Goodbye to the Cuban Queen: A Lament for Ghost Town Ruins

Jerome, Arizona’s ruins are slowly disappearing. In March 2017, the roof of the Cuban Queen fell down, an iconic building that the Jerome Historical Society planned to restore.

The grand hulks that became symbols of the ghost town that it became known for—hospital, elementary school, Daisy Hotel and Douglas Mansion—have been restored and have become, respectively, the Grand Hotel, Town Hall, a private residence and State Historic Park.

Leigh and Richard weremarried here; kids loved to skateboard here; and the fire department benefits were great. Photo by Bob Swanson (Swansonimages.com)

Leigh and Richard were married in the Little Daisy; kids loved to skateboard theses floors; and the fire department benefits here were great. Photo by Bob Swanson (Swansonimages.com)

The floor of the Bartlett Hotel, the only ruin that remains on Main Street, is filled with coins pitched by tourists at an old outhouse and toilet and rusted mining artifacts. This odd coin toss earns as much as $6500 a year for the Jerome Historical Society.  Behind the shop now called Pucifer, the remains of the brick ‘cribs’, home of Jerome’s ladies of the night, were taken down by a previous owner to gain access to the back of the building.  The bricks were neatly stacked.  Then the bricks slowly disappeared.  As Jane Moore commented, it was a ‘crime.’

No cribs, no more. And where did all those bricks go?  (Photo by Bob Swanson)

No cribs, no more. And where did all those bricks go? (Photo by Bob Swanson)

The Jerome that I moved to in 1979 was still forlorn and decrepit looking, needing rescue. Today, Jerome has become modernized. Spiffed up. Gentrified.

This wreck was in old Mexican town below the post office. (Photo by Bob Swanson)

This wreck was in old Mexican town below the post office. (Photo by Bob Swanson)

Money flows in from tourist veins that are as rich as any gold mine. Over a million visitors a year come to shop, party in the bars, gawk at the views, and hear tales of bordellos, gunslingers, and ghosts. The shops are full of art, jewelry, and handmade clothing, award-winning wines and exotic olive oils.

Can this building be saved? It's the old Cuban Queen, symbol of the mining city bordellos. (Photo by )Bob Swanson

The Jerome Historical Society wanted to restore the old Cuban Queen, symbol of the mining city bordellos. Then the roof caed in. For those of us who lived in Jerome in the Jade/Rosie days, it was their home and magnet/tile making studio.  I still have some of them.  (Photo by Bob Swanson)

The names of many businesses play on the mythology of ghosts: The Haunted Hamburger, Ghost Town Inn, the Spirit Room bar, Ghost Town Tours, and Ghost Town Gear. The Grand Hotel provides ghosts meters to visitors interested in documenting their contacts. The annual Jerome Ghost Walk is one of the most popular events that the Jerome Historical Society produces. It draws many hundreds of people to its re-enactments of historic events.

Many don’t mourn the loss of ruins. Sometimes tourists fell off the old walls. Shopkeepers complained ruins were fire hazards and dubbed them liabilities. Many homes that once went for under a $1000 have sold for over a quarter of a million dollars. In the ghost town years, they were ripe for pickings and vandalism. Up to the 1980’s, residents would find people wandering through their yards, saying, “I thought this was a ghost town.”

The iconic T.F. Miller building was ordered to be torn down by Phelps Dodge in 1953. "Jerome is finished," a mine official said. Kids were paid a penny a piece to clean the bricks. (Photo courtesy: Jerome Historical Society)

The iconic T.F. Miller building was ordered to be torn down by Phelps Dodge in 1953. “Jerome is finished,” a mine official said. Kids were paid a penny a piece to clean the bricks. (Photo courtesy: Jerome Historical Society)

I never tired of walking among Jerome’s ruins. The shards of Jerome’s fabulous mining past were embedded in its abandoned buildings, crumbling walls, and collapsed roofs. Ruins shared visible histories of this once powerful and fabled city—“the richest copper mining city” in the West.  There were ghosts in those ruins; you could feel them.

The old bakery ovens are still hanging around in the back yard of one of my friends, (Photo by Bob Swanson)

The old bakery ovens are still hanging around in the back yard of one of my friends, (Photo by Bob Swanson)

Before new mine owners forbid walking down to the 500-level, I loved walking around the foundations of the housing units for mid-level employees (plumbers, carpenters, electricians). I loved sneaking into the old mining building known as the “Dry” with its rows of empty lockers and broken-up shower stalls. I could easily visualize 1500 miners simultaneously showering up after their shifts and hanging their clothes to dry on pulleys that hoisted them high into the rafters. Vaporous ghosts.

Interior of the Dry on the 500 level.  (Photo by Bob Swanson)

Interior of the Dry on the 500 level. (Photo by Bob Swanson)

For old-timers who return by the hundreds for the annual town reunion called “Spook Days,” ruins were the roots of their powerful attachment to Jerome. “I was only here from 1928-1948, but I feel a strong attachment to Jerome. No other place I’ve ever lived in have I felt that attachment,” said one old Mexican.

