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May 25, 2023 130 mins

Harvey Kubernik is a music history savant who's written numerous books on such topics as Laurel Canyon, the Beatles and the Summer of Love. He has dedicated his entire life to rock and roll, and his memory is extraordinary. Harvey experienced it all firsthand, this is his story.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:08):
Welcome, Welcome, Welcome back to the Bob Leftstats Podcast. My
guest today is writer and music historian Harvey Kubernick. Harvey,
good to have you on the podcast.

Speaker 2 (00:22):
Delighted to be here, Bob or Robert.

Speaker 1 (00:25):
Okay, you've written nineteen books. Which one is your favorite?

Speaker 2 (00:31):
It's I'm not one of those people. Oh the songs
are like my children. No, there's one book that has
penetrated the difference deep into me, and it's the one
I'm asked the most about. It's a book called Turn
Up the Radio Rock pop ' Roll in Los Angeles
nineteen fifty six to nineteen seventy two, partially because it's

(00:53):
a big coffee table book with color, black and white
and illustrations. And it was the book that was the
most joyous to do because the publisher and the editor
at Santa Monica Press said, do what you want. And
I think there were two or three emails or a

(01:13):
couple of notes, but no intrusion. And it helped that
he was an LA native as well. And it really
speaks deep to me because I got to stretch back
and really chronicle something from nineteen fifty six to nineteen
seventy two. Kind of my wingspan from like age six

(01:34):
to twenty one. I mean, that's a pretty seminal time
period for all of us, and it's still remains my
most potent title and the one that people ask me
to autograph the most about.

Speaker 1 (01:47):
Okay, you're born in fifty one, so you're five or
six years old. Were you listening to the radio at
that point? Oh? Yeah.

Speaker 2 (01:54):
By nineteen fifty six, I'm like almost six, the radio
was blaring. I mean there wasn't even a transistor radio then.
It was on my parents' kitchen table in downtown Los Angeles.
I was going to Colisseum Street Elementary School and we

(02:16):
had a black and white Philco television, but the radio
was always on stations like KMPC and a lot of
the rhythm and blues stations and some jazz stations. I
didn't know who the people were, but my parents were
so sinatraed out and Tommy dorseyed out and into Julie London.

(02:39):
It was always on because there were middle of the
road radio stations in this town with big wattage, and
so I just heard this music. But I was drawn
to kind of the R and B music because it
was loud and raucous, and there were horns. I didn't
know what brass or horns meant, but I recognized after

(03:01):
three four five there were rotation songs. I didn't know
you could play a song more than once on the
radio back then. I didn't know there were playlists or whatever.
But it it was very It was de penetration.

Speaker 1 (03:18):
Okay. I remember my own introduction, and I'm two years
younger than you, not that we're both not old at
this particular point in time, however, young at heart. And
first I remember buying cartoon records like Rough and Ready,
who were on the television. Then at the turn of
the decade to the sixties, that's when the folk boom

(03:40):
was happening. I remember my mother buying if I had
a hammer, Peter, Paul and Mary, I would listen to
the baseball games. At this point there were transistors. But
I certainly remember becoming addicted when the Beatles broke really
in January of sixty four. So what was your experience.

Speaker 2 (04:01):
I have to tell you, the two years that i'm
older than you on feels like ten years as far
as you know, legacy archive, catalog and just library action.
Because I knew a world of the Beatles for five,
six or seven years. I mean I went with my

(04:23):
parents at about age nine to the Pomona Affair to see
Spike Jones, which well eventually led me to Zappa. But
you know, I did see Elvis on the ed Selvan Show.
Oh you got to see this wacky guy Harvey. I
didn't really know what was going on, but I saw

(04:44):
that my parents embraced rock and roll in music. They
didn't keep me away from it. But the fifties, and
this is the other thing you mentioned baseball. Initially the
middle of the road radio stations were on places like
MPC or KFI, which stands for Farmer Information, so you'd

(05:05):
listen to baseball. And then there weren't pregame and postgame
shows back then that much, so you'd have that station
on waiting for baseball, vinskull A, Jerry Doggett, but you'd
have two hours before and two hours after, and the
disc jockeys were sometimes in the booth or at the games,
so it all kind of collided. But I mean I

(05:25):
started collecting records. I started looking at records at Wallack's
Music City in nineteen fifty eight and fifty nine. I
didn't have funds to buy them at age eight or nine.
But I did buy for sixty nine cents Hailey mails

(05:46):
Let's Get Together because I saw the parent trap. Now,
did I know it was done at Sunset Sound with
Twoty Camarada. Did I know any of that stuff? No?
All I know is she was a pretty girl. She
didn't look like the girls in my school. She also
talked funny. But on the record Let's Get Together, I

(06:09):
thought it was an American girl with blonde hair and that.
But it wasn't hitting me as hard as buying the Coasters.
At the same time shopping for clothes search and I
bought the Coasters. There were no albums then. Really I
bought the Coasters records literally the same time, and I decided, well,

(06:31):
why don't I have one foot in pop and R
and B. Then they had this thing called race music
that they kept mentioning, here's something from the race department.
I didn't even know what it meant. But the music
had comedy and tension and drama and multi voices. I
couldn't quite grasp all the lyrics the way I grabbed
now and somehow that devotional art that I put my

(06:55):
shelf self through brought me to people like Meaningly and Stoller.
This was unfathomable to me, So it was planted early.
And then, by the way, in late sixty I heard
Jane Deine and the Beach Boys on the radio because
they're on the AM Ray, They're on KFWB, they're on
car La. And then I went to see the Beach

(07:19):
Boys in nineteen sixty two in Culver City at a
record store. It was kind of a SOCCP. I now
realized they were lip syncing, there were no amps, they
were holding the guitars wearing penaltons. I just thought, wow,
this is really cool. So I was already in the
rock and roll scheme dream before the Beatles showed up

(07:43):
and then the big bang. My parents were devoted. And
I'm sure you watched it to the Jack Parr Show.

Speaker 1 (07:50):
Of course.

Speaker 3 (07:51):
Wait, you're just gonna tell me that on that Friday night. Yeah,
got the video. Most people don't even know that exists.
You're talking to Harvey Kybrinic. I got two witnesses. We
didn't call them on the phone right now. Bob Kushner
is one of them. So I was watching Jack Parr
because I liked, you know, Arthur Treacher and I like
seeing Judy Garland and Morgan Mason and all these people on,

(08:15):
and James Mason, and I liked his demeanor and he'd
been in World War Two, where my father was in
World War two. I kind of felt, this is really good.
And remember I was also hooked on the Oscar Levant show.
But Oscar Levant, which was filmed out here, he didn't
have rock and roll music people on. But I remember
I was so beach boyed out. And yes I did surf,

(08:36):
but I had a five foot limit and a nine
to six con board. We have at My daughter Randy
saw this music, this group attracting a lot of attention
in London on our trip there. I'd like you to
see it or something like that. I saw that clip. Now,
I didn't know it was called some other guy. I didn't,

(08:58):
but I saw that, and I'm eleven. I walked downstairs.

Speaker 2 (09:06):
And I threw out my brill cream and I combed
my hair down, and my mother said, you're going to
the barber tomorrow. I said, it's the same hair. I
just comed it down. She said, what happened to you?
Are you hanging out with hood libs or something? I
said no, And there's no VCR there's no repeat. I said,

(09:27):
I just I heard a new music. I something happened
on And we also we were all pretty bummed out
in the winter of nineteen sixty three because of the
John F. Kennedy murder. It was just a good light.
And what I did is I took my Beach Boy
fan club button and I put it in a safe

(09:50):
and I sort of defected to the Beatles temporarily. Then
in February sixty four, I heard they were coming to town.
It's not the Ed Sullivan Show. I read that there
was some kind of they were going to be in
town or some television event. I couldn't get it.

Speaker 1 (10:13):
And my bar.

Speaker 2 (10:13):
Mitzvah was end of February nineteen sixty four. And I
got some early bonds earlier or some gifts, and my
parents said, well, some mails arrived for you. There was
like money there and I said, I'm taking some of
that money and I'm buying a ticket to go to
the Wilshure Theater on Wiltshire in Losi, Aanaga because the

(10:36):
Beatles are going to be there. They're not going to
be there, Harvey, I said, they're going to be there.
He said, oh, it's probably something that they're doing in
a studio. Go ahead, just be home by eight o'clock
at night. You know, there was always the deal. You
can stay up till eight, and you could stay up
till ten when you're sixteen, and you could stay out
till midnight when you were eighteen. I saw that show,

(10:58):
I thought they were there in person. First of all,
it's the longest Beatle set that they ever did. Did
I know that the Beach Boys and Leslie Gore taped
their segments? I believe in a studio in Burbank. No,
there was Leslie Gore, there was the Beach Boys, but

(11:18):
the Beatle thing. And then I went to a department
store and I bought the album on VJ, and I
went to Walllex Music City and there were people lined up.
We waited till they cracked the thing up because there
were shipments coming up the street from Capitol Records.

Speaker 1 (11:38):
I don't know.

Speaker 2 (11:38):
That's one of the reasons I'm here today.

Speaker 1 (11:41):
Okay, let's go back to Wallicks Music City. I grew
up on the East Coast. I didn't come to l
permanently until I was twenty one. The story was always
you could preview the Records in a booth. Was that true?

Speaker 2 (11:56):
It's so true. I was talking to Rus Titelman, who
you know obviously about this. I'm living in West Hollywood,
going to Junior High, and of course sixty six to
sixty nine, I'm going to Fairfax High School. You notice
I never hide my age or do any of that stuff.
I will tell you specific stuff. So I am in

(12:18):
Hollywood sixty six to sixty nine, but I'm also in
Junior High in the area. I made a bike ride
and a skateboard ride from Wallax Music City. But I
had gone to Wallax Music City in the late fifties.
They had six or eight preview booths. You could take
a record that had demonstration marked on it, a white label,

(12:39):
not an acetate. The labels would have testers. You could
go into a listening booth and you could play a record.
And I remember playing albums not forty fives. My brother
and I heard Jan and Dean's Command Performance album my record.
Well there it blew my fucking mind. Like Jannandeine. I mean,

(13:05):
these guys that I that were on like something called
Liberty Records, or they were on this Story label. Because
I was kind of I knew it I was reading
the kif WB hitline the Carely Beat. I was on it,
which is why I never could even get through the
law school application. It just didn't work for me. So

(13:26):
Wallax Music City, you'd go up there with your friends.
I was talking to Mickey Dolans about this because he
worked for a summer in sixty three behind the counter
at Wallax Music City.

Speaker 1 (13:37):
After he was already circus boy.

Speaker 2 (13:39):
No yeah, yeah, yeah, but it's before Monkeys and before
he did episodic television. And I said, you were behind
the counter, but I know you. I didn't really know him,
but he said yeah. Bobby Darren came in and I said,
what about those listening booths, Mackey, wasn't it cool to
play the records? He said, well, you're to buy them

(14:00):
after and I said, yeah, but my friend Peter Piper,
who I still talk to, longboarder surfer. This is a
little later, when the Hair album came out and the
Vanilla Fudgie album came out, with the Psychedelic and some
Hendrix albums came out. He would go to the listening
booths because he was going to Hollywood Professional School pretty

(14:21):
much down the street. Because I knew the Hollywood professional people,
Peggy lipped in the guys from the sun Rays. Peter
would do a one hitter. I'm outing you, Peter. He'd
have a joint, he'd take a big hit and he'd
hold it for like three minutes because he was a
surfer with good lung power. And then he'd put on
our experience and then he would just inhale. We'd look

(14:42):
at the booth and you'd see this smoke in his booth,
and then he'd quickly opened it up, you know, and
it was it was you would go there. Well, I
was going there once a week for twenty five thirty years,
not every day and every night.

Speaker 1 (14:56):
Okay. One thing you've informed me of that I never
knew previously is these were not records from the stock.
They were demonstration records. How long could you listen? And
how many records could you listen to before a clerk
said get the hell out of here?

Speaker 2 (15:11):
I do know one thing. There was some sign that
said three or six albums limit. I remember that you
could spend an hour if you wanted, but there were
people lined up to also listen. And sometimes I mean
I remember when the Beatles album shipped and I'm talking

(15:32):
about the Beatles story some double interview album. Yeah yeah,
yeah yeah. Gary Usher was involved putting that together. Every
booth was stacked. All of a sudden, girls started showing
up in the listening booths. You know, it was kind
of a male That's not true. There were women listening
to Bobby Rydell and all that stuff, but when the

(15:53):
Beatles showed up, we couldn't get near the listening booths
anymore because there were three or four girls in five
or six both booths listening to the Beatles Interview album,
which were press conferences being mashed together. The world had changed.

