Blast From The Past: My Afternoon With Ray Manzarek

Welcome to the first edition of BLAST FROM THE PAST or otherwise known on Twitter as #ThrowbackThursday. On March 27, 1999, I got to meet one of my all-time favourite band’s founder, keyboard player and songwriter, the legendary Ray Manzarek of The Doors. Sadly, we lost Ray on May 20, 2013 when he finally broke on through to the Other Side. He joined a legion of music heroes in Rock’n’Roll Heaven but his legacy will never die. (*Note: The following post is Rated R as it contains drug use, explicit sexuality and harsh language.)

BLAST FROM THE PAST

The Coolest Thing: My Afternoon with Ray Manzarek

Ray Manzarek of The Doors

by Christine Bode
April 5, 1999

I have been a big fan of Jim Morrison and The Doors since my early twenties. I’m 35 now. I work as a legal secretary, and lead a pretty straight life. However, if I were to be true to my authentic self, I’d have to say that I am also a poet and a stoner at heart. When Oliver Stone released his film “The Doors” starring Val Kilmer as Jim in 1991 (a controversial fan that many Doors fans didn’t like), it reaffirmed my initial interest and set me on a path to ingesting everything I could get my hands on about Jim Morrison and The Doors. I’ve read “No One Here Gets Out Alive” by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman, “Wonderland Avenue: Tales of Glamour and Excess” by Danny Sugerman, “Riders On The Storm” by John Densmore, “Strange Days: My Life With and Without Jim Morrison” by Patricia Kenneally-Morrison, and two books of Jim’s poetry, “Wilderness” and “American Night, Volume 1”. I was completely mesmerized by Morrison’s myth and his creative, poetic soul. I still am!

On Saturday, March 27th, 1999, I did the coolest thing! I attended a four hour seminar (minus a one hour lunch break) hosted by Ray Manzarek, founder and former keyboard player for The Doors. My friend Donna had pointed the event out to me in the free magazine from The Learning Annex and I will likely attend many more interesting and exciting seminars, lectures and workshops that are offered by The Learning Annex (as I bought a membership). Right now however, I want to recount the highlights from “Light My Fire: My Life With Jim Morrison and The Doors”.

The seminar was held in the Grande Ballroom East of the Colony Toronto Hotel. I arrived at 10:30 a.m. and had a croissant and an orange juice in the hotel lobby before taking my seat in the auditorium. It was a fairly large room with two crystal chandeliers and an old, faded floral carpet. There were seven rows of chairs and I would guess that at least 50 people attended the seminar. The room housed a large stage and on it sat a long table covered in a white cloth. It was positioned against the wall and held a pitcher of water and a glass. One single, green, upholstered high chair with a brown wood frame sat stage front and centre. There was a stereo off to stage left that played Doors music while everyone was waiting for Manzarek to arrive. There was also a long table positioned at the left hand side of the entrance and on it were copies of Ray’s book “Light My Fire: My Life With The Doors” for sale, as well as many different books on such New Age themes as Shamanism, The Tao of Music, and Zen Enlightenment, among other topics and of course, Doors CDs. I immediately purchased a copy of Ray’s book for $40 and asked the salesperson if he thought Ray would sign it. He said he would if I asked him to! All right! I was SO excited!

Ray Manzarek arrived on time at 11:00 a.m. and I was struck by the fact that he looked much younger than his 60 years and was more handsome that I had expected! He had spiky grey hair and piercing blue eyes, covered by wireless, clear eyeglasses. He stood about 6’ tall and was still quite lanky. He wore baggy black pants with a pale turquoise T-shirt under a dark blue and green plaid shirt that hung loose over his pants. He was very casual, comfortable and pleasant. He spoke in a deep, clear, emphatic voice and I liked him immediately.

He welcomed everyone for coming and started out by talking about what a great city Toronto is and how it is a lot like his hometown, Chicago. He noted that cultural diversity is one of the best things about Toronto and that in particular, it’s great to be able to try all the different kinds of local foods. He said that Toronto has just about everything except for authentic Mexican food. There’s no place like California for that!

Ray referred to himself as “Manzarek” and to Jim Morrison as simply, “Morrison”. He still sounds like a man of the Sixties as he constantly said “Man!” after everything! I couldn’t stop smiling! He told us that The Doors played in Toronto in May or June of 1967. They also appeared on a CBC production of Noel Harrison’s show and played “The End”, but the producers cut out the lyrics “Father, I want to kill you….Mother, I want to fuck you!” Ray said that most obscene words such as fuck and cunt are probably of Celtic origin! I laughed out loud at that one!

