Author: Tom Werman

The Producers: Just for Kix, Loading LA Guns, and Scolding Billy Idol

It has been over two weeks since I sent the two emails to Dee Snider’s web site and to his publicist. No reply so far, so I guess I won’t be holding my breath. I was called by my colleague Derek Shulman at Atco Records (Atlantic) regarding Kix in 1987. I wasn’t very familiar with them, but I did know that they were a high energy band who were very much in the AC-DC vein. I recall the night I first saw them that year, because they were playing at a Long Island rock club on a weekday night, and I had a difficult time understanding why their official start time was 1 AM. Even for a guy who considered himself a nighttime sort, this was absurd. I checked into the hotel next to the Nassau Coliseum, and spent the evening thinking that I should be in my pajamas, but tried to maintain enough energy and enthusiasm to leave the hotel for the night’s activity at 12:30 AM. I think the club was L’Amour’s, but …

The Producers: Twisted Twitters

The previous installment provided some curious tales of Twisted Sister. An Australian musician/journalist friend of mine named Joe Matera frequently sends me items from the Web that he thinks may be of interest to me. Since I don’t get around the Internet as thoroughly as Joe does, this proves to be a service of great value, as I’d otherwise be unaware of what people may be writing and/or saying about me and my work. Just after I had forwarded the last installment to Jeff here at Popdose, I received an email from Joe, informing me of a recent interview with Dee Snider, who some 25 years later, still feels the need to bag on me in any way he can. [Note: Said interview was conducted by our own David Medsker, and can be read in full here.] I include some excerpts from this interview, and my responses to these excerpts – truthfully, it may take the form of a rant, but I promise we’ll get back to more colorful history next week. The accumulation of …

The Producers: Tommy’s Trials and Tribulations

I called my daughters to talk about Michael Jackson, because I know how important he was to them when they were teenagers. Young people all over the world were saying, “Now I know how my parents felt when John Lennon died.” I told them I was shocked by Jackson’s death rather than saddened by it: I was fascinated by him as an artist but not emotionally involved with his music as I was with both Elvis’s and John Lennon’s. My daughter Julia mentioned going to see the Jacksons’ Victory Tour in 1984 with me. I didn’t remember it at all. She told me in detail how I had taken her to see the show at the Forum in LA when she was in fourth grade, and how I asked the person in front of her to please sit down so she could see the stage. And she told me about the time when I was doing something at Westlake Sound with Twisted Sister while Michael was making Thriller. Julia and Nina came over to the …

The Producers: Ted Nugent Babysits, a Meaty “Free-for-All,” and Tom Werman’s “Greatest Misses”

The last installment prompted a number of responses having to do with a couple of bands that I and some of the readers feel should have been more successful. I thought that before we continued with a little history, I’d give Popdose readers some titles from what I consider my “Greatest Misses.” For those who would like to explore a little, these are songs I produced that I consider outstanding in one way or another, but which never really saw the light of day. By checking these out, you may even discover an obscure band whose music you really like. Mother’s Finest (covered in installment # 7) – “Truth’ll Set You Free” and “Mickey’s Monkey“ The Producers – (covered in installment # 7) — “What’s He Got,” “She Sheila,” “Life of Crime,” “Dear John,” “Back to Basics.” Brownsville Station – “Who Do You Love” – A 1979 remake of the classic Bo Diddley tune recorded with the Record Plant Remote truck in the basement of the band’s manager’s office building in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The …