Another said, “I was only three years old when I left Jerome, but I remember things. . . I remember my father’s house. I remember the snow. And I remember sitting on my grandmother’s balcony at night, looking down into the valley. I could hear crickets and it was so peaceful.”

Ruins revealed oddities about people who used to live here. One of my favorite ruins was the old homestead where Father John used to live. When he died, he left behind a lot of junk: rusting cars, collections of stoves, and a room full of ladies shoes, singles only. Now what would a priest be doing with so many ladies’ shoes? Father John’s home mysteriously burned the night after he was found collapsed and dehydrated in his bedroom at the Catholic Church and was dragged to the hospital. Years later, the homestead was replaced with the new Gold King Mine, which includes a lot of old pre-fifties trucks, a museum of mining relics and old sawmill from Weed, California. There never was a mine there, much less one that mined gold.

A new town has emerged, full of its own colors and legends, a village of little crime and high spirits. The ghost town is all but gone.

One of my all time favorites ruins, now the cover of Rich Town Poor Town. It was in perfect splay when Bob took the shot. Then it fell down. (Photo by Bob Swanson)

One of my all time favorites ruins, now the cover of Rich Town Poor Town by Roberto Robago, a great book. The ruin was in perfect splay when Bob took the shot. Then it fell down. (Photo by Bob Swanson)

But when the oldtimers die, who will share the memories and secrets of old Jerome? And when the ruins are gone, where will the ghosts hide?

Updated from an earlier blog.

Walter Rapaport: Music, Audio and the Poetic

Guest post by Walter Rapaport, my husband of 42 years, continuing my posts about the old music business days of the seventies.

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Portrait of Walter at age 74 at home in Hines Oregon.  Photo by Laurie O’Connor.

“I’ve done some wrong things,

While livin’ my life

Made some wrong moves

You could criticize …”

(Barbara Mauritz, Lamb, A Sign of Change)

Sign of change was one of Lamb's finest album, a work of magical originality..

A Sign of Change, a work of magical originality, was Lamb’s first album, produced by David Rubinson for Fillmore Records.

For me, it’s about the emotional sum of words plus music.

Musicals were the start. Classical got to me with or without words. Great NYC DJ’s. Folk music drew me into the club scene in New York. Jazz came along and changed all the relationships in my mind. Then rock ‘n roll codified longings I did not voice until then:  Stones. Beatles, and acid pulled me westward!

I was 25 and a hi-fi nut.  Worked with Ampex tape recorders in language labs. By then I was a complete stoner, and the straight job was too restricting.  Enter Lamb! in San Francisco. My good friend Bob Swanson was a principal in that group and sent me tapes.  Needed a sound guy.  Called me on the night Nixon was elected and said they had a regular gig and would pay me a share. The Ribeltad Vorden bar paid the band $35 a week. Color me gone.

“When hardly a trace of love could I find.

Was a blind hearted woman.

Almost lost my mind.”

(Barbara Mauritz, Lamb, A Sign of Change)

Bill Douglas on bass, Bob Swanson on git., Barbara Mauritz sings, pianos. and gits. Walt finds a calling. And what a life.  No money, but poetry. I entered the universe of poetry and music. Live gig, rehearsal and eventually recording. Producer David Rubinson picked Lamb up for Fillmore Records and got Bill Graham, the godfather of rock ‘n roll, on board at Flllmore Managment. And Walter was still lost in the poetic.

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Singer Barbara Mauritz and guitarist of Lamb. Back cover of their second album, Cross Between. Co-producers: David Rubinson and Walter Rapaport.  Photo by Peter Olwyler.

“And I know, yes I know, praying for the light.

Down on my knees, alone in the night

Cryin’ Oh. look down here on me,

That I may see the way, yeah!”

(Barbara Mauritz, Lamb, A Sign of Change)

Lamb’s first album, A Sign of Change was pure jazz, with a dose of mysticism and another of gospel. I co-produced their second album, Cross Between. The gospel of studio recording was handed to me by the great engineer Fred Catero. 45 years later my mind distills the lessons, and when I am fortunate enough to record, I TRY TO FOLLOW THEM.

  • Be Positive!
  • Listen to each instrument and amp to find the sweet spot—put the mic. there!
  • Listen to the control room chatter and filter for meaning and direction.
  • Evaluate input for useful ideas.
  • When the talk gets to serious band business:  disappear—if not recording.
  • Be positive and, when required, be funny.

    fred catero

    Recording engineer Fred Catero.

“And it’s in gettin’ down to earth

That we can recognize our worth

We were all put here together

For the worse or for the better

And I believe, and I say I believe

Until my dyin’ day

I just wanna say…yeah

We’re gonna have a party!”

(Barbara Mauritz, Lamb, A Sign of Change)

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Barbara Mauritz. Photo by Peter Olwyler.

