Recording - February 2018 - 62

Continued from page 61
OK, now we're going to get to the inevitable part of
the conversation, which is all about Merv Griffin and
drugs. How many of you are old enough to remember The Merv Griffin Show? Wow, it's amazing how
many people don't know. Merv Griffin was one of
the great talk-show hosts for 20 years, probably.
He and Johnny Carson were pretty much it.
So, you met Merv Griffin, you end up going up to his
house and talking about producing a record for
him...
Well, I didn't realize it, but he was trying to pick me
up. I was conducting for Tanya Tucker at Caesar's
Palace, doing The Merv Griffin Show. I was offstage
talking with a buddy of mine, and I felt an arm
around me.
Was it Harvey Weinstein? [laughter] Sorry, I like to
keep these things topical.
It was Merv, and I was so excited. I mean, I had
only been in California for about six months, and
Merv Griffin was like my mom's favorite. He said,
"I love that song. Did you write that?" I said,
"Yeah." And he said, "I'm gonna do an album; do
you have anything that you think might be right for
me?" And of course, like an idiot, I said, "Oh, I've
got like dozens that would be great for you." And
he invited me up to his suite-the presidential suite
at Caesar's Palace-and I was thinking, surely he
sees my wedding ring. By the way, I have four kids.
And I went up there and went in and there were a
whole bunch of guys in bathrobes offering me
weed and other things. And I said, "Nah, I'm just
here to play some songs." But when I played him
this one song, it all of a sudden it became very professional. He said, "Play that again," and he started
singing along with me. Then he said he wanted me
to do that song with him. And he said, "In fact, I
want to do a whole album with you."
Back then, the artists would do covers of like a Bee
Gees hit or a Beatles song, and I said, "Yeah, I love
that stuff. Let's do it." So he gave me my first shot at
producing an album. And I never did the drugs,
and I adjusted my wedding ring a lot. We actually
became good friends over the years, and I would see
him from time to time at events, and he was always
very sweet.
Yeah, by all accounts he was an awesome guy. I was
so in shock when I read that, I almost called you at
home that night to go, "Are you serious? I can't
believe Merv Griffin."
I'm just gonna read this part from the book. By the
way, the photographs are worth the price of the
book. Even if you don't like to read, just buy it for
the pictures.
The book is really just the genesis. I had been doing
these "evenings with Steve Dorff," where everybody
62

Road Rally attendees lined up to get autographed copies of Steve Dorff's new book, I Wrote That One, Too...

goes, "Who?" I just sit at the piano and tell stories
and try to perform some of these songs. So this
woman came up to me one night and said, "You
don't sing very good." And I said, "Oh, thanks." She
said, "But I love your stories, you should write a
book." And I said, "Write a book? I can barely write
a four-minute song, how am I gonna write a book?"
She was a literary agent, and she said, "No, you've
gotta write a book. You've got to write a memoir.
Your stories are fun, and they are engaging and
quirky." So I said, "Great. Give me a book deal and
I'll write a book," thinking that this is never gonna
go anywhere. And bingo, six months later I'm kneedeep in trying to remember half of these crazy
stories that I've had the experience of living. So
that's really what the book is. It's just a journey of
really cool stories.
It's not a typical like... It's not salacious or
anything, but I read it in three nights.
It's a music-business story. It's a story about a guy
who came to California knowing nobody and somehow got to work with some of the greatest artists of
any generation.
So in the book you say, "A week later, Merv invited
me up to his house in Pebble Beach to get the keys
and go over the material." Not the keys to the
house, the keys to the songs. Just want to throw
that out there-four kids and all. "The house was
spectacular, overlooking Pebble Beach Golf Course.
That must have cost a couple bucks-on the Pacific
Ocean. It was a palace. I flew up from Burbank on
his private plane, and he had one of his assistants
meet me at the airport for the short drive to his
home. Merv and I spent a day going over songs, getting keys and discussing arrangement ideas and
schedules. Merv was an avid tennis player, and the
next morning I asked if we could take a break from
working on the songs to go and play a doubles
match with a couple of his tennis buddies.
I told him I played a bit, and after breakfast we
made our way over to one of his friend's nearby cas-

