I'm on the road for a few days, and driving to Atlanta tomorrow for a show. I haven't been online for three days, went to check my email, and took a quick peek at the forum to see what was going on. I sure wished that I had waited till tomorrow to see this mess. I'm dog-assed tired, it's 2AM, and I have to get up at 6AM. This is just a quick disclaimer for the typos that always happen when I try to put together thoughts when I should be falling asleep counting test pressings.
So here's just a few things that caught my attention that I thought that I'd better chime in about, or THAT would keep me awake all night.
I've gone over the Sudhalter vs. Phil Evans debate before on this forum, but as some of you may recall, we left to things settle down until the book is completed. There was going to be a booklet at one time dealing with this issue, but then it was decided that would be better presented as an appendix for the upcoming Bix book. And there the letters from all parties concerned will detailed, along with a website that will have the scans of the original documents if needed. And, as I said before, there will be nothing written as opinion from myself or Linda. It's not needed because the letters say it all. They are the letters from Richard to Phil, Phil (he made copies) to Richard, Arlington House to Phil, and so on.
I believe that by now, I've proven that I don't AND won't present ANYTHING in regards to Bix's life, or the garbage that happened to the 1974 book, that I can't back up without physical or audio PROOF!
Yes, Richard is a fine writer with a great sense of prose. That has NEVER been an issue. Phil admired his writing style, which is why he was chosen to do the re-write. As I've mentioned before, my wife was with Harcourt for four years, doing the same thing, editing and re-writes. Very rarely did she get a mention from the published in print, it was just her job.
Now Albert, you mentioned that without Richard's imput, that you doubted that Phil's book would have been published. How do you come to that conclusion. On what do you base this opinion? How much of Phil's writing have you read? Or was this something that you've been told for the past 30 years, about someone who wasn't given the chance to respond? Do you have a copy of Phil's original manuscript? Or were you perhaps shown a copy of the outline that Richard showed a few folks and said that it was Phil's book? You see, I do have a copy of the 1968 version of the book (pre-Sudhalter) that had been already been accepted for publication by the University Of Alabama Press. This book is 500+ pages long. Did you know about that? And the reason that he didn't go with them was because of the Robert Mantler bullshit that I'm quite sure that you know something about. If not, I'll run that story by you another time, not now.
Do you think that Phil wasn't capable of expressing himself in a way that would prove interesting to the public? Do you have the Tram book? Was it too hard to follow? Did it leave loose ends that left you wondering how a certain story was resolved? Was it poorly written?
The reason the 1998 book was fomatted the way that it was, was so that the threats of lawsuits that were being tossed around from the other "camp" (as it has been termed)would have no basis for such an action. It took Linda and myself over 20 years to talk Phil into doing a Bix book again. Now, we wish to God that we hadn't. He just didn't want to, even though his research never slowed down for an instant. In the end, the only two people that Phil had total trust in, as far as helping him find information, bedies Linda, were myself and Vince Giordano. And I think that I can speak for Vince and myself when I say that it was nothing less than an honor to do so.
But the whole time he was working on the book, he told me over and over and over again, of his fear of having his life's work stolen with the credit going to someone else. And I kept telling him that this was impossible, how could anybody sue you over tapes and letters that were sent to you? (Kindly remember that in the 1974, Richard keeps mentioning the phrase, "In a letter to the authors." None were to the "authors", they were ALL to Phil. And the ones that Richard are mentioned in, after the 1974 book came out, I'm positive he wouldn't want seen. Because his "friends" (whom he calls the jazz greats after they have died)Hoagy, the Goldkette and Whiteman musicians, Bix's friends and such, tear him apart and call him every name in the book.
