I was curious about Elliot Mintz for a long time before I finally decided to email him. I asked him a question and he wrote back and immediately gave me his phone number. We corresponded for years until I finally had enough nerve to ask him if he would be interviewed. Why I was afraid to ask I can’t quite say. He said “yes,” and it was few years later, in 2011, I would find myself in an airplane heading to Los Angeles, California. It was more than just curiosity. Sometimes we just know it’s the way we’re supposed to go. There I was in his house where I was free to ask whatever I wanted. This was a man who had seen and heard a lot.
The first question I asked him was “Who is Elliot Mintz?” He said, “I guess it depends on who you ask.” I haven’t really had someone answer the question of who they are in that way. Elliot Mintz has said he doesn’t really know who he is, but if there is any reason for that, it is because he has spent his life looking at who other people are. He has seen a lot, heard more and along the way tried to look at it and think about what it means.
So who is Elliot Mintz?
If you spend some time on his website www.elliotmintz.com you may believe he has been the conduit between some of the most interesting people who have ever lived and the listening world. He was born in New York, but found himself moving to California at a very young age. He decided he wanted to be on the radio. This may have been a surprise to some people given that Elliot Mintz was very shy and had stutter and a thick New York accent. Over time he overcame those challenges. It was interviewing that Elliot Mintz really loved. It was more than the extraction of information, it was a person’s very essence. Many of the people he would interview were or would become in some cases the most iconic people of all time…Groucho Marx, Salvador Dali, John Lennon, Bob Dylan and Jack Nicholson. Elliot Mintz was always a preservationist. To hold onto the tapes is to be a keeper of the stories. In this respect, some interviewers become almost like archivists. Elliot Mintz kept the tapes and for many, many years they remained tucked away, unknown to most. It was long before the internet. These piles of unmarked tapes could not remain hidden forever.
The question Elliot Mintz began being asked repeatedly was “Elliot, when are you going to write a book?” Elliot has told me that a more accurate biography is written by someone other than the subject. It seemed to me like Elliot was looking for something more accessible where those who wanted to find out more could make up their own mind.
What would be created was something old and something new. A jukebox that doesn’t need a coin. In short, that is what elliotmintz.com is. You get to decide to watch or listen to whatever strikes your interest. You can play it all day…and because of the incredible content on this website, I choose to think of it as a portal into new worlds. The stories and minds of people like Alan Watts and Jack Gariss are all available at your fingertips, and not a coin is required of you. Some of the material is visual, but a lot of it is audio…radio has been called a theatre of the mind and this description always comes to my mind when I think of elliotmintz.com
At first elliotmintz.com was only available on computers and laptops. Now the reach of the website has been expanded to iPhones and other more portable devices. I decided I had to do a second interview with Elliot Mintz, which he agreed to do. The website has a lot of insight into Elliot Mintz’s opinions, recollections and thoughts, but my curiosity was still not satisfied. I spoke with Elliot Mintz and the second conversation was far more personal and more of an inner-view than the first. I felt like I had gotten his essence then, but I felt I was gaining more of an insight into who he really was… If we are judged by the company we keep, Elliot Mintz is certainly diverse and intriguing. I found myself speaking with a publicist named Michael Levine who has written the best-selling book on public relations of all time. Then there was Te Kay, the technical wizard and digital artist behind elliotmintz.com…to call him a webmaster really is a disservice. Then there are two of Elliot Mintz’s broadcasting colleagues—Sirius/XM DJ Jim Ladd and Roy of Hollywood, the host of “Something’s Happening” on KPFK 90.7 FM in Southern California.
Since the beginning of my radio program, almost all of the shows have followed the format of music along with an interview. I found myself creating something without knowing what it was…exactly. Was it an audio documentary? Was it a radio broadcast? Was it an audio book? The creation of the piece continued. Daniel Buckner helped me write program…if you want to call it that. Henry Jordan of Jordan Digital Studios mastered, produced and mixed it. The musical selections you hear are courtesy of songwriter and recording artist John Goodwin.
In the end, I decided that this was a sound portrait. For those who are looking to find out a little bit more, I want to invite you to listen or read this piece which I am quite proud of…
Spoken arts radio is something very rarely done these days. The two exceptions ot the rule are Roy of Hollywood in California and Bob Fass in New York. In keeping with that tradition, I am very honored Elliot Mintz and his friends have allowed me to ask questions and create a spoken arts record of Elliot and the launching of his fascinating website.
With that said, I believe the story is not over yet… elliotmintz.com will have more selections added to the jukebox.
This “sound portrait” will be available soon. For those who prefer to read, a text version of the program will also be available. I look forward to your thoughts…
I will also admit that my curiosity still persists. Communication is very important to Elliot Mintz and I believe we will pick up where we left off and go just a bit deeper on another night…