The Unbelieva-Phone rang thrice before I was able to catch it.
"Hello ... this is the Unbelieva-Base, Michael speaking. I don't usually answer the phone, that's usually the job of one of our vivacious Unbelieva-Babes. So consider yourself lucky. How can I help you?"
"Oh my gosh. Wow ... well, I'm glad I got hold of one of you directly, Michael. This is Neil Portnow at The Grammys. I hope The Unbelievables can help us out over here ..."
"Wait ... 'The Grammys' ... ??? As in The Grammy Awards? Aren't they being telecast later this evening from the Staples Center in Los Angeles? What seems to be the problem?" I asked.
"Yes, one and the same. I ... we ... need your help ..."
"Hold on ... 'Neil Portnow' ... ??? Neil 'President of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences' Portnow?"
"Yes, that's me!"
"I'm going to need some proof you're actually Neil Portnow before I can do anything for you. For all I know this could be a crank call ..."
"Anything. Ask me anything."
"Hokay ... you were the vice-president of what company before becoming NARAS head honcho?"
"Jive Records ..." he answered.
|The Real Neil Portnow|
current NARAS president
"North coast or south coast division?" That should have tripped an imposter up. There aren't any north or south coast divisions of Jive Records.
"What? There aren't any north or south coast divisions of Jive Records ..."
"Oh, my mistake. You're right, sorry. I meant east coast ... you were the east coast vice-president ..." He was actually the west coast vice-president.
"No! I oversaw expansion of Jive's West Coast operation and I was vice-president there, not on in the east ..."
"Got it. One last question: Who was awarded Best New Artist in 1961?"
"Never mind. 1996?"
"Hootie And The Blowfish."
"Really? That's terrible ...
"How about 2013?"
"'Fun' ... ??? That's not a band."
"Yes it is. They beat out, among others, Alabama Shakes and The Lumineers which baffles me to this day."
"Hey I thought you said there was only going to be one more question! Macklemore & Ryan Lewis."
"That was terrible. I saw that show. You awarded the Best New Artist Grammy to someone who ripped off Tom Petty! That's just as bad as when you gave Milli Vanilli the award back in 1990."
"Don't remind me. I still have a bad taste in my mouth about that. Besides, that was C. Michael Greene's tenure, not mine. And trust me, the Sam Smith thing is still under investigation ..."
Everything he said seemed legitimate. And he answered me without any hesitation. "All right, you passed my test. What can I help you with?"
Neil sighed and gathered himself. "Something terrible is going to go down at The Grammys tonight. Something I think only The Unbelievables can handle. Can you guys make it out to L.A.?"
"We don't have tickets ..."
"I'll have some there for you, compliments of the house of course."
"I can arrange that ..."
"Make sure there's whipped potatoes. Jeff will love that. Girls, too? You know, escorts for us at the show? Appearances and all that, you know ..."
"I'll tell the guys. We'll be there in a few hours ..."
I hung up the phone and I yelled down the hall.
"HEY, GUYS! PACK YOUR BAGS ... !!! WE'RE GOING TO THE GRAMMYS!!!"