You see, in "Man & Legend", Richard conditioned you at the very beginning of the book. Right from the start, he calls Phil's work "raw data", which he seperated Phil from attaining any credit as a writer. It was a brilliant play on his part. Of course, this along with the fantasies that were invented by Richard, were inserted AFTER Phil had sent HIS copy of the revisions of the proofs. Do you get it? Phil was duped. The publishers were duped. Bix's friends and family were duped. And in the end, so was the Bix loving public, duped by a writer who at that time was unknown, and built a career based on a fraud that was pulled on a kind and gentle person who devoted and dedicated his whole life to a man who had the passion that all of us here on your forum, have for Bix. He was also an easy mark that could be used by someone. Used as a stepping stone to jump start a writing career that was spinning it's wheels. And it worked, I have to give the man credit for that. It was almost the perfect crime, except that, thanks to Phil, there was a paper trail that follows this saga that runs on almost a day to day basis. That's how extensive it is, and how blatant it is. As for myself, I wish that it never happened, and that I don't have to deal with it now. But Phil and I were close, very close. And it's a terrible thing to know that his love of Bix, and his life's work is what killed him in the end. And that was caused by another loser who figured that he could make a big score on Phil Evans also. His greasy assed lawyers hounded and threatened a good and sensitive man who had several heart attacks and two strokes in the last few years of his life, to the point that his heart gave out. I know this to be a fact because I was on the phone with him constantly during this period. I sat there on the phone in Connecticut, talking to Phil in California for two and three hours at a time. I sat there in horror as I listened to my friend, in TEARS, telling me what this gutless bastard's lawyers were saying that they were going to do to his book, and his property that planned on suing him for! And if anyone doubts this, I still have the goddamn phone bills that will prove it. He couldn't understand how this could be happening again. He couldn't believe it. They wanted to scare him, and they did...to Death! Get it? Sure, I kicked his greedy, lying ass all over Philadelphia, during the Federal Court case. And I showed where this pathetic half-witted moron had stolen from the 1974 book 159 TIMES, WORD FOR WORD!! Get it? 159 TIMES!! I notated on every page where this happened, which page in the 1974 book it was taken from, and from what letter to Phil Evans that it was used in the 1974 book. And I had two days to do this in. The rest of me may be shot, but I still have one hell of a memory. You can read me one line of dialogue from the 1974 book, and I can tell where it's from, and what is said next. I can do that with most books that I'm interested in. A gift perhaps, but there many things in this life that I'd love to forget. And Phil Evans last couple of months on this earth is one of them.
Now Albert, you pride yourself on accepting nothing but the truth, in dealing with the life of Bix Beiderbecke. And I do salute you for that, that's the way that it should be, no if's, and's or but's about it. Right? OK! So right here on your very forum, the lies regarding Bix and his relationship with his family, his relationship with Davenport, the horrible way that his father (whom he loved dearly)has been turned into stereotype German tyrant, and the other bullshit stories, have been shot in the ass with evidence that can't be covered up like catshit in a litterbox. So where did they come from? Phil Evans? No, of course not, for as Richard tells us, Phil has these "secret" files that will never see the light of day. Right. And Bin Laden will win the Noble Peace Prize.
Sure, some of it started with Ralph (Look At Me!) Berton, but who do you think picked up on that crap, embellished it, and took it to the end zone to start his career, and then to set himself up as the resident sage on Bix Beiderbecke, and considers himself above those who questions him?
How many times does someone have to lie to you before he is considered a liar? In the original manuscript, every person who was mentioned or contributed to Phil research, EVERY ONE OF THEM, were sent a copy of the chapter that included them. They were told to add or change anything that they wanted to, because, as Phil told them, "It's YOUR story, and it has to be told the way YOU want it to be". And their reactions to the changes and embellishments made by Richard are in all of their letters after the book came out. And a good deal of them are in language that even I wouldn't use to describe his deeds. And who some of these letters came from would shock the hell out of you! Albert, should I include those also in the book? Sure, everyone is dead now, should I just let this pass into the night? Should I just leave the story of Bix Beiderbecke stand as it is, leaving some people to believe that he was bi-sexual pedophile, whose alcoholism was due to the frustration of trying to win his family's love and respect, while trying to express himself in the only way he could, with music? Should I let Sudhalter come up with a new batch of lies regarding the life of Bix Beiderbecke? Lies that he backs up by claiming that the proof is hidden in the "secret" files of Philip R. Evans? Should future generations of people, who like many who come to your forum, have heard Bix for the first time and are as entranced as most of us have been for decades, should they be let on to believe horrible, sad stories about Bix Beiderbecke that were made up by those for their own gain?
