Mj Wilson Photography - Internationally published, female photographer for Fashion, Lifestyle Portraits, Events, Luxury Goods, Weddings, Music, Models, Actor Headshots, Corporate

Tag - John Randolph Burns

What do these three things have in common?

Photos of Balmain Leather Jacket, Glass Building, and Randy Gun

You would never guess, what the three images shown above, have in common.

The obvious answer is: I blogged about all of them…the $25,000 Balmain Leather Jacket, the Residences by Ateliers Jean Nouvel in New York that houses Multi Million Dollar apartments, and my ex-boyfriend, Randy Gun.

Since one is an article of clothing, the other is a building and the third is a person, what could they possibly have in common?

Well, I’ll tell you an interesting story about that…

Every so often, I look at web stats to see where the traffic hitting my blog is coming from.

I started seeing a lot of inbound links, coming from Pinterest, and I wondered how in the hell people were coming to find my blog, off a link on Pinterest?

Then I clicked one of those links. And then I clicked another. Then I found myself laughing out loud!

The answer to the question above is – the Balmain Jacket, the NYC Building, and my photos of Randy Gun, are the most “pinned/liked” images of mine on Pinterest! Someone pinned these images once, and then they were re-pinned by others, and re-pinned over and over again.

One lovely lady on Pinterest (who I don’t know at all) even used my photo of Randy, to illustrate a glowing testimonial about my Photography skills!

I really didn’t want to be involved in yet another online community but found myself sort of forced to join Pinterest. Now I just have to find the time to “pin” some things of my own!

Visit Mj Wilson Photo on Pinterest


In similar web traffic/sharing news…Women are apparently loving my photos of Randy Gun!

I came across yet another website called We Heart It, that had the same photo of Randy on it, as above. His photo on that site was tagged: “Guitar, Music, Sexy”.

Randy shouldn’t feel alone though…Other photos posted on my website were tagged the same way and “hearted” including photos of: Luc Carl, Billy Idol, Steven Tyler and me and Todd in our Feliz Navidad Holiday Card outfits!

Check us all out on We Heart It!

Randy Gun: The Missing Music (Live from CBGB)

Randy Gun – Live from CBGB (Part 1)

It’s fun having a website and blog because people just contact you out of nowhere for different reasons. Some people contact me because they like what I am showcasing or writing about, or they write because they recognize someone from one of my blog posts, or they write to tell me that they are also a friend, of one of my friends, etc.

Because I am a Photographer, people sometimes email me, to tell me that someone is using one of my photos without permission.

Such was the case with the photo shown above.

Someone told me that they had seen this image I took of Randy Gun, in a blog post, and at first I thought it was Randy Gun himself, stealing from me again, like he did last year (there are dozens of Randy Gun stories/dramas, here on my blog, if you want to read them and see what a jerk he really is.)

When I went to investigate, I found that this blogger had taken my photo of Randy Gun (from 32 years ago), distressed it up, put a song list over it, and made it look like it was the actual back side of a released CD. (The front side of the CD was some ridiculous Daniel Boone cartoon, that I didn’t really get.)

I posted a reply, to this blog post, stating that they were infringing on my copyright, and that this CD didn’t exist, because Randy didn’t know about or have access to these photos of mine until we came back in contact with each other last year. So, he wouldn’t have had that image of mine, to use on a CD cover, that had been recorded in the past. (Plus, they hadn’t even invented CD’s yet back when Randy would have recorded this!)

When I started to pay attention to what was written on this “pretend” CD, I noticed that it had an actual set list, from a live gig, that Randy supposedly played at CBGB, in New York City, back on June 30th of 1982!

WHAT THE F***?!

As I started clicking around, I actually found this recording of Randy, from CBGB’s (in FLAC format) on a peer to peer website. I also found other information that stated something like: “this recording had been the last date of the band’s tour.”

Ok. Seriously?!

I could be totally wrong (but I don’t think I am), but Randy didn’t have a “band” to speak of, much less a concert “tour” for this band. After he was fired from The Necessaries in late 1979, he started playing with Peter Gordon and Love of Life Orchestra (still does to this day, in fact.) In July of 1982, (only a couple of weeks after this supposed big gig of his at CBGB), Randy was in Chicago with Love of Life Orchestra, to play a Summer Festival, because that’s where I last saw Randy (a previous blog post covers all this stuff.) I’m sure I would have heard of/been invited to any upcoming “show dates” he would have been playing at, had they existed back then.

Jesse Chamberlain and Ernie Brooks had both played with Randy in The Necessaries and Peter Gordon heads up Love of Life Orchestra. Jon Klages had played Guitar on Randy’s one and only 7″ single that had been released, so that was probably why these guys all ended up playing together for this gig at CBGB. It was just some friends helping another friend out.

Last year, when Randy was still thankful for all the photos I had unearthed of him, he made a statement to me, to the effect of: “It was unfathomable to him, that he didn’t become a Monster of Rock, based on how great all my photos were of him!”

Ahh…if it was only that easy, to become a Monster of Rock, all of my ex-boyfriends would have become Superstars!

Problem is, to become a Monster of Rock, you actually have to have good material, and be good at performing that material.

Once you hear these long-lost recordings, you will hear for yourself, why Randy never achieved Monster of Rock Stardom.

Please don’t think that I actually like this music – I am only posting these songs for the sake of the history of it all. For that, and that alone, it is interesting that someone took the time to record a full set, of an unknown band, back on June 30, 1982 at CBGB, and it’s amazing that they still had that tape, and posted it online 30 years later.

This set of Randy’s, from CBGB, was about half an hour long, so it is broken into two parts below, for your listening enjoyment.

Hey! I just read that CBGB is planning a huge reunion shindig for July of 2012. There isn’t a better time then, for this music to be unearthed! Perhaps Randy Gun will receive yet another chance to become that “Monster of Rock” he apparently wanted to be.

Randy Gun – Live from CBGB (Part 2)

Click Here to read more of my Randy Gun Stories.

New Music America Festival Chicago 1982

I found this button in a box full of memorabilia. I had no idea what it was, since I was rarely in Chicago once I went off to College.

I googled the Festival’s name, and then I googled the Mayor of Chicago’s name (since I didn’t remember Chicago having a female Mayor either.)

