TOM: I’m Tom McMurray and I play that trombone and I write music. I’ve been with Gold for about, I think this is my twenty-seventh year.
CARL: Carl Leach, and I’m the trumpet player here at Golden Era, and I have been here for twenty-three years.
MCHENRY: I’m McHenry Ellis. I play woodwinds—sax, flute, clarinet and so on—and I arrived here in 1989.
RUSS: Name’s Russ Greilich and I’ve been a composer and arranger and sound restoration engineer and I’ve played with the Gold Musicians now about 30 years.
CARL: Well, I played like, like 18 years in the… in the… in the Bay area and then I played another 14 in Las Vegas and it’s, you just go and play the job and go home. That’s it. You go and you play the job and you go home. And here, here it’s like, you’re always rewarded for a job well done. Like we… we were in London once, or I mean we were playing in… in… in Saint Hill, and… and they sent us to London for a night out. And we had an incredible dinner, we went to movies, we got to walk around London and it was just fantastic. We had a great time. So I mean it’s like, you know, you do something well, you get rewards. That’s what it is.
RUSS: Oh, yeah.
CARL: Absolutely. It’s a different purpose line than playing, you know, some Las Vegas show, or any… any, actually any… anything else, because we’re always furthering, you know, all our programs and the fact that we’re trying to help Mankind.
MCHENRY: I would say in the usual musical gig, professional world, like I played in Vegas for over ten years. Your skills are tested and required to the max and you go home. Here, it’s the same thing. You do the very best you can and you have to deliver a really good product, but you have a purpose. I mean, sometimes we’ll do a video about The Truth About Drugs and that’s gonna… that’s gonna affect people and get people off drugs and save their lives. That’s the difference in the things that we’re doing and even in performing.
RUSS: That’s absolutely true.
MCHENRY: Yes, definitely.
RUSS: Yeah, like in addition to playing the horn, I did sound restoration for cleaning up all of the lectures that Mr. Hubbard did. And so in any given day, I could be working in the studio as a sound engineer and then, you know, call comes, grab my horn, come down and do something or, or possibly like an arrangement would be needed. And just having the opportunity to have all that versatility and work in an environment that has unbelievable facilities and the equipment in the studios. All of the equipment is vintage gear. It is just a thrill.
RUSS: When I was working as a musician up in the Bay area, prior to coming to Gold here, a normal day like, I had a… a job that was at the Marriott Great America and it was a 9 to 5 and so, you know, I’d get up and I’d play sets that were like a half hour long and then we’d break and that would go all the way.
And then as soon as that job was done, I had my own band and I’d go out and either play in a club or wherever I was hired for. That was usually like a four-hour gig and that would run until like two in the morning. And then after that, often, I would go and do some studio work in town, just, you know, in the wee hours, come home, grab a little sleep and then start all over again. Right?
Well, that was way more hours than—I mean, here, it’s… it’s a very, very you know, regular schedule. And sure there’s times where you have to jump in and get something done but that’s just, that’s just the normal thing.
RUSS: Yeah, that… that is the main difference here, because when you’re doing something, it’s… it’s for the… for a purpose. You know that the products that you’re gonna work on, are something that count. It’s gonna do something that’s possibly gonna help somebody get off drugs or teach a kid how to study and change his life. And, so when you’re working on a product that relates to that, you know, you have no attention on any sort of schedule or anything. You just want to get that done and make sure that it gets out there.
MCHENRY: Because you are working to complete products, which are going to be used to make very beautiful effects all over the world. So that’s, that’s a very fundamental thing.
CARL: Yeah, I mean, when I was playing professionally outside, I mean, some jobs went till one in the morning. And you’d have to drive like an hour home or something like that and it was just ridiculous. I mean, here, we live here. We have unbelievable berthing. Everything’s taken care of here. Our food is done by great chefs and it’s like, we… it’s like you don’t have anything that you need to actually worry about as far as pay, you’re just doing this job. And we wouldn’t have been here if we didn’t have some idea of wanting to further that purpose.
On the, the thing about working as a pro and then these hours and things like that you work much longer. And I… and I just remember we were just talking about this, it’s like it was a panic all the time because you were calling contractors, you know, trying to find out gigs and line up more gigs and things like that and… and… and it was just a scuffle all the time. You were trying to make rehearsal bands to make sure that your name got out to other people so word of mouth helped you know and it was just, you’re a constant thing. And it’s not that here. All that’s off—taken off so that we can just do Scientology and Dianetics and get those out to the planet.
TOM: Discipline, discipline, discipline. All four of us here come from a rugged school of demanding discipline and expertise. He didn’t have that. He didn’t grow up with it. He saw no reason for it. And as a matter of fact, if you tried to impose that on him, you were in for an argument or a disappearance or a silent, you know, a silent… not go along with it, you know.
