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Interview with the Malverne/West Hempstead Herald
The price of fame
Former Malverne resident releases tell all book

By Dana Williams (reprinted with permission from Malverne/West Hempstad Herald)

Becoming a famous face in the entertainment industry is a dream that many people hold dear to their hearts. Whether they are singing on stage in a sold out concert venue, walking down red carpets decked out in designer clothes or acting in a future Hollywood blockbuster film, a life of a celebrity is one that often appeals to the masses.

Jesse Cutler, a former Malverne resident, says, however, that all the glitz and glamour that comes along with fame, also comes with a price. "There are many of us who overlook the amount of sacrifices that are needed in order to succeed in this industry," he said.

As a person who has spent more than 40 years working in the entertainment world, Cutler said, he became inspired to write his book “Starlust: The Price of Fame,” to address such issues. The debut book is an autobiography that discusses the many challenges that people in the show business face each day and what strengths are needed to overcome them.

“My book talks about this celebrity world and how you see a lot of people become successful and then their success turns on them, and they become self-destructive,” he said. “My book really touches on how working to be a celebrity can be both a good and bad thing.”

While living in Malverne at the age of 13, Cutler said, he broke into the music industry as the lead singer and guitarist of a three-piece pop rock band called The Executives. During the 1960s, the group saw much success when they were able to perform at a number of celebrity parties and charity events, and work with artists such as Sammy Davis Jr., The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. Since then, Cutler has worked as a musician, composer, actor and producer, and now he is embarking on several new projects.

The Herald recently chatted with Cutler on a telephone interview to learn more about his industry travels and upcoming ventures and here’s what he said:

Herald: We heard that you came back to visit Malverne last year, did the village look the way you remembered it?
Jesse Cutler: Malverne looks a bit different but it still has many features that I love. It’s still clean and homey, and I love that the train still passes through the community. I went to see a lot of the places and restaurants that I used to always visit when I was a little boy. Malverne is still a great place to live.

H: Is it true that you met composer Stephen Schwartz while you were in Malverne?
JC: Yes, that’s true. I was at my good friend Ricky Shutter’s house on Woods Avenue in Malverne when I met Stephen. One day, Ricky told me to bring my guitar and come over to his house because a guy who wrote some play was coming over to his house. Ricky was one of the members of The Executives also, so even though we were all doing other things at the time, him and I would still get together to play music. I was 19 at the time, and I didn’t know that the guy Ricky was talking about was Stephen Schwartz who wrote the music and lyrics for the play “Godspell.” The next thing you know, I was at Ricky’s house playing with Stephen.

H: So that’s how you became involved with “Godspell.”
JC: Yes it was. Ricky and I actually became the rhythm section for “Godspell.” We went to New York City and we started rehearsals and the play just took off.

H: What was that experience like?
JC: It was just amazing. The “Godspell” record went platinum and we were able to perform on tons of shows like “The Johnny Carson Show” and “Good Morning America.” I think the whole experience was a reward for the years we worked together as The Executives. I was the lead guitarist and co-arranger for “Godspell” and I did about 800 shows in a row. I look at that whole experience as a gift from God.

H: We would call it a gift too because it looks like it opened a number of doors for you. What was your next step after the musical?
JC: Shortly after the musical in 1973, I became a recording artist and I was really pursuing my solo career. I moved to Los Angeles and lived there and worked in the industry for nearly 15 years. I worked as a Columbia Pictures motion picture producer for a couple of years. I have produced songs and written screenplays. I have really always been involved in musicals and music projects.

H: Did all of this inspire you to write your first book?
JC: Yes it did. I have watched many celebrities come and go, and I thought by writing a book about this industry, it would give young people an indication of what their life could be like. The interesting angle in my book is that it raises the question of are you willing to pay the price to be famous? I want this book to be a personal survival guide because it talks about the sacrifices and compromises that it takes to be a celebrity.

H: What are you hoping that readers learn from your book?
JC: Readers are going to get a good insight about what life is like in the industry. The book is an autobiography, so it talks about how I started in the business at a young age and about when I went back into the industry. People will also learn about fame and how some people can really get swallowed up by the business. Fame can really be a powerful drug because people get carried away with it and then they don’t know how to handle it anymore.

H: Is your book available now?
JC: No, right now it’s on pre-order on my two Web sites. People can sign-up for a pre-order for free and listen to some of my new tracks. My book is coming out in hard back, soft back and an audio book. It is scheduled to be officially released in September and I’m very excited about it.

H: What other new projects are you working on?
JC: I actually have three albums coming out in two weeks. One is called "Soul Wood," one is called "Test of Time," which are 22 original tracks that have never been released. My third album is called "Yu," which features my girlfriend, who is a beautiful model, on the cover. I'm also working on getting my own television show called "The Cutler Edge." I think that in this point in my life, to be a person who is interviewing all motion picture, television and recording celebrities is where I want to be.

H: Where can our readers purchase your book and find out more information about you?
JC: They can visit starlustbook.com and JesseCutler.com.

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