And then I found the information:

Mayor Byrne’s New Music America Festival
Live from Navy Pier Auditorium
July 10, 1982
Broadcast by WFMT Chicago

OMG! Then it dawns on me that this had to be the LOLO (Love of Life Orchestra) concert, that Randy Gun played in and invited me to, when we both happened to be in Chicago at the same time. (So that button was probably my “Backstage Pass”!)

Sure enough, further clicking around on websites led me to the acknowledgement that Peter Gordon and his Life of Life Orchestra took part in the live broadcasts that Summer, from Navy Pier, as part of the fourth New America Festival.

Crazier yet, further clicking on links brought me to a live recording, of that 1982 Peter Gordon and LOLO concert, that can be heard by clicking “Pt. 3 of 3” in the player below*. (*NOTE – For some reason this player does not work if Firefox is your browser. Come view this page in another browser and it will play correctly.)

Click #3 above to hear LOLO (Love of Life Orchestra) perform the following songs during this live concert recording:

1. Return of the Native
2. Roses on Bond Street
3. Siberia
4. Casino

Here is a list of the Musicians who played in this concert (sorry for any names spelled incorrectly.)

Love of Life Orchestra Musicians:

Chris Berg – Voice
Rebecca Armstrong – Voice
Rik Albani – Trumpet
Bill Obrecht – Saxophone & Flute
Peter Zummo – Composer & Trombone
Jill Kroesen – Percussion
Linda Hudes – Keyboards
Ernie Brooks – Bass
Ned Sublette – Guitar
Randy Gun – Guitar
David Van Tieghem – Drums
Peter Gordon – Saxophone
Paul Schor – Engineer

Peter Gordon & Love of Life Orchestra

The above photo (not mine) is of Randy playing with LOLO, although not from the aforementioned concert, since he had a shaved head that last time I saw him in Chicago. Read more about that story here or click the “Randy Gun Stories” link on the right hand side.

I passed on the information I found about this concert to Randy, Peter Gordon and Ernie Brooks. I thought one of them would be interested in hearing the recording for themselves, since they had actually played in that concert. None of them have acknowledged my email to date.

Oh Well. I thought it was pretty amazing to find a recording online, of a full concert, from 1982!

If you’re a fan of Peter Gordon and Love of Life Orchestra, I hope you enjoy this “find.”


Capturing the Moment or How I make your Photo say something about you

As professional Photographers we are always being challenged by our photo shoots. We have to take an inanimate and unemotional object (like a camera and a lens) and use those to try and create a photo that will stir emotion into the subject or make those that view the photo feel an emotion.

Over the years I’ve had to take that unemotional equipment and make Brides & Grooms appear loving to each other, when they were really very uncomfortable next to each other. I’ve had to take awkward musicians and help them to look cool in front of my camera and I’ve had to take beginning models and actors and teach them how to project their personality into their photos. I feel that it’s my job to find that one thing, that makes someone different, and to capture it on film for them.

Randy Gun - The Necessaries - Photo by Mj Wilson PhotographyI’ve had several people ask me this year (this means you Laura!) what was it (or who was it) that inspired me to become a Photographer. When I was growing up, we didn’t have the Internet and we didn’t have access to the depth of information that people have today. Back then, there really wasn’t any one person who influenced me. My father took up Photography as a hobby and he literally owned everything that Nikon made. He was excellent at shooting inanimate objects and took wonderful photos of all the countries he and my Mom visited, in their travels around the world. I found, that when I picked up that same camera, and directed it towards my friends, I caught something in them – a fleeting moment, a captured glimmer in their eye, and the end result was an awesome photograph. My father noticed this skill of mine right away and he asked me to teach him “how” to shoot people. It frustrated him that he couldn’t capture the same things that I did, when he photographed people, but back then I really didn’t know how to explain it to him, because I didn’t understand it myself. I just somehow “knew” how to do it. My inspiration was really pretty simple…I liked taking photos of beautiful people.

There are two things that I remember from back then…I remember seeing the movie The Eyes of Laura Mars and I was blown away by the visuals. Faye Dunaway played Laura Mars, who was a photographer, and she shot high fashion models on sets that had burning cars in the background. I was transfixed by it all. That was what I wanted to do! To be around that kind of energy and excitement and capture the kind of images that no one else was.

Then I read a statement somewhere that seemed to explain what it was that I was actually already capturing in my photos. I think I read this in a Photography Magazine or a book, and I wish I knew who said it, so I could give them proper credit. What I read was something to the effect that: “You almost have to want to make love to your subject in order to take a good photo of them.”

Randy Gun - The Necessaries - Photo by Mj Wilson PhotographyObviously you can’t take that statement literally, since I have photographed hundreds of women and men, over the years, and I have felt no compulsion to take any of them on as my lovers!

But that feeling is there subconsciously, each and every time I pick up a camera. I’m watching through my viewfinder for that one glance, that one glimmer in their eyes and if I click the shutter fast enough, I have caught it – a moment frozen in time. Back when I shot film I would always know, the moment I clicked that shutter, that the one image I had just captured would be the “best” image out of the bunch. It was just a feeling that hit me in that 60th of a second it took for the camera shutter to open and close. I just “saw” that photo the moment it was captured. I was so dead on with my feelings that nine times out of ten I was correct in knowing which image would be the best.

I want to point out how hard my job is now, when I have to go back and reshoot people who I had already taken awesome photos of, in the past.

For example – Last year I found six rolls of film that I had shot of my ex-boyfriend, Randy Gun. Randy was astounded when I showed them to him because he didn’t remember seeing the images back then (he did see them, but he just doesn’t remember.) He was happy when I sent him scans of the first three images that I found. He then became speechless the weekend I put all of the images online in a Gallery for him to see. After he had looked through all of them, he told me that he had never looked as good as he did in my photos (yes he did, he was just showing some humility.) He said I must have “beheld him” and he thanked me for taking those photos that made him look so good. I told him that I hadn’t done anything special…I had just taken photos of him and his band while they were playing a dive bar in Boston. I just happened to get a lot of good shots out of that one night because I was interested in my subject.

Randy Gun - The Necessaries - Photo by Mj Wilson PhotographySeeing dozens or hundreds of images at a time, is nothing new to me. I sort through hundreds of photos just to choose one good one. I really can’t imagine what it must be like, to be the person on the receiving end of my photos! It must be overwhelming to see so many good photos of yourself, from one source, taken at one time.