Speaker 1 (16:10):
Okay, let's go back generally, pull the lens back, because
I know the New York radio market and I know
certain things about LA, but I didn't experience You talked
about KRLA. Okay, and then you there's KHJ, there's b
Mitchell Reid. What was Top forty radio like and how

(16:31):
did it evolve into the FMSUND.

Speaker 2 (16:35):
Because I had the luxury we'll call it, of listening
to the radio in the late fifties. I even think
Tennessee Ernie Ford was on camp See when I first
heard it, or he had just departed. But there were
some big disc jockeys Johnny Magnus, Dick Whittington. You heard this.

(16:57):
I mean FWB was a jazz station at about nineteen
teen fifty eight. B Mitchell Reid was on U. B
Mitchell Reed was a jazz teja for well, first of all,
he was a better, more jazz guy than people. He
was there at KIWB.

Speaker 1 (17:12):
It was.

Speaker 2 (17:13):
It was a jazz station with some Mr. Laning Sinatra
gave him a watch one time, thanking him for playing Weathers.
I remember him showing me that, and then he departed us.
I was almost gonna sit shiva. What do you mean
he's not on there? Where's b Mitchell Red? I didn't
know he flew the coop and went back to WMCA
with that good guy stuff and all that. And you know,

(17:34):
because I was reading sixteen magazine when Glorias S. Davers
jumped in, you could kind of track Dick beyond you DJ.
You could hear about b Milcha Reid and the good guys.
I regret I never heard this guy that my New
York friends that have all moved here told me, Boy
you had really did? Was his name Dan Ingram?

Speaker 1 (17:55):
Yeah?

Speaker 2 (17:55):
Of course was he good?

Speaker 1 (17:57):
He was good? But you have to know that it
was really a superstar lineup on WAB Scott Scott Muni's No.
It went from dann Ingrams in the morning. Suddenly I
forgot it was in the afternoon. Then came cousin Brucey,
then came Scott Muni. Okay, so it was a murderer's row.

(18:19):
There was ten ten wins in WMCA for those who
were really hip, but most of the listening was done
on WABC to the flip format.

Speaker 2 (18:29):
In the seventies, I'll tell you when things really changed
this town. So car La KFWV went kind of color
radio with Chuck Lord sixty they were playing the Richie
Vallens people. Wink Martindale was on the channel that was
rock and roll. But then Cara La, I think they

(18:50):
were birthed in nineteen sixty, but they were actually involved
putting on teen dances, and I'll use the word they
had a slightly more adventurous playlist. Now they were playing
deep cuts or albums.

Speaker 3 (19:04):
Well.

Speaker 2 (19:04):
KIFWB, I think was really pretty rotation oriented. Top forty.
You heard a lot of the same records over and over.
But Caro La had hit bound stuff or just sneak peets.
It Peaks. Something was happening there, but the Big Bang happened.
Maybe it was April nineteen sixty five. Bill Drake decides

(19:30):
or it gets involved with changing kh J into this
top thirty outlet. And kg J had had broadcast The
Lakers from like sixty one to sixty five. The Lakers
when they came to town in sixty sixty one did
not have a radio or a TV deal. And then

(19:54):
Bill Drake comes to town and also on that channel
was Michael of Michael Scotland Yard, Mikechael Jackson, who you
probably knew, and he was like k Sea for years.
He was he he had a South African accent. I
don't think he was English. But all of a sudden
he's kind of gone, and Chick Hern is gone, and
all of a sudden we're unveiling Boss Radio, and then

(20:16):
all of a sudden there's there's Don Steele, real Don Steele.
There's Sam Riddle. There's eighteen songs being played in the
hour with such fluidity and copper tone ads and teen
dances and no interviews that and you're thirteen, fourteen years old.

(20:38):
Kg J was sort of like the Sea Party because
it had great black I mean, there were billboards of
the original jocks. That's what they look like. It was
like always six white guys were like pompadours, but the
music and they also kh Jane Carrolla did this. Dick
Mortland was the program director there. They had an alliance

(21:03):
with the regional music. They were in bed with them,
maybe promoting shows or doing exclusives, or people from gold
Star Recording Studios who were running up there with acetates
of a morning session of Sunny and chare to break
it worldwide or have the first debut. And so you
were surrounded by carle KFWB. I of course had two

(21:28):
transistor radios on my bike. It was a schwin stingray.
I'd want an each dial, but I didn't have a
third radio to go hear KGFJ or KD or the
R and B stuff. So that's what I listened to
late at night. And then around sixty five or sixty six,
Wolfman Jack arrives through XCRB. That's a border radio thing,

(21:53):
but I had fifty thousand watts from chew La Vista,
San Diego area. He was playing different music than everybody.
Plus it was a shtick when there was howling and
nobody had headphones. You were just trapped by this stuff.

Speaker 1 (22:10):
But you know it was not.

Speaker 2 (22:12):
It just felt that they were our guides or they
got us through our homework. And then, of course you
always had the Dodgers, and then the Angels had come
to town in nineteen sixty one. And also it's an era
in the sixties. And when I bring this up, New
Yorkers just shake their heads and go, you're right. What

(22:34):
happens is the Lakers come to town in sixty the
Dodgers come to town in nineteen fifty eight. UCLA wins
their first ten championships of twelve starting in the sixty
two to sixty three seasons. The Rams are here, The
Olympic Auditorium is buzzing. We're watching teams like the Lakers

(22:57):
play the Boston Celtics and the finals. And even though
you don't only see one game a week on television,
LA is getting all this attention that used to be
pretty New York and East Coast centric. And then the
whole enchilada busted open. The Dodgers win the championship in
fifty nine against the Chicago White Sox. It just brings

(23:17):
media attention. When you're a local team, and they're playing
rock and roll songs at rallies and all that. But
in sixty three the Dodgers swept the Yankees in the
World Series, and all of a sudden, LA is really
under the microscope. So I think all kinds of disc
jockeys then start transferring here, relocating. There's English accents, there's

(23:41):
Lord Tim and Tommy Vance. There's like British people on
the radio. What do you mean Sam Riddle has gone
to another station? B Mitchell Reid is, Where's he? After
kV BB, he goes on to KPBCEE. All of a sudden,
there's so many new outlets and voices. I lost track
of some of this stuff, but I was in and
with it. It was you know, it was it was deep.

Speaker 1 (24:11):
Okay, certainly I lived through this era California was everything?
Was this just your environment or did you feel that
it was all happening around you?

Speaker 2 (24:24):
I knew one thing I had advantage over some people.
I think because my parents moved here from Chicago in
nineteen forty seven. They're from the Midwest. I met New
Yorkers and people from Chicago or relatives coming from out
of town. I knew there was other worlds out there,
But I knew what the power of this music. I mean,

(24:47):
I met you maybe in two thousand and four. Didn't
you tell me the Beach Boys were one of the
reasons you moved here.

Speaker 1 (24:53):
I wouldn't say one of the reasons. I would say
the reason.

Speaker 2 (24:57):
I remember you telling me, and you weren't hiding your
loyalty and devotion to them. And I also know you're
one of those guys who obviously probably went to law
school here instead of the deal back east, and then
you move out here to make a living or something. Right,
Did you go to law school out here?

Speaker 1 (25:13):
Absolutely? Okay.

Speaker 2 (25:15):
So the thing is, you were so proud of the
magnetic pool of I get around and stuff. I remember
that conversation, you know, because you were just so upfront
of what the pool of that music did to you.
And I didn't know it would start that kind of migration,

(25:38):
but I just knew something was happening. And I can't
avoid this. But you also need to know this a
slight backstory. From nineteen sixty two to nineteen seventy two,
my mother worked for Columbia Pictures in Gower Gulch as
a secretary stenographer, but in sixty five to sixty eight.

(26:00):
She worked for Raybert Productions.

Speaker 1 (26:02):
Wow, I didn't know that.

Speaker 2 (26:04):
Well, if I ever got a chance to write some
winer notes on Monkeys' albums, I'd roll that all out.
But you know, I asked a couple times and somebody said, well,
you know, you don't really know the monkeys. I said, okay,
I just did write a Monkey's Book of five hundred
pages with my brother Kenneth, Gary Strobel and Henry Doltson's photograph.
So I met sixty seven. So my mother worked for

(26:26):
Raybert Productions. I was at the Monkey's press conference, and
she also typed some of the scripts. I'm at the
two press conferences, and sixty five sixty six. Really I'm
at the preview house with my family seeing the pilot,
which wasn't very funny. They had to recut it and

(26:46):
do some dances. But you know, I'm meeting people sixty six,
sixty seven, sixty eight in the commissary. And remember I
had an after school job in junior high and especially
high school, so I couldn't go every day and hang out.
I even couldn't go weekly. But I it was also
about one hundred yards from Wallax Music City. So my

(27:08):
deal was I'm going to Wallax Music City. Then I'm
doing a four hour hang to watch a few episodes
or an episode, and then three weeks later maybe something.
But you're running into Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson pre
easy writer, Hey kid, how you doing? Have a milkshake?
In the It was I can't even call it a commissary,
it was a canteen. And I can't say I remain

(27:29):
friends with them, but for decades I say, kid, hey,
hell does s I mean you?

Speaker 1 (27:33):
You know?

Speaker 2 (27:34):
It was just fascinating watching the phonetic energy of the monkeys.
And I also got to peek in or bring some
sheet music up the RCA studio where they recorded right
adjacent to Walllex Music City. I didn't know all the specifics,
but it was just great to kind of not learn
about the business, but to hold an acetate or could

(27:56):
you use the Xerox machine for the sheet music of
I'm a Believer. All this stuff is happening, which is
why the monkeys, especially turn up the radio and you
name it. They're prominently displayed in my adventures. I just
thought the music was fantastic, and then you get to
meet Paul Williams a songwriter, or Harry Nilsen maybe he

(28:19):
was still working at the bank. I'm not sure, but
you get to meet these people because I didn't do
the math, but I know there were all kinds of
people involved in these records. It just wasn't like I
thought the Beatles did it all with mel Evans turning
the drum set around. So it was very important hanging

(28:40):
out beyond the monkeys, being able to say hello to
Kerry Grant and this kind of stuff. I wasn't starstrupp.
I didn't ask for autographs, but I just felt I
was in Hollywood when the studio system is kind of
breaking up and rock and rolling soundtracks. I went to
the head premiere. I remember that Elliot Mintz was there too,
broadcasting or something. But it was just it was what

(29:04):
we did. Plus everything was so collaborative. Then people from
other studios would send you a soundtrack of the sound
of music or something like that. Everybody seemed to be
in this game. There seemed to be about three hundred
people in the trip instead of three thousand or thirty
thousand or three hundred thousand like now Small World. A
lot of gnashing together and there weren't a lot of

(29:27):
twenty four hour restaurants. There was the Hollywood Ranch Market,
which was our savior, where you could get oh god,
Jan Henderson used to eat chicken gizzards there that I
couldn't do that. I like the turkey leg stuff. But
you'd go there after rock and roll concerts, like at

(29:49):
the Kaleidoscope, which was our short lived kind of Fillmore
East and sixty seven to sixty eight. It's all there,
and then you'd hitch hik homb nobody had a car.
Everybody was cool. It was just wonderful. And then, thank god,
things like age restrictions started lifting. I could go to

(30:11):
the Whiskey Go Go in nineteen sixty seven or sixty eight.
Really it was eighteen instead of twenty one. I didn't
drink liquor, and I also looked fourteen. I think I
was the only person at Fairfax Hi without a fake ID.
My mother said, no smoking, no fake ID, no beer drinking.
I said, okay, I'm with it. I think I told

(30:33):
her I smoked pot in nineteen sixty nine, and you're
allowed to do it once.

Speaker 1 (30:43):
Okay, you're in high school, your mother's working for ray Bert,
you go to Wallack's Music City. Has music taken over
your life? Or you know, are you a regular high
school student and this is just your interest and are
you going to shows?

