Saturday, October 27, 2007

So, Tell Us, Uncle Neal, What Happened?

Well, the show's over. We had our three week run and now it's time to take stock. Did it work? Were we successful? Did we lose our shirts?

Here's the rundown: In the last three months I got more press than I've had in my whole life. The majority of the reviews were good to great. (A few were bad. For some reason, a couple of the reviewers had no clue that this show was supposed to be funny. They actually thought I was bitter about losing that money and that I wasn't doing anything but sitting back by the pool with a drink with an umbrella stuck in it all those years.) We made contacts with many theater people and a few agents who are anxious to work with us. The audience reaction was great.

Right now I'm finishing up editing the video we shot. We're going to make a promotional DVD of the show to go with our press kit. So, it was tough, but we did what we set out to do.

In stressful times you find out who your friends are. One person that stands out above the crowd is Lori Falling. Lori is the widow of my old band mate, Keith Falling. Keith and I and Gus Mancini were in a band together called the Feather Merchants. We played mostly out on Long Island during our college years.

In fact, that's where we all met. At the New York College Of Music. Keith was the drummer, Gus played sax and guitar, and I played organ. We also used rubber chickens whenever we could. We had sort of a jazz/rock Marx brother thing going.

Keith passed away from a brain tumor a few years back. He was one of those guys that would always keep you laughing. When we got together it was one joke or sound effect after another. He was one of the really nice people on this planet.

Lori is also one of the greats. She didn't just offer us help. She actually did help. That's rare these days. We can't thank her enough. What a friend!

My hat's off also to my partner and producer, Stuart Wiener. Stu has been a friend and business partner for almost 40 years. Another one of those people who don't just give lip service. He's always there when you need him.

Saralyn Singer is a doll! She decorated the lobby, tended bar, got lots of friends and strangers to come down. Handed out tons of fliers to strangers on the street. And most important, laughed at my jokes even after the tenth time hearing them.

And then we come to Naomi. She worked at the computer for twelve hours a day, seven days a week, for months. She put together the mailing lists, wrote the press releases, got in touch with the press and reviewers, set up the ticket sales, made the press kits and mailed them. And all just because she believed in me. (I also told her she'd get half of the money, but I'm sure that had nothing to do with it.) I would never have attempted such a big job without Naomi with me. She's one amazing wife and friend.

So now we move on. There are so many things to do. The important thing is that we did something. We had a plan, we took the steps, and now we continue.

Thanks for reading along. Hope you got interested enough to check out the other things I do.

For the latest, go to . Hope to see you in the audience one day.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dan Rather Sues CBS

Just heard the news.

Dan's suing CBS for $70 million.

Every week this year I've been calling CBS to try to get them to take Dan back. I never got past the receptionist, but I thought it might trickle up. Guess all my efforts were in vain.
Dan was on Larry King's show and I emailed my "question for the guest". I asked Dan if he would consider using his old theme on whatever other shows he does in the future.

They didn't read it.

Oh, well. The show opens next week. Maybe it'll help ticket sales.

(Next post)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Well, we just got the CDs in. They look and sound great. We'll be set up to sell them at the theater and online at CD Baby very soon. (You can get them either at iTunes or at my main site, )

The backdrop I designed is ready. It looks really great.

I'm going to be videotaping the show so we can make a promotional DVD out of it. Stu's son-in-law, Frank is a professional video/sound man. He's got top of the line equipment.

We were at the theater Friday and got some of the wrinkles ironed out with Callie, our Stage Manager. So there are a few less things to worry about.

I made a couple of minor changes in the monologues. Nothing big. But definitely important.

Had an interview for Miami Arts Zine, an online magazine.

The September issue of GoRiverwalk magazine, Fort Lauderdale's art mag. has a two page story on me. It's a free magazine that you can find in downtown Fort Lauderdale. And I just did an interview for East Sider, another Fort Lauderdale newspaper.

Next week I'll be giving an interview for a company that will release it in six newspapers a couple of days before opening night.

