Wednesday, July 8, 2009
I have often wondered what happened to the musical stars when they fall off the charts. What happens after their last hits? A lot of effort goes into providing new musical acts and periodic shifts in fashion to keep money flowing in from adoring fans. A good friend of mine S. Cammer has founded a new talent agency. It will be very exclusive. No new acts will be booked. His specialty will be a step beyond the "golden oldies". He will promote the" moldy oldies".
"Did you ever notice how many albums are sold when a performer dies? " Cammer asked me. "It was always just something spontaneous. Until I came along."
Cammer had a mischievous grin. I was dying to get in on his secret and he knew it. Cammer took out his lap top. His Web site, "Catch a Falling Star" is password protected. His fingers fluttered across the keyboard. He would not tell me who his current clients are. He just showed me the DeLuxe Falling Star Promotion Program. It involves several steps.
1) Plant stories in the media to arouse interest in someone whose career has gone into a tailspin, say due to problems with drugs or minors. Try to create sympathy by comparing the client to Vincent Van Gogh or James Dean. Shift the client's reputation from that of a burned out pervert to a misunderstood, eccentric genius.
2) Leak stories combining rumours of a serious illness with the client's yearning to "just be left alone." Throw in some human interest anecdotes.
3) The third step is taken when public interest in the client seems to have increased. The client is "persuaded" by adoring fans to stage a comeback tour.
4) At this point, a suicide, fatal accident or other untimely death is arranged. Stunned family stages a closed casket funeral. Silently in the crown, the family of a nameless pauper mingles among the mourners. Instead of the body being donated to medical science, it goes to keep a musical legend alive.
5) The casket is flown to an undisclosed location on a private jet. In first class, the star client travels incognito.
At this point, my friend Cammer clicked on another link. Two locations showed up. One was filled with tropical wildlife, with palm trees and coulourful birds. The houses looked as though they had been transplanted from Beverly Hills into a Madagascar type location. Cammer would not confirm or deny the location.
The other village was nestled at the foot of snow capped mountains. Its architecture ran towards Alpine Swiss, although the natives were dark skinned. I could not tell if they were Tibetan or Quechua Indians. Cammer would not be specific. He would only tell me that it was known as "Tierra Nunca".
After settling the newly "deceased" star into a comfortable new home, he or she gets assigned to a recording studio where "lost tapes" are created. Meanwhile, back in Los Angeles, news of the "great musical discovery" is leaked to the tabloids, which interview the family of the "deceased". To preclude any questions about the authenticity of the "lost tapes" they are recorded on equipment that was used during the decade in question. A letter is unearthed in which the star requests a backup band to perform with his vocals. Out of respect to the "deceased", a posthumous recording is created combining the vocals of the "deceased" with a currently popular band. Both enjoy a surge of popularity together, although they never meet.
I asked my friend Cammer how such an expensive package is paid for. He smiled.
"Life insurance payouts."
I was horrified. "But that's life insurance fraud!"
"Not if you own the company." he replied. Tierra Nunca is a creative paradise. People come there and produce millions of dollars in hit songs. The insurance company owns the village, the studios, everything. They collect rent and municipal taxes. They make back the insurance payout in a couple of years. And if they're happy, who's going to call the cops?
Cammer handed me his business card. It was printed on solid gold. Each card was worth over $3000.00. Very few people ever saw it. To get through to the receptionist, you needed to call the number on the card and type in an alpha numeric code. Voice printing and a twelve digit PIN number made it very hard to fool the receptionist. Anyone not in the secret would think they were calling an exclusive Beverly Hills boutique, which they were. But the "members only" boutique was really a front for S. Cammer and "Catch a Falling Star."
I was impressed with Cammer's thoroughness. He even had a "budget package" in which rumours were planted in the supermarket tabloids to pump up album sales. One thing he would not discuss was his plans to extend his "Catch a Falling Star" program to movie stars as well.
"It's a lot harder to work with someone who is a film star. explained Cammer. "With singers, you can "discover" lost tapes. But letting a whole movie cast in on the "Catch a Falling Star " secret is just too risky.
My last question for S. Cammer was what to do when someone actually dies. At this point, Cammer took me to his garden.
"Do you see anything special here?" he asked.
I saw a small orchard as well as a fruit and vegetable garden framed by flowers and ornamental plants.
"Does the term "gene splicing" mean anything to you? asked Cammer?
My head was reeling. I was afraid to ask any more questions.
"No one ever dies here." he said. "You can splice a gene sequence from plant to animal, from animal to human or human to plant. Each of these plants is related to someone on the silver screen or on stage. Whether it's your CD player, your DVD player or your fruit bowl, everyone can be immortal. No one has to die. He pulled an apple off a tree and handed it to me.
"Have a bite." he said "I think you've met before". Sphere: Related Content