“Grandfather of Rock ‘n’ Roll Productions”
by Kevin M. Mitchell from www.fohonline.com
There’s no shortage of people putting Chipmonck’s contributions to this industry into perspective. A small sampling includes: “The greatest guy that ever walked—he’s the D.W. Griffith of this industry.” -Patrick Stansfield
“He brought new life to a dull aspect of the industry.” -Mike Brown
“He’s actually the grandfather of rock ‘n’ roll production.” -David Noffsinger
While accurate, the grandfather rap seems premature—as does the Parnelli Lifetime Achievement Award he’ll receive at the Pro Production 2004 show in February.
And what decades. He’s our virtual Forrest Gump—the fictional character created and stuck behind the scenes of every major pop-culture event of the last half century. Only he’s real, as are his credits: The Village Gate in the early ‘60s, with folk musicians like Peter Paul and Mary and comedians like Bill Cosby, the Apollo in Harlem, working with Chuck Berry, Dizzy Gillespie, Maynard Ferguson, and scores of others, Newport when Bob Dylan went electric, Altamont, loosing teeth at the hand of a Hells Angel’s pool cue as the angel tried to make off with the trademark stage carpet (which he co-designed), Woodstock, the LD and Master of Ceremonies, the Stones’ historic early tours, Peter Gabriel, Bangladesh, Rumble in the Jungle, a Tony nomination for The Rocky Horror Show, Bette Midler’s Divine Madness Tour, Vegas where he worked with the likes of Paul Anka and Barry White among many others, the Los Angeles Olympics, Pope John Paul’s historic mass at Dodger Stadium...
On his early days at the Village Gate, he says, “I got $1.87 for each show, coming to a grand total of $16.83 a week, but I could eat and drink there, too.” On being chosen to MC Woodstock, “I was petrified. But I got to the point where I was practically paternal in some periods of dire emergency: ‘Sit the f!@# down—do you have any idea what you’re doing?’”
On working in the jungle for the Ali-Foreman fight, he comments, “When you wanted a drafting board, you could take the glass balcony door off and set it on two chairs at a right angle and use your trusty gaffer tape to hold it down. But if you did that, you better put your drafting table back before the sun went down or you’d get eaten by mosquitoes.”
On working in the corporate world today for one of the largest retailers in Australia: “My requirement of funds to do a job is quite high—because it always gets done. For all intents and purposes, in everything I’ve ever done, more was delivered than promised.”
Chipmonck is too big a story for one mere magazine. For the whole amazing story of one of the industry’s most prolific and colorful founders, visit www.fohonline.com . Monck will be honored with the Parnelli Life Time Achievement Award Feb, 20th being held on the Queen Mary Grand Ballroom. Tickets for the event can be purchased at www.proproduction2004.com.