When I look back on these old photos that I took of Randy Gun, I can see how the statement I referred to above, was true in a sense. When I shot the photos, I had only just met Randy, so I certainly wasn’t consciously thinking about wanting to make love to him. Yet, the images that I took of him that night were powerful and emotional ones that still hold their own today. When I managed to catch a shot of Randy looking at me, through my camera lens, there was an emotion captured there from him, that was being directed at me. It makes me think that those images somehow told the story of what was to transpire between us later. It was almost like the camera knew our story before we even did.

Which brings me back to present day. How do you take photos of someone now, who you had already taken great photos of 32 years ago? That is a big challenge since the times have changed, the people have changed, the emotions have changed, etc. When I started helping Randy build a website last year, my images from 32 years ago were the foundation that his website was built on. We really didn’t need any other photos…except for the fact that it was 32 years later and he didn’t look anything like those images anymore. We needed new photos of him, ones that told a different “story” than those that I had taken of that 25-year-old guitar player, 32 years ago.

Randy Gun - The Necessaries - Photo by Mj Wilson PhotographyTherein lied my challenge. How do I trump myself? This was not just an “easy to do” photo shoot with a cute young subject. On top of being older and heavier and looking nothing like he did in the past, Randy also added the burden of trying to limit the time and place I would be “allowed” to take this updated photo of him.

For a couple of months we argued over the fact that we needed to do this updated photo shoot. At first Randy refused to do the shoot, then he made up a million different excuses on why he couldn’t come meet up with me, for a free photo session, while I was in New York. I begged him to listen to me and let me do what I needed to do, because this was all about him anyway. I needed time to shoot, and I needed different environmental backgrounds to choose from. We had the whole city of New York to work with and a week to do it in.

The end result? Randy limited my time by “allowing” me one half hour to do the shoot and we were going to have to do this half hour shoot late at night, in a darkened bar, where I would also be struggling with lighting. Did I happen to mention the fact that up to this point we hadn’t even seen each other in person for at least 30 years? All of this work and planning had been going on through phone calls, email, and texting. I even suggested meeting up for 15 minutes, the day before the shoot, so we could get over the weirdness of just seeing each other in person again, after so many years. He didn’t have that 15 minutes to spare me either.

So, Randy showed up for the shoot, it was dark, he was uncomfortable, and then he told me about how he wanted to be photographed, in a particular pose that had worked for him in the past, but it was a pose which looked utterly ridiculous to do now, at his current age.

I had less than 10 minutes to shoot an uncooperative subject in a hotel that was trying to prevent me from shooting in the first place. Because I know what I am doing, I managed to pull this shot out of that 10 minute time frame.

Randy Gun / Randy Burns - May 2011 - Photo by Mj Wilson Photography

Photo of Randy Gun / Randy Burns – May 2011 – Empire Hotel Mezzanine, New York City

I am very happy with the result and proud of the work that I did in that limited amount of time.

Are you wondering what Randy’s reaction was to the photo? He didn’t like it. He actually liked an image that I grudgingly took of him in that old favorite pose of his, just to get him to shut up about it.

This photo makes Randy look better than he actually does in person. The photo had to be touched up a lot, to make it look this way, which was another thing that Randy didn’t appreciate being done for him, (for free).

So there you have it. I certainly didn’t want to make love to Randy now (figuratively or literally) in order to get a good photo of him. With my background and skills I was able to produce an excellent photo from an unfortunate circumstance.

Another hazard of our trade is ending up with unappreciative clients. No matter how good of an image we have captured of them, there are those, like Randy, who don’t appreciate what you have done for them, be it from 32 years ago or this past year.

I guess I could pass on a quote to Randy, that my photo friend Clay Blackmore uses: “You might hate your photos now but I guarantee that you will love them 30 years from now!”

In the end I feel confident in my abilities and I know for sure that no one took better photos of Randy, than I did, 32 years ago.

As far as the image above, that I took of him last year – I did manage to capture the moment and the photo does tell a “new story” about Randy Gun. Also, it is probably the last good image that anyone will ever take of him.

Sad, but true.


Read more of my stories about Randy Gun

How I became That Girl from Boston

I didn’t know I had earned the above mentioned moniker until almost two years after the fact, but this is the background and the events that led up to me becoming known as “That Girl” from Boston.

This is another “Six Degrees of Separation” story that should have been part of an earlier post of mine, but my ex-boyfriend, Randy Gun, negotiated with me to keep the information out of his story. While I kept my word on that, he in turn, did not keep his word about promises he made to me, so…the story now gets to be told.

In an earlier post I wrote about meeting my idol, Steven Tyler, I brought up the theory of “Six Degrees of Separation,” which basically means that there are really only six people who separate you from any other person. In my blog post about Steven Tyler, only one person separated me from meeting him.

This second “Six Degrees of Separation” story that affected my life, didn’t have such a great outcome but the story of it linked me to not one, but two very popular musicians at the time, who thought it best, for some reason, to mess with my personal life! This second “Six Degrees” story ping ponged from Boston to LA to New York and then back to Boston. This story happened during my second year of living in Boston (The Boston Years – Part 2).

In September of 1979, I met Randy Gun, who was a musician from New York, and our romance ramped up very quickly. We met at an after hours club on a Saturday night where I approached him and asked if I could shoot photos of him. He said we could do it the next day or in two weeks when he came back to town. We spent the next day together and that night I went with him to watch his band, The Necessaries, play at The Rat, and to shoot photos. By the next morning, when he rode with me on the subway to work, he was begging me not to see anyone else but him!

I had gone to the club the previous night to shoot photos of him and his band. While Randy & I got along easily and seemed to have a lot in common, I had no intention of starting a relationship with him. We sat and talked that night during breaks and I noticed that he had a wedding ring on. I didn’t have much experience with relationships since I was only 20 years old at the time and he was 25. I didn’t know many married people so when I noticed the ring I asked if he was married? He replied that he wore the ring to make it seem like he was “taken” and wearing it usually kept girls away from him. (Funny thing is…I read on Facebook recently that some guy had told this same story to a friend of mine! Hmm…)

Anyhow, he did tell me that he lived with a girl in New York, who was older than him, but the relationship was not a serious one and it was on its way to fizzling out.

During the next break, we went next door so he could grab something to eat and when we came back down the stairs into the club, with no warning, Randy pushed me up against a wall and kissed me. He couldn’t keep away from me the rest of the night and I was a bit overwhelmed by all the attention he gave me.

