SIDEWALK TALK: A couple of weeks ago, an aspiring musician left an envelope on the sidewalk in front of the CBS Records building in Century City; it was addressed simply to the A&R department and obviously contained a demo tape. That sounds like a pretty unlikely way to get a record deal, but it turns out that Columbia Records A&R man David Kahne is currently in the studio with an artist he first heard on that same sidewalk--albeit in person, not on a demo tape.
Kahne, who produced the Bangles' "Different Light" album, first ran across the Baltimore musician who calls himself Spooky when he walked outside his office and saw the one-man band serenading CBS staffers with a small Casio keyboard and a speaker hooked to his belt. Spooky--a black, 24-year-old singer/songwriter from Baltimore--had already made the rounds more than once, playing in front of record company offices in New York and Los Angeles when he wasn't playing for money on the street. He'd been in L.A. in 1983 and 1985 before Kahne saw him--and when he wasn't looking for a record deal, he was singing for money to live on. "For somebody who played on the streets, he did really well," says Kahne. "Sometimes he even made enough to spend the night in a hotel."