Author Archives: Allen Flemming

Larry Norman: National Treasure

The United States  Library of Congress has chosen Larry Norman’s album Only Visiting This Planet album to be deemed a National Treasure. The only other Rock album was U2’s Joshua Tree (an album depicting U2′s vision of America). What I love about this honor bestowed upon Larry is that the criteria for what music was chosen to be included in the Library of Congress had nothing to do with album sales or popularity, but rather, each album was deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.” Just try to imagine all the albums they had to choose from!

Only Visiting This Planet Deemed a National Treasure by the Library of Congress

Mike, Bono, and Larry

Mike, Bono, and Larry

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said of the significance of the registry “These recordings represent an important part of America’s culture and history.” As I know, and if you are reading this article you know, the art and life of Larry Norman contributed to shaping the culture within our small group of friends, but now the powers that be in America have recognized Larry’s contribution to the culture of the entire country.

Larry, now as long as America exists you will be forever remembered for what I remember you to be: A great artist who believed in Jesus, and who, inspired by America’s great artists Mahalia Jackson and Little Richard, Elvis Presley and  Bob Dylan, Herman Melville and Superman Comics, Robert Frost and Allen Ginsberg and countless classic movies; created a literature of music that shined a transforming light into the dark corners of my life and into the dark corners of America, and now will shine for all future generations.

Albums

  • Only Visiting This Planet - Larry Norman (1972)
  • A Night at Birdland (Vols. 1 and 2) - Art Blakey (1954)
  • Texas Sharecropper and Songster - Mance Lipscomb (1960)
  • The First Family – Vaughn Meader (1962)
  • Carnegie Hall Concert with Buck Owens and His Buckaroos – Buck Owens and His Buckaroos (1966)
  • Theme from ‘Shaft’ - Isaac Hayes (1971)
  • Celia & Johnny - Celia Cruz and Johnny Pacheco (1974)
  • Copland Conducts Copland: Appalachian Spring - Aaron Copland (1974)
  • Heart Like a Wheel - Linda Ronstadt (1974)
  • Sweeney Todd - Original Cast Recording (1979)
  • The Joshua Tree - U2 (1987)

Buy a copy today and give it to someone for Larry’s birthday!
(And support Solid Rock  by getting it here: http://www.thesolidrockshop.com/classic-cds–best-sellers.html.)

And contribute to Larry’s favorite charity Compassion International in Larry’s name.

If you want to be on our mailing list or have any stories  about Larry you would like to share (especially film footage or photographs) please contact me at feedback@thetruthaboutlarrynorman.com.

Trilogy:tril·o·gy /ˈtriləjē/
Noun
a group of three related novels, plays, films, operas, or albums. (in ancient Greece) A series of three tragedies performed one after the other.

Larry Norman, who was very interested in literature, both studying it and creating it, produced three of his albums as parts of a trilogy; Only Visiting this Planet, So Long Ago the Garden, and In Another Land. Larry’s Trilogy was a masterful work, so profound that it inspired a doctoral dissertation, Rock for the Ages, A text in Context, Rhetorical Analysis of Larry Norman’s Trilogy.

During the Fallen Angel feeding frenzy the normally astute writer, Chris Willlman, Rock Critic from Entertainment Weekly, uttered the following.

For me, the first time I think I ever had questions about, “What’s he doing?,” or whatever, was when In Another Land came out, and it was like, “part 3 of a trilogy.” Okay, there’s this kind of self-mythologizing starting to happen, where it’s not okay to just put out three really great albums that are just great albums; they have to be, you know, “The Trilogy,” like Tolkien or C.S. Lewis, or something.

You know what, Mr. Willman? Larry Norman, in his genre, is analogous to J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis in theirs.

Is Daniel Robinson Larry Norman’s Son

This is one of the most troubling articles for me to write because it involves Daniel Robinson’s agonizing desire to know whether or not Larry Norman is his father. In my attempt to find the truth in this paternity matter, I have spoken with the Normans (of course, having been a longtime friend of the family) and communicated through email with Daniel. Even knowing full well that I was the one shining the light on a number of false allegation made about Larry Norman, Daniel was remarkably cooperative with me. I tried to bring the families together to bring about a peaceful resolution, but was unsuccessful. In fact, I set up a Skype meeting between Charles and Daniel, Daniel showed up. So now I am simply going to present here the arguments and evidence of both sides and let the reader decide. Below are what I see to be the main arguments in this case.