Two days after he got back home, Randy was on the phone telling me he needed to get out of New York and he asked me to come pick him up the following weekend, after his show at Trax. My brother and I went to pick him up the following Saturday night, and Randy came to spend more time with me in Boston. The next two months were a whirlwind of me going to New York to be with him or him coming to Boston to be with me. I was with him at pretty much every show his band performed at but we also got together during their weekends off as well. The times we had to be apart we literally spent hours talking on the phone.

But…Randy was still living with this girl in New York, which didn’t make me very happy, but he had nowhere else to go and that frustrated him. We didn’t argue about it at all…I think I just accepted that it was part of this “situation” we were in together. Aside from that one obstacle, Randy gave me everything I could want out of a relationship. He was very gentle and considerate with me, he looked out for me, if he said he would call me at 5:00, the phone would be ringing at 4:45. I knew that Randy cared for and loved me, which was a welcome change from a previous relationship that I had been in.

We talked about him moving to Boston but since he was a musician, the music scene in Boston left a lot to be desired when compared to New York. By October 16th, Randy said that he wanted me to move to New York, so he could show me everything the city had to offer and so we wouldn’t have to be apart, or sleep apart anymore. On October 18th, Randy told me he was on the verge of moving out. My diary even says that during one phone conversation Randy worried that our hard partying would hurt the babies he wanted to have with me! On October 29th, the night of a really big show, Randy pulled me aside and told me he was falling in love with me.

On November 4th, I received a phone call from a girlfriend of mine who was living in LA at the time. She asked how my love life was and I told her about my whirlwind romance with Randy Gun, the guitarist from New York City. She told me that she was seeing Thomas Trask, who was also from New York, and who was a guitarist in The David Johansen Band. I vaguely knew of Johansen, that he had been the lead singer of The New York Dolls, and he was from New York, but that was about all I knew. She told Thomas I was with Randy and when I talked to my boyfriend later that night, I shared the news of my conversation with her, and the fact that she was seeing Thomas Trask.

Well, Randy sort of freaked out when he heard about this conversation. He asked me if I had told my friend his name, and the name of his band. I told him that of course I had, why wouldn’t I share the news that we were together? Randy and I had a pretty intense three hour talk that night, about the whole situation we were in, and he told me that everyone knew everyone else in New York and he was afraid of gossip getting around.

This obviously upset me and it was a stupid statement, because everyone who was in the band or around the band, knew that Randy and I were together. Our relationship wasn’t a secret, nor was he trying to keep me a secret. (Besides, how can you keep someone a secret, when she is with you at every Concert/Show you play at?) I told Randy that I didn’t want to keep seeing him because I could foresee that I was going to end up being hurt in the end. I wanted to walk away but Randy wouldn’t let me go. I asked him not to call me again and that lasted for about three days. Then Randy was on the phone calling me again and arranging his next visit.

On November 12th, Randy asked me to move to New York to live with him. During that same phone call, he asked me to come to New York, the following week for a few days. The band’s last gig for awhile was the upcoming weekend where they had several shows scheduled in one night’s time. I would be going up for those Saturday shows and then staying a few days past that time.

On Friday, November 16th, Randy called me at 5:45 am to tell me he had been kicked out of his apartment on Tuesday, the day after we had last spoke. He had been living in the band’s rehearsal space since then and he asked me to come to New York right then and there. A friend and I caught the next bus to New York and Randy met me at my hotel around 2:00 pm. He was quieter than usual and more introspective. Randy was upset about band business and with getting kicked out of his apartment. He was glad I was there for him and he told me that once the weekend was over, and the gigs were all done, he would be coming back to live with me in Boston. At last there was a bright spot on the horizon for me!

That Saturday, his band (The Necessaries) played three different shows, at two different venues. They opened for the Talking Heads at the Capitol Theatre in New Jersey and then they had two shows at Hurrah’s, in New York City, later that night. On Sunday, Randy and I spent the day walking around the city, going to Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral (odd as that sounds, that is what my diary says that we did!) and going to the Mudd Club later with Ernie Brooks and his girlfriend. On Monday we took a cab to the bus station and he told me he couldn’t come with me right then, because he had a dentist appointment to go to the next day. He said he would take the bus to Boston after that.

Four days later, when I hadn’t heard from Randy at all (which was very unusual) I broke down and called his ex-girlfriends apartment. Randy answered the phone and my world fell apart.

Randy told me that after I had left on Monday, he had gotten fired by the band. (He actually told me he had quit the band but in later years I heard the real story.) He literally was on the street and had nowhere to go. Randy told me that he loved me more than her, but he had to start at the bottom again and needed someone who could take care of him.

I was only 20 years old. I could barely take care of myself, let alone another person, so I had nothing to offer him. His best bet was to return to the older girlfriend and that’s what he did. The deal he had to make with her, in order to return to her apartment, was: “No more seeing, no more talking, no more sleeping with, that Girl from Boston.”

So you are probably yawning by now, thinking: “What’s the big deal? It’s just another break-up story.” Ahh…but let me tell you how the girlfriend found out about us.

What I didn’t know at that time is that the music scene in New York is very incestuous and everyone knows pretty much everyone else. When I talked to my girlfriend in LA on November 4th, and she told Thomas Trask about me and my new boyfriend, Randy Gun, apparently…Thomas told David Johansen about it and David Johansen told his good friend Debbie Harry (lead singer of Blondie) about it, and Debbie Harry was apparently friends with the girl that my boyfriend (Randy Gun) lived with in New York! Debbie Harry thought it would be a good idea to let this “friend” know, that her boyfriend was cheating on her, with some girl from Boston.

As a small (not really) backstory…at this point in time (1979) David Johansen had already achieved cult-like fame for his years fronting the band The New York Dolls. Blondie’s Heart of Glass had already topped the charts in early 1979. Blondie’s hit One Way or Another topped the charts soon after that. In June of 1979 (before I had even met Randy) Debbie Harry had been photographed by Annie Liebovitz and was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine. That October, I actually watched Blondie perform on Saturday Night Live, while waiting for Randy to call me.