Speaker 2 (31:01):
At this point, I was a little bit possessed, but
I wasn't obsessed because I had a twenty hour a
week after school job Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Clinton
laboratories like Lebryan and Pico. So I was diligent that
I had to go to high school and have this job,

(31:24):
but I had income for shows and records. I had
sixty had eighty dollars. I could go to the Frigate
Record store on Third and Crescent Heights, and then friends
of mine that had a car would occasionally take me
down to downtown La almost Watts to Dolphins of Hollywood
record store or Flash Records, and they had all this

(31:47):
interesting what we now call ll R and B and
soul music. I was going to two concerts or clubs
a week from sixty five to seventy to eighty twice
a week concerts. They were affordable three dollars and fifty cents.

(32:10):
I went to six of the thirteen Shrine Exhibition Hall
concerts that Pinnacle Productions put on sixty late sixty seven
to sixty eight into early sixty nine maybe, and you
spent three and a half dollars. The girl gave you
change out of the cigar box, and you'd walk in
there and another grover hand you a piece of bazooka bubblegum.

(32:33):
You'd see the Vanilla five, you'd see Richie Havens. So,
but I also was going to baseball games and sporting events.
So I had the budget for maybe two concerts or
club things, and maybe a sports event. But I should
also say three hundred yards from Fairfax High which was
on Melrows and Fairfax was the Ashgrove Club, So that

(33:00):
was sometimes two dollars and fifty cents plus. We had
hip school teachers for field trips. They would take us
into the ash Grove and it had no there was
no age limit, and you could see Muddy Waters, you
could see Albert King, you could say hello to them.
It was mostly folk and blues stuff. Occasionally there was

(33:20):
a rock deck. I saw Taj Mahall with Jesse Davis
in sixty eight or nine. But that was quite an education.
I mean, I never knew there was an ethno musicology
department at UCLA. I probably had have majored in it.
I never even thought about those things, but it was
certainly in my dna. I didn't want to be in

(33:40):
a band. I was in a band for three weeks
in nineteen sixty five as a drummer and a surf
group called the Riptides. It just didn't work out. The
guitar player had a big ego or something. I said,
I'll just be a librarian and a collector and groove
on the music in the back of my mind. A
couple of girls of email me recently and said, why

(34:01):
didn't you ever become the DG that we wanted.

Speaker 1 (34:03):
You to be?

Speaker 2 (34:04):
And I said, I didn't know the right people. I
didn't even have the funds for audition tapes. I didn't
know anything. But here I am now, so thank you.

Speaker 1 (34:14):
Okay, how did you end up going to San Diego
for school? And for those of us who live in
southern California, it's really a different mentality, even though it's
not that far away.

Speaker 2 (34:29):
There was one requirement regarding college. Harvey Kubernick, with a
two point one GPA, with the Vietnam War raging on,
has to make a decision, Oh, I can get a
student to ferm it. If I go to West La
Junior College or LACC. I went to both. Okay, you

(34:52):
can go to school for six dollars and fifty cents.
And if I go to West La College, I'm five
miles away from the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and there's concerts.
But it meant a lot to me up to it's important.
I remember when they were building West La College and
I walked in there and I said, I want to

(35:13):
go here when you're finished. Well, all you have to
do is I have a two point OGPA or be
age eighteen and you can enroll. And I said, well,
I want to enroll right now. But it was just
about six bungalows and I said, I want to go here,
but also I need to find a job. I need
to go see concerts and buy records. Well, they're building

(35:34):
a library over here. Why don't you go talk to
the construction site. I walked in there and said, I'm
going to go to this school. I want to work
at this library. And they said, we're actually looking for
a student for the library. Would you like a job.
Myself and my friend Bob Sherman from Fairfax High each

(35:55):
got fifteen or twenty hour jobs, so you can go
to class, go to the library. But I was like
stocking shelf. But I was making sure Downbeat rolling Stone
Ebony ramparts were stocked in the magazine section. And then
i'm I have a student afirment. I graduate with an

(36:16):
AA degree. Well, you got to go to college, you
got to finish up what There was one requirement. I
had to find a school where I could still hear
KOs FM or the FM radio or some of the
AM radio stations at night. San Diego was one hundred
and thirty miles and some of the you could still
pick up some of the radio stations. And I followed

(36:39):
the San Diego State football team, and I said, you know,
just maybe I should go down to San Diego. I
have a surfboard. I could have gone to Valley State.
You could even have gone to UCLA. They welcomed you then.
So I went to San Diego State. It was a
fantastic path horrible experience because every weekend I would hitchhike

(37:04):
back or if I got a car or something, and
come back home Friday afternoon till Sunday night. It just
wasn't working for me. But I graduated. That's how I
ended up in San Diego, and I would listen to
kpe HE or IFM and see some great concerts down there,
because luckily I didn't know the routing of rock and
roll then that if you played in Santa Monica or

(37:26):
the Fabulous Forum, you would include a San Diego date.
So I got to see traffic at Fairport Convention in
Mose Allison at Funky Quarters, or Mark Allman on the
campus at San Diego State. It made my world operational.

Speaker 1 (37:44):
Okay, so you graduate from college, then what.

Speaker 2 (37:47):
Well. I got a degree in health, literature and sociology,
some cock and Amy experimental thing which was sort of
evolved out of the Hero experiment or something. You could
pick three upper division things and it's your own major.
And I said, okay, I wanted I was. My major
was library science, but I didn't get accepted to the

(38:11):
library science program, so they said, why don't you be
a special major. It's going to be the hip thing
in the future. I think it was discontinued after a
year and a half. So I have this degree in
sociology and health and literature, and I thought, well, maybe
I'll think about being a probation officer or something. Maybe

(38:31):
I'll do something like that. I didn't want to be
a teacher. There was always this little thing in the
back of my mind. I didn't even know what a
record label really was until seventy one. Maybe I'll do
this and it'll lead to something else. Well what happened
in nineteen seventy two, under the direction of doctor James L.

Speaker 1 (38:53):
Wheeler.

Speaker 2 (38:56):
He started I was almost like the teaching assistant who
I was. I helped build the curriculum. I had a
conversation with him and I said, this rock and roll.
He was a Dylan fanatic and a lyric freak. I said,
we dialogue. He said, let's start an upper division, fully
accredited rock and roll literature class for full credits. And

(39:20):
the paperwork was done and all that, and all of
a sudden, Okay, it's been sanctioned. A story ran in
Billboard on it. All of a sudden, Okay, what are
we gonna do? Well, may invite Iggy Pop or Danny Sugarman,
who knew some of the doors, or Carolyn Hester who

(39:41):
records out. I picked her up at a Greyhound station.
I remember that Sharon Lawrence, who worked with Al Cooper
Sounds at the South label and Elton John for many years.
People in the industry I would like they would find
us initially, but the game changer was a guy named Grayland,
landed at RCA Records at seventy two, called me in

(40:04):
the dorm at Sarah Hall. I was probably listening to
the doors and said, I'm very I went to USC.
I'm very proud of what you're doing. On the seriousness
of what you're doing. You have a librarian aspect, and
you know you're looking at this the future of the
music being preserved. We're going to start doing a series

(40:27):
of monthly students and people being involved in seminars at
RCA studio. Why don't you come. There's also tuna sandwich
lunches on Saturday, and you go there and this I
mean you'll like the irony. Of course, there are no accidents.
As Andrew lou Goldham says, I walk in there and

(40:47):
there's Henry Mancini, who I practiced. Leland lived at the
rc studio. Must have done twenty albums for the label. Harvey,
this is Henry Mancini. Hello, Henry, call me hand. Are
you a musician? Not really, he said, we'll stick around.
I'm going to be here and jose Felisano's gonna come
by next month. You mean you could fucking meet these people?

Speaker 1 (41:11):
What?

Speaker 2 (41:13):
But it was it showed me I should be involved.
I wanted to be maybe a writer. I didn't want
to be a music critic. I didn't want to write
record reviews. I wanted to see how the music was made.
And instead of focusing on the lead singer or the
pretty girl in a band, I'd seek out the engineer

(41:35):
in the back room people. I inherit because I learned
that from my mother watching her type monkey scripts. She
also typed monkey scripts for Banyan, a TV show. Robert Forrester,
I said, there's a lot of people involved. Since everybody
wants to talk to those same people, I'm going to
go into areas where the people are always sitting alone

(41:56):
or nobody wants to talk to them. It's like talking
to the eighth laker off the bench instead of the stars.
So the RC seminars were very important, and I said,
I think I can do some writing. I know I
can talk to people. And it all kind of started there.
Then I have to tell you in nineteen seventy four, February,
I go to see Bob Dylan and the Band at

(42:18):
the Forum. Bob Sherman's with me. We are seated next
to Henry Mancini. I don't think Chris Man singing at
the show. Hi, mister Mancini called me, Hank, I met you, Yeah, yeah,
and but would have. And I said, you know, I
want to say something to you. I mean, never see

(42:40):
you again anytime I see you do. Some of these
interviews in Life magazine or Downbeat, you talk about how
you love the group Cream and some of this music.
You're the only guy over forty that doesn't say weird
stuff about long haired people. You like rock. He said, well,
I got my kids tickets for the Monoli Pop Festival.

(43:03):
You were there. I got them tickets and I said wow.
And he said do you like classical music? And I said,
oh no, I don't do that. He said, well why not?
I said, I think part of it was in junior high.
Miss Molloy used to say, young man Andre Previn used
to sit where you sat are sitting. I just couldn't

(43:26):
groove with it. And then he said, well, maybe one
decade you'll get into classical music. But it was a
big lens. It was a tunnel that you could go
to record companies. They'd hand you albums. And then I
started writing for things like the Hollywood Press fifteen dollars,

(43:48):
thank you, Justin Pierce. Then I'd call up the La
Free Press John Carpenter.

Speaker 1 (43:53):
Oh, I'm just personally interested. What was Justin Pierce doing? Then?

Speaker 2 (43:58):
Justin Pierce was the amusing editor of the Hollywood Press
before he went to work for Norman Winner for about
eight years, and then he went to law school after that.
In fact, to this day, he's serving as an advisor
for me. It just I keep friends a long time.

(44:19):
I'm still friends with four people from elementary school, three
from junior high, five from high school, but nobody from
San Diego State.

Speaker 1 (44:35):
So how do you end up getting a job as
an A and R guide? MCA.

Speaker 2 (44:40):
I don't think the world works this way anymore.

Speaker 1 (44:43):
I was.

Speaker 2 (44:43):
I was writing for Melody Maker. I went to England
in seventy five and said I want to write, and
I was constantly hearing you can't write, you have no
communication skills. I never used that energy as revenge or
any of that stuff. Mother said, revenge is a wasted emotion.
You can kind of do a lot of things. You

(45:05):
know how to talk, you're fucking yenta, but you know
you have to be able to put that stuff on
the page. And I said, well, I never got a
journalism career. I never could write for the school newspaper.
I got rejected from the San Diego State Daily AZTEC.
Of course, now they're sending letters asking for you know, money,

(45:27):
with Marion Ross and Art Linkoln and all their extinct
you know alumni. I'm now like listed, you know, like
distinguished alumni. You weren't very helpful people. You're not getting
a check. But I realized, I think I can talk
to musicians, even though I can't really play an instrument.
Interviewed Brian Auger for LA Free Press. Went to England

(45:50):
in seventy five, and I said I'd like to do
some articles for Melody Maker, which had a readership of
a million a week. And Ray Coleman and some sequently
and editor Richard Williams, who I still dialogue with, said
send us some stuff. And I was writing weekly the
LA column in Melody Makers seventy five to eighty one

(46:13):
in nineteen seventy into seventy seven. The phone rings, It's
Denny Rosenkrantz working at MCA Records. I really like the
way you've scouted bands because I went to see like

(46:35):
the Dickies at the Whiskey wrote about it, and Derek
Green from the A and M label, I think, flew
in and signed them. And Danny Rosenkrantz was noticing that
I was touting people before it was fashionable. I just
would catch them.

Speaker 1 (46:51):
Come on, I.

