BIG DREAMS AND THE DETROIT
June 30th, 1946, life began for me as I first knew it. It was midnight so no sooner had I entered the world and I was no longer confided in my limited existence. I had been in a safe dark place, never having to search for food, or shelter. But now I was in the real world, and discovered I had a real family I was going to share my adventures. This family now consists of four of us. My Mother and Father and my brother Bruce. I quickly learned what it was like to be on my own and experience a large extended family and making friends throughout the neighborhood. At five I started Vernor Elementary, then Mumford High School where I learned the importance of friendship and I established a lot of lasting friendships that share my journey and remain friends with so many of them today. And it was while I was still at Vernor Elementary, I started a recording studio. In 1964 I graduated Elementary and started Mumford High School and met or met many people from both schools that would be famous, and someway intertwined with mine.
During High School, my studio became part of the community and a focus of my life, recording young bands, singers, and musicians and one became the lead singer and guitar player for a famous group that set the record for a single album for most albums sold at forty-one million surpassing Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five. It was also during these years that I got my driver's licenses opening my up to additional job opportunities where I became assistant publicity director for "Northland Playhouse," the Publicity Director died so I actual took on that roll. It was a summer stock theater which featured famous Movie and TV stars like Zsa Zsa Gabor, Joel Grey, Jayne Mansfield, Merv Griffin, and so many more. Marv and I got to go on a double date.
I didn't limit myself to just the growing studio, Northland Playhouse, I also worked for John Essex the Publicity Director at the Fisher Theater also doing assistant publicity in the non-summer months and worked on the World Premiere of "Fidler on the Roof," with Zero Mostel and the World Premiere of "Golden Boy" with Sammy Davis Junior. I got to spend a lot of time with Sammy Davis as he also recorded an Album with Count Basie. And by the fall of 1964 I began college attending Michigan State University.
My life was busy and complicated, and I drove a lot. And as the studio grew, we not only recorded records, but we also started working with Advertising Agencies, Record Producers, Record Labels, and independent producers and groups. Constant building and rebuilding as we expanded.
Signing our own groups, led to promoting them, live performances, rehearsals, and audition new groups, and recording famous groups, and of course how payola, drugs, sex, violence, all played a crucial factor in the success of the local groups.
By 1967 Detroit had elected Mayor Coleman Young and we recorded all the commercials for his campaign, but with a corrupt chief of police, and racial tension Detroit was feeling the stress. And Motown and all the other record companies had helped to make Detroit the record capitol of the world producing the most number one records in forty-eight out of fifty straight years.
And with the top cocaine dealer in the country living a couple blocks from the studio and visiting us daily when he walked his dog. Our studio has now become a target of the FBI. Raiding us often.
As the studio grew expanding its space, one of my partners decided to go into the commercial Jingle business, which he wanted me to do too. But I was too busy but did help him write a copy for his Advertising agency when he started that, and he took over office space in the next building north of us.
And the three partners that started running the studio together in 1966 were now faced with many decisions as we expanded our group roster, started expanding the studio taking over the rest of the block.