LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Tony Defries, the legendary rock manager who launched David Bowie, is breaking a career-long silence to publish his long-awaited autobiography, Gods And Gangsters.
A key figure behind some of the most crucial events and developments in contemporary music history, Defries was present at the birth of Madonna, the reincarnation of Stevie Wonder, the death of the Beatles and the ignition of Iggy. But he has never been interviewed, never made public declarations, never opened up and revealed his innermost truths.
Told now for the very first time, Gods And Gangsters is the story behind a career spent managing, marketing, and branding superstars – from the fashion idols of the Pop Art 60s to the rock gods of the 70s and 80s. Written with renowned music historian Dave Thompson, the book is projected for publication in 2008.
Operating on the frontlines of Britain's Swinging Sixties, Defries was instrumental in establishing the iconic glamour of photographers, models and designers who continue to influence modern tastes and techniques. On the music scene, he worked with such legends as Mickie Most and Allen Klein, Stevie Wonder, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones before turning his attention to David Bowie, a Space Oddity whose best days already seemed in the past. That was in 1970. Eighteen months later, the pair was preparing to unveil some of the most audacious imagery and influence that the entertainment industry had ever witnessed. Or, as Mojo magazine put it, Defries was “the manager, the mentor and the visionary who went to the theatre with an unfocussed dilettante, and raised the curtain on a superstar.”
Defries masterminded Bowie's career through the most astonishing PR campaign in rock history, a worldwide blitz that elevated the singer to global stardom. He established MainMan, a unique management structure that combined the best ingredients of the old-time motion picture studio with the futuristic zeitgeist of independent producer/record label/music publisher and, between 1972 and 1977, was responsible for launching the careers of Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Mott The Hoople, Luther Vandross, John Mellencamp and many others. His innovations in lighting, special effects, costume and staging reinvented media presentation, to become the model for all future music and media events. All this was conducted from within a firestorm of creativity and excitement that remains synonymous with glamour and success.
That firestorm still blazes today, as Defries brings his experience, intellect and enterprising spirit to bear on creating new technology for the Solar Age, with a process that transforms light and matter into unlimited, affordable, clean, green, solar power. "I have always been fascinated by the properties of light,” he says. “Once, I used it to focus attention on artists. Today I plan to harness it for Energy.”
Packed with candid revelations, private insights and hitherto unrevealed facts and figures. Gods And Gangsters is one of the most avidly anticipated autobiographies of the 21st century.
Dave Thompson has written over 100 books on music, film and pop culture. His latest book, the first ever history of vintage erotic movies, Black and White and Blue – Adult Cinema from the Victorian Age to the VCR will be published by ECW Press in September.The book is a dramatic survey of American (and western) society as it inched its way out of the darkness of prudish censorship, as seen through the eyes of the men and women who actually made these startling films, and those who watched them.