Gary James' Interview With Author And
Former Editor of Tiger Beat Magazine
Ann Moses had a dream job. From 1965 to 1972 she was the editor, in fact the youngest editor ever for the magazine Tiger Beat. She met all of the Teen Idols of the day. We're talking The Rolling Stones, The Monkees, The Dave Clark Five, The Bee Gees, The Cowsills, Donny Osmond, Bobby Sherman, David Cassidy, The Who, Herman's Hermits, and oh, so many others. Now, in her autobiography, Meow! My Groovy Life With Tiger Beat's Teen Idols she recounts the years she spent with all the singers and musicians that other people could only dream about.
Q - What struck me Ann is you're a writer. Yet you have a co-writer, Ann Wicker for your book. Why did you need a co-writer?
A - Here's the deal; I was a writer in the sense that for six years I was Editor of Tiger Beat and I wrote many of the stories in Tiger Beat. I did tons of interviews with The Hollywood Correspondence to The New Musical Express, but I was writing thousand word articles. The only extra money I ever got paid was for the little books I sold in Tiger Beat, and by books I mean they were maybe like eight pages, 8 1/2" x 11", stapled in the middle. So they were 5 1/2" x 8 1/2". Whatever it took to fill those up, Davy's Life Story or The Secrets Of... whatever. They'd pay us a hundred dollars for those. Then they would sell them for a dollar a piece and twenty-five cents for handling, and they would sell hundreds of thousands. (laughs) But that was kind of the way of the world. So, I was a writer in the sense that I studied journalism in school and then my career turned out to be what it was. Then I never really wrote anything after I left Tiger Beat. I didn't stay in the writing field, the journalism field. I got into totally different things. Throughout the years people would say to me; I'd relate one story or something and they'd go, "Oh, you should write a book. That'd be so interesting." I'd go, "Me, write a book? Not ever!" I literally couldn't imagine writing a book. When I had taken a bunch of pictures from my job five years ago, and most of the young women I worked with were twenty-something, I showed 'em my pictures from back in the day and they recognized Elvis. A few of them recognized The Monkees because The Monkees had several incarnations. Then the other people didn't have a clue. They didn't know who The Who were. They didn't know any of the other teeny bopper stars. But they said, "Oh, this is fun." Like most Millennials they immediately started jumping on their phone and Googling me and they're going, "You have sixty pages on Google." I'm going, "What are you talking about?" I had literally never Googled myself. Lo and behold there was all kinds of stuff. That made be begin to actually think about, well maybe it would be possible. It was at that point that I started writing my Blog. I just opened up an Ann Moses website. I started writing Blog posts about Back In The Day and I got a great response to that. But, that one incident at my job, one of the articles they pulled up was from Ann Wicker and it was from her Blog. She was writing about David Jones (Davy Jones) dying and she wrote, "When I was 12 years old I wanted to be Ann Moses." I went, "What?" It's just blowing my mind. So, when I literally said, "What if I did write a book, how would I go about it?" I just didn't have the confidence that I could put a book together. So, I contacted Ann. It turns out she has a Master Of Fine Arts in writing. She's been editing books for years. She was in journalism for many, many years. Now she's older and just edits all different genres of books. So, I started talking to her and I said, "Do you think you could help me with the process?" She said, "Absolutely." Her role was really the times we met and together we laid out what the book would become. That I don't think I could've tackled alone and then everything that I wrote immediately went to her and she did the grammar and punctuation so it was book worthy, so it was really professional. Writing for Tiger Beat, you play with the rules of grammar a little bit. You play with punctuation. We made up our own words. So, the whole Tiger Beat thing was a little bit different kind of writing. I had to elevate it and make it an adult story, talking about my youth, my coming of age and so on. So, she was tremendously helpful.
Q - Who was taking all these photos of you with these famous teen idols you have in your book?
A - Sometimes it would be people that were around me that would be grabbing my camera and taking them. Predominantly the Tiger Beat photographers. It was no one person early on. Then for probably the last four years I was at Tiger Beat it was Kenny Lieu. He was awesome. He just always had a good time. He was the most easy going guy. It was just wonderful. Of course it was a process that was very important for us, to show the readers that we were different from 16 magazine in New York. We were there in Hollywood, where the stars were and we wanted to really communicate by always taking my picture with whoever I was interviewing.
