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SHEL SILVERSTEIN  9/25/30 – 5/12/99

“In the late 50’s, I was familiar with Shel Silverstein as a regular contributor to Playboy magazine as an artist, photographer, travel journalist and writer of children’s books. It wasn’t until 1969 when Johnny Cash took Shel’s song, “A Boy Named Sue” to the top of the charts, did I realize what a great songwriter he was as well!

Producer, Ron Haffkine was staying at my apartment in New York, while we were recording my “Shadow Mann” album for the legendary Morris Levy. At the same time he was producing his girlfriend, Sunny Monday for Decca on one of Shel’s song, “You’re Always Welcome At Our House” and cutting a few singles for Columbia Records with Shel Silverstein Himself.

The first time Shel came over was with Ronnie and Sunny, after midnight on one night during a quiet week. We played each other a few of our songs, as songwriters are known to do, and started a friendship that would last for years. Then I played him my latest song on a Telecaster electric guitar. When I had finished, he asked if he could try it. This was the first time he had ever played an electric guitar and he was as excited as a little kid with a brand new toy!

When Shel turned the amplifier all the way up, the neighbors started to stir…then curse…then started pounding on the walls! We agreed that he should come over to the house the next day, when we could play and sing as loudly as we wanted!

Before we started playing again, Shel and I talked about songwriting in general and our own shortcomings in particular, that’s when we made a deal with each other. I wanted to be able to write better lyrics and he wanted to learn some more interesting chords. Every time we got together after that, he would critique my lyrics and I would show him a new chord or a new way of playing the one he already knew.

He once told me something that I still think about today, ” Your first verse of a song is usually the best, but don’t follow it with a 2nd verse and a bridge that’s just a variation of it. Take each section, add new information and ideas, then end up in a place where no one expected you to go.”

Through the years I heard little nuances in the chords of songs that he wrote for Doctor Hook and the Medicine Show like, “Sylvia’s Mother” and “The Ballad of Lucy Jordan”, that he started developing in my apartment all those years ago.

When I stopped writing and singing and moved to Hollywood, I went to work for a publishing company. I remember running into my old pal, outside of the Troubadour. When he asked what I’d been up to, I lowered my head, and almost apologetically said that I was showing other people’s songs at Warner Brothers Music.

Shel didn’t bat an eye, and said, “You don’t have to be ashamed of that…you could be just as creative as you’ve always been, just in another area!”

I never forgot that.

(To Be Continued)

From my forthcoming book, “I Did It For A Song” Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/about-artie-wayne/

Special thanks to Ann Munday for locating the clip of Shel on the Johnny Cash Show

BACK TO THE R.I.P. ROCK N PERPETUITY ARCHIVES https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2008/08/20/rip-rock-in-perpetuity-archives/

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For the story of Shadow Mann with pictures https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/08/06/legendary-music-man-morris-levy-meets-shadow-mann-a-legend-in-his-own-mind/

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Halle Berry – Die Another Day

During the Cold War The Soviet Union routinely used Psychics and Remote Viewers in their Intellegence program. The United States soon followed suit and created Stargate, which was under the wing of the C.I.A. Ever since I was A teenager I knew I had “Psychic” abilities, as a young man I heard about Stargate, but my dream to become a Rock and Roll star overshadowed everything else. By the time I was ready to join, the program had been discontinued!

Although I’ve reached retirement age, I am clearheaded and as relevant as I ever have been and if anything my “Psychic” abilities are operating on overdrive. I saw the C.I.A. recuitment ads on “Dancing With The Stars”, “The Simpsons”, “Mad TV”, and the Fox local news this past week! As far as my qualifactions go I wrote the following piece for my forthcoming book.

In 1969, on the day of the Moonwalk, I was walking east on New York’s 57th street when I passed one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen walking west. We smiled at each other as we continued in opposite directions. Then a voice inside screamed, “Turn around …go back and talk to her…before she gets away!”

I stopped in my tracks…and as I turned around I saw that she had stopped and turned around also. Although I was customarily blinded by beauty, sex and emotions, this time I sensed a deeper connection. I found out at dinner that Victoria was an actress and a lay student of the mystic. All through that romantic and magical night, when I told her about some of my “Indefinable experiences”, she was able to put a name on them.

As we sat and talked in front of her fireplace, she introduced me to the writings of Edgar Cayce, Ouspensky, and Guerjiev and showed me that I wasn’t alone. Then, when I left in the morning, she gave me a copy of “Damien” by Herman Hesse, and gently kissed me goodbye.

Although I was exhausted I couldn’t put the book down and finished it that day…and thought about Victoria that night. As lay in bed, I felt like I was vibrating…I closed my eyes and visually retraced my steps to her apartment a few blocks away. I felt myself entering her apartment, in between the molecules of her double locked door and floating into her bedroom. As I watched her tossing and turning …my telephone suddenly rang and jarred me back into my own bed.