At this point in 1979 both David Johansen and Debbie Harry were already international recording stars. Why they saw fit to mess with two young kids lives, is beyond me to this day. Neither my boyfriend or I was famous or well known. We were just two young kids, starting out in life, while Harry and Johansen had at least 10-15 years on us. They had absolutely nothing to gain by passing on gossip they had heard about two people they didn’t even know.

Funny thing was – I always “blamed” Debbie Harry for breaking up our relationship when in actuality she pushed Randy towards me, because his girlfriend kicked him out, upon hearing the news of my existence. It wasn’t until the band kicked him out, a few days later, that he reversed his trajectory and went back to where he started from.

I never really held any of that against Randy. New York was a tough place to live in, even way back then. I didn’t like it but I understood why he had to go back to her. I was upset and shed some tears at the time, but it wasn’t a breakup that really broke my heart.

Needless to say, less than a week later, Randy was on the phone calling me again. All that Spring Randy kept asking me to send him bus or plane tickets so he could come back to see me (I never did send anything to him because I didn’t want to be hurt again.) I knew full well that had Randy stayed with the band, or had he kept coming to Boston to play, he wouldn’t have stopped seeing me at all, and our story would have had a different outcome.

That relationship he went back to didn’t last out the year (big surprise). Over the next two years, Randy called and sent me postcards when he was overseas playing with Peter Gordon and Love of Life Orchestra, and he talked about coming to see me in Boston or LA, where I ended up moving to.

When I came to New York the Summer that my Mother passed away, Randy and I met up again and it was like we had never been apart. Within a few hours of seeing each other again, in the same way he had done two years before, without any warning, he pushed me up against a subway wall, kissed me and told me he wanted me to come home with him. It was very easy to accept his offer, so Randy took me in and being with him helped me through the pain I was going through, over losing my Mother. We also ended up getting back together a year after that, when we were both in Chicago at the same time. So in the end, no one really kept us apart at all.

I found out about my moniker “That Girl from Boston” when I was trying to get in contact with Randy, that Summer I came back to New York. No one had cell phones or email back then and you had to call a bunch of people, to track someone down. When I was calling around, everyone wanted to know “Who” was looking to talk to Randy and when I said I was a “friend” from Boston, the responses were: “OH – You’re That Girl from Boston.” When I questioned Randy about those statements later, he said that our story had caused quite a stir, back in the day, and I was amused to hear that our little romance had so many people talking about it! Little did I know that I was so “infamous,” in New York City of all places!

It’s also funny to see how life comes full circle.

Today (September 29th) marks 32 years since I first met my ex-boyfriend, Randy Gun. I came back in contact with Randy, earlier this year (after 30 years) and coincidentally both Blondie and The New York Dolls started touring again this year.

Think I could have gotten backstage at either of those concerts if I told them who I was at the gate?!

I never was a fan of Blondie or The New York Dolls, to begin with, and after what they did to me, I wouldn’t give them a second of my time.

Funny thing is, I had no idea who Thomas Trask was or what he looked like. When I sat down to write this story, I finally decided to google his name. Kudos to my girlfriend who he was seeing in LA! Thomas was a very good looking guy back then and I applaud her on her taste in men!

Since I didn’t know Thomas (then or now) and he was the one who thought it was a good idea to tell David Johansen about me and my boyfriend, Randy Gun, I just hope that my blog post doesn’t turn around and bite him in the ass, which it could, since you can find out many interesting things about people, if you just google their name.

If Thomas did have a girlfriend back then (Fall of 1979), she can now find out, through my blog post, that he cheated on her, with my friend.

Touche!

You Can’t Help Those Who Don’t Want To Help Themselves

I’ve been very busy the past four months helping my ex-boyfriend, Randy Gun, get his website and blog set up and going.

Besides creating multiple Music Video Slideshows that used my images and his music, I’ve handled getting Randy’s music digitized, registered online, and set up for sales on iTunes, CDBaby, Amazon.com, Rhapsody, etc. I’ve also been the Administrator for his business Facebook page and for his blog, overseeing all transfers of information and registration at new websites.

I’ve called in favors from local vendors (in my area) on Randy’s behalf, and over half a dozen fans, fellow music aficionados and retail record sellers have provided me with free services, that I passed on to Randy. Several people (from around the world) even helped provide digitized copies of his music, when Randy’s original vinyl recordings turned out to be damaged.

I’ve personally spent over 320 hours of time creating Randy’s website as well as teaching him how to work on his website, blog and Facebook pages. It’s not rocket science, but not everything works smoothly, or correctly, each time, so there are always workarounds that need to be explained, when teaching someone how to work on the Web.

I had also created several promo items that Randy had expressed an interest in selling on his website. These items needed his “Stamp of Approval” before they could become available for sale.

I already had plans to be in New York City for a concert in August and added some extra time onto the trip so I could meet up with him for a new photo shoot and to be able to go over some of the web issues we were having, in person, and to get his approval on the other items.

Among other requests for his website, Randy had asked if I could get him “endorsements” from industry companies. He told me which company he was most interested in, and I told him I would take care of it for him.

A week before I arrived in New York, I called that company, on Randy’s behalf, and got a wonderful, positive response.

Based on just my initial phone call, my contact at the company offered several different perks for Randy, which included free use of equipment, free rehearsal space and even the possibility of some “exposure” via an interview, if they liked him and his website. An appointment was made for both Randy and I to meet with this company the following Thursday, when I was in New York City.

I was very excited to have made this strong industry contact so quickly and was looking forward to our meeting at their offices the following week. I called Randy that day with the news and told him we now had more work to take care of, the day before, so we could be prepared for the industry meeting on Thursday. I suggested that we meet up that Wednesday afternoon to prepare for Thursday’s meeting as well as take care of all the other business at hand.

I arrived in New York on Wednesday afternoon and prepared all the paperwork for Randy to look over and got the laptop set up so we could dive right in to work when he arrived.

Randy was a “No-Show.”

Randy didn’t respond to any of my emails or text messages and left no message for me, about any schedule changes.

Not knowing what else to do, I showed up on time, for our Thursday morning meeting with the Industry Rep.

Again, Randy was a “No-Show.”

Since Randy left me with no other choice, I took the meeting myself, got a tour of their facilities and saw what they had to offer to Artists. I made an awesome industry contact that I will now use for my other Musician Clients.

I received a wonderful compliment from the Industry Rep in that he recognized that I was a “Facilitator”. I am someone who gets things done. This is why I have been successful in my life and it is also why my Clients hire me – so I get things done for them.

