Don King – (mid1970s) I was traveling with my family for a vacation in Puerto Rico. As was usually the case, my father was able to coordinate business on this trip allowing the business to pay the way…. A customer of my father’s took me and my father out to lunch at a local joint on the outskirts of Old San Juan. There were only about 4 tables in the place. Sitting next to us was Don King… It wasnt only his afro that caught our attention but his over-powering voice made sure everyone in the restaurant was paying attention to him. Within a few minutes we are all sitting at one big table… With Don King was Larry Holme’s manager and trainer. As soon as my father announced he was paying for the lunch bill Mr. King summoned the waiter and ordered a box of cigars. I still have the bill to prove it:-) I also have a letter that Don King sent me when Mahammed Ali was to fight at Madison Square Garden and he invited me and my father to the fight.
Jerry Koosman – (early 70s) – One of my favorite NY Mets pitchers of all times. I won the Little League “Breakfast” Contest by asking the question that Jerry Koosman found most deserving. Why are there NO Left handed catchers in the major league? Of course my Dad the “lefty” came up with that one. I met Jon Matlack the year after as a runner up with the same question the following year:-)
Milton Berle – (early 70s) Holiday time with the Family update New York at the legendary Grossingers’ Resort Hotel. I was in the Game room flirting with the young ladies when Uncle Milty walked by… I really didnt know who he was, but I knew he was famous so I ran over to him shook his hand and said Hello! He blew some cigar smoke rings from his mouth and appreciated my warm hello.
Rusty Staub – My father took me and my brother to his restaurant on the upper east side when we were kids.. it was great Rusty cooked us our lunch and chilled out with us.. he hugged me too tight for my likings though:-)
Bobby Valentine – (late 70s) – he came to my house in New Ro a few times and I went to his in White Plains… he purchased my Fathers huge sports collection. He decorated his restaurant with it in Stamford, CT.
Tom Hanks (and Peggy Marshall) – Sept 1988 – I was walking out of a bar and on the sidewalk were catering tables set up for a movie they were filming across the street. I stopped at one of the tables that had a small TV to watch some of the Mets playoff game that was on… Then, right in front of the table the doors of one of the buses opened and Tom Hanks came over to me put his arm around me and said “So, we winning?” I said of course not. Then Peggy Marshall walked out of the bus right behind him. She was much shorter then I envisioned. Tom was wearing that White Tuxedo and I met him right before him went into Cafe Society (for us New Yorkers that remember) where he did that scene eating that little corn in the movie “BIG”.
Dan Marino – (late 80s) took a flight with him from Miami to NY – When at the luggage area he was pissed at his car driver that was holding up a Dan Marino sign.
Ringo Starr (early 90s) – I was checking into Hotel Nikko in Atlanta and I was standing behind Ringo Starr that was checking out. He turned around and looked at me and then screamed at all of his All Star Band and said who ate those peanuts? Who ate those $8 peanuts? I told him it was not me. Seemed real down to earth and funny.
Harry Connick Jr – (late 90s) I am usually very good at spotting celebs at airports. That happens when you travel too much. But Harry was easy as he was standing at the check in counter waiting for our flight (from Chicago to NY) as I was checking in… The cool thing was that I got to sit next to one of his band members (Jonathan Dubose) in the back of the plane. We got along extremely well. I feel bad for all the people around as as we were cracking up and enjoy every minute of the flight. We had a grand ol time on the flight catching up and getting to know each other. He was very cool. Harry came back to check on him a couple of time from First Class. Harry seemed to be a first class, down to earth guy. After the flight Jonathan gave me his phone number and email address on an airplane napkin… needless to say, when I got home I could not find the napkin and was never able to get in touch.. we made plans for the following week… so if you read this Jonathan.. please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Daryl Hannah – (Mid 80s) We were home for summer break from Syracuse and I met my buddy on the upper west side for my first “Frozen Margarita”.. I dont remember the name of the joint but the margarita was the size of a freaken hot tub. It was awesome.. but didnt notice it until I stood up. I went down to use, get this, a “payphone”. Remember those? Standing right next to me was Daryl Hannah. She was jumping up and down telling, what seemed to be a friend, that she just landed this incredible role in a movie. I couldnt wait any longer for her to get off the phone as I had to pee… so we just winked at each other….
