Time Flies Newsletter
The first in a series of articles and essays on the music business, the good, the bad and the ugly. Who am I to write an article on the music business, and why should you believe me?
I was shunned by Philadelphia magazine when they wrote an article about Larry Magid or is it Maggot. Look it up if youíd like to learn the correct spelling. Back to the article it was written by a Victor Fiorello, (check that spelling too) the only thing that is important is that the article was pure bullshit! Made up in someones mind, and pure fiction. It said that Larry had found this building on 22nd and Arch and purchased it and blah, blah, blah, blah. I doubt if there was one single word that was true. I wonder who did the background history; Iíll give Larry the benefit of the doubt that he didnít tell Victor Fiorello that garbage and let them print it. Even heís not that low; nor, do I think he forgot who it was who founded the Electric Factory. If your interested in how and who started the Electric Factory and other truthful events; Read my book ďThe Untold Story of the Electric FactoryĒ. It speaks the truth and nothing but the truth; so help me G_d.
In any event The Spivak Brothers probably got mad and they put a retraction that the Spivak Brothers founded the factory; still not true; still no mention of my name.
When I called the magazine and got one of their top executives, the executive editor. I told him the true story that I found the Electric Factory along with Herb Spivak and that I was the original President, until I quit not long after the Atlantic City Pop Festival. I quit because Allen Spivak, formerly my bestfriend, (and Jailbird) told me we didnít make any money! Ho! Ho! Ho! Rather than sue for a proper accounting. I left and started Help, which was one of the best things I did in Philadelphia; as, it helped many many people and some of its programs still go on today. The ARD program which was started by Judge Sidney Hoffman, Arlen Spector, Richard Atkins and Helpís staff, Sherri Winter and I. That program continues to spread through out the States and helps 1st time offenders who smoke marijuana or deal small quantities and get caught, are released on their own recognizance. The Judge informs them that there are people from Help, in the courtroom, who would like to help them, if theyíre interested. The Judge also would tell people he suggests that they seek Help; but, it wasnít mandatory to be released and enter the program. They were free to do whatever they chose to do.
Back to the Philadelphia Ragazine. Tom McGrath said, ďif you write a letter, they would print it.Ē I wrote the letter, it was suitable for the magazine as a double retraction and Tom found out that I spoke the truth, from a good friend of his. Well, guess what happened. I was given the Shaft for some unexplained reason and a Larry Platt or is it Ratt (Iím a bad speller) told Tom that it was just my word and they didnít have time to research it. Which is why this all started in the first place. Fiorello had no time to research it. I wonder who got to Frank Platt. I think it was probably some rat.
By Shelly Kaplan original President and founder of the Electric Factory Inc. and a lot of the fun.
Finally a memorial CD with the best music of the artist who played, The Atlantic City Pop Festival. The CD has been grueling to work on, itís been since 2004 the 35th anniversary that people have sent us recordings and we have been researching who has production company rights and the record rights. Mostly everything that was sent was hardly useable. I have also seen some of the artists who think the motivation behind the CD should have happened a long time ago since they realize the musicians played a big part in making smoking marijuana and taking a drug or two a cool brotherhood hip thing. As it turned out I fell into the culture too, of smoking with the Rastafarians, some Musicians and a lot of my friends.
The result of this was, that Iíve had to undergo 3 Aneurysms (2 voluntary) operations and 1 dissecting Aneurysms which almost took my life. Most people donít survive dissecting aneurysms as you have to be very close to a hospital, within 15 minutes, have an Anesthesiologist who is extremely capable and also a surgeon who knows what to do and how to save your life. I had all of these and I feel itís important, to get the word out that we made a mistake, since kids are smoking at 10 to 13. Two that I know, a 10 year old girl and a 13 year old boy. I had my first marijuana cigarette when I was 33 and I was a promoter and around the drug scene all of the time. During the years I had my Jazz Club the Showboat Jazz Theatre, and then opened a Rock Club, The Electric Factory and Flea Market. I did a lot of smoking grass and hash and got into, Qualudes, which were very addictive. Then I had an Epiphany, and realized I was killing myself and being a poor example as well. I started an organization called Help that appealed to a lot of itís peers and not the normal agencies, since they knew we were their contemporizes and would never turn them into the police; whereas, the old type agencies were still turning people into the police and looking at them like they were degenerates. Help did a lot of constructive things in its day. We had a suicide room (a trip room) a free clinic and lots of volunteer doctors and lawyers to help people in a matter of minutes. We knew what was on the streets and whether you should use it or not since the dealers were cutting their dope, for the maximum profit, regardless what it was. I never stayed around the stage or drank anything that was around the area; since I knew most of the drinks were dosed with LSD. And I wasnít in the mood to get dosed. Iíd have tried it myself if I wanted too, I was against dosing people.
I think itís about time now, that we admit that we travelled the wrong road following the bad habits that many of the musicians were promoting as cool. As we found out by many of the people who died from drugs, who were doing more than just experimenting; but, using as much as they could get their hands on. Being a professional musician is dangerous! Iíd be willing to bet that the profession as a whole has a younger average life expectancy than any other. Isnít it time that the music companies came out with the darker side of the business and admitted it. You should go to a concert for the music and not the high you get from drugs, simply because people think they need drugs to help them enjoy the music. If this is your situation, you are in trouble, lots of Musicians asked me for drugs when I owned and operated the Showboat Jazz Theatre; my answer was always the same. I told them I promote great music, Iím not a drug dealer. Their answer was youíre just square man, square.
I am going to give every penny we make from this CD to the non profit charity called The Commitment which is my way of trying to help the drug scene. We are looking to help the people who get caught up with a habit they hate and want to change it for one that will help them. Most of the music companies were out of business when we were doing the CD and we couldnít find all the publishing companies either so if you want money for the one song we put on the recording from the concert. And you are a music recording company or publisher or the artist, please remember we are not looking to make a profit as Iíve said we are merely trying to help people stop habits that are killing them. If you want a piece of the profit and could care less about doing good. Write an e-mail to me at Skaplanlv@gmail.com and we will accommodate you as best as we can. Thank you for your understanding.
Shelly Abraham Kaplan
To all my friends and acquaintances, I wish you well. This is the first in a series of articles that I hope you will find informative, enjoyable and engaging to read. My musings will be on my past encounters with the greatest Musicians that were living or are still living while I was in the music business and operated an infamous Jazz club in Philly, The Showboat Jazz Theatre, located in downtown Philadelphia. I watched the movie Pal Joey with Frank Sinatra, Kim Novak and Rita Hayworth. It was about a guy who had similar feelings that I had. He wished he could own and operate a nightclub and Theatre. He had great ideas and finally he got the opportunity and opened his club called ďChez Joey.Ē
I got my opportunity in 1966 when my former friend introduced me to his older brother, who didnít want to spend the night hours operating the club. Iíve written a book ďThe Untold Story of the Electric FactoryĒ expressing as truthful as possible, when Herb Spivak the older brother, of my former friend, and I went partners. Those of you from Philly will find the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, as I jog my memory to tell it all just like it happened the good, the bad and the ugly. Itís all there up to and including how and whose ideas created The Electric Factory Inc.