Just before Lamb’s fourth album, the new producer fired me. Business reality caught up with me. The music went downhill from there. Ego? Not me!

Getting bumped off the poetic caused a hard landing. A lawyer’s letter informed me that I owed a share of partnership losses. I was depressed and out of money. My lawyer said I was responsible for my share. Oy vey!  Revelation: Wait, I ain’t got shit!  Call Bill Graham in the a.m. to laugh and suggest that I had about $2 and he was welcome to it, to which he replied, “It took you way too long to get it.” Thanks for the lesson, Bill!

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Joined a band called Bittersweet as sound guy, road manager. It did not “go.” Eventually got a job as a sound man at a nightclub called the “Orphanage.”  Good music by and large. A good time of life.  Reconnect with my love Diane, now 42 years married and counting. Have child, what a gas, often being parent at work, often with baby Max.

Became adept at multiple to 2-track mixes (house, stage, sound truck, and for Van Morrison a video feed). Founded White Noise Sound with Barret Bassick.  Did live sound and live broadcast, direct to 2-channel to air.  And this totally shaped my idea of how one recorded and produced sessions. Get the performance!  Go to it if necessary.  Walt and his A77 Revox got a surprising amount of work. NPR producer Tim Owens (“Jazz Alive”) kept us working. Found out I was not a good studio engineer.

Tim was promoted to Washington D.C.  Barret and I had a falling out.  I went to work as production mgr. at FRAP (Flat Response Audio Pickup), the most rewarding job I ever had.  I contracted for a year. Company looked like it might go…

Diane was done with the Bay Area. Took my van, my dog and my son to Jerome AZ. Suddenly I needed a complete life change. Returned to work after winter vacation, and found that FRAP product on the shipping table was still there, and knew that I didn’t want to go through the lack of cash that was sure to follow. Joined family in Jerome AZ and decided that house wiring is just a variation on balanced electronics wiring (it is!) and called myself a house wirer. Did whatever recording-live sound work that I could. Katie Lee and Major Lingo stand out. Still with the old A77!  Perhaps the most fulfilling tracks came from Katie in the form of a folk opera called Billy, Maude and Mr. D.

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Katie Lee’s folk opera. Available at http://www.katydoodit.com

She performed the first act flawlessly (23 min) and beautifully. Second act required one edit!  This was recorded using a Shure 58 mic for vocal, Shure 53 mic for guitar, both through transformers directly into A77 pre-amps.  (The CD is available thru Katydid Books and Music— http://katydoodit.com)

KT Western Garb

Photo of Katie Lee by M.L. Lincoln. (Katydodit.com)

Friends like Katie taught us to enjoy hiking, camping and rafting. This  “getting down to earth“ stuff became a solid track of its own, and the poetry continued.

Walter and Richard

Walter Rapaport and Richard Martin on the Colorado River in the eighties. For both, music and the life of the poetic guided their passions. Photo by Diane Rapaport

New Life for Jerome Arizona’s Holy Family Catholic Church

When Scott Kolu sang “Salve Regina,” a traditional hymn to the Virgin Mary, from the balcony of the Holy Family Catholic Church in Jerome a few years ago, I was transfixed. I felt as though heaven was singing right through me and down to the beautiful old altar. The church’s acoustics were perfection.

Interior corner of the HOly Family Catholic Church in Jerome AZ

These sweet statues that were once part of the Holy Family Catholic Church in Jerome AZ are being repaired. The window painting was removed in the nineteen nineties. Photo by Bob Swanson. http://www.SwansonImages.com

Scott, a baritone, who once sang with the Royal Hawaiian Opera Company, is the cantor, caretaker, historian and advocate for the restoration of the oldest church in Jerome.

He wasn’t always Catholic. He was a renegade from growing up in a family of conservative Orthodox Jews with a Rabbi father and converted to Catholicism eleven years ago. Today, he lives in the Holy Family Catholic Church’s convent, where he can monitor day-to-day restoration.

A year and a half ago, Scott outlined the structural problems of the church and his dreams for renovation to Father David Kalesh, pastor of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Cottonwood. The three-story brick and stone back wall facing Main Street is bowed, its foundation crumbling, mortar for its brick and stone façade in need of repointing.

The Holy Family Catholic Church is one of the oldest churches in JErome, AZ

Image of the Holy Family Catholic Church as depicted in an old postcard of Jerome, AZ.

Not surprising for a building that was built in 1896, burned in the fire of 1898, and was rebuilt as a brick and stone structure in 1899-1900. It was known as the ‘miner’s church.

Father David and Scott Kolu became strong allies.

Together they are bringing Jerome’s Holy Family Catholic Church back to life. Father David conducts Mass on the third Saturday of each month at 8:30 a.m. When long-time and much loved Jerome resident Don Walsh died in late September, a funeral service was held to a packed church of family and friends.

“The church has immense historic value,” Father David told me. “Most important are the memories the church holds for former parishioners and their families who visit Jerome. I would like to help the church become the polished jewel that it once was.”

