Thursday, January 2, 2020

The Unbridled Man

By the Center for SEO Ethics and Accountability

 “Don’t You Love Me?” – Marty Weintraub (Arlo Hennings studio 1986)

I am a writer/editor. I have written about Arlo Hennings in the past and he continues to do many fascinating things and accomplishments. He is by trade among other skills a human resource development guru. The purpose of this essay is not to talk about Hennings but the bizarre behavior of his former business partner, Marty Weintraub the founder of Aimclear, – the Internet marketing agency. I was shocked to hear about Hennings's experience with Weintraub. A story understandably will never be told by Weintraub because it’s clearly embarrassing. Hennings is not a competitor nor looking to discredit anyone but I am compelled to write this for the sake of Hennings legacy. The remarks contained herein are no reflection on the company Aimclear or it’s associates and affiliates.

Arlo Hennings first met Marty Weintraub when he came off the road from performing with a cover tune band called Maiden America. The year was 1985 and Marty was 25 years old. Hennings was 31 years old and trying to make audio recordings.

The memory of how Hennings actually met Marty the first time is vague. In the beginning, Marty buzzed with creative energy but was directionless on how to get to the next step. He was jumping from one cover tune band to another and began to get into the recording studio side of the business as a session player, engineer, and producer. Marty was honing his skills at the small studio level for a potentially promising ride in the music business.

Hennings invested in buying recording equipment and Marty set out to help him find a place to put it. Marty loved the ambiance of refurbished old buildings, which that concept would manifest itself into his future office in the Internet marketing business. They found one and the rent was on Hennings. However, Marty brought his own customers, and lacking any formal business agreement, Hennings let it go as a means of networking. The studio was called “Thump Studios.”

  Hennings and Weintraub – Thump Studios 1985

In a short time, Marty’s studio skills improved and he was soon involved in many artists recording projects including Hennings's work. Although he admitted not understanding the current music trend in Minneapolis and said he was a David Cassidy fan, Hennings believed Marty’s time on the road and a brief stint at Berklee College of Music (one semester before he dropped out not the four years he published on his LinkedIn education) had to have value. Marty had a knack for dime store pop melody and a quick study of other studio engineers around town he began to turn out demo tapes. Marty dubbed himself second-generation home studio guru of Dugan McNeill (Dugan learned from Yanni) and Hennings absorbed what Marty learned. They were all a bunch of creative sponges.

Thump Studios moved often and finally wound up as a 4–track Portastudio in the kitchen area of Hennings one-bedroom apartment in South Minneapolis.

Marty helped Hennings to produce a double album called “Burden of the Beat” (1985). Even though Hennings paid Marty he began to show signs of behavioral problems like not showing up and laying on the studio floor with his thumb in his mouth weeping. Marty looked at Hennings like a child that filled its diapers and said: “Don’t you love me?” Granted he did get married and the first night of his marriage Marty caught his newlywed wife having sex with his roommate (ouch!). Hennings didn’t think too much of it at the time as long as he came through with his promises. Marty hooked Hennings up with a photographer from Moorhead, MN and then from that came a small grant from the Plains Art Museum, who wanted to exhibit the project. There was a show and the media came. After that experience, Hennings started to notice another side of Marty. Once the limelight was on he acted very self-centered and forgot whose project it was.

Later on, Marty recorded some instrumental music and Hennings suggested they take it to a New Age music conference in Los Angeles (1987). They stayed at Hennings dad’s house and used his car. Hennings's dad called Marty an “unbridled little boy” which Marty called himself 35 years later in a Facebook post. He left out the little boy part and just said “unbridled.”

No laws had been broken yet so hang in there with me I’m just getting started. After the New Age music conference, the wheels in Marty’s head started spinning but Marty’s New Age Dolphins would come later. There was also a quick trip to New York to pursue a lead with Flim and the BBs. Hennings slept in the same bed with his future business partner not out of romance but his grandmother (bubbe) insisted on it. The same grandmother Marty told Hennings was wealthy and he was in line to inherit a large sum of money to be split with one sister. On that trip, Hennings found himself in a dark basement of a sex shop where Marty disappeared into a booth and said he masturbated watching someone through a window.

Together they pursued to upgrade Hennings studio to 8-track and 16 channel mixer and other outboard gear. To do this required a lease for the equipment because between them they couldn’t afford their rent. The total came to $15,000 and with a hefty monthly payment only Hennings name somehow ended up on the contract. Marty saw himself in the role of bringing in customers and they were now quasi partners?

The customers came. Between Marty and another friend, they recorded over 100 songwriters. Not a money maker by any means but paid for itself. Over the next couple of years, the recordings and songwriting improved.

They were actually getting good at this!

