The Long Goodbye

After thirty years, Barry Fey is stepping down. Sort of.

Neither Marciano nor Fey will discuss the price Universal paid for Fey Concerts. "I'm a little embarrassed that I got so little, and Jay's a little embarrassed that he had to pay so much," Fey says. "But what it comes down to is that it's just the right time. I don't have that fire. I'm a good warrior, and I can turn it on when I need to. But I'm tired."

The music doesn't do it for Barry Fey anymore. He still enjoys hearing his old buddies in the Who, the Stones and U2, but he cannot think of a single act that emerged in the Nineties that really got him jazzed. So he plans to stick to the classics. "I can still promote the shows that I want to do in Las Vegas, because those are based on my relationships. But those relationships are dying. And when they're gone, I'm gone. Neil Diamond, Buffett, the Stones: They're all still doing great. But how long are they going to go? Not forever. And I don't see anyone coming along who cares as much as they do. No one wants to be stars. So there's no one to fill that void."

Over the years, Fey has tried to fill his own void--"that big, black hole in me," he calls it--with food, but lately he's been trying to moderate his impulses. In October 1994, Chuck Morris, Fey's wife Lisa (Tyler's mother) and Aerosmith associate Bob Timmons, among others, staged an intervention intended to get Fey to stop gorging himself so recklessly. To this day, Fey regularly attends Overeaters Anonymous meetings, and while he feels that he's made progress, he calls the desire to eat to excess "the hardest addiction. You go tell an alcoholic that he has to have three drinks a day and that's it, and he'll look at you like you're mad. But they tell us we have to have three meals a day. It's control, and that's what's so tough. Control is much harder than abstinence."

Fortunately, Fey has something else occupying his mind these days besides prime rib. He's begun gathering material for a book he intends to write about his life and times. "They give me this fucking little tape recorder to talk into," he says. "I don't like it, but I use it. No one's going to want to read about Barry Fey, but they're interested in the business, and that's what I'm going to tell about. I'm not going to beat around the bush. I told Universal, 'Once the book's out, I won't be much good to you.' Because I'm planning on telling the truth. And if the truth burns bridges, so be it."

At this point, Fey has not settled on a format for his tome. "There'll be two or three chapters that'll be called, like, 'Pricks,'" he allows. "But it's not all going to be bad. There'll be funny things and stuff about all the good times. And there have been a lot of those. I've been so lucky.

"I take pride in the fact that I made it. Because it's so hard to make it. It is a tough fucking business, and there are so many jerks. But a lot of them are gone now. They're fucking nothing." He smiles before declaring, "I've outlasted all the assholes.

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