David Libert has been a tour manager, artist manager, booking agent, record producer, and songwriter, as well as a founding member of the musical group, The Happenings. He joined host Ian Punnett (Twitter) to share tales from his time in the inner circle of the music industry: 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.
Libert recalled the shift in radio from "pop-syrupy" AM to "album-oriented" FM, and how the music of his vocal harmony group drifted out of fashion. "It got to the point where I really didn't want to be in The Happenings anymore," he admitted, noting he wanted to apply the group's harmony techniques to more contemporary music but was met with resistance by the other members. "I saw the writing on the wall: we either had to change or we weren't going to survive," he added. Libert left The Happenings to work as the tour manager for rock band Rare Earth. Several months later he received a call from Alice Cooper's booking agent, Jonny Podell, asking if he was interested in being Cooper's next tour manager.
"There was no tech manual, there was no job description... I thought I had made the biggest mistake of my life," Libert remembered. He admitted it actually turned out to be one of the best decisions he ever made because for the next several years he got to travel the world on private planes, and found an incredible mentor in Alice Cooper's manager, Shep Gordon. "I would say 99 percent of what I learned about the music business I learned from Shep Gordon," Libert noted. He described Cooper as a straight-laced guy who did not take himself too seriously, and was grateful to achieve popularity with his dark rock star persona. "That's not who he was and it's not who he wanted to be when he stepped off the stage," Libert revealed.
Open Lines followed in the latter half of the program. Carl in Charlotte phoned in to talk about making music and his brush with greatness. Carl revealed he was once in a band that opened for Dr. Hook at the Youngstown Agora in Youngstown, Ohio. "They were so much fun, we had a good time with them," he recalled. Carl recommended Ian check out video of Dr. Hook playing "Sylvia's Mother" on Shel Silverstein's houseboat. Carl also talked about seeing Alice Cooper in concert for only $10. "He did everything, 'Welcome To My Nightmare,' the guillotine, the snake, he did it all," he said.
Kevin from California told Ian he was once at LAX walking the tunnels to the terminals and saw another fellow with a couple of bags also trek through the airport. "Although he didn't have his regalia and his makeup on, clearly it was recognizable that it was Alice Cooper," he reported. According to Kevin, he greeted Cooper and the two enjoyed a pleasant brief conversation with each other. "He was indeed the nicest fellow," he added.
Jeff in Cleveland commented on changes in the music industry since the rise of YouTube. Jeff explained he once had a show on public access television (before Wayne's World popularized the medium) and had interviewed a bevy of famous music acts, including Duran Duran, The Ramones, Suicidal Tendencies, and Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger of The Doors. "And now you can't do that anymore, you can't get through to these people," he lamented.