Remember the Bobby Brown book about Whitney Houston? Maybe you thought it wasn’t going to be published. I’m sure Whitney thought that, too. Well, she was wrong.
Yesterday, Derek Handspike (yes, it’s a real person—great name) published “Bobby Brown: The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth” under his own name as an unauthorized biography of Whitney’s ex husband.
Originally the book was authored by Brown himself. But when it was announced in this space last April 4th, a number of red flags went up. One of them was no doubt from Houston’s divorce lawyers. Bobby signed a confidentiality agreement with Houston in which he promised not to write anything about her.
So back to the drawing board these guys went, trying to figure out what to do. In essence, the result is that the book is now technically authored by Handspike. In his foreword, he does promise, however, that Brown “is still fairly compensated.” Who is he fooling? No one. Handspike also says in the foreword that he was forced to published the book somehow, someway, because he had “over a hundred thousand pre-orders” and that “all the major wholesalers and retailers were waiting on the edge of their seats” for this volume.
Anyway, in case we’ve forgotten, here are some of the tidbits from the original manuscript. According to Brown, he “died” three times from drug overdoses, hit Houston, and he, suggests, bedded Janet Jackson. He blames L.A. Reid for wrecking Houston’s last album, and calls him a “female dog.” He claims that Houston at first tried to block his reality show, “Being Bobby Brown,” then turned up uninvited for the filming of it. Brown also says that he and Houston came up with a word to describe their volatile relationship: “stickability.”
He writes—and I guess now Handspike says this in the third person: “Whitney and I had our arguments and fights just like everyone else. It was no Ike and Tina type of fights, but that’s what the media made the public believe.” He admits to “getting upset” and “flying off the handle …Things that that I’d regret later, I would be responsible for cleaning or having the wall repaired.”
(I do have to interject right here: at least he had the wall repaired! Give him some credit! Ike Turner never did that!)
And if you were worried about Whitney, don’t: “What people fell [sic] to realize is that Whitney is no punk. She definitely knows how to handle and defend herself in situations that could have potentially turned violent.”
There’s a lot more about Whitney and Bobby’s personal life, including this stunning revelation: Brown says that they had a pre-nup but that when they went to court, Houston didn’t invoke it. “I was able to follow through with the spousal support law suit,” he writes.
The IRS might be interested in Brown’s finances. When he was in trouble, “Whitney stepped in and we made a deal on my mansion in Atlanta. The bank was trying to foreclose on it and Whitney bailed me out. I ended up doing a little trick where I sold the house to her and we ended up being able to pull equity out of the house. It’s kind of like selling something of major value for a dollar in order to reap the benefits on the back end.”
There’s more, mostly to do with Brown’s drug addiction to cocaine. He also proves his reputation for being a romantic as details his relationship with model Karrine Steffans, explaining her only value to him was for living to up her nickname, “Supahead.” Steffans, he writes, “is also a terrible mother to her kids.”
“If there’s one thing I can’t stand,” writes Brown, who has been arrested and jailed several times for non payment of child support, “that’s a woman who is not a mother to her children. That’s a big turn-off to me!”
You might be thinking by now: “Poor Whitney.” Indeed. Houston’s best bet now is to forge ahead quickly, finish her album with Clive Davis, and make a big comeback. It’s in her grasp. For Brown: let the book, the lawyers it will inevitably attract, speak for itself.
Revered director Martin Scorsese is a goodfella, as we all know. He hosted a screening the other night for pal Paul Schrader’s excellent new film, “Adam Resurrected,” at the Bryant Park Hotel screening room, for example. Schrader wrote the screenplays for several Scorsese films, including “Raging Bull” and “Mean Streets.”
Before the lights went down, Scorsese told me at least one way he’s been a devoted dad to nine year old daughter Francesca. “We slept over night at the Museum of Natural History,” he said, “just like the movie, Night in the Museum.”
“Since that movie was such a hit, they have a program where you go and sleep over night. I took her, and we slept on cots. They weren’t comfortable, but she loved it. They take the kids around in the dark, with flashlights.”
Did anyone notice him? “A couple of people, but mostly, you know, it’s kids!”
