(Crystal A. Proxmire)
The Woodward Dream Cruise brought thousands into Downtown Ferndale to enjoy classic cars and oldies music. Along that tune was a book signing at Elegance by Design (231 W. 9 Mile) of the Wayne State University Press release “Travelin’ Man: On the Road and Behind the Scenes with Bob Seger (2009).” Authors Tom Weschler and Gary Graff were on hand to talk about the memoir of Weschler’s time as Seger’s manager from 1969-1974.
The book focuses both on Weschler’s experience as well as Seger’s rise to rock and roll fame. Weschler, who lives in Royal Oak, has been in the rock business nearly all his life. The bug hit him when he was a sophomore in high school. “The Beatles were on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964. I knew it was going to be big, so I set up my tripod and camera in front of the TV set and snapped still shots of the screen. I stayed up most of the night to print them out. I needed a way to ingratiate myself with the girls.
‘So I got on the bus the next day and sat down right next to the most popular girl in the senior class. She looked at me like I was crazy and said ‘you know there’s other seats.’ I pulled out the pictures and she was impressed. She asked if she could borrow them, and told me to meet her for lunch.
‘At lunch she slid $35 to me across the table. That was a lot of money back in 1964. ‘What’s that for?’ I asked. She said ‘You’ve got the negatives right?’ And we were in business. …She introduced me to her boyfriend and the two of them helped do my homework and collect money while I stayed up developing pictures. We made over $200 a piece selling pictures of the Beatles.
“It was girls, music, money and photography. That was all I needed. I put the blinders on and never looked back.”
Weschler then got a job at Artists Music Store in Detroit, where he started going to shows for free as an equipment delivery guy. He took pictures during the shows and eventually got to work as a roadie for Seger, and worked his way up to manager.
Travelin’ Man chronicles his time on the road with Seger, as well as the photographs he took and the album covers he designed. Another favorite anecdote of Weschler’s is the album cover that almost was. Seger’s album “Night Moves” was originally to be called “Rock n’ Roll Never Forgets.” Weschler found a young lady with what he considered “the most perfect ass”, and took her picture from behind with a pink ribbon tied around her finger. Seger and the guys loved it, but one of the ladies in the office complained and said they’d be “male chauvinist pigs” if they ran with it, so ultimately the cover was scrapped and the name changed. However, the picture is included in the collection, along with the other covers that did make the cut.
Weschler has remained in the music business, focusing on photography. His website is http://www.site.travelinfool.net.
Travelin’ Man was released in October 2009 by Wayne State University Press. A paperback version will be released in September. There is a forward by John Mellencamp and an afterward by Kid Rock, along with a collection of photographs that includes many famous rock n’ rollers. The hardcover and the paperback are available at http://wsupress.wayne.edu/books/1148/Travelin-Man.