One Hell of An Eye
The Official Blog of Mike Salisbury
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Mike Salisbury & Tina Turner

Mike Salisbury & Tina Turner

Like Goofy, waiting in the dark, I slouched droopy-eyed without blinking when Ike Turner opened the door in a blaze of light. He stepped in, one foot at a time, with his caramel brown patent leather boot ankle-high deep in the lime green shag carpet laid wall to wall under the dark dropped glittering ceiling of his candlelit private office/love cave.

We were in a little building inside the cavernous and somehow empty recording studio UA built for him from an abandoned Quonset hut with a false front that was once a supermarket.

Above the boots his matching caramel bell bottom poly pants rose snaking above his waist to Ike’s skintight poly print orange and beige and caramel shirt that somehow stretched as he sat then leaned forward on his charcoal puffy inflated faux leather couch and, producing a tiny silver spoon from the pocket of his pumpkin color leather vest, lifted the cover of a crystal sugar bowl about the size of a Great Dane’s watering tub that sat on the door-length natural wooden coffee table with torched edges and a shiny and clear thick resin finish. The light from the little white powder mountain inside the bowl almost blinded me. Pinky finger in the air, Ike inhaled a shovel load, wiped his nose and cavalierly closed the lid putting the spoon back into his vest pocket.

That was Ike.

photo by Mike Salisbury

photo by Mike Salisbury

Tina I had met earlier in time at their big white California ranch house high atop Baldwin Hills with a view of all L.A. I was there to talk about an assignment from Esquire magazine to photograph her and the Ikettes teaching a long tall white lady writer to be an Ikette for a day (which she did with the energy no one has but Tina). Outside the house on the way in to meet with Tina I met a Turner kid or two and inside I met Ike’s live- in girlfriend.

That was Ike.

The World Of Ike & Tina - nominated lp cover poster

The World Of Ike & Tina - nominated lp cover poster; in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian

The later meeting with Ike at the studio was to work as UA’s creative director with him on the cover concept for Ike and Tina’s album Around the World with Ike and Tina.

I showed Ike samples of illustrator Doug Johnson’s work, suggesting that Doug could create a painting that not only would portray Ike and Tina beautifully, but Doug could surrealistically compose onto a globe symbols of all the nations they toured.  And I suggested that we make it a double.  A square 33 1/3 vinyl LP cover that would fold out and become a poster revealing the complete painting.  Cool, said Ike.

Like Ike, Tina was also a dream to work with.  Not just on the cover but for other projects and collaborations. One for Rolling Stone. Unknown to both companies, I was not only UA’s creative director of marketing, I was commuting to San Francisco as the art director for Rolling Stone. Magazine design I had done; redesigning Rolling Stone I could do, but coming up with article concepts is the fun for me.  Lloyd Ziff came on board from UA to finesse the design and I talked Editor/Publisher Jann Wenner into article concepts I could produce.

Rolling Stone cover_Tom Wolff story "The Denim Affair"

Rolling Stone cover_Tom Wolfe story "The Denim Affair"

I wanted to do more pieces on the world the music lived in and the people and culture of that world.  One of my concepts was denim.  Jeans and everything else denim, because the pop culture world was turning all blue.

Tom Wolfe wrote the words, Peter Palombi illustrated one of my best covers and Doug Metzler shot a very talented and cooperative model all in denim—Tina Turner.

Grammy nomination - Mike Salisbury/"The World Of Ike & Tina"

Grammy nomination - Mike Salisbury/"The World Of Ike & Tina"

We got noticed, too much noticed.  I got fired from UA and so decided the really smart thing to do was quit my job at Rolling Stone.

But that album cover design was nominated for a Grammy.  Oooh Poo Pa Doo.

Ike anecdote excerpted from Mike’s text in Overspray (http://www.pictureboxinc.com/product/id/297/)

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Comments:

Good eye. I was at a UA marketing meeting (which was always good for a laugh, if you can remember the people involved).  They asked who was going to Ike’s studio that night.  I didn’t raise my hand.  Marilyn, the CEO’s secretary, asked me, “Why not?”  “My mother won’t let me,” I replied.  Big laugh!  Alan M.

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Thanks, Mike. Very impressive.  Barbara B.

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r*ck


st*r!
…….

!!!!!!

T. Girvin

Mike: Thanks.  Beautifully put :).

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Mike:  You’re doing a super-fantabulous job at re-branding yourself.  The blog entries are lovely, rich in detail and topically relevant.  Hope everything is going great in Venice  – and beyond.  Cheers!  Eric

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Here’s a brand man’s account of his work with Ike and Tina…B

I love Tina Turner. Saw her live in concert in Tokyo in 1987 or 88.  She is still rocking.  Hope she does Vegas some day.  Fred

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I wish I lived in LA. Reading your blog posts (which are great, by the way – the Ike & Tina Turner cover art is amazing), makes me feel that geography plays a big part in determining one’s experiences.  Regarding cars, Jay Leno once said, “If you can’t find it in LA, it doesn’t exist.”  It’s why it’s so seductive to people who don’t live there like me.  And that’s partly your fault.  I think California could use your help again.  Cheers, Nelson

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