This gave his lovely wife, Helen, the night off, but still…
Schrader’s new film stars Jeff Goldblum in a wild adaptation of a cult Israeli novel published in 1968. “Adam” is a magician living in a sanitarium in the Israel desert for Holocaust survivors. Cutting back and forth in time, we learn what happened to Adam in Germany, to his family and friends and how he’s made it to this point. Basically, he survived the concentration camp on all fours, as a dog—the pet of his camp commandant, played by Willem Dafoe.
The movie is brilliant and sad, frustrating and shocking. Goldblum is incandescent, giving the best performance of his career. Willem Dafoe is nothing less than fascinating. Of course, you have to remember this is fiction, and it was written in 1968 when the Holocaust was being addressed still at arm’s length, in fantastic terms, and not in the direct manner that would become “Schindler’s List” and other films two decades later. It’s a film not to be missed.
It’s not a happy time at Sony Music. They’re downsizing like everyone else, mostly because the record industry—which has caused its own destruction—cannot recover sufficiently from the digital revolution.
Yesterday, sources say, Sony began exit negotiations with two terrific younger execs. Epic Records’ chief, Charlie Walk, an industry favorite, is on his way out as Epic will likely be merged into Columbia Records. Charlie made hits out of Shakira and Wyclef’s “Hips Don’t Lie,” Sean Kingston’s “Beautiful Girls,” and literally made Sara Bareilles. So why should he stay? Walk is the kind of brash music exec that made the industry what it was. In its current corporate state, there’s not much room for that. Walk will “walk” right to TV and make a fortune!
Meanwhile, my old pal Lisa Ellis is leaving Sony too. She’s been the cheerleader of R&B at Sony. A couple of years ago I sat next to her at the Oscars when her Three Mafia Six record, “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” got the gold statue for “Hustle and Flow.” Lisa is heading to investment banking, although she will continue to manage some music acts. She’s a star, just like Walk.
Basically, Sony Music is a mess. They have three presidents—Rick Rubin, Steve Barnett, and Mark Didia. It’s all chiefs, and no staff. This week, the company is moving into fancy, expensive digs in Beverly Hills – totally unnecessary considering the massive layoffs both past and present. This is Rubin’s doing, even though he doesn’t actually come into the office! The space is the I.M. Pei designed former home of CAA.
Recently, Sony dropped hot young singer songwriter Teddy Geiger, who could have been key for them. But they don’t know how to market pop stars. The company is famous for letting go the Jonas Brothers—now on Disney/Hollywood—and Katy Perry, currently on EMI and a huge star of 2008. Go figure. As one former insider puts it, “They’re relying on Christmas albums from Tony Bennett and Harry Connick, Jr. Then what?” The new Bruce Springsteen album comes in January, part of the Boss’s reported $100 million contract.
Rubin, more than anyone, is cited for the trouble at Sony. He was just nominated for the Grammy Producer of the Year. The nominations give the whole story: Metallica—which wasn’t even on Sony, but Atlantic; Neil Diamond—nice, but sold zero copies; a group called Ours, soundalike rip off to U2, obscure and unknown still; Jakob Dylan’s awful dud o of a solo album, and a CD by cult group Weezer. It’s hard to see where the I.M. Pei-off is in all that for Sony.
Meantime, all the action at Sony is really with just subsumed BMG, newish chief Barry Weiss, and of course, 76-year-old Clive Davis and his team. Davis is just about to sign 21 year old sensation BC Jean, who wrote Beyonce’s big hit, “If I Were a Boy.” They’ve also got Grammy nods for “breaking” Jazmine Sullivan, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, etc. At least someone knows what to do, and they’re still trying …it’s hard to be a pimp out there!
Dennis Yost is not in Jann Wenner's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but he should be. Yost, who died Sunday at age 65, was the voice of three immortal hits with the Classics IV: "Stormy," "Spooky," and "Traces of Love." It doesn't matter. Artists like Yost, which Wenner and his gang don't understand, made the business that Rolling Stone lives on today. He's also the reason why the Performance Royalty Act must pass in Congress since Yost didn't write his songs, but his voice carries them into the universe for all time. "Spooky," by the way, is the basis for John Legend's "Save Room" single from last year. RIP, Dennis: "Bring back that sunny day."