Sunset Blvd 2022
Facilitator to the stars details his existence on the road, in the air and behind the bars to bare the music business’ fascinating underbelly.
That David Libert used to live rock ‘n’ roll life to the fullest – with sex, drugs and other types of what can be perceived as debauchery – and not only lived to tell the tale but also would get things done while in the midst of music-related madness speaks volumes of his stamina, of course, yet first and foremost of his utter professionalism. Which is why the “Warrior” in the title of the veteran’s memoir may become “warts and all” – not requiring even a pinch of salt to spice his stories – by the time the reader will turn this tome’s last page. It’s almost never ugly, though – detailing their off-stage shenanigans, Libert doesn’t have a bad word for any of his former charges – so those looking for dirty anecdotes should better stick to accounts of sensation-seekers who didn’t spend as many years behind the scenes as David and saw only the tip of showbiz icebergs he as a road manager had to steer the artists’ ships around.
His was a hard work, and the author doesn’t attempt to say that arranging tour logistics for future legends came easy – but it came natural to the former performer who had left the fold of THE HAPPENINGS, once such their hits as “See You In September” had started to dry out, over differences towards further prospects, and thus could speak the same language as the colorful likes of FUNKADELIC. With “gonna be a fine gig” as his motto, Libert embarked on each new endeavor for the sake of exciting experience rather than money – or both, in case of saving greenbacks from rabbits during the “Billion Dollar Babies” photoshoot – and this is what his book is about: landing at the right place at the right time, albeit not always in the right state of mind. Still, with dozen of people depending on David, he opted for efficacy, making “sure that everyone had what they needed to do their job and that everything worked according to plan” – being held responsible for any screwup and given no credit for smooth operation – yet he doesn’t try to imply the work was a grind, because “the jokes, the pranks, the camaraderie were infectious and non-stop” – the sign of a well-oiled machine.
At least, it felt this way during Libert’s stint with ALICE COOPER – apparently, his favorite, not too weird or wayward, ward – and not for nothing David dedicates a third of his tome to that phase of his life. The rest is left to the veteran’s spells in the company of GUNS N’ ROSES – whom he veteran wanted to manage, up to facilitating Slash and Axl Rose’s release from police custody, but failed kickstart their career due to lack of funds – and LIVING COLOUR, for whom he has the utmost respect as creative force, and other players, THE RUNAWAYS included. However, Libert dispenses no lesser praise to the music industry executives, the managers and agents David learned his craft from: Shep Gordon, Jonny Podell, Kim Fowley – Dyno Dave’s fellow movers and shakers. Partial to the pleasures of the road, among them delights of air miles accrued aboard “The Starship” – rock stars’ passengers jet of choice – he refuses to be judgmental or spill the beans on things which must remain unsaid with regard to artists, whereas he doesn’t shy away from revealing truths about Libert the juvenile delinquent or David the drug dealer and his tenure in jail.
That’s just a phase of his half-century-long trip into the groove and fiber of popular music, and he doesn’t sacrifice an educational twist in favor of salacious yarn – there’s plethora of those anyway – rendering this narrative arresting, pardon the pun, at all times, for different reasons. Perhaps, the book’s only issue is David’s frequent failure to provide a properly dated timeline, so in the beginning, when “Alice Cooper” gets mentioned, it’s impossible to say whether he refers to the band or the singer, yet a captivating should not necessarily be hooked to a calendar: Libert’s tome warrants a read for all seasons.