We're waiting on a couple of radio interviews that should happen. No news yet as to when.

The invitations went out last week to the reviewers from all the area's newspapers, but so far, no one has reserved a seat. That's scary. We've got about two weeks. If we can't get reviews from this production, we're up that creek they all talk about.

Now the biggest concern (notice I didn't say "worry") is getting butts in the seats. I know from when we did "Pigeonholes" that most people wait for the last minute to buy tickets. We've got 200 seats each week for three weeks to fill. And an advertising budget of ZERO. Everything we're doing is public relations. Word of mouth. Listings and stories. All free. All take a lot of work to get.

Naomi's been putting listings in all the papers every week, but for some reason none of the papers are listing us yet. Several of them are doing stories on me, but no listing! And listings are the easiest things to get. You just fill out what they want and send it in. So, that's one very frustrating mystery.

We've got one more Guerrilla marketing plan to try. It's a last ditch effort, but it might sell some tickets. I'm going to get a sign to wear and print up more flyers. Then we'll all go some place crowded, like outside a theater or Las Olas and just hand out flyers in the street. Stu will walk behind me with a boom box playing the CD. We'll call the local news programs and tell them what we'll be doing. Maybe, if not too many people are murdered that day, they'll come down and film us. Worth a shot.
So if any of you out there reading this know some folks with money, or just some folks, period, please pass the word around. Don't make me throw another telethon.

- Neal


Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Few Bumps

Well there's just a little over a month left before opening night.

A few nights ago we went to see a play at the theater we're doing our show in. It was a play where some big women get to dance around in their underwear. It's called, "Real Women Have Curves". It was a good show, but unfortunately the air conditioning in the theater was not working very well. So while the five women on stage got to cool their buns in their skivvies, the audience had to sweat it out fully clothed.

All I could picture was if it was this hot when I'm performing my show, I'll probably pass out. (And I'm not about to dance around in my underwear unless ticket sales are really low.) But we were assured that the air conditioner was on the fritz and would be fine for our opening.

For the last two weeks I've had to rehears on the quiet side. I've developed a small cough and am doing whatever it takes to get rid of it. This show is very demanding on my voice so I need to handle this quickly.

I've been taking Slippery Elm for the throat and tomorrow I'm going to some special kind of masseuse that is supposed to perform miracles. He did a little ten minute massage on Naomi and it opened her sinuses. That was a surprise. Hope he can work his miracle on me.

(* Note: It's now a day later. I've been to the miracle worker. It didn't work. - Okay, to be fair, he said it would take more than one visit. I did feel nice and relaxed. But at $50 a half hour, I'll go with the tension.)

(Next Post)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Putting It All Together

The day started like any other.

We went to lunch at a fine Greek restaurant. The waitress with a New York accent said, “Take a few minutes to decide while I grab your pita.” I fell on the floor laughing. Naomi kicked me in the head.

After lunch, back to work. We’ve got about 9 weeks until Showtime. Our friend Lori has been a big help in getting us introduced to some press people. There are some good possibilities for stories and reviews. That’s exactly what we need.

Besides rehearsing several days a week, I’m designing the web site, CD packaging, flyers, posters, programs (we’re calling our programs “Paybills instead of “Playbills” — clever, hugh!) and scenery. Naomi is proofing and editing all the copy. The CD is being mastered as we speak. As soon as I get it back, we’ll get it out to a manufacturer for replication. When the CDs come in, some get sent to CD Baby (our online distributor). That’s where people get the CDs from when they order online. Also, CD Baby gets it onto digital distribution sites like iTunes.

For the scenery, I’m keeping it simple. One 6 by 9 foot backdrop with the show’s logo and all the logos from the various companies I’ve done music for. We found a printer near the theater that will take the art work that I created on the computer—love that Mac. Apple featured me in a story on their website—then the printer will blow it up and print it on canvas.

