Rock And Roll Warrior
By: David Libert - Sunset Blvd Books, $21.95)
Description: David Libert shares the unvarnished, absolutely true tales from the Inner circle of the music industry from Alice Cooper to Prince; on the road, backstage, on private jets and inside the notorious after-parties with music legends in the era of free-spirit, hard-driving rock ’n’ roll and R&B.
It’s life on the road in technicolor and a rollercoaster ride quite like none other!
Verdict: Straight from the off you’re in the trenches as “Dyno Dave” engages with his hilarious, edgy, and sarcastic wit. As Tour Manager for Alice Cooper, running the first large-scale, theatrical, international rock tour to Manager of Parliament-Funkadelic Libert leads the charges with wisdom, ingenuity, dexterity, psychology, and arm-twisting galore!
As much as it is the story of rock superstars, it is a tale of David’s journey from being the singer in the hit ‘60s pop group the Happenings (See You In September) through his days as a drug dealer on Sunset Strip.
Opening on his memory of being crouched down behind a wall of speakers at Woodstock 1999 and wondering to himself, What’s with Bootsy?, given that the musician had been hiding behind a stage prop for twenty minutes, still fiddling with his rig, and with the orange light on and signalling that there was only ten minutes left of the uproarious Parliament Funkadelic set, was losing more and more rarefied daylight stage time, Bootsy then coolly looked him in the eye, winked, and kicking the stage prop out of the way, abounded on stage and as the crowd, let along George Clinton, all drink in the man’s arrival, the live sounds of the day just quadruple right there and then!
While there are endless rock and roll memoirs written by musicians, songwriters, producers and even engineers, sometimes the most entertaining come from the fringe. Not meaning that word as superfluous or crazy, but denoting tomes penned by those who circle around the music like roadies, managers, or ex-wives/groupies.
Author Libert freely acknowledges around the time of that now infamous Woodstock 1999 moment that he had an epiphany: How did I get here? How did all this happen? And the possible answers that came back included hard work (sure), dedication (sure), some dumb luck (sure), it all contributes, but if his mother hadn’t insisted that he continue with his piano lessons, it is noted that, most likely, none of what is to come would have ever happened!
But it turned out that it was those very same piano lessons along with inheriting his father’s musical talents that pretty much scripted the outcome of his life. Indeed, in his words, it was all just destiny.
OK, sure, Libert has spent most of his 50+ year career in music as a booking agent and manager, but he got his start as a performer and founding member of vocal harmony group The Happenings. As noted, they scored several hits in the mid-‘60s including “See You in September,” “I Got Rhythm” and “Go Away Little Girl,” but not content with just singing, Libert worked to teach himself guitar and write as well.
But as things began to wain with that regard, Alice Cooper’s booking agent Jonny Podell suggested that Libert become their road manager and thus despite not having any real experience, Libert excitedly started his second act.
In truth, and as a fan of Alice Cooper, this is not a bad thing, trust me, but the overall heft of the prose contained within this 250+ page book, most all distills down from Libert’s experiences on three Cooper tours: for the Killers, School’s Out, and Billion Dollar Babies albums.
So, here’s a little known fact for you all, my little fiends, with the group already known for their theatrical stage presence and overall imagery, and with each tour coming complete with better album sales and more chart recognition, each tour subsequently needed to become more and more involved re: props, costumes dancers, effects, and the still-in-his-show today guillotine that beheaded the headliner every night!
And yes, you are correct, David Libert had to coordinate it all along with hotel rooms, women and acquisition and delivery of certain substances! But he was not alone and says he learned a lot about the business watching Cooper’s manager, Shep Gordon (aka “Supermensch”) along the way, especially recounting the one tale where Gordon arranged for popular DJ Wolfman Jack to introduce Cooper at one show arriving atop a real camel!
Other stories included comprise of tasty tidbits such as Alice Cooper’s much-publicized love for Budweiser beer, his devotion to his live touring stage snake (dubbed “Eva Marie Snake”), and how it also also needed to be kept wrapped in warm blankets while accompanying the band on airplanes, the infamous photo shoot for the interior of Billion Dollar Babies (where the group were all clad in white complete with $100,000 in $100 bills), and even recants stories of himself, partying hard with his new friends when cocaine was king in the ‘70s and ‘80s.
In closing, this book has all that and more lovingly stockpiled within it and also inclusive of anecdotes about the other artists mentioned in the title that Libert came into contact with through his own booking agency (Prince, Living Colour, The Runaways, et al.), there is just no justifiable reason why you shouldn’t pick up your copy today and lose yourself in a time capsule of all the good, bad and ugly that went on back then - and which David Libert survived and lived to tell his story, just for you!
About the Author - Rock Star. Songwriter. Road Manager. Producer. Agent. Drug Dealer. Convict. From harmonizing in the parking lot with his buddies, to knocking on doors in Tin Pan Alley, David Libert’s career has traversed generations of legendary music artists and genres-from rock to pop, from funk to punk. Off the road, he’s a passionate animal rights activist. Personally rescuing dogs helping to find happy homes for others.
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