Q - Did you have to contact the photographers to get the photos for your book?
A - No. These were all my personal collection. This was the late '60s, early '70s. Every photograph had to be printed and then cropped by the artist so he knew the crop marks and then it went back to the printer in Chicago. They would make it into the dot pattern. So, they would take another picture of it so they had it in dot pattern to reproduce it in the magazine. Then those original prints would all be returned to us every month, a big package of everything we sent them, everything they had made plates of and printed in the magazine, then we would get all those back. But the photographers usually made a copy for me, just for my personal file. And then of course we did have to check who has the rights to these because yes, they're in my possession, I'm in them and they're given to me. We started the whole process and it turns out what when the publisher sold Tiger Beat in 1978, I believe that was the first sale, all pictures were bought by Michael Ochs from Michael Ochs Archives. Then we contacted Michael Ochs. In the interim he had sold everything to Getty (Images) just a few years ago. So, we contacted Getty because they had bought the whole Tiger Beat archives from Michael Ochs, which was substantial for the years it was published, '65 up to '78, and Getty had nothing. We said, "Search this and search that," and we even sent them some of the pictures and said, "Can you pull these up from recognition?" and they said, "No, we don't have anything." So, I just had to take a gamble and print them in the book. Luckily there's been no problem and even one of the publisher's daughters was thrilled about the book. The publishing of Tiger Beat has been sold about eight times total.
Q - Is there still a Tiger Beat on the stands today?
A - Oh, absolutely. I think it might have been Sterling (Publishers) that bought it a second time. No, they bought it from Chuck Laufer's son. Chuck Laufer's son had bought it fifteen years ago, back from whoever had it and then he published it for ten years. Then he sold it to a group of people like Justin Bieber's manager. They kind of saw it as not only would they be co-owners or investors, but it was like getting Justin Bieber's manager to be an investor and then they would have even better entree to Justin. Anyway, you can look it up online, TigerBeat.com and you'll see it's digital. They also do a print edition. It's just kind of like People magazine for teens. Everything is color. There's lots of paparazzi and catching them on vacation. It's a different world.
Q - Not as exciting as the world you were in.
A - Oh, that's for sure.
Q - Let's face it, there was more talent then.
A - Sometimes you wonder how did so and so become a multi-zillionaire superstar? It's like, "Really? That's the best you've got?"
Q - As an interviewer, you get to ask some questions, you get the answers and you both go on your way. With you, you got to be personal friends with these people. You'd get to go over to their homes and what, have dinner with them?
A - I wouldn't say I was that close. They were very amenable. When I would go on tour with like Paul Revere And The Raiders, The Standells, when I went on tour with The Monkees, I was totally welcome. They were comfortable having me around, but I didn't see them a lot during their private time. Davy would have me up to the house to do a photo shoot with he and Linda, the baby. We were all comfortable together. We'd spend several hours. But it's not like they'd say, "Come over for dinner Tuesday night." It wasn't that close. It was just a very friendly working relationship. That's how I would best describe it. Now, there were a few. Obviously I became a little friendlier with Maurice Gibb. (laughs)
Q - But as a rule, these people were on their best behavior when they were around you, weren't they? You didn't see any signs of rude, crude behavior.
A - Oh, not at all. I'm just trying to think if there were any of them that were like that. It was such an innocent time. It's not like there was such a tremendous amount of rude, crude behavior going on. When I went to Griffith Park with The Who to do a photo shoot, here's the bad boys breaking their instruments, but they were just twenty-something British guys that were as nice as they could be. Pete Townshend was really shy. So, he would be just like a shy guy doing what he had to do. But, then you'd see him onstage and he'd just blow your mind with his performance. Meeting Eric Clapton, I went to dinner with he and Jeannie the tailor. He had asked Jeannie the tailor out to dinner. For some reason she invited me along. This was Eric very early on in his career. I described him at the time as being very shy. Then I recently read his autobiography and it was like, "I was a real shy guy and it was hard for me to get up onstage." You're just going, "How is this possible that this musical genius superstar is really just a shy guy inside?"
