There is a document that rests quietly in my MAC OS X. The title is, RUSS REGAN INITIAL MEETING PDF. If you open that file, you can read it:
Studio Pass 6/21/72
Is Authorized To See: Regan
So why would anybody save a RED Universal Studios pass for 45 years? It must have some sort of significance.
It does, this is the pass that opened up the door to my career in the music business. Fresh out of college, with a degree in Radio/Communications, all I wanted to do is to work with music. Produce, play it, write it, sing it, review it, embrace it, criticize it, love it. Since hearing the first chord of “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, I knew what emotion beat loudest in my heart.
I left the University Of Illinois the day after I finished my last exam. As I walked out of Altgeld Hall, I threw my @2 test pencil to the winds and turned west towards Los Angeles.
For weeks I stayed at the Rausches (the home of my Aunt Imelda & Uncle Chuck) and roamed about Hollywood and the surrounding areas, looking for work. I inquired at record stores, studios, record companies, publishing companies, film companies, sheet music stores, no one was interested in me.
Then one day, while setting the table for dinner at my aunt and uncle’s, a friend of theirs arrived, Joan Tighe. She was an attorney at Universal and knew quite a few people, as she was very interesting and engaging. After dinner she asked me how I was doing. I explained my frustrations, but not with a sad face, more of a determined one. She smiled and said, I might know someone who could help, Russ Regan at Uni. Uni? I had no idea what Uni was. It was the label of Elton John, Neil Diamond and Strawberry Alarm Clock. I certainly knew who those people were. My inexperience shown through, but that only endeared me more to Joan. Two days later I had an appointment to see Mr. Regan.
A red studio pass was issued to me after I arrived at Universal the following week. I wore my fraternity (Evans Scholars) suit jacket, tie, and slacks. I must have looked like a lost high school kid from the mid west. Mr. Regan’s secretary welcomed me and said that it would be a few minutes, would I like something to drink? No thanks, too nervous.
Shortly, HE was standing in front of me with an extended hand, introducing himself. Smiling eyes and energy that simply took one over. As he escorted me into his office he looked over his shoulder and said,” I only got about ten minutes, kid.” But my heart didn’t sink, didn’t sputter, I knew I had to rise to the occasion. I sat in front of his desk and simply told him about myself, my passions, and how driven I was by music. He asked me if I listened to the radio? Of course!!!!!! WLS and WCFL in Chicago, constantly. I had been listening to KHJ and KRLA since arriving in Los Angeles, to this he smiled.
Then we talked, a comfortable conversation where I felt that he allowed me to be his equal, like a friend. It was no ten minutes. It was close to an hour. I had no idea that much time passed, until he finally said, “Bill, I have an idea for you. I understand you play guitar and want to make music, but maybe you should consider just being a part of the business, like me. Why don’t you work within the business for a while and then pick an area you want to pursue? Radio sure would seem to be a good place to start, doing local promotion. Would that be of interest to you?” I did not blink or hesitate...YES!!!!
Right then and there he picked up the phone and called Sid Talmadge at Record Merchandising in Los Angeles. Within five minutes he had an appointment with Sid and Sam Ginsberg for me on Monday.
Russ explained, “It’s at 1525 Berendo, not far from Soul City. You can get there by bus or maybe get a ride from someone. But there you can learn about the record business. You won’t start doing radio promotion, but probably something within the warehouse. It is like an apprenticeship. But what you learn there will be invaluable through out your career in the business.”
I got the job, worked in the warehouse doing the order desk until the local promotion job opened up. Sam Ginsberg gave me that job. And I never looked back. A year and a half later Russ Regan and Paul Lovelace hired me at their new company 20 Century Records to be National Promotion Director. And from there it was Barry White, Maureen McGovern, The Defranco Family, Ambrosia, and many more.
In 1978 I would join Rubicon productions where I would be part of the production team for Ambrosia, when they recorded their biggest album ONE EIGHTY. I was credited as Associate Producer.
So you see, that little RED Studio Pass was a door, which gave me my career. It still rests quietly in my Mac computer. I’ve attached it here.