Famous A**holes I Have Known . . .chapter 3. . . by Tommy Mandel.



Don't let anybody tell you any different: Johnny Bon Jovi is one smart dude.
He called me in to add a few keyboard parts but mainly get better
sounds for his excellent keyboardist, the glamorous David R..,
oops, David Bryan that is. I dunno, I never liked those 'fuzzy' ('buzzy?')
synth sounds, I guess itís because I grew up on the Rascals, and they made
the Hammond B-3 almost a religion. The B-3 has a rounded pipey kind of
sound, very grandiose if you play it right and expecially if you bathe it in
reverb or echo, and when Rush and Styx, and other 4 letter groups came out
with their Moogs and Oberheims, I just missed the point of all that fuzz on
the keyboard sounds. David R.. had this Memory Moog which was
a cool synth, but gifted as he was on classical piano (VERY, and he never let me
forget it,) he'd come upwith these cheezy sounds on his synth; not good enough
for Johnny Who Would One Day Be King.
INSERT: David B went on to write a hit Broadway play, MEMPHIS (go DB!)
and rumor is there's a new one in the works...>    It was back in '85 or '86, a good year for me either way. Lance Quinn, the

guitar heavy, he played on Every Disco Record Ever Made, AND flies a plane, AND cooks on Rockabilly
(his late set with Danny Gatton at the LoneStar

Cafe when it was down on 13th Street and 5th Ave. rates with Steve
Winwood at Hammersmith in 1983 as my GuitarEnvyEpiphanies....I saw
Hendrix in Lewiston Me. in '67 and Cream at the Backbay Theater in Boston
the same year, but neither show melted me that same way....) ANYWAY
Getting back to the subject! (oh Lysergus, you fragmentor of consciousness &
continuity)...So Lance Quinn, also a computer hacker, now had his own
studio in Philly, the Warehouse, he and his partner Obie, the Junk Food
Obie, not Obie who used to work for Spruce Spudstein. And in '85 or '86,
Lance was producing Bon Jovi's 2nd album and hired me to come down and
help. Then he did Nils Lofgren's FLIP album, and I got to work with the
amazing T Lavitz, of the Dixie Dregs....T is the perfect blend of incredible
fingers, devastating sense of humor, and self abnegating neurosis, a true
charmer, and probably a mystic knight of the roundtable or something. He
played his PPG, this advanced German Wavetable Synthesizer, and I played
my Casio. I forget who played Hammond, and who piano, though it probably
was Nils himself.  Lofgren is no slouch on the keys, having played all the
piano on Neil Young's After the Goldrush masterpiece of 69 or 70. I know it
was that year, because I used to f* a beautiful lithe Libyan artist to it, and
when I wasn't lost gazing into her Egyptian charm on a necklace swinging
over my eyes as she straddled me, I was wondering "Who is this Nils
Lofgren guy?"
At Lance Quinnís Warehouse Studio in Philly in '85 or '86 I found out:
He's one of the nicest gymnasts I'll know. Sincere. His voice has that rough
velvety quality that I find so compelling; if a woman talks like that, I'll do
anything to keep her talking so that I can just listen to her. "Oh, you say
you want a divorce, and I should sign over the kids and all our property,
and agree to pay 110% of my future earnings forever to your new lover?
Could you please repeat that, just a little bit slower, I just LOVED the way
you got that husky oooooooo into 'future'"...y'know what I mean?
Nils had that kinda voice, and he was very generous creatively. He writes
great songs and sings fabulously.
SSOOOOO, I played a bit of stuff on the 2nd Bon Jovi record, not that much,
to be honest I don't exactly remember any of it. I'm sure if you tally it,
my man David Bryan played far more parts than I did. And they were happy. And
then it was time to do the NEXT album, and David B. calls me up and sez,
"Hey, can I come over and Sample your sounds and share ideas for our next
record?" I said "No."I was very protective of my sounds in those days,
when the custom programmed bell that you could produce on your $2k
synthesizer meant the difference between working on an album project for
2 or 3 weeks with a big name, and WISHING you were working on an album
project for 2 or 3 weeks with a big name. So then Johnny called, and we
made a deal for me to come out to their hometown rehearsal studio where
they were putting it all together for the album that was to become their
breakthrough, Slippery When Wet, for $350 a day, ( a lot back then) to contribute ideas and help
with sounds. Cool. I remember driving in muscle cars, eating pizza, getting
cruised by strange NJ babes; I never knew their significance. Finally after
2 days of dingy rehearsing, Johnny said to me, "Do you have any other
ideas for the tunes?î" I had to say NO, because I wasn't that into the tunes
I heard, and I  wasn't big on coffee or stroking in those days either. He
surprised me by saying, "Well then we won't be needing you any more." OK.*
The other thing I remember about my Bon Jovi experience, other than the
incredible basso profundo of their drummer Tico, and Richie Sambora's*
love of new age artist Liz Story, was that when the record company took
us out to dinner, no one looked at the menu: everyone just asked the waiter
to bring the most expensive thing on the menu.
  Later on, when we were about to kick off the 3 year Bryan Adams Waking
Up the Neighbors tour, we did a gig at 86 Street in Vancouver, a club
owned by Bruce Allen, Adam's manager, (the Colonel Parker of The Great White.)
Johnny and David R&B. came up onstage and we did Born To Be Wild. It was
really fun.

*Just recently I went on 2 short tours with Richie Sambora, who was doing his solo thing, kinda 'a vacation' from music-as-work. The music was great, the band was too (Kasim Sulton from Todd R. on bass and vocals, Crystal Taliefero from Melencamp and BJoel on percussion and vocals, Everett Bradley from Stomp and Johnny BonJ on percussion and vocals, Gioia Bruno from Expose on percussion and vocals, Richie Supa from Aerosmith and South Beach on rhythm guitar (he cowrote the cd's tunes with Sambo,) Ron Wikso from Cher and Foreigner on drums, and li'l ole me on keys.) Richie is an unclassifiable person, open, generous, enthusiastic about music and life, and especially about his family - Heather and the baby Ava, just about 1 year old.

<<I think I'm gonna be misunderstood unless I say this here:
  You've gotta understand guys like Johnny, or Bryan Adams....they started out just like you and me, with no money, and alot of dreams....maybe a few MORE dreams than us, even. . . and tons of 'drive'.   So they worked really hard, so do we. But they made it big. Now every one in their life sees them different. "Hey, check out the millionaire, how 'bout some fer me!' kinda vibe.
   So it's almost natural that these guys would build up a kind of protective suspicion around their hearts and money. Face it - if they gave each of their friends, say $20,000, and their plumber $5,000, and their mom's hairdresser $2,500 for Christmas...Well, they COULD probably afford it, (at least for a while, at least while they're "on top.") But first of all, their friends would start acting weird, wondering how to act normal, maybe to earn more 'friend-money...' And then they couldn't trust their friends..."Are they just bein nice for my money?" Second of all, everyone working with them feels entitled to more: "hey, HE can afford it..." It can get ugly.  Third of all, show biz is littered with stories of guys who shot up to the top, and blew ALOT of money, and went bankrupt quickly.
   And finally, to some of em, it IS actually a big game: How can I make this biz run the most efficiently? How little can I make this record great for? The same competitiveness that propels them up to the 'top' - it fuels their Money-for-Value game. Type A competitive stuff.
 So when Johnny bJ said, "Well then we won't be needing you any more, Tommy," I was surprised, but not angry. He was being straight. Believe me.ok? >>
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