Friday, April 10, 2009

(Part 38) Fast Wasn't Fast Enough For Randy


As I began showing up at Mira Records offices on a daily basis I began to get a feel for the lay of the land up there. Randy Wood, who was a pretty good drinker, would spout off about things at the end of the day when he'd have a couple of cocktails at his desk. This became a time for me to pay attention to what he was saying. He did a lot of bragging about an attorney he worked with named Abe Somer. He said that Abe could write a contract that no one could get out of and that no one could understand until it was too late, meaning that by the time you signed a contract that Abe Somer wrote and figured out that you should not have signed it it was too late, because you already had. I took this seriously when I heard it and never forgot it.

Abe was a studious looking fellow, kind of like Bill Gates with the personality of an assassin. He used to eyeball me when ever I was around and I did not like Abe Somer at all. He was acquiring a reputation for changing the music business from a lot of small labels into a corporate structure which bought the little labels and made them part of a bigger structure, like it is now. Abe Somer did more damage to the music business in the 60's than any other one human being I know of. I was there when this was occurring. I warned people about this, but they just laughed at me and said I didn't know what I was talking about. Looking back now I knew exactly what I was talking about.

I wrote 2 or 3 more songs for the Chris Lucey album and Randy was even more pleased than before. He started telling everybody what a good writer I was and that he ought to get me signed up. I was putting the songs down on a 2-track tape recorder at night that they had in the office so Randy could listen to them the next day after I'd finished them. They were pretty rough, but it was a way for Marshall Lieb to hear what he would be producing and get charts written up for the players he was going to use on the record. I finally met Marshall and he was unimpressed by me or the songs, in fact, he was down right obnoxious. He did not want to do the album at all, but was beholden to Randy for something so he'd agreed to do it. But he made no attempt whatsoever to cover his feelings about me, my songs, and the project overall. He was a good producer, but a pain in the ass to work with. He always acted like the whole thing was beneath him and who knows maybe it

While I was writing the songs for the album I enlisted my brother Bill (Jamie) and Bruce(Baby John)Heinz to take a whack at writing something for the record. I told them if Randy liked what they wrote it would be on the album. My brother came up with "That's The Way The World Has Got To Be" (part 2 or "Too Many Mornings") and he and Bruce Heinz came up with "I Got The Blues". Those two songs are stand outs on the record. I helped a bit on both songs, but Bill and Bruce for the most part wrote them. Bruce Heinz if you don't recall was a sidekick of Danny Whitten, Billy Talbot, and Ralph Molina and became their roadie for both "The Rockets" and "Crazy Horse" bands. Randy Wood liked "I Got The Blues" so much that he had it recorded with a full orchestra in England when he went there.

As I pushed on with the writing I encountered difficulties with some of the titles that I was forced to use. Trying to write new songs to somebody else's titles can be a real challenge at times and that was something I found out the hard way. If I didn't have new stuff for Randy every time he asked his personality would shift from I like you to I hate you. It seemed to be about the deadline in Randy's head regarding his overall Surrey agreement with Europe. So the Chris Lucey album getting finished was a priority and I, unfortunately, felt this pressure from Randy to hurry up and get done so we could go in the studio and cut the thing. Forget the fact that I had to accomplish this all in about two weeks, the writing that is, Randy was impatient and let me know it. I learned very quickly that Randy Wood could seem like your best friend one minute and then turn on you the next. I was always ready for his personality shifts and they would always show up.


  1. Every time I think this story has gone over the edge, that nothing weirder than this could possibly happen, it drops further down the rabbit hole. It sounds made up, frankly, but I've googled around and it's all for real. This should be a book. Everybody knows about the Beatles and the Stones, blah blah blah ad infinitum. But your story touches on a thousand little corners of that time that people should know about: what REALLY happened in the sixties.

  2. Fnarf makes a good point. My point is not too relevant. All the time I've been reading this I kept wondering what happened to your brother, Jamie, as I knew him. Now I know: Oh, that's Bill. Jeren