& 15th July, 2007
Dos Vidas. Photo by Thomas Kist from the 2006 Arjan Vlakveld film “Rod
McKuen: A Man Alone” for Netherlands Public Television. Photo ©2006,
2007 by Stanyan Audio Video Archives. All Rights Reserved.
A Thought for Today
Let God do his work. Stop calling on him every time you're in trouble. He'll be there when you need him.
A FLIGHT FROM6THE
While I may not seem as visible as I was say, twenty years
ago, it seems as though I have as many balls in the air as ever. While the years go by, the ideas don't stop coming and the obligations once taken on have to be started and taken to their natural completion.
In earlier years things got done a lot faster, with more ease and élan. Certainly the biggest reason for that was the presence of Wade Alexander in my life and work. For those not familiar with Wade (though there can't be many) he was the heart and soul of all things Stanyan and McKuen during the most important years in my life and career.
He was the president of Stanyan Records and as such brought many of our best artists to the label, supervised and produced their records and saw them through mastering, test pressings, finished product, publicity and sales.
If there were liner notes to be written, photo shoots to coordinate, artists to be coddled,
DJ's, reviewers and distributors to be courted, he did that too.
As my road manager and later manager, he made travel arrangements, booked concerts and interviews, supervised book signings, television and print interviews and dealt with agents and musicians. Wade was a funny, fabulous, always interesting and thoughtful travel companion. We saw the world together and through very kindred eyes, since our mutual likes have always outnumbered our dislikes.
On the road he protected me from stalkers and not so well meaning gawkers more than once. He always saw to it that the time I spent with fans and friends was balanced with my need for sleep, diet and the hours I needed for whatever book, recording or scoring project I was working on after concert hours.
His rapport with my individual fans has made him a life long friend to many who still write him and ask about him.
He was in on the very beginning of Stanyan Books (a series of tomes usually built around a single premise and
containing quotes and artwork on the subject.) In one week, before there was a Stanyan staff, he J. Foster and I put together the first twelve books in a single week.
Wade was the architect with ABC Paramount of our multi-million selling flexi-greeting cards.
He co-produced nearly all of my albums during his tenure at Stanyan. No easy job, because at our best we are both perfectionists.
While all of the above may seem formidable, whew it's even exhausting for me to think about, Wade was far more important in matters only he and I probably know about.
With a fabulous vocabulary, unparalleled ease at spelling and eye for the smallest detail he proof read every book I wrote from "Listen To The Warm" through "Intervals" and Valentines." He typed (from my longhand) and proofed my newspaper column, record reviews, speeches and liner notes. His criticism when I was writing "Finding My Father" was invaluable.
Alas in writing a daily Flight Plan, always on deadline, there is no time for the kind of proof reading Wade excels in, even if I had a Wade here to do it. It must drive him up the wall to see the typos that go by every day.
If an album had to be duplicated, masters pulled for record anthologies, he knew where they were and pulled them - he even set up the original file system for the thousands of Stanyan
masters. Wade dealt with Warner Bros., and all the various record companies that released my recordings around the world.
I'm great at coming up with ideas, Wade was even greater at seeing that he and I followed them through to their end.
Right now I'm putting together the first two albums as part of my new deal with a Korean Record company, readying for release "The RCA Years" box set and recording the CD that will go along with the release of "A Safe Place to Land," the book.
I'm getting ready for a concert tour and all that it entails and compiling the poems, published and unpublished, for a book to be translated and published in that country. I'm attempting a long overdue overhaul of the way my copyrights are administered and have started the complicated and costly process of converting all my multi track tapes to DAT.
I'm working (sometimes with blinders) on just what I want the Stanyan House site to contain, often leaving poor Ken as much in the dark as I am and there are at least a half dozen other important projects I'm into that I can't announce just yet.
Could I use Wades help in any of this stuff? Are you kidding? There is nothing I'm doing or will do that wouldn't benefit from his in and output. That I've been able to get anything done in the past fifteen years or so without him by my side is an unexplained miracle.
Mind you, I've had his council in these past years because we're in touch with each other several times a week. We live a continent apart now so that's not exactly the
same as having his muscle and sweat help me clean up a room (floor to ceiling) of 30 year old unopened boxes of "stuff" and his knowing instinctively what has to be thrown out and what should be filed and knowing where to file it.
Wade is exactly ten years my junior and today is his birthday. Happy Birthday, Wade. Long, long may you thrive. This writer can't find the right words to express how much you have added and still go on adding to the quality of my life.
What's life like without Wade Alexander at my side? Bloody awful, at best.
RM 7/14/2000 Previously unpublished
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