Daniel’s mother Jennifer McCallum writes a public letter claiming that Larry Norman is her son, Daniel’s, father. (Letter: http://jennifermccallum.blogspot.com) Next is Charles Norman’s rebuttal. http://www.care2.com/c2c/share/detail/730980.Then there is a video of both Daniel and his mother again claiming that Larry is his father. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRXP4pAwX-s)This is followed by  Charles Norman’s attempt to refute these allegations in an interview in Cross Rhythms . Then Charles responds to Jennifer’s letter:

This is the issue at its core: Daniel Robinson wants to know for sure if Larry Norman is his father, as he believes and his mother claims . If you know of any other information that would be helpful in adding clarity to this matter, please submit it to me at postflemming@gmail.com. However, the truth about whether or not Larry Norman is Daniel Robinson’s father, in my opinion, will not be resolved without a DNA test.

 

 

Updates

Thursday, July 18, 2013

We have restored the audio recordings of Larry’s conversations with Pamela which were on the original Failed Angle web site. They can be found here.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

We’ve added a new presentation some of the facts and opinions to date on the matter of Larry Norman’s paternity of Daniel Robinson, and invite input.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Di Sabatino and Andrew Wallace have been telling people that they think Larry’s brother Charles Norman isn’t actually his brother, but his son. In response to this ridiculous claim, this site posted Charles Norman’s birth certificate which disproves this bizarre allegation. Shortly thereafter, David Di Sabatino claimed that the birth certificate has been “doctored” and that he has seen a “different” birth certificate for Charles Norman that contradicts the one posted here. Both he and Andrew Wallace still refuse to retract their errant statements since it would damage their credibility, I have therefore found it necessary to post undeniable photographic proof that they are wrong. YOU CAN SEE THESE PHOTOS HERE.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Jeff Taylor, Ph.D sent in his observations on the Fallen Angel movie. We thought it warranted some space here at FailedAngle.com. It’s quite well done.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The parable / parody page has been added to the site. It’s a humorous look at the spin Di Sabatino put in his Fallen Angel film.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

On June 1st, Charles Norman was interviewed by Mike Rimmer for Cross Rhythms Radio in England. In this lengthy live interview, Norman talks about the Fallen Angel movie, the Failed Angle web site, and the ongoing false allegations against Larry Norman. It’s quite an interesting listen. You can download or listen to the MP3 here [MISSING]. If you have any problems hearing it, or have any comments on the interview, please send me a message at the feedback page.

A Missive by Jeff Taylor, Ph.D

[Written by Jeff Taylor.]

Part 1

To the Failed Angle Facebook page:

Thank you for taking the time and effort to share the truth with the rest of the world. I’m under no illusions that LN was perfect. I’m not and I don’t know anybody who is. Did he father a child out of wedlock? Maybe, maybe not. It’s none of my business. It’s wrong if he did and if he lied about it afterwards, but I’ve got my own sins to worry about. But now David Di Sabatino and Randy Stonehill have taken it upon themselves to make it my business and the business of everyone else on the planet. This being the case, now I’m curious about the accuracy of the claim.

I get the impression that Di Sabatino is a social misfit who attached himself like a parasite onto Larry at a point when he was vulnerable, insinuated himself into his life, and had a love-hate relationship with someone he envied. He hoped—perhaps subconsciously—to gain some reflected glory by being associated with a genuine star. Upon initial completion of the movie, Di Sabatino was interviewed by an Orange County journalist: “The film, he says, is ‘my attempt to understand why [Larry Norman] was doing this to me.’ . . . My conceit or naiveté in beginning this whole ordeal was that there was a rational person somewhere in there that you could reason with,’ he says. ‘“Larry, your career is in the toilet. You are playing concerts to 100 diehard fans in your own back yard. Let me tell your story in such a way as to rehabilitate you. You are going to have to admit to some stuff . . . but do it, take your lumps, and people will respond favorably.” I didn’t realize that there wasn’t a rational bone in his body.’” (http://www.ocweekly.com/content/printVersion/262831) Note Di Sabatino’s unintended revealing of narcissism and arrogance.

When the would-be savior was turned down by Larry Norman, he [DD] turned on him with a vengeance.

I get the impression that Stonehill is a self-seeking liar. I wasn’t impressed the first and last time I saw him in concert, in the early 1980s, with either his seriousness or spirituality. I think he’s someone who was lucky, or blessed, enough to hook up with Larry but he grew to resent his mentor over time. I could be wrong, but these are my impressions. I read Norman’s letter to Stonehill, and I read Stonehill’s letter to his ex-wife, I read the letters from Pamela, and I read the Internet exchanges between LN and Di Sabatino, and they tell me all I need to know. Still, I’m interested in reading more! I guess it’s voyeurism, in a way. But I’ve always been interested in the search for truth and the pursuit of justice, not to mention conspiracies. I think we’ve got all of the above going on here.

