William Burroughs Conversation – 6

Jerry Newman (1918-1970)

Ginsberg and Corso at Naropa 1985 Burroughs recollection continues from here

AG: So lets get back to 1953
GC: Okay back to ’53
AG: Jerry Newman
GC: Jerry
AG: Now has anybody ever heard of the recording engineer, Jerry Newman, Esoteric Records? He recorded Charlie Christian..
TM: Kerouac.
AG: Kerouac, of course but he recorded Charlie Christian, Charlie Parker (Bird), Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell..
GC:  Offered me forty thousand dollars if I’d fuck him in the ass!
AG: This is Jerry Newman or William Burroughs here you’re talking about Gregory?
GC: Jerry Newman, remember?
AG: He did?
GC: Offered me forty thou to fuck Bill, man!
AG: Oh? Jerry Newman?
GC: Yes!
AG: What did he care?
GC: You didn’t even know what’s going on?  Like you guys…
AG:  No.  (So) what’s this story?  Go right ahead, tell the story. – Tell the story. Tell the story. Tell the story – Oh well!

GC: Jerry Newman was a man who made acoustics
AG: Right
WSB: A sound engineer
GC; Sound
WSB: A sound engineer
AG: …who was Kerouac’s informant for the music in Harlem and Minton’s, bebop,  (19)39-(19)43, along with Seymour Wyse, who was Kerouac’s fellow-student at Horace Mann High School. And Kerouac (and) Seymour Wyse, helping Jerry Newman, would go up to Minton’s and so we were pretty friendly by ’53 when Bill came to town we went to visit Newman and he played us some recordings. And this..this is an interesting, literarily, to get into the literary groove, because this..  according to Bill, that was one of the original seeds of the “cut-up” method, a recording that Jerry Newman played of a drunken newscaster, a BBC.. a tape from the BBC of a news broadcast in which the newscaster had said “Princess Margaret passed the weekend inside her parents at Balmoral Castle.”
WSB: Yeah that was one of them. I wish I could remember that whole thing, There must be a copy of it.
AG: Yeah.
WSB: First, first it says…
GC (non-sequitur):  You remember that twenty-five thou?
WSB:  First it just sounded like a regular news broadcast, and then you began to say, “what in the hell is going on here?”. Yeah, double-take that was really great.
AG: I remember Bill being really moved by that because it was the first break that was..
WSB: Well, it was funny, terribly funny.
AG; It was the first break in an official sort of façade of, actually, mass hallucination, or control by language, where the newscaster himself broke up and was making.. was making deliberate dirty jokes? or just stumbling?
WSB:  No, he was almost stumbling, it was just like, it didn’t make any sense.

GC (to AG): Do you remember when you denied twenty-five-thousand dollars? You gonna give me an answer on this?
AG: Yes
GC: Alright.
AG: What was this all about?
GC: The twenty-five-thousand dollars they wanted to give you was that you would say to a Chinese waiter, “There’s a turd in my soup”.  And you said “No way, that’s not me.” And so they didn’t give you the twenty-five thou.
AG: But this is.. ok.. this is many years later.
GC: Well I”m talking about before.  I was talking about the money that was involved in life.
AG: That’s chicken-feed, twenty five thousand dollars.  [to audience]  What Gregory is referring to is the set-up for the movie Heart Beat of a decade ago was it? – already
WSB:  More than that?
AG: ..which Gregory and I saw here in Boulder, about five years ago..

GC: Yeah, but that’s not the big story, it’s that other guy with the acoustics who wanted me to fuck him for forty thou, man!
AG:  Oh, now come on!
GC: Twenty-five for that don’t mean shit!
AG: Come on, we’ve got to make it coherent enough for the audience to listen
GC: Okay , coherent for them.. alright
AG: Alright. One story at a time.

GC This guy was a big player He would give me a certain amount of money. if I could make it with this man (Burroughs).
AG: I haven’t heard of that story.
GC: But don’t you understand, there are many stories you haven’t heard!
AG:  Okay, so tell it out in detail.. tell it in detail then
Okay are you done with that story? or are you..
GC: I don’t think I want to go on with it
AG:Okay and so shall I finish the business of the twenty-five-thousand dollars.
GC: Yes

AG: Okay so we have Heart Beat the movie coming out and the producer took me to supper and I had read the script which I thought was less intelligent as speech than Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac in the prototypes of the movie characters. And they wanted to use my name in the movie and I said no because it was.. because.. they were ripping off Kerouac’s legend and degrading it I thought, that is Kerouac’s mythology, which Kerouac had presented in his own books. I thought they had simply bought Carolyn Cassady’s Heartbeat book in order to get use of the names, Cassady and Kerouac and my own. So they wanted me to participate in the movie in some advisory capacity and offered some money (it wasn’t twenty-five, it was never named, it was probably around twenty or something. It was not that much money, actually. For two hundred thousand, I might have said yes!)
GC: Yeah!
AG: Twenty grand!..
GC: The fuckin’ idea! They wanted to use your name!
AG: So…and one of the lines is…they’re in a Chinese restaurant – the character (who, I forgot his name) –“Waiter, there’s a turd in my soup” – (and I don’t know where they got that line, actually) – So I said No.  That’s all.   Now back to Jerry Newman
GC: No, fuck Jerry Newman! What about him, this one (William Burroughs).

to be continued

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately sixteen-and-a-half minutes in and concluding at approximately twenty-two-and-a-quarter minutes in

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