Manzarek covered many topics during the first hour and 45 minutes of the seminar and the following are some of the things he told us about as well as some direct quotes:

“Only meth (e.g. methane) heads and speed freaks from the desert of California love Oliver Stone’s movie!” Ray made it clear in no uncertain terms that he absolutely abhors Oliver Stone and his completely inaccurate 1991 movie, “The Doors”.

Ray and Doors producer, Bruce Botnick are going to release a Doors documentary within the next 6 to 8 months with Toronto footage from the show he mentioned earlier. On April 13th, there will be a DVD release of The Doors laser disc that will include Ray, his wife Dorothy and Jim as college students as well as Ray’s student film from UCLA that Jim is in. He exclaimed, “Get yourself a DVD player!” He’s really excited about it!

Ray loves Latin music and congas.

He reminisced about growing up in Chicago in the 1950s and told us that cool guys wore powder blue and rust coloured clothes because they were the hippest colours. “But you still couldn’t get laid because it was the 50’s!” He recalled memories of being at the drive-in with his date and actually touching pubic hair. Everyone in the room was laughing. “Everyone in the 50’s had amazing breasts! Maybe it was the bras!” I sat there thinking, “Oh yeah, sex, drugs and rock’n’roll! I’m with ya, man!” They’d listen to songs like “Rock Around The Clock” and “Rumble On The Dock” and watch five Sal Mineo pictures at the drive-in and just neck and neck and neck. “The 50’s were very HORNY! As soon as it became 1960, it was okay to fuck!” (And now it’s the end of the 90’s and it’s NOT, again!)

Ray left Chicago behind to go to UCLA in California. He met Jim in film school at UCLA and they were both stoners. “Induction”, his student film was about signing up for the army. Ray enlisted to get away and heal his broken heart. He went to New York City and then to Thailand with the army and said “I got stoned for the first time courtesy of the US Army!” He recounted the first time he smoked Thai stick in Thailand. He said that he couldn’t have sex over there because there was a 90% chance of getting VD, so everyone got stoned instead. He got the dope for free from a Thai kid in exchange for cigarettes. The kid gave him a pail full of this wicked weed and he said that was the first time he realized what being stoned really meant! He smoked some Thai stick under the hot sun and got completely body stoned. He couldn’t even move or talk for a whole afternoon! He said his tongue would fall out of his mouth without him even knowing it. I was laughing so hard because I know what he was talking about! He said that “was one of the best experiences I EVER had!” He also said that, “Jim, Ray and Dorothy were stoners.”

He shipped his footlocker, full of pot, home from the Army to his parents’ house in Redondo Beach. He said that when he got home from the Army, Dorothy met him at the airport and they went straight to a hotel and fucked their brains out for three days! All they did was eat and fuck – they didn’t even leave the hotel.” Soon after, they got a place in Venice and he got Dorothy stoned for the first time on the beach.

Ray told us about Josef “Kinky” von Sternberg who taught him directing at UCLA. Josef von Sternberg also made five films with Marlene Dietrich. He was German. He had a dark German soul and did deep, dark, psychological films noir. His films, such as “The Blue Angel” and “Shanghai Express” reflected German romantic decadence. Jim loved Marlene Dietrich! Ray and Jim were also into Kurt Weill and Bertoldt Brecht. Manzarek believes: “The Communists and Fascists first crack down on the artists, musicians and poets!”

Manzarek met John Densmore and Robby Krieger when they got out of the Maharishi’s meditation camp. They were into Transcendental Meditation and so was Ray. He said that Robby Krieger is a great guitar player/songwriter that could pick up chords like nothing. He also wrote the song “Light My Fire”. Ray conspicuously left out any real mention of John Densmore, so I’ll have to read his book to find out why.

Ray said that Jim was a funny guy and good to be with (a fact that Oliver Stone neglected to emphasize). They’d discuss the merits of John Coltrane vs. Sonny Rawlins and things like that. Dorothy had a great job and she supported them. Ray wanted to ask Dorothy to marry him but he didn’t have a nickel.

