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Robert Pfeifer

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Bob Pfeifer has been called many things, amongst them Musician, Philosophy Student, Entertainment Industry Executive, An Entrepreneur, Author, Drug Addict, Activist and Convicted Felon.

Despite being founding vocalist/guitarist of Ohio new wave band Human Switchboard, and being an ex-President of Disney owned Hollywood Records (1994-1997), Robert J Pfeifer aka Bob Pfeifer, perhaps received the most public attention to his life in 2008 after he was implicated and soon served time in federal custody, for conspiring with Anthony Pellicano, to wiretap a sex worker named Erin Elizabeth Finn that testified against him in a legal case. Notoriety and legal travails related to having Finn's phone illegally bugged by infamous private investigator Anthony Pelicano and admitted drug use effectively ended Pfeifer's executive role in the music and video game industry. Pfeifer who eventually cooperated with the prosecutor's against Pellicano, was released from custody, but sought media attention again, when following his conviction, he wrote a novel, and then his Czechoslovakian born ex-wife Maria Misejova, then 32, fled to Europe with his 9 yr old son.[1] in 2012, and Pfeifer was awarded sole custody when his son was returned to US soil two years later.

Bob Pfeifer (of Human Switchboard and Tabby Chinos, former Senior VP at Epic/Sony and president of Hollywood Records, at the 2011 Pop Conference at UCLA.

Career[edit]

In a 2011 interview with [2], Pfeiffer said one of his first jobs was lecturing on Philosophy in the late 1970's as a graduate student adjunct at Ohio State University. While starting his music career he also helped found a used record store in Kent, Ohio that helped finance his band.

After his group Human Switchboard (which he founded and was vocalist and guitarist of) disbanded in the early 80's, Bob Pfeifer released one solo album in 1987 "After Words" on the Passport label . Pfeifer had was a decade ot out of college, and had just released his solo album in 1987 when Epic Records Artists & Repertoire head Don Grierson offered him steady pay as an A&R rep.

“I came to a point where I didn’t want to be Jonathan Richman playing the Bottom Line forever,” Pfeifer recalled. “I wanted to continue being creative for a living. Doing A&R was the way.[3]”. In 1987 The LA Times highlighted Bob's plans to move from New York and seek musical talent out in Los Angeles "I'd love to take a band like Firehose and have Robert Palmer and Ornette Coleman produce them... I've lived in poverty for so long, it's nice to be able to finally pay the rent."

Eventually he was made Senior Vice President A&R exec at Epic Records in the late 1980's where he helped get musicians like The Screaming Trees, Sepultura, Joe Satriani and Alice Cooper signed to the Sony affiliated label and claims to "be responsible for the sale of 50 Million albums". Pfeiffer has as an Executive Producer credit on Alice Cooper's 1989 comeback record Trash and has songwriting credits on several songs from the albums The Last Temptation and Hey Stoopid. In the late 1980's Pfeifer was trying to sign Soundgarden to Epic but they went with A&M, so he had to settle for their manager's other client, Screaming Trees. Van Connor, bassist of Screaming Trees recalls: "We met this guy Bob Pfeifer... a musician working the system from the inside. He had a f**kin' credit card and was charging it up, buying us all drinks. So we kinda related to him, he didn't give us any bullsh/t.[4]" Recalled Pfeifer of the struggle to get the band on the label “I recall getting in an argument with a superior who was saying, ‘Look at the two fat guys in the group. How could that be successful?'”. Epic eventually signed the group in 1990 who achieved commercial success with their 1992 Sweet Oblivion album that sold 400,000 copies.

Serving at Hollywood Records beginning in 1993, after a period of rudderless leadership, Bob was appointed head of the division at age 38 in early 1994. Pfeifer at the time of his leadership role was announced told Billboard magazine "I'm running the place...we will build an aggressive artists orientated company, and whatever it takes to do that, will be done[5]". In what was considered an artist friendly move, the hiring of Pfeifer was meant to restore the label's credibility and financial viability in the music industry. Under his watch the label fired many staffers, disbanded the Hip-Hop division, released the debut of The Brian Setzer Orchestra and signed friend Alice Cooper and the group Fastball, to begin the process of getting out of the red and towards the black. However, Pfeifer was soon dogged by a sexual harassment case filed while at the label in 1995, most of his signings stiffed on the charts, and by the time of Pfeifer's dismissal in 1997, the label had burned through $150 million invested since the venture had begun under it's previous top exec Peter Paterno 8 years earlier in the decade. Said Miles Zuniga, the songwriter of band Fastball, Hollywood's first ever eventual platinum selling signing, but whose album was not released until after Bob left, "I never got the feeling Bob Pfeifer was interested in our band"[6]. Disney Chairman Michael D. Eisner issued a statement upon Bob's departure from the label saying "Bob and his team have been successful in creating a nurturing, artist-oriented environment at Hollywood Records. He leaves a far stronger business than the one he was named to lead."