Stevie Wonder – (90s) – Stevie was in the last row of first class and I was in the first row of coach. The entire flight people were going over to Stevie and his “manager” kept pushing people away from him. Stevie was in an isle seat and his manager was across the isle from him in the other isle seat. How was I going to speak to Stevie Wonder? I had to! No doubt! I planned and plotted the entire trip. When we landed and everyone was standing and reaching for their bags etc, I looked right at his manager and said: That song “They Wont Go When I Go” what was that song about? Stevie miraculously looked at me directly in my eyes and said “I wrote that song to mean that when you Die, you die alone. Nobody dies with you..not your friends, not your family.. you are all by yourself” As he began to answer my question in full detail I was in too much awe that Stevie Wonder was speaking to me that it all sounded like those adult voices in Charlie Brown specials… That was amazing. Truly a hilight of my life.
BB King (late 80s) There I was about an hour early for my flight chillin at the gate. All by himself about 4 rows from me was BB King and his beloved partner Lucille.. He was all by himself. There were no people within site of him. I had NO choice but to go over and shake his hand. Without hesitation I said hello and he was SO happy I did. It was incredible. Of course after I broke the ice, people lined-up far and wide to say hello to the Legend. I felt bad for what I started but when I turned around to look back at him he was as happy as can be shaking everyone’s hand and hearing the praise.
Howard Cosell– (within a year of is death) I was walking on 2nd Ave and about 70th with my father and Howard Cosell came walking towards us and as I said “Hey Howard” and he said “Hello G-E-N-T-L-E-M-E-N” in his patented slow-motion voice…
Andy Roddick (late 90s) – Walked behind him crossing 1st Ave but he was having too much fun with his buds for me to say hello.
Randy Quaid – (1994) – Sat behind us on a Concord flight from Paris to NY. I wasnt sure if it was him or my bro in law that kept farting the entire trip.
Karl Bartos – Founding Member of the pioneer group “Kraftwerk” – I reached out to Karl to see if we could use his new music as a background for a new computer generated animated project I was working on with a buddy of mine that heads the CGI program at NYIT. Thankfully Karl and I have stayed in touch and will work on major projects together that span New York to Germany..
Thomas McKnight – Painter of Paradise – 2003 – McKnights’ first Digital Prints were done using my companies Generations Ink & Media. I built a very nice relationship with Tom and his beautiful wife Renate. They are very nice people.
Tony Danza and Terrell Owens – 2005 – My products (Digital Photo Frames and Portable Media Players and Video Flyers) were being featured on The Tony Danza Show by Dr Gadget himself. I was in the Green Room when Tony Danza came in to thank me for my participation.. we also created a COOL digital canvas print of him and his son when his son first told him he was going to be a grandfather. After Tony left the green room T.O. walked past and said hello to me.. he was a special guest that day on the show.
Paul McCartney (2005) – My wife and I chose a location for a vacation that was a little too remote and too secluded for our liking. We flew to Turks & Caico and then we had to take a boat to a private island resort called Parrot Cay. We were as happy as can be away from the snow and lifes’ chaos.. now its party time. We dropped our bags off and went right to lunch/drinks. On this little teeny tiny island, there was only one place to eat and drink. We were chillin having lunch and drinks (more drinks than lunch) and my wife says “is that Paul McCartney sitting behind you”? I turned around and sure enough it was him. He was with a “nanny” or “helper” of sorts as she was in a uniform. I thought it was a cleaning lady for the hotel. My wife convinces me to walk over and introduce her to him… It doesnt take much, as you can probably tell by now, to convince me to introduce myself to a legend. And how mad could he get at me as he is sitting right in the middle of everyone, and with a nanny or a cleaning lady. As I reached out my hand to him he raised his voice (making sure nobody else would come over to him) and said “dont interrupt my conversation, cant you see I am in the middle of a conversation”. We were with him on this teeny property for 3 more days. He, his wife and cute little daughter did not seem to be in party/happy mood the entire time. I did manage to get a nice BIG fat smile from his adorable little girl from time to time. On our last day, I past by Sir Paul on a walkway heading to breakfast and he had his daughter Milly in his arms and he stopped me and apologized for raising his voice at me. He told me he was in a serious conversation and did not want to be disturbed. I told him its cool, as I havent had a lashing like that since I was a kid:-)
Vint Cerf 2006 – I have had dialogue with Google for about a year to get them interested in working with me to push content to our digital photo frames. As I progressed with my presentations, I was told that I needed to meet the new “Gate Keeper” of new technology for Google. His name is Vint Cerf. Vint Cerf was the Co-Founder of THE INTERNET. Can you believe it? I was about to meet the inventor of the Internet. I drove to Virginia to meet with him. I was with him for about 2 hours. And every minute of my time with him was surreal, enjoyable and legendary. He was very intrigued with my technology and he continues to help me to this day….