After Father Juan Atucha Gorostiaga (Father John) died in 1979, the church interior was in shabby condition. Some funds for repair came from money that was recovered from the discovery of its theft from the church. The night after Father John died, one of Jerome’s hippie newcomers discovered someone coming out of the church with garbage bags. The thief fled, and the garbage bags, full of silver coin and old bills, were handed over to the police. When they looked inside the church, more money was found. According to Ron Ballatore, one of the policemen, $8000 was recovered. “The Phoenix diocese asked that it be given to three of his loyal parishioners for fixing up the church,” said Ballatore in an interview that I did with him in the 1980’s. “What happened to it after that I don’t know. I do know that Tony [Anthony Lozano, Sr.] spent years repairing that church pretty much on his own.” (A more complete version of these stories are found in my Home Sweet Jerome: Death and Rebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City. www.homesweetjerome.net)

Lozano’s work included cleaning the interior of the building, repainting the altar and sanctuary, and making repairs to the antique pipe organ. “Unfortunately, the roof leaks above the organ were neglected, and a big rainstorm in 1981 inflicted a lot of damage,” Scott Kolu said as he showed me the rotten felt and damaged rubber gaskets on each key.

Interior HOly Family Catholic Church, Jerome AZ.

This is how the interior of the Holy Family Catholic Church in Jerome AZ looked in 1985. The lifelike statue of Saint Anthony Mary Claret was stolen then mysteriously returned and thrown on the floor of the church, breaking it into pieces. Photo by Bob Swanson. www.SwansonImages.com

The organ, designed especially for smaller churches, was built by the prestigious Kilgen and Sons Pipe Organ Company in St. Louis in the early nineteen hundreds. Only two others of the same compact design still remain in the United States. (Perhaps the most well known Kilgen church pipe organ is housed in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan.)

“We are ecstatic that Mr. Charles Kegg, President and Artistic Director of Kegg Pipe Organ Builders (www.keggorgan.com) is willing to take on the restoration project,” Scott said.

I sent an email to Mr. Kegg and asked him why.

“I would like to restore it to its original condition so that it can remain an example of this almost extinct style of American pipe organ,” he said. “The pipe organ in Jerome is rather unusual. . . It was being sent to a place where electricity probably didn’t exist at all at the time, so this organ was built using methods from the mid-19th century and with the intention that it must play under difficult circumstances with little or no maintenance. This was not uncommon at all for remote locations. . . Jerome must have been an outpost much more remote than other locations that would want a pipe organ. Another thing that makes it unusual is that it has survived, virtually intact.”

Scott is in the process of restoring the altar and sanctuary to some of the glory that Tony Lozano accomplished. During the nineteen-nineties, well-meaning seminarians repainted the altar and painted over the two golden images of The Holy Ghost and All-seeing Eye of God with their white fluffy clouds above them. “You can still see their faint outlines beneath the paint, so they can be redone,” Scott said.

The seminarians also removed the old window paintings of the Twelve Apostles in the sanctuary and The Holy Family that graced the large window in the church’s balcony. “Eventually we will find a way to replace them,” said Scott. “I already have an arrangement with Penelope Davis, who runs the kid’s art program in Jerome, to repaint a more modern holy family in the large balcony window.”

“At least the tin ceiling wasn’t repainted,” I remarked. “In 1984, I walked in to the church to see Tony Lozano painting the blue fleur de lis designs on the ceiling with his fingers. He was a most devout man.”

“I sorely miss the statue of Saint Anthony Mary Claret that used to stand in the back of the church.” I told Scott. “It was so lifelike that it unnerved me every time I visited. Sadly, the statue was stolen sometime in the nineties.” (St. Anthony founded the Claretian order.)

“The finale of that story is that the statue was returned,” Scott said. “Someone dumped it on the floor of the church, and it broke into pieces. Now only the bust remains. Such a desecration.”

Scott’s passion for restoring the church is equaled by his love of the town of Jerome.

“I’ve been coming to Jerome since the nineteen eighties,” Scott said. “The beauty of this town isn’t just the view, but like the church, every step you take, you know someone else has taken that same step. I love the fact that I fit in. There’s a belonging that you get here that you don’t find anywhere else.”

I quoted him the lines from Kate Wolf’s song “Old Jerome.” (Complete lyrics are found in the author’s book Home Sweet Jerome.

They say that once you live here, you’ll you never really leave,          

The town has a hold on you until the day you die.

“I don’t know whether you never really leave Jerome or whether Jerome doesn’t leave you,” Scott replied.

Before I left the church, Scott rang the well-functioning bell, made and smelted by a 17-year old living in Jerome who went on to become a bell maker. Its peals resounded throughout the church and town. “You have to know how to pull it straight for the clobber to hit it decently,” Scott said. I tried. It was too heavy for me to even get a good pull. I thanked him for his time.