It’s “Basic Business 101” that you do not blow off meetings that might help you in the future. If Randy couldn’t make it to the meeting, I could have attended on his behalf, with some preparation from him, on what he wanted accomplished. Randy didn’t even take the time to clue me in on what he wanted, nor did he extend the professional courtesy of a phone call to me, or the Industry Rep, when he decided to not show up for either of the two scheduled meetings.

Not only did Randy cause embarrassment for me with his actions, he came across as totally unprofessional in the eyes of this industry contact, when he couldn’t be bothered to even show up for the appointment that I had made for him, at his request.

My team and I have done everything in our power to build Randy a functional, creative and profitable website, which was not an easy task to do for someone who had been out of the industry for close to 30 years. How do you make someone like that relevant today? I think we accomplished that task with flying colors and built Randy a solid website presence which was based on the strong images I had taken of him, 32 years ago.

It is unconscionable for Randy to treat me or my staff this way, after all the hard work we have done for him. Why ask for something and then refuse to be part of the process? It simply doesn’t make any sense at all.

Since Randy refuses to address, “own up to” or refuses to apologize for his actions last week, I am taking the issue to a public forum, so others will know how unappreciative he is of all the work that has been done for him, to date.


Follow up 8/15/11: After three weeks of no emails or calls from Randy, I finally received an email from him late last Friday night. His “answer” to all of the above? He deleted me as the Admin on his Facebook Business Page and “unfriended” me personally, on Facebook! How’s that for good business sense? What grown man even does such a thing? There was no apology or reference to his non-communicative status for over three weeks of time, nor an answer or apology for being a “No Show” at the industry meeting in New York City, that he had asked me to set up for him.

The only responsibility that Randy had for his website was to write blog posts on a regular basis to keep the site supplied with content. In four months of time he only managed to write two stories for the blog, and several other advertising snippets for the sale of his products. Everything else had been created by myself or my staff. We had been waiting for over a month for him to write an updated intro to his blog and to announce his website on his Facebook pages, to make the launch of his website official. These two things were never accomplished by him, yet his website was live and had been selling music downloads for him, for close to two months already.

When I returned from New York last week and we still hadn’t heard from Randy, we changed his password to the admin area of the blog because technically, he was a Client that hadn’t paid, because he hadn’t completed the work that he had agreed to do. (If you don’t pay your electric bill, the electric service gets turned off.)

In his email to me on Friday, Randy told me that he could “no longer work with us” because we had “deleted his website” before he could “take any actions to prevent us from doing so!” (His website wasn’t deleted, he just couldn’t access it anymore.)

Randy didn’t “own” his website. We had registered the domain name and were hosting it under our corporate account. Randy had not paid us anything for this website as we were comping him the design of the website and blog, in return for his contributions to it, and for his referrals to other friends. It’s rather odd for him to think that he “owned” the website when he hadn’t invested anything monetarily into it and he hadn’t even completed the tasks required of him, to fulfill his end of the Agreement he had made with us.

Randy was interested in his website while I was spending countless hours creating Music Videos for him or getting his music registered and online. His interest started to wane, and he become more and more unavailable, every time something was needed from him, or when he had to actually do some work or complete a task himself.

Randy also told us in his email that the website (that we had designed at no cost to him) was “worthless” to him now, because he was bothered by the “control” we had over it, when we changed his login password. (This happened after he had been non-responsive to us, for over three weeks of time.) Again, no acknowledgement or comment or apology for any of his actions (or rather non-actions) for basically disappearing and being a “No Show” at the industry meeting that he had requested I set up for him.

Another excuse that Randy conveniently came up with was that if something “wasn’t putting food on his table right now, he had no time to be involved in it!” He also said (and I quote:) “I don’t believe I ever asked you for a website, Mj.” This comment, of course, came after we had already been working on his website with him, for over five months of time.

Randy had no clue, whatsoever, on how to run a blog, much less a website, much less a Facebook Business Page. I had spent countless hours of time with Randy, online and on the phone and in person, trying to teach him how to work on his website/blog/FB Page. None of my time was compensated. In fact, Randy couldn’t even be bothered to buy me a cup of coffee, when I shot photos of him in New York, back in May. Randy conveniently found the time for me to provide another free photo shoot to him, but he couldn’t be bothered to spend 15 minutes of his time, to sit down and talk, and catch up with me, the person who he hadn’t seen in over 30 years. I was providing all my services to him for free, based on our relationship to each other from the past. In return, I got absolutely nothing from him.

In his last email, Randy also made the comment that he would rather pay us for the work we had accomplished so far, instead of continuing on with our original Agreement, where we comped him our services in exchange for his. When we sent him a bill for our services to date, he ignored the payment request and never paid it.

A true character reference: In early July, during an online chat session, Randy had told me that he was taking the Music Video Slideshows I had created for him and his old band, The Necessaries, and all the photos I had taken of them, and he was putting those materials, (and all their hits in website traffic that I had achieved for him) “in his back pocket” when he went to negotiate with his old band members, to “sell” them on the idea of reuniting, to record new music together to sell online. Isn’t it funny how Randy was so enthusiastic to use the materials I had created for him, (with no compensation, or credit to me whatsoever), to try and resurrect his career with a band that had fired him over 32 years ago, yet he couldn’t be bothered to uphold his end of the Agreement, that he made with us, for the design of his website?

Hope that meeting worked out well for him, because Karma is a bitch.

The moral of the story? Even “Free” isn’t enough for some people.

It took me, coming back into Randy’s life (30 years later) to get him to do something with his music. If it wasn’t for me, his music wouldn’t be online at all or for sale on iTunes. There wouldn’t be four Music Video Slideshows showcasing his music with my images, and he wouldn’t have the 60+ images that I gave him of himself, from those early years.

He didn’t appreciate any of the things that I gave him or did for him, which is more than obvious by his actions (or lack thereof).

I have no idea why Randy suddenly decided that all our hard work wasn’t valuable anymore. Maybe he is just living up to the “unpredictable, moody ex-rocker” stereotype, which works if you are successful or Keith Richards, but doesn’t work so well if you are just my old boyfriend, who nobody knows/remembers.

And now — because of his weirdness/craziness/unprofessionalism — Randy has no website, no Blog, no place where he can update friends and fans on new music releases or direct people to, where they can buy his music. He also has a truly hurt and confused former friend.