After Pfeifer left Hollywood Records and the Z-Axis video game development company in a legal dispute, he helped start an internet consulting venture Segnana Inc in the early 2000's that worked with bands such as Metallica in getting their MetallicaVault download website launched in 2003 before the St. Anger album was released. At the time of the launch Pfeifer was quoted by the Washington Post saying "Our dream is to make this the yellow pages of Metallica. We'd like it to be a highly organized, high-quality listing of everything. I'd like this to be the temple of Metallica[7]." While initially pitched in press releases as a success, the site, hosted by SPEAKEASY.NET delivered over 20 million free downloads while registering 250,000 fans abruptly ceased operation exactly 2 years from its launch on June 6, 2005.

Career As An Artist[edit]

The initial idea for Pfeifer's influential band Human Switchboard gestated while Pfeifer was attending Syracuse University in 1977 where he met Myrna Marcarian, his then paramour and the future farfisa keyboardist of the band, who helped co-create the band's dueling vocalist sound, with Pfeifer oft being compared[8] to his then musical idol and fellow Syracuse alum Lou Reed. After returning to Ohio to attended Ohio State University as a graduate student in the Philosophy program, the burgeoning band recorded a 4 song demo mixed by David Thomas of fellow local northeast Ohio band Pere Ubu. “We pressed it up and sent it to, like, Bomp, NME, Melody Maker and some people in New York...And all of a sudden these reviews started coming out and John Peel started playing it in England and we sold 3,000 records in a week. That was the beginning.[9]” Human Switchboard signed with a division of Miles Copeland's I.R.S. Records' label called Faulty Products, an alternative indie label branch of IRS Records without the benefit of wider distribution through A & M Records that also released an early effort from The Dead Kennedys

In 2011 he published a fiction novel "University of Strangers" loosely based on the Amanda Knox case in Italy. Pfeifer, along with fellow midwestern musicians from the late 70's new wave punk scene such as the Dead Boys' Cheetah Chrome and the Pagans' Mike Hudson, did a national book tour of readings and signings under the moniker Cleveland Confidential. Pfeifer also started a band in 2011 called the Tabby Chinos an occasional live and recording project with a rotating cast featuring Cynthia Sley, Phil George, Gregg Sutton, Don Fleming, Pat Place and Jim Sclavunos.

Involvement with Anthony Pellicano[edit]

According to legal documents Pfeifer began dating a woman named Erin Finn in 1997, when he was 42 and she was 26. Reportedly in December, 1999, Finn confessed to Pfeifer she was a prostitute operating an online escort service for "nerds", and this shocked him, eventually leading him to end their relationship. When Pfeifer tried to sue his ex-employer Z-Axis who had fired Pfeifer for conduct issues related to his drug use, he used a law firm then called Gaims, Weil, Epps & Epstein. When Finn testified in a deposition that Pfeifer used Methamphetamine he was angered and plotted nefarious revenge with a notorious Hollywood based Private Detective and "fixer" apparently retained in conjunction with Gaims, Weil, West & Epstein, LLP who began wiretapping her in 2001. At some point, Pfeifer was made aware that Federal investigators had arrested Bob's "fixer" Anthony Pellicano in 2003, and he was now under investigation as well as part of a conspiracy case. His lawyers informed him after a July 2004 meeting with federal prosecutors and the FBI that he could face numerous felony charges, greatly increasing his anxiety and causing him to think of suicide.

