the Who, James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Lynyrd Skynyrd… (For Peter Rudge and Nat Weiss)…. of course, up until then tour managers were always guys (who’d bring their girlfriends out for weekends). As I was Lynne’s boyfriend, roles were reversed., so instead of the tour manager’s girlfriend flying out to join the tour on weekends, it was me! If you go to and browse for “Rolling Stones,” it describes how Ace Frehley (Kiss) got electrocuted and I came to invent the wireless guitar/microphone.”

Kenny, I remember introducing you to Maurice and Verdene White of Earth, Wind, and Fire, as well as producer Tony Camillo (Gladys Knight and the Pips) who became a couple of your good customers.

Now how on earth did you get involved with Russia and the fall of the Soviet Union?

I got into Russia pretty much by accident. It really started as a spin-off of my long-time hobby, ham radio, designing crazy radios and crazy antennas – electronics.  In 1983 I invented a fancy, technical-breakthrough (satellite system) that was able to eavesdrop on internal Soviet TV.  I put up a few systems for some cryptic government agencies, then for a few major universities. Columbia became the first American university to offer a course “Russian through Soviet Television,” and, well — it was the girl again — I met an incredible girl who was a graduate student in “Kremlinology,” and followed her to Russia.  (Of course, I would’ve followed up to Easter Island of Pago Pago, it didn’t really matter, you know…) We started a company together they came up with and set up really bizarre media projects between the US and Soviet union — like getting a Life Magazine reporter into Red Army boot camp for a month, and handing out 10,000 Trojan condoms to newlyweds in Red Square… that was a real rock ‘n roll… we got to know some really amazing Russians.

Schaffer continues, “In 1987 ABC TV had no choice but to air their long-delayed $50 million miniseries, “Amerika” — “10 years after the Soviets come over and do that… to your sister and mother.” Already 2 years into Gorbachev, I thought the series an anachronism that didn’t make anybody anywhere feel better in the morning and decided to come up with an antidote.  In the end, I came up with the idea of “sandwiching” the week-long ABC series between a week of internal Soviet TV, seen at the same moment it was being seen in “the other superpower,” 260,000,000 Soviets. (My crazy satellite system remained the only technical means of bringing Soviet TV into the Western Hemisphere …)

The Discovery Channel was barely known at the time – wasn’t carried by cable companies in New York, LA, Washington, etc. —  I only knew of it from my days walking around the sky playing games with satellites — so found a trade directory, learned the name and number of Discovery’s chairman, John Hendricks…  called and said “Hi — my name is Kenny Schaffer — you don’t know me — don’t hang up, but would you consider preempting everything you have next week?” John must have been pretty desperate — the channel had only 11,000,000 subscribers then, not nearly enough to stay on the air much longer. They were nearly bankrupt, their offices were just one small room in Bethesda and all the equipment they owned was two ¾” U-matic VCRs….   So I guess I dropped in like Discovery’s Angel – John thought the idea I threw with 5 day’s notice at him was ballsy — though inconvenient, and sure the heck timely.”

Two days later the Discovery Channel held their first press conference– at the Washington National Press Club — to announce that, come Sunday, they will run a week of live internal Soviet TV. “The first time the people of one superpower can look through the keyhole into the living room of the other,”  I described it.  Press coverage for Discovery’s announcement was avalanche — by Sunday, Discovery’s audience had 30,000,000 homes from the cable companies that signed on special. Following that week, 20,000,000 stayed with them, including the systems in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc…  Nielsen reported that more Americans that week watched local Moscow then watched ABC… finally, the stunt won that year’s Golden Ace Award from the National Cable Television Association as the best program on cable. Yay!

Now what have you been up to recently?

“In 2003 I invented something that came to known as “placeshifting” — TV2Me was the name of the box — I made it to bring me my home cable company (Time Warner New York) wherever I traveled.  The box I built was very exquisite, take no prisoners, and cost a small fortune — until recently close to $5000, currently $3750 – and it processed video as faithfully as the old Schaffer-Vega wireless guitars and mics processed audio….

I’ve sold a few thousand of the units over the years – word of mouth, and obviously, to fairly well-heeled individuals: rock stars, sports stars, business magnates, oligarchs, and to governments, schools and broadcasters.  By using TV2Me they got the same quality picture as they’d get at home, or would get if they were sitting in some city it were especially interested in, anywhere on Earth.”

Actually, Sting, my friend from the wireless guitar days and the Police’s first tour, became the world’s first “placeshifter” when he took a big chance and bought my first box in 2003…

Right now I’m sweating over a startup that turns a standard laptop into the equivalent of an expensive satellite truck for broadcasters — and on “TV Everywhere,” which scales placeshifting as a new service/revenue tier for cable and satellite companies,” so that everyone can take their cable/satellite subscriptions with them wherever they travel, watch their shows, at any time, at any place.”

Note: Sting wrote “Russians” after hanging out all night watching Soviet TV at Columbia University with Kenny in 1986.  Kenny also popped up, indirectly, a few years later in REM’s ”What’s the Frequency Kenneth?”

Photo at the top from People Magazine

Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne

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