Photography by Allan Roysdon.
Love Dangerously, the song I wrote and produced for BB Bugaloo, had been entered by Arthur Winiarski in a competition to determine participants for the 1994 Sopot International Song Festival in Sopot, Poland. It was selected and we were invited to participate. Arthur’s company, Galaxy Group was our corporate sponsor for the event, providing us with airfare, translators, a driver, lodging, and meals. Arthur was our manager, promoter, and fellow white knuckle thrill-seeker for the event.
BB Bugaloo, Allan Roysdon, a friend from Columbia College, and I flew into Warsaw and met Arthur in mid-August to perform in the ’94 Sopot Festival. We were whisked through a week of interviews and performances leading up to the festival’s major weekend programs: the Grand Prix competition, and the Gala event. We partied the week away at Spatif with Polish artists, celebrities and media. We met other American and British musicians, including Afghan Whigs and Radiohead. It was a glorious, debauched week, and by the end of it, BB was sicker than shit with a sore throat.
Basia Winiarski, Arthur’s wife, fed BB a steady stream of honey and lemon tea, and tried to cut off conversations with him through the day Friday. As we waited in the hotel lobby for our ride to Opera Lesne, I remember looking at BB and thinking “How the fuck is he gonna pull this off?” Waiting backstage in the dressing room as the other performers left for their appearances, I was in a cold sweat. Our person with the headset came for us, and led us to the curtain’s edge, where we were introduced. BB made up for his damaged vocals with a huge performance. He took off dancing through the audience with his hand held mic, security in tow, yelping and moaning soulfully, greeting the crowd. He forced the orchestra and the television director to improvise his performance as a national audience of 2.5 million looked on. Everything was off-script, improvised, teetering on the edge, rock and roll chaos.
BB’s wild performance won us the Grand Prix competition audience award. We were invited to perform again the following, final night of the festival at the Gala event. We performed ‘Love Dangerously’ again, received the award, then BB encored the song a second time with an ecstatic, rapturous performance of a lifetime, wrecked voice and all. We gave acceptance speeches, were led backstage where Arthur and Basia were waiting for us, then spilled out into the night watching the rest of the program from the audience. Strangers high-fived us, bought us drinks, chanted BB’s name, and had BB sign autographs. Arthur and I talked about future collaborations.