Q - It's a trait that many people in show business have.
A - It really is. It's like they would break out with their music, some of the stronger musicians and things. And then there's the gadflys like Davy Jones and it's as if he was born a politician. He just had the most outgoing personality. An instant friend, thinking of others. All The Monkees were kind of that way except Mike of course. Mike is Mike. But the other Monkees were all gregarious and outgoing and so comfortable around people. They were not on the same level music wise as the Eric Claptons or Pete Townshend, certainly The Beatles, where they were those musical geniuses, but they were consummate entertainers.
Q - In your travels did you ever see or meet Bobby Fuller?
A - No. You gotta remember the first channel I was exposed to and interviewing was Black artists. When I worked for Rhythm And News, the little music paper in Orange County as a volunteer, it's just this little entrepreneurial newspaper, they would send me up to the clubs in south Los Angeles. I'd see The Olympics. I'd see Booker T. And The MGs, and of course James Brown, but all these Black artists who were not mainstream yet. It was just kind of the cusp of just before Motown hit really big and that was a unique experience. And then a lot of the people I saw were not necessarily the ones making the hit records, but they were the ones who had the combination of records and then being on TV. Those are the ones that became the teen idols, the ones that they could see in their homes every week. So, we didn't cover a lot of the hit makers simply because they weren't necessarily teen idols.
Q - You met Brian Jones. What kind of guy was he?
A - Oh, well it was so brief. I went to one of The Rolling Stones' recording sessions, but I don't remember a whole lot, which is hard to believe but it was my encounter with them at The Cow Palace when I'd flown up to San Francisco with Jefferson Airplane. They had been doing a recording session. I said, "Do you want me to drop you at the airport?" And they said, "Yeah, that's cool." When we got to the airport they said, "Well, why don't you come up?" I'm going, "Because I'm standing here in my dress, my purse and my camera and I usually don't go on trips this way." They said, "We'll get you anything you need. C'mon, get on the plane with us." In those days you could literally do that if there was an open seat on the plane. You walked on the plane and they either ran your credit card or you paid them the $25.00 round trip cash to go to San Francisco. They took care of all that while you were in the air, which is hard to conceive of in this day and age. So, I flew up there with them just thinking they were inviting me to spend a couple of days in San Francisco. And then we go to The Cow Palace and they're opening for The Stones. That was my only encounter with The Stones and I really didn't expect to talk with them because I thought, okay, these guys are huge. They were as big as The Beatles. They're not going to want to talk to me. I was just hanging out with Jefferson Airplane. First Mick Jagger came over and he started chatting with me. He found out I grew up in Anaheim and talked about, "I want to go to Disneyland. Tell me what it's like at Disneyland." And then the other ones drifted over and they were just kind of hanging out, listening to the conversation. So, I wouldn't say I really got to talk very much with Brian Jones, but again they were just like these young, British guys who were curious about everything. In that moment they weren't The Rolling Stones. They were just five guys. They were more interested in what I had to say than the other way around, which again that just flabbergasted me that they would be interested for me to tell them what it's like to work at Disneyland. "What's it like to grow up thirty minutes from the California beach?" It's funny when you think about it 'cause I sure have a million questions for them now.
Q - Who would have known that Mick Jagger would still be performing fifty years later?
A - Or any of them. I think we were all so in the moment. We were all so wrapped up in the excitement that was going on. There was The Monterey Pop Festival. There were these concerts that I never took for granted. It was always an excitement. Always something special. It would never cross your mind that you'd be telling your kids that, "Hey, Mom's on TV with Elvis. Do you want to see it?" "We've seen it Mom." (laughs) You just never dreamed that anything would still be going on today and The Beatles would be so iconic. I mean, they were iconic at the time. Their music is still beloved around the world today. I just think that is something else. Mick Jagger onstage at his age? I mean, he is amazing!
Q - With The Beatles, you saw them in concert, but you never did get to interview them. Tiger Beat was a big publication. I'm surprised that Brian Epstein or Derek Taylor (Beatles' publicist) didn't arrange for you to talk to one or all of them.