Speaker 2 (46:54):
Could be a talent scout. I never knocked on a door.
And he said, how would you like to work for
him Records? And I said, yes, what do I do?
He said, find people to sign. I said, I think
I can do that. He said, well, let's give you

(47:16):
a year to see what you can do. So kids,
you used to be able to get jobs without connections,
nepotism and all the cronyism and all the other stuff.
This thing, honestly. I also ran into Denny at a
Bob Marley and the Whalers show. I'm sorry they were
called the Whalers then. I don't want any emails. I

(47:37):
saw Denny at the Roxy. I kind of was introduced
to him when Springsteen played the rox Syne at seventy five,
and then we went to the I saw him at
the Santa Monica Civy show Springsteen in seventy six, and
I didn't really know well, but I would run into
him and our mutual friend Russ Reagan at a restaurant
called ting Ho which was on Hollywood in Highland, and

(47:59):
he said said, why don't you come join the label?
I said, I'm there and I did eleven and a
half months there and I think I really delivered. Their
history has proven me right.

Speaker 1 (48:11):
Oh who did you sign or what'd you do? That
history has proven you were correct. Well.

Speaker 2 (48:17):
In nineteen seventy five, I met a young engineer named
Jimmy Iveen and did a full page story on him
and Melody Maker, and he was he wanted to be
a record producer, not just an engineer, and he invited
me to actually it was the Springsteen people invited me
to see all the shows that the Roxy show. Jimmy

(48:38):
was in the booth of the truck. I knew he
had talent, and so in seventy eight I get a
call from Jimmy Iveen and he said, I've just done
the south Side Johnny album with Stephen van Zant. We
thanked you on the album. I go thank you, because
I was giving some initial early print to some of
these people. I said, listen, he had done a Golden

(49:03):
Earring record for MCA, and he maybe had worked on
a Returner Forever record. And he said, I'm a record producer.
I've just seen Tom Pitty at the bottom Line. I
need to work with him. And I said, it's funny.
I'm having a meeting this week with all the people
at MCA because MCA has bought ABC Records, and I

(49:24):
was doing some interesting concepts about bringing in people to
write some liner notes. I did a little bit of
work with John Hyatt on the Slugline album. I brought
in a drummer. My friend Andy Bruce produced it. John
Van Hamersfield did the front cover, and I lobbied for
Jimmy to be considered to be a producer. Obviously the

(49:45):
engineer comes with it. For Tom Pitty, who was looking
actually with his manager, Tony Demicciatti's who I knew as
early as nineteen seventy five when he worked for Conk
Records and he'd come to town and I knew him, and
I dialogue with him, and then I said to him,
I went up to his house in Nichols Canyon. I said,

(50:08):
I'd like to recommend you need to really meet and
work with Jimmy Ivan. He gets a really crisp sound.
Listen to the Southside Johnny Record. I flew to New
York to Jimmy's apartment. I was introduced to the DJ,
Carrol Miller was her name. Then I had a meeting

(50:29):
with Jimmy at the Sunset Marquee and I was initially
greeted by some of my fellow workers. Oh, Harvey, he's
just an engineer, I said, But the engineers are now
becoming producers too, I you know. Denny Rosenkrantz liked the idea.

(50:50):
Tony Demitchari thought it was interesting. I never heard anything
after that. I was let go by MCA at the
eleven and a month mark, not just me, a big
one hundred people layoff. And then three weeks later I
open up Record World or cash box and I see
like a signing photo of like Tom Petty MCA. Maybe
Jimmy's in the photo were mentioned. Okay, that felt good.

(51:14):
But also at MCA, because I knew Tom Petty not
just from singing at clubs, I invited him to a
Carl Perkins party I put together for Jet Records when
I was doing some work for Jet Records and interested
him to Carl Perkins and realized what a record nut
he was and how much he loved Los Angeles, And

(51:37):
I said, you know, I'm going to meet Del Shannon.
I think there has to be something where the new
people work with the old people.

Speaker 1 (51:47):
I have this I.

Speaker 2 (51:48):
Don't even want to say vision or idea. It wasn't
like that. I love Del Shannon. I saw him at
the Roxy in seventy five with the Robs backing him.
He can still deliver, he can still sing. He just
needs some songs and people to work with. And he
still can go to the Philippines in Ireland and do
all of it. And I set up a meeting at
Bug Music on Hollywood to Highland with Dan Burgoye, who

(52:11):
was Dell's manager, And there's Tom meet Dell, and that
deal got put together. It came out subsequently, subsequently on
Al Corey's Network Records label. By credit on the back
of it is Organic Catalyst. So I think I was
doing some very Oh let me tell you another thing.

(52:33):
If it means something. The first person, Russ Reagan said
to me, don't sign your friends. Okay. He had run
UNI Records that became MCA Records. Don't give your friends
record deals your last three weeks. But I have a
friend who's in a really good band named the Nac

(52:55):
Bruce Gary. I hang out with him. He went to
taft t Hi. This band. I've just seen them at
the Starwood. I've seen them in Redondo Beach, at Sweetwater
In you want to hit records, I've got the group.
Quit trying to sign your friends, Okay. So I kind

(53:18):
of watched the next thing happen. But I will say
Doug Figer and Bruce invited me to the My Sharona
recording session ironically at MCA Whitney Studios, and I watched
my showIn ar I was given a platinum album by
the group for My Sharona, and I wrote about them
a bit a melody maker, but I just thought hits

(53:40):
well done. So I look back at that world of MCA,
I just kind of thought, well, somebody will hire me
again at record labels to do the same thing, and
it just didn't quite work out, and so the writing
thing became maybe the priority. So when I see Jimmy
Ivy in Every three four or five years at a
function or some you know, screening or something. He's always

(54:03):
very accommodating, hugs great. I saw him at Patty Smith
at the Roxy and he said, I'm really happy you're
doing these books. My daughter would like to really get
a copy of your Lennard Cohen books. I sent it
to him at Apple, and you know I take pride
in that. And I will say one thing. Until Warren

(54:24):
Zanes put out his book on Tom Petty, which I
was interviewed for, you don't really see the Harvey Kubernick
small connection in the in the parade. But I will
say in twenty fourteen, when I was doing Turn Up
the Radio, I said to Tony Demitriotti's who I remained

(54:46):
in contact with, will Tom write the forward.

Speaker 1 (54:51):
To my book?

Speaker 2 (54:53):
I know what shin dig and all these TV shows
means to him. He said, I'll run up by Tom.
Days later. Tom would love to do it, huge intro,
name on the front cover, gorgeous essay. And that's meant
a lot to me, because books get discovered over decades

(55:15):
and years. I need to know you knew Tom Petty,
and so the pity people start buying the book just
because Tom wrote an intro in website. People we call them.
So that is my connection to Tom and Jimmy and Del Shannon.
And it continues today because forty years later, Dan Burgoyce

(55:38):
calls me and said, this looks like there's a Del
Shannon documentary that's going to be done. It won't be
done until you're involved. And I said, oh, you know,
meet my quote, I'll go on screen. He said, oh no, no,
you are needed to be in production. Can you be
the consulting producer and help out on the writing? I said,
I'm in. So these things have paid some dividends later.

(56:02):
But I will say my dad was a stockbroker from
age forty to eighty six, and I knew that seeds
and plantation sometimes take a long time to come to fruition.
So that's my MCA story. I could bore you with
bands I tried to sign or brought them tails up there.

(56:23):
I thought Martha was magical. It just, you know, the
company wasn't set up. I think for me and some
of the things I wanted to do. I want to
have Fagan and Becker write liner notes on the Jazz
Impulse stuff.

Speaker 1 (56:38):
Did I know?

Speaker 2 (56:38):
I said, it makes sense. They're on ABC Records. They're
jazz people. All jazz doesn't sell, Okay, it won't happen.
So that's the MCA world pre ume.

Speaker 1 (56:49):
Okay. So prior to MCA, you're writing for Melody Maker.
Is writing your only job or do you have to
have a day job to support yourself?

Speaker 2 (57:01):
I was writing. I was writing for Crowdaddy magazine. I
did a cover story in seventy six on Robbie Robertson
and I went to the Last Waltz. I started writing
for Sounds magazine. Anywhere there was ten, fifteen or twenty
five dollars to be made. I don't I never got
in Rolling Stone, that's been fifty years, not interesting, not interested.

(57:26):
Enough money could trickle in because I think rent, and
we're going back to the mid seventies might have been
three hundred dollars a month or something. You could kind
of live there. Plus I also want to say another thing,
the luxury of nineteen seventy two to nineteen eighty of

(57:47):
press parties. There were at least two or three a week.
There was food at Chasin's, there was food at the
brad Scaler. There was nash you could eat and I'd
have to eat the next day, so I wasn't co
dependent on fast food and stuff like that. And the
RCATH went on for about a year and a half

(58:09):
and grayland Landon, I never knew what the word mentor met.
He just saw something in me that I had. Again,
I'm coming from a library record collector world. But the
writing was kind of run on sentences and sloppy. But
he knew the information was so different. He said, one time,

(58:30):
meet jose Feliciano. Justin and I and Pierce came to
the recording session. You need to know that George Tipton,
or Rick Gerard or Al Schmid or Richie Schmidt. Who
are these people? They're the engineers. Make sure to meet
the engineers. They're really important. Try to get their name
out there. And I will say, for the first five

(58:50):
or ten years of my journalism career, if you didn't
call it career, it was just an expedition. The exception
of the Jimmy ive In feature. When I would quote engineers,
nine out of ten times the editors would cut the
engineers out of the article. Sometimes there was word counts,
space problems. They weren't sexy. I was told that, But

(59:15):
there's no really vibe about them. I just went I
went deeper into engineer stuff, and so the RC seminars
were very important because you could hear god. I went
to a press party there the company playback of the
Elvis and Hawaii show Wow, and then Graylan, somebody from

(59:37):
a record company, bad Mouth made a Graylan, and Graylan
called me at home. He said, I'm beginning to know
you. You you're not the kind of guy that would take
somebody's girlfriend. I said, no, I'm just happy if there's
a girl near me. And he said, I've got two
tickets for you and Justin Pierce for Elvis Presley seventy two.

(01:00:00):
I said wow. My parents went to Vegas to see him,
and my mother said, take down that Mick Jagger poster.
Elvis Presley is the most handsome devill I've ever seen.

Speaker 1 (01:00:09):
My parents love.

Speaker 2 (01:00:10):
I said, well, I saw it was Presley in nineteen
seventy at the Forum. I took three buses to get there,
and he said, I knew you love Elvis Presley. Pick
up your tickets. Don't tell anybody, but if you come
around five point thirty, you'll be able to say hello
to Colonel Parker. I said, really, you mean, there's like

(01:00:32):
his manager, right, yeah, I wait there, the Colonel comes
out of the elevator in a cane. Hello, we made
him blah blah blah. He was going to the ranch market.
I remember that. And every word out of Colonel was
the word promotion, marketing, and merchandise. I was hearing these
terms marketing and merchandise and standalone items and billboards. I

(01:00:59):
didn't know what was going on, but I was grasping.
There's machines behind the music people. There's teams. I knew
there was William Morris, Marshall Burrell, who I knew started
the rock division at William Morris and signed the Beach Boys.
I knew about agents. I didn't know there were all

(01:01:20):
these other people int of alignments had my mind blown
in seventy two on the Elvis Show, Sam in seventy
three saw five or six times and Graylon really he
just helped out because as this guy was bad mouthing
me comically, I should say, some of the record label

(01:01:43):
publicists weren't calling me back anymore. Or I wasn't getting
the I wasn't getting the records in the mail. Wow,
what's going on here? But he said, let's have lunch
every six months. I think you're going to be around
for a while. He ever, I didn't really need that
big push. Looking back, I did need that big push.

(01:02:05):
It was Tim Harden. I look for a reason to believe,
and he said, you got to work on the writing.
But what you get out of our artists is so different.
I said. He said, you know what's good about you.
You don't hate disco music. I said no. He said,
would you like to interview the Hughes Corporation who have
a hit with Rock the Boat. Nobody will talk to

(01:02:28):
them because your other rock people don't want something to
do with disco. They think it's phony and mechanical. I said,
I'm there and I just liked. And then I got
invited to Donna Summers. Neil Bogart's people called. I went
to the Donna Summers listening party where she was introduced

(01:02:49):
in Beverly Hills, and then I got an assignment from
melody maker Barry White was going to England. This is
maybe seventy six. Do you want to meet Barry White? Yes.
I didn't have a problem with women wearing spandis dance.

(01:03:11):
I didn't never try to colude my Disco World is
I love the thraw Vicky Sue Robinson. I love the
I just liked the music because it was loud and
it could bring me to studios like RCA United Sunset,
and you could also talk to the engineers and the
producers about well. Elvis was just in two days ago
doing pre records on a you know what. PAINK Crawford

(01:03:35):
was the guy's name, and engineer Leslie Crawford was his daughter.

