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Bernard Stollman

June 5, 2013


Hudson, NY


Recorded by

Philip Grant

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Bernard Stollman is a Lawyer, Record Producer, and Entrepreneur who currently lives in Hudson, New York.  He was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and grew up in Plattsburgh, upstate New York, where his parents owned a chain of woman’s wear stores. He is the eldest of the eight children. He attended  Columbia University and Columbia Law School.  After finishing Law School worked as an unpaid intern for the  lawyer, activist, civil rights advocate, and feminist, Florynce Kennedy.

Through working for her he became acquainted with improvisational jazz.  He worked on the estates of Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker.  He soon became a lover of Jazz music.  He later decided to start his own record company.  With money he borrowed from his mother he started the label ESP disk.  Because of his unique philosophy of allowing the artists to produce their own work he was able to produce a substantial amount of recordings in a short period of time.  His recordings meet with some moderates successes in the US, but did quite well in Europe.  He biggest success came with the signing of the British girl vocal group The Pearls, and the anti-war rock group the Fuggs.  Mr. Stollman believes that the Fuggs big hit Uncle John which was an accusation that President Johnson was a war profiteer put him on the “list” with the Government, who he says conducted a Cointelco type operation which flooded the market with boot-legged copies of the album, leading to the company's eventual collapse.  Stollman took what he calls a “regular government job”, (he was an Assistant Manhattan DA) until he retired at 62.  Now at the age of 84, he has restarted ESP disk, and is also working on producing a newer and faster translation software.

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Philip Grant
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This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.

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