A - By the time they were coming over to the U.S in '65 Derek Taylor was no longer their publicist. He had opened his own agency in Hollywood and he was doing publicity for The Beach Boys, The Byrds, Paul Revere And The Raiders and everyone on Dick Clark's Caravan Of Stars tours. He did not then have an "in" with them. I was just looking at an article today that I'm going to post that I wrote in August or September of '65. Because The Beatles had come to town and they were staying up in Benedict Canyon and I interviewed Chris Hutchins, who was the writer for The New Musical Express that was on tour with them. And of course it was all men in their Press Corp who got to travel with them. So, I interviewed him and he told me what was going on with them. I said, "Can't you get me the phone number to their house?" And finally, after I badgered him, he gave me the phone number to their house. So, that was the year they played The Hollywood Bowl. I went and saw the first performance at The Hollywood Bowl and I was just, "Oh, I've got to meet these guys." After the concert I spent an hour or two calling that number from a pay phone not too far outside The Hollywood Bowl. It's not like you sit there with your cell phone. Finally I got through and I talked to Mel Evans and he said, "Oh, my dear they aren't going to do any interviews." Then he hung up. He was very sweet, but it was like, "You've got to be kidding. There's no way." (laughs) They were only doing press conferences. That was my chance to get the closest to them. When they came back for the Dodger Stadium concert I was in the front row, taking pictures. I got my scoop on them getting trapped under Dodger Stadium because my older brother was going to dental school at USC and he and a friend had signed up to be rent-a-cops to make extra money. They had been rent-a-cops at a Stones concert. Then the company they worked for, the guy said, "I want you and your friend Jimmy. I have a special assignment for you." They didn't know what it was. And they got sent up to guard The Beatles, to take 'em to the press conference and that night or the next night, I can't remember which it was, it was Dodger Stadium. And then because the fans totally mobbed every exit, they couldn't get out from Dodger Stadium. And so they got trapped for two hours under there and my brother and his friend Jimmy. My brother's last name was Moses and Jimmy's last name was Christ. This was about two weeks after Lennon said, "We're bigger than Jesus." Basically, I did the Moses and Christ Guard The Beatles story. (laughs) My brother just had so many neat stories. John Lennon was asking him, "What's it like to have a kid?", 'cause my brother had a two year old son then. "What's Disneyland like?", because my brother had also worked at Disneyland as well as his friend Jimmy. So, I got this great story, but I never got to meet them.
Q - Funny that John should ask your brother, "What's it like to have a kid?", because he had a kid at that time, Julian.
A - But, I don't think he did.
Q - I believe Julian was born in April, 1963. So, in 1965 he had a two year old son.
A - I didn't think he had a kid yet. So, I'm going to have to go back and look at my story to make sure I got the story straight.
Q - Why didn't you ever become Mrs. David Cassidy or Mrs. Bobby Sherman?
A - (laughs)
Q - You laugh, but I'm serious.
A - Yeah. (laughs) That is so sweet of you to say. Since I've published the book and people respond to my Facebook page and my website, a lot of the mail has said, "Oh, you were so cute!" You gotta understand I thought cute was Samantha Dolan. These were the skinny little girls who were on TV shows or dancers. I never had that kind of confidence. And then all my interactions with the teen idols were totally professional. None of them hit on me. I certainly wasn't angling to go on a date. It just didn't seem appropriate. And not only that, I didn't have the confidence. They would never look at me twice. That was what was going on in my head until of course I had the little spark with Maurice Gibb and that was one time when it was a different situation. Even though I went to the first interview and it was like other interviews where I just had a very good camaraderie with the whole group and got great interviews, this was the one time it didn't stop there. As we were leaving that interview, they were were going to tape some TV show and Maurice asked me about my necklace that I had made, an Indian beaded necklace which were so popular then. He asked about it and I said, "I made it. Do you want me to make one for you?" He said, "Yes, that would be great!" So, I rush home and I make one on the loom and send it off to him. Then the whole thing started. He called me up at five in the morning, my first transatlantic phone call. He said, "Oh, I love my necklace. It's so terrific." Then he kept calling. It was a very short time later he said, "Can you take a vacation from work and come over and stay for a few weeks?" It was like, "Yeah, I can do that." (laughs) And I didn't know it was going to turn out to be quite the love affair. I had an amazing time in London, that's for sure.
