I didn’t start out to write a book. It just seemed to happen. It started as a series of articles on the birth of rock and roll from my “eye witness” point of view. I was encouraged by my long time friend Morris Diamond, an industry pioneer, to expand it to a book. Over the four years it took to write it, I came close to putting it aside several times. My wife, Linda, convinced me to keep writing. She pointed out that even if it was never published, it would chronicle a whole life that happened before our son Steven was born. What made “Don Perry Produced The Music” so hard to write is that I couldn’t figure out who would be interested in reading a memoir of a person they had never heard of before. It wasn’t until I was half way through it that it started to flow and two distinct themes emerged.
The first was the evolution and pursuit of the dream. Over the past 16 years I’ve worked at Carmel High School. These are young people in a frantic search for who they want to be, but society is pushing them away from dreams and into a world consumed with success measured by wealth and position. When I speak at the music forums at career day, they are almost embarrassed to admit that they would like a career in music. I tell them that the first step, no matter what the career choice, is the dream. Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” The dream creates the passion and the passion becomes the motivation. No one has to make you do what you love.
My book chronicles my dream. What I pass along to the reader is that throughout my career as a singer/songwriter, recording engineer, record producer, manager, concert promoter and finally music supervisor for film and TV is that there were more failures than successes along the way before I truly found my niche. One of the greatest compliments on my book came from my younger brother, John. He said that even though he knew my story, he found himself pulling for me to make it as he read the pages.
Which brings me to my second and perhaps more important theme. As I looked back on my thirty years in the business, I realized that I would have given up and gone back home if it hadn’t been for the friends I met along the way. A friend introduced me to the man who offered me my first job as a recording engineer. It was a friend who encouraged me to start out on my own as a record producer and hired me to produce her first record. A call from a family friend was responsible for my first concert promotion and finally…it was an artist I recorded seven years earlier who called me to produce the music for a film he was producing and directing. Throughout my career, it was a call from a friend who kept me going. In the next few blogs, I’d like to introduce you to some of those friends who made it happen for me. A lot of them you already know. Two of them are in this music clip….I promoted concerts on both Stevie Wonder and Gladys Knight…two of the incredible people I met along the way that helped me live the dream for so many years.