Meanwhile, Naomi and Stu are gathering up info on all the local newspapers for stories and listings. There’s a timetable for getting these things to the papers. That’s Naomi’s job. She’s spent the last couple of weeks putting together a program for us to follow.

I’ve pretty much got the show memorized. Easy enough to perform in my studio with no one watching. It’s always another thing when there are distractions like lights in your eyes and humans in the audience. We’ll have one day to load in and set up. That means lights have to be put up, seats, wall covering, stage, lobby items (ticket booth, concession) all have to be set up. And I’ll have time for one rehearsal with the lighting technician.

That’s it. The next day — it’s Showtime!

BTW, I know I said in the first post that this show needs to be able to be set up in about an hour or two. It's amazing how things grow. As we progress, more ideas keep popping up to make the show better. And it all adds to rehearsal and set up time.

(Next post)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Teaser video for Thank You, Dan Rather

Just finished this 2 minute teaser for the show.

About a week ago, Dan did us a favor and said some unflattering things about CBS News and Katie Couric. That news was all over the Internet and cable TV so we decided to hurry up and finish the "teaser" and put out a press release while it was still news. Once again, thank you, Dan.

Watch it several times. There are hidden messages everywhere. Tell your friends to go to YouTube and watch and rate it. Rate it HIGH!

Enjoy. (Just kidding about the hidden messages.) ;)

(Next Post)

Friday, June 8, 2007

We Find A Theater

I finally got up the nerve to perform the show for Naomi and Stu. Kinda like doing a stand-up comedy routine for two people. But they loved it. What a relief. Up till then I was the only one who knew anything about it and I had already spent months memorizing it.

They had a few really good suggestions. Got rid of the second song and replaced it. Actually, recorded a new version of my tribute to 9/11 called "Epilogue" but after I got it done and started rehearsing with it I felt it didn't work. So I searched through the trunk and found an old song I had written for the movie, "The Return Of The Killer Tomatoes". It's called, "Touch Me There". (You can hear it and all the other songs from the show on iTunes.)

For the last few weeks we've been looking for small theaters anywhere between Miami and Boca. Not such an easy task. There are plenty of bigger theaters but only a handful of smaller ones. Another thing we found out was that in order to get reviewers down to see the show we need to be eligible for the Carbonell Awards. They're the local theater awards. And one of the requirements was to have at least twelve performances in three weeks. You also need to pay everyone who you hire. And since we're funding this first run it means more money going out than we expected. So a small theater was vital. The other really important thing was to get the theater in an area that was easily accessible for a large portion of south Florida.

And here's the pimple on the head of the problem: even if we find a perfect theater, we need the right dates available or no one might show up. The big Jewish holidays are in September, Thanksgiving is in November. And Christmas is bringing up the rear. That leaves only a few three week periods we could use. If they're available.

It was beginning to look like we might be doing it in a barn. (We couldn't find any barns either). But then we hit a bright spot. We found a wonderful lady named Meredith Lasher. She's the Prez of the Theatre League of South Florida (of which I happen to be a new member). She was full of information that lead us down the righteous path. She also happened to be running a small theater that just opened for business right in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Great location. Well equipped. And here's the kicker - there were exactly three weeks open right after the Jewish holidays!

The price was right. The people were all really nice and helpful. (Nothing worse than working with asses when you need all the help you can get.) We jumped for it. We took the dates. I don't want to say this theater is small, but you have to go out in the hallway to change your mind (ba-doom)! All kidding aside, this is exactly what we needed. I'll be posting the name of the theater and the dates in the next post.

So now's the easy part. All we have to do is fill the theater with people, reviewers and investors. And we've got three and a half months. Piece o' cake! Right?


(Next Post)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Ahh, Florida...

If my writing seems a bit squashed...we've spent the last three weeks finding out how you put a 4 bedroom house into a 2 bedroom condo.

I won't go into the details of the move. I wouldn't want to make you cry. Needless to say, it's been months of packing, moving and unpacking without a break. Changing licenses, license plates, car insurance, health insurance, appliances that didn't work, relatives needing attention... Sorry. I wasn't going to go into details.