The lesson I have learned from all this is…even with “Friends”, have a contract or signed document in place before you “donate” any of your time or energy. Otherwise you will have a sad tale like this one to tell, instead of a wonderful, fun project to show, that you created together.


Follow up 11/10/11: Just when you think this story couldn’t get any weirder…It’s been three months since I last heard from Randy Gun…I was helping a new Client move some files over from MySpace to his website when he made a comment that he had seen a MySpace page for Randy Gun. I told him that Randy didn’t have a MySpace page. Curious, I did a search on MySpace for “Randy Gun” and lo and behold, Randy had both a personal and an “Official Musician” page set up! On Randy’s “Official” MySpace Music page were links to his two songs, that I had created the artwork for, that I had digitized the music for and set up for him to sell, on CDBaby and iTunes. He was trying to sell his music now, via a MySpace Music Page. I thought this was pretty ballsy, for someone who had declared to me, that he had “no interest” in selling his music online, and/or having a website presence, and for someone who had basically run away from his Agreement with me, and for someone who had failed to make any sort of payment to me yet, for the 5-6 months of work that I had already done, to make his songs available for purchase online.

I immediately sent Randy a “cease and desist” letter, telling him that he was violating my copyright, by using materials that he had no right to be using, since he had never paid for the services that created them. Randy did own his songs, but he only owned one warped 45rpm record. The only reason Randy’s songs were online, was because of me and the work I had done to create the digitized versions of those songs and images. Randy had no right to use my materials, without payment for them, or without my permission, so I told Randy to remove the materials immediately, or I would take further steps to remedy the situation on my own.

Of course, there was no response from Randy and the songs didn’t disappear. I sent Randy one more warning, via email, and gave him 24 hours to remove the songs before I took further action. Again, Randy just ignored the request.

The next day, I made formal complaints with both CDBaby and MySpace, telling them that an Artist on their websites had purposely violated my copyright per the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and I requested that the material be taken down immediately. Randy’s songs and his profiles were removed completely, from all websites, within one week’s time.

Copyright infringement is a very serious offense. On top of everything else that Randy handled unprofessionally with me earlier this year, the fact that he would knowingly violate a fellow Artist’s copyright, and refuse to remove my copyrighted materials when asked to do so, was despicable and disrespectful on his part.

After the music had been removed, I wrote Randy a final email, telling him that even after his ridiculous and dramatic “exit” from our Agreement, back in August, I had been the bigger person, and I had left his music online for him, even though he had never paid me for the work that created them. (I knew no one would find the music since there wasn’t a website/blog or Facebook Business page that would drive traffic to the music.) But now, because he had obviously lied to me back in August, to try and get out of his promises and responsibilities, and because of his new subversive behavior, in creating a new web presence to sell his music online, (after he had told me he had no interest in doing so), and brazenly using the materials that wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t created them, was taking it more than one step too far.

I was really incredulous that Randy would/could stoop to so low of a behavior, when I had already thought he had reached rock bottom, on the Douche Bag meter. I really have no words to explain how all this has affected me on both a professional and personal level.

Even if you disregard the fact that Randy and I were a couple in the past and don’t even think about the fact that we should have been friends now (after all I had done for him)…I can’t believe that one human being, can treat another human being, in the way that Randy has treated me.

Dealing with him, throughout this whole process, that lasted from March through November, has ruined whatever good memories I ever had of him, and replaced them with these awful memories, that are full of outright lies and disrespect, that he showed me on both a personal and professional level. The final slap in the face was that I was taken advantage of, time and time again, by someone who initially professed to be “my friend.” I’m sure I am not the only person that Randy Gun has treated this way, which is why I post these matters in a public forum.

Someday, somehow, Randy Gun will have to account for how he has treated other people. He can’t keep running away from, and ignoring situations that he has been involved in, without answering for his actions. He can’t keep making and then breaking Agreements without consequence.

Since Randy feels absolutely no remorse or guilt over how he has handled this entire situation with me, and has never had the compulsion to straighten this out with me, or apologize to me, or own up to his actions with me, I think it’s fair to expose his actions, to his friends, family, co-workers and fellow musicians, so they can see what kind of person that Randy Gun really is, and how he sees fit to treat other people/women/friends/Artists. Hopefully no one else will have to go through, what I have just experienced with him.


To see a portion of the work that I created for Randy, click one or more, of the links below:

Visit Randy’s Website

Click Here to view my Photo Gallery of Randy Gun

Click one of the links below to view the Music Videos I created for Randy Gun and The Necessaries:

MUSIC SLIDESHOW: Listen to Runaway Child (Minors Beware) by The Necessaries (My images/their music)

MUSIC SLIDESHOW: Listen to You Can Borrow My Car by The Necessaries (My images/their music)

MUSIC SLIDESHOW: Listen to I Do by Randy Gun (My images/his music)

MUSIC: Listen to I Apologize by Randy Gun

Predicting Trends: Selling Online

As I’ve already posted before, I don’t watch a lot of news shows nor do I read a daily newspaper. I gleen information from all over the place, and I get it in bits and pieces and retain and apply it, as it pertains to me and/or my business ventures.

I have a new “prediction” that I’ve felt coming for awhile now. Since “traditional” business start ups are almost obsolete and with our economy in the shit state it’s been in, for the past few years, (and with no let up in sight,) I’ve been telling people that selling things online, is going to be what everyone will have to do, no matter what their occupation is.

When I was at the gym last week, I was listening to songs on my mp3 player and happened to look up at the Fox News ticker. I saw one sentence that grabbed my attention: Music sales are up for the first time since 2004*.

That one statement is very pertinent as it has confirmed what I have been thinking about and helping others to accomplish already.

The first half of this year, I came back in contact with several musician friends that I knew from the past. Through emails or phone calls, the conversations came around to asking if they were doing the same things as they did in the past, with regards to their music, (i.e., recording, playing out, doing session work, etc.)

Randy Gun, plays out a few times a year, but hasn’t recorded new music, of his own, in a long time.

Kevin Lee, plays out pretty steadily and keeps churning out CD’s of his music. I was surprised (and pleased) to see that he has a basic website where he can sell his music and provide fans with information about himself and his band. We will help him upgrade the look of his site in the near future.

