This CD exists thanks to the diabolical Julia and Stephen Zoltan Kelety. Although not the first song I wrote, I performed “Fat Man on Thin Ice” at a backyard party for them. The video of that first performance is here. You may notice that the lead guitar player on that effort was none other than Bob Helfant, one of my oldest friends, who is the producer, arranger and lead guitarist on this CD. That same band included his son Harry on mandolin – Harry contributed his skills on a number of songs on this CD. Bob’s other son, Daniel, with his wrist in a cast, played bass. The other players included Chuck LaBella on drums, Tom Mauriello on piano and Wendy Patrick on violin. The lead singer for that band, Janet Stucke, provided the backup vocal for Fat Man on the video. You can hear her incredible voice on “You Break, You Buy.” Anyway, the Keletys gave me birthday present which consisted of their agreement to fund the professional recording of “Fat Man on Thin Ice.” Bob Helfant was then in the process of recording his first CD, Moorpark and Whitsett, and offered to produce it for me. Well, one thing led to another and I decided that if I was going to go through the effort, I should do more than one. So, here we are, more than a year and 11 recorded songs later. For the stories behind the songs, click here.
This CD is dedicated to Judi Sanzo. She performed the legal work of copyrighting the songs and art, trademarking the Fat Man on Thin Ice™ expression and creating the business entity that oversees it all. How strange, you may think, to dedicate your first CD to your lawyer. Okay, I give up, she also is my wife. Music takes up a lot of your time, even if you are just a hobbyist. She has been my biggest fan and pushed me to get my songs out in the world. So, if there are any of you who enjoy any of the songs, you heard them because of Judi. I am an incredibly lucky man.
It is not possible for me to thank Bob enough for his efforts in arranging, producing and playing on this CD. He agreed to produce Fat Man for me and, considering our friendship of 48 years, offered his services for free. As the project expanded, he rebuffed my offers to pay him and kept on working for nothing. Despite my misuse of our friendship, he brought the songs to life. He hooked me up with Tom Weir at Studio City Sound and brought in the various musicians who, under his guidance, contributed so meaningfully to the songs. When I think about the gift he has given me, I am awed and speechless. There are no words to express my gratitude.
Yes, the Zandra Rhodes. She is a friend of the family and volunteered to create the iconic images you see on the CD package and disc. Blew me away when I first saw her creations. Another great friend to whom I owe a large debt of gratitude.
You work with these people and you are part of the family. Warmth, kindness and amazing technical skills. Tom is a magician and his insights are invaluable. Tom and his staff have recorded some of the best singers and musicians of our era and yet they treated me as a professional. Working with Tom made the commutes from San Diego more bearable. And that is saying something!
Man, can I freeload! Agnes is a talented graphic artist who also happens to be another old friend of mine. She did the layout and production for Bob Helfant’s Moorpark and Whitsett CD. So she did mine too. I may get an award for being the biggest mooch in the music business!