LL Cool J – 2006 – Il Mullino restaurant Long Island. My bud says to me that good looking well dressed dude must be a famous rapper. I turn around and its LL Cool J. Of course I felt bad interrupting his dinner but he was as cool as can be to shake my hand and say hello. Thankfully, that meeting sparked a closer alliance to hook up with prospective projects together. He is as down to earth and as nice as can be…
NAACP Image Award: My company was invited to offer our eMotion Digital Photo Frames and unique Portable DVD PMP Players in Award Winners Gift Bags:
I met, shook hands and took photos with all of these incredible people: To see a photo gallery of these Photos, please click here:
and so many more
DJ Johnny Juice Rosado – 2007 – One of the most special and unique fellows I have had the privilege and pleasure to get to know.. then know well! Without my daily dose of “Juice” my life surely would not be as healthy and as happy. I called him out of the blue one day to introduce myself to him and to see how I can work with him and Chuck D’s newly formed record label for content to be pushed to my electronics and web portals. Juice saw my vision immediately and said if I come over to the studio right now I can meet some of the “Furious Five” dudes that were recording that afternoon.. OR he said if I come tomorrow I could meet DMC. I opted for DMC. I got to the studio and right at the door was a young, muscle-ripped dude bouncing and dancing to the beats/bass coming from the studio. I shook his hand and said whats up I’m Norm.. he said whats up Im Darryl. It took me a few heart beats to realize that was Darryl DMC McDaniels of Run DMC fame.
I am surely the only one on the LIE cracking up at 7:00am every morning… thanks to my morning commute convos with Juice!~
Darryl “DMC” McDaniels – DMC is one of the most special, generous, enthusiastic, caring, charitable people I have ever had the privilege to know. Holler at me if I can ever lend a helping hand!
Chuck D – All I can say about Chuck D is that when I am in his presence, I have a surreal feeling around me. You know when you are with Chuck you are with greatness beyond the normal mortal. He is as sharp as a razor and his intentions are always incredible, admirable and giving.
I am the luckiest cat in the world to be able to work so closely with Chuck. The fact that I am even associated with him spews credibility. Then, imagine that he came with me to present our vAMP and other products to Walmart (in Bentonville, Arkansas). He sat right next to me as we presented the NEXT logical step to being music distribution back to retail. It was legendary. Thankfully, we continue on our path forward working close together doing more foundation building that will allow us to make major impacts on markets in need… I am not sure how I became blessed with his friendship and partnership but words can not describe my gratitude and appreciation.
Get this… My father was running a charity event for a very worthwhile cause (my father donates all of this time these days to help people in need). This event was to help raise awareness and money for a group of volunteers that help battered and sexually abused women and children. I simply asked Chuck D if he can come to sign autographs and do a meet and greet and he did not hesitate to say he would be there! he took his Saturday Night and volunteered his time to HELP the cause… I also asked DMC if he would be next to Chuck D and help us out as well and he did not even BLINK an eye to say YES, I am there to HELP. Can you imagine that? This Charity Event had Chuck D and DMC volunteering their time to help.. Do you think you ever saw any press coverage or any GOOD news for the Hip Hop world for that incredible story? Absolutely not. But that did not matter to these two legends, what mattered to them was they played a BIG role at trying to HELP a worthwhile cause in need! Incredible people to say the least!
