HITS Daily Double


The tributes are pouring in for industry legend Lou Maglia, who passed away on Monday. Here are two of the most moving.

The first is from Gary Helsinger, who frolicked with Zoo’s Green Jellö before joining the biz—at which point he discarded his stage costume: a strategically placed tube sock in tribute to Anthony Kiedes. In the signing photo above, Gary, in costume, is next to my dear friend and colleague Kevin Coogan (who was instrumental in the signing of both Green Jellö and Tool) and another Green Jellö extra named Maynard James Keenan, who moonlighted as Tool’s frontman. Both of these bands knocked Lou’s dick in the dirt, as he poetically put it.

The second is from James Barber, who was then addressed as “Jim” by Lou, Karen, me and the Zoo crew back in the fondly remembered first half of the ’90s. For the moment, he’s Jim again. —BS

Gary Helsinger: “Crushed to hear the news just now of the passing of Lou Maglia. He was one of the truest people I've ever known in the music business. Lou was passionate and loving and the biggest ally to all of his bands, employees, and friends. I didn't know him pre-Zoo Ent (The Cars!), but there would've been no Green Jellö or Tool without his vision and trust in us, his artists. Thanks for believing in our crazy pitch, and thanks for just being such a great human. We will miss you "Uncle Lou."

Jim Barber: “I owe a lot to Lou Maglia. I worked with him twice: as a manager when he was president of Island and as an A&R consultant when he founded Zoo Entertainment. Lou was remarkably generous and stood out during the corporate consolidation era as a guy who didn’t think someone else had to lose if he was going to win.

“He gave a lot of us our first real shots in the music business and he was loyal to anyone he’d had success with in the past. I’ve worked with a lot of amazing people in my career and a lot of them were influenced by Lou Maglia: Kimberly Buie, Hugo Burnham, Bud Scoppa, Scott Byron, Jim Powers, Jayne Simon, Marc Nathan, Tom Zutaut, Mike Bone, Jim Rondinelli, Bob Catania, Holly Ferguson, Jack Emerson, Andy McLenon, Jim Zumwalt, Karen Glauber, so many more.

"Lou had a lot to do with the success of drivin' n' cryin' and Matthew Sweet. He let us make the record that fueled the Big Star revival. Most label presidents would’ve dropped dnc. Instead, he gave us the money for Kevn to make MacDougal Blues if we promised to keep 'that country shit' off the next DNC album.

“Matthew Sweet had been dropped from two major labels, the second time because A&M had rejected Girlfriend outright. He was done. Scott Byron brought it into Zoo, then recruited Bud Scoppa, Jack Emerson, Andy McLenon, me and a good chunk of the rest of the staff to work Lou over. He resisted and resisted but eventually decided to trust his staff and put the damn thing out.

“Our trip to Columbia to see Alex and Jody play Big Star songs for the first time in 20 years was a miracle. That Zoo paid for a live album and probably put as much $$$ in Alex Chilton’s pocket as he’d seen in years went a long way towards convincing Alex that maybe people cared enough about those songs that he should keep playing them.

“When I worked with Zoo, Lou insisted that I stay with him at his house in Benedict Canyon whenever I came to L.A. I got to spend a lot of time there and heard some amazing late-night stories when he wasn’t complaining about the noise from Mickey Rourke and his 'motorcycle gang' friends next door.

"Lou once told me that he gave me a deal so he could tell his mom that a guy who went to Harvard was working for him. Some part of that statement was a joke, some of it was 100% true. I loved him for both.

"Guys like Lou Maglia understood that it was a miracle that any of us got to make records for a living and that we should always be glad we had the chance and never waste a minute. Lots of money was always nice, but not having a stupid, boring job was much better.”