What you didn't read in Barry Fey's memoir: Barry turned throwing phones into an artform
I sat in an office next to Barry's for about 22 years. My main job at Feyline was to keep other people from quitting. I was the CMO -- Chief Morale Officer. If reality TV had been around then, nobody would have believed it wasn't fiction. It was a noisy, chaotic office. There was a lot of screaming: Barry at me, me at Barry, Barry at everybody. He threw anything handy, usually his telephone. There was a phone repairman in the office once a week, probably. Anyone walking in would have thought it was an insane asylum, but it actually worked.
We were getting ready to open the Rainbow Music Hall in 1979 and the Rocky Mountain News sent out a photographer to our office to get some shots of Barry and me. He was sitting by our assistant's desk. Barry's office was on one side of a hall and mine was on the other. Barry got a bad phone call. Something had gone wrong, and it was, of course, my fault, so he stormed into my office, screaming all the way, and flipped my desk over. The photographer, an older guy, probably in his sixties, turned ashen -- we thought he was going to have a heart attack -- grabbed his gear and ran down the stairs, through the parking lot, got in his car and sped away.
One year, Barry was named "the craziest man in the concert promotion business" by a group of other promoters. I loved it because, unlike other finalists, he didn't have drugs or booze as an excuse.
In 1974, we were having a rough time because of the OPEC oil crisis and also because of Barry's feud with Frank Barsalona, who was the agent for a lot of big acts. Barry and I flew to Los Angeles to talk with a potential investor who we thought might keep us afloat. I remember sitting at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and saying to Barry, "What are we doing here? We don't have two nickels to rub together, and we flew out here first class, and we're staying in a suite!" Barry said, "If we're going down, we're going down first class!
One of the things I learned during my years with Barry is that if you don't have some real fun in this business, it's not worth the brain damage to be in it. You gotta have some fun. You take it too seriously, it'll kill you.
Barry was my mentor. By watching him, I learned what to do in certain situations, but I also learned what not to do. I love the guy, and he was one of the greatest promoters that ever lived. There's no question in my mind.
Tomorrow: Pam Moore recalls her time in the insane asylum.