CARL: Or he’d blow up.
MCHENRY: Or he’d blow up.
RUSS: Yeah, blow up.
TOM: Well, sure, he would blow up. That was… that was more his thing is to like blow up. But every now and then, you know, you’d just get like a, you know, kind of like he’d fade off into the distance and not have anything more to it.
So, I finally, when I… when I realized that that was what was going on, then well, he’s part of the band, so I wrote a part for him. But it was the kind of a part that if he played it, good. But if he didn’t play it, it wouldn’t hurt anything, you know. And, you know, that worked fine, you know, doing that kind of stuff worked fine. It’s just the discipline aspect, you know. Like we come from, we come from very demanding backgrounds, all of us.
CARL: Yeah, he was almost… he was like incorrigible. It was like unbelievable. Like I…when I first came here I realized that he played out of tune, he played… he played poorly. And I… I, because I’ve… I taught students through the years, you know, and I’ve got ‘em to play professionally in Las Vegas and go to the… just high, you know, Eastman School of Music and things like that. And so I knew what he needed and I wrote… took the time to write it out. And he would never do it. And no matter what advice you would tell him, he would never do it.
He has some fixed idea that you couldn’t, he wouldn’t go either way. And if you told him, like I mean I… I also work in the library here, which is like, oh, about fifteen feet from his office. And the Music Director was always in there trying to help him understand modern music, you know, the way the melodies go and the rhythm and things like that. Must have been at least a hundred times over the time span I was here. And he never, never got it. But it wasn’t that he… he… he… he was… he refused to get it. He refused to get it. He would have some excuse like “Oh, that stuff is just crap, blah, blah, blah, blah,” you know.
It would be… there would always be some scam going on, you know, with the thing. Just… and it was like… anyway, it was, it was very hard to work with him. I, when I… when he’s sitting next to you and you’re playing a show and you’ve got an audience out there that’s listening to the band and you’ve got parts to play.
And when you’ve got just a few horn players playing in the section, it’s really important ‘cause things are voiced a certain way to be important. And when he… he would always drop out when it got to something difficult. And you’d say, “Why did you drop out?” And he’d say, “Well, I can’t play that,” and you said, “Well that’s why you practice, that’s why you’re supposed to practice.” And he just, he refused to do that.
RUSS: Of any person I know, I think Ron, like got the most help and assistance. And one of the reasons for that, like to try to get him to actually be able to get a product or perform or contribute something. And, you know, he himself just would not pick up the ball and run with it. But out of respect for the fact that he was the father of the leader of our Church, Mr. David Miscavige, people did absolutely tend to try to help him and, you know, give him the best shot. I know at one point, I was his boss. And, I ran the Audio Division. And you know, he was having trouble, you know, not playing his horn well, and the melodies that he was supposed to write were trite and often unusable, and have to be reworked by other people.
So I was thinking, Okay, I gotta, I gotta get something that Ron can actually do, so that he can get contributing here. So I offered him a job that was a non music-type job, but basically a band manager job, and he said, “No, no. I can’t do that. I can’t do that. I know nothing about administration.” He would’ve had to learn a little bit about it. And he absolutely just flatly refused. I did, at that time, need some help. And he wouldn’t lift a finger on it.
But that… that really goes to show to me, you know, like, anything of this, you know, crap that he’s putting in this book of having any sort of like managerial skill or insight about any strategic matters of the Church, there’s no way.
I mean, I couldn’t even get him to do, you know, a routine purchase order for his own supplies, let alone like follow any Church policy for internal communication or dispatch. Like, he didn’t have any skills. As a matter of fact, the only managerial skill I ever saw him perform was managing his own DayTimer book, his little memo pad. And if he actually took the time to inspect what he was doing, it was often really, you know, getting his exercise equipment or his special food, or going to the doctor, which, by the way, was paid for by the Church, or dealing some… with some sort of his you know personal foibles. It… it had nothing to do even with the production of the music department that he was in, let alone any Church matters.
RUSS: It’s absolutely ludicrous for Ron to say he’s being held like a prisoner. It’s… it’s actually insulting, you know, having lived in the same environment for thirty years myself that he did.
MCHENRY: Yeah, you know, I was captured and taken to the San Diego Zoo with my family a little while back, and it was… it was, we spent the whole day there trying to escape from that zoo, and going around and looking at every animal and came back… I had to take a couple of days to recuperate from that because it was so rough.
RUSS: I mean the, the bottom line is, like, why… like Ron says that he wanted to leave for a number of years. So my question is, and I know the answer, why didn’t he? The reason he didn’t, and he could have, at any point in time, is he was actually running a con here. He was living for free. He was actually like doing nothing, yet because everybody respected the fact that he was Mr. Miscavige’s father, we’re trying to help him, and he would twist that help and he was getting a free ride. It’s absolutely disgusting that he has now taken that same con, which is the fact that he is Mr. Miscavige’s father, and he’s using Scientology and Mr. Miscavige as a carrier wave for press and publicity to try and sell, you know, this… this book, that is actually a turn on his own flesh and blood. It’s really, really sickening.