The article was first published in the Verde Independent newspaper in Cottonwood, AZ. The photo gallery featuring Vyto Starinskas’ photos are spectacular. http://verdenews.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=63344

Today, I heard from my Facebook friends that a new business downstairs was going to replace Scott. Worse, Scott was going to have a hard time finding a place to live in a town that always made room for people it loved that had contributed positively towards the town. Jerome has turned scrooge: what counts these days, more than compassion and humanity is money, and this in a place that professes those values. A blasphemy, indeed.

(Diane Sward Rapaport is the author of Home Sweet Jerome: Death and Rebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City. www.homesweetjerome.net The blogs are different from the stories that are included in the book, but the book does include some great stories about Father John, the beloved priest who died in the late 1970’s.  The book is available in many stores in Jerome or for $18 post paid by sending me a check at Box 398, Hines OR 97738. Happy New Year. I’ll include an autograph. Diane Rapaport )

Jerome, AZ 2014—America’s Loveliest Town

Jerome AZ is home when I come back to visit, as familiar and comfortable as my new home in Hines, Oregon. I was hugged back into its warmth and beauty by friends and family.

I strolled through streets that are full of magic and surprise. It’s not just the highly individual houses and gardens, but coming upon staircases that climb to nowhere, secret pathways, gussied up pink flamingos, an old dental chair planted in the grass, the body of a 1951 Chrysler New Yorker floating on a pedestal adjacent to the New State Motor Company.

Fantasy garden in Jerome AZ.

Karen calls this her Jerome AZ fantasy garden. I call it the garden of magic and surprise. lovely Lady Bank roses cascade up the large tree and the peace sign is lit at night. Photo by Karen Mackenzie

It was late spring. Thousands of trees in hundreds of varieties had greened up. Apricots and peaches were plumping out; it would be a bonanza year. Pink, red and yellow roses cascaded off porch trellises. It made me feel like I was walking through a terraced arboretum decorated with people-sized dollhouses.

It was difficult to imagine that in 1953 Jerome and the surrounding mountains were denuded of vegetation.

Unlike virtually any other American town, Jerome, AZ is framed in by a wild rocky landscape. The entire town is encompassed in about one square mile. There are no perimeter condos or trailer parks; no big box stores; no fast food franchises, no blighted neighborhoods. The land surrounding the town is owned by that is owned by mining and other large entities and the US Forest Service.

Jerome AZ illustration by Anne Bassett

The entire town of Jerome AZ is encompassed in about an aereal mile. Illustration by Anne Bassett (www.jeromeartistannebasset.com) for Diane Rapaport’s book, Home Sweet Jerome—Death and Rebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City (homesweetjerome.net).

Every stroll shows me stupendous backdrops of craggy copper-colored canyons above Jerome or sweeps my eyes 1700 feet down and across the Verde Valley to the carmine and buff buttes, which form the ramparts known as the Mogollon Rim. The lighting effects produced by any kind of weather are entrancing.

Late afternoon in Jerome AZ

Views from Jerome AZ are stupendous, especially when their are storm clouds. “Heaven on earth” is what photographer Ron Chilston calls it.  (www.ron-chilston.artistwebsites.com)

The mining history of this once fabled city is everywhere present. Just up from the post office on Main Street, I can take in the elegance of fifteen lovingly restored Victorian houses, built by William Andrews Clark, the mining mogul reputed to be richer than Rockefeller. My eyes can look at the big buildings that dominate most every neighborhood and remember how derelict they looked when I moved to Jerome in 1980. Now they are architectural showcases, lovingly used and enjoyed.

DeCamp House

The DeCamp house on Company Hill in Jerome AZ. It sits on the edge of Paradise Lane. Illustration by Anne Bassett (www.jeromeartistannebassett.com/

The restoration efforts led to Jerome AZ being declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976. A decade before, the commercial district had been designated as a National Historic District.)

The white Douglas Mansion, the largest adobe brick structure in Arizona, once belonged to Jimmy Douglas, the second wealthiest mining mogul in Jerome, AZ. The mansion is now a meticulously cared for state park and museum. Nearby, the Daisy Hotel, once a miner’s hotel, and, after the fifties, an informal child’s skateboard and hide and seek playground, is now a handsomely restored home for its owners. The old hospital has become the Grand Hotel with its gracious maroon awnings. The Mingus Union High School complex is crammed full of remarkable art studios. The old elementary school houses town hall, offices and public library.

I always gawk at Jerome’s retaining walls, its immense, and somewhat unheralded, architectural treasure. The walls behind the new fire station and down by the basketball court near the sliding jail are built with rocks so large you’d think giants lifted them. Other walls are built with trestles from old railroad beds, steel sheets, or even bedsprings. Still others are huge concrete edifices. Some 1500 retaining walls have been built in Jerome AZ and they are as individual as the homes that people have restored. The walls keep the town from toppling down the mountain.