He talked about his first band, “Rick and The Ravens” and his moniker then was “Screaming Ray Daniels”. Ray was totally into the blues. (I could have married this man, but I was only 3 years old in 1967!) When he and his brother played in that band, they made $15 a night. They played in a wine bar. “Jim loved “Louie Louie”! He could have sworn the word “fuck” was in the song. All the southern guys loved that song. Jim sang that song the first time he got on stage at the wine cooler bar.” “Rick and The Ravens” played at a prom where Sonny and Cher were also on the bill. Jim played “fake guitar” at the gig and got paid $20. That experience got him hooked on performing.

Jim could roll a joint perfectly but he couldn’t splice his 16mm film properly, so his student film at UCLA couldn’t make it through the projector. He had to re-splice it before it could be shown to his class. Jim smoked a big bomber in his student film and then it cuts to an atomic bomb explosion. There was also a part in it with his friend’s girlfriend, a big German girl named Elke who wore a bra, panties and fishnet stockings and stood on top of a TV in a Marlene Dietrich outfit. Ray said that “Oliver Stone turned Jim’s film into some sick anti-Semitic diatribe…into some sort of Nazi diatribe/Aryan supremacy propaganda film!” But, “Morrison was a Native American Shaman – a cross between a cowboy and an Indian.” Jim’s film was “pure poetry”. In Stone’s movie, Jim supposedly quit when his student film was harshly criticized but that wasn’t true at all. Jim graduated in 1965 from film school. Ray has a Masters Degree in film.

Jim planned to go to New York after graduating to make poetic cinema and Ray thought he’d never see him again. However, “40 days and 40 nights later Jim shows up on the beach” when Ray was there smoking a joint and pondering his future. When he saw Jim, he’d gone from 165 lbs. (“soft and doughy”) to 135 lbs. and had long hair. Jim had been dropping acid and writing poetry that summer. That was when Jim recited the words to “Moonlight Drive” to Ray for the first time. Jim didn’t think he could sing, but Ray said “Bob Dylan can’t sing, man! YOU can sing!” That’s when they decided to put a band together as a showcase for Jim’s poetry. The rest as they say, is history.

“We’re all infinite; cosmically one. We’re all the Buddha, all God, all one!” (Reflection on Ray’s LSD trips.) Ray told this great story of his view of the story of Adam & Eve. “Adam blames his old lady for eating the apple! Fucking GUY ate the apple! We’re not Teletubbies, we’re human beings – we are God! Our job is to conquer the fear and greed and to become conscious of the difference between good and evil. We shouldn’t fear death – it’s divine light (i.e. the feeling of being warm and baking in the sun and our soul leaving our body, just heading to the light).” They learned this by taking LSD. Ray doesn’t recommend taking LSD, but thinks that pot and mushrooms – all things organic – are just fine!

One of my favourite quotes from that day was “You’ll never move beyond the message of love.” I really related to Ray because he thinks religion is seriously weird shit and we have to start a new religion. He said that’s what The Doors were about. Jim said their music was primeval. It’s about: “Let’s save Mother Earth!” “YOU ARE THAT!”

Just before we broke for an hour long lunch break, Ray started to talk about how Jim’s alcoholism made him metamorphose into a character he called “Jimbo”. That was the person Oliver Stone chose to present to the world in his movie.

I was just peaking when we broke for lunch. I had brought a joint with me that Stacey had given me the night before and I just had to go and find a discreet place to smoke some of it. I knew I wouldn’t smoke it all because it was killer shit! I was all dressed up in a skirt and jacket with heels and was wearing my glasses and I’m sure that I looked like the last person who would have been sneaking out of that room to go smoke a joint. I walked around the side of the hotel and found a bench under a tree along the walkway that led away from the hotel. I smoked half of the joint and then went to the bar in the hotel lobby and drank two tequila and 7-Ups for my lunch. There was a girl sitting alone at the bar who asked me if she’d seen me upstairs and I said, “Where?” She said “with Ray…” I admitted that I’d been there and she commented on how excellent he was. I agreed but I found it so difficult to carry on a conversation with her because I was very stoned at that point and completely paranoid that I’d say something stupid. So unfortunately, we didn’t say anything else to each other.

I bought a Snickers bar and started eating it on my way back into the auditorium. When I sat down in the chair I’d been sitting in previously, I wrote the following:

I’m so stoned now that I don’t know how I’m going to be able to take more notes when Ray comes back on. We’ve been on a lunch break from 12:50 -1:30 p.m. I bought a large Snickers bar for lunch and just finished eating it. I’m still feeling the peanuts in my teeth as I sit here waiting for Ray to return. This is so fucking cool! I wish Jen were here SO BAD! Oh shit, now I have dry mouth, but I don’t want to get up and walk across the room to get a glass of ice water ‘cause I’m too high.