Bix was inspired us in many ways. To those of us who are in the same profession, he showed us a new direction. He is a new major highway in music that let us form our own villages along the way. There are hundreds of musicians who were influenced by Bix, and they don't even know it! They could cite Lester Young, or Rex Stewart, or Hoagy and countless others as their main influnce. You can follow where this is leading. In the beginning of this world, God created Adam and Eve. In the beginning of the Jazz world, he created Bix and Louis. The rest of us have just been hanging around the same tree. And it was good. And it was pure. But since then, the tree has become infested with parasites. What do you do? Let them have the tree, or expose them to the light that will neuter them?
For 30 years Richard has told people that Phil was a researcher, and not a writer. He was both. However, Richard is a writer, and NOT a researcher. And when one of his made up stories turns on him, he always has Phil Evans to blame it on. What would you do?
Albert, you have said that you would have to see the proof of what we've been saying. That's fair. It's a shame we didn't have more time to speak at the festival. I had a few of those letters of proof with me. And some saw and were amazed by them. So, please tell me something. Could you tell me what your reaction might be if what I've been saying for all of these years, turns out to be true? Would you accept that and state that in public, and on this forum, that a huge fraud was pulled off on Phil Evans and those who love Bix? Do you even believe that there was a 500 page manuscript that was accepted for publication BEFORE Sudhalter came into the picture? If so, I will personally meet with you, just the two of us, and show you the exact proof that you say that you need to be convinced. Yes, I understand that this puts you in a tough spot, as you are friends with Richard, and that sad pathetic wanna-be writer who filed that suit that caused Phil's death. But if that is what it takes, then so be it. I should be home in a week or so. I play in New York City on Monday nights (when I'm not on the road) at Arthur's Tavern with the Grove Street Stompers, on 7th Ave & Grove St., in the Village. Or, I'll drive out to Long Island and meet you there. It really doesn't matter to me. But I think that it is time that this issue is dealt with, once and for all, don't you? For everyone's sake, but most of all, for the sake of Phil Evans and Bix Beiderbecke. But this will be seen by you alone. As I mentioned some months back, I'm not worried by a lawsuit that might try to stop this information. Sure, I know that it will happen, but there is a VERY famous lawyer who reads this forum, who contacted me about these issues. At first I didn't believe the email was real. But it was. And we met. And then he offered his services for free, if needed. He is a TRUE fan of Bix and the truth, two of my favorite topics. So, if you really want to settle this matter, then fine, the ball is in your court. And as I have always said, I welcome ANY physical PROOF that can contradict these facts. No "third party", "Good source" stories accepted. I think that's fair, don't you?
Another quick thing to clear up here. Just about everything that I've posted in recent months have come from my work. In the case of Alice, I was the one who found and at this time, is working on tying up the loose ends on thir relationship. She spent over 50 years avoiding all of us, up to her death. And as the story is unfolding, I realize that I don't blame her.
Bix inspired beautiful things in the world of music. Outside the musicial world, he inspired greed and treachery by those who want to cash in on those who want to find out as much as they can about someone who had affected their life in the way that Bix Beiderbecke did. A book could be written on that alone.
To those who have emailed me in the past few days, I will answer as soon as possible. I didn't even get a chance to look at my email. And now I have an hour and a half before I have to wake up and drive to Atlanta, check in, do a sound check, do a show, and crawl back to my room. So, you want to be a road musician, eh? Think it over real good. It's very easy to see how Bix fell into the routines that he did on the road. Some of us survive it, some of us don't. Bix didn't.
That's for putting up with all of this. And again, read my disclaimer at the top.