tles to play some tennis. Merv and his friend and I
were volleying for a while, while we waited for the
fourth to show up. "Ah, here he comes," said Merv. I
looked over, and here comes a tall good-looking guy
who ends up being my doubles partner-Clint Eastwood. How ironic that it was Clint who years later
would give me the musical opportunity of a
lifetime. But for that couple of hours, nothing was
talked about except good and bad tennis shots."
So this is kind of the story of your life. You're a little
bit like Forrest Gump in that you turn up in these
places and it's like songs fall into your head-not
unlike Lamont-and you end up on Merv Griffin's
private jet, smoking weed with his bathrobe boys,
whatever. And then you're on a tennis court with
Clint frickin' Eastwood as your doubles partner, who
later says, "Hey, you got a song...?"
Well, no, years later-maybe seven years later-I
got a call to write a song from a music supervisor.
They were in a panic. A big artist, arguably one of
the biggest artists in the world, had written a song
for one of Clint's movies, and Clint didn't like the
song and he threw it out. So the music supervisor
on the film called me and said, "I need a song by
tomorrow morning." And I said, "Oh, OK.
What...?" He said, "All I know at this point is it
needs to be called 'Every Which Way but Loose,'
and it's about a guy who travels around in a pickup
truck with an orangutan and fights people for
money." [laughter]
So I called Milton Brown, who is a longtime great
lyricist in Mobile, Alabama, and I woke him up-it
was two hours later there, like one o'clock in the
morning-and he said, "Somebody better have
died." And I said, "No, Milton, I have this assignment, I've got to write something by tomorrow." He
said, "Well, call me back in the morning." And I
said, "No, we've got to do it now." And we wrote it
over the phone in about 30 minutes, and I went in
the next day and played it for the music supervisor
who called Eastwood, who said, "Come over to the
Continued on page 65



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - February 2018

Contents
Recording - February 2018 - Intro
Recording - February 2018 - Cover1
Recording - February 2018 - Cover2
Recording - February 2018 - 1
Recording - February 2018 - 2
Recording - February 2018 - 3
Recording - February 2018 - 4
Recording - February 2018 - 5
Recording - February 2018 - 6
Recording - February 2018 - 7
Recording - February 2018 - Contents
Recording - February 2018 - 9
Recording - February 2018 - 10
Recording - February 2018 - 11
Recording - February 2018 - 12
Recording - February 2018 - 13
Recording - February 2018 - 14
Recording - February 2018 - 15
Recording - February 2018 - 16
Recording - February 2018 - 17
Recording - February 2018 - 18
Recording - February 2018 - 19
Recording - February 2018 - 20
Recording - February 2018 - 21
Recording - February 2018 - 22
Recording - February 2018 - 23
Recording - February 2018 - 24
Recording - February 2018 - 25
Recording - February 2018 - 26
Recording - February 2018 - 27
Recording - February 2018 - 28
Recording - February 2018 - 29
Recording - February 2018 - 30
Recording - February 2018 - 31
Recording - February 2018 - 32
Recording - February 2018 - 33
Recording - February 2018 - 34
Recording - February 2018 - 35
Recording - February 2018 - 36
Recording - February 2018 - 37
Recording - February 2018 - 38
Recording - February 2018 - 39
Recording - February 2018 - 40
Recording - February 2018 - 41
Recording - February 2018 - 42
Recording - February 2018 - 43
Recording - February 2018 - 44
Recording - February 2018 - 45
Recording - February 2018 - 46
Recording - February 2018 - 47
Recording - February 2018 - 48
Recording - February 2018 - 49
Recording - February 2018 - 50
Recording - February 2018 - 51
Recording - February 2018 - 52
Recording - February 2018 - 53
Recording - February 2018 - 54
Recording - February 2018 - 55
Recording - February 2018 - 56
Recording - February 2018 - 57
Recording - February 2018 - 58
Recording - February 2018 - 59
Recording - February 2018 - 60
Recording - February 2018 - 61
Recording - February 2018 - 62
Recording - February 2018 - 63
Recording - February 2018 - 64
Recording - February 2018 - 65
Recording - February 2018 - 66
Recording - February 2018 - 67
Recording - February 2018 - 68
Recording - February 2018 - 69
Recording - February 2018 - 70
Recording - February 2018 - 71
Recording - February 2018 - 72
Recording - February 2018 - 73
Recording - February 2018 - 74
Recording - February 2018 - 75
Recording - February 2018 - 76
Recording - February 2018 - 77
Recording - February 2018 - 78
Recording - February 2018 - 79
Recording - February 2018 - 80
Recording - February 2018 - Cover3
Recording - February 2018 - Cover4
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