The Producers: Tom Werman, Chapter Four

[Editor’s Note: Earlier this week, a large chunk of this installment was lost in one of the Internet’s many tubes. We’ve since expanded it to its intended length, and are now re-publishing it here for your enjoyment. Don’t miss the exciting conclusion of Chapter Four!] In the Seventies, New York’s music scene was largely downtown in the Village area. Aside from all the traditional West Village clubs like the Village Vanguard, the Village Gate, Gerde’s Folk City and the Bitter End, two of the mainstays were the Bottom Line and Max’s Kansas City. Allan Pepper and Stanley Snadowsky opened the Bottom Line in 1974, and it quickly became an adjunct to the New York record business – the premier showcase spot for both new and veteran acts. The owners of the club worked closely with the major labels, and if you worked for one of these labels, you could walk into the Bottom Line on any given night, and you’d know enough record executives there to literally work the room for 30 minutes before showtime, …

The Producers: Tom Werman, Chapter Three

The office I was given at Epic was located between the offices of Barry Kornfeld and Sandy Linzer, who were both A&R men and producers, as well. Both had been there for some time, and were at least five years older than I. Barry seemed partial to folk music, and had longish hair and a curly beard. He was soft-spoken, helpful and easygoing. I’m honestly not sure what he did at Epic, but I know he was involved with Tom & Harry Chapin early in their singing careers, and he was related to Artie Kornfeld , a successful producer/songwriter in the ’60s, and one of Woodstock’s originators. On the other side of me was Sandy Linzer, a pleasant, clean-cut guy from New Jersey who was a great songwriter, and had written some big hits for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, including “Let’s Hang On.” Sandy was involved with a few artists while I was there, and just before he and Barry left Epic, he cut the original track to “Brandy” by Looking Glass, but …

The Producers: Tom Werman, Chapter Two

Epic Records was located on the 13th floor of the imposing Eero Saarinen-designed CBS Building, dubbed “Black Rock” due to its black granite exterior. The interior was furnished with fine tables and chairs designed by Mies van der Rohe, and many of those same tables and chairs could be found at the Museum of Modern Art, just down the block on 53rd Street. During that time, one could find himself in the elevator with John Hammond, Goddard Lieberson, Clive Davis, or even William Paley, the president of CBS. I had an office at Epic in New York from 1970 to 1978, when I moved to Los Angeles. During that time, our annual record sales grew from roughly $12 million to $250 million, but strangely, the number of offices never increased — we actually occupied very little space for the powerhouse we had become. The entire national Epic Records staff occupied 15 offices. We had one conference room. Epic shared creative services with the Columbia label, which was located on the 10th and 11th floors, and …

The Producers: Tom Werman, Chapter One

(Editor’s Note: Since Popdose’s earliest days, we’ve been blessed with some of the smartest and most music-savvy readers on the Web — and so, when we unexpectedly made the acquaintance of producer Tom Werman last fall, we knew we were looking at a unique opportunity for a series. This post marks the start of an ongoing, occasional look back at the time spent behind the boards by some of our favorite producers — beginning, fittingly enough, with the first chapter in Mr. Werman’s career in music. Look for more of these stories in the months to come, from a variety of names — and enjoy!) This is the first of an unknown, unscheduled number of installments. Jeff invited me to write something, so I have decided to write a number of brief chapters in preparation for a more detailed book on the same subject — my career in the record biz during the height of the industry. For those of you interested in discovering why there is no more record biz to speak of, I …

A Note From Producer Tom Werman

[Note: Back in April, as part of Matthew Bolin’s ongoing series, When Good Albums Happen to Bad People, Popdose ran a post that focused on Mötley Crüe’s Girls, Girls, Girls. In this post, a number of disparaging remarks were made regarding the album’s producer, Tom Werman — comments that Mr. Werman was understandably unhappy to read when he discovered it. When he contacted me to express his displeasure with some key elements of what had been published, I asked him if he’d be interested in writing a rebuttal, to be posted here in its entirety, and he agreed; I also pitched him an idea for a series in which he’d regale you with stories of his years behind the boards for a number of multiplatinum acts, which he says he’s considering. I imagine the more comments he gets here, the more likely he’ll be to join our little family, so if you’re interested in hearing more from him, please chime in. Finally, while Mr. Werman and I do disagree in a couple of areas, his …