TOM: Oh yeah. Oh boy, did he ever.
MCHENRY: His sense of humor lacked only two things—sense and humor.
CARL: Yeah, unfortunately we’ve had a… a string of… of his kind of things that are not tasteful at all. And he used to announce for the band and things like that. Russ, you know, you know some… some of that stuff.
RUSS: Pheww, yeah there were some real cringing moments. Like, not just behind stage but actually on stage that were absolutely outrageous. He once brought the PR on for… for the band and said, “And here she is, she dances on one leg, she stands on the other and makes her living in between.” And, like, I don’t know about you guys but I was like, whoa! Like you wanted to fall off the back of this…
MCHENRY: You’re standing… you’re standing on the stage and you’re hearing this stuff and you want to look charming and pleasant and you hear this stuff. And you try as best you can to look, “ha-ha-ha, that’s very cute,” and move onto the next activity.
CARL: He was finally pulled off of being able to say anything on stage. I mean there’s numerous things we could talk about, but he was finally… he had to… he had to get a script okayed that he wrote before he was allowed on… to talk on stage. It got so bad. I mean, McHenry… I’m mean just stupid things like he’d call… McHenry Ellis the man with the last… that has the last two names or something.
TOM: “Two last names.”
CARL: … two last names. And it was like, it went on, after the 20th year it got old, you know, and you wonder, “Why are we doing this?” you know. It was like he… he… anyway I… I… basically he… I… like all the things that we started discussing about and then there’s racial jokes, there’s… things that referred to other races, and things like that. Very derogatory and, and, and, and, and it… it just… it… he… he ended up being a base individual and he was under the cloak of being a Scientologist when he was here, you know?
RUSS: His…his humor— the thing that I found offensive about Ron’s humor was that it was always at the expense of somebody else. There’d be a dig or something. He seemed to get a delight and a pleasure out of, like, irking somebody or just, you know, repetitive needling.
Like McHenry, our sax player, he would, you know, just get done finishing like an incredible solo and he would announce him, in the middle of a tune, not even sometimes after the tune, like, “There’s the man with two last names,” you know, like a crass carny, like a barker at the circus. And, you know, it just didn’t fit with what we were doing. And we… we had to like absolutely can him from, you know, talking on the stage and script him.
And the other thing that I found really insulting was he had this little child’s limerick that made use of the “N” word. And, you know, he would run around and chant this little limerick, singing it in stomping his feet and clapping his hands to the National Emblem March. And it was just vile stuff.
CARL: It’s… it’s… it’s kind of… it’s a sad commentary on his actions, because right here you have the most ideal work environment. We have, most of the time we have a steady schedule, and it’s cool. We have days off if you need to go visit somebody, you go visit somebody and stuff like that. But we’ve got such a purpose line here that what we’re doing, it’s really exciting. It’s very cool. And… and to… to… to go against that stuff, you know, it was amazing why we didn’t do that. And I… I… my only excuse myself is just the fact that… I was always like, I wanted to make sure that the, you know, the leader was like you know everything was cool, you know, with his relative.
MCHENRY: We didn’t want him to be a burden to his son.
MCHENRY: Or a distraction to his son. That’s really the heart of it, I think.
CARL: Otherwise he would have been gone, you know, decades ago.
RUSS: And Scientologists, just in general, they like to help people. And I’d say that pretty much all the staff and for sure, all the guys in the band, really, really genuinely wanted to see Ron do well. And see him, you know, like flourish, see him prosper. And so when he wasn’t, he was cut an awful lot of slack. And we had a lot of respect for the fact that he was Mr. Miscavige’s father, and so, even more so, everybody really, really, really wanted to see, you know, Ron do great. But he just, instead, would take that graciousness and he twisted it. And it got wearing after a while, because he turned that genuine desire to help into a con or a way to live here for free, without doing any work. And now he’s doing the same thing with this book. It’s really bad.
CARL: I’ll tell you a funny story. It was… how thoughtful this guy is. He did an event someplace, and one of the guys there was somebody that I taught back in the ‘70s, he was a humanitarian for Stevens Creek. And so he met… he met with Mr. David Miscavige. And during their conversation he said, “Do you know Carl Leach?” He says, “I know him very well.” He says, “Please if… if you… when you see him can you please give him a ‘Hello’ for me?” And he says, “Absolutely,” you know, and then they continued on with their conversation. Anyway, the next time he came and visited the base, the first thing he did he came and drove into music rehearsal and came walking in the room, he says, “Where’s Carl?” and they say, “Oh, he’s over there.” And I came out and he says, “I want you to know that Randy says hello,” you know? And he just, he remembered things like that. Just simple things, you know. It was just like he… he’s just a thoughtful guy. It was just incredible.
