So it's 1968, and Barry Gordy is breaking Motown Acts in Eastern Colleges. My brother Bill produces the Four Tops Show at St. Joseph's College in Philadelphia, just a couple of blocks from our house in Bala Cynwyd. I'm a ten year old stage hand watching four guys from Detroit rock a gym...DOWN! Could there be more fun in life?
Three years later, in 1971, I'm in the Jackson Five's sound check at the Spectrum. Michael comes over, asks me to do him a favor. Can I take "dancing shoes" off his hands? The gift from fans would never touch his feet...but they touched mine.
I danced my ass off at every Bar and Bah Mitvah that year. But my epiphany waited until I was in the Fall of my Senior Year at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA.
Mid September, 1980, someone saw Clarence Clemons in the Best Western on the Route 30 By-Pass. If true, I knew Bruce Springsteen was in rehearsals at the Clair Brothers barn in Lititz. I met the Clairs at the Jackson Five Show at the Spectrum in 1971.
I called Bill who said to call George Travis, Bruce's rigger turned production manager. George told me I could come into the rehearsal, but to TELL NO ONE and certainly DON'T BRING ANYONE ELSE. But after three hours, sitting just 12 feet from the rehearsal stage, I was physically "buzzing." When the band broke for dinner, I returned to campus.
I came upon two friend who were lamenting there was nothing to do on A Friday night...because they had not pledged a fraternity. I said, "F*ck that. Were going to see Springsteen!"
Jay Frank was the music critic on the F&M newspaper and Larry Pickover was the biggest Bruce fan I knew. I took a chance, but I knew I had to start my music career and Larry was a guitarist!
After the set, Bruce came off the stage, walked up to us and said "Who are you guys?" He could have said, "What the F*ck are you doing in my rehearsal hall?" At times like this, the truth is always best.
I told him I "grew up" in the business, my brother was friends with George and George told me not to bring anyone. But I broke my promise because I considered the rehearsal a "life event" for both of my friends. Bruce's eyebrows went up...he nodded and then he turned to Jay and Larry..."So, whatdya think?"
I was not a Bruce Fan, so I did not know there was a 'press black out' on the River Release. Evidently, Bruce was pretty pissed off with the advance press for "Darkness On The Edge of Town." Which means, Bruce is about to find out what his fans think of the River Album...for the very first time!
People...you can't make this stuff up!
To Jay's credit, he was extremely composed and professional. Larry? Less so! In the music business since I was a little kid, I've never asked anyone for their autographs...that includes David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney. I toured with all three acts before my Wharton MBA studies 1991-92. But Larry, back in September 1980? Standing in front of his "musical god?" Larry went a little off.
Bruce looked at me and smiled. And BaBa Lou Rock Roll Band began right then and there.
I've been asked many times why we are a "Rock Roll" band and not a "Rock and Roll" band. First, as a Rock Roll Band, we are the only Rock Roll Band in the world...and therefore, the best this planet has to offer! Second, I was just keeping my Mom happy.
She heard in her church group that the band my brother was producing (Kiss), stood for "Knights In the Service of Satan." When she presented this notion to Bill, he walked away from the lucrative production contract. And let's face it. If Rock and Roll music is considered Satanic in anyway, I got better things to do!
In the 50's, the parents called R&B "race music," "Negro music" and "Jungle Music." But hey...the kids loved it! Which is why New York record labels got WHITE guys like Pat Boone to sing it!
There were books published by priests on how "rock and roll" music was robbing our kids of their childhood! That's funny. How many 60 something "kids" do you see at a Jimmy Buffet concert?
I think it is safe to say, that if we could all sing and dance and shake our ass at the same event...we'd probably all get along a whole lot better than we do right now. And that remains my musical ambition. To play a set of music that has WIDE APPEAL, to all ages, all genders, all ethnic groups. Record producers and program managers will ask me to "find my swim lane." But for me, that is no easy task.
I started in Hillbilly music (Eddie Cochran), moved into Rockabilly (Buddy Holly), swirved over to Surfabilly (only we do that!) and now I find myself neck deep in Funkabilly! And if all goes well, you all will hear a great deal of "New Lou" very soon. Why? Because there are bigger fish to fry...than just American Radio. There is an entire planet that has to learn...what I already know.
We all know the Stones, Springsteen and Swift can play five continents. But who can play on six? Who can grab Africa's attention? We may not make much money playing soccer stadiums in Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya, but the video footage will be PRICELESS. Go to https://soundcloud.com/robertjhmcmanus for our album BaBa Lou At Bob's and all upcoming music.
In September 1980, a light "went on" in Lititz, PA. But in Mother's Day Mass 2015, at the Cathedral on campus at Villanova University, a whole DIFFERENT light went. This light was the culmination of six months of head aches and medical tests. Here's what happened.
Back at Thanksgiving 2014, I started getting headaches during the day and disturbed sleep at night. My brother Albert had died from a brain tumor in 1984. He had a severe concussion while playing football at the University of Pennsylvania. I had two while playing at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey. While the holidays can be stressful for many (and they are for me as I miss my parents and my brothers Al and Bill) the headaches caused me alarm. They would not go away. But at night, things got..."weird."
After one month of consistent dreams, and lost sleep, I sought the assistance of a "sleep doctor" who worked at the Penn health facility here in Radnor, PA.
He had ran track with Al at Lower Merion and I had known him for decades. Thus, what he told me about my "dream issue," was very real and very rare...so much so, there is not another case study like mine in the history of medical science! So this is what happened.