As you say on your opening page, even if all of the allegations are true, the “documentary” is a diabolical exercise. (The word Devil means slanderer or accuser.) Dredging up personal sins from years ago and making money off them? Bringing an over-the-hill CCM star back into the spotlight? Stonehill especially should be ashamed of himself. Hooked up with a guy who is now saying Charles Norman is also Larry’s illegitimate son? Wow. Stonehill also seems like an ingrate. If it weren’t for Norman, where would the guy be today? It’s unlikely he would have had the small taste of celebrity he’s enjoyed within the Christian subculture. His best work was with Norman in the late 1970s. He repays that debt by copying the arrangements of his most famous songs and using them as the soundtrack for a hatchet job against Norman.

Di Sabatino keeps saying Larry Norman never admitted to any fault, any sin, any weakness. That’s absurd. I’ve been reading and listening to him since 1979. His songs, liner notes, interviews, and comments on stage constantly acknowledged the fact that he was fallible and imperfect. His letter to Randy is full of apology and regret. Even his Internet exchange with Di Sabatino is, overall, respectful and humble. What is the song “I Am a Servant” if not an eloquent testimony of failure and weakness? There’s no cover up there.

I became a fan of LN as a freshman in college. I was a relatively new Christian. When I first heard In Another Land, it wasn’t just the music that blew me away. It was the liner notes and the interview (even if the questions were self-written…who cares…McCartney did the same thing with his first solo LP). There was a depth to Larry that instantly appealed to me—not just spiritual, but also intellectual and artistic. He became my favorite singer and although I left the CCM ghetto long ago (repulsed by its shallowness and worldliness), he remains in my all-time top four, after Dylan, the Beatles, and U2. So I’m still a fan. It doesn’t mean I think he was incapable of fornication or adultery, or fathering a son and not acknowledging it, or resume-padding or unfair characterizations of enemies, etc. He was a man. He may or may not have done some of those things. But I also know he was deeply committed to the Lord. He wasn’t a con artist. He had a genuine heart for Jesus Christ.

PART 2

I’m a fan but I’m not star struck.  I grew up.  I’m not sure that David Di Sabatino ever did.  There’s something twisted about his personality.  Almost like a stalker.  Stuck in some adolescent stage that has delusions of grandeur and Randy Stonehill (or whoever financed his movie) is helping him to live out those delusions at the expense of other people . . . and the Kingdom of God.  Fallen Angel  is an abomination on all kinds of levels.

I have to agree with Greg Schumacher, who writes on the Failed Angle Facebook page, “I can read this DiSabatino like a cheap pamphlet.  He’s a wanna-be that could not get recognized by anyone and never got over it.  He wanted to be big in the Lord and wasn’t. He wanted to be an integral part of the Jesus movement and he wasn’t. He wanted people to pore over his words like they did Frisbee’s and Norman’s, but they didn’t.  Wasn’t in the cards for him, and this is such classic bitterness towards God and others it’s pathetic. A feeble attempt at exalting oneself above others, pure approbation lust. . . . ‘A Bible Story’???  How presumptuous, to compare your veiled revenge to God’s Word.”

One of the lamest things I’ve read is the defense of the movie that goes, “But Randy isn’t vengeful against Larry.  In the film, he forgives him.”  How noble!  It’s easy to forgive when you’re successfully smearing a dead man’s reputation.  Stonehill may be forgiving Norman for things he was never guilty of in the first place.  It reminds me of something A.W. Tozer wrote: “Religious acts done out of low motives are twice evil, evil in themselves and evil because they are done in the name of God.  This is equivalent to sinning in the name of the sinless One, lying in the name of the One who cannot lie and hating in the name of the One whose nature is love.”

Recently, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know Ralph Nader on a personal level.  This has been a thrill for me, as someone who’s supported him for president.  What a relief to learn that the private man is the same as the public man.  The admiration was not misplaced.  Ralph isn’t a creep or a phony as a human being.  He’s kind, polite, smart, and funny.  That’s the exact same impression I get from reading Larry’s lengthy Internet rebuttal to Di Sabatino and his letter to Stonehill.  The same qualities I’ve appreciated in his songs are obvious in his letters.  The nuance, the sensitivity, the dislike of cant but regard for other people’s feelings and dignity.  They evidence an intelligent, knowledgeable, balanced, mature individual, with a Christlike spirit at the center.