“Love Her Madly” is playing and I can’t remember when “LA Woman” ended.

Oh no, the yawns are starting and he hasn’t come back yet. God I wish I had a glass of water. Jim Morrison would have approved of my condition at this moment. How bizarre is this? “Hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name?!”

Wow, this guy is such a performer and storyteller! Ray’s telling us about the highs and lows of LSD trips. Gurus, mantras, meditation, etc…Maharishi’s meditation. He highly recommends it!

Now he’s saying that Oliver Stone is a fascist and a killer! (I felt bad to hear that because I actually really enjoyed his movie, because I thought Val Kilmer gave such an awesome performance as Jim! It was a lot of fun to watch!)

I’m having a hard time getting all this down. It’s a really weird thing that a 60-year-old man can make a living talking about his life…what a character! He’s now talking about how “Light My Fire” came to be. My butt is getting numb and the left side of my neck is pinched. He’s blathering about how the song “Light My Fire” was created and how they knew it was a good, fucking song and it was going to be a hit.

“Jim was living his life like a reprobate until he began to dissipate…” (Ray actually said that!) into an alcoholic when “Jimbo” took over Jim’s body.

At this point, I couldn’t write any more. I just wanted to listen. Ray only talked for about 45 minutes after we came back fromRay Manzarek lunch and then he held a Q & A session, which was great! I asked him, “What do you think of Patricia Kenneally’s book and how much of it is accurate?” He said that he hadn’t read the book but asked me if I had and if so, what did I think of it. I told him that I thought it offered a different perspective on Jim’s character from anything else that I’d read. Ray said that Patricia was in fact in love with Jim and that they’d had an affair, and then went on to mention how the scene that depicted the Wiccan marriage ceremony in Oliver Stone’s movie had made Jim out to be some sort of Satanist. Another guy in the audience piped up that Patricia had a web site that is just bizarre and that she says that Pam was responsible for Jim’s death and that she murdered him with a heroin overdose! Ray seemed genuinely shocked and said, “Man, you know, I just don’t want to know!” He is really only familiar with The Official Doors Web Site at www.thedoors.com and hasn’t seen any of the other ones.

A Greek girl in the audience went on to say that there was an inscription in Greek on Jim’s original headstone in Pere Lachaise cemetery that when translated basically read “Go down to your demons!” She thought it was horrible that someone close to Jim would put such a thing on his headstone, effectively damning him to hell for all eternity. Ray revealed that he believed that it was Jim’s father who did that. Jim hated his father and in fact always said that he had no family and that his parents were dead. Jim’s father was in the Navy and never forgave Jim for what he had become. That was very sad to hear.

There were several more questions answered before Ray told us he was going to sign copies of his book for us. So everyone lined up and waited for their turn to meet Ray. I was trying to think of something really intelligent to ask him, but I was too overwhelmed. I had brought my camera and took a few shots of Ray on stage, but I really wanted to get someone to take a picture of us together, because the guy in front of me did, but he had an idiot-proof, auto focus, auto flash unit and mine was just too damn complicated to explain to anyone in my stoned state. So I didn’t ask. I regret that.

When I got to Ray, he asked to whom should he sign the book. I spelled out my name for him and said, “You are a great speaker and I really enjoyed that. Thank you!” He replied, “Why thank YOU darlin’!” And that was it. We smiled at each other and I walked away…completely lost on Cloud Nine. And what a darlin’ he is! Now I can’t wait to run right out and watch every Marlene Dietrich film I can find and read all the beat poets including Kerouac, Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti. I am currently reading Ray’s book and man, I am SO inspired!

That my friends, was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done!

***************************************************************

Over the years I’ve written about much of my life because I always thought that some day I would write a book. I have kept journals, written poetry, short stories, reviews and more. I thought it’s about time I start to share some of that with you, not only so that you can get to know me better, but also to understand why music and pop culture has always been such a huge part of my life and, because I may never write that book. My best friend Jen and I are always talking about how much we wish there really was a Hot Tub Time Machine we could use to go back to so many of the memorable moments we’ve had in our lives. In lieu of the lack of such an invention to date, we can always choose to revisit a choice Blast From The Past.

