Even though the name of Ruby Spoon was beginning to move in certain areas, we were not in the right circles. I arranged to meet Brian Rooney (Donna Summer’s manager), and explained to him that the band had achieved certain things and made an animated video, but still lacked collaboration with business partners. Brian knows only too well of how very hard this business is. He asked, “Are you gigging on such and such dates?”. I got up the gig list, and found that the dates Brian mentioned were available. “Why?” I asked, “Well in a few days time, Donna is going off on a mini-tour of America. Once everything is in place, she will have a short break before doing a World Tour for her latest Album.” Brian continued, “We will be finishing the Mini-Tour in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the MGM Grand, the Rat Pack’s superstar, Dean Martin’s resident hotel. If you can come over on the said dates, just come to the MGM and ask to see Skin. Skin is Donna’s Sound Engineer, he will radio me that you have arrived and I will come down to pick you up and take you backstage.”
“The reason I mention this,” he said, “is because all Donna’s collaborators will be there, along with dignitaries. Anything is a possibility, so I will try to help. I’ll have you written down as a guest.” Donna was to play MGM for a number of nights, before heading back to Hollywood to rest up. I made my way to Vegas by Greyhound coach passing near Pasadena and Palm Springs and through the desert.
It was a long, but rewarding trip. I arrived in Vegas around 6.15pm, found a small Motel, dumped my toothbrush in an appropriate tumbler and headed down the road towards the Grand. It was easy to find, it stood out like the White House. Anyway, true to his word, Brian indeed had left a message with Skin who was in the middle of the first house session, with Donna in full swing.
Skin told me to sit with him until they took an interval, then he would radio Brian. I waited and watched Donna execute her well known style. Within 15/20 minutes, Brian had arrived to take me backstage. We went up a few floors to get to the dressing room – each floor had 2 security guards at each entrance, of which Brian had to show his photo security card. Finally, we reached Donna’s rooms, which of course as I have already mentioned, was Dean Martins Dressing Room. I was indeed introduced to everyone involved with the mini-tour, and upcoming World Tour. This particular evening was just about meeting everybody, as Brian’s guest. I spoke with Donna on a few occasions, regarding music business and pleasantries. She introduced me to her baby daughter, Brooklyn, and Brooklyn’s nanny, Heidi.
I beckoned to hold her, the nod was given, and Heidi passed beautiful Brooklyn to my arms, with her smiling the whole time. Her father was Bruce Sudano. This particular year was 1981. Brooklyn (now I have been informed), is an accomplished actress, with many strings to her bow. Bless her. At the time, I found Donna to be very approachable and very helpful. In fact, many of her team were very friendly and telephone numbers were exchanged. But I did not get the contacts that I was looking for to move the band forward.
I thanked Brian for the experience and his ongoing help towards me. He was a good friend. Back in Hollywood, a turn for the worse came unexpectedly. Gabriel Katona, our keyboardist, was approached with a higher level position and apologized to us for leaving the band. It was a heavy blow. Although we understood, of course. But it stopped the rest of us in our tracks. This meant, as any ‘music police’ will tell you, starting all over again. Unfortunately for me, around about the same time, my American visa ran out, and I had not accomplished a deal. I had to return home to the UK, whether I liked it or not.
Now I really did have to start all over again. I felt devastated. I took time out to be by myself for a while, spending time out in the Copps where my folks live. It was a country village 9 miles from any town, but’ it was by the sea. Tranquility. I continued to walk alone for miles in the outback…
Story continued in next blog post…