For all the correspondence from Uncle Donnie that we have on record (or in piles in Lev’s basement), it’s worth noting that he could, on occasion, fall out of touch with people. The trick was to reconnect with those folks before they died. Barry Gibb was one of the fortunate ones. -RS
TO: Barry Gibb
FROM: Don Skwatzenschitz
RE: Career Advice
Barry, old pal, how have you been? It’s been so long since we last saw you at your brother Robin’s birthday party in Miami—what was it, five years ago? Nine? I don’t remember much about that night, but I do recall thinking the nude caterers were a bit much. The spinach balls were lovely, though; Mitzi’s been trying to recreate them in our kitchen ever since. I tell her the nudity had nothing to do with the quality of the food, but she never listens.
Speaking of my beloved, the other night, she was watching repeats of French television (this satellite TV gets damn near everything), and came upon a performance of “To Love Somebody” by a couple singer/songwriter types, and we got into a discussion about you. You did such a good job on American Idol a couple years back (though I didn’t quite get the Dr. Zaius costume—was that supposed to be ironic?), yet never capitalized on it. That’s a shame, particularly if you want to have a place at the table in pop culture these days. With such an enormous back catalog of hits, you should be out there reminding people of your greatness, and getting new fans to bask in that greatness. I think I can help you, if you take my advice in several key areas:
Reform the Bee Gees. You and Robin are two-thirds of the Bee Gees—that’s more, percentage-wise, than are touring as Creedence, Jefferson Starship, or even Santana. If you insist on getting a third voice, consider Cynthia Gibb (she played Karen Carpenter once). Or, if Robin’s not game, you can certainly get soundalikes (maybe from American Idol) and rename them to your liking—perhaps Marky Gibb, DeeDee Gibb, Johnny Gibb, etc.
Endorse products. There are folks out there who will buy whatever you tell them to buy. Perhaps there are hair care products that you use, for which you could vouch to your fawning public. Or maybe you enjoy going to amusement parks or other destinations. It’s up to you; I can’t imagine a product provider turning down Barry Gibb.
Reissue, reissue, reissue. How many quality records did you put out there that went nowhere, because the public thought they were “too disco” or “too Gibby” or “too not very good?” Put them back out there and see what happens. Seriously, I think “Living Eyes” or “For Whom the Bell Tolls” would just kill on AC radio. Only one way to find out.
Give Kenny and Dionne the Guilty Pleasures treatment. You revisited your collaboration with Streisand with Guilty Pleasures, and though it couldn’t touch the original, you still sold some records. Consider revisiting other collaborations from that area. Think Eyes That Still See in the Dark. Kenny could really use a hit. Or Heartbreaker II—Dionne could use €¦ oxygen. There’s not much of it that deep in space.
Watch your real estate purchases. You buy Johnny Cash’s house; it’s been there for decades. John and June lived there. Presidents had visited it. Rick Rubin built a rabbit hutch in the backyard and actually lived there for a year and change. But that house isn€™t there anymore, is it, Barry? You buy it, and it burns to the ground. Now, I’ve heard Conway Twitty’s old fishing cabin is up for sale. Please think long and hard before making a purchase.
Write a book on politics. I’ve seen your talk show, and I think it’s wonderful. You’re a little excitable, but no more so than Bill O’Reilly. There’s a lot to do in publishing, if you’re excitable/batshit insane. Throw your hat into the book ring; we could use a new voice in the debate—whichever debate you choose.
All the Best,