Styx Rocks Kingston, Thursday, November 14 at Rogers K-Rock Centre

Styx Rocks KingstonAN EVENING WITH
STYX ROCKS KINGSTON

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14 – 2013 @ ROGERS K-ROCK CENTRE

WITH SPECIAL GUESTS – LEGENDARY CANADIAN PROG-ROCK BAND SAGA

STYX – Tommy Shaw, James “JY” Young, Lawrence Gowan, Todd Sucherman, Ricky Phillips and Chuck Panozzo. Spawned from a Chicago basement in the early ‘70s, STYX would eventually transform into the virtual arena rock prototype by the late ’70s and early ’80s, due to a fondness for big rockers and soaring power ballads. Over the course of their 38-year career they’ve released 15 studio albums, 6 best-of compilations and 4 live albums, garnering 8 Top Ten singles. STYX has sold over 30 million albums worldwide. Throughout their illustrious career, they’ve performed more live shows since 1999 than all of the previous years of its career combined. Two Super-Bowl appearances, Pollstar box offi­ce chart-topping tours, two more studio albums and no end in sight, STYX continues to conquer the planet, one venue at a time.

Styx’s music reflected such then-current prog rockers as Emerson, Lake & Palmer and the Moody Blues, as evidenced by such releases as 1972’s self-titled debut, 1973’s Styx II, 1974’s The Serpent Is Rising, and 1975’s Man of Miracles. While the albums (as well as non-stop touring) helped the group build a substantial following locally, Styx failed to break through to the mainstream, until a track originally from their second album, “Lady” started to get substantial airplay in late ’74 on the Chicago radio station WLS-FM. The song was soon issued as a single nationwide, and quickly shot to number six on the singles chart, as Styx II was certified gold. By this time, however, the group had grown disenchanted with their record label, and opted to sign on with A&M for their fifth release overall, 1975’s Equinox (their former label would issue countless compilations over the years, culled from tracks off their early releases). On the eve of the tour in support of the album, original guitarist John Curulewski abruptly left the band, and was replaced by Tommy Shaw. Shaw proved to be the missing piece of the puzzle for Styx, as most of their subsequent releases throughout the late ’70s earned at least platinum certification (1976’s Crystal Ball, 1977’s The Grand Illusion, 1978’s Pieces of Eight, and 1979’s Cornerstone), and spawned such hit singles and classic rock radio standards as “Come Sail Away,” “Renegade,” “Blue Collar Man” and “Fooling Yourself.” The band decided that their first release of the ’80s would be a concept album, 1981’s Paradise Theater, which was loosely based on the rise and fall of a once-beautiful theater (which was supposedly used as a metaphor for the state of the U.S. at the time — the Iranian hostage situation, the Cold War, Reagan, etc.). Paradise Theater became Styx’s biggest hit of their career (selling over three million copies in a three-year period), as they became one of the U.S. top rock acts due to such big hit singles as “Too Much Time on My Hands.” It also marked the first time in history that a band released four consecutive triple-platinum albums. A career-encompassing live album, Caught in the Act, was issued in 1984, before Styx went on hiatus, and the majority of its members pursued solo projects throughout the remainder of the decade. A re-recording of their early hit, “Lady” (titled “Lady” ’95”), for a Greatest Hits compilation, finally united Shaw with his former Styx bandmates, which led to a full-on reunion tour in 1996. But drummer John Panozzo fell seriously ill at the time (due to a long struggle with alcoholism), which prevented him from joining the proceedings — as he passed away in July of the same year. Although grief-stricken, Styx persevered with new drummer Todd Sucherman taking the place of Panozzo, as the Styx reunion tour became a surprise sold-out success, resulting in the release of a live album/video, 1997’s Return to Paradise, while a whole new generation of rock fans were introduced to the grandiose sounds of Styx via a humorous car ad which used the track “Mr. Roboto,” as well as songs used in such TV shows as South Park and Freaks & Geeks.

SAGA is a rock quintet, formed in Oakville, Ontario. Jim Crichton and Welsh-born vocalist Michael Sadler have been the principal songwriters for Saga. Ian Crichton is the band’s guitarist; apart from his work with Saga, he has recorded several solo albums as well as sessions with Asia. The band’s keyboardist, Jim “Daryl” Gilmour, joined Saga in December 1979. With over 20 albums they are truly one of Canada’s rock treasures. Saga has been awarded gold and platinum albums worldwide and has sold more than 8 million albums.

