Berkshire Eagle 11/18/13
By Derek Gentile, Berkshire Eagle Staff
LENOX — Tom Werman now runs a popular inn with his wife Suki, but in an earlier incarnation, he was a successful rock producer in New York and Los Angeles in the 1970s and 1980s.
On Sunday, as part of the Lenox Library’s Distinguished Lecture Series, he spoke of the fun and frustration of that job before an overflow crowd of more than 70 people at the library.
A self-taught guitarist, Werman was a rock aficionado who was a huge Beatles fan in the 1960s. After graduating from college, he worked in advertising for a few years, then became a record producer for Epic Records at age 26 in the early 1970s.
His job was to listen to demo tapes. If Werman heard anything possibly worth producing, he had the authority to fly anywhere in the U.S. to hear the band.
“One of 100 demo tapes were worth investigating,” he said. “Of that one-in-a-hundred, one in a hundred of those was worth producing and of that number, one in a hundred made it big. It was very stressful being a record producer.”
He pointed out that one producer passed on The Who.
“And they included the rejection note in one of their albums,” Werman said. “It was a way of getting back, I guess.”
Werman did not exclude himself as a producer who missed some big acts.
He spoke of the signing of a band called Wicked Lester. Unfortunately, the band broke up before Epic could release a record. He and his boss were invited to a rehearsal of a new band with several of the members of Wicked Lester.