Setting up the studio was no easy task, either. For you techies out there, I sold my digital console and am now going to be mixing "in the box". Bottom line—it's taken about a month longer to set up than I thought. We've got 9 months on our 12 month lease left.

Stu and I started making lists of possible theaters in the area. We want to start real small. We'll be funding it ourselves at first. And I'd rather play to a full 50 seat house than a half full 100 seater.

The weather has been beautiful. We lived the first half of our lives in New York. After 25 years in San Diego we forgot what east coast weather felt like. There's a different smell to the air. And I mean that in a good way. Brings me back to my childhood in Brooklyn.

So now we're just about set up. Things are in place. I've caught up on my email (got several Rolex watches, bought lots of Cialis and my penis is as big as all get-out.) I'll finish learning the show over the next couple of weeks. I still have to show it to Stu and Naomi. So far they're just taking my word that it's genius.

Bye for now.


Next Post

Friday, February 9, 2007

Birth of a Musical

Pigeonholes was incredible. It had only one problem. It took a day to set up and pull down. Not a lot of time for a show. But our plan was to rent a theater on dark nights (Mondays and Tuesdays) for a month or two, get some press, create a buzz then move to a bigger and better theater and perform on the big nights.

This meant setting up my piano, stool, surround-sound, mics and big screen on a stage that already had a set on it from the main show and using whatever lighting setup they had, too. Fitting in to this scenario proved impossible.

So we came up with an idea that would undercut the undercut. We would go even further to make a show easy and cheap to perform. It would have to be able to be set up the same day as the performance. I would have to be able to do it without a lighting and sound technician. Naomi and Stu would have to handle the crowd, mailing lists and merchandise sales. One of them would also have to do what little lighting cues there would be. It would all have to fit in my Honda Element. And I would have to create it fast! We need to get on stage soon after we set up in Florida because right after we sell the house, the profits from the sale is what we'll be living on.

Now all I needed was an idea. What to do a show about. Well, they always tell you to write about what you know. Mostly what I know is me. My philosophy, beliefs, sense of humor. I needed a string to tie the music together. I racked my brains for a few days and finally came up with the idea that the ups and down of being a composer could be interesting to an audience. Especially if you've been around for a while and had some credits. People might want to know what it's like. And that would also be a natural way to get music into the story.

And instead of writing all new songs for the show, I could make it a review. Take songs from my many CDs that fit the premise. This would make writing the show go much faster and also be a great way to introduce people to my various styles of writing.

Now all I needed was a title and enough ideas to put on a good, entertaining (and possibly enlightening) one and a half hours. The title struck me out of the blue. Thank You, Dan Rather.
Thank you for thirteen years of royalties. Thank you for screwing up and ruining my life. (That last sentence is a joke, for anyone who doesn't know me personally. I never blame anyone else for my circumstances. But as a title, it can evoke both meanings. Thus, making it more memorable.)

The title also might be newsworthy. Or at least create some mystery and stick in your mind. Stu and Naomi loved it. Now they just had to wait for me to write it.

The writing came easy. Memorizing a show where I opened my mouth and didn't stop singing or talking for an hour and a half was the hard part. At present, I'm still perfecting the monologues. I've almost got it down. Just need to get it so down cold that I don't have to think of the words, just perform them.

Well, as I write this, we're waiting for escrow to close so we can make the big move. The next post will be written from sunny Florida. I'm really looking forward to dangling my chad at the next election.

next post

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Goodbye To San Diego

I spent the first half of my life in Brooklyn, NY. At age 21 I got married to the best friend anyone could ask for. We lived our first few years of marriage in Brooklyn. Then we moved to San Diego to get a new start in life. Twenty five years later we have to sell the old homestead and move back east. Fort Lauderdale Florida. Another new start.

