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Thoughts about "Marathon Man" the book:


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After finally finishing Bernie and Ken's book a couple of weeks ago while on vacation I wanted to jot down these thoughts before I forget:

1. Gus Dudgeon was certifiably "NUTS" in 1976-77.

Elton must have known that as they parted just before Eric hooked up with him. Thanks Gus for messing up Eric's head for months during one of his most creative periods.

2. Eric is difficult to deal with in the studio recording process.

3. Eric needed more awareness and sensitivity when dealing with other musician's and producer's EGOS. They need that. A little more diplomacy could have gained more cooperation and team effort...The same goes for record company employees/promoters. It helps when you are out there pushing an artist's new release to radio stations, that you don't think your guy is a jerk.

4. By some of the strange behavior described in the book, during critical points in Eric's career, there was some untold drug use going on there, by either Eric and/or those close to him.

5. I wish the book would have told us Eric's feelings toward the women, groupies, relationships in his life, at least a little bit.

6. In the music business, especially in recent years, The cream doesn't always rise to the top. It takes a lot of luck, business and selling smarts, and an organized team effort.

Sure, Eric knows that now...But man...If it wasn't for the cool head of Smooth Man Jimmy Ienner, Eric would be even more of an underrated frustrated genius singer/songwriter.

...Although that's when he usually writes his best material.

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Really enjoyed the book and passed it on to a friend who is trying to do something in the music business.

I think what floored me most was learning that a primary reason for Dave Smalley's disenchantment with the band was that he felt Eric Carmen's songwriting didn't suit/wasn't good enough for Raspberries confused

....and I'm a Smalley fan

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Believe it or not, I just ordered my book a couple of days ago. (I know, you think I would have been in the first 100 orders).

Should be interesting to see.

Speaking of Gus Dudgeon and the egos, wasn't the song "Ego"(a minor hit for Elton) one of the last ones he produced for Elton? (May be a reflection of what was going on, by Elton's perspective.)

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I was disappointed, as Tony was, that it wasn't a true tell-all. There were girls, groupies, and drugs eluded to, but nothing said outright. I realize Bernie and Ken interviewed Eric, and didn't want to piss him off by putting things in the book that were uncomfortable for Eric to talk about, but as it is supposed to be the ultimate book on Eric's life - it should be fully represented - warts and all.

I got the feeling after reading it that this was the sanitized Eric version of his life - the one he won't mind his children reading when they get older. No mention really at all of Marci - his first wife. No information on the drugs he did, how long (and what time period) he did them, what influence they had on his writing, etc. It might help to explain some of those lyrics if you know about all the coke or heroin he was taking at the time. About the only addiction we found out about of Eric's was for McDonald's, huge vats of coke (the drink), and very expensive Italian clothes.

Sorry Bernie and Ken - but one more issue I have: My favorite album has always been "Tonight You're Mine" (not withstanding the front cover photo). Although there was a huge amount written about other albums, the creation of the TYM album was glossed over so that the Japan Tour could be written about instead. When did he have the chance to write and record the TYM album? More inside information on the production of all the albums - not just the one Gus produced - would have made great reading.

Just my 2 cents worth. I know, I know, If you don't like what's out there, go write your own book. At least this book exists - and it's 99% perfect - so I can't complain much at all!

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Michelle, You're right. There was some about TYM, but not enough. I remember Eric saying he put together a rock album with only a couple of ballads, and he wanted to put togehter a band that showed more of his R&R side...Then it morphed to the Japan tours.

I'm wondering if Eric experimented with bi-sexuality in the 70's. A couple of my gay friends back in the 80's swear they knew he did. But these guys thought they knew everything about everything...just because they wore better eye liner than I did. grumpy

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Tony, if you're right, I can see why he glossed over all this relationships in the past. At least this way his kids can read the book when they're older and not be too shocked.

Glad no one has ever written a book about me - I don't think any of us would look too good under that type of microscope, no matter how good a life we've tried to lead. It's especially hard when people from your past are interviewed - they have very different memories of events than you do - it's hard to believe sometimes how different people's experiences of the same event can be!

Still, if Eric had a "gay" period, or a druggie period, I don't think any of us would be too shocked, or stop listening to his music because of it. He certainly sang enough about sex - so we know he was no monk. Experimentation - especially in the 1970s - with drugs and sex was permissible - much more than today. With the make-up, jewelry, clothes & shoes that Eric wore, he certainly wasn't a red-neck gun-carrying hill-billy homophobe. And let's not forget that HAIR! No doubt Eric spent more money and time on his hair than most girls from that era.