I don’t get that impression with Di Sabatino.  Quite the opposite.  I think the Australian woman’s claims about her son were first contained in a letter posted on the Daniel Amos website.  It’s quite a cozy little circle they’ve got going there—about as small as the Norman family that they are so quick to deride.  I know Larry recognized the genuine talent of Randy Stonehill and Terry Taylor, and he spoke highly of them in public during his last years.  It’s too bad they can’t return the favor.  I think teaming up with Di Sabatino poisoned the well and encouraged their worst instincts rather than their best.

PART 3

I have a PhD in political science from the University of Missouri.  History was my undergraduate minor and graduate outside field.  Political history is one of my specialties.  As a political scientist and historian, I know there is a certain level of research and evidence necessary for credibility when advancing theories and publishing assertions.  Fallen Angel does not begin to rise to that level.

At first glance, the recorded testimony of so many LN friends and colleagues from the 1960s and 1970s seems damning.  Less so upon closer inspection.  First off, it’s not testimony given under oath.  There can be no legal repercussions for slandering a deceased public figure.  You don’t need a PhD to realize that many politicians lie on a regular basis.  They look straight into the camera and lie.  Many of them are professed Christians.  Why should we assume a Christian entertainer is incapable of doing the same thing?  Some folks are sociopathic or delusional.  This may or may not be true in this situation.

We do know that no evidence is given for anything that is contended about Larry Norman.  We are expected to take the word of the people being interviewed.  No documents are shown.  Why, for example, does the camera not show the supposedly incriminating emails from Norman to the family of his supposed illegitimate son in Australia?  Why haven’t those documents been posted online?  What about the birth certificate for the boy?  Who was identified as the father on the certificate?  The mother complains that Norman didn’t sign it, but fathers never sign birth certificates (at least in the U.S.).  Hospitals, however, do record the name of the father as given by the mother.

The main accusers in Fallen Angel are cult members who were in the band People in the 1960s, a few men who were business associates who became commercial rivals of LN in the 1970s and 1980s, and his first ex-wife.  All have obvious reasons for holding a grudge and bad-mouthing Norman.  The Scientologists dislike his Christianity.  The disgruntled Solid Rock men are exacting long-delayed revenge.  His former wife is overlooking, on camera, her apparent adultery and drug use while they were married.  Still, to her credit, Pam had second thoughts about Di Sabatino after her on-camera interview.

The most interesting thing is who does not appear in the “documentary.”  Nobody from the Norman family appears.  Norman’s second ex-wife does not appear.  (She was first married to Stonehill so she would have an especially interesting perspective.)  His friends Frank Black and Allen Flemming do not appear.  An even older friend, Cliff Richard, was interviewed for hours; all but a few seconds of his comments ended up on the cutting room floor.  Gene Mason, co-vocalist of People, is absent.  Alex MacDougall, who drummed for Daniel Amos and LN, is absent.  Same with Billy Batstone, bass player for Norman and Stonehill.  Ditto Mark Walker, drummer on In Another Land (LN) and Welcome to Paradise (RS).  When Larry died, Walker recalled, “It’s such a blessing to see how he lived for our Lord and ‘lived’ Him in all areas.”  Where’s keyboardist Dan Cutrona, who began working with Norman in the studio and in concert in 1979?

Surviving big-names from the early Jesus Music era are absent: John Fischer, Chuck Girard, Nancy Honeytree, Paul Clark, Darrell Mansfield, Phil Keaggy, Barry McGuire, and 2nd Chapter of Acts.  Malcolm Wilde and Alwyn Wall, who were musical contemporaries of Norman and Stonehill in the 1970s, are not found.

Author Steve Turner, who first met Larry in 1972 and “spent many hours, days and weeks in his company,” cannot be found in the movie.  Musician Norman Barratt , who became a friend of LN around the same time, is also absent.  When Norman died, Barratt wrote, “In all that time he remained a faithful, trustworthy friend who was incredibly thoughtful and considerate. He was generous and loving, putting Jesus before himself, whilst making some people feel uncomfortable when he saw through the insincerity and sometimes downright wrongdoing that dogged our industry for years.”

Arthur Blessitt, a fellow Jesus Movement pioneer, is nowhere in sight.  When Norman died, Blessitt commented, “He came up with the ‘One Way’ finger pointed toward heaven . . . We did Jesus marches and Jesus rallies together across the U.S. and England.  Larry had passion for Jesus mixed with an understanding of people. . . . Larry was a Jesus revolutionary owned by no one but his Lord.  He cared, loved and stayed faithful to following Jesus.”  Maybe that’s why Blessitt does not appear in the movie.  His recounting of the facts undercuts the drama of the storyline.

