Thursday, September 3, 2009
(part 201) DENNIS AND GEORGE
The lawyer's name was Dennis Poulsen, and he was an insurance attorney from Whittier, California. Carol Paulus had befriended him in Beverly Hills where he'd opened a perfume shop.
It seems that Dennis had read an article in Time Magazine about people getting into the music business and making a fortune without any prior experience. This was where he'd gotten the idea, and had decided to take a shot at it himself.
As you can imagine, Dennis looked like what you might think an attorney from Whittier would look like. He was well dressed in a suit and tie with short hair, was a conservative Republican, had little or no style, was young, late 30's, maybe 40, and had a business partner named George who liked to drink.
They were both married, and I guess they thought they were pretty hip, which they weren't. Maybe in Whittier, but not in Beverly Hills and West Hollywood.
The first time I met him was when he came to Carol's apartment. She was not there, so it was just me and Dennis. He was positive, intelligent, and friendly, and he reminded me of guys I'd met in bars on the west side on weekends.
They always seemed a bit too positive, and overly expectant that something was about to happen. They didn't know what exactly, but they were always ready for it, or so they thought.
When you've been on the street as long as I had, you kind of learn to read people fast, and that's how I read Dennis.
I took a good look at him when he came in, and decided almost immediately who I was dealing with. Because of this, I didn't want to spend a lot of time talking.
I didn't feel like this meeting was going to amount to much, so I took him into another room where my guitar was and said, "I'm gonna play you some songs, if you don't mind." Too much chit-chat and letting someone like this get comfortable was what I didn't want to do.
"Are these original songs, Bobby, that you wrote?" he asked.
"Yeah!" I answered, "Everything I'm gonna play for you is something I wrote, and they're all unpublished."
"OK," he said smiling, "lay it on me."
Lay it on him is exactly what I did. After my initial discomfort at playing live for an audience of one, who was a total stranger, I threw caution to the winds and settled into playing the songs.
As I hammered out one after another, I could see his interest growing. With each new tune he became more convinced that he'd stumbled across a good thing.
He had to be thinking that here is a guy who can play, sing, and write his own songs, and is good at it. And, he's got a lot of songs.
They just came pouring out of me like a human jukebox. I knew what was going on. I'd planned it that way. "Just beat the crap out of him with original songs,"I thought, "so many that his mind turns to mush. Make him know that he really saw and heard something special. Don't let him leave wondering. Make sure he is convinced of one thing: that Bobby Jameson can write, play, and sing."
After about 25 songs, I stopped, wiped off the sweat, and put my guitar down. I lit a cigarette and said, "Well there ya go, man. That's what I do and I did it for you," as I blew out a large cloud of smoke into the air.
I looked over at Dennis, who appeared a little unsure of what to say or do next, and said, "Well whatta ya think, man?"
Dennis finally gathered himself and confessed that I'd blown his mind, which seemed odd coming from him, because he looked so straight. I chuckled, and took another drag on my cigarette and waited for him to say something.
"How is it that you have so many good, better than good, songs, and can play them all as easily as you just did for me, and you are not signed to a record deal?" he asked.
"Don't know, Dennis," I said, "I guess I'm not that good or there are a lot of dumb shits in the music business, you tell me?"
"Well it's obvious you're good enough," he said, "so it must be the people in the business."
I looked at him and laughed, blowing smoke in the air again. "Yeah," I said smiling, "It must be the people in the business."
We sat there for a long time, and I listened to him tell me about who he was and what he wanted to do. At that point I was giving him my full attention, just as he'd done for me while I played him my songs.
We were worlds apart, but I could see that he was making a real effort to communicate his dream to me. I respected him for that, and his willingness to try and bridge the obvious gap between us. I began to believe he was actually serious about getting something going.
After quite a bit of talking, he asked me what I wanted in the way of money to get under way with some sort of an arrangement.
I had nothing to lose at that point so I threw out a number off the top of my head. "$500 a week," I said, "for a minimum of one year, and then we'll see how it goes from there."
I watched him closely for a response and saw no signs of balking. "Well that sounds reasonable," he said, "let me get together with with my partner, George, and go over some numbers.