Why Fort Lauderdale? Well, for one, my parents are getting up in age and that's where they live. We've only seen them once a year since we moved out to San Diego. Secondly, my brother is in Miami. And lastly, my friend and partner, Stu Wiener, is also in Southern Florida. All my other siblings live in New Jersey and always come to Florida to visit my folks, so we'll get to see them too.

At this point I have no idea what the theater scene is in Fort Lauderdale. I know it's not a mecca for theater, but we have no choice. This will be our designated place to get the new show off the ground.

From the time we decided to sell the house and move, to the time we actually get on the plane, would be 6 months. I won't go into the details of getting the house sold except to say that it was a very long nightmare. And all the while we couldn't earn a living or get on with our lives. Money was going out fast and nothing would be coming in till we got relocated and put the show on and actually sold tickets.

We're going to miss San Diego. It's a beautiful place. But there was no work to keep us there. And all our family and friends were back east. We'll miss the hills and climate and how people always made fun of the way we tawked.

Goodbye left coast.


A Little History—Part 3

It's been 6 years since I decided to quit the jingle biz and do what I always wanted to do in the first place. Despite our best efforts we haven't been able to get Pigeonholes a home in a theater even though we got raves from everyone that saw the show or DVD.

While all this has been going on, Dan Rather's ratings have been slip-sliding away thanks to some faux pas that chipped away at his credibility as an anchorman. But on September 8, 2004 Dan made the final fatal blunder. Just weeks before the presidential election, Dan had the proof that George Dubya had a shady military past. The documents turned out to be forgeries.

This, and the fact that Dan took a while to own up to it, was the nail in the coffin. He announced that he was leaving CBS. Bob Schiefer was to be his temporary replacement while they looked for someone permanent.

Holy crap! Would they keep the music? If not, what would I do. I've already spent a lot of cash on getting Pigeonholes to where it is. If I lose the CBS airplay checks, could I get a replacement income fast enough? Was this a blessing in disguise? The fire under my ass to finally get my career going?

The day came when Schiefer took over as anchorman. I watched with baited breath. Ya Ha! They kept the theme music! I got a reprise from the Governor! But how long will it last? Will they keep the theme when they get the new permanent anchorperson?

The ratings for the CBS Evening News started to climb. I got chills. Would this mean they might keep Bob and the theme. After all, they have many years of recognizability in that theme. It wreaks "AUTHORITY".

Then it was made official. CBS found their new savior. Katie Kouric. She would take over starting September of 2006. So, I mustered all my nerves into one ball and made a call to the director of the news program to ask if they were changing the music. They were. I asked if I could be in on the gang-bang. (Gang-bang is the term used when lots of composers are all submitting demos for the same project.) Being that I had written and produced music in the past for CBS (Connie Chung's Eye To Eye, Bryant Gumbel's Public Eye and others) he said sure.

I wrote several themes and sent them off. A few weeks went by and I found out they gave the theme to some young upstart. Some guy who scored Titanic and a few dozen other hit movies.

The shock finally set in. We'll have to sell our house and live off the profits while trying to get my CDs and shows to actually make money. At age 59 we were going to be starting over.

At least we had the house to sell.

(A few days after we decided to sell the house, all the newspaper and TV reports started running stories that the housing market bubble has finally burst. Oh well. We needed a challenge.)


Tuesday, February 6, 2007

A Little History—Part 2

How does a mid 50s guy with not a whole lot of hair (don't tell my wife—she's short and hasn't noticed yet), get his music to the public? I could play for $50 a night in bars. Nah! I could go on tour doing concerts but who is going to show up if they never heard of me. And radio? Even big stars from the 70s can't get played. The big record companies are only interested in a quick buck from artists that will be a clone of the last big hit. So what could I do that would bypass all these problems?

Theater! Do a one man show. That would get me back into performing, introduce the public to my music and we could even sell CDs at the show! We would even get a mailing list. Pigeonholes was a brilliant idea. Except for one thing. I hadn't performed for twenty years. And most of the time I was performing I was behind a piano or guitar. I'm no Robin Williams or Whoopi Goldberg. How am I going to keep an audience interested for and hour and a half? It's got to be more than just me playing and singing my songs.

