Mars Corner Article #2
A lot of people ask me what
it was like to work for the Wolfman. In fact, the exact number of people
to have asked me this question at last count was 1,245. I stopped counting;
it really wasn’t worth keeping track. Come to think of it, I don’t know
why I kept counting after 100. What was I thinking?
Anyway, the point here is
that I never felt I worked for the Wolfman as much as I felt I worked with
In other words, (and different
ones) the question is moot (I love that word and must use it as often as
possible). But moot as moot may I understand what people mean when they
ask that question. So, I will attempt to answer it, moot as it may be.
You must understand one thing
before I go on. When I met Wolfman Jack I was unacquainted with him, his
work and his face. I had only heard him on the radio once or twice, when
he was on WNBC-AM in New York. I had not seen American Graffiti and was
new to the western part of the country, where The Wolfman cast a larger
shadow than he ever did in the East. So, my first meeting with Wolfman
can be described as … you guessed it, moot.
But The Wolfman liked that.
Lots of people drooled over him and told him how great he was and how much
they loved him. He liked the attention as much as the next guy but it was
refreshing for him to suddenly be in touch with someone, how can I say
it? Fresh (I could have said moot).
So, from the beginning Wolfman
and I struck up a relationship that was more than boss and employee. We
were from the same ilk, street kids from Brooklyn, N.Y. who did everything
we could to escape our roots. And we connected at an artistic level that
can only be called chemical. Sure, others could call it metaphysical, magnetic,
cosmic, electric and even bombastic. But we will have nothing to do with
those people. In fact, if you are one of them, stop reading now.
Let me tell you something
about Wolfman Jack that I don’t think you know. He was an artist. I mean
to say, more than he was a commercial success, he was an artistic soul.
He was open to new ideas; he was always willing to zig when the world was
zagging. He would listen to the craziest ideas I had about humor and, more
importantly, he got the joke!
In the late 1970s, remember,
things were not as liberal as they are today in the media. But Wolfman
was a renegade (all artists are renegades) and willing to push more envelopes
than the post office handled in a decade. This we did most of the time
successfully. But to be too successful was dangerous because we were apt
to take humor right over the listener’s head.
This is where Wolf really
helped my material. He was able to take my sometimes esoteric humor and
make it work for the masses. In fact, we created a character out of this
talent of his, a poet named S.O. Terrick. He wrote poetry that no one else
could understand. At first I wanted Wolf to be the character and read the
“No, man,” Wolf said. “It
would be a lot funnier if someone else read his poetry because it wouldn’t
make sense to the reader, ya know?”
I hadn’t thought of that.
“So you read it as Wolfman,” I said.
“Yeah, yeah,” he said, laughing,
“and of course I’ll screw the whole thing up because I’m just makin’ like
I know what it means but no one knows what it means but S.O.”
“But you don’t understand
“Of course not. That’s the
point. That’s what’ll make if funny.”
He was right, of course.
And it worked. When Wolf read the poems of S.O. Terrick over some cornball
music, you couldn’t help but crack up. In fact, if you ever hear any of
those bits, you will hear me and Lon Napier, Wolf’s producer, trying desperately
to hold in laughs.
He wasn’t always right, of
course. Sometimes I would have to insist he try something my way in order
to make it funny. Even then, he would act more like a partner than a boss
would. He would try it my way.
I could go on but it would
be moot. I’ve made my point for this time around. And I will make other
points, even moot ones, as time goes on, at this glorious website. So keep
hitting this site and looking for more pictures, memorabilia and remembrances
of things Wolf.
And now I end with a Wolfman
moment of Zen. From the file of Wolfman material I wrote for him over the
years, here is but one of thousands of lines he read in the exact way it
Sit back and imagine that
indelible voice speaking these words. And I’ll be with you again soon with
more Wolfman memories.
For those of you out there
who might be thinkin of givin a hickey during our next romantic tune, I
remind you . . . a pro puts ‘em where dey cannot be seen . . .
Check in often. I will.