There is Definitely No Business Like Show Business

There is Definitely No Business Like Show Business

Posted on January 16 by Christopher Ward
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The idea for "Dead Brilliant" came from living in Los Angeles for over ten years and witnessing how quickly the raw fumes of ambition became the sad stench of desperation. As a sometime participant in and full-time observer of the fame game, I vacillated between fascination and horror at the  players antics.

I remember sitting poolside at the legendary Sunset Marquis Hotel in west Hollywood and in the span of about 10 minutes, witnessing Cuban diva Gloria Estefan sashay past, trailed by her entourage of stylists, handlers and bodyguards, her halo of hair at the epicentre of this passing parade; hirsute easy-listening king Michael Bolton, peeling off his t-shirt, again, sharing his hairy gifts with all, and Joe Piscopo, late of SNL, now reduced to hawking jewellery on the shopping channel in the wee hours, going by unnoticed.

Every cabbie has a screenplay, every waitress a reel, every songwriter a sure hit that no one's heard... yet. I listened in, took notes, and traded stories. My favourite L.A. locations - The Hollywood Bowl, the Sunset strip, el Matador beach, Musso and Frank's - all feature in the book. The characters are, of course, amalgams of people encountered and crazies dreamed-up. And who's to know where one ends and the other begins?

I was invited to dinner by Robert Plant when Alannah Myles, who recorded my song "Black Velvet", was touring with the Led Zep legend, and dating him! He invited me and some friends, including Mike Myers, who was just starting his film career, to dinner at Hollywood hotspot, Spago, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck's first venture. Robert was loud, hilarious, and generous with his storytelling. The wine flowed and it felt a bit like I would imagine dining with Henry VIII. Mike glanced slyly at me and I knew he was taking mental notes too. Puck obsequiously delivered a pizza in the shape of a double-neck guitar to Robert; the rock stars did a tour of the room, while I was left to settle the considerable tab. Worth every penny!

I cribbed shamelessly from the evening in creating a scene in "Dead Brilliant".

Christopher Ward

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014
Christopher Ward photo

Christopher Ward

Christopher Ward, Canada’s original MuchMusic VJ, wrote the world-wide #1 hit “Black Velvet.” His songs have been recorded by Diana Ross, The Backstreet Boys, Amanda Marshall, and many others. He lives in Toronto and Los Angeles.