On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, at exactly 5:12 AM, I would have a "dream event" that lasted 2 minutes and 14 seconds. On Tuesday and Thursday, I would have a "dream event" at 5:19 AM that lasted 2 minutes and 39 seconds! No variation. No change. The events were measured and consistent from January 2015 to May 2015...Mother's Day, which is where and when we return to the Villanova University Cathedral, a few blocks from my house in Rosemont.
In the cathedral, I'm standing in the back, by myself, away from the congregation. And quite suddenly, I was what one witness described as "bathed in a yellow and white light." And when the Priest began the blessing of the Mothers, while enveloped in this "white and yellow light"... I had a vision. It was Mother's Day...1989!
As an aside, my Grandfather, James Patrick Considine, was instrumental in the adoption of Mother's Day. Actually it was his second wife who "pillow talked" the idea. Mary Harding was the first female columnist/suffragette at The North American. The daily paper in Philadelphia was started by Ben Franklin, but later owned by John Wanamaker. JP was the President of the North American. For more iconic Harding, Considine, McManus family history, there will be movies...many movies! Sit through the Picture Gallery sequence to view the "story board."
Our family traces our roots back to two Emperors of Rome (Constantine 246 AD and Charlemagne 800 AD). There was a Harding on Washington's staff at Valley Forge. But I digress. Let's get back to the Villanova Cathedral...and my "reclaimed history" from Mother's Day, 1989.
I was 30 years old and I took my 70 year old Mother to the Mother's Day Mass. I was fresh off my third failed relationship in 11 years. A seven year relationship had come "undone" on the tarmac of the airport in Portland, OR. I had come to a conclusion that maybe I was not "cut out" for romantic love. I could attract beautiful, talented women, but I could not keep them. And when I lost them, the pain had gotten too great to bear.
I had made a commitment to the Augustinian Order on Campus. The upcoming Rolling Stones Steel Wheels Tour, would test my celibacy resolve. To build the 300 foot wide, 100 foot tall, 90 feet deep stadium stage would be a challenge. Resisting the never ending offers from females who would "do anything" to get next to Mick or Keith, would also be a challenge. But my challenges began a little earlier than expected!
I was standing in the pew, next to an extremely tall (6'2?), extremely beautiful woman. She had to be 21, 22 years old. And that would not be unusual for a Division I school with a women's Volleyball and Basketball Team. But here is where it gets weird.
In the pew in front of us, stood my 5' foot Mother. After three ABSURD medical mistakes, my mom had died in April 2010. I always wondered if her death had anything to do with her work as a spy for Naval Intelligence back in 1940 and 41.
The stunningly gorgeous, tall woman's enormous hands were on my Mom's right shoulder and my hands were on my Mom's left shoulder. When the priest said the blessing..my Mother physically shuddered. The tall beautiful woman cried. I had no idea what was going on.
When the mass ended, my Mom exits the pew. The tall woman met her in the aisle. My Mom turned to the tall beautiful woman. With tears in their eyes, the 6'2 stunner and the 5' mother of 8 and grandmother to 13 hugged until both of them could smile.
So what on Earth happened to me...under they white and yellow light? Who was this stunning woman? Was she a temptress sent by the Augustinians to test my resolve? Was she an Amazon, an Angel ...an Alien? Whoever she was, did she NOW KNOW something about my own Mother, that I did not? I had no answers, but I HAD to find out.
So after the Mother's Day Mass 2015, I went home, sat down and wrote the story that had been SENT TO ME.
In two days, I wrote 85,000 words (I'm a touch typist). I had the first two books in the epic tale. On the third day, I wrote the outlines (22 additional "books") for entire epic tale. But the Universe was not done with me yet.
For the next six months, emails from a previously unknown address started to arrive in a very consistent fashion. You guessed it! Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5:12 AM, I get an email with a photo attached. On Tuesday and Thursday at 5:19 AM, I get an email with a photo attached. The sender? A very simple address...firstname.lastname@example.org. The emails were DELICIOUS and the attached photographs... UNBELIEVABLE. I put all the data points together and realized and recalled my own "lost history."
I now knew who the stunning 6'2 blonde was! I also learned the "life secret" my mom kept from all of us...and you will, too.
True, "The Princess of Arayan" film franchise is 22 sequential books and 5 side-quels, but the story is NOT OVER. There may be more to come!
Seven months later, in December 2015, WIRED magazine was covering the release of Disney's Star Wars reboot. The quote that caught my eye read:
"Everywhere, studio suits are recruiting creatives who can weave characters and story lines into decades spanning tapestries of prequels, side-quels, TV shows, games, toys and so on. Brand awareness goes through the roof; audiences get a steady, soothing, mainline drip of familiar characters."
Did I now have a film franchise every Hollywood studio was looking for?
In the past, my music antenna had captured lyrics, music, arrangements in the time it took to sing the song. Since I play no instrument and can neither read nor write music, it was miraculous to discover other performers (Smokey Robinson, Paul McCartney) also wrote "from the heart."
But this time, on Mother's Day 2015, my antenna picked up an epic, multi-generational tale that will thrill the WHOLE WORLD. And I think that is a big enough tease for now.
Considering the size of "The Princess of Arayan" film franchise (see the website's picture gallery) I will likely have to "earn my bones" in Hollywood with a smaller movie first. Think George Lucas and "American Graffiti" before he kicks off "Star Wars."
"The Secret Wish" is a love story and a spy story, based on true stories. In the next section, find a three page pitch and the proposed soundtrack. So, that's all for now. I got to get this published, because SOME VERY IMPORTANT PEOPLE might be checking out the site tonight! Talk to you later!
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