By: G. H. Harding
Peter Max

A COMEDY TWEAK --- A few columns back we noted that Gotham-PR pasha David Salidor had exited his post as celebrity-booker for XM’s Brett Winterble’s XM radio show. In a rather lengthy exit interview over lunch, we explored some of the difficulties he had and what actually happened: Says Salidor, "Right from the beginning there were some serious issues with Sirius/XM, who employed their own booking people. I don't know if it was a case of stepping on the wrong toes or what, but there were some serious communication issues there. I tried to handle it as best I could … and, think I succeeded."

He also added that some of the interviews he was able to secure (80’s icon Ted Nugent, actor Richard Belzer; Steve Van Zandt; and, artist Peter Max stand out) were truly sensational. "When Brett got Nugent to reveal his slaughter of 455 hogs with his machine gun for Bill Maher … it was a great get. Brett’s a great interviewer and when we got him a guest he could really spar with, it was the definition of perfect talk-radio."

Later on, when Brett’s show parted ways with XM, it was always a dicey proposition when booking guests. "To tell you the truth, when the show left the XM feed, I wasn't given the accurate information and because of that, it hindered what I was able to accomplish. I thought that it was a disservice to Brett’s show. Also, I kept angling for more promotion, but was continually shot down."

Salidor also admitted that he kept a PR-campaign in place for his entire 18-run there. "PR is just so important and to build and maintain visibility out there in the media is so crucial these days. If Brett wasn’t so good, it would have been a lot harder. There's no question, he would have benefited from some promotional. Plus, the media folk pulled for him, we made him a pretty desirable selection. He handled the pop-culture dynamic perfectly."

Salidor adds that he'll continue to book guests for two stations out of Florida with two different personalities starting next month and hopes to maintain the dozens of contacts he made during his XM run. “When I first started out in this business, I had a somewhat similar job. I loved it, but it interfered with my PR-business. This time, I found it the perfect complement and really enjoyed it.”

WHAM MAN --- After a tumultuous couple of years with his health and career, it appears that George Michael is getting ready to do something in March except nobody is sure just what. The singer's site changed on December 17 to simply show the message Exciting News Coming in 2014 with all of the other site content unavailable. Over the next week, the message slowly changed to include a closed red curtain that some were speculating meant that he was retiring; however, a Michael-rep told the U. K.'s NME "I do not understand where people are getting any of this from. Our team that dealt with the web site and fan club were just being creative when they blackened out the site and added a curtain. This is only to give space and time to make some really exciting news for 2014."

On Christmas day, the site changed again to include a Christmas message from Michael along with the audio of him singing “You've Changed.”

Yesterday the video has been changed so the intro shows the words March 2014 in place of the holiday greeting. The audio remains the same. So we're left with the mystery of what is coming, how the singer has "changed" and whether something is happening in March or that we have to wait until March to get the big announcement. 

CLOSING NOTES --- The Beatles Examiner columnist Steve Marinucci, who dutifully documents each and every Beatles-move (from re-issues, to new Beatle books, to new releases and tours) releases today, via Amazon, his e-book based on two encounters with the late, great Davy Jones and his thoughts on the last tour he did with Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork, called Meet A Monkee: Davy Jones. We’re getting a review copy today and will have our thoughts to you soon. Steve’s a terrific writer and the perfect individual to chronicle these stories. Check it out HERE.

Speaking of books, Mark Bego's long-overdue Burning Bridges tome, written with Debby Campbell- about Glen Campbell has now secured for sure a release date in April ...

Barry Manilow sent a special holiday greeting to all of his fans saying that his new CD, Night Songs is done. According to the post on his web site, the album is made up of standards that haven't been "over performed" so expect songs from the great composers of the 20th century that were not necessarily their best known works (i.e., don't look for the same songs as are on the Rod Stewart Great American Songbook series). A "surprise" single that represents the album is on its way ...

I was compiling my own goodbye list for 2013, when Dave White’s Classic Rock missive came in. I read it once, read it twice and realized I couldn’t say it any better. Here goes:

It isn't always easy, but each time another artist from the classic rock era passes away, I try to note the passing by celebrating their lives rather than mourning their deaths.

Such was his influence on fans and artists; there was much to celebrate about the life of Richie Havens, who died at age 72 following a heart attack in April. Havens' influence went well beyond his music. Stephen Stills said Havens was "one of the nicest most generous and pure individuals I have ever met."

The musical legacy of The Doors was kept alive in the years since Jim Morrison's death in large part by the efforts of Ray Manzarek, who died of cancer in May at age 74. His motivation had been as much personal as professional. "We really had the feeling that we had something very special, something that only happens once. We thought we were going to change the world."

JJ Cale, who died in July at age 73 as the result of a heart attack, could always be counted on to tell it like it is, both in his song lyrics, and in talking about his life. "I never considered myself a singer," Cale was quoted as saying in his official biography. "I always considered myself a songwriter, so my singing got on my nerves so I'd always pull my vocals back."

Because of complications resulting from what was called "a routine surgical procedure" Alvin Lee passed away at 68 in March. He left his musical mark in many ways, most notably as the face and voice of Ten Years After. In 1974, Lee left what he called "the road to fame and fortune" with TYA so that he could "make music of my own choice without worrying about what other people thought or expected."

Lou Reed's life was saved by a liver transplant in May, but resulting complications caused his death at age 71 in October. As a founding member of Velvet Underground and as a solo artist, Reed's legacy was his willingness and ability to explore, experiment, and test the boundaries. David Bowie eulogized Reed as "a master." Alt rocker Morrissey said, "Thank God for those, like Lou, who move within their own laws, otherwise imagine how dull the world would be."