Jeff Thomas had a website for his music, for a time, but it became too much for him to take care of, and update, so he let it slide. He plays out on a daily basis and is getting tired of the constant running around. He is ready to “set up shop” online and try to market his music that way. We are starting with a photo shoot in New York and building his website after that.

After reconnecting with these guys, I searched through my closets and boxes and found all sorts of treasures, that I had received from them over the years, and throughout their music careers, like demo tapes, 7” singles, albums, band promo posters, guitar pics, T-shirts, record sleeves and even rolls of film, that I had taken of them.

I started scanning my images (we shot real film back then), so I could post them on my blog and share them.

I got creative one night and took some of my images and created a Slideshow set to Runaway Child (Minors Beware) which was one of the songs that Randy’s band had put out, as a 7” single. I had no idea how the Slideshow/Music Video would turn out, but it’s been so well received that I have now done multiple Slideshows, to songs by different artists, and I even have my own YouTube Channel now.

I even ended up finding old movie film footage that I shot as an “homage” to one of our favorite songs, Perfect Wave, by The Peter Dayton Band. That song had not been available online anywhere, until I posted it with my movie attached to it. That one song has received 10 times the response of the others, getting almost 200 hits in less than two weeks time! People have actually written me emails, “thanking me” for putting some of this music online, since it hadn’t been available anywhere else. (Since then I’ve “met” Peter Dayton online (who I didn’t know personally before), and he gave me permission to use his music how I saw fit! He got a kick out of the fact that I had created something using my images/movies and his music.)

In my emails and conversations with Randy & Jeff, (who didn’t have websites), I asked if they still wanted to do session work, or play out more, and of course their answer was “Yes”. Since creating websites is so easy for me to do, I told them I would help them build a website and blog for themselves, because I strongly believe that in this day and age, you need to develop a brand for yourself, (whatever it is that you do) and get your name out there, or no one will know you exist.

I started with Randy because I had some really great photos to use, and I knew I could build a strong web presence for him, around those images.

Randy was hesitant at first, about starting such a big project like a website, but I know the idea has grown on him. All he asked me for initially, was to take his solo music and get it on YouTube, with a Slideshow of images, like I had already done with his band’s songs. Once that was done, it easily provided links between YouTube, my website/blog, and then his website/blog, which in turn drives traffic to all our sites.

As Randy’s website has progressed and taken shape, the idea of it becoming a reality has made him more enthusiastic about it and he has come up with some requests of his own, of what he wanted to see on the website.

Since I am very good at details and all things administrative as well, I also took care of registering Randy’s music on Discogs (which is no easy feat, since your submissions have to be “voted” on, in order to be accepted into that music database.) Some people wait months to have their submissions voted in. It took me less than a week to get Randy’s submissions approved.

Randy mentioned one day that he has always wanted to sell his music on iTunes, but knew he would never get around to doing it himself. Taking care of that for him, took me less than a day. I got him signed up on CDBaby, where he can sell his music and who also pushed his music through to the big guns like iTunes, Amazon.com, Rhapsody, etc.

Once Randy was signed up to start selling his music online, it took less than three days to get the links from iTunes and the other download sites, so his music went “live” on his website, blog and Facebook pages by the end of the third day. The Music Players and product links supplied from both iTunes and CDBaby make ordering very easy for customers, and is a wonderful, professional touch to add to his website.

Best part of it all? Randy had his first music sale, the very day his iTunes player went live, and he has had several sales since then.

I didn’t even expect that to happen so quickly, so it was a pleasant surprise for both of us.

One of Randy’s singles was also chosen as a “Featured Song” on CDBaby’s New Releases page.

Needless to say, Randy is now very interested in getting more of his music online. He has already found master tapes, of previously unreleased songs, which will hopefully make it to his website and iTunes very shortly.

In my “travels” of getting his music online and building his website, I have met many old fans of his, who asked me, to ask him personally, “when” he would be releasing new material! That is the greatest compliment for a musician, to hear that fans are “waiting” for more of your music to be released!

Randy and I have been brainstorming recently about what else we can sell on his website, such as T-Shirts, the Music Slideshows, photos, etc. All these types of “branded” products, can easily be sold from your own website, to promote yourself or your band.

I guess timing is everything and it’s a good thing that I am able to help Randy and Jeff get their websites up and their music online because according to the articles I read today they said that digital album sales are part of the reason that music sales are up because digital sales alone are up 10% over the midyear point in 2010, and have increased 11% so far this year.

The websites, blogs and videos I’ve already created for Randy, Jeff and Kevin have generated renewed interest in their work, and even specific requests for more music, along the same lines, of what they created before.

This kind of interest, website traffic and hits on YouTube are now allowing them to take advantage of creating and selling the music that is important to them, and being able to share their music, with a much larger audience, than they ever could have in the past.

Some are even taking this renewed interest in their music and trying to get old bands, back together, with the express purpose of recording new music together, to sell online. The possibilities are really endless at this point in time, with what they will be able to do with their music.

For skeptics who think that selling a song online for only 99 cents isn’t worth the trouble to do, according to Billboard, Eminem’s Recovery Album is the first album to sell One Million Downloads! One million x .99 cents = a lot of money!

If you are a Musician, and want to get a creative, custom-designed website for yourself and/or your band, and also need help getting your music registered, digitized and online, Contact Me for information and rates, on how I can help you get those services taken care of quickly, so you can start building your brand and selling your music online.

And please, make sure you have awesome, professional photos that showcase you and/or your band, all over your website! I also travel worldwide for Photo Session Bookings.

Remember that people do judge you, by what they see. If you want to be regarded as a professional (in anything you do) make sure your website showcases you and your work in the most professional way. Just having a “free” template website, on platforms that appeal to the masses, is not going to make you stand out as an individual, in any way, shape or form.

You have a worldwide audience now for your music. Make your audience’s experience with you, when they visit your website and/or blog, a memorable one, and an experience that they want to come back to, again and again.

Don’t wait even one more day, to get involved in your music again. Take the steps now, to bring your creativity and talent onto the Internet, where the world can find out more about you and your music.

Just like Randy did.


* Related articles:

LA Times Music Blog – Nielsen SoundScan 2011 midyear report: Music sales up for a change

Tech Crunch – Say What? Thanks To Digital Music, Album Sales Up For The First Time Since 2004

Billboard – Eminem’s ‘Recovery’ First Album to Sell 1 Million Downloads, Adele Probably Next