Saturday, February 8, 2014

"Honoring Brian Epstein" Panel

This panel was particularly fabulous, featuring Pattie Boyd (married to George Harrison & Eric Clapton-at different times) who actually knew Brian and his influence on the Beatles. Billy J. Kramer was himself managed by Brian offered his perspective. Vivek Tiwary has control of the narrative in his lovingly produced graphic novel, "The Fifth Beatle"  (He's the one in the photos gazing adoringly at the others)

The conversation included mention (and re-affirmation) of Brian's gambling habit.  Pattie discussed how he was the one to teach her and "The Boys" about all the *poshest* things, she even used the word Svengali.  Once he took her and George on a trip to the South of France, where they expected a full tour.  Instead, it turned out that they were right near Monte Carlo, and Brian was more interested in "having a flutter" (the British term for gambling) than playing tourguide.

The entire room hushed as she began to discuss finding out about Brian's death.  She and George and John had just arrived in India when they heard the news.  The Maharishi was trying to explain to them about life being eternal, etc. But she said the real reaction was much more difficult, "That look on their faces, crumbled, ashen. 'We are done'"


L to R, Pattie Boyd, Martin Lewis, Billy J. Kramer, Vivek Tiwary


Billy J. Kramer & Vivek Tiwary

Billy told about being overweight as a young performer.  But he said how kind Brian was,  "the kind of Manager who could turn to a 300 lb kid like me", and encourage him to shape up. In a kind way.



Describing Brian as an agent, "There were 300 groups in Liverpool!" (slight exaggeration!) "The Beatles were together for 5 years before him. They were big in Liverpool & Hamburg!"  But Brian was unique.  Unlike Colonel Parker who was famously quoted as saying, "I don't get 50% of what Elvis makes; he gets 50% of what I make for him!"  Managers were sharks, that was the norm.  

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Aside from the panel, another issue comes up.  The question of comparison between Brian Epstein and RayBert (Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider) and their effects on their respective groups while they were "in control".  

As Pattie said, and everyone pretty much agreed, the Beatles saw their end in sight with Brian not around to mediate their disagreements.  And the main dividing line of quality, the TV special "33 1/3rd Revolutions Per Monkee" was the first (and sadly not the last) Monkee project of the 60's.  They had been dropped by RayBert in favor of their new pet project (and ultimate goal) "Easy Rider".  RayBert had the strategy of one of those "sharks" from the beginning; does the artistic quality of those later movies excuse their quick exit?

Both groups began to flounder without their manager, their "Fifth".  The Beatles coasted on quality for quite a while before they began to implode.  For the Monkees, the support system collapsed immediately.  

If RayBert were the "Fifth Monkee" (and "Sixth" if you see them as individuals), how would things look if they were still involved in the franchise to this day?


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