TICKET AVAILABLE STARTING AT $29.50, $49.50 and $75.00

Tickets can be purchased online at www.k-rockcentre.com or in-person at Rogers K-Rock Centre Box O­ffice.

LIMITED QUANTITIES! SAGA VIP ‘TEAR DOWN’ MEET & GREET PARTY PACKAGES 

Includes awesome seats for the concert, after-party reception with SAGA, Concert poster, MC, Prizes and BIG CAKE.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Mae Finlay
OTX Events.com
mfinlay@otx.ca
613.532.5997

www.styxworld.com
www.sagaontour.ca
www.k-rockcentre.com
www.otxevents.com
www.ambassadorhotel.com

My Interview With LinkedIn Rock Star Mike O’Neil

LinkedIn Rock Stars Mike O'Neil and Lori Ruff

I recently wrote a 5 star review of Rock The World With Your Online Presence: Your Ticket To A Multi-Platinum LinkedIn Profile by authors and LinkedIn expert trainers Mike O’Neil and Lori Ruff (The LinkedIn Diva) who are based in Denver, Colorado. They are both entrepreneurs, expert social media teachers and incredibly warm, friendly and dynamic public speakers and Mike O’Neil agreed to talk to me about LinkedIn, Integrated Alliances, Classic Rock and rocking the world with social media.

Mike, how long have you been a user of LinkedIn?

I joined LinkedIn January 14, 2004 and am officially LinkedIn user #125,841. Someone invited me to join LinkedIn one day and I said, “why not?” It was a year or so until I really started doing much with it.

How long did it take you to become a bonafide LinkedIn expert trainer and all-around LinkedIn Rock Star?

I was probably using LinkedIn a good 2 years before I thought I had passed up most of the other users I knew in terms of what I could do with it. They say it takes 10,000 hours of relevant experience to be an expert. I’ve been an expert for a while now. Still, I am continually learning from trying new things and from others, especially from Lori Ruff. I was just early to the show and that helps a lot, especially in terms of devising broader scale strategies.

What was your profession before you got involved with LinkedIn?

I have always been involved in technology – physical networking with computers, Telecom, Internet and all. I was simultaneously very involved in social networking, running hundreds of B2B business networking events in Colorado over the years. Looking back, it was a logical extension to move into Social Media (although it didn’t really have a name back then).

What is Integrated Alliances and when was it formed?

I formed Integrated Alliances in 2003 after being laid off twice in less than 2 years from technical sales positions with big Internet and Telecom firms. I was in regular corporate America for many years and then, seemingly all of a sudden, I was a burgeoning entrepreneur. I learned a lot about all types of networking over the years and that is what really makes Integrated Alliances so social at the core.

How did you meet and end up working with Lori Ruff?

Lori contacted me on LinkedIn to inquire about bringing the Integrated Alliances brand and LinkedIn training to Charlotte, NC. We were already in a handful of U.S. cities at the time. She signed on to launch IA in Charlotte and came to Denver for her week long train the trainer certification work. I picked her up at the airport and it wasn’t long before she was a full-fledged member of the executive team and very near and dear to my heart. Lori is amazing.

If you could give readers just one valuable tip about LinkedIn, what would it be?

Get a great looking and highly optimized profile before you do much else on LinkedIn. Find a knowledgeable LinkedIn user/friend and spend some one on one personal coaching time together. A coffee shop or a bar works out quite well for this. You pick up the tab.

Tell us about the experience you had writing your first book and what your plans are for future volumes of the Rock The World series?

The big part about writing the first book was actually getting it finished. Without a deadline, it just pushes out and out for years and years, kind of like restoring a classic car in the back yard.

The second eye opening part was the book process and book business itself. It is much less about writing than producing, at least at the end. “It’s a lot more than an eBook” is what one author I know likened the Book vs. eBook comparison to this analogy – “It’s the difference between having a baby and babysitting.”

Rock The World With Your Online Presence: Your Ticket To A Multi-Platinum LinkedIn Profile is a book about “how to strategically apply LinkedIn to BUSINESS and to YOU, the business person.” What is the new book called and what will its’ focus be?

Our new book, Rock The World with Social Media – The Ultimate Social Media Guide for LinkedIn Users, is a direct result of our Rock The World tours promoting the first book. More and more, the questions we are fielding are more about the OTHER platforms and how they fit in for LinkedIn business users like us. We happen to know quite a bit about the topic so the next book topic was sort of handed to us.

