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Saturday, March 17, 2012

3-16-12 Survival Jobs for Writer-Musicians – Starter Job #73 (Tottering up to Totteridge, London, N20 - Pt. 3)


Of course I was nervous to meet Calvin’s dad, Mickie -- should I call him “Mister Most,” or “Mr. Hayes,” or just plain “Mickie”??  Was he on good terms with Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn -- should I bring them up?

The door opened.  A medium-tall man with steely blue eyes and a headful of curly wild brown hair invited us in to the living/great room.

“I’m Mickie, Calvin’s dad.”  I could see Calvin wince out of the corner of my eye.

He extended his hand, shaking it briefly, then we talked a bit.

“I’m Lauren Agnelli. Thank you for taking the time to hear my songs,” I blurted out. “Your son says so much about you -- good things, I mean.”

“Yes, yes, Calvin’s getting his finger on the pulse -- like his old man.”  Mickie said without a smile.

“Um, back in the states, I was in a pop band, Nervus Rex, that Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn signed to Dreamland Records.”

Mickie smiled. “Oh, working with Stiggie, aren’t they?  Or are they still?”  RSO Records head Robert Stigwood was “Stiggie,” and I wasn’t sure if that was a rhetorical question.  He didn’t seem particularly warm or interested -- I wondered if this was something that happened often, his young and naïve son bringing home musicians he’d met with potential to the paterfamilias.

Then Mickie asked for the tape with my songs.  Calvin handed him my cassette, which had some of my favorite self-written songs that had been recorded and mixed and bounced down in NYC before I came to London on a TEAC four-track and mixed with vocals, piano, and guitar. Although not perfect performances, I think there was a poignancy, a plangent quality, that anybody with a heart could hear.  I also thought they were pretty good songs, and showed promise as a writer. (Songs might have included “I Can’t Wait,” “When Old Proven Ties Don’t Work,” “Bandages”)

What I really wanted was a publishing, not a record, deal.  RAK publishing was one of the biggest in the world, and Mickie was its founder and head.

What the hey would he say?  Yay or nay?  The suspense was killing as he played the first song for about 30 seconds, then fast forwarded to the second track.  Mickie didn’t say anything while he listened.  His face was hard to read, and I held my breath for the entire time we listened to my songs and fast-forwarded through them. . . 

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