Susan Blond dishes about Michael Jackson, Prince and Andy Warhol
Susan Blond - who threw a baby out the window in Andy Warhol's movie "Bad" - is in her 25th year of repping artists such as Akon, Flo Rida and Sean Paul at her eponymous public relations firm. The first female vice-president of Epic Records, where she worked with Michael Jackson, she lives on the Upper West Side with her third husband, attorney Barry Bloom.
Q: What would you most like to see changed or accomplished in New York?
A: The city needs to take action to keep the character of our neighborhoods - both the businesses and the people - or we'll lose the whole city! Maybe we could landmark businesses like they do buildings. Or every neighborhood could have a lottery and pick the businesses and the 10 most interesting and talented people who will get subsidies for their landlords to let them stay.
Q: What is the secret to getting publicity in New York?
A: People have to want to take your calls. So have to be an interesting person and be open to everything. I go to the opera, hip hop concerts, Cindy Sherman exhibits - everything. But if the artist isn't big enough, or the pitch isn't good, it won't matter. You have to have a good story and know what blogger or producer or reporter to call. I assign each of the young associates in my firm papers to read. We have to teach them to read the papers!
Q: You're an Orthodox Jew. Has observing your religion ever interfered with your job?
A: There have been many instances and events on a Friday night I couldn't attend because of Shabbot. I didn't go to a Michael Jackson concert when I was working with him on Thriller. The rabbi said I could go to his after party if I didn't work, but I decided not to because, well, you always wind up working and Shabbot is a very, very special day. I also couldn't attend a Prince show in the Village, but he wound up canceling the performance at the last minute. Prince could tell when I was taking notes on the phone and would tell me: "Listen! Don't write things down." This was during the period he didn't want anyone to look at his face. He just wanted me to be really, really present. I don't question artists; I respect them. Michael Jackson was a combination of a child and the most brilliant person you ever met. He would take my pocketbook and turn it upside down so everything spilled out and I'd scramble trying to put everything back. I didn't believe the child abuse charges, but I wasn't working with him when those came out.
Q: You worked a lot with The Factory and Paul Morrissey. Tell us something about Andy Warhol we don't know.
A: He went to church every Sunday - then he'd go to work and start painting. And he always took the tiniest office without a window when everyone else had nice spaces. Andy was very supportive. I was having trouble with a boyfriend and he told me not to worry: "Just work really hard, make a lot of money, become really famous, and you can choose any man you want." He always said, "wear conservative clothes: Not wild clothes." He didn't want me to dress wild and liked my hair dark and straight. He didn't like anything cutting edge, even though he invented cutting edge.
Q: Single people often complain about the difficulty of meeting prospective mates in Manhattan. How did you meet your husband?
A: I met him on the first blind date I ever went on! And he's a Harvard lawyer! We met and that was it. We were both recently widowed, but I bounce back after terrible things better than most people. I have a really positive outlook. Also, I really like being married. A lot of people don't. You're never going to find everything you want in one person. You don't need to: I have the most fabulous friends. New York has the most interesting people in the world.