The Rock The World series will have many books, CDs, DVDs, videos and products supporting all the major formats including iPad and Kindle.

Who are your all-time favourite classic rock artists?

In terms of bands and their music it has to be Pink Floyd, The Who, Steely Dan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Counting Crows. I have lots of ticket stubs from seeing these bands in concert.

For musical artists, probably Kid Rock, Lenny Kravitz, Tom Petty, John Mellencamp and Melissa Etheridge. I have lots of ticket stubs here as well.

What are your three favourite concerts of all time?

Best favorite concert has to be Pink Floyd (multiple times), followed by U2 (multiple times) and the US Festival in ’82 in California. I even have a jersey-type T-shirt from the festival. Just look at this abbreviated line-up:

Day 1 – The Police, Oingo Boingo, Talking Heads, Ramones, B52’s

Day 2 – Santana, The Kinks, Eddie Money, Tom Petty, Pat Benatar, The Cars

Day 3 – Grateful Dead (6am), Jackson Browne, Jimmy Buffett, Fleetwood Mac

Can you talk about your public speaking engagements and cross-country tour?

Well, the tours seem to quite naturally mirror a rock band or even a comedian that is out on tour, except for the vans and buses. We tend to have a local “handler” in the cities we speak and train in. The primary place we look for “our kind of partners” is with the individuals that run the “Linked to City” LinkedIn Groups. We run the “Linked to Denver” and “Friends of Colorado” LinkedIn Groups for example. People seek us out as a result.

It still feels we are “yet to be discovered” when touring as we don’t have the limos, opening acts, and all yet. We do have T-shirts, a CD series coming and even some groupies now!

Lori Ruff and I really enjoy couchsurfing (or staying with our local online friends) when on tour. We meet amazing people that way and we get insider knowledge of the places we visit. We host lots of couch surfers in Denver as well.

We have been hunkered down here in our downtown Denver condo for a few months as we’re very focused on completing our Rock The World with Social Media book so our radio spots have fallen off a bit. We really kick up big time in November as we launch the new book, probably in San Francisco this round. Having a very active book publisher, combined with some interesting audio CD projects, means we will have the radio spots cranked up to a fever pitch in support of our 2010-2011 Rock The World Social Media Tour.

You mentioned a little bit to me about Rock The World TV. What are your plans for that?

We have become more of a media company vs. primarily speaking and training. That means Radio and TV. For the TV show – which is designed to be enjoyed on a traditional TV and not a PC – it will probably happen around the end of the year. We have a true Hollywood-level producer lined up, the show format is pinned down, and the studio is lined up. Time and a certain radio show (next) are pushing the TV show out just a bit.

We are focusing our immediate media efforts on the September launch of our Rock the World with LinkedIn® radio show on WebMasterRadio.FM. We will be joining our good friend Joel Comm as a radio show host on this channel.

Of course, a major sponsor can change priorities rather quickly. We expect future sponsors to focus on integrated media sponsorships (and partnerships) involving events, radio, TV, live music, blogs, giveaways, spokespersons, etc.

What do you love the most about working in social media?

I get to meet such interesting people and it amazes me how easy it is to find them. For example, I am connected on LinkedIn to Barack Obama, John McCain, Vint Cerf (inventor of the Internet), Barry Diller; 29,000 total.

I really live for the big conferences, where we get to perform in front of large audiences and develop relationships with the other speakers, big wigs and celebrities. We just performed in the main ballroom at the Meeting Professionals International’s annual conference at the Vancouver Convention Center (2,500 attendees from around the world). This is the very spot where the 2010 Winter Olympics were held – amazing.

Aside from LinkedIn, what do you feel are the other most important social networking platforms?

We covered the platforms and tools that we feel are the most important in the Rock The World with Social Media book. The most important from a business perspective are LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter followed by YouTube and WordPress/Blogs. We particularly think Meetup and Amazon are biggies to watch. We cover a dozen Social Media Tools in the book and I think Foursquare is probably the most significant.

In what direction do you feel that social media is headed in the near future?

I get to write a lot about the future in the second book and I find it is amazing how much of it is focused on Facebook. It wasn’t planned that way, but they are the future infrastructure of Social Media (if there is such a thing). We throw out the idea of a Facebook word processor, spreadsheet, Facebook phone, Facebook appliance or tablet and a bunch of others in the new book. It was really fun. We might even call it “Facebook – Prediction or Premonition.”

