Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Customers: Part 18 - Crow Mystery‏

   This cat was shrouded in dense fog. Updates or clarification should be helpful.
   Crow.
   Danny Raven Crow.
   Fixture in the store for two solid years. Came in weekly. Purchased heavy and focused.
   Uriah Heep. The Godz. A few other groups, more obscure.
   Crow bought any edition, paid cash. I chased down imports and remasters for him. He would buy ten to twenty Uriah Heep CD's at a crack.
   Back in the day, he had been a member of the band. Anytime there was an edition released in Germany, Sweden, wherever, he wanted a copy to send to the lawyers to keep those royalty checks flowing.
   Crow was a compadre of Buddy Miles, who had retired to Cowtown for reasons unknown. Crow also produced albums for local artists, chief among them, blues guitarist J B Wynn. I personally saw at least two releases. Wynn's X-Mas Blues and Big Train. Crow's name was in the production credits, as were various store employees. Crow and Wynn bypassed distributors South West and Crystal Clear, and sold direct. Wherehouse on Camp Bowie was one of the locations, aside from club venues, that carried their discs. Store personnel were credited on one album. As a thank you? Maybe. I never knew for sure.
   See ... things were weird.
   We liked Crow, he bought steady and hard. He was a Regular who bought over $100 per week. Again, cash. He also shared the wealth. Handed out restaurant coupons to employees. Aside from label reps, no one ever did stuff like that. With reps, we knew the game. Good will supposedly translated into store play. We played what we wanted.
   With Crow ... well ... what? What was he doing? What was the deal?
   John was suspicious and began prowling Internet sites.
   Uriah Heep never had a member by the name of Crow.
   Brad later studied a Heep CD in front of Crow, looking for his name.
   "You won't see me," Crow explained. "I had to use an alias for tax purposes. I hadn't cleared immigration to work in England."
   "Oh, what alias?"
Brad looked closer at the back cover.
   "I can't tell you that. Legal restrictions, you know."
   There were two bands called The Godz. Punk pioneers from the 60's and a biker band from the late 70's. There was no Crow in either band.
   Another alias?
   We had plenty of customers who claimed membership in major groups. Some were genuine. Charles, original Toadies lead guitarist, still shopped Camp Bowie during his lunch break. Other souls were like the white gent who sang in the Temptations. None bought albums in the sheer quantities like Crow, however. Most just yakked their fantasies aloud. Crow paid. There had to be some strategy, a design. We just could not work out what it was.
   Believe me, we speculated.
   Most of all, why was he dropping thousands of dollars for a charade?
   Crow offered to manage J D's rap career. J was agreeable, but wary. He had already learned, bitterly, how expensive an entourage of "new friends" could be. Moochers and leeches, draining green. Crow had plans,contacts, publicity ideas, tour packages. Recording dates. Studio time always involved expensive costs. It was never resolved who would be responsible for production fees. J never signed, though Crow courted him steadily. Often, J B Wynn accompanied him. Both reminded J he was blowing his big showbiz chance. J eventually got national exposure on Texas Hood Connections, screwed and chopped.
   Back to Crow.
   Mid-Winter, he complained about feeling sick. There was an operation (his leg was bad), but he bounced back.
   Then ... Crow disappeared.
   Checked the obituaries. Phoned our newspaper contacts.
   Scoured that repository of all useless knowledge, the Internet.
   Nothing.

Cu18

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