Marty’s flakey behavior steadily grew worse but Hennings looked the other way. He stuck to his talent and overlooked the personal.

One day, Hennings got the idea to take the demo recordings of the best artists and to show them to potential buyers in Los Angeles.

In 1989, Marty and Hennings were back at his dad’s. Hennings set up the appointments and Marty was there basically tagging along. Many rejections later, Marty wanted to quit. Hennings pushed onward to his final appointment with the President of PolyGram Music Publishing. Hennings handed the first cassette to the President and he asked for another and another. Marty put his feet up on his desk like it was a joke. The meeting ended and weeks later Marty and Hennings were signed via the Arlo Hennings Publishing Co., and PolyGram Music International. They were now legally 50/50 business partners in the music publishing artist development game and one of the biggest music deals in the history of Minnesota music history.

Hennings and Weintraub featured in the St. Paul Pioneer Press (1989)

Before they returned to Minneapolis there was a holiday trip to Tijuana. Inside a mangy TJ bar, Marty left to go upstairs and pay an old Mexican woman to give him a handjob. Hennings shook his head in disgust. Afterward, Marty needed to recount her words about how big his cock was. Marty repeated a similar story where he bragged sex with an underage girl in a Turkish brothel during a USO tour.

Little was Hennings aware but from the moment the inked dried on their contract Marty was working against him. Once again similar to the event at the Plains Art Museum Marty forgot who brought him to the party. Before the games got started, let me back up and tell Hennings story when he first went to meet Marty’s parents. They wanted to show him an accounting software program but what struck him as peculiar was their look of concern about Marty. There was something he didn’t know about his new business partner? What it was would unfold soon. Marty’s dad had remarried, and Hennings learned Marty’s mother was a medicated schizophrenic. What did that mean, he wondered?

During a contract signing party, a friend of Hennings pulled him aside and warned that Marty was going to rob him. Had Hennings paid heed to the warning, not a lot he could have done about it at that point.

What Marty called “the don’t deserve it deal,” was off to a grand start when Marty created his own company called “Music First Productions” which was essentially in the same business as his partnership, and in de facto competing against it. Does that make sense? That would be like using the Aimclear brand to leverage business for himself. Fast forward, Marty was double-billing the parent partner PolyGram behind Hennings back. It was recoupable debt so should there be a profit Hennings would owe on his phony billing. In addition, based on leveraging the PolyGram name, he set out making behind closed doors deals and promoting himself for his sole advantage. He swindled a house into his name and tried to oust Hennings at every corner. Marty was a busy guy! Meanwhile, there were the artists they were responsible for. Marty signed one guitarist who accepted the money and disappeared. The artist who was part of the company’s flagship project took off and joined a motorbike gang and became an inconsolable drug addict, citing the reason was he didn’t trust Marty. One woman packed her bags in frustration with Marty and moved to LA. One artist left town in the middle of the night and not heard from again. In between, Marty was a jumping bean again fucking interns, students, and recording one-offs with artists that infuriated everyone. Lacking focus and ethics, Marty continued with the behind-the-back behavior. Marty mounted a campaign to get his old friend Dugan McNeil a record contract. It almost worked until the label rep pleaded with Hennings to rid her of Marty’s unwanted sexual advances. Over the course of the next year and a half, Hennings spent most of the time making in-person calls with record company execs. On one of those trips, Hennings met up with Marty and one of their artists in Nashville where she told Hennings that Marty frequented Gay bars and had casual sex with strange men. He wasn’t surprised and believes he still does.

Marty had a habit of being high and getting in front of powerful people and shooting his mouth off. Because he did that to the President of Island Music Publishing, the President of PolyGram their boss said he was tired of Marty’s shenanigans and was the reason he terminated the contract after one year and six months. However. Marty told everyone it was Hennings fault. Later after their contract was terminated two of the artists represented were signed to major labels. But, it was too late for the Arlo Hennings Publishing Co.

Marty admitted to Hennings in private that he robbed him. He went as so far to taunt him with singing nursery rhyme style “I’m going to be sued,” just to get his goat. Hennings had worked up to this point his entire life. Hennings had a baby and a wife. Losing everything put him in bankruptcy and Marty mocked him. Hennings didn’t pursue legal action because he felt the matter a waste of time. He regrets it now.

Marty’s favorite expression for describing his behavior wasn’t an apology it was “You can’t win a pissing match with a skunk.” In 1992, they went their separate ways and Hennings realized why Marty’s parents were concerned. His father showed up to file the partnership tax returns and asked Marty why he had a business in the same business as his partner and the “bipolar” Marty shrugged. Bipolar people swing from moments of chaos to moments of brilliance without notice and often their personal life looks like a train wreck. What was in store for the sick, unethical, disingenuous, gaslighter, marketer?