If Larry Norman were the dishonest jerk, the demonic “fallen angel,” he is portrayed to be, surely someone else outside the Scientology-Stonehill nexus would have noticed and been willing to publicly say so as part of a cautionary tale.  The first album of the great Mark Heard was produced by Larry Norman and put out by Solid Rock in 1979.  My impression of Heard was that he was a man who took his Christianity very seriously and had considerable intellectual and artistic depth.  I think it’s telling that Mark Heard continued to work with Larry Norman until Heard died in 1992.

To sum up, I don’t find the Fallen Angel thesis to be believable.  It’s too obviously a revenge piece.  You can see this by watching the trailer.  One participant asks, with feigned indignation, “Why is the Devil singing the music?”  By the time one gets to the trailer’s end—a cutesy cartoon of Larry Norman removing an angel mask, replete with halo, and putting on a devil mask—any knowledgeable and objective person will recognize this movie for what it is and understand that it lacks seriousness.  The “Jester Media” designation for Di Sabatino’s movie company is a Freudian slip.  The movie itself is not just a missed opportunity.  It is a topsy-turvy hit piece that would be funny if it were not defaming a good man and being taken seriously by Christians who do not know better.

Jeff Taylor

Jacksonville State University

May 18-19, 2010

Goodbye, My Friends, Goodbye

[This article first appeared under the title "In the Final Hours of Larry Norman" in Greater Than Magazine.]

 

First Baptist Church on Haight and Octavia in San Francisco 1952

Larry Norman stood up out of his seat and started for the altar. At the end of the row his father tried to stop him…

“Larry, where do you think you’re going?”

“To meet Jesus.”

“You’re five years old, now sit down.”

“Dad, I know what I’m doing.”

Salem, Oregon 2008

I got a phone message from Charles Norman, telling that if I wanted to see Larry before he left this world that I should come soon. I called back planning to tell him I would fly up from San Francisco the next weekend. Charles’ wife Kristin answered instead and said that I better come sooner. A few hours later I was on a flight to Oregon.

As I drove from the Portland airport to Salem, Oregon, I thought back to the time I had spent with Larry; the late night meals at all night restaurants where Larry spoke to complete strangers about the love of Jesus, the house church meetings in San Jose and Hollywood where he always seemed to be the one closest to the heart of Jesus.

There he was. Larry Norman in a black t-shirt, propped up in bed, his long hair gone. His arms and legs swollen and bandaged; he looked like a man whose organs were shutting down. But his eyes were the same. Bright with that only-visiting-this planet shine. Larry looked at me like I was the very person he had hoped most in the world to see. This is the way he looked at all the people in his circle of friends. When you were with Larry, you never saw him glancing at a clock or looking around for someone more interesting. I wanted more than anything to be that person Larry remembered me to be. I quickly repented of the complacent man I had become, but I only saw love in Larry’s eyes. Larry smiled at me and then apologized for how startling he must look.Then he asked me how I was doing. How I was doing. I muttered something. Larry then asked if I would read the Bible to him. I opened one of the Normans’ Bibles -it must have been 100 years old- and  a couple of pages fell out and floated to the floor. I felt compelled to read from the Book of Revelation. Forgive me Jesus and John, but I left out all the beastly verses. Larry sighed and smiled when I read about the throne and the One on the Throne and the Marriage Feast of the Lamb.

There was definitely some otherworldly fearlessness about Larry Norman. A Christian who was not afraid of to use a medium created by blacks to wake up the white church to their sinful racist and hawkish ways, writing songs against the war in Vietnam and the KKK. Larry Norman. There he was praying without ceasing, He was laughing in his sleep. He was singing black gospel songs and Beatles songs. He was forgiving and grateful. He thanked me for every little thing. And when Kristin was in the middle of telling him that he was close to the end, he motioned her close and gently slipped a loose strand of her hair behind her ear. We read the middle of Matthew and the end of Revelation. We marveled at Joe Cocker in Across the Universe.

When we returned from the emergency room on the night Larry died, Larry said “can we pray before I go home?”  And even though we were right in front of his house where he had not been for weeks, Charles and I knew what Larry meant. Charles asked him, “Do you mean your house here in Salem or your home in Heaven?” Larry said, “Both.”  I honestly can’t remember a single word we prayed except that we all ended our prayers in Jesus’ Name.  Charles, for the hundredth time, lifted Larry out of the van, and I moved the wheelchair into place. Charles, Kristin, Silver and Kristy, Nancy (and many others) had spent many days changing the whole layout of Larry’s place, so it would be wheelchair accessible. Longtime friend Rick van Dyne, who also worked tirelessly on the remodel, came out and helped us get Larry into the house. As we rolled him up to his door, Larry began praising God, – Jesus thank you for the sky and the stars and the moon and the little boy with the bubble on his head (a stone statue of a young boy holding a glass fish bowl on his head stood in the middle of the yard). Inside the house the carpet was gone and the new laminate wood floors were sparkling. As we navigated Larry toward his old room he said, “Everything is so beautiful”, and again I was wondering if he was seeing both worlds. We put him in his bed, and soon Larry was asleep. We all went to our rooms and fell asleep.