LinkedIn is becoming more like Facebook all the time, but its real value is its database component and who is in that database. Just imagine the consequences of a LinkedIn Joint Venture (or even a merger) with Hoovers for example. I always thought that Microsoft or IBM should buy LinkedIn. How many IT decision makers are there in LinkedIn? Let me see….

Rock The World With Your Online Presence: Your Ticket To A Multi-Platinum LinkedIn Profile by Mike O’Neil & Lori Ruff

Book Review
Title: Rock The World With Your Online Presence: Your Ticket To A Multi-Platinum LinkedIn Profile (2nd Edition)
Authors: Mike O’Neil & Lori Ruff
Publisher: Networlding
Released: 2010
Pages: 288
ISBN-10: 1450580556
ISBN-13: 978-1450580557
Stars: 5.0

I have had the distinct pleasure of befriending, via social media, two of the most genuinely passionate, knowledgeable and FUN social media/classic rock fans EVER and I am absolutely delighted to be able to tell you about their MUST READ book, Rock The World With Your Online Presence: Your Ticket To A Multi-Platinum LinkedIn Profile.

This book is an easy, well explained and entertaining read that will most importantly give you the tools you need to rock your social media world – particularly on LinkedIn (which now has over 80 million users). Mike O’Neil and Lori Ruff are the Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks of Social Media and with over 1,000 rock concerts under his belt, Mike knows how to motivate you with his unique blend of “rock & roll inspired “insider” guidance” because he lives and breathes what he’s talking about. Both he and Lori are entertaining public speakers, expert trainers and most importantly, warm, friendly and accessible people. With over 29,000+ LinkedIn connections, Mike is the world’s #1 LinkedIn trainer. Who else would you want to get your information from when it comes to learning how to make your LinkedIn profile as dynamic as it can possibly be?

Rock The World With Your Online Presence: Your Ticket To A Multi-Platinum LinkedIn Profile is filled with song quotes from classic rock songs that tie in to the subject matter of the relevant chapter they present. This edition is simply the first step of a five-step methodology that will enable you to create a multi-platinum LinkedIn profile and SEO optimization guide. Every section is optimized as a song would be on a greatest hits compilation album. Think Classic Rock, analog, over the air radio…think Almost Famous, and you’ll totally get what O’Neil and Ruff (the #9 LinkedIn Woman!) are going for with this project.

What you’ll learn from reading this book is that social media isn’t about replacing your real-life friends with digital pals, but rather about expanding your professional and personal network to enable you to make connections in industries you are interested in to find either potential employers or qualified candidates.

Mike’s personal philosophy is to “Always give more than you want to get back. If someone asks you to connect them to another person, do so gracefully. Be honest, but be forthcoming and helpful. It’ll pay off in spades.” I couldn’t agree with him more.

“Social media is such a cultural phenomenon! Many years from now, we will recall it in much the same way as we look back at the Rock & Roll years. We will have relationships that started online firmly established in our lives. We will look back and realize just how the most important relationships in our lives were started and Social media will be a central theme, much like a soundtrack to a really good movie.”

I have already found this quote to be true in my life. I have online friends that I’ve been close to for over 10 years who I trust implicitly and I don’t think we’re going to see the end of social media any time soon.

The beauty of LinkedIn is that it “not only helps you find and communicate with decision makers, it helps you form and nurture relationships with them…People on LinkedIn are there to help others on LinkedIn…” So, the first thing you need when getting started is to know how to create a complete profile that will rock the world of your audience! Remember that you are there to find and be found!

O’Neil and Ruff’s book is chock full of excellent tips and savvy knowledge of the LinkedIn platform on which they are now superstars. It contains very advantageous Appendices and you will find yourself referring to it again and again. It’s an inexpensive yet very valuable asset for you to have to give you the tools that you need. They give you the opportunity to download a comprehensive Rock The World Profile Worksheet from their website at www.RockTheWorldBook.com/extras that will help you to get started.

In fact, there is a plethora of useful information on their website and their company, Integrated Alliances, can help you make connections that mean business. “Integrated Alliances has trained 10,000+ professionals in 500+ classes, workshops, webinars, seminars & conferences all over the world. In fact, we’ve trained over 100 other LinkedIn trainers!”

Discover the importance of networking on LinkedIn and become a LinkedIn Rock Star with the help of Rock The World With Your Online Presence. It doesn’t get any easier than this or more enjoyable!

“Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow,” Fleetwood Mac (1977)