As part of a custody battle over their son Jerry, Maria Misejova Pfeifer, Bob's ex-wife filed a sworn declaration alleging that Pfeifer had fled to Canada in September 2005 because he knew he was being investigated about his dealings with Pellicano. In an email shown in a court filing Pfeifer told his ex "Hypothetically, I am assuming I will not have the money to fight this if it escalates; I am not going to jail. You see me. I wouldn't last a night. I have two alternatives then to run or commit suicide …" Due to these threats, the FBI had Mr Pfeifer held in jail indefinitely as a flight risk until he could cut a plea deal and testify against Pellicano. Mrs Pfeifer told the court that prior to Pellicano's arrest in 2003, Pfeifer had at least twice hired the notorious private investigator in connection with civil lawsuits, and she'd seen him listening to tapes Pellicano provided[10].

Pfeifer was arrested on February 3, 2006, and charged with unlawful wiretapping and conspiracy. Pfeifer's former girlfriend, Erin Elizabeth Finn, assisted the FBI lead agent Stanley Ornellas in the investigation after suspecting her phone conversations were being recorded.

In March 2008, while still in federal custody and hoping to get a reduced sentence, Pfeifer testified that he paid Anthony Pellicano $225,000 to advise him in his legal battles with his Elizabeth Erin Finn (operator of EducatedEscorts.com) and his former employer, a video game company called Z Access. Pfeifer had filed multiple lawsuits against Finn, and also signed over his power of attorney over to Pellicano which lead to additional problems for the then drug addled ex-entertainment executive. Pfeifer admitted on the stand that he'd been using methamphetamine prior to hiring Pellicano, and he had already hired a hacker to snoop around his ex-girlfriend's computer; and sent e-mails to all her contacts that included a virus and details about Finn’s role as an escort. The Court Case was reported on by numerous media outlets and included many details of Pfeifer's life, including tidbits such as that he lost his virginity at age 10[11]

During his testimony, a Reuters wire[12] report declared Pfeifer spoke in hushed tones, "often breathy and nervous" and apologized for his demeanor. When prodded what troubled him about his own actions, he added “The entire mind-set of attacking that way, breaking someone’s privacy and things I find immoral,” Pfeifer responded. “I caused that to happen. I paid him to wiretap.” He mentioned he was testifying to redeem himself, broke down emotionally and confessed in front of the Pellicano jury that he hoped the prosecutors would be lenient in their sentencing if he cooperated and showed remorse. As part of Pfeifer’s plea deal, he was ordered to stay 500 feet away from Finn, the female that he had hired Pellicano to harass and monitor. Finn who had been the subject of Pfeiffer's ire and testified as a witness against Pellicano and later moved to Florida to become involved as companion to web health figure Dr. Mercola, once had her own Wikipedia page but it was deleted sometime after 2008. Finn's individual charges against Pfeifer were filed in 2008 and were finally settled by 2011. A separate lawsuit filed in 2006 against Pfeiffer by Ms. Finn for the wiretapping in conjunction with other parties including the lawfirm he reatined, the phone company, was a joint case that wound through the courts and was not resolved until formally dismissed for falling outside the statute of limitations in 2012. [13]

Of his involvement in the Pellicano affair, Pfeifer pled guilty to one charge of "aiding and abetting" and was fined and after two years in custody was sentenced to time served, probation and community service, according to an L.A. Weekly story. “I have no comment on any of that. I can’t,” Pfeifer told writer Steven Rosen.

Personal Life & Involvement With Maria Misejova[edit]

In the latter 1990's, prior to his conviction, while still a highly paid entertainment industry executive, Pfeifer met Maria Misejova, an athletic young Eastern European woman more than twenty years his junior, with whom he developed a long distance relationship with who spoke Slovenian his ancestral tongue. She moved to Los Angeles eventually and became pregnant at age 22 with their son Jerry. Unfortunately by the time the child was born, divorce papers had already been filed and they took to court to battling over custody of the baby. They shared joint custody, but Maria, who had earned a reputation for courting wealthy men, by June of 2012 left the country with Pfeifer's son Jerry, then 9, as well as a child she had with a Hollywood talent agent. She went dark on social media, and neither man could locate their child or their shared former wife. Pfeifer set up a social media campaign to get his child back, a Facebook page called “Little Jerry’s Army”… which he says "became huge", and finally helped locate the woman that had absconded with the children. On a tip, Bob Pfeifer headed to France and, without an appointment[14], walked straight into the U.S. Embassy in Paris and demanded help from an FBI agent stationed there. More than a year after Maria had gone missing with her two sons, an FBI agent eventually called to tell Bob and fellow estranged parent Larry Hummel in LA that their ex-wife was being arrested by police in Divonne, France and both fathers were reunited with their missing sons. Bob and his son use the [15] website to give hope for others and have since spoken to conferences and groups in support of organizing eforts of families with missing children, especially those whose kin are abducted and taken overseas.

