Excerpt from And Party Every Day: The Inside Story of Casablanca Records:
Casablanca was big business. Important decisions were constantly being made, and millions of dollars and the careers of hundreds were on the line every day. Still, more often than not, we acted like a bunch of sixth graders. One day, a fire broke out in Howie Rosen’s office. (Howie was one of our promotions guys.) Neil had taken a bottle of lighter fluid, poured it on Howie’s desk, and ignited it just to show everyone how hot we were. A few miles away at Warner, or over at Capitol, they would have been content with a nice interoffice memo to pass on the news. Not us. We set the furniture on fire.
That wasn’t the half of it. We played games, too, like (Vice President of Promotion) Bruce Bird’s “hit the hooker with the Frisbee.” An infamous strip joint, the Body Shop, was located directly across Sunset from us, and it wasn’t all that uncommon for hookers to pace on the sidewalk in front of the club. When he was bored or looking for something to do, Bruce would open his window wide and chuck Frisbees across Sunset, trying to hit the hookers. From time to time, you’d hear the screech of tires—some driver slamming on the brakes when a toy disc zipped passed the windshield.
Even the parking lot wasn’t immune from our decadence. For instance, Al DiNoble, our director of singles, wasn’t Al. His first name was Fuckin’. As in, “that fuckin’ DiNoble.” Employees had their names painted through stencils onto their parking slots in the lot behind the building. Naturally, Al’s parking space had “Fuckin’ DiNoble” painted onto it. We loved it because it so obviously offended the occasional conservative stuffed shirt who came to visit.
For his part, Neil would conspire with our director of advertising on a practical joke that would leave visitors with stunned expressions. The director was a woman, and she would crawl under Neil’s desk before he met with a client and then climb out in the middle of their conversation, like she’d just given Neil head. It was all in good fun, and she thought it was hilarious, but today we’d be sued into oblivion for it. Howie had his own stunts—one was playing a recording of machine-gun fire at full volume or repeatedly striking a very loud gong every time a record was added to a major station. Even though my office was a good fifty feet down the hall from him, if I was on the phone, the person I was speaking to would ask me what was going on. Neil couldn’t hear the gong unless I had both my doors open, but when he did hear it, he loved it, and he would ask Howie to do it again. I enjoyed these antics, too, and when we had VIP visitors we would sometimes tell Howie to bash the gong just to impress upon them how crazy we were.