June 09, 2013
Letter from Don DeVito to Gene
|Once again, this shows how persistence pays off. It also shows how you have to believe in yourself and not listen to all those "motivation killers" out there. I still have a rejection letter from Don DeVito of CBS Records from 1981. It's hanging on my wall in the basement. 1981 was around the time we were shopping White Lace & Black Leather on our own label H&S Records. "Don" was SUPER pissed that Gene Denonovich had had the AUDACITY to take up DON'S PRECIOUS TIME by actually getting him to take TEN MINUTES to listen to our stuff. Poor Don...
The letter from Don to Gene reads as follows:
From: Don DeVito
To GENE DENONOVICH
Date: February 5, 1981.
The material is very weak and the performance ordinary. There's no excitement here at all. Based on this tape I pass.
You know how hard it is to break new acts in this marketplace. This group needs much stronger material and performance to be competitive.
Regards, (***Brian's note: the "regards" is a little hint how pissed the Don is)
Brian: What I've always found hilarious about this letter isn't so much the letter, but the way "Don" signs his name, with the big flourish on the "D" of "Don". Every time I look at that signature I can picture Don throwing his head back and tossing his hair in indignation. LOL.
This week I received an email from Paul Weber to inform me that he had updated his site on James Leroy, the front man for the 70's band DENIM. The band went down in Canadian music history with their hit song "A Touch of Magic" which we covered on our acoustic CD SMASH HITS UNPLUGGED, released on the Capitol/E.M.I. label in 2012.
I met James Leroy back in the late 70's when we played with Major Hoople's Boarding House at the Belgium Club in Delhi, Ontario. I remember talking to James at length after the show. He was a nice guy but he was a diabetic who refused to follow his diet at times, which led to a spike in his sugar level. He weighed at least a couple of hundred pounds-not a good thing. One of the guys from Hooples told me, "James used to drink a bottle of wine, freak out, and then throw us all around the dressing room."
Several years ago James Leroy passed away from his disease, which was a shame, as he was a gifted songwriter. I'm proud of the fact that my life touched his briefly. The song "A Touch of Magic" still receives airplay; back in the day it stayed on the charts for an extremely long time. I've long heard it said that James had another killer song floating around called "Sailor". I remember hearing Hooples playing this song several times-once at the Crown Room of the Coronet in Kitchener and once at the Belgium Club in Delhi-I would lay bets that Rocky Howell of Hooples still has a copy of it. M-m-m-m-m...
I thought the Heavy Mental Christmas Show was dead and buried and suddenly last week it was resurrected. After we played a run of 8 shows last December throughout Southern Ontario, the law firm we had partnered with on the Toy Drive (The Morell Kelly Personal Injury Law Firm) promised to meet with me in the New Year to discuss the show for 2013. Everything was running smoothly and then suddenly the law firm got some promoter involved, and that was the last I heard from them. Don't ya just love it when people tell you they are going to get back to you and then don't? Classy.
While the tour was going down I commissioned Brent Doerner (former HELIX madman guitarist) to come and film the show in Stratford at the Masonic Concert Hall. The footage was to be used to put together a short 2 minute commercial to send to Bernie Aubin (my western Canadian agent) to shop to casinos. Brent finished off the commercial a couple of weeks ago. Bernie Aubin has seen the commercial and thinks we have a very good chance of taking this into casinos for this upcoming Christmas season. One thing about Bernie-he'll tell you point blank if an act or show is going to sell or not. There's a reason they call him "Mr. Classic Rock".
Helix Christmas Commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUzx9HVIMVo
A couple of weeks ago we played our second acoustic show in the history of the band at a little club in Burlington called Gator Teds. We plan on playing more of these shows throughout Southern Ontario. The Helix electric show will no longer be offered to bars; it will ONLY be seeking bookings for casinos/festivals/corporate events. The show at Gator Teds was a bit of a test run for the show, although it's evident from this gig that the show has a lot of flexibility to it. We have so many songs in our catalog that we could easily play several sets. Below are the links to The Kids are All Shakin' and Gimme Good Lovin', taken on my Sony movie camera.
THE KIDS ARE ALL SHAKIN': http://youtu.be/St6Q_3Y00AU
GIMME GOOD LOVIN: http://youtu.be/7EKTnrkb54kh