If, like Michael Jackson, you treat the Earth as a commuter planet from your home God knows where, when you need a doctor you don't call the AMA.
When Jackson thought he was having a morphine overdose last December, I am told he called in one Alfredo Bowman, also known as "Dr. Sebi." Bowman is not a real doctor. He just plays one.
Bowman — sort of Jackson's "Dr. Bombay" — if you remember the TV show "Bewitched" — is now staying with Michael in Aspen, feeding him minerals and herbs and talking to him very nicely. US Weekly says Dr. Sebi is "detoxing" Michael from his addiction to alcohol and painkillers. One of my sources told me, however: "Good luck. Michael's probably taking the vitamins, then popping a Xanax and a Demerol."
Jackson, I am told, thought he was suffering from a morphine overdose during Christmas week. He wasn't, thank goodness, but that was when Bowman arrived on the scene. He has "treated" Michael ever since, first at his rented mansion in Beverly Hills and now at the Davis Pillsbury ranch in Snowmass, Colo.
Bowman has an office in Beverly Hills, of course (where really anyone can put a shingle and rake in the bucks). But his real headquarters is Honduras, where he was "treating" TLC singer Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes at his USHA Healing Village when she died in a car accident on April 27, 2002. (Luckily, Jackson's passport has been taken away from him by the Santa Barbara District Attorney, so there'll be no visits by him — or remakes of "The Mosquito Coast" — anytime soon.)
(TLC's big hit was called "No Scrubs," which was not a reference to Bowman's work apparel.)
The good doctor also ran afoul of the New York State attorney general a couple of years ago. That office objected to Bowman's advertising boasting of cures for AIDS, cancer, leukemia and other ailments, and ordered him to pull it. His packages of minerals range from $175 to $1,500 a month. They include bottles of "electric cell food" pills ($25) and "Bio Electric I and II" capsules to purify the system ($75).
According to sources Bowman treats lots of celebrities who don't seem to mind that on his Web site Dr. Sebi boasts of never having gone to school — "not even kindergarten."
His Web site does, however, claim: "We are proud to inform you that Cosmo Therapy is part of our healing journey realigning with the energy of life which is beyond spirituality. Return to MOTHER!!!"
Jackson should know a couple of things about Bowman, in all seriousness. An excellent article in the August 2002 issue of Philadelphia Weekly, Solomon Jones reported that Lopes' uncle Anthony — who was morbidly obese — followed Bowman's regimen of herbs, lost 100 pounds, gained them back and subsequently died of congestive heart failure. Lisa Lopes, according to the article, frequently hallucinated and had premonitions of her own death during her three years of mineral "treatment."
PS: In a mostly unrelated matter, I did wonder what had become of Lopes' fiancee, former NFL star Andre Rison. Alas, neither the National Football League nor the Oakland Raiders — his last team — had any idea where he was. Rison retired in 2000 and is rumored to be “recording” in Atlanta.
As predicted for years and years — really almost wished into existence — Sylvia Rhone is finally leaving her post as head of Elektra Records. And Elektra as we've known it — once the proud home of Bread and Judy Collins — is about to be collapsed somehow into Atlantic Records as all these companies become part of what we should now call Warner/Bronfman Music.
The avalanche is in motion, folks.
I am told that with Rhone gone, and Atlantic's Val Azzoli and Ron Shapiro with her, Atlantic is now subject of some kind of warfare between the remaining leaders, Jason Flom and Craig Kallman. Who will be Lord of the CDs? Flom runs his own Lava Records at Atlantic and is a huge success. Kallman, less flamboyant, has the rest of Atlantic including the recent hit from motor-mouthed rapper Twista.
Ironically, while everyone is fighting, former Elektra star Anita Baker has quietly signed a deal with Blue Note Records, now known as the home of Norah Jones. Baker was a superstar on Elektra, but she was difficult to work with and didn't like Rhone. So she left and went into semi-retirement. Blue Note's gang is not stupid. They see a market for quality, upmarket talent like Jones in Baker. They're right.
So what will happen to Rhone? The betting money is that she will become the head of Motown (or what they call Motown) over at Universal Music Group, which is run by Doug Morris, Rhone's very best friend in the business. I'm told they speak several times a day. Universal is fast becoming the life boat for a lot of people, including Tommy Mottola (missing in action lately), L.A. Reid, and Polly Anthony — all of whom swam to Morris when their ships sank.
Here's a little story about Rhone you might like: Years ago she got someone fired at Elektra, I am told by sources who were on the scene, because she didn't like her. The woman's name was Wendy Barry. Wendy Berry Flom, that is, the wife of Jason Flom, now a major player at Warner/Bronfman.
You can't make this stuff up.
You may ask, What does this matter to me? And the answer is: The record business is in shambles because instead of cultivating new acts with careers, these people — with a few exceptions — played Monopoly among themselves and collected $2 million every time they passed Go. Instead of caring about the quality of the music, the majority of the executives at record companies concerned themselves with homes, yachts and trophy wives. When you think record company chief, think Shah of Iran. And you'll get the picture, fast.
If there's a sudden influx of celebrities in Vancouver, the Chamber of Commerce will have to thank the Academy. The luxury Opus Hotel was chosen by the Oscars as their official vacation spot. Presenters and winners last Sunday got gift certificates for weekend getaways, lavish dinners and spa treatments. Of course, knowing some of the stars, the Opus may also be registering a lot of maids, nannies, pool boys and drivers. But heck, they need a break, too!