Wall on Highway 89A, Jerome AZ

One of the first Jerome AZ walls that drivers notice on their way up from the Verde Valley is right on Highway 89A. It was built by Mexicans and Italian stonemasons in the 1930’s as a WPA project. The limestone rocks are quarried from the Martin formation just outside of town. The rocks have settled and withstood a few rumbles, which accounts for some of their curved lines. Photo by Bob Swanson (SwansonImages.com)

The Jerome Historical Society (http://jeromehistoricalsociety.com/) has displayed many mining artifacts in its parks and streets: iron ore carts, the coal coker, the huge half steel spoke outside its mine museum on Main Street. They have transformed an old Audrey head frame below the Douglas State Park Museum into a museum mini park. I stand on top of the glass walkway and look down almost 1900 feet into the old elevator shaft, a view enhanced by dramatic xenon lighting and specially designed mirrors. I saw an old elevator ‘cage’ and wonder if it was the same one that once transported me almost 5000 feet down into the large mine caverns.

Audrey Headframe

The Audrey headframe was part of the elevator that took employees down into the United Verde Extension Copper Mine in Jerome AZ.

After more than sixty years of restoration, the ghost town derelict that Jerome became after 1953 is gone. It is arguably the most photographed and painted town in America. Visually, Jerome, AZ gets my vote for the loveliest town in America.

Fall in Jerome AZ

Fall in Jerome AZ by plein aire artist Mark Hemleben (markhemleben.com).

The Recording Artist as an Indentured Servant

Soon after I became part of Fillmore Management, Lamb and Victoria were recording new albums. I had never been in a recording studio nor knew what a recording session was like.

My first session was at the Wally Heider Studio, one of the San Francisco greats, located in the old Tenderloin District. Santana, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Steve Miller, The Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Herbie Hancock were some of the bands that recorded their albums there.

One of the great San Francisco bay Area recording studios.

One of the great San Francisco bay Area recording studios.

Building Plaque for this historic recording Bay Area recording studio.

Building Plaque for this historic recording Bay Area recording studio.

The receptionist pointed me into two dark rooms separated by a huge piece of plate glass. Bob Swanson and Barbara Mauritz of Lamb were recording songs for “Cross Between,” their second album.

I walked into a dimly lit room and introduced myself to Fred Catero, one of the greatest recording engineers of all time. He was seated the controls of a very complicated console with levers, knobs, lights and instrument panels. He explained to me that I was looking at a mixing board, each lever accessing and controlling volume at one of the microphones in the other room. As Barbara had not yet arrived, he had time to explain what some of the other equipment in the room was all about.

One of the mixing boards at Wally Heider Studios, San Francisco.

One of the mixing boards at Wally Heider Studios, San Francisco.

In the second room, behind the glass, Bob Swanson was tuning his guitar and Walter Rapaport was setting up microphones and joking with Bob. Walter was the sound and road manager for Lamb; in the studio he acted as a production helper. The album called him “a shepherd’ which was an accurate title for someone who know what Lamb’s music should sound like and worked with an engineer to get it.

When Barbara Mauritz arrived 45 minutes time was spent setting her up with microphones and testing recording levels at the mixing board.

Then Bob and Barbara tried out a song. For whatever reason, there were a lot of false starts and stops during the song and there were a lot of breaks. Fred would talk to them and instruct them when to start. Fred explained that he could piece together the best parts of a song without their having to play and sing it perfectly all the way through.

During this time, I’m counting minutes. Wally Heider was charging $250 an hour, about $4.00 a minute. During that four-hour session, almost two hours were time spent on lateness, false stops and starts, jokes, breaks. Maybe two songs got recorded. Fred was the soul of patience. One of his jobs was to help musicians relax, so he gave them a lot of leeway.
David Rubinson, Executive Producer for the album, popped in for a few minutes.

FredCatero, upper left, and David Rubinson, producer, Fillmore Records

FredCatero, upper left, and David Rubinson, producer, Fillmore Records

As today, money spent recording an album is a loan from a record company to be paid back (recouped) out of the money earned in sales (royalties). Lamb would spend an excess of $250,000 recording “Cross Between” and it would take sales of more than 150,000 records to recoup the expense. Until then, their living would depend on earnings from gigs and advances (about $15,000 per album, also an advance against future royalties).

At the rate of time spent on that very first session, I well understood why many bands became indentured servants to the record companies during their entire musical careers. Unless they sold millions of records, recording expenses kept compounding, album after album. The farther behind a band got, the harder to sell enough records to recoup expenses. Lamb perhaps sold 150,000 copies of their first three recordings and racked up more than $750,000 in expenses!

BarbaraMauritz and Bob Swanson of Lamb. Photo by Peter Olwyer.

BarbaraMauritz and Bob Swanson of Lamb. Photo by Peter Olwyer.

The ‘loan’ made it very difficult for bands to change record labels, even when their albums did not sell nearly enough to ‘recoup’ expenses, much less make any money for the bands. And if they did sell millions, I discovered, record companies often ‘cheated’ on what they reported was due. Whole companies were set up to ‘audit’ the royalties owed for 10% or more of whatever they recovered. What does this tell you? That there had to be enough money owed the bands for those companies to make a profit.