Flavor Flav – Chuck was on his way for a European Tour and from his seat on the plane he called me on my cell…I just finished racquetball and was changing at the gym locker and he said hey Norm, someone wants to say hello! And Flavor Flav got on the phone… that was a funny conversation, to say the least “Keep it Rolling Baby, Keep it Rolling”
I finally met Flavor Flav when I coordinated the FIRST EVER on stage gig with Chuck D, Flavor Flav and DMC at the Body English at the Hard Rock in Vegas. Chuck D and DMC were cool enough to help me at my CES booth to help kick start Beyond.FM and our new vAMP concept. The least I could do is to get them paid by the Hard Rock. The event was DJ’d by Johnny Juice himself and one of the guests at the Body English enjoying the festivities that night was Jason Giambi. It was very cool for me to hang with Chuck D, DMC and Flavor Flav walking the red VIP line and our own chill-out spot in the club. Hard Rock even gave us a dinner table prior to the show at their hot new dinner spot… it surely was a legendary evening.
Johnny Juice, Chuck D and DMC helped me to develop and create a powerful music portal called Beyond.FM
Joining us on our Beyond.FM journey:
Sly & Robbie
The Cold Crush Brothers
Dave Samuels (Spyro Gyra / Caribbean Jazz Festival) – He is one incredibly talented, down to earth and fantastic person.
Steve “Grits” Grisham (The Outlaws / Ghost Riders) – Amazing song writer, guitar player, singer. On top of all of his musical skills he is one of the nicest guys I know.. we would do anything to help each other. As a matter of fact, it was Steve that introduced me to Bo Bice, which I will discuss below.
Ean Evans (Lynyrd Skynyrd) and Bobby Capps (.38 Special) – I met Ean Evans at The Hardrock in Vegas. Lynyrd Skynyrd played at the “Joint” and me and my buds were the FIRST ones into the joint so we were up against the stage. It was my first Skynyrd gig. The phrase “these guys can rock” is an understatement. I have never witnessed such talent before, so upfront and personal. Just being along the stage, I felt like I was entertaining them just as much as they were entertaining us.. it was a lot of work:-)
After the show we were hanging out at the Hard Rock casino and bars and we walked into Ean Evans (Bass player for Skynyrd).. he hugged us and we caught up with him for a while.
I told Ean about Beyond.FM. He told me he did a full studio album with Bobby Capps (keyboardist for .38 Special).
Billy Powell (Lynyrd Skynyrd) – Our flight back to New York was early the next morning and my man Andy actually pissed in the stall right next to Billy Powell in the airport bathroom.. We spent time with legendary Billy Powell (when he came out of the bathroom of course) as he hung with us and took photos with us… It was special for us to get this time with him as it was our first and last hand shake with him.
When I got home from Vegas I reached out to Bobby Capps and within a couple of weeks we had the EvansCapps Album and videos up on Beyond.FM. The album is truly amazing.
A few weeks later I went to Nashville to visit Bobby Capps. Bobby picked me at at the Nashville airport. I think I was the only person there. I walked outside and there was rocker Bobby Capps. I recognized him not only because he was the only car outside, but also because of his long blonde hair that when down to his waste… After he took me for a bar bq lunch, we spent the day at his studio. Then, we went back to his house and introduced me to his cute young kids and wife. That night was the weekly night that Bobby gets together for a song writing session with Chris Henderson (3 Doors Down) and Sparky Matejka (Lynyrd Skynyrd). We went to Chris Hendersons’ house which was only about 20 minutes from Bobby’s house.
When we got to Chris’ house, he was just finishing feeding his 2 adorable little girls dinner. His wife was away and we were in charge of the girls. We hung out in his kitchen first and got to know each other pretty well.. Then, as it was time for the girls to tuck it in Chris went to put them to sleep then we moved to his studio which is a separate guest house outside and to the left of the pool. It was really a nice set up. Very comfy and cozy… and the acoustics sounded incredible. Bobby, Sparky and Chris are extremely talented musicians.. I wish I had a video camera with me as those hours of their music making skills was something everyone would enjoy… the fun, the skills, the frustrations, the 5 minute breaks, the beers, the collaboration, the results. Incredible. I even offered some advise on the lyrics, but I think that was mostly the beer speaking…
My second trip to Nashville, Steve “Grits” Grisham and his videographer, Rick Broyles, met me at the Nashville airport. We went to Bobby Capps studio where I introduced the two of these incredible musicians. Discussed one of my new products called vAMP (virtual Album MP3 Player). Then from Bobby’s studio we met up with an old country music legend Razzy Bailey .
