So Lev comes over to my place last weekâ€”first time he’s been around in a while. We have a few beers and watch Tiger Woods implode, split a calzone from Napoli’s, chat a bit. He gets up to leave and, almost as an afterthought, tells me he has more Uncle Donnie memos in his car. Of course, I get pissedâ€”I would have much rather spent the afternoon reading through Uncle Donnie’s memos than watching golf. Lev probably knew that, but his TV was broken and he really wanted to watch Tiger. Whatever.
This is a recent missive Uncle Donnie sent to one particular toothy Mormon Vegas singer. Methinks there might have been ulterior motives in play, though. -RS
TO: Donny Osmond
FROM: Don Skwatzenschitz
RE: Career Advice
From one Don to another, Donny, we need to get you out there, in a real way. Twenty years since your last hit is too long. Now, I understand you might not think the public is ready for you to reemerge, but you’re wrong, Donny-Boy. Really wrong.
Right now, this very minute, I could get on the facsimile machine and book you a US tour that would take you from Utah to the Florida panhandle, up to Maine, over to California, and back to Utah again. Seventy, eighty shows. And we could do it all in around six weeks, because we’d be playing in under-utilized performance spaces: abandoned Circuit City storefronts. Not inside the stores, mind you; outside them, on the sidewalk. Guerrilla style, like those Rage Against the Machine guys. Set up, play a half hourâ€””Puppy Love,” “Sacred Emotion,” “Go Away Little Girl,” “One Bad Apple,” “Love Me for a Reason,” maybe a cover of something current, then “Soldier of Love,” doneâ€”then pack up and move on to the next place. We could do three or four a day, depending on the routing. Think about it. People hanging around outside abandoned Circuit City storefronts are hungry for your music, and they don’t even know it.
I have more ideas to kick-start your career and put you back on top:
Do more with Marie. It never hurts to have a little eye candy onstage and in the videos with you, now does it? And she’s got it, man. I mean, really, she’s got it. Has from the beginningâ€”what was she, 13 or 14 when “Paper Roses” came out? She had it back then, too, but, you know, in a girly kinda way. Now, I know you have that engagement in Vegas that you do together, but why stop there? Go out on tour with her; go into the studio with her. Bring her over to my house next time you’re in town. Heyâ€”the third week of October, Mitzi and her sisters are going on their annual Coochi-Coochi Cruise with Charoâ€”you and Marie can stop by then! Or, you know, if you can’t make it for whatever reason, you can just send Marie over.
Four words: “Soldier of Love 2009.” You know, it’s been 20 years since “Soldier of Love” hit, and if you’re like me, you still can’t believe the damn thing got to Number Two. Time for a new version. You don’t even have to do much re-recordingâ€”just maybe one take where you “ooh” and “ah” and maybe “uh” or grunt or something. Hey, it worked for Benny Mardones, didn’t it? He’s re-recorded “Into the Night” three or four dozen times. Did the guy ever write another song? Did he have to? Oh, and maybe you could get Marie to re-record “This is the Way that I Feel” for the b-side. That song is just so sexy. I’m telling you, it’s a guaranteed hit. Marie’s song and yours. Guaranteed.
Embrace new bands. You have to be hip these days, and that means collaborating with the best. Remember the mash-up somebody did of “Crazy Horses” with that Prodigy song a bunch of years back? That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. I’m thinking “Puppy Love” with Akon. Or maybe you and Marie can re-record “Make the World Go Away” with, like, Kelly Clarkson (if Clive Davis says it’s okay). Hey, BeyoncÃ© would be great on that one. And Jay-Z can rap on it! I know them; maybe I can arrange a meeting when Marie comes out in October while Mitzi’s gone. And BeyoncÃ© and Marie can do the video together, maybe on the beach or something. And you’d be in there, too, of course, and Hova as well. Wouldn’t that be something?
Make a Prince cover album. To be honest, it’s been a while since I’ve produced a record (that Dio lullaby album was a great idea, it’s just that the A&R people didn’t hear a single), but I could totally get into working with you on something daringâ€”an album full of Prince songs. Now, I’m not talking about “Let’s Go Crazy” or “1999” or the obvious stuff. We’ll need to go for street credâ€”get deep into the man’s catalog, show that you’re into more than just the hits. Here’s my wish list:
- “Gett Off”
- “Sexy M.F.”
- “Le Grind”
- “Soft and Wet”
- “Do It All Night”
- “Jack U Off”
- “Do Me, Baby”
- “Let’s Pretend We’re Married”
- “Slow Love”
Now, you wouldn’t necessarily want Marie on the record, but we could dedicate it to her, if you want. That would be a nice gesture.
Perform a calendar soundtrack. This is an originalâ€”nobody’s doing this, at least that I’m aware of. It’s a cool family thingâ€”Marie does a swimsuit calendar, and you provide the soundtrack for it, on an accompanying CD. I’m pretty handy with a camera (particularly since they stopped requiring film), so we wouldn’t need a big budget for the photo shoot. As for the recordings, we could get a small studio space, hire a wedding band or something. Or you could do an album of demos, with just you and a guitar or piano or something. Or, you know, you could skip the soundtrack altogether, if you’re not that into it. Let me know soon, thoughâ€”we’ll need to shoot the calendar in warm weather.
All the best,