Les Visible Blog – May 10, 2018
Dog Poet Transmitting…….
Probably should have written a few books instead of all those blog posts. Probably should record some of those half dozen albums; thought about it. Thought about it but here are some of the things that happened on the way to having got the earlier works done.
Let’s start with the music. I’m in Philadelphia with the Guru Bawa Fellowship and someone I know from there is in the hospital with a fellow named Tone Smith. He worked for Gamble and Huff, who did the Philadelphia Sound. He told him about me and the next thing I knew I was in a house with The Platters. They were launching a comeback and I was writing songs for them. It felt great. I thought this could go some. I mean, Gamble and Huff? Exactly.
Then somehow Bernard Stollmann came into the picture, with his lovely Canadian Wife Flavia,l who was a hired witch performance artist for some Hockey team. Bernard had a brother who is connected to Colombia Records. So Bernard heard about visible and somebody got us to go up to New York City and we were next in Columbia Studios in New Yawk Shitty, where James Taylor had just been in and name after name was given unto us by the people that worked there. Bernard was more interested in my co-writer David Mowry, now an aged and disgruntled blues man with no creative chops and me who was the songwriter with less chops at the times and still, probably, but without who we wouldn’t have been there.
It didn’t go well but he got us to sign a contract- no longer relevant and canceled my contract with a very disappointed Tone Smith. A few years later he shows up at my TV show in Woodstock and they rave about my new album, “Jews from Outer Space” and they take my worn out cassette album and sign me to a contract with Columbia-CBS-Sony-Rounder Records, as part of a big package deal with all of ESP Disks previous artists and black jazz legends, which he has a track record of ripping off with all the relatives suing but that didn’t help them. I tell him I will send him the digital masters of “Jews from Outer Space” and the same from other select works for a companion album called, “Two Old to Rock and Roll”. Against my wishes, he produces the albums from the worn cassette copy and then has the engineers mess up it so bad you can’t even hear what I am singing. The engineers, who had previously worked with Jefferson Starship told me they were embarrassed to have done this but that is what Bernard wanted. He said it made it sound authentic; authentic shit. We wound up getting released in every Towers Record around the world and it sank like a stone and not long after, Tower Records went out of business; no connection there, or tangential at least.
We were floored when we heard it. I still have copies of it. Franklin Russell and Bud Clifton, my co-creators couldn’t believe it. We were heart broken and this is just one of countless cockblockings of mysterious origin. I move to Germany and find that Bernard has placed all my work with a company called IODA out of San Francisco. I contacted them and told them what a liar and crook he was and they switched over to me to handle it for me and at first I got paid a pittance. Then they became Orchard Park records of somesuch, also out of San Francisco. I got one payment of around 250 dollars. Two years (or more ago) I asked them why I hadn’t gotten anymore money. They told me they didn’t pay out under 250 dollars and I was at around 230 owed. I still haven’t earned 20 more dollars since, while being listed on every major outlet on the internet from Amazon to Spotify?
Meanwhile the thief Bernard is always in the background. Tells me he will release me from any connection to him and never does. I try to get free of Orchard Park. They won’t send me a form to do it in or in software I can’t handle and they don’t care. Here I am today shit out of luck I guess.
I labor over my book the Dark Splendor and get this guy from Mandrake of Oxford Press to agree to publish it. He’s a Satanist of sorts and a big Crowley fan and it takes forever and a day for him to publish it. Finally he puts it out in print too small to read and misspells the title on the spine, on the cover and on EVERY inside page; a travesty. After some years and nasty reactions from him he reprints it and it comes out okay except for the damage done. Finally I meet Karen and her husband from Colorado. She wants to publish it and gets a release from Mandrakes of Oxford. She comes to visit in Germany. That didn’t go well but she still wants to publish the book and does, under a weird title which she says fits with my history of using long titles in my work; instead of The Dark Splendor we get, “The Dark Splendor of a World Unknown.” She has a good job done except for changing all sorts of things like song titles, leaving in syntax errors and deliberately doing it her way instead of mine.
She gets a divorce from her husband; no connection and her money scene changes and she is whining to me about costs. For years she refuses to send me any more copies. I tell her I’ve had it. Finally she sends me a few copies and starts telling me how evil I am, after all my patience and trying to work with her. I tell her I’m going to republish the book my way and she threatens to sue. I tell her the only rights she has is to her copy and I won’t be republishing that. She cancels me out of Facebook and changes all her emails so I can’t reach her and even pay her for the six copies she sent me. I guess that is supposed to be some kind of guilt trip.
Desperate and beaten down I publish “The Curious Tale of Ash and the Whine.” because I did it myself with the help of some good friends, that went well. The book in between, “Spiritual Survival in a Temporal World” went okay except for personal problems with Amaranth and her husband Richard, where she kept a thousand out of the account and it all fell apart because they wanted me to be the Avatar and I don’t accept that so I acted out; something I don’t do anymore and that bridge is burned. So be it.
Given all that has happened I don’t want to write anymore books or record anymore albums, as good as the material is, according to what everyone tells me and from what I can see and hear with my own eyes and ears. It’s a dilemma. Here is just ONE story among so many about things that happened to me. Willie Nelson’s best friend who lived on Maui along with Willie and used to own a restaurant in LA called something like the “Great American Dining Experiment” had been besieged for years by people wanting to get their songs to Willie. One of my best friends, Bud Clifton got close to Poppy (Pappy?) and got him to listen to my song “Patterns.” Poppy said, “Bud, people are always trying to get their songs to Willie and I just can’t be bothered but this is one of the best songs I have ever heard and perfect for Willie. When he comes back off tour next week I am personally going to get him to sit down and listen to this. Bud and I were flipped. We knew the song was good but this was great. Three days later Poppy died of a heart attack. This sort of thing is normal for me. Bud recited one of my tunes at a funeral for a friend of Willie’s and everyone loved it; “See you Again”. Nothing. Nothing again and again and again. God tells me my time will come. I believe that. I may not be here when it happens but happen it will.
The one thing I have never had is a lawyer. I am hoping that will happen now. I immediately heard from a lawyer when I put the feelers out in my last post and who knows an entertainment/music lawyer. I am willing to give whomever proves honest, a percentage of everything though perpetuity. The money is no big thing to me. I have lived with it my whole life; or without it is probably a better way to put it. I have given very little in terms of the bad luck. The tales are too many to list. I need some help while I am here. I can’t pay a lawyer but I can give them a good piece of whatever happens. We SHALL see. I will send this to that lawyer, in lieu of greater detail when needed.
If something good happens, there will be more books and albums. Several books are waiting and at least half a dozen albums. The creativity faucets are wide open as the blogs demonstrate. We shall see.
Say a prayer for me and us as you may and we shall all do better than well. I think the time is as hand and I am a better person and artist than I have ever been. I have left so much out and surely I have made mistakes which I can be as honest as needs be. God Bless…