Speaker 1 (01:03:39):
Remember that.

Speaker 2 (01:03:40):
And I go to meet Barry White. You know, there's
some people you connect with and like Arry White is
the closing chapter, and I turn up the radio book again.
I wasn't in competition with people. I was in collaboration.
That's why if you investigate my work or books. I'm
a big believer in the multi voice narrative, other people

(01:04:02):
coming in. I'm like John Ford with his stock company.
Plus I like bringing people into the action. I realize,
you know, I'm writing for Melody Maker, that's a million
people a week, Crowdaddy magazine, it's really respected. There are
people that are going to invest in me. I'm going
to bring them into my own world and not care

(01:04:24):
about fawning over somebody or meeting somebody or why does
this lead to? And I met Barry White. There's some
people in life where you meet and you feel you've
known them your whole life. And I said, I know
a lot about you Berry White. Well, what do you know?

(01:04:44):
I said, Oh, I know that because I read a
couple articles. I know that you were involved with Bob
and Earl's Harlem Shuffle and Arranging. I know you were
the drummer of Jackie Lee's do the Duck at least
the road Drummer. I know that you made an album
on Delphi Records and you did an amazing version of

(01:05:07):
in the Ghetto. He said, let's do this interview at
my home in Encino, and uh, I've got a movie
theater there. He said, really? He said, do you like
science fiction movies? I said, I'm the King of the
Twilight Zone. He said, oh, I'm going to be playing

(01:05:30):
Invaders from Mars today. Will you watch Invaders from Mars?
He said, I know you dig Hillary Brook in that movie.
I said, I know that movie backwards and forward. But
can we do an interview for Melody Baker? After? He
said yeah, but will you also come to my recording session?
Can't get enough of your love at MCA, Whitney, I said, what,

(01:05:55):
I don't even have to think about this stuff. I
walked there and I recognize a guy named Don Peak
kind of knew who he was from the Hollywood Ranch Market. Wait,
that's the guy from the Hollywood Ranch Market. He's actually
a guitar player. Harvey, do you know wal Wall Watson? No? Wow.

(01:06:17):
I watched that session and I remember they ordered ribs
in and had so much sauce on it you could
like carve your initials at the back of the ribs
on the sauce because Barry like Nash and it was incredible.
So Barry, I was so thankful for the introduction to

(01:06:39):
him and a few other hangs over ten years, because
he had quote struggled for maybe ten years to cut
a record under his own name, or get his work
out there, or done little things for indie labels under
other names. But he was Barry White. And even though
my friends, oh, it's just disco music, Don Peaks said,

(01:07:01):
you know, it's love music. It's not disco music.

Speaker 4 (01:07:04):
Listen to Gene Page's charts.

Speaker 2 (01:07:08):
Charts. Harvey, you think you're cool because you know the
name of an engineer. You need to know about the
role of the arranger, well, I know, you know Don
Costa and Gordon Jenkins that Sinatra. He said, the arrangers
are the secret sauce. So I kind of watched this
session and I said, I'm sticking in this business. I

(01:07:31):
don't know where it's gonna go. I'm going to keep
writing and if nobody else wants to talk to these people,
I'm going to talk to these people. Now. The disco
thing dried up pretty quick and your punk rock came in.
We were both at the Whiskey and seventy seven for
Elvis Costello's debut and did Johnny Cougar open? No, okay,

(01:07:56):
there was a local band I forgot who opened, so
that was good, and I said, what can I really
like this Elvis Costello. I'm aware of all that energy
at Stiff Records. I have to give this guy an album.
I have a feeling he really likes the International Submarine
Band and stuff like that. I handed him a rare

(01:08:19):
vinyl of that album, which he could never find in England.
He was so thankful he ended up writing a liner
notes for I think a double gram Parsons reissue on Reprise,
And over the years I've got to talk to him
and interviewed him for Musician magazine. So some of this
journey starts not because I'm determined I'm going to do it.

(01:08:43):
I often will eat the food nobody else wanted to taste.
And I also wanted to bring the people, the readers.
This is pre Internet. I wanted to bring the people
with me. I just thought there was a little bit
of obligation. Springsten talks about we're all in this together
and not free until everybody's free. But I knew, because

(01:09:05):
I developed a friendship with Steve van zandt going back
to seventy five, that you just don't report. You have
to bring people into the action and bring something different
and new. And I think I do that either with
other people's interviews or visuals or finding the photos. Again,

(01:09:26):
it's my librarian skills that I have access to collect
pictures and tune DEXes that augment the narrative that I
put out there.

Speaker 1 (01:09:42):
Okay, in your fifty year career other than MCA, did
you ever have to get a day job? Also, how
did the economics work? The last time we discussed this,
which is not recently, you were living in the San
Fernando Valley. You did not own a car, you rented

(01:10:03):
a car when you needed one.

Speaker 2 (01:10:05):
Yeah, I started renting cars for rite off purposes and transportation.
Part of that was I was either on the cusp
of always getting a company car from a company or
something that would fall through. So I said, well, I
fix this car. In three weeks, I'm going to have
a new job with the company car. And so I

(01:10:27):
made myself do a lot of walking and not be
car dependent. This is even pre pandemic. And I like
the idea of renting a car for a weekend and
then being landlocked during the week and doing the twenty
hours of writing, revision editing, phone interviews. It just it

(01:10:53):
was the best way to get my action out there.

Speaker 1 (01:10:57):
Okay, you talk about these jobs, potential jobs with a
company car. So have you survived all these years since
MCA on your writing alone or have you had to
supplement it with outside income.

Speaker 2 (01:11:13):
I've had to do some outside income income streams, but
ninety five percent of them are music related. For example,
I started I started writing bios for record labels and bands,
and I would get a fee because they liked my writing.

(01:11:34):
It was music related, and I got to also veer
away from the oldies music in the classic rock world.
I got to new bands that grew up reading me,
say hey, I have a band, will you work with us?
Will you write a press release or you write a bio?
Will you come to the show, And I'd say no

(01:11:56):
more freebies? No, no, well you want to hire you.
The world changed when the Internet arrived in the late nineties.
Why did it change my old catalog from all my
articles seventy three to ninety eight, all of a sudden

(01:12:17):
are available, people are and all of a sudden box sets.
It's post CD reissues. These all these new products are
coming out of old music. But new bands would seek
me out or an R consultancy. I did some of

(01:12:37):
that because the MCA credit was on my resume. I'm
not even in LinkedIn. I It's just people find me.
Or I was still going to music or book events
or still I was always on record company and film
and TV lists, and a lot of the work was organic.

(01:12:58):
The first book deal was in two thousand and four,
thirty five hundred dollars advance. Wow, you mean a real
book here, Yeah, we want to do a book with you,
University of Mexico Press. We want to do a second
book with you. I think I can. I could keep

(01:13:21):
this going because I saw the Internet, and I saw
the music that that people thought didn't have longevity maybe
a decade or two. It was going to have a
fifty year career. I didn't know it would turn into
what it's turned into. But Russ Reagan said in the eighties,

(01:13:41):
one day you'll be able to go to a concert
and leave with a recording from it. And I had
people like Russ Reagan and a few other people that
would check in with me and said stick with it, kid.
I said, well, I'm fifty years old. Now there's no
book deal, but I can't get an agent. But I'm
not going to be And then Patty Smith and I

(01:14:02):
did an interview. She said, don't give anybody a sob story. Said, no,
I'm not going to bitch. How the way things work out,
it could be better. I believe I'm doing a service.
I believe something is it's devotional art, and that maybe
what I write might introduce five, ten, fifty, or one

(01:14:26):
hundred people to the Mamas and Papas, or the music
of East La or the group's spirit or God forbid,
will you find out about Lauren Nero already and I
realized that was happening when I would meet people. Oh
my god. Me and my boyfriend bought this out by

(01:14:47):
Blah Batye Black because we read it about something you
did years ago. Thank you. That stuff was just it
was like getting a booster shot. It's some saying. It
really pushed me forward. The book started happening.

Speaker 1 (01:15:02):
Yeah, you're in your seventies. You could die tomorrow, you
could live another thirty years. How do you plan to
support yourself as you continue? If you have any savings,
you've inherited any money.

Speaker 2 (01:15:14):
Well, what has happened in the last twelve or fourteen years.
The world of music documentaries has really happened, and I've
been asked to be in them, and not just on screen,
but actually production consultancy. Money comes in the mail, direct deposit.

(01:15:37):
Working on documentaries all the time. You also about to
sign another book deal for a book on the photographer
Ed Carriff. My brother Kenneth and I did a book
on Guy Webster, the photographer, and I'm currently involved in
a music documentary on the history of LA recording studios

(01:15:57):
with the focus on gold Star Studios, where I'm like
a writer involved in the interviews, writing the questions, and
co producing. These are fee based jobs. It's all working.
And yes, I have a car, you know.

Speaker 1 (01:16:15):
So yeah, wait, you'll have a car. You have a
car now, yeah yeah, so when did you get a car?

Speaker 2 (01:16:20):
Very recently? And it's just but the walking. I got
to lose thirty five pounds over a couple of years,
and I do my editing in my head walking and
then I come back and it gets done. This is
twenty hour a day stuff for me because I'm not
a natural writer, but I somehow feel the cloud or

(01:16:45):
the endorsement of many people around me that check in
with me or want me to continue. And it's just really,
you know, it just really feels like and my writing's
getting better. That's I'm not on an oldies tour doing
Medley's and fifty five minutes sets. I'm doing three hour

(01:17:08):
shows now better than ever. Read what's out there? Now?
I know it. But I say to myself, well, maybe
I have a story coming out in Ugly Things magazine.
I'm not getting paid for it, but it's a group
I want people to know about Spirit Okay, But I
know that my byline might generate some ads to the magazine.

(01:17:33):
Like my work with Record Collector News, which I'm on
retainer and I head of editorial. I know that I'm
supporting outlets. It does come back to you and Da
Penny Baker told me many years ago when I interviewed
him for Monterey Pop Monera International Pop Book that Lou
Adler and I were involved with with my brother, he said,

(01:17:54):
magical thing happened. Magical things happen when you take the
money off the table. He was talking about Binoie Pop
becoming nonprofit. So not all the writing gigs are fee based. Endeavors.
The karma and the dividends come back when somebody says
I it happened. Last week an email from France just

(01:18:18):
read something about the Mamas and Papa's. You danced on
American Bandstand when.

Speaker 1 (01:18:22):
They were there?

Speaker 2 (01:18:23):
Yes, I was, Yes I did. We're doing a documentary
for Rarte Television France and Germany on the Mamas and
Papa's We fly to town. I said, what's the fee,
what's the credit? I'm there. It's happening weekly and every
other week the last couple of years.

Speaker 1 (01:18:42):
Okay, Harvey. One other thing we've talked about romance, But
now we're the public. You know, you've lived seventy odd years.
What about romance in your own life?

Speaker 2 (01:18:54):
Very interesting question, I'm and I hope this asn't saden.
You didn't you just lose your mother recently.

Speaker 1 (01:19:03):
Well about fifteen months ago? Whatever?

Speaker 2 (01:19:06):
Right, Okay, I am blessed to have a ninety nine
year old Alta Cocker Jewish mother.

Speaker 1 (01:19:13):
Wow.

Speaker 2 (01:19:14):
Okay, so let's start there. Let's just say that Harvey
and Kenneth Kubernick have kind of been in al To
Cocker daycare when my dad made it to ninety two
and a half.

Speaker 1 (01:19:26):
He died in two thousand and your parents always stuck.

Speaker 2 (01:19:29):
Together, sixty eight years together, there's no My parents started
in nineteen forty seven to nineteen fifty two owning a
dry cleaner in downtown LA, where laundry was fifteen cents
a pound. My dad sold encyclopedia, sold swimming pools, and
at age forty he took a test to be a stockbroker.