Around 3:00 AM  Kristin knocked on my door. Flemming, wake up. Larry is dying. I rushed into Larry’s room where Charles and Kristin were holding Larry in their arms. “Larry, are you okay?” Charles said.

“I am perfect,” Larry replied and departed for another land.

Larry committed his life to following Jesus when he was young, like many of us do. Being in love with Jesus as a child is one thing. To keep your love for Jesus strong through all the years is another. This was the real thing. Not faith from a story in a book or rehearsed words from a pulpit or on a TV screen. Larry Normans faith stood tall in the face of certain death, before his mother, before his brother and sisters, before his friend of thirty years: a safe haven to share doubts or fears. No fear. No doubts. Faith alone. The same faith, the same truth, the same unabashed love for Jesus, that Larry had declared from the altar when he was five, then from the stage and on the streets, he declared from his death bed.

I met Larry Norman in the late 1970′s, and we continued to be friends for the rest of his life. I saw Larry Norman day after day after day in a hundred different situations. I knew him when he was broke and when he was stuffing hundred dollar bills into his visitors coats that were hanging in the closet, during the L.A. earthquake and the Rodney King riot. I was with him in Cedars Sinai Hospital after his first heart attack and in his home in Salem after his last. Larry Norman really was a true follower of Jesus. I can easily see why Frank Black said that Larry was “the most Christ-like person I ever met.” Larry Norman committed his life at five years of age and followed Jesus for the next 55 years, and in his final hours he had no concern about his own soul. For him the destiny of his soul was decided in 1952.

Larry knew he was in his final hours, And just like every other day of his life, what he wanted to talk about the most was Jesus and now the wonder of seeing his Lord face to face. When I stepped into his room three days before he died, Larry apologized to me for how difficult it must be for me to look at him. This was so typical of him, his concern for others. “Make sure the children I support through Compassion International continue to be supported, find Steve Scott and tell him this, or Mark Heard’s widow and give her that, some woman loaned me that scarf, please have it sent to her  . . .” And his prayers were similar, focused on Jesus and others.

For me, a seminarian doctoral program dropout full of doubts, Larry Norman was a walking apologetic for the existence of God.  For those of us who really knew him, what comes to mind first when we think about Larry Norman is and always will be his undying love for Jesus Christ.

ALLEN FLEMMING. FEB 24, 2010
postflemming@gmail.com

Charles Norman: Brother or Son?

Regarding David Di Sabatino and Andrew Wallace and their claim that Larry Norman is the father of Charles Norman:

David Di Sabatino, Andrew Wallace, and their followers have been insisting that Charles Norman is actually Larry Norman’s son, not his brother. When they were recently presented with a copy of Charles Norman’s birth certificate which proved them wrong, they called the document a forgery. David Di Sabatino has even pushed all credibility by stating that he has been shown a DIFFERENT copy of Charles’ birth certificate (as if someone is out there walking around showing someone else’s birth certificate to people!).

The reason Andrew Wallace and Di Sabatino may be denying this is that if it’s proven that Charles is really Larry’s brother, their credibility takes a another severe blow. Andrew Wallace and Di Sabatino have both been confronted with the evidence so far, and they have both decided to neither comment nor retract their statements.

Why exactly?

  1. If they admit that they were wrong, people are going to wonder what else they were wrong about besides this reckless accusation. Di Sabatino’s reputation as a journalist will be even more damaged than it already is, and Andrew Wallace will come off as someone who is extremely misinformed in his claims about Larry Norman’s history of paternity.
  2. If they continue to deny the authenticity of Charles’ birth certificate, they will look even more foolish than they already do. It’s a catch-22 situation for them, but that’s where you end up when you spread lies and innuendo and get caught.

Below are photographs of Mrs. Norman and her newborn baby, Charles.

Here's Margaret Norman (Charles' mother) being wheeled out of O'Connor Hospital with the newborn baby, Charles.

Here’s Margaret Norman (Charles’ mother) being wheeled out of O’Connor Hospital with the newborn baby, Charles.

Here's Margaret Norman and Charles in his first day home from the hospital.

Here’s Margaret Norman and Charles in his first day home from the hospital.

Here are Charles' siblings Larry, Nancy, and Kristy meeting their little brother for the first time.