It would be interesting to hear from people who know more about Eric's life at that time - the musicians and roadies who toured with him. Of course, they might have been so stoned at the time that they don't remember anything... Too bad - I'm sure there are at least another thousand or so pages that could be added to that book of all the things Eric has done in his life.

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Did anyone besides me feel that up to the production of Eric's first solo album was written about in great detail (except his childhood), but then the rest of his life was only lightly touched on? There was only a little on the making of the other albums - and nothing much at all about the recording and production of "Winter Dreams" and the other work he did after the Geffen Album. Except for the Raspberry reunion and writing "The Rock stops Here" - so much more could have been written. Looks like Ken and Bernie were just trying to keep the length of the book under the size of the Oxford English Dictionary!

Maybe it's going to be up to us Cleveland Cuties to get the whole dirt, and create the "Encyclopedia of Eric". Anyone willing to spend $1000 for the hardbound 7-volume set? wink

Darlene - how good are you at still breaking in people's windows? We might be in need of your skills.

Tony and Kirk - have your restraining orders been lifted yet? If so, let's talk.

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Michelle and Tony,

Maybe in today's tawdry tabloid world the book you were hoping to read didn't hit your mailbox, but our primary focus on writing ERIC CARMEN: MARATHON MAN was to trace Eric's musical history and celebrate his career successes and failures.

Much of the information gathered for ERIC CARMEN: MARATHON MAN is new and previously undocumented. Any details lacking from that endeavor were purely the result of deadlines and an inability to connect with some of the principals for sit-down interviews.

For a first book on Eric's life, I think we covered a vast amount of territory and unearthed a ton of heretofore unknown facts. We also managed to compile dozens of first person recollections, hundreds of unpublished photos and large amounts of detailed facts and figures to show Eric's rise and fall (three times over, at last count :-)

It takes a tremendous amount of energy and fortitude to write a book, plus a LARGE DOSE of talent to make it readable. I remain EXTRAORDINARILY PROUD of this book, and I am VERY HARD to please.

Bernie

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Guess what? All music groups in the '70s were into drugs, sex and rock 'n roll. Big surprise, huh?! Guess what else? Almost EVERYBODY in the '70s were into drugs, sex and rock 'n roll. It was THE SEVENTIES, for Heaven's sake!!!! And, as they say, if you were truly there, you didn't remember much anyway... How would you like someone writing an epic book about YOU dredging up your one-night-stand with sweet Mary Beth from Idaho??? I don't think so. Anyway, who remembers it all from back then, and who CARES?

If you want insignificant silly stuff to find out, post an ad in The TATTLER for Raspberries groupies to come forward and spend an evening listening to whatever they make up. Anybody who remembers any of that kind of stuff after all these years needs to get a life and is probably fantasizing anyway. ECMM is absolutely SPELL-BINDING, and as classy as it a monumentally great epic of EC's history and accomplishments. Thank God Bernie wrote a book in which fiction and gossip have no place. Now if you want to write a book on MY life, let's see, there was John from Mississippi--only knew him for two days though...

but he was HOT!.... Only KIDDING!

smile --Darlene

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Hey, Bernie, chill. We still loved the book, and we know it was primarily about his musical journey. I hope Michelle didn't mean that it was sanitized to make Eric look good with his interactions with other music people, because it was not. Bernie and Ken included many quotes of others taking polite shots at Eric's decisions during critical moments of his career. There was much self-restraint in many of the quotes because they knew they were quoting for a book about Eric. So the people involved were being polite.(Even Wally)

But I was on Eric's side most of the time because most of these people were trying to get Eric to deviate from his "Vision". And remember, Eric is the musical genius, not most of them.

Now, a communication and a self-promotion genius?...That, Eric is not. frown

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Can't see a guy who can write about chicks like Eric Carmen "experimenting" on the gay side.

...but then again I've been called red-neck, hill-billy and homophobe at least once for each.

I too was on Eric's side in all his conflicts in the book...can't recall his detractors really ever having the high-ground in their conflicts.....he was the genius and should have been given more space to fly....except maybe regarding the goofy uniform suits issue <img border="0" alt="[blech!]" title="" src="graemlins/blech.gif" />

The book was very well done and a great read.

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Wow, I guess I'm the idiot. I thought Bernie and Ken did an incredible job, I couldn't put the book down.

Of course there was drugs, sex, and rock and roll, and particularly if you have money.. most flame out. Eric's ability to keep punching out songs, to keep finding those melodies, and to this day probably sing/play better then he ever has, and to still have a sane/logical head on his shoulders.. my hat's off to him..

SS

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Hey, as long as it's open season on what COULD have been in the book and wasn't, I can always put my two cents in...