(01:19:49):
Then the thing really popped. But what I'm saying is
the last few years, when you have a widowed mother
at ninety three, all hands on deck. She's in great health. Still,
it's a daily check in it's babysitting. You can't you know,

(01:20:11):
I said. I said this to Chris Daro. I said,
there's no dating this summer. My brother's going to China.
I have to monitor my mother. And he said, you're
so lucky. My dad made ninety eight. I said, she's
my Jewish girlfriend for a while. I got it. So
she's doing well until three months ago, not feeling well. Subsequently,

(01:20:37):
there's been there were two hard they go, they rush
her to UCLA. They go, hey, kids, here's the story.
There's no word. Thread on her tires, in her heart,
calcium deposits. She's all, she's ninety nine. You can do
nothing and see where it goes. Or we could get

(01:20:57):
her a valve. He huddled. My mother said, let's go
for it. Valve operation, then complications, then pacemaker put in
works fine, here are A month later, she went to
Ross dress for lesson, got her hair done last week.
So what has happened? All energy is to help my

(01:21:22):
brother and her and be on call twenty four hours.
I may sound like a small excuse, but it's the
super priority.

Speaker 1 (01:21:30):
Well, I guess what I'm really asking is, I know
you haven't been married. Does the nature of the work
or the nature of the economics of the work make
it that you never got married, you know, because we
all know we sacrifice it all for rock and roll.
So what's it been like for you?

Speaker 2 (01:21:51):
I really like women. I have a date I think
for the Ringo concert at the Greek Theater, and maybe
another woman for the Elvis Costello concert, because I tell
everybody I need to have some fun in June. It's
all cleared, got back up, people to monitor. My mother

(01:22:12):
have to produce this stuff six weeks in advance, and
no alimony, no child's support. Would people say, why are
you still doing this? I saw my parents have such
a strong marriage. I just kind of I saw the

(01:22:32):
team work involved, what it takes. I don't know if
I was capable of going there, but you know, there's
opportunities out there. But right now, I never thought this
avalanche of work would show up. In the last four

(01:22:53):
or five years. I planned on none of this. So
it's like every day. I'm sure you get these emails.
If they meet you your quote. You might go to
France and here it is. It's not every day, but
there's a request every day. Because what's happened. People are
discovering well, Vinyose outsold Mono records. People are finding my work.

(01:23:15):
The funny thing about this, and I don't know if
this has ever happened to you on your podcast. I
got a few comical, disturbing emails saying, mister Kubernick, you're
such a good writer, why do you steal other people's
interviews from other places? And I didn't answer, they do
not happen a second or third time. But there was
a contact number, and I emailed this person who actually

(01:23:39):
saw me read the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
in Cleveland, and I said, I don't steal anybody's stuff.
You said, well, it's impossible for you to have quote
Johnny Cash from nineteen seventy five. I just read something
you write about Johnny Cash. I said, I did those interviews,
and I was, what, No, that's not true. They're my interviews.

(01:24:02):
So I had a dialogue. I had a meeting with
a couple of poets, Jim Doctor, James Cushing and Harry Northup.
And then I emailed a journalist you might know him,
author Mark Myers from the Wall Street Journal. Yeah, fantastic guy,
great author, bio books.

Speaker 1 (01:24:18):
And I said, Mark Myers, the brother and he's from Canada.
Of Mike Myer.

Speaker 2 (01:24:25):
No, now this is Mark. Mark Myers just writes a
lot of articles, does jazz Jazz Wax has a couple
of beautiful books on the history of concerts. I said,
I need to ask you a question. I'm people are
I've got a bunch of emails for them. People think
that I'm kyping other stuff because I go. Johnny Cash said,

(01:24:50):
and blah blahah. He said, you need to claim this stuff.
But I said, the narrative gets disrupted if I start writing.
Johnny Cash told me in nineteen seventy interview for the
now defunct Melody Maker, and he said, you're going to
have to do those things because today's people, he said,
you look fifty. They just assume you never knew Johnny Cash.

(01:25:13):
Here you are in twenty twenty three, and you're talking
about a nineteen seventy five interview. I said, I did
the interview. Here it is. He's so, what has happened.
I've had to put blobbidy blot told me. David Ruffin
told me in a nineteen seventy six interview. Robbie Robertson
explained in an Interviewer and dialogue I conducted with him.

(01:25:35):
It irks me, but I'm doing that now and we're
not getting those emails anymore. And I guess I might
be the Bald Eagle or somebody that I was, you know,
But you know, I wish somebody would say Johnny Cash
nineteen seventy five, I go, yeah, nobody gave a fuck
about Johnny Cash. I got him at a Christian bookseller's

(01:25:57):
convention in Anaheim, and I said, to also tell you
the truth, I have the same birthday as Johnny Cash.
I wanted to meet and talk to Johnny Cash. I
saw him twenty times over the years, and it's very
deep and personal to me. So now I think people
realize and these platforms like you doing this today or

(01:26:20):
being on coast to coast, people realized there is a
fifty year thing going on here. He really did interview
these people, and it's often blues or Motown people or
icons like Johnny Cash. I never knew there'd be afterlife
in this stuff. Rick Rubin and I had a couple

(01:26:40):
of conversations. I interviewed him for a book. I said, Rick,
I was down with Johnny before you got the gig,
And I said, same birthday. And he said, I'm right
next to you, fellow pisces. Boom clicked. So that's not
an obstacle. It's just I believe in the oral, a
lot of oral history, and I'm watching some By the way,

(01:27:03):
I've had some things optioned for potential development for TV shows.
That's been an income stream. But because I understand Hollywood
a little bit and met and studied with Ramdas, he
told me, well, be here in aw book. You probably
looked at it at your college. Do not get psychically
addicted to outcome. So when the development person calls or

(01:27:29):
the studio person calls for the zoom call about optioning,
and I have a couple of people with me, I
will go through it. I like the experience. I like
the corn showder at the IVY. I like going through
some of his stuff. Ninety eight percent of the time,
it doesn't go any further than the first step. But
it's income. But the thing is, I know that I'm

(01:27:51):
a cinematic writer. I'm born in Hollywood overlooking the Hollywood
one on one Freeway on Sunset and Alvarado. I am
a child of Hollywood, and I knew it can translate
to screen and we're just watching where it goes. You
can't plan any things anymore. But things seem to be

(01:28:17):
working out. But then again, the biggest mitzvah when and
maybe you've been through this and some of your people
have been through this when the doctor comes out of
the meets you in the waiting room, when you got
a ninety nine year old on the table twice in
three weeks and says, it's looking really good. That feeling

(01:28:40):
is worth ten dates with playboy bunnies.

Speaker 1 (01:28:44):
Okay, Now, not only do you interview people, you maintain
relationships with us with them. You talked about your relationship
and interview with Barry White. Tell us about a couple more.

Speaker 2 (01:28:57):
Rule number one ask bring something to the table immediately,
so you don't say the same stuff as everybody else.
And maybe because I've been living out on the perimeter,
like the door songs Morrison mentioned, we are stone out
in the perimeter. I'm not writing on assignment most of

(01:29:19):
the time for magazines. It's sort of my Bukowski training.
You write it and you throw it out there and
it lands. I knew him at the post office. I
knew him from the mid seventies. You put it out
there and see where it lands. What I like the
luxury of being on staff at one hundred and fifty
grand year or something at a trade Sure, I would

(01:29:40):
like that pressure to see if I could do it. It
hasn't happened yet. The friendships, so I always knew ask
a first question nobody has ever asked. It does dent?
It causes a dent. I remember meeting Burton come in

(01:30:00):
in nineteen seventy four. I will love the guests who
And I said, why don't you tell me about that
television show you used to do in Canada in the
sixties where you did a lot of cover versions. I said,
how do you know about that? And I said, well,
I just I know it's part of your history because

(01:30:21):
I know people in Canada that used to watch you
before you ever kind of came to the States. That
kicked off a friendship that still exists fifty years later.
I interviewed Raymond Zeric in nineteen seventy four at Mercury
Records when he had his solo album out. I loved
the doors I saw the original band. I was so

(01:30:42):
excited to meet somebody in the doors I didn't ask
for I never did the autograph thing until way later,
and I said to Ray, you went to UCLA when
the UCLA Bruins were the basketball champs. Did you play basketball?
And he said did I play basketball? And I was

(01:31:04):
getting my economics degree from de gaul to Paul, I
played basketball, and he said, you know when the doors played,
I'd always get mad when the promoter said time to
play a set. I go, and Ray we go. But
UCLA is on a run. But because I made a
basketball impression on raymn xeric and then years later I
introduced him to coach John Robert Wooden, these things get birthed. Also,

(01:31:32):
This is pre I never was a tabloid guy. I'd
ask questions. Okay, Bruce Botnik engineered your records, tell me
about Sunset sound, tell me about the tape stock, tell
me about the Sandheiser microphones. I sort of had some
of that stuff that was just different than him plugging

(01:31:53):
an album or having to talk about Jim dying in Paris.
Every interview and these, and then all of a sudden
they start referring you to people. I mean, I've listen,
I've interviewed Keith Richards. You know, these things make impressions.
So when you run into these people five or eight

(01:32:14):
or twelve years later, they will walk across the room, Hey, mate,
how's it?

Speaker 1 (01:32:19):
Do you know?

Speaker 2 (01:32:20):
That kind of stuff means a lot to me. I'm,
you know, sadly as we get older, we're losing people.
But then I could say, well, I'm keeping them alive
in the work I'm doing. I mean, I have twenty
books out, and I must be thanked. I don't know

(01:32:42):
somebody's tracking this for me. I think I'm thanked in
two hundred and thirty eight other books. And now there's
a new little thing happening, which I'm cool with. Will
you write blurbs for my first novel? Will you write
a blurbunk testimony on the back cover? And I said, yes,
but don't stick me in indie bookland exclusively. If Simon

(01:33:05):
and Schuster kind of people show up and want me
to write something on Leonard Cohen. Okay, I want to
have a foot in the corporate world, and I want
to have a foot with the first timer. Every week,
David Kessel said, I have my first book coming out,
will you give me a quote on the back cover? Yes,
these things start happening, and no, I don't feel for them.

(01:33:26):
And then another thing is started happening where people are
asking me to write some letters of endorsement so that
you go to graduate school. And I said, I couldn't
get into these places myself. Why would you even ask me?
But doctor James Cushing, a professor literatary English professor, said,
you do these things because you never know how it

(01:33:47):
will get the other person forward. I said, on probably
never see the other person again, or maybe ten or
twenty years. He said, don't even think about it. You
are he said, don't you remember when you never had
a book where you got turned down three hundred times,
or record labels for a year, maybe weren't really taking
your calls. Look what's going on? I said, Okay, where's

(01:34:11):
the next person who needs a blurb? Here? And I
know it's helping people. I'm a prices. It helps people,
and I want to bring people on the ride with me.
I know it sounds kind of hippyish. I'm from Hollywood,
but you say I didn't have to reinvent myself in Hollywood.
I didn't come to Hollywood to make it. I'm born

(01:34:33):
in Hollywood. So I'm showing a real different kind of Hollywood,
which is support and collaboration and maybe possibility. All I
know is it's working.

Speaker 1 (01:34:51):
Okay. You introduced me to Andrew lou Goldham, you continue
to have contact. How did you meet and maintain a
relationship with Andrew Wow?

Speaker 2 (01:35:03):
I will say namastay grateful for his presence in my life.
When I got those first Rolling Stones albums, I didn't
want to be Mick Jagger or be in a band.
I liked the stuff on the back cover. I never
really knew they were called liner notes. I think they

(01:35:24):
were called jacket information. I said, this guy, the guy,
this guy is like producing. I kind of know what
a record producer is. This guy the writing is like
Anthony Burgess and Clockwork Orange or something. It's vibrant. I
did a term paper on his liner notes on aftermath

(01:35:46):
or something in high school. I know that I never
thought i'd meet him.

Speaker 1 (01:35:52):
I probably could have.

Speaker 2 (01:35:53):
I went to New York when he was producing groups
on RC like the Werewolves. I don't do those things.
But I I thanked him on a couple of my articles,
maybe made a dedication to him because his interviews were
so fascinating, because he saw the big picture, and also

(01:36:14):
he did something very bold. I don't think we'd see
today even in England out of his own pocket. He
would take ads out in like magazines like Disc and
teut things like Pet Sounds when he didn't even have
a piece of the action. That's really cool. So in
two thousand I go to see Brian Wilson do Pet

(01:36:37):
Sounds at the Hollywood Bawl. Yes, I know, Brian. Did
I know I would do the liner notes in two
thousand and eight for the Pet Sounds fortieth anniversary tour?

Speaker 4 (01:36:50):
No?