Here are Charles’ siblings Larry, Nancy, and Kristy meeting their little brother for the first time.

For those of you who now realize that you have been duped by David Di Sabatino and Andrew Wallace and had perhaps joined in spreading rumors about Mrs. Norman and her sons, you are welcome to send the Norman family a note or an apology via my address postflemming@gmail.com and I will forward it to them.

Shot Down?—A Response to Rumors Spread by the Fallen Angel Film

When Larry Norman passed away in February of 2008, an incredible assortment of unsubstantiated rumors about him began darting around the dark corners of the Internet, propelled in large part by a Canadian journalist, David Di Sabatino.

Various Christian publications began citing Di Sabatino’s accusatory articles on the life of Larry Norman, nearly always without any attempt to contact the Norman family or any of Norman’s well known friends to verify the veracity of these accusations. The film Fallen Angel has recorded these imprecations aimed at Larry Norman. Below is a review I wrote upon seeing the film.

A Venue of Vultures

My initial response to David Di Sabatino’s film Fallen Angel: The Outlaw Larry Norman – A Bible Story

I saw the premiere of Fallen Angel: The Outlaw Larry Norman – A Bible Story by David Di Sabatino at the San Jose film festival on March 1, 2009. I was appalled. Larry Norman had passed away only the year before (February 24th 2008) and here was a movie with a diabolic angle — destroy the legacy of Larry Norman. Equally appalling was the handful of Christians who had appeared in the film showing up in person to support the film and to continue their attacks on Larry Norman.

God Have Mercy

Even if all the accusations about Larry Norman were true, which they are not, one would expect these Christians, who claim to have experienced the forgiveness for their sins through the sacrificial death of Jesus, would have, after 3 or 4 decades, forgiven their brother in Christ, so recently buried. You would not expect followers of Jesus to gather around to peck at the reputation of their brother in Christ for sins they believe he had committed so long ago.

Where were the thoughts of compassion toward the grieving family? Where was the love for their brother in Christ who had so recently passed and was therefore unable to respond? What type of people participate in this sort of postmortem character assassination?

What species of Christianity is this?

As I watched the character assassination of Larry Norman, it began to sound familiar somehow. Who else did I know who had also been accused of being delusional, crazy, and labeled a “Fallen Angel” and an “Outlaw”? And what would happen if I applied David Di Sabatino’s documentary method in telling His story? Click here for the answer.

A Word to the Loved Ones of the People Involved with Fallen Angel

Before I go any further in this exposé let me say a word to the families and friends and fans of the people exposed here. Because of you, the innocent bystander, I have done my best to soften the blows. I have, whenever possible, excluded documentation of drug use, larceny, and infidelity among the Christian celebrities and participants involved with Fallen Angel. However in some cases this was unavoidable when refuting the accusations made against Larry Norman. Also I am limiting myself for the most part to only those people in the film who showed up in person at the premiere in support of Fallen Angel. All of you please forgive your loved ones in advance.

A Word for Daniel Robinson

Daniel Robinson is also a victim of Fallen Angel. Because of his family’s continued threats of legal action I have been advised by council not to address Daniel’s concerns or the stories he has been told by those involved with Fallen Angel at this time. I can only guess how disturbing and disheartening all this must be for him.

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Admirably, the family of Larry Norman declined, for the most part, to address or respond to the filmed and published diatribes. Also they are still mourning the loss of their loved one. The Norman family is inclined to turn the other cheek here.

I had been writing Larry Norman’s biography, and I was given carte blanche access to Larry’s unbelievably extensive archives of letters, emails, photographs, contracts, agreements, correspondence, and cassette recordings of business meetings dating back to the 1960s. What I uncovered disproved many of the claims of Larry’s past associates, “friends” and acquaintances.

I had a chance a year ago to interview the director and a couple of the “actors” in the theater lobby after the “first premiere” screening. I raised several concerns and questions about the veracity of the film, mentioning to them that I personally knew the Normans and that the film seemed to be at odds with everything I was familiar with in my dealings with Larry. “What evidence do you have for all the accusations made against Larry Norman in Fallen Angel?”, I asked. I was not the only one there asking these tough questions about the film (I seemed to be the only one there with a microphone however). No supporting evidence was offered by any of the people featured in Fallen Angel. Nearly everything was anecdotal.

I am writing Larry Norman’s biography, and I have been given carte blanche access to Larry’s unbelievably extensive archives of letters, emails, photographs, contracts, agreements, correspondence, and cassette recordings of business meetings dating back to the 1960s. To date I have only scratched the surface of these multitudinous documents, but what I have uncovered so far inarguably disproves many of the claims of Larry’s past associates, “friends” and acquaintances. So in these pages I will defend Larry Norman with substantial evidence against Fallen Angel’s unsubstantiated accusations.