Then this little gem of an idea grew wings. I've always loved art. I've always wanted to get into film or video. What if I took all the things I love to do and put it all into one show. Live performance that interacts with a screen showing my animation and video. The creative possibilities were limitless.

Only one thing—I never did animation or video either. But I'd love to learn. And with the state of technology these days, one man can do almost anything with a computer and the right software. So I bought the latest Mac, got thousands of dollars worth of software and a hundred pounds of manuals and started to write the show and learn my stuff.

It took one year to write the show and record the CD. Then another two years to do the video and animation. Sometimes I'd spend a whole week doing a short piece of animation only to realize it would have been better to do it in a different program. So I'd start over.

During this time, I had no idea if I'd be able to set it all up on a stage. I'm not familiar with projection technology or lighting problems. (How do we keep me well lit without washing out the screen?) Fortunately for me I met a guy named Brad Gardner who knew everything from video and audio to managing a theater. He's even a handy man and Sushi chef. With Brad doing the sound, lights and everything else, I was able to concentrate on performing.

Stu and Naomi (my wife and business manager) and I worked at getting people in to see the show. We needed to get as many theater folk in as possible. We'd be funding two showcases. The first was three nights in San Diego. I won't go through what it took to pull this off, but it was a great success for our purposes. The show worked!

Then it was on to seven performances at the Stella Adler Theater in Hollywood. Stu got his friend, actor-writer, Dominic Oliver to contact all his theater friends. Stu got a hold of all his friends from theater and the music biz, and once again, it came off wonderfully. My head got about three inches wider from all the comments I heard. "Genius!" "Brilliant!" "How can one guy do all that?!" And this was from people in show business. People who don't hand out compliments frivolously. Big shots, too. Fame and fortune, here we come!

I have never seen a reaction to anything I've done like the reaction this show got. Not just a great reaction, but wildly enthusiastic raves! We were all very disappointed that we didn't get an immediate place to perform. We're still looking to get a co-producer or theater to put it up but in the meantime we needed to regroup and find out what to do next. Waiting was never an option.

Meanwhile, I was spending LOTS of money and except for the CBS Evening News checks, there was no other income on the horizon. And Dan's ratings were not good. If they got rid of Dan, would they keep the theme? Or would they want to change everything and start fresh.

Looked like my easy ride was starting to wobble a bit.

(Continued in Part 3)

(Luckily we've got a DVD of the Stella Adler performance. It's available at

A Little History—Part 1

Back in the 70s I was going to be a rock star. I had dozens of songs and over the course of the decade, I got three recording contracts with major labels.

The big-wigs at these labels saw me as the next Barry Manilow. And why not. I wrote ballads, I played piano. But Barry never wrote songs about the destruction of the rain forest, the plight of vets coming home from the war and lady's thighs. Somehow I never quite got the "hit record" thing down. They'd all start out right, but then I'd get bored and the songs would take a right turn right off the pop charts. (Although I did have a top 10 Billboard Dance Club charted record with RCA called, In The Jungle.)

Eventually I needed to start making actual money. So I got into the jingle biz. And the money came fast and (almost) easy. Twenty years went by in a flash.

In the mid 90s I decided I needed to get back to doing something for the love of it. So I began work on a musical. I put together an outline for a script and started writing songs that would fit the concept. Because I was doing this in my "spare" time, it took three years to finish the double CD. I released it on my newly formed record label, Wire Duck Records, and got to work on completing the script.

Being my first script I did many things wrong. The show was big. Too many people to be commercially viable (unless you've got an extra 12 million lying around). Also, the subject matter was controversial. The show is called Meat Street and basically exposes the dirty little secrets of the Mental Health Industry. Not an easy topic when you consider how many people these days are wearing their mental disorders as a badge and taking antidepressants like candy.
I did get to see Meat Street in concert at the Florida Fringe Festival and Florida Movie Festival. We also had a showcase in Orlando. Meat Street is now in it's 19th rewrite. The cast is smaller. The story is more concise. But I took the lessons I learned about writing and producing a musical and wrote another musical called, Jingle This!

