Sometime early in 2008 my cousin Jerry Heller asked me if I wanted a job as a tour manager/production manager/sound man for an artist he was working with called Erika Jayne. Jerry was hired by Erika’s husband as a consultant.
Erika is a singer/songwriter and currently on the TV show “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” She also has had 8 number one singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.
After working with heavy metal bands Hurricane and Lita Ford and gansta rap groups Eazy E & NWA, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, this was a little different for me…….it was all GAY.
Erika performed at all gay clubs & gay events all over the U.S and they loved her and she loved them. We traveled first class and stayed in very high end hotels and everyone was paid very well by Erika’s husband Tom Girardi, a celebrity himself.
Tom was the lawyer that the “Erin Brockovich” movie was based on. He has won many high profile cases and has one of the most influential law firms in the world. He also has a weekly radio show that I occasionally listen to on KABC radio in Los Angeles called “Champions of Justice.”
Tom loved watching Erika perform and I could tell they really loved each other. She also loved hanging out with her gay dancers, friends and especially director/choreographer Mikey Minden.
Mickey Minden was the son on Marla Minden, one of the sweetest women you will ever meet. Marla was the first smiling face you would see when you walked into the Sherman Oaks Jewish Center. When my two sons were very young and I was very active there, I even won an award for the Member of the Year in 2000. I was involved in pretty much everything musical; promoting concerts, performing, plays, everything musical.
Mikey was an amazing young dancer and was featured in many children’s videos which were all VHS at the time. He grew into an in-demand choreographer and has worked with Pink, The Pussycat Dolls and various other artists and has worked on major award shows.
I got Mikey Minden his job with Erika Jayne. When Jerry brought me in as tour manager/production manager/sound man I told Jerry & Erika about Mikey, who was riding high with the Pussycat Dolls. I set up a meeting at a coffee shop in Studio City and the rest is history, especially for Mikey. He has been with Erika now for eight years and has also directed some of her video’s and is a close friend and advisor. He has probably made millions of dollars since he started working for Erika……Your Welcome Mikey!
Did I mention how well everyone got paid, all by Erika’s billionaire husband Tom Girardi. Whatever we needed, he provided, be it staff, travel, costumes, make up, whatever, Tom gladly paid to keep the show rolling smoothly and to keep Erika happy.
Most of the shows were pretty interesting, sometimes hundreds of gay dudes dancing with their shirts off, sometimes naked guys on the bar dancing, it was wild. We did about a 15 minute set; Erika would sing to a track and do her hits, which they all knew. She was a star in their world.
We would travel first class, all over the country, to do a 15 minute show that we didn’t get paid for. Bizarre, but fun. The gay promoters, staff & crowds were pretty easy to work with and generally very nice. Her back up dancers were the finest in the industry and all danced with major superstars.
One day Jerry wanted me to contact Will.I.am from the Black Eyed Peas to see if he would produce a song for Erika, which Jerry felt would take Erika Jayne to the next level, which Jerry was good at. We worked with Will Adams at Ruthless Records where he was called Will One X and the group was called The Atban Klann and his lawyer, Fred Goldring, was a friend of mine.
After a couple months of phone calls back and forth, we finally got Will to agree to meet Erika at his home/studio. Will had gotten very famous but he was still very cool with Jerry & I. We all hung out; listened to music, his & hers, watched some videos Will was working on. Erika decided that Will wanted to change her too much and passed on working with him. Jerry & I thought that was a big mistake but Erika did whatever she wanted to do.
Erika was a hard worker and spent a lot of time rehearsing with Mikey & her dancers. After the shows she liked to hang out at the clubs and meet & greet her fans and have a drink or two. I really enjoyed working in a first class organization that paid me great though the music was definitely not my cup of tea.
Sometime in 2010, Jerry & Tom had a disagreement and Jerry left the project. I knew it was just a matter of time before I would be asked to leave. Eventually I got the axe but they paid me monthly for the next 6 months before the checks stopped coming. Tom was very generous and I really liked him, he was very nice and decent to me, as was Erika.
I watched a couple of episodes of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and loved seeing Erika and I’m glad her star keeps rising. I knew that one of her favorite songs was “My Way” which I ended up learning and I play it very well now.