28 Nov 2012
Chris Stamp wasn’t just a good looking boy. He was tough, kind, creative and fun to be around. I can’t think of anyone with whom it was better to brainstorm. For me, our best idea will always be THE WHO SELL OUT. We got so excited when we figured we could sell advertising space between tracks on our records. Why leave that income to radio stations and pop magazines? We weren’t prepared for how irritated those guys would be with the idea. Chris was also very spiritually open, and later in his life focussed on the questions of the purpose of the soul. That said, he was never pious or pompous, never preachy. In his last days, despite terrible pain, we who were lucky enough to spend time with him, felt the presence of angels (or something like that) around him. There was a different kind of light in the room when he was fighting back at his cancer.
He had a wonderful life in his early and later years. The middle years, very much like my own, were tough partly because of his massive success. Track Records – which Chris ran for many years – had The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Marc Bolan and a dozen other big hit single successes. The Who’s success in the USA brought us all great notoriety, and Chris was as hard living as the rest of us. But he found recovery many, many years before it came into vogue to do so in the music business, and as a result became like a kind of recovery guru in the New York area, loved and respected by hundreds of people he met in his work as a counsellor.
Roger became especially close to Chris in recent years, all past arguments and complaints forgotten. Love prevailed between them. I never lost touch with Chris because together we continued to be partners in Fabulous Music who published all the early Who music in the UK and Europe.
I will miss him, but remember him with real gratitude and pleasure – always.
Mike Shaw worked with The Who for just a few years, from 1964 to 1967, when he had a car crash that rendered him paraplegic, wheelchair bound with limited use of his upper body.
In his time with us before the accident, he ran everywhere in Soho where Track offices were based, like a jinn. A definitive Mod, he was fastidious about his clothing, and good to look at. He had the most peculiar sense of humour, clipped and self-deprecating. Our early Goldhawk Mod fans remembered him with great affection. He went on to work at Track Records for many years, supervising several major Who repackages, and much more.
A childhood friend of our present manager Bill Curbishly, and our first manager Chris Stamp, he grew up in the East End, but seemed a little posh somehow. He was certainly discriminating. He acted as the first Production Manager in the rock business, dealing with band movements, hotels, equipment transport, dealing with the tough promoters of the day, and operating the first serious lighting rig ever used by a small band in the early ’60s. The Beatles never even had their own P.A. system let alone lights – though they did have a couple of great roadies of course in Neil (Aspinal) and Mal (Evans).
Eventually, in the ’80s, he found work too tricky and needed daily nursing, and moved to live in St Austell in Cornwall in a modest house, but one that had the most inspiring view of the sea between the Fowey River over to Megavissy. That kept his soul alive, and although often lonely, he never lost heart. We all tried to see him as often as we could.
He and Chris Stamp passed away within weeks of each other. They were boyhood buddies.
Frank Barsalona was The Who’s agent in the USA from the beginning almost until the end. He arranged our first appearance in New York at the Murray the K Show in 1967, Woodstock in 1969, and every major tour from then until in the ’90s the big companies like Michael Cohl, Live Nation, Concerts West and AEG started to provide entire tour programmes for artists like The Who.
He was loved by all who knew him, a particular favourite with us and the Bruce Springsteen gang. He married his English wife June who we knew as an editor at the British fan magazine Fabulous back in 1964. She actually did our first such interview. Their daughter Nicole arrived much later, a cherished addition to one of the great families of pop and rock.
Frank was a great and discerning art collector, favouring modern work, and his first apartment in New York was designed around a stunning De Kooning that must be worth many millions today. His passing was not unexpected. He’d slowed down lately, and we all knew that Frank was not a man who would be comfortable living slow……..
Damn! First Mike Shaw, then Chris Stamp, then Frank. They all passed within a week of each other. It’s been a strange time. I can’t feel sadness though. These three guys were the best, and helped build an industry that still prevails to this day – nearly fifty years on from when they started.
Frank was a gem. Just thinking about him always makes me smile.
November 28th, 2012