When Lenny Goldberg saw a photo of himself taken by Rolling Stone magazine's Annie Leibovitz in 1970, he told himself someday that picture would grace an album cover. Forty-one years later, he's fulfilled his dream.
"I had always wanted to do a CD, but I never took the time to go into the recording studio until I got sick," said Goldberg, who has cancer. "When I was sick enough that I thought I was going to die, I made my 'bucket list.' Towards the top of the list was the CD."
Goldberg, aka Lenny Tone, owner of Ashland's downtown music store CD or Not CD, was reminded of his photo by the famous photographer while he was watching a documentary about Leibovitz.
"In the documentary they went back to her early years and they showed a wall of all these photographs she had taken," he said. Among them was her photo of Goldberg, taken for a story in Rolling Stone about fanzines — nonofficial publications by fans of a cultural phenomenon.
Goldberg's fanzine about bebop was called "Stormy Weather" and was one of two fanzines featured in the article.
"I don't know what I was trying to do. There was a lot of fanzines back then; a lot of the fanzines were one-person affairs," said Goldberg. "They sent Annie Leibovitz out because she was the main photographer. She came over to our house and I assembled a bunch of people, not necessarily to do with the fanzine."
About 10 years ago, Goldberg started having a host of health problems, including Bell's palsy, or temporary facial paralysis. Four years ago, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare cancer that occurs in the tissue lining internal organs, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
"When I was younger I used to be kind of a hypochondriac, so I got this new attitude, that there never would be anything wrong, so when something went wrong, I was shocked," he said.
Goldberg said he now suffers from a brain tumor that threatens his life each day. It is inoperable unless doctors remove his jaw and replace it with a metal one, something he is reluctant to have done.
"I joke about it all the time. I started telling people I should have never joined the Disease of the Month Club," said Goldberg. "But when I found out I had the asbestos cancer, and the average life expectancy is a year, that's when I made the bucket list. That was in May of 2007."
Since the '70s, Goldberg has written about 100 songs, so when it was time to arrange the album, there was a lot of material to choose from.
"I had a really rich period of songwriting when my ex-wife left me. I just wrote a ton of songs the next couple of years after that," said Goldberg. "But that was a long time ago. I always had them in my mind all the time, especially if I was on a long trip down I-5."
The album features 15 tracks with influences from blues to punk rock. The overall sound is one of popular rock, and was recorded in Ashland by Broken Works Studio. The musicians backing Goldberg are Broken Works studio owner Jim Abdo with his son Ian Abdo on drums and Joe Diehl on guitar, Michael Ruiz on drums and Fred Epping on pedal steel guitar. The Leibovitz photo graces the cover, though Goldberg hasn't checked with the photographer or Rolling Stone on copyright.
"I've been working on the CD for about five years because you have to get into the mood," said Goldberg.
Now that the CD is finished, Goldberg can work on the other items on his bucket list, such as writing a book and making amends with people.
"I'm a wise guy from New York. There are people I may have wronged or hurt their feelings, but now I'm just trying to be a better parent and husband," said Goldberg. "Just things you want to do before you leave the planet."
As far as his health problems, Goldberg said, "I just ignore it, I'm busy. Why get upset about it?"
Goldberg's CD is available in his music store at 343 E. Main St., Ashland.
Mandy Valencia is a reporter for the Mail Tribune. Reach her at 541-776-4486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.