I mean, if you even talk… started talking about what he’s accomplished with Scientology, with the expansion of Scientology and getting people up the Bridge and helping them more—it’s… it’s beyond anything, any, you know, great story that you could ever make a novel out of. And… and here he’s still got time to come and just, you know, he’s just that way. You can talk to him so easily and just have a great time just talking about anything, you know?
RUSS: I give you an example of Mr. Miscavige’s relationship with the band. In this case it’s with me. I had finished a large project of sound restoration, that was really, really lengthy. And as a validation for doing it, that tenor saxophone right there was a gift from him to me because he knew I was a member of the band and he knew how much I loved music. And, yeah, that’s the kind of relationship Mr. Miscavige had with the band.
RUSS: Yeah, Mr. Miscavige would… would, I would say that’s a good… a good term for the relationship with the band and Mr. Miscavige, was collaboration. He would very, very much contribute to the creation of the project and take the care to make sure that, you know, what we were doing and, and the message and so forth, was just right. And it was absolutely a blast to work with him, and is a blast.
CARL: Yeah, he was always like… he would send us down, what we call listening material. He would hear something that… that was just coming off… coming in on the market or something and he’d rush it down to us and he said “Listen to this, this has got some good, you know, the good concepts and leading edge of music” and things like that, to give us other ideas and directions and things like that. It was really, I mean, he’s… he’s done it constantly since I have been here.
RUSS: He… he loves music and the audiovisual and, you know, he… he knows what it takes to actually work really hard, and he knows what a professional is, and he very much sees that in a person, and he’ll work really hard to bring the best out of each individual that he works with. And, you know, if he sees that there’s something missing like a piece of equipment or something that could actually make the product that you’re working on sound better, be better or improve it in some way, you know, he is the first one to, you know, suggest that. And, you know, it’s always, you know, helping to get what you’re doing done the best way.
MCHENRY: You know, I just remembered a song that we were doing for an album that was, I believe, 17 minutes long. And to hold, to keep the listener from going to sleep or going to town or something during those 17 minutes, that’s quite a task. And this went back and forth, and he had suggestions, he had encouragements, things that were being well done, do some more of this, and somehow it seems to drop in interest at about this point, you know. Figure something out to make it continue to hold interest, you know, or whatever. It was back and forth and it turned out to be a glorious product.
CARL: I remember at the ship we were doing a concert on the opening night, and the audience wasn’t responding usually as well as it has been in the past. And all… all of a sudden a piece of cardboard went through the band and it was him, he wrote on it… he just tore off a piece of cardboard way back in the… in the back and he had it sent up to the band while we’re playing and we all passed it through. He says… he says… it says, “It’s the audience. Don’t worry, you guys are smoking!” You know, and so… because… I still have it in my files back there. It’s funny, so while we’re playing, and we’re passing it along, you know. It was great.
RUSS: When I knew Ron, he had nothing but good things to say about Mr. Miscavige. He had …
MCHENRY: I heard him more than once call him a genius.
RUSS: Yeah. I mean he told me personally, you know, he says, “Russ, I think that Dave is the greatest religious leader on planet Earth.” And then, he actually went through and kind of made comparisons to other religious leaders, and he said, “You know, look at all the things that Dave’s done for the society. And what he’s done for the Church.” And he genuinely, you know when he was talking to me, had the most respect and he was proud of his son.
CARL: Yeah. Any event or any win in the sectors where… where we’d have some event and find out some new data, he would just… he’d say, “This guy’s amazing. He’s just amazing.”
TOM: Yeah, that’s true. That’s true.
CARL: That’s why this is so odd now, this situation.
RUSS: It’s so odd…
RUSS: Oh, yes.
CARL: It does… it’s so weird to hear this type of communication now coming out of this book and stuff like that, because he always validated his son. He thought his son was the best thing, you know, in the world.
CARL: He got some incredible, incredible gifts from a car to incredible clothes. I saw him once, he got this machine made in Russia for their astronauts to get strong after being in the… in the atmosphere, and it is the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen. It moves every direction at the same time, and you just stand on it. And it… it, I mean it’s phenomenal, and it’s just… you know, it’s just that type of research and thinking ahead, and you know what, what does he need, what would help and stuff like that. It was always there.
RUSS: Mr. Miscavige cared for Ron incredibly. He wanted to see him do well, he wanted to… he took care of him, you know, as a son would to a father. And, I mean he got this incredible little pocket trumpet for his birthday. On his birthdays and on Father’s Day, you know, Ron would be showered with gifts and, ah, it’s… it’s just… it’s unbelievable to me, personally, that Ron turns like this.