Saturday, July 16, 2011
And there was another one. And another, and another. They just kept coming, and just as before, there was no face, no record, or record label mentioned. The many questions raised by the preceding ads were left unanswered. The 2 page spread above was literally a billboard within Billboard Magazine. It said nothing at all while at the same time claimed an imaginary pay off within the near future.
When your goal in life is to become a recognized performer, as mine surely was in 1964, the mere fact that your name appears in print is a dangerous and addictive lure, and something I developed an immediate craving for at 19 years old. With no understanding of how things really worked, I was incapable of viewing this oddity outside of my own self-glorification and instant notoriety, which later proved a costly mistake.
The reaction by the industry to the 2 page ad was mixed. It was ridiculed by some and heralded by others, but in my mind it was all about me. I had by this time begun to morph into someone else. I was quickly abandoning the quiet unsure of myself kid I'd started out as, for a more self-assured and conceited version of the new Bobby Jameson. My singular goal of "stardom" was seemingly coming true, and I was completely unequipped to handle what was happening.
As if "The Star Of The Century" and "The World's Next Phenomenon" weren't outlandish enough, the 7th week topped them, by claiming I would soon be "The New King." Try to imagine what the mind of a 19 year old blossoming ego-maniac did with that picture. As you might have guessed, I bought into it hook, line, and sinker, as if it were my birthright, and to make matters worse Tony was constantly telling me it was true, which it was not. The reality back then was I wanted it to be true. I wanted it so badly that I deluded myself into believing it was.
The industry people in L.A. were by now beginning to find out that this so-called phenomenon was a local nobody, and that the Billboard ads were the brainchild of one Tony Alamo. Without much information about how Alamo was looked upon back then by those in the industry, it appears that he was disliked intensely before I ever met him. He was a hustler and had made unwelcomed waves by selling bootlegged oldies through the mail with a company he owned called Mr. Maestro Records, something I learned of after two armed Federal Postal agents showed up at his apartment to question him about mail fraud.
Be that as it may, Tony had my confidence back then, and probably no one could have persuaded me to question him while the ads kept running. In my view he was single handedly changing my life for what I thought was the better. He had pulled me out of the darkness of obscurity and pushed me onto the world stage, where I would be dissected under the bright lights of scrutiny. In short, he took me from nobody to somebody in a matter of weeks. He so altered my psyche, and I let him, that it became impossible to ever go back to who or where I once was.
End of part 2...to be continued. (part 1 below)