Home Books Tommy Mottola: “If You Want to Get Married at St. Patrick’s Cathedral,...

Some years ago, I wrote a story — probably on Foxnews.com–about how Tommy Mottola got married to singer Thalia in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Because he had converted to Judaism for his first marriage, and because Mariah Carey wouldn’t give him an annulment, Mottola was in a bind. To married in the Catholic Church, he needed a “get” from wife number 1, and an annulment from wife no. 2. Neither was forthcoming. So he went to Cardinal Egan at St. Patrick’s, listened to him play the piano, and wrote him a check for $500,000 for an album advance– that’s right, an album. Check amazon.com. We have never heard “Cardinal Egan Plays the Best of Elton John and Rachmaninoff.”

Now, reading Esquire, I see that Mottola tells the writer of his new book, “Hitmaker,” an important lesson: “If you want to get married at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, be prepared to write a check.” http://www.esquire.com/features/what-ive-learned/tommy-mottola-interview-15033392?click=main_sr

“Hitmaker” is part fact and part fiction. I’m assuming some of it is fact. It’s a good read, anyway, as reimagined by writer Cal Fussman (the Esquire guy). The beginning part is good because it’s about growing up, Mottola’s family, his early days. It’s nostalgic and poetic. The whole early part of his career, managing Hall & Oates, getting his name in “Cherchez La Femme,” was all interesting and well told. Is it true? I’m sure there are people with other perspectives.

“Hitmaker”–which was given out for free at a Grammy party by the truckload–is a good read. It’s also a gauzy version of everything that happened during Mottola’s rein as Mariah Carey’s husband and the head of Sony Music. Call it historical fiction. I don’t know how many people are interested in either version– Tommy’s or the real one–and this may be the only one ever to be published.

Suffice to say that the real stories from Sony about Mottola, Mariah, Donnie Ienner–Tommy’s right hand man, etc– would really be hair-raising. When one Mottola exec met with another record company head about a possible job, the man was dragged out of the Black Rock building on 52nd St. by security guards, with no notice. And that’s just the beginning.

Mottola’s was a rein of terror.

So there’s one anecdote in the book that sort of says it all. I’m surprised it’s included, but maybe Mottola thinks it’s funny. It’s on page 145, and it’s a recollection by another right hand man, Jeb Brien. Mottola was unhappy with the “prick of a manager” who ran the group Split Enz, named Nathan Brenner. Brenner had had a fight with Mottola’s best pal and partner in his management company, Randy Hoffman. They ran into Brenner at a Grammy party; he was wearing a blue brocade tuxedo. Mottola told Hoffman, “This will be your payback.” He went to the bartender and had him mix up a concoction of stain producing items–red wine, whipped cream. blueberries, etc. And he dumped it on Brenner.

This page is omitted on purpose from the amazon.com search version:

“Hey Nathan,” Tommy said, “How you doin’?” Brenner gave him a what-the-fuck-do-you want-look. Tommy said: “This is compliments of Randy Hoffman.” Then he tipped the glass over Brenner’s head and emptied the entire contents all over him. Brenner was freaked. He didn’t know what to do. “And another thing,” Tommy told him. “You are hereby banned from entering the United States. You are never allowed to come back into this country unless I say you can.”

Flashback: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,838,00.html#second



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2 replies to this post
  1. Hi There,

    Nathan Brenner here, mentioned in the story above.

    As you suggest quite a misrepresentation of the facts.

    Fact. Mr. Mattola and his Company were removed as North American Co-Management Representatives, by my act Split Enz, well before this ‘Grammy’ date. Mr. Mattola and his Company had in my opinion negligently handled the core elements of their responsibilities, failing to adequately monitor the Canadian Market, part of their North American Representative brief, as example.

    I had to do the job myself, and they couldn’t accurately tell me how many records had been sold and the relevant airplay statistics. They could not advisee who they had talked to at the artist’s Canadian record company. The Canadian Record Company Executives themselves confirmed this at the time when I flew up there to introduce myself. I gladly did this after placing numerous phone calls to them only to discover their marketing department had wanted to get interviews and promotion lined up for my act, had contacted the Mattola Organisation without response.

    I greatly enjoyed the Canadian market and the band became highly successful there. Despite adding little to this popularity the Mattola Organisation did demand their percentage.

    I could talk about unauthorised tour support expenditure, attempting to undermine the relationship I had with my artists, working behind the band’s back with the record company, sidelining opportunities for the band but I don’t need to go into detail. Those who know know; especially the story also featuring Bette Midler and Martin Scorsese.

    But I’ll save that one. I can only hope that Mr. Mattola keeps well and that he gets what he and his associates deserve.

    As to fact, I did return and have to North America many times, enjoyed good times with good people. I don’t wear blue brocade; I prefer black, never brocade. Mr. Mattola did pour a drink over my head at a Grammy party, after I went up to him and tried to be a gentleman, mend a fence, not hold onto grudges. My response to this drenching was to continue to talk to Tommy, not give him or his crew any satisfaction in acting as if nothing happened. More interesting still was the amount of friends including artists, radio and record executives amongst them that I acquired as a result of this incident may of whom came up to me after and told me even more stories of Mr. Mattola’s unpleasant behaviour.

    So as my three year old says, ‘Never smile at a Crocodile’.

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