Jingle This! has just 5 actors, a small band, one act and no controversy. It's just a fun little show. And guess what! Almost all of the theaters that read the script and heard the CD loved it! Of course they all had some reason or other for not being able to put it on right now, but I got some of the best rejection letters you ever saw.

Somewhere along about the mid 90s, the music production company I was a partner in (Patterson, Walz & Fox) got to do the theme music for the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather. Even though I was just a co-writer/producer for the theme the checks were big. This was better than a hit record as far as airplay money was concerned. For as long as Dan's show kept the theme, I'd get quarterly fat checks. This money made it possible for me to start my record company and have a studio in the house that Dan built. Dan was truly supporting the arts. But I digress.

Anyone in the theater business knows how long it can take to get musicals produced. So my long-time friend and partner, Stuart Wiener, came up with the idea that I should write and perform a one-man show. This would be so cheap to produce that we'd have no problem finding a theater for it fast.

I loved the idea. In fact, I loved it so much I decided to take the BIG PLUNGE. Since I was still getting enough money from CBS to (almost) pay the bills, I decided to quit the jingle business and devote my full time to writing and performing the one-man show. At age 54 I would be starting over. And Dan's Texas smile was going to help make the transition.

The show was Pigeonholes.

(Continued on Part 2)

My research into the mental health industry also lead to my new book, News From Meat Street: Life On A Planet That's Lost Its Soul. You can see a free preview and rate and review it.

A New One-Man Show

"On September 8, 2004, just weeks before the presidential election, CBS News anchor, Dan Rather had the proof that George W. Bush had a dubious military past. The documents he used as proof turned out to be fakes. But instead of apologizing, Dan blamed the Republicans.
"I'm Neal Fox, co-writer/producer of the theme music for the CBS Evening News With Dan Rather. For 13 years every time you would hear (plays theme) — cha-ching! Money would go into my pocket. Good money. I came to expect that money. Thank you, Dan."

These are the opening words of my new one-man musical revue, Thank You, Dan Rather.
For 15 years I was a partner in the company, Patterson, Walz & Fox. We did music for hundreds of commercials as well as themes for NBC, CBS, Fox and others.

I co produced the music and wrote some of the "bumpers" for Dan's show but my partner Rick wrote most of the main theme. We all went down as co-writers. That's the way we worked it. No matter which of the partners did the actual writing, we all shared in the BMI (airplay royalties).

So for 13 glorious years I got big fat checks from BMI four times a year. What a gig! Till Dan started making some big anchorman no-nos.

For the most part, I always hated writing music for clients. From the age of 16 I wanted to be a rock star. Write and record my own music. Sell albums and do concerts. By an unfortunate stroke of fate I ended up in the jingle biz. Then the checks started rolling in — and that's how they got me!

Now I could buy the computers, synthesizers, guitars and software I craved. Now I had the tools to make all the music I ever wanted to make. Except now I was working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, writing for CLIENTS. A real trap. I've got all this stuff—but no time to use it for me.

So, now in my 50s, I quit the jingle biz and decided to change careers. Back to my original dreams. Dan, however, got himself... let's say, he "left" CBS. Now the stakes are raised. The big checks will stop very shortly. That will leave me with almost zero income. Everything depends on succeeding with my new career. Will it be a success, or will I be looking for a job as a Greeter at Wal-Mart?

Stick around. This blog will chronicle the adventure from the beginning: selling our house, moving to Florida, looking for a theater and all it takes to make the show a success.

Click on the link below to hear the opening song and get familiar with the show. Then read the posts in order. Hope to see you at the theater in a few months.


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(Click here to hear "Dan, You Da Man", the opening song from the show)