As an example of a lifetime of indentured servitude, Pamela Polland’s album “Gentle Soul” was re-released on Sundazed Music in the last few years. I asked her if they were paying her. She wrote, “The reason I can’t get any money is because A) I still owe Sony a couple hundred grand for the cost of all three of my albums: “Gentle Soul,” and my two solo albums, the second of which was never released. And B) when a company like Sundazed does a re-issue, they pay Sony, not me. Sigh.”)

Bob Swanson was to find essentially the same explanation when he tried to get Sony to pay for re-releases of Lamb’s albums.

Holding Down Expenses
One of my jobs as a manager was to try and hold down expenses for recording. A lot of money could and did get eaten up in experimentation, mediocre sessions, tuning, and ideas for adding flutes or violas, or even whole orchestras. Bands would come up with ideas for new tunes or new arrangements and the clock would keep right on ticking. Part of the reason for this was that many bands heard what they were playing for the first time over very very good speakers. Once they did, they knew what had to be changed, or done better or differently. Drummers sometimes needed metronomes because they didn’t keep accurate beats. Guitars frequently went out of tune, and so on. Unfortunately, $250 an hour was a harsh price to pay for learning to listen.

Not only was my job to hold down expenses, but to argue with record companies about expenses that were charged my artists that I considered unfair. For example, When Pamela Polland recorded her first album for Columbia Records, Clive Davis ‘assigned’ a young, very untried producer to work with her. The producer spent in excess of $35,000 ‘mixing’ the album because he couldn’t quite make up his mind about how prominent Pamela’s vocals should be and whether there should be more echo, on her voice; whether the drums should be louder and on and on. He was indecisive at every turn and to compensate tried everything. I know because I attended those sessions. Even though I hadn’t had a lot of experience, I knew that the producer was spending Pamela’s recording budget on ‘learning.’ She, not the record company, was on the hook. And that pissed me off.

When I went to New York, I made an appointment to see Clive Davis, then head of Columbia, the record company that signed Pamela. I was in high dudgeon and demanded that $25,000 be taken off her recording budget and explained why. Clive finally agreed. He later told me I was the only manager that walked in and asked him to do this.

After that, my motto became, “You don’t ask, you don’t get.”

Brian Rohan: The People’s Lawyer
Soon after joining Fillmore Management, I met Brian Rohan, the third member of the Fillmore triumvirate (with Bill Graham and David Rubinson), a handsome, burly Irishman that I nicknamed the Marlon Brandon of the record industry. He got the prettiest women to fall madly in love with him and then treated them in the cavalier fashion of a scoundrel and a rogue.

Rohan got his start in San Francisco by defending pot and LSD dealers and saved them from the clutches of jail. For this he became known as a ‘people’s lawyer. Ken Kesey was one of his clients and so was Neil Cassady, Jack Kerouac’s sidekick, who was a close friend of mine when I lived in San Miguel de Allende and started managing a band there.

Rohan negotiated all recording and publishing contracts negotiated on behalf of Fillmore Management, Fillmore Records and Pamela Polland. He was the lawyer for the Grateful Dead. He negotiated the most complete and remarkable contracts recording artists signed at that time. His negotiating tactic was procrastination. He would drive record company executives crazy with a stall until they gave in to his demands. Drove the bands crazy with waiting as well.

One day Rohan asked me if wanted to go with him to the Grateful Dead house in Larkspur (a Marin County town, just north of San Francisco). I was introduced to a bunch of guys lolling around the couches with their girlfriends, the smell of pot prominent. Before too many minutes went by, Brian launched into a half hour diatribe about how much money they were racking up in studio time. “You’re never going to make any money. . .” They just rolled their eyes. It was legion in San Francisco that the Dead always spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on recording and sound equipment when they gigged. They had a huge draw at their gigs, but it wasn’t until the eighties that they actually had a hit song with “Touch of Grey.” It was the band’s only commercial hit. The song is known for its refrain
“I will get by / I will survive.”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l38YXrGJxx0 Bill Graham Memorial Concert 1991.

The Grateful Dead recorded American Beauty at Wally Heider Studios, San Francisco, CA.

The Grateful Dead recorded American Beauty at Wally Heider Studios, San Francisco, CA.

What is more unbelievable is that the first Dead concert I went to was after I quit Fillmore Management in 1974. I was way too busy to go to concerts for other than the bands that I managed. And when I did have a free evening, I’d just as soon spend it at home with my two children.

Promotion
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of my job was to persuade record companies to put promotional dollars into recordings of the bands that I was managing and persuade promotion people to get their records played on the radio. Promotion almost solely meant getting radio stations to play music of newly released albums.

By taking record company executives to ‘lunch,’ I learned that few had never even listened to the music.

