Celebrating Sir Elton John's birthday today! This is the first time I am showing you this photograph. If you have seen before it's because you saw or got a navy blue t-shirt with this picture blazoned on the front using the heat transfer technique, at the Woodward's store chain in Canada. I just want you to know that the photograph was borrowed/stolen by some jackass that happened to see a print of it in the Vancouver office of MCA Records. So consider yourself a pirate.
Well I could have used the royalties, had I licensed the photo to the Top Pirate, but I learned that sometimes bad things can evolve into good things. It all changed because of I guy I ran into at an L.A. restaurant who I had met in Vancouver when I shot the Hudson Brothers in a recording studio there. He invited me to shoot a taping of the Hudson Brother Razzle Dazzle television show. I took him up on that and the photos turned out great so they asked me to go to their label, Rocket Records - which was Elton John's own record company - and show them to someone there.
He was very impressed with my shots (yay!) and paid me for a bunch of prints (bigger yay!). Then I told the guy I was meeting with (sorry, I can't remember his name) about this Canadian tool stealing my photograph of Elton and selling racks of them in major department stores. I expected him to say, 'Gee, that's too bad', but instead he said that they were against bootleggers of any kind making money off of Elton John (and me). Maybe that stance had something to do with the incident in 1970 when some a-hole bootlegger in NY recorded an EJ concert and sold it prior to Elton's 11-17-70 live album release, and to add further insult he included a few more songs than Elton's version.
So, this cool Rocket Records dude called Elton's attorneys and set up an appointment with them for me. (Sidebar - As I'm writing this I can't really believe this story myself even though it's true) So I go to the meeting with one of the two t-shirts I actually bought and surprisingly, they decided to go after the culprit. Just being in their offices was a score but then they were going to go after these guys on behalf of me and Elton on the same suit. How crazy cool is that?
As time went by, they realized that suing the a-hole(s) across the border was going to be more costly than any settlement they could make.
Normally, that would be the end of the story, however, this is me...and nothing is normal when it comes to me. Since the people at this law firm were so nice and also freakin' good at what they did, little nobody me decided to ask them if they would handle my legal needs for my upcoming book, Starart this was before I had a couple or three of the six artists. I don't know what I was thinking. They were obviously way above my pay grade but despite that I still had the gall to ask. I'm sure it must have been a moment of weakness on their part because they said YES! They were even better than I expected them to be in the way that they handled everything, even when Mick and Keith's lawyer tried to get an injunction against me from releasing the book with the portraits of them that Ron Wood had done. Side note: Mick and Keith had verbally given the permission when I showed them the mock-up of Ronnie's section of the book when I met up with him at a Rolling Stones recording session.
So, I send very Happy Birthday wishes to the man in the photograph below, and thank him for surrounding himself with such awesome people.
Honky Chateau is my favorite Elton John album...so here is Honky Cat...