The Arlo Hennings Publishing company experience was an important cog in Marty’s agency education. Hennings was an agent of change in Marty’s life. Hennings taught him about the music and advertising businesses and how to be an entrepreneur during his unbridled little man era when no one wanted anything to do with him. Marty refers to the experience in his LinkedIn job history profile “This was one of funnest times of my life.” (Bad grammar “funnest” Marty’s not mine). Robbing his partner was fun? Read on! The musician he mentioned in his LinkedIn job history with the rock stars is one who took off on his contract and has nothing to do with Marty. In addition, if Marty spent 1,000 hours at Paisley Park studio C, Hennings would like to see the bill because it’s news to him. The link Marty gives “to show what it looked like” has nothing to do with his partnership with Hennings and are photos of him in a band before the PolyGram partnership happened.

I think you get the point.

Marty is prone to lying and has no problem turning the truth into rubber if it helps him to achieve his goals. Going forward the story leaves Hennings and where I add my own take. It’s fascinating to follow the unbridled man’s behavior.

Marty’s next phase, he took friends and recorded his New Age music.

Along the way, Marty stumbled through a number of jobs and published a re-imagined version of his LinkedIn job history. After the New Age music thing imploded he moved on to Internet marketing and the world of Search Engine optimization would never be the same.

Reinventing himself in a new industry where nobody knew who he was and a technology many regarded as smoke and mirrors was fertile ground for an unbridled, martech gaslighter. How he survived financially as an unknown start-up is anyone’s guess (the rich grandmother?) but there is proof of him early on before his claims of success of being on YouTube giving his speel at several online marketing conventions as well as a couple of self-published books on the topic that due to the vicissitude nature of the Internet would be DOA? But, it’s good fodder for a gaslighter’s bio.

While Marty spun around developing the newfound Internet skills he met a waitress and married her. He had two daughters. During the 2000s, Marty contacted Hennings through the internet weeping (again) that his wife divorced him and in addition, the court banned him from his children. It's one thing to lose joint custody but to be banned is very weird. What behavior would cause a father to be banned from his daughters? Was his bipolar sexual deviancy out of control? Marty never revealed what he did to have this happen and Hennings never asked. How he afforded the child support for two kids is another good question.

Hennings never heard from Marty again until much later he called out an indie CD label on the fact Marty had illegally placed copyrighted music on one of his CDs. The owner blew up and the very next day Marty’s online marketing agency’s web site appeared.

Because Marty is self-employed and is free to engage in shameless self-promotion there was no way to know what is real. Unsubstantiated, skewed claims of success, dubious awards and honors are mentioned in his PR but the info begs to be fact-checked. I leave that to a competitor. There’s no way to know who “the team” really is e.g. independent contractors, interns, salaried employees with benefits? Maybe part of Aimclear is an incubator and the desks are rented? With Marty at the helm of the company’s blog, hang on!

Sometime during the early-mid period of the company’s history, Marty married again. Only this time it was with a personal attorney. Marty wasted no time letting his network beware! He was now married to an attorney! Later she divorced him and became CEO of Aimclear and Marty relinquished his rights to the company. However, strangely enough, he remained a figurehead as “The Founder” and continued on as if he still represented the company, e.g. conference appearances, taking claim and introducing new team members, filming his people less office (claiming it was too early for them to be there) but, for promotion purposes wouldn’t you want the team in the picture? Why did he have the keys? And if you were willing to believe a selfie-photo of Marty claiming to be on a beach in Aruba with absolutely no proof? How about a selfie next to the name of the hotel? Marty’s involvement with the company he founded and lost is clearly aimless. Including more questionable photos of attending his oldest daughter’s College graduation without her in the photo? Claims of entertaining staff at lake resorts but no staff to be seen and a nameless resort? Endless trips and conferences but Marty not in any photo? Needless to say, all one has to do is look at his Facebook and company Blog page. I call that gaslighting and a bipolar personality in full spin mode? Who’s really running the show at Aimclear?

Before Marty was divorced for the third time he was diagnosed with cancer (stage three Hodgkin's lymphoma - 2005), which he survived. The master marketer spun that disaster into an entrepreneur spirit video for Inc! Genius!

Like music, Marty has a talent for Internet marketing as well as Illusionist. He knows his jargon and it's up to the participant to believe. According to Marty’s claim, many Internet marketing companies have come and gone but not his! Could it be any other way?

The 60-year old martech gaslighter who paints his toenails teal and wears lipstick and only poses with fish has his believers. Much like his music business days people who only saw Marty from the positive receiving end are inclined to shout out the hashtags.

“You’d be better off buying a Magic 8-Ball, drinking the liquid inside, and hoping you hallucinate some decent legal advice than you would be contracting this hairless magenta clown schwantz.”

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