Archive for the ‘susan blond’ Category

Celebrity Publicist Susan Blond Tells All

June 19, 2009

Susan Blond, is a New York publicist and the owner of entertainment and lifestyle publicity agency Susan Blond, Inc.

Growing up in New York City, Blond attended the elite High School of Music and Art where she studied painting. Her artistic talents gained broad recognition when she was given a one-person show at Harvard University (1971) while she attended school in Boston.

Blond returned home after college and was immediately drawn into the center of the New York art world — and Andy Warhol’s Factory. She and Warhol developed a strong friendship, with Warhol proclaiming that he would make her a star. Blond indeed went on to star in a number of Warhol’s movies (namely an infamous scene in “Bad”) as well as “Madam Wangs,” directed by filmmaker Paul Morrissey.

Soon after the launch of Warhol’s Interview magazine, Blond was appointed to launch Interview’s advertising arm by editor Glenn O’Brien.

Blond’s first job in PR was with United Artists, where she represented artists like Electric Light Orchestra and Shirley Bassey, soundtracks for Blaxploitation films like Shaft, and film scores by Ennio Morricone for the spaghetti westerns directed by Sergio Leone.

Soon thereafter, Blond moved on to Epic Records. Blond became Vice President of Media Relations, and worked on the press campaigns of popular artists including first albums from Ozzy Osbourne, Culture Club, Cyndi Lauper, Sade, Meat Loaf and Boston. Tina Turner, Luther Vandross and The Clash. She also worked extensively with Michael Jackson during his Bad and Thriller years.

After 13 years at Epic, Blond formed her own company, Susan Blond, Inc. in late 1986, where some of her first clients included the legendary Tunnel nightclub in New York to music industry powerhouses such as Charles Koppelman to music legends like Julio Iglesias and George Jones.

Susan Blond has been involved with a number of cause-related organizations, including DIFFA (where she serves as board secretary), VH1 Save the Music, and is a frequent speaker at many Jewish cultural events.

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CWG: What was the driving force that spurred your transition from infamous artist to infamous publicist?

I was a painter. I went to Music and Art in Harlem and then Museum School in Boston; I had a one-woman show of my paintings at Harvard, in a gallery. Around that time I met Paul Morrissey, the film director who directed Andy Warhol’s films “Trash” and “Flesh.”

Paul introduced me to Andy when I was at home (Philadelphia) from college. Andy and Paul put me in some movies and taped everything I did and the Whitney Museum ended up choosing me for their program. They chose eight students to work in studios in New York City.

At one party Glenn O’ Brien, the editor of Interview offered me a job selling ads for the magazine. I thought it would be good for my painting to be in New York City with Andy. . .New York was so exciting I couldn’t stand painting in a bank vault anyway, so I took the job, and started selling ads like crazy, but I stopped painting. I sold ads to all of the record labels and then I ended up moving over to them.

CWG: In the music world, you’ve worked with a diverse roster of clients ranging from Biohazard and A Tribe Called Quest to Dinosaur Jr., how do you pick which acts to work with?

I have to fall in love with them. When I was at United Artists or Epic Records, I’d fall in love with Electric Light Orchestra, or Boy George. I worked with The Clash and Aerosmith – all good musicians. For the last 20 years as the head of Susan Blond, Inc. I fell in love with Usher, Sean Paul, Lil Jon, Joan Jett, and Nikki Sixx, among others. Now sometimes it’s my young publicists that have their pulse on the music that have to fall in love.

CWG: One of your many claims to fame is your work hyping Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” What was your approach in helping to make that album a stunning success?

I had worked with Michael for so many years before “Thriller,” which was the climax of his career. “Thriller” was one of the greatest records of all time so no “building” hype was necessary, but we did get a cover of Time and Newsweek the same week! Those covers ran the week we threw a huge party at The Museum Of Natural History celebrating his sales of 35 million! It was quite a bash. He made the covers of all the newspapers the day before because his hair caught on fire during a Pepsi commercial. I had Steve Rubell, who was straight out of prison, and Ian Schrager of Studio 54, do the staging of the party, Norma Kamali designed the costumes of the dancers and all the famous people in the world came.

CWG: What was it like working with Ozzy Osbourne and Meatloaf, two of Rock music’s most famous partiers?

At United Artists, Don Arden, manager of both ELO and Black Sabbath, introduced me to Ozzy. I was around when Sharon, Don’s daughter, and Ozzy fell in love. I even took them to Tiffany where they started buying lots of diamonds; I remember that their little children would throw those diamonds down the toilet the minute that they were big enough to stand.

Then at Epic I worked with Ozzy who was on Jet, his own label, as a solo artist. I worked with him for many, many years and I got him his first cover of Spin. We also hung out with Andy Warhol and would eat at fancy restaurants like Cipriani on the record label expense accounts.

With Meatloaf, I dedicated my life to breaking him, as did the rest of us at Epic. He came to us through Cleveland International’s Steve Popovich, a brilliant record man who put out “Bat Out of Hell,” which also sold around 35 million records. David Sonenberg was his young, bright manager back in those days. Then I reunited with Meatloaf at Susan Blond, Inc. several times, through Allen Kovak.

CWG: Andy Warhol, one of your close friends, was a famous dandy, did you pick up any tips/tricks from him in regards to breaking hearts?

Andy was not a dandy but he did give me some good advice. He would see me upset about some boyfriend, and would tell me the trick was to work really hard, make a ton of money and get famous because then you can choose whatever man you wanted.

Andy liked the straight look, very conservative. We would take cabs home from The Factory everyday and he would point out Burberry trench coats or anything timeless and classic and encourage me to look like that. Maybe that’s how I got into Chanel suits.

I wore the very first Chanel suit I ever bought to my 20th Anniversary party and it still fit.

CWG: Do you still paint or throw babies out windows (Referencing your role in Andy Warhol’s “Bad”)?

I started doing watercolors this past summer.

CWG: An anonymous source informed us that you have great stories about working with Motor City Madman, Ted Nugent…. Can you tell our readers your best Ted Nugent story?

Once I got Truman Capote as well as Andy to come to his show. That made all the papers. Also, once Ted sent me a turkey he himself had shot and killed for Thanksgiving, but there were no preservatives so the smell scared me and I had to throw it out.

CWG: What’s your favorite album of all time?

“Thriller,” of course. I love “Rubber Soul” by The Beatles, too.

CWG: Please tell us a little bit about your work with DIFFA and other charities you’ve donated your time to.

Funny, I’m going to our biggest event of the year DIFFA’s Dining by Design in just a few minutes. As a long-standing board member, I’ve seen this organization grow and the enormous benefit to the organizations we give grants to. Plus Dining by Design is the most fun event of the year.

This past year was VH1 Save the Music’s 10th anniversary and we did all of the press and red carpets. This event honored Bill Clinton, Roger Waters, Bon Jovi and John Mayer performed. We’ve worked with VH1 for about 3 years now.