The Mystery Man from The Magic Band
by Herb Bermann
Brass Tacks Press, 2015
by Alec Baldwin
Back in 1985, I met Herb Bermann in Los Angeles, through mutual friends. He was a quiet and intense guy just shy of 50 years old. I was an actor in my late 20s, who had moved to LA to get into the film and television business.
As I got to know Herb, I enjoyed learning about his career as an actor in the 1950s, toward the end of the studio system of contract players. He played on TV shows like Dr. Kildare, then went on to enjoy a successful career as a screenwriter, winning a Writers Guild Award for the mini-series The Psychiatrist, and writing a screenplay alongside his friend Dean Stockwell that inspired Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush album.
Herb was also a full-fledged denizen of Malibu in the 1960s and ‘70s, and he, along with a wild gallery of musicians, actors, and their celebrity entourage, committed himself to every bit of that colorful lifestyle that you and I have read so much about.
Along the way, however, Herb crafted some genuinely creative writing in the form of lyrics to the music of Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, who were considered one of the most original acts of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.
Always a bit of a cipher, frequently witty, while always modest, thoughtful, and kind, Herb is a great writer who had the good fortune to connect his talent to other great artists at a time when talent seemed to matter more.
I hope you enjoy this book as much as I’ve enjoyed my friendship with Herb these past 30 years.