Speaker 2 (01:36:51):
Did I ever know? I do the liner notes for
the Elvis Presley forty edition of the of the Comeback
Special that was the fulfillment to graylen Land. And forty
years later I wrote about Elvis Presley and got a
nice check. When you do box set liner notes, that's
a car Okay. I go to see Brian Wilson and

(01:37:15):
I'm sitting next in a box with Henry Dilts and
my friend David Wolf who who I met in nineteen
sixty two, who I'm seeing next week at a Johnny
Rivers show. And I'm sitting there ready the lights are
going down, and I'm not a backdoor Johnny guy. I'm
very happy to see Brian because I'm watching this victory

(01:37:39):
because I've seen Brian up and down through the sixties
and the seventies, the houses I've been there. I'm happy
Brian Wilson is going to do Pet Sounds with the Wonderments.

Speaker 4 (01:37:56):
And David Leaf walks by me because he's going to
be there, mm hm, and I kind of casually say, hey,
what's the back stage seem like, because this is the
one time I'm not backstage at a Brian Wilson show
that pony up and see, you know, box seats up front.

Speaker 2 (01:38:18):
And he said, oh, Lou Adler's here, and Andrew Luke
Golden is here. I said what he said? Yeah, And
he said that's him walking in the row in front
of you to the box seat. The lights are going down,
and I go to tap him on the shoulder and

(01:38:39):
I said, mister Oldham, my name is Harvey Kubernick. I'm
a big fan of your work. I would like to
interview you. I'm so delighted to hear it because I
know that you took out an ad in disc magazine
worshiping Pet Sounds the way he did it for other

(01:39:01):
records on occasion and he said, do you know Lou Adler?
I said, not just hi, how are you? And he said,
get a hold of lou Adler. I'm in town and
we'll have a dialogue. I said, okay, got him on

(01:39:23):
the phone past the acid test. I think we were
talking about Sweet Smell of Success movies. It was all
it was movies and Lulu and Donovan and you know,
English stuff. And he said, okay, let's do an interview.
And I did an interview with him for Discoveries magazine

(01:39:45):
and then he said here's my email in Bogata, Columbia.
And I said, wow, Andrew Louke Goldham, I'm dialoguing. There
must be something going on. I could call it a
psychic tap on the back. But also it was my

(01:40:05):
reward for supporting Brian Wilson helping David Leaf on his
book in nineteen seventy eight. I was seeing the rewards
coming in. I didn't have an agenda. And I interviewed
Andrew and he said, well, keep in touch, mate, and
we just developed a correspondence. But then every six months

(01:40:26):
or something i'd write something and he'd go, well done, lad,
like he's the headmaster in England. I never had any
of that kind of stuff. Well done lad, he said,
nice one. You dropped in and he said wow. He said,
I like your writing, and then he said and I said,
I can't wait to read your biography Stone, and I

(01:40:48):
talked to him about it, and then he called me
on the phone and he said, would you come to
Santa Monica for dinner? And I said, I will, but
I'm going out with a girl and we have a
weekend thing happening. But I'm telling her I'm going to
meet Andrew lou Goldham. And he goes, if she's a
cool woman, she'll understand. And she said, I don't know

(01:41:12):
who he is. Did you say he worked with the
Rolling Stones? Said I'll see on Young Kipper or something.
And so I went to have dinner with him and
he said I like your writing. I said, oh, I
just don't say that because we're becoming friends. He said, no,
it's choppy at times, but the information that the messages

(01:41:38):
well done. I said, thank you. And then he said,
I'm doing Stone too a second volume. I need a
writer in town who really understands Hollywood, because, as you know,
I did the Stones record sixty four to sixty seven

(01:42:01):
at RCA Studios on Sunset Boulevard and he said, he said,
look I could get somebody from a label or somebody
who writes for Time or Newsweek, but you know where
Ivar is and I know you've been in that room
at RCA, I said, safe Lusiano Henry Mancini. He said,

(01:42:22):
you know the studios. You need to tell me and
especially the readers, what it's like to be a teenager
sixty four to seventy in town and take us into
the environment. And he said, by the way, don't look

(01:42:42):
at the movie, become the movie. And I ended up
having eight pages in his book, which I think is
on Simon and Schuster. It led to some other interviews jobs,
close calls. But the thing is, I am an Assigmon
and Schuster book. I get a chance to tell everybody

(01:43:04):
about AM radio and hearing the Stones and this pre
FM radio thing. And then we became good friends, to
the point he's in town and I said, I have
an extra couple tickets for Ringo at the Greek. I'm
going with a couple people and he said, can I
come along? I said, can you come along? You can

(01:43:25):
sit in the front seat. We went out out of
a pizza dinner with my friend doctor Cushing and a
lawn friend who I think you know from years ago.
I walk in there to the Greek Theater and I go,
there's Bob left Sits and there's Peter Frampton and I said,
you need to beat Bob left Sits before Peter Frampton.

(01:43:45):
Oh no, here's the sad part. He said, Harvey, I've
already knew worked and helped Peter Frampton long before Bob
left Sits. I said, well, let's meet them both, and
I introduced you and then he wrote something really funny,
said normally gods don't walk on earth or you had

(01:44:06):
a funny riff. And then he sent me an email
and it said thank you because he has manners.

Speaker 1 (01:44:15):
And then.

Speaker 2 (01:44:17):
He said your friend lefts It says coming to Bogata, Columbia.

Speaker 4 (01:44:21):
Did you go there ten years ago or yeah? And
I said really, he said yeah, he's coming to town.
I said, he said thank you. He said this is
what we do for people. And I said, he just.

Speaker 2 (01:44:37):
Happened to be standing with this woman named Felice at
the entrance. What if you weren't there? And then Andrews said,
what are you going to learn? There are no accidents?
And I will say he deeply. When my dad died
in twenty fourteen, and I'm not complaining. Ninety two, but

(01:45:00):
Andrew never met his father. Andrew's mother was pregnant from
a guy, a World War two guy that was shot
down in the war, so he never physically met his father.
And he said, I heard your father, do I go. Yeah,
it was a slow eighty eight to ninety two. The
VA took care of him. I'm not complaining. The name

(01:45:24):
game is to keep the mother going for ten years.
And he said, I want you to know something. You
don't have to call me if you need help, and
God forbid, don't go to some grievance counsel. I said, no,
I'm not doing any of that. He said, you can
find your parents or the deceased people anywhere you look
if you focus on it. I said wow. And he

(01:45:49):
said you're also carrying on your dad's mission. I said, well,
I never became a stockbroker. He said, you're working and
selling your catalog, aren't you. Yeah, there's some sink rites
and all kinds of stuff coming in. He said, you
are a stockbroker. And he's just he's fabulous. My brother

(01:46:13):
and I when he comes to town twice a year,
mandatory dinner or lunch with me and my brother. Sometimes
it's just him and I. I know his family. I
can't tell you the support he's given me. He just
shows up at the right time with the right email,
like I won't get a TV gig, And then four

(01:46:35):
seconds later I check my emails, what's the next shot, kid?
And all of a sudden, I'm not moaning about losing
a TV writing job. I just he's right there, just
his name on the screen. So that's my Andrew lou
Oldhams story. It's just fantastic records he produced. And he's

(01:46:57):
also taught me a bit more. He said, value your independence.
I said, well, I have an internal team working with me.
It never worked out where there were managers and agents
and glam squads and for higher publicists supporting my scene.
And he said, young man, look at the freedom you

(01:47:20):
have waiting then instead of waiting for the committee to
vote on everything, I go yeah. Laura Niro and I
had that same conversation too. I knew her last ten
years of her life, which I had a picture of
her in my place.

Speaker 1 (01:47:35):
Okay, that was when you know she made a comeback
album on Columbia. She wouldn't go on SNL because she
wasn't happy with her appearance and she sort of faded away.
How did you end up connecting with her in that
period of her life?

Speaker 2 (01:47:55):
In nineteen remember, I'd always engineer when I could. I'd
interview the producer or the engineer when I could. Everybody
wanted the lead singer. I'll go talk to John Densmore,
the drummer of the Doors. He's in the band. In
nineteen seventy six, I interviewed Bob Crue, who was hot

(01:48:19):
on the charts. Frankie Valley Swear to God, my Eyes
Adore You co writing stuff. Also had a big hit
with Lady Marmalade.

Speaker 1 (01:48:27):
He co wrote it.

Speaker 2 (01:48:30):
He said, would you like to go? He said, Laura
Narrow's coming to town, an old friend of mine.

Speaker 1 (01:48:37):
I said, yeah.

Speaker 2 (01:48:38):
I tried to get tickets for the Santa Monica Civic,
but I wasn't going to go to a ticket broker
and pay ten dollars. And he said, why don't you
come with me and you'll meet Laura. I said what
he said? Yeah? You know, I knew a lot of
the session musicians that were on her early albums. One
on Verve. I said, I'm driving let's go. Oh. I

(01:49:01):
go to the Santa Manka Civic and I'm introduced to
Laura Enio. Hello, and she said, what's your name, Harvey Kubernick.
I have all your records and she said, and what
are your parents' name? And I said, well, my father
is Marshall and my mother is Hilda. And she starts

(01:49:23):
giggling and she says, well my mother is named Gilda,
so we can have Gilda in Hilda. And she says,
I live in Danberry, Connecticut. I think that what she said.
There's no internet. Then here's my phone number. You can
call me. She said, we're not doing an interview. No,

(01:49:45):
she said, I could tell you're different than these managers
that are knocking on my door. And I had to
escape from the Michi gosse of the music business. She
could talk Yiddish, and I said, are you Jewish? She said,
the top half is Italian, but the bottom half is Jewish.

(01:50:07):
And then all of a sudden I had a call
with her, and then I didn't. I'd see her when
she'd come to town. Mccabs. I never bothered her. I
was happy for the one off. My friend Nancy Ritchant
brought her a Tuna Fish Sandwich at that same Santa
Monica Civic Auditorium show. Because her publishing company, I think

(01:50:28):
was called Tuna Fish Music and the Laura I used
to call them the Laura Girls. She was I was
a first album freak, and I appreciated Eli and I
liked her. I just I felt this connection with her.
And then in the nineties I get a call one night, Harvey,

(01:50:53):
this is Gilda's daughter. I got Laura and Nero and
two friends over and she said, you don't when guy
says and he's there's a girl there, you don't have
to impress us. I said, listen, Laura Niro's on the phone.
Why don't you guys like smoke a joint or something?

(01:51:14):
And I need to talk to her, which we here
are you interviewing her? No, we don't have that trip
going on. We had like a three hour talk and
she said, I'm trying to record. I'm looking for an
independent label. I've just recorded maybe for Cypress Records. I
think that was a label or was going to she'd

(01:51:36):
and I said, oh, I you know, and she and
she said, aren't you so lucky? You don't have agents
and managers and people telling you what to do. I said, well,
I'd like to have some of that, and she said, no,
you're not supposed to. I said no, the advances would
be so much bigger, the other jobs would be happening.

(01:51:59):
I don't like rep I think myself when the money
call comes in or the lawyer email, turning it over
to my lawyer and then I get his bill. This
stuff is depleting me. She said, you'll realize you're lucky
one day. But I'm calling you for a reason.

Speaker 1 (01:52:15):
So what's that.