References[edit]

  1. Holguin, Robert (October 20, 2014). "Slovakian Woman Gets Probation For Child Abduction". KABC TV. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  2. Holdship, Bill (April 12, 2011). "National Library Week Event: Cleveland Confidential Book Tour". Archived from the original on April 12, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  3. Silverman, Jeff (February 28, 1994). "Rising from underground ranks, a record exec". Variety. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  4. Yarm, Mark (August 10, 2012). "Screaming Trees Look Back 20 Years". Spin Magazine. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  5. Rosen, Craig (February 19, 1994). "Pfeifer Takes Reins at Hollywood Records". Billboard. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  6. Newman, Melinda (December 4, 1999). "Hollywood Records Finally Turns A Corner". Billboard. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  7. Musgrove, Mike (June 5, 2003). "Metallica's MP3 Conversion". Washington Post. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  8. Himes, Geoffrey (March 4, 1982). "Rock's Women". Washington Post. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  9. Rosen, Steve (December 9, 2011). "Clevo Calling : Human Switchboard". Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  10. Krikorian, Greg (February 5, 2006). "Music Figure Held in Pellicano Case". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  11. Mikulan, Steve (March 28, 2008). "sex-and-nerds-invade-pellicano-trial". LA Weekly. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  12. Simmons, Leslie (March 25, 2008). "Hollywood execs testify in Pellicano trial". https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pellicano/hollywood-execs-testify-in-pellicano-trial-idUSN2529975520080326. Retrieved June 7, 2018. External link in |website= (help)
  13. "Flynn's Deleted Wikipedia Page". 2017. Archived from the original on April 2017. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  14. Sancho, Miguel (February 28, 2014). "Two Dads, Two Lost Boys, and the International Search for Mother Who Vanished with Them". ABC News. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  15. BringJerryHome.com

citations

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21]


This article "Robert Pfeifer" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical and/or the page Edithistory:Robert Pfeifer. Articles copied from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be seen on the Draft Namespace of Wikipedia and not main one.

  1. https://variety.com/1997/scene/vpage/hollywood-records-prexy-ankles-abruptly-1117434634/
  2. https://variety.com/1994/music/news/rising-from-underground-ranks-a-record-exec-118716/
  3. http://articles.latimes.com/1987-07-19/entertainment/ca-4596_1_bob-pfeifer
  4. http://articles.latimes.com/1994-02-08/business/fi-20410_1_bob-pfeifer
  5. http://www.latimes.com/la-me-arrest5feb05-story.html
  6. https://www.facebook.com/pg/BringJerryHome/
  7. https://www.facebook.com/bobpfeifer
  8. http://www.bringjerryhome.com/
  9. https://www.facebook.com/iSTANDParentNetwork/videos/1739596436133379/
  10. http://www.laweekly.com/news/sex-and-nerds-invade-pellicano-trial-2152715
  11. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1982/03/04/rocks-women/c397f699-7833-4358-9022-0655f0d9bffd/
  12. https://www.plainsite.org/dockets/2tnpsbrli/superior-court-of-california-county-of-los-angeles/erin-finn-v-robert-pfeiffer-et-al/
  13. https://www.casp.net/california-anti-slapp-first-amendment-law-resources/caselaw/california-courts-of-appeal-cases/gerbosi-et-al-v-gaims-weil-west-epstein/
  14. Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge By Mark Yarm|verybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge By Mark Yarm
  15. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pellicano/hollywood-execs-testify-in-pellicano-trial-idUSN2529975520080326
  16. http://abc7.com/news/slovakian-woman-gets-probation-in-child-abduction-case-/358859/
  17. https://www.discogs.com/Bob-Pfeifer-After-Words/master/621900
  18. http://blurtonline.com/feature/clevo-calling-human-switchboard-2/
  19. https://www.law.com/therecorder/almID/1202485345532/
  20. https://soundcloud.com/tabby-chinos
  21. https://aadl.org/node/370540

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