Francis Dumaurier Interview
A guy walks into a bar. He finds a stool, sits down, orders a drink. Pretty soon he's chatting with the slightly older man sitting next to him. They're reliving rock and roll days. Eventually the slightly older man says “... that’s when I was the manager for the Rolling Stones.” Later he adds "And you know that sitar George Harrison used on Norwegian Wood? He got that from me. I gave it to Jeff Beck, he gave it to Jimmy Page, and he ended up giving it to George Harrison.” Hmmm, the guy at the bar is thinking. He finally asks " … and what's your name?" The guy is thinking it's time to finish his drink and move on. Just then, before the slightly older man can answer, another person enters the bar. “Giorgio! It's been a long time.” “It has,” says the slightly older man to the newcomer. The two give each other a manly pat on the back and the guy sitting next to them looks over and sees that the newcomer is Mick Jagger.
The above story is, of course, not true. Not exactly. However, some versions of this story do exist. It did happen. Giorgio Gomelsky was the first manager for the Rolling Stones. And he did bring a sitar into a recording session with Jeff Beck and The Yardbirds, but they ended up using a similar guitar sound that the genius of Beck came up with on the spot for the song "Heart Full of Soul". And less than 6 months later, George Harrison DID play sitar on “Norwegian Wood”, the first pop song to use an actual sitar.
This is the stuff that rock folklore is made of. When enough people hear it, it becomes legend. Giorgio Gomelsky certainly had enough stories to become a legend. And yet few people know his name.
Meet Francis Dumaurier. He encountered Gomelsky in NYC in the early 1980’s and they became close personal friends in the decades that followed. By the time they met, most of Gomelsky’s legendary stories were behind him. Over the years he would share many of them with Francis. When Gomelsky died in 2016 without making progress on his autobiography, Francis decided to create a memoir of his friendship with Giorgio. What started out as a personal life story ended up becoming a personal one-man crusade to try and get the name Giorgio Gomelsky enshrined into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In this interview you will also discover how I became obsessed with Gomelsky, an obsession that would put me on a collision course with Francis. Because I, like most of you, had never heard the name Giorgio Gomelsky until after his death, even though his name was all over my record collection. Here are just some of the careers he helped get started: The Rolling Stones; The Yardbirds with Eric Clapton, then Jeff Beck; Soft Machine; Rod Stewart, Brian Auger and Julie Driscoll in Steampacket; John McLaughlin’s first solo recording Extrapolation; Keith Tippett; Spontaneous Music Ensemble; Daevid Allen’s Gong in France and NY; Magma; Bill Laswell and Material. The list goes on.
Simply put, the influence of Giorgio Gomelsky cannot be overstated. His connections in the music world are so vast and varied that no one person, not even a close personal friend like Francis, is aware of them all. Listen to this interview. We may only scratch the surface of the Gomelsky legacy, but if you want more, there is more. Francis has written a memoir that will soon be published as a book. Listen to his story in our interview and see if you don’t become as fascinated with Giorgio Gomelsky as I have.
“FOR YOUR LOVE”
THE STORY OF GIORGIO GOMELSKY, A TRUE ROCK AND ROLL PIONEER
Some of you reading this may have your own stories about Giorgio. Please share them a bit with us in the comment section. Thanks.
We knew Giorgio back when we rented room at his space on (25th, 24th, or wherever down the street from Billy's Topless?) in the early 90s. I was a big reader of Stones and Brit Invasion books and knew of him before we actually met, but because he was so approachable the initial awe went away after a while due to the circumstances we found ourselves in. Despite the idea that he was still trying to get a scene going (I think the Green Door thing that happened later on might have been legacy Giorgio?) their weren't too many other bands renting space from Giorgio and he seemed to rely on an in house studio guy named Doug who wasn't doing much business either. He seemed to spend most of his time in his apartment upstairs with his live in gf and Amiga computer setup pursuing his graphics thing but occasionally he'd make time for us; I particularly remember running over to Radio Shack to snag a PZM when he recorded us and wondering how often he had employed that technique over the past 25 years? Our relationship soured after a promotion he threw featuring us where few bothered to show up, he ended up running the stairs throwing up his hands in disgust but that seemed par for the course at that time because nothing was really happening at that space back. The last thing I remember from our time was he started housing a hair band named Breda who happened to be from the Seattle area and had tales of these other Seattle bands with strange names like Nirvana and Soundgarden but this was early 90s NYC so what did we know? I'm sure Giorgio didnt coin off that either.
My final verdict was he was a nice guy auteur whose time had passed, maybe not that different from Hilly Kristal who he'd namecheck from time to time. Basically a Euro club guy, it wasn't hard to imagine him back in his heyday because he likely hadn't changed all that much since the 60s.