My personal opinion is, it could have had more "Cleveland" in it. I could have gotten a better feeling from it, whether I was from the area or not, of what kind of place Eric grew up in, what it was like at the time, and how it shaped him as a person. And a person wouldn't have had to be from Cleveland to write about that either...researching it would have been helpful, in and of itself, although of course actually having grown up there during that time would have made it even more colorful and fleshed out.

I think anyone who wants a better feel of the kind of world Eric grew up in, and lived in, from his birth to about 1969 should read Mark Winegartner's excellent novel CROOKED RIVER BURNING. It's a novel about two people, a man and a woman, who eventually become involved with each other, set against the backdrop of Cleveland during its decline and fall (it starts in 1948 when the Indians are winning the World Series and ends as the Cuyahoga River is catching fire for the first time). Eric is nowhere to be found in it, but the world he grew up in is woven into every page. Besides which, the guy is an excellent writer (although probably better known for having written the much-publicized sequel to the "Godfather" series).

Anyway, if you have no familiarity with Cleveland as a city or what it was like to grow up there, especially during Eric's era, CROOKED RIVER BURNING will tell you. For me, every part of it rang true. (And I got a kick out of the part where Dorothy Fuldheim shows up late to speak at a college commencement and upstages the woman who was going to sub for her. Maybe because Dorothy really did speak at my high school graduation and my best friend and I helped make it happen! Now there was a pioneer of television and a great lady!)

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Trindy, there was plenty of the Cleveland club scene in the book. The book is about Eric, not "The Rise and Fall of the Cleveland Empire".

Eric didn't rise to stardom because of Cleveland. The bands and artists he studied were more influencial. Eric born and raised in New York, Chicago or LA would have been noticed for his talent just as much.

If Trindy had her way, those of us not from the Cleveland area would be whining to poor Bernie about too much Cleveland...

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I'd be embarrassed to say how many times I've reread "Eric Carmen: Marathon Man." I think Bernie and Ken did a fantastic job with the book. Frankly, I don't care about the drinking, drugs, sex or relationships of Eric Carmen --- I just care about the music and the people who make it.

The book led to the Raspberries reunion and hopefully it will influence some folks in high places to take a fresh look at the band --- the Rock Hall, a major record company, concert venues, etc.

In one volume, you get quotes from The Runaways, The Sex Pistols, Rick Springfield, Bruce Springsteen and countless others expressing a love for Raspberries, and that will turn some heads, I think.

While I agree that celebrities surrender some right to privacy, I do believe that they also have a right to a "no comment" on very personal things, too.

Just my opinion, of course.

Besides, "Eric Carmen: Marathon Man" rocks! (Seriously, if you put the book on an old 33rpm turntable and play the book backwards, that's what it says...)

Don smile

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Tony, Tony, Tony, don't get me wrong...I wasn't just talking about the "Cleveland club scene," I meant the general flavor of the place...that did not come across to me at all. Not to say it isn't an outstanding book in many ways otherwise. And I don't think you can honestly say "Eric didn't rise to stardom because of Cleveland." We are all products of our environments, like it or not. Eric is what he is in part because he is a Clevelander.

This is not to say his talent would have gone unrecognized elsewhere. He just would have been a very different person from who he is.

And no, I'm not saying the book has to be "all about Cleveland" either. Please don't exaggerate what I said to make your point. I said I wished it had MORE Cleveland in it, is all. Just as if he were from Chicago, I'd expect it to describe how Chicago had shaped him.

Oh, and one thing I think might not have gotten into the book had a Clevelander written it (at least not without comment): the quote from someone (I can't recall who) who described Cleveland and cities like it as "armpit cities." That one wouldn't have gotten by without a comment!

Oh well. It's Bernie's book and he wrote it his way. If others want to write one their way, they're free to do that, too.

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All I can say is that I thought I knew as much as anybody about Eric and Raspberries, until I read the book. To be truthful, I expected a whitewash or at least a vanity production. Instead I got a gritty, honest and not always flattering account of Eric's life. Whoever thought we would ever have such an account to read? The book is wonderful and truthful and I really believe the honesty of it is what made this re-union possible. I think when Wally read what Eric really thought of him, the healing process could finally begin.

And who’s to say that Bernie and Ken won't put together an addendum or updated edition someday to cover all the new developments, and maybe some of the questions raised in this post. But all in all, if another word is never written, I’ll still be grateful that this wonderful gift was made available to us all.

MAC

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Brian, I never thought about the Wally/Eric healing process from the book thing, but you could be right. The power or Hogya strikes again!

If Bernie could only bottle his mystical powers in a sports drink or something, he'd be a millionaire!

...But he would just blow it all on more Raspberries memorabilia crap! wink

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