Speaker 2 (01:52:17):
I'm starting to record at home. I need a record
label and I just need some help. And I just
kind of figured you'd know some people. I said, yeah.
I said, well, why don't you talk to Larry King,
the main buyer, her manager, Tower Records on Sunset. He
will connect you to some of the independent labels you're

(01:52:39):
looking for. She said, that is so nice of you.
I said what I said, I want nothing from this,
but if you come to the Caves or that venue
in Santa Monica. There was a theater in Santa Monica.
She played my father's Yeah. She said, I'll get you
in and she said, oh that's great. She said, you

(01:53:00):
don't need tickets. I go oh yeah, yeah, I need
a ticket or two. I'd like to take a girl.
And she said, oh, no, you're coming to the sound check.
I want to introduce you to my friend Maria and
my girls. What she said, you're one of us, You're
you are you know you're not like the New Yorkers

(01:53:22):
at the record labels said no, and I would see
her anytime she came to town. I brought her food. I
didn't badger her, and we just had But then all
of a sudden, the phone start. There were no calls returned.
I waited a week or two, no call, left another voicemail, HI,

(01:53:47):
this is Laura. No callback. Started getting a little scared.
Waited another month, no callback, and my friend Rosemary said,
there's some medical shit going down here. It happens to
us women. I said, okay, I'm not gonna badger call

(01:54:09):
anybody at the Village voice. I'll just see how it plays,
and then she left the physical planet. I thank her
in my books. I know I probably had eight, ten,
twelve encounters with her, but that Gilda Hilda thing, which
I'm telling for the first time. I was interviewed for
one book by her by a guy named Mark shipper,

(01:54:30):
but it never came out. I'm not in the Michelle
Court book on Laura Niro. But to this day, if
there's a reissue or that double album Best Of where
they finally put out that film, or e show that
you went to. Somebody at Columbia knew the history and said, well,
they actually called me on the phone when people used

(01:54:51):
to talk to people on the phone. Hi, this is
Randy Hacker, Columbia. The publicist said, Harvey, there's a Laura
Narro live at Fillmore East coming out. I know you
thanked her in your books and you must have known her.
Can we send you in advance? And then it was

(01:55:14):
groovy and then you wrote about it, and I know
that show blew your fucking mind, and I kind of
felt I'm carrying Laura Niro forward. There'll be ten people
who may hear this. They may buy the First Songs album,
they might buy Eli or secretly kids check out the

(01:55:35):
record with Lebelle. I mean I know something you put her,
You plant her name, and some people go down the
rabbit hole. She means a lot to me. I wasn't
in love with her. There was no romantic stuff. It
was the poet person that I thought was right there

(01:55:57):
with Bob Dylan always and but you know, she we
would talk about food and stuff like that. It was
it was just it was really a pleasure to talk
to somebody, you know, that had kind of a New
York accent too, and it was these were late night
calls and my whole day would be better the next day.

(01:56:19):
I used to get that when I'd hear from Raymond
Zeric or Brian Wilson used to call a lot if
there was you know, and they would. I always felt,
this is beyond a gig. These are people that I
now have fifty year relations with. This is half century stuff.

(01:56:39):
And a lot of these people they're either five, ten,
twelve years older than me. They're kind of leaving the planet.
And I told Andrew le Goldham, you know, I guess
I'm becoming the messenger. I'm going to go with that
because I could either get bummed out, reinvent myself, walk

(01:57:00):
away from my history, or thoroughly embrace it. And the
young bands and the young punk rock people, whether it
be Man's Body, whether it be a Panglobu group called Tea,
they're finding me because we like a lot of the
same music, and I interviewed Bert Backerak with Elvis Costello

(01:57:21):
in nineteen ninety for Musician magazine. Did I know there'd
be an Elvis Costello Bert box set that came out
a month ago? And that Bert would leave the planet
and all of a sudden. When you are connected with
these people, you inherit their fan clubs, their followers, or

(01:57:43):
you run into them at Farmer's Market or at Musso
and Franks. But I don't do social media Twitter. I'm
probably going to be embracing that a bit more. But
they just have the greatest things. Also, I had a
friendship with Leonard Cohen Moore of an acquaintanceship with him.
I did three long interviews with him in the seventies,

(01:58:05):
seventy four, seventy six, seventy eight. I'd actually meet him
at some restaurants. I went to both of his houses
in LA When he said, I'm living in Brentwood. Do
you know if there's a deli? I said yeah, And
he said, I've been to Canters, I've been to the

(01:58:25):
place on Sunset and Crescent Heights which just closed. Is
there a deli that has smoked fish, smoked meat? I said,
what is smoked meat. I said, I'm a deli guy.
Won't eat tom or anything. He said, find deli and
we will eat. And I took him to Jerry's or

(01:58:48):
Juniors on Pico in Westwood, I think it was called Juniors,
And every six months i'd get that phone call. I'd
write about him. Subsequently, I'm quoted in five Leonard Cohen books,
and then he just was an advice person. I will
tell you this. In nineteen seventy four, I called it

(01:59:08):
Columbia Records. I'd like to interview Justin Pearson. I want
to interview Leonard Cohene for the Hollywood Press. Well, he's
doing tenor and news that day he's playing the Troubadour.
Will put you on the troubad Or guess list? What
I don't have to pay? Yeah, you'll be in the
rope in section. Okay, we'll try to get you the interview.

(01:59:31):
You know, he's got ten interviews. Judy Painter calls back
with Charlie Copeland. Leonard would love to talk to you.
To gents, there's just one problem, I said, what's the problem?
He said, he hasked to do a passport renewal at
the Canadian Embassy. Will you join him in a limousine ride.

(01:59:55):
I said, that's the problem. He said he felt he
should ask first. You might be busy that afternoon. I said,
we're going to the Canadian embassy with you do the interview.
I had my homework down. I knew who the producers were.
They said, very good, let's go to the embassy. We

(02:00:18):
were bonding and I said, mister Cohn, no, the name
is Leonard. Can I ask you a question. I know
you have a couple of kids. I know you're thirty five,
you're kind of old. You go out with a lot
of women and write about them. How do you how

(02:00:39):
do you get married or how do you keep a
relationship going? Because what's the secret? And he turns to
me and justin in the limousine riot and he says,
relationships are complicated.

Speaker 1 (02:00:56):
You know we're going to leave it on that how
to say relationship, by the way, as you couldn't note
that wisdom. We obviously could go on for hours more,
but we've come to the end of the time we have. Harvey.
I want to thank you so much for doing the podcast.

Speaker 2 (02:01:17):
It's been a pure pleasure. You know, we go back
a while and you know you've seen the growth of
music docs. You've seen all the transitions. It's very educational
reading the newsletter.

Speaker 1 (02:01:33):
But I was right.

Speaker 2 (02:01:34):
You went to law school out here, you you couldn't
wait to get to the beach. True or false?

Speaker 1 (02:01:38):
No, true, I took a couple of years off before
I went to law school. That's my own personal story
for another time. But I will say I used to
hear from Harvey. Harvey would always say, if I wrote
about Linda Ronstadt, it's really Chris Darrow. Chris Darrow is
the person that really, you know, there were some bubbs

(02:02:01):
in the road earlier before we actually met face to face,
but as you can tell by Harvey's memory, you know
he's really an authority. He's dedicated his entire life to
this for us, as he says, So, Harvey, thanks for
doing the work.

Speaker 2 (02:02:16):
I appreciate everything. And I really have a great team
of people around me now, like Chris Alpert and so
many people and people like Justin Pears are still on
the team, and I kind of feel we're all going
toward a common cause. And I'm just delighted to do
this podcast because we got to talk about music. But

(02:02:41):
I will I'll end it with this When I brought
up the Beach Boys to you, you weren't sheepish or apologetic.
When I first met you, you raised your hand like
it was a hadassa meeting or something. You don't understand.
I moved here because a yeah, people all the way
had Okay, that music from the West Coast, it was

(02:03:04):
the music. Maybe it was the sunshine. Who knows, and
you're a snow person, but you wave that flag so
huge for the Beach Boys. It helped define your life.
Isn't that amazing?

Speaker 1 (02:03:18):
You know you're living in California and this was before
all the tax incentives, so every TV show, every movie
was made in LA. There was the southern California surf sound.
Let's okay, I remember one. I came to California in
sixty six, but I remember coming to California in seventy

(02:03:39):
three and literally crossing the line from Nevada to California
in Lake Tahoe and say, it just felt different. And
at this late date, it just cracks me up. With
all this anti California stuff. They have no idea what
they're missing to this day, Yes, real estate is expensive,

(02:04:05):
yes traffic is bad, but as I would normally say,
I could talk about negative things about southern California all
day long, but there's nowhere I'd rather live. Every As
you know, everybody in the music business has to come
through at least once a year.

Speaker 2 (02:04:21):
So, by the way, I'd have a different life for
career if I relocated to New York and then went
to Paris. Some of those options have been on the table.
Answer this one thing, because I'd like to get the
question answer for me. This is Gary Strobel, who I
work with. He's my archive is, he's Henry Dilton's photo library,
and he's from Cicero, Illinois, one of Chicago. I said,

(02:04:42):
why did you move here? And he said the monkeys
were done here? And also, you have no idea what
a snow day is like in school? I said, what
the fuck is a snow day? He said, you can't
leave the house. They you, I know what a small
day is. Did they have snow days in Vermont and

(02:05:04):
all that Connecticut?

Speaker 1 (02:05:05):
They absolutely had snow days. We'd turn on a transistor
in Connecticut and they would list all the towns. Then
my understanding was they did it via Facebook. Now, as
a result of COVID, they say there may never be
snow days again. However, you know, there are certain things
in the East Coast. We play board games, not as

(02:05:26):
big a thing here because it's rain and the snow. Okay,
I like the weather here. That is not why I moved.
Having said that, whenever you go somewhere else it rains
one day, that's cool, then it rains another. Go, what's
up with this? You know? I have people that say, oh, yeah,
the summer in New York. Every weekend it rained. You know,

(02:05:48):
it was like, you know, you make plans to go somewhere,
play tenniss something outside of the summer in California, weather
is not the issue. It's happening.

Speaker 2 (02:05:59):
I I'm just so glad that you like the Jan
and Dene Command Performance Album.

Speaker 1 (02:06:04):
Wait wait, wait wait, we can go on about this day.

Speaker 2 (02:06:07):
That I'm glad. Listen.

Speaker 1 (02:06:08):
The Jan and Dene Command Performance Album was the first
Jan and Dean album I bought, and I after that,
I bought Ride the Wild Surf and other ones. But
I played that so much the record turned gray and
I had to use masking tape around the corners and

(02:06:29):
I still have it. Man. And then you know, I
heard from the guy who's now in Nashville, who promoted
the concert.

Speaker 2 (02:06:37):
That were Fred Mail. Yeah, yeah, Fred Vail.

Speaker 1 (02:06:41):
Right, that was the shit. I can still hear the horns,
you know, and uh dead Man's curve. Not to mention
the fact, you know, when you come to LA, all
these things you've been hearing forever come alive. You know,
not only Pico and Support, but Elmonte Legion Stadium. Doheeny?

(02:07:04):
You know, we know Dahiti, but when you know on
the East Coast you have no reference Dohini. And then
the beaches trestles also, you know, doheiny again. It's like
it's living history. And just to close it out, what
people don't realize the difference between East Coast and West Coast.

(02:07:25):
Let's say East Coast and Los Angeles. In the East Coast,
where you went to college? Who your parents are? Very
important Los Angeles, the most important thing is what kind
of car you drive. That's just phony enough for me.
No one's sitting there talking about my parents, no one's
asking me where I went to school. Everybody's on an

(02:07:46):
even playing field. And when it comes to LA. In Hollywood,
people are so narcissistic. They don't give a shit about you.
They're not in your business. I can be. I feel
free and this is the only place. Never mind I
go on a politics whatever. People have no idea how
great it is here. I mean I could testify ad

(02:08:08):
infinitum and the people first and foremost. LA is a
shitty tourist town. It's a lifestyle town. You know, it's
not about going and say yay, go to the beach,
go to the Capitol records tower. The people will leave
are the people who came with dreams and just can't
handle that their dreams of fame didn't happen. But as

(02:08:31):
you say, if you spend the time and you feel
I mean, you hear long enough, the world is not
that big. You meet the right people but you but
it takes a long time. But it's a lifetime thing.

Speaker 2 (02:08:45):
And I should I saw. I'll close it with this
because it just ties it all in. About twenty years ago,
I saw Willie Nelson at the Wiltern Theater. I was
introduced to him backstage. I said, Willie, can I have
a couple of minutes of your time? He said, sure, son,
what do you need? I said, thank you for always
mentioning Ray Price. Oh he's in my band, I said, yeah,
But I also know he did your first song, you

(02:09:06):
sure did, and I said, I'm and thank you for
the work with Patsy Patsy Kline. He said, well, thank you,
and I said, I have a music business question to
ask you, and it's kind of a book business question.
What do you need? Son? I said, it doesn't work
on logic getting deals. There's agents. I don't know if

(02:09:29):
talent is it five percent one percent? It seems like
the game is kind of rigged. And he said. I said,
I'm not really asking for advice or help. I just
would like a little clarification because I know they ran
you out of Nashville to Austin your hair bothered people.
You had to be a songwriter, you had to do

(02:09:51):
all kinds of things that didn't happen for you until
a little later. I think that's going to happen for me.
And he said, Son, Lena, tell you one thing, you
have to outlast everybody.

Speaker 1 (02:10:07):
I'm that nobody, being Harvey. It's been great talking to you.
Until next time. This is Bob Left Sets
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