Then I learned what the actual system was for assigning ‘priorities’ for airplay within the record companies.During any three-month period, a record company might release up to ten albums in any one genre, primarily rock, country and middle-of-the road. Three might be records of known stars—the major promotional dollars would be spent on them. Three releases might be from artists that were beginning to have promising followings and promo dollars were targeted for cities that they were popular in. Money for the albums of say four unknowns was divvied up according to the push of managers, whether there was even a possibility of a ‘hit’ single on their albums, and any number of other factors. Who got what portion of promotional dollars was pre-decided in a meeting of the record company president and his promotional and marketing staff.

One day, the promo guy at Warner Brothers called to tell me that one of Lamb’s singles was going to be put on radio rotation all over the country and to listen in the next day to the promotional conversation as he instructed the regional guys. But when I listened in, I heard him tell his regional guys to push Malo, a spinoff of Santana, that David Rubinson was also the producer for. When I called, quite pissed off, he blandly told me that David Rubinson had called in one of his favors.

Once again, I was fighting internecine warfare within Fillmore Records. Even harder to stomach was that some of the members of Malo were too incapacitated by heroin to go on the road and support that album, despite the airplay they received.

Payola
And then there was payola. Pay for play. Payola was cash spent under the table to bribe DJ’s or major station conglomerates to play certain tunes. Very illegal, but i those days standard operating procedure between record companies and radio stations. Payola was extremely difficult to prove because the cash couldn’t be traced. And it wasn’t just direct pay for play.

There was what I used to call party payola: the free tickets, the back stage passes, the invitations to parties on record executive yachts, the free booze and drugs at conventions. It was an entrenched system that was impossible to buck, but something that was always there, taken for granted, like the air you breathed. And all around was a conspiracy of silence.

In 1973, Clive Davis was accused of embezzling $93,000 for his son’s bar mitzvah and fired. Other arrests were made and underlying it all was a huge investigation of payola. Nothing was ever proved and for awhile, payola became even more hidden.

The only person I knew that did jail time was an unassuming fifty-year old man, with a big paunch whose job it was to provide drugs and women (or men) for the pleasure of bands and executives at annual conventions. It was all part of party payola.

When an organization called Women in Music asked me to give a talk about how women could rise above being secretaries and public relations employees, I ended the lecture by saying: “If you do rise above those jobs, the biggest challenge you will face is dealing with people in positions above yours, most of them men, some brilliant, some incompetent, some stupid, many stuck in their own egos, some who consider themselves gifts to women and some corrupt—sometimes in one package. The most heartbreaking combination is brilliance mixed with corruption. These people controlled the money and the business attention that I and the artists that I managed received. Learning to maneuver without losing your sanity or your own sense of ethics will be your primary challenge.”

For sure it was mine; and when I couldn’t deal with it anymore with any sense of dignity or ethics, I quit Fillmore Management and the entertainment industry that went with it. The more I knew, the more I understood about how it all worked, the more squeezed I felt inside. And what I couldn’t deal with, above the corruption I was privy to, was that the bands were the fall guys, a lot of talent that became pawns of corruption and indentured servants to companies that did not serve them.

Headless Ghosts: Jerome, AZ Mining Days

Papa Lozano’s father came to Jerome in the early 1900’s from a village in Sonora, Mexico where he worked on the assembly line in a sewing machine factory. His boss regularly beat him for minor infractions. After his boss slit off a corner of his ear, Lozano ran away, came to Arizona and signed on as a mucker for the United Verde Copper Company, owned by Williams Andrews Clark.

Deep under the ground, six days a week, Papa Lozano stood ankle deep in an oozy muck and shoveled newly blasted ore into carts. The drilling and blasting around him would produce a layer of fine dust that slowly infected his lungs and caused pneumoconiosis.

Life was hard, but there was no anxiety. The bosses were strict but not cruel. They allowed the muckers an after shift shower on company time in the building on the 500-level that was known as “The Dry.”

After his shift, Lozano would trudge with 400 other miners out of the belly of the mountain, blackened with muck and dust and climb the steps of the building known as “The “Dry.” He pissed shoulder-to-shoulder with his compadres in the long rows of urinals, set up like horse troughs along the building’s insides walls.

Photo by Bob Swanson (www.Swanson Images.com. The urinals in the Dry. The building has been razed.

Photo by Bob Swanson (www.Swanson Images.com. The urinals in the Dry.

He pulled off his steel toed boots, placed them in lockers, and stood shoulder to shoulder with his compadres under the long rods with the shower heads, still fully dressed, to rinse off the muck and the dust. He undressed and hitched his clothes to pulleys and hoisted them high up into the rafters to dry for the next day’s shift. Then he showered again, the steam smelling of sweat, urine and rock. Above, suspended clothing swayed slightly in the rafters, vaporous headless ghosts of the 400 men underneath.

Photos of the Dry by Bob Swanson (www.SwansonImages.com).

Photos of the Dry by Bob Swanson (www.SwansonImages.com).


Lozano was paid $2.00 a day for a 12-hour shift.

Perhaps only in comparison could you say that a life like that was sweeter or better.

(Diane Rapaport interviews with Papa Lozano and Andy Peterson (1981-1991)