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“When I was plugging songs in back in New York City, I used to wear a jacket, tie and “good pants” ( not jeans). When I moved to Hollywood in the early ’70s, it was jeans and cowboy boots all the way! Although I do admit to having my jeans tailored and chemically “aged”, and wearing highly polished Fry boots with two inch stacked heels. It was like John Wayne meets “Superfly”

I remember one night I was standing outside the Troubadour bar getting my cool on, when Glenn Frey of the Eagles, walks over to me, looks down at my feet and says, “I don’t believe this shit!” At this point he and Randy Meisner wrestle me to the ground, remove my “sissified” boots and throw them in the middle of traffic on Santa Monica Boulevard! The last thing I remember, was all of us lying there in the street drunk with hysterics…or was it hysterically drunk?

I’d been trying to break the ice with some of David Geffen’s acts for months and this was a good sign. I was General Professional Manager for Warner Brothers Music and we administered the publishing companies of all of David’s artists including, Joni Mitchell, The Eagles, Jackson Browne, Crosby, Stills and Nash, John David Souther and Neil Young.

As any good manager must be, Geffen is relentless in getting the most for his clients, and is always on my case to get more recordings on his artists songs. After the Eagles first album comes out, one my “Warner Raiders”, Bob Stabile, gets B.W. Stevenson to cut “Peaceful Easy Feeling”. B.W. just had a number one hit with “My Maria” and his cover of “Peaceful” becomes formidable competition to the original! Of course I knew why Geffen was freaking out, it’s always more important to have an artist make a hit with their own song than have somebody else do it! It broke my heart, however, when we had to stop the Hollies from recording “Witchy Woman” after they had a number one record “Long Cool Woman ( In A Black Dress)”, but there are millions at stake…not to mention my job!

After I get Michael Jackson to cut Jackson Browne’s, “Doctor My Eyes”, which goes top ten in the UK, things begin to change dramatically. Jackson talks me up to his label mates while my friend, Lita Eliscu, who runs his publicity department, talks me up to Geffen. For about a year David and I have what I like to call an “uneasy truce.”

Then one day I walk down to his office, which is only a block or so east of Warner Bros. Music. I have five copies of the not-yet-released Van Morrison “Moondance” album under my arm and Everybody in David’s office wants a copy! Off the top of my head I offer to give a copy to whoever can name 3 Van Morrison songs. First David’s assistant, Leslie, names 3 songs, she wins an album…then the mail boy names 3, and he wins one too.

At this point, Joni Mitchell walks in and asks what’s going on? I tell her about the contest, she picks up her guitar and plays 3 of Van’s songs and yes…we have another winner!

I see it’s getting late, and as much as I hate to leave, I have to get back to my own office. On the way out of the building I run into Neil Young. He sees the remaining 2 albums under my arm, says he’s a friend of Van’s and asks me to give him one. Unfortunately he’s not able to name even One of Van’s songs, so I say, “Sorry Neil”, explain the rules of the contest and quickly leave!

When I get back to Warner Brothers music, I hear Geffen on the phone yelling at my boss, Ed Silvers. When I explain “A contest is a contest”, Ed smiles, and sends a copy of Van’s album over to Neil!”

 Copyright 2012 by Artie Wayne http://artiewayne.com 

From Wayne’s new book, “I DID IT FOR A SONG” now available at  AMAZON , Barnes & Noble or from Smashwords

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The first time I hitchhiked was back in 1969 at Woodstock…not to get there, but to escape! I rode up from Manhattan to the event in a big Buick Cutlass with my friend Allan Rinde, a writer for Cashbox, a groupie and a couple of rock magazine writers. Although we had warm, dry accomodations, food, water and plenty of intoxicants, most of the half a million other people who were there had to rough it through the mud and the rain! The crowds were still pouring in after midnight and I warned my friends that we were probably going to be in the middle of a riot between the eat and drink “haves” and the eat and drink “have nots!”

I knew that this whole “Peace and Love” thing could blowup in a minute…but no one was listening as they slowly passed the bong around. I don’t know if it was my paranoia of “Drug Crazed Hippies” rushing the motel or my fear of getting my new Fry boots dirty…I just knew I had to get the hell outa’ there!

After being at Woodstock less than 24 hours, I say goodbye to my friends and decided to hitchhike back to the city. I’m 27 yeas old but, hitchhicking is something I never tried before. At the side of an on ramp, I see Vince Aletti, writer for the Village Voice, who I know from the press parties I crash. He has his thumb out and looks pretty discouraged. This is his first time hitchhiking too…but I act like a veteran and convince him that if we put on great big smiles, and act sincere…we’re bound to get a ride! In less than 10 minutes we’re picked up by a guy in an old Chevy wagon, who happens to be going all the way into the city! Just like the guys who rode the rails and became “Boxcar Buddies”, Vince and I had a shared experience that went “without a hitch”, so to speak, “Hitchhiking pals”for the rest of our lives!

Finally, I’m back in my apartment, thankful to be away from all of those people…I don’t believe all those people…Shit! It’s still early, so I pack my duffel bag and grab a subway out to Coney Island, stopping only long enough to swallow a little capsule someone had given me up at Woodstock! I don’t know why, but the rest of the day is magical! I feel so much love for Everyone I run into. I don’t even notice that I’m surrounded by a million people on the the beach…twice as many as there was at Woodstock…but now… somehow I don’t care!

Copyright 2006 by Artie Wayne