On His Years as a Singer/Songwriter in Los Angeles

"He could have been a Barry Manilow if he wanted to,” said Ron Wallace. “Barry started out very klutzy, but the essence and musical talent was there, and he had to be trained by the industry to make him who he was.” Wallace remembered that in some of Brown’s early interviews, he said that he didn’t want to be in the public eye and perform for people, but he liked creating the music. The problem was that his music was pop, and it put him in a position where he had to be a Barry Manilow in order for his music to be heard.

“I just don’t think Dan wanted to dance in front of the public,” said Wallace. “Songwriting was good for him because he didn’t have to perform, but once he had to show who he is, he didn’t want that. He had the talent, but he didn’t want to get out there onstage and dance because he knew he’d trip over his own feet. And he told me that he just didn’t feel comfortable being onstage.”

Was he really a good singer? “When you’re used to getting countless tapes in all day long with music that isn’t well done, maybe a synthesizer with a drum machine thrown in, music that is well thought out and professional really stands out,” said Wallace. “Dan was really good; he could really sing and the instrumentals were creative. I could tell this guy was serious about what he was doing. If he would have given himself up to the industry, he would have easily become a household name,” he added.

Brown countered with the opinion that his image was at odds with the norm for the business and the time. Yet, it was clear that he resented having his image overhauled and molded into a genre that would easily fit into a categorized bin in a record store.

“Do I really look like someone cut out for MTV?” he asked. “I don’t think so. I belong in a classroom; the world isn’t ready for a pale, balding geek shaking his booty on national TV—not a pretty picture.”

Copyright © 2005 by Lisa Rogak