“Artie…You were just here weren’t you?” Victoria softly muttered, “Let me get some sleep…I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

How could she…? Did I really…? Is it possible that…? Although I had done this sort of thing before in my head…this was the first confirmation I had actually projected myself somewhere and someone was aware of it.

The time we were together over the next few months, I spent a lot of time reading, asking questions, channeling and Astral Projecting. Victoria kept encouraging me to aggressively pursue my own songwriting and singing career instead of representing music of other people, which included many of the “Bubblegum” hits of the day.

Unfortunately, a critically acclaimed album that I made as Shadow Mann for the infamous Morris Levy had just bombed out [mainly because it contained a controversial single “Come and Live with Me”…A radical concept for 1969]. I didn’t know what I wanted to do next…I just knew I didn’t want to do it in New York.

Earlier in the year I made my first trip to California…and felt a deep connection with the people and the music.

After a “Love-In” scheduled for Easter Sunday 1970 in Central Park was cancelled because of snow, I sold my interest in my publishing and administration companies, packed up all my stuff and moved to Hollywood.

I would see Victoria, from time to time when I’d go back for a visit, but lost touch physically over the years. Sometimes I feel her strong presence around me influencing me… I wonder if she has passed over to the other side?

Copyright – 2005 by Artie Wayne

If you haven’t seen the CIA recruitment ad go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fg4_MuV4MpY

For more information about the CIA go to http://www.cia.gov

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“Back in 1968, I was recording an album under the name Shadow Mann for the legendary Morris Levy. During the recording of one of my tracks, a cute little girl with a giant guitar case, walked into the control room. Ron Haffkine ( Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show), who was producing my album, jumped up, introduced himself…and then he introduced me as Shadow Mann. He got our engineer, Brooks Arthur, to play the track back as I danced around the studio.

Sissy and I hung out over the next few months. She played me and Ronnie quite a few songs she had written, on a guitar that was almost as big as she was…but we didn’t hear that special song that could make her a star. Just before I left on a trip to California, a couple of free-lance writers Ron and John, (whose last names I don’t remember) brought a song to me that was a comment on the controversial John Lennon and Yoko naked LP album cover of “Two Virgins”. I suggested A few lyric changes and flew off to California for 10 days.

When I returned I was surprised that my partner, Kelli Ross, had signed Sissy to our record label and Ronnie Haffkine had started making plans to record her on the song, “John, You Went Too Far This Time!”, by the two writers who finished the song in my absence! After I heard her sing it, I knew why everyone was so excited!

When my album and Sissy’s single was finished, Morris Levy decided to send both of us out to promote our records at the same time…but not before one little thing. I convinced her to change her name to something more suitable for the times. She bit her lip and agreed to let herself be called Rainbo.”


From my book, “I Did It For A Song” Copyright 2011

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L to R- Shadow Mann, Ron Haffkine, Kelli Ross, and Morris Levy                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Photo by Stephen Paley

“In 1968, I wrote a song, “Come And Live With Me,” and Ron Haffkine (who several years later produced a string of hits with Dr. Hook) helps me make a demo. Then my publishing partner Kelli Ross arranges for us to play it to the legendary owner of Roulette records, Morris Levy …who’s riding a wave of Tommy James hits (“Crimson & Clover,” “I Think We’re Alone Now”.)
Although I had met him before as Artie Wayne, I introduce myself to Morris under my new persona… Shadow Mann.

Ronnie puts the music on….turns the volume up…and I leap onto Morris’ desk!! in my black, floppy ‘Shadow Hat’ … custom made black suede jacket with a giant red eagle on the back… I lip-synch my little heart out!!

“Come and live with me…I’ll treat you nice…na na na na na na na”

Morris can hardly contain himself…he makes me perform it over and over for different members of his staff. Then he clears his office…leaving only the three of us. Morris slowly lights a cigar…and tries not to appear excited.

Then he says, “OK Shadow…I want to to do an album…I’ll even give you and Kelli your own label!! How much do you need to get started?” Haffkine chimes in “$25,000″…at which point Morris reaches under his desk…pulls out a brown paper bag and hands me $25,000 in cash!!

I look at Morris wide-eyed and say, “Don’t you want me to sign anything?”, he laughs and says, “Don’t worry, I know where you live!”

3 months later “Come And Live With Me” is released. I go on a promotion tour with one of my discoveries, Sissy Spacek. She’s promoting a song I found and Haffkine produced, “John You’ve Gone Too Far This Time,” a commentary on the Lennon/Ono nude album cover.

I change Sissy’s name to Rainbo, which I think is more commercial, and we travel the country promoting our records, until radio finds them too controversial, as “Shadow” and “Rainbo.” I go back to writing songs and producing, while Rainbo changes her name back to Sissy Spacek and decides to try her hand at acting.”


From my forthcoming book, “I Did It For A Song” Copyright 2010 by Artie Wayne https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/about-artie-wayne/

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