Q - I want to talk about David Cassidy. You were on the set of The Partridge Family and you saw that he was being over worked. I read his autobiography, C'mon Get Happy. He would work twelve hours on set, in the evenings he was in the recording studio and on weekends he would do concerts. On Monday mornings he was expected to be back on set at 8 A.M. Did he ever say to anyone, "This schedule is killing me"? He had a manager. He had an agent. His step-mother was Shirley Jones. His father was Jack Cassidy. He was an actor. No one could speak up on David Cassidy's behalf?
A - Shirley Jones was his step-mom. He had his dad. They're in town. But he virtually had no support system. His dad was not supportive. He was busy being Shirley Jones' husband and dad to their two kids. He was jealous of David because David had success unlike his father ever saw. From David's perspective he idolized his dad, but his dad never really gave him much time and we really saw this come to light when David was becoming very challenging for us to interview. He would literally sneak around on the set if he'd see me on the set. He knew that we had contracted with Screen Gems to produce the official Partridge Family magazine. Basically everyone in the cast was expected to do whatever we needed to produce that magazine and certainly by extension Tiger Beat. Tiger Beat got first pickins and we had franchised articles in there where we had paid Screen Gems to have a monthly column by David and Susan Dey. When he'd see me it's not like he'd be openly rude or anything, but he'd slip out after a scene and couldn't be found or go to his trailer and not answer the door. So, I had to go to my publisher and say, "You know, this is getting really difficult. David's kind of sick of us." He said, "Well, let me see what I can do." What he did was he went to Jack Cassidy and said, "We'd really appreciate it if you had a man to man talk with him and explain to him the facts of life about what's expected and to say thank you, and to give your two sons Sean and Patrick Cassidy motorbikes," which he did. In my mind, this is looking back now, it was like selling David out for two motorbikes and he did! He called David over to his house and he had a talk with him and after that David was reluctantly co-operative. And it's like what kind of support system is that for virtually a kid? Okay, he was over twenty-one, but he was a child. He had no parental supervision from high school on. Who did he have to lean on? He faced that everywhere and here was his manager who should have been his support system; it was Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy's' agent who became his agent, but they weren't looking out for him. They all wanted to be part of the money machine.
Q - Could David Cassidy have said to anyone one, "I can't do this anymore. The schedule is too much."?
A - I don't think there would have been anyone that listened because everyone was looking for how much money they were going to make. They weren't looking out for his best interests. As a father, don't you think his father should have said, "You're not going to keep up this pace. My God! This is insane." But, no. There was nobody that fulfilled that role in his life. I think that's what contributed to him having so many ups and downs over the years. He never had someone that just loved him and cared about his best interest, whether it be a parent or step-sibling, a wife. It just never happened for him. It's just a tragedy.
Q - David Cassidy released a CD called "Didn't You Used To Be..." and a reviewer by the name of David Maurstad of the Dallas Morning News wrote, "To be David Cassidy is to have been David Cassidy." I know what he means by that, but even at the height of his fame, David Cassidy was not happy. He had everything. Maybe he didn't have a support system, but he was successful. Why was he so unhappy?
A - The thing was, he idolized his father and he really wanted to be a serious actor. In his mind he wanted to follow in his dad's footsteps and be an actor, not a singer. I know he talked about how important the music was to him, but I think that goal stuck in his mind and when he got typecast as Keith Partridge, it was never the same after that because even though he tried to get roles, serious acting roles, nobody would take him seriously. I don't know if he would've have been a good serious actor or not, but because that was in his mind I don't think it ever left him. Then through the years he figured out, "If I go and sing the Partridge Family songs I can make money." He had the big extravaganza in Las Vegas, but he never had anything he could hold on to as meaningful in his life. I think without a special person by your side it's really hard to do that on your own. I don't care who you are and unfortunately he never had that in his life. Was it because of his addiction? Who knows? I certainly don't have the answers, but he really was a tragic figure.
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