Bo Bice – Later in the afternoon, me, Grits and Rick drove into Nashville’s country-side to Bo Bice’s house. Grits worked with Bo on a few projects, most recently “Brothers of the Southland”. Grits shared with Bo all of the music projects that I am working on and me and Bo had a few great phone conversations leading up to his invite to his house for dinner.
We got to Bo’s house at around 5:00PM. To get to his house we had to drive off a main road then he is at the very top of a country road heading up a mountain side. He greeted us as we drove up and took us in to his studio which seemed like a guest house on the other side of his drive way from his main house. His older son Aiden (he just had his second son this past August) was cranking on a drum set and I must confess he was pretty good at it.
We spent about an hour or so getting to know each other and catching up in his studio. We called my daughter so Bo can say “hello” to her and make her World. Then Bo took us into his house where we met his wife Caroline. Bo and Caroline mad us a home cooked meal I will never forget. The food was incredible, but more so, they made us feel so at home and so comfortable. We went around the table telling story after story and laughing till it hurt. After dinner, we went behind Bo’s studio and started a bon fire… we were singing, drinking and Bo had his guitar in hand for a lot of the time… He has a great voice and some serious talent on the strings…Next thing I know it was about 4:00am in the morning and we had to wake Grits up on the coach (after some great photo opps) to take me to my hotel.
May 2008 – When Lynyrd Skynyrd played for their FIRST time ever at Madison Square Garden, Sparky hooked me and my bud up with VIP passes.. Sparky took us back stage and then had incredible seats for an awesome show! When Skynyrd was done Kid Rock was coming on next… we bolted after the Skynyrd set and met Sparky back at the hotel and chilled for dinner and drinks before the Skynyrd bus left New York City…
Rickey Medlock – A couple of weeks later Skynyrd played upstate NY at the grounds of Wood Stock… Sparky again hooked us up and this time we were able to bring our 2 sons (both 8 years old) who by this time knows every word to every Skynyrd song and were pumped to meet Sparky and crew.. and see them live in concert. Sparky grabbed us and we were able to meet Rickey Medlock who is one of the most incredible guitar players of all times… Our sons were in heaven and had the times of their lives thanks to Sparky. As usual, the performance was legendary! The Outlaws opened for Skynyrd and their reincarnation of their music was absolutely incredible… goose bumps for 3 hours strait from the Outlaws to Skynyrd….
Donnie Van Zant (.38 Special) – The very next night 38 Special played in Long Island and my man Bobby Capps hooked me up with tickets. It was an incredible show with 38 Special and the Charlie Daniels Band. When 38 special was done Bobby called me on my cell and we walked around the back of the Nassau Coliseum and the big door of the 38 Special bus opens up and there was Bobby beer in hand.. me and my friend Andy are chillin on the bus with Bobby and Donnie Van Zant
David Pogue – 2008 – Incredible creative mind of The New York Times and CNBC. Thanks for giving us upstarts an equal opportunity… thanks for allowing me into your home, on several occasions, to discuss some very cool technologies. The video you did of our eMotion Solar was incredible!
Marc Antoine 2008 – One of the coolest dudes I know. He is the epitome of a talented song writer and guitar favorite with a flavor all of of his own. Please dont tell him he is smooth Jazz.. he does not like that label. We spent quality time with each other when he played in Boston with Paul Brown at Skully’s Jazz Club.
I had a meeting with Marc a few hours before his gig and got to meet his lawyer/friend of his as well.. we spoke about Beyond.FM and our vAMP and they really liked all we discussed. After the gig, me Marc his bud and a couple of local fans/friends took us downtown Boston… The next we knew it was just me and Marc trying to find our way back to the hotel in the middle of the night… We’ve been buds every since and working on real cool projects for tomorrow….
Jon Voight– November 2012 – Took flight from LAX to JFK together… Incredibly nice guy. Down to earth. We talked a bit about ShoutOmatic. In discussing possible partnership he said “Stranger things have happened Norm, stranger things have happened”:-)