Why?

Why would these people who call themselves Christians go to such lengths to attack their brother in Christ? Who but God knows what moves the hearts of men. So the following is what I have found that might be what fuels the unquenchable fires that burn in the hearts of Larry Norman’s accusers.

Let the readers be the judge.

- A. Flemming – January 2010

David Di Sabatino

There’s not yet a lot on this page about David Di Sabatino, as he hasn’t been my main focus in building this web site. I am steadily collecting information about him as a person and public figure, but my goal is to debunk the innuendo, half-truths, rampant speculation, and unsubstantiated rumors that Di Sabatino has put forth in his so called “documentary.”

David Di Sabatino

Photo courtesy of Jon Reid.

David Di Sabatino has been obsessed with Larry Norman for years, or so it seems. He first started presenting his theories as fact in a bibliography he compiled, and later in Internet discussion lists. When Larry artfully took David’s theories apart, and then basically offered access to many of the documents I am citing here plus the opportunity to interview Larry and his whole family, David did not accept the offer, apologize or make any sort of statement. He just retreated and waited awhile before reintroducing his imagined scenarios all over again to a new crowd. I presume that Di Sabatino thinks he can now trumpet his theories without the hindrance of the truth being that Larry Norman is no longer around to defend himself. Di Sabatino admitted this himself.

In a February 2009 email thread in which Charles was warning Di Sabatino that slander against Larry wouldn’t be tolerated, David replied

I’m not a lawyer obviously, but from what I understand you are making threats about things that would not get you to first base in a court. Since Larry is dead, defamation and privacy claims cannot be brought.

Again I ask what species of Christianity is this?

One of the first public encounters between Di Sabatino and Larry Norman occurred in March of 1999 on a Jesusmusic.org Internet music discussion list. Di Sabatino had accused Larry of many of the same things he covered years later in the Fallen Angel movie. Larry responded to these accusations clearly and eloquently. The following documents are lengthy but well worth reading. They are the closest thing to a response to the Fallen Angel movie that we’re going to get from Larry Norman himself. And I think they also offer insight into David Di Sabatino. The younger David that Larry addresses in these messages is the exact same older David that I observe in current statements and interviews. If you’ve read any of his recent interviews or publicity maneuvers you’ll know what I mean.

Here is Larry’s reply to Di Sabatino’s accusations over a decade ago. Click for a PDF file.

Larry also felt moved to defend himself against statements Di Sabatino had made in a bibliography he had compiled. Click for a PDF file.

A few days after posting these messages to Di Sabatino, Larry apologized wholeheartedly for responding at all. He felt that the duty of a Christian is to pray for someone, instead of to respond to their accusations and debate with them. Click for a PDF file.

For a time after that chat room encounter Di Sabatino was silent. But with Larry’s passing in 2008, David starting spreading rumors again, this time with a movie that rehashes many of his same old theories and speculative conclusions. But he didn’t stop there…

 

But Wait, That’s Not All!

David Di SabatinoHere is a brief list of what David Di Sabatino has been up to during the making of the movie and in the years leading up to it. I’ll expand on each of these points in the near future as time allows.

  • Di Sabatino has posted the phone numbers and addresses of various members of the Norman family on the Internet, including that of Larry Norman’s 83 year old mother. (To link to his post would defeat the purpose of protecting the Norman family’s privacy.) Mrs. Norman is the sweetest, most Christlike person I have ever met. When I discovered this action against her by Di Sabatino was when I decided to take off the gloves and go public with all this information. Where did these sorts of despicable tactic become acceptable in the Christian community? What sort of theologiy produces these sorts of ethics?
  • Di Sabatino has sent threatening email to Charles Norman’s wife Kristin. Again, to post this email would be against the purpose of retaining the Norman family’s privacy.
  • Di Sabatino, in forums, articles and chat-rooms, has repeatedly ridiculed and accused the Norman family of being liars. It is telling to listen to the diatribes against Larry Norman and his family that David has unleashed in radio and Internet interviews. Upon first hearing, Di Sabatino comes across as almost articulate and perhaps a well-versed authority on Larry Norman. But when you scratch the surface and explore the actual physical documentation (as opposed to hearsay), you realize that this self-proclaimed expert on Larry Norman has either bought into the tales told by a few disgruntled former associates that Larry worked with for a brief period (1976 – 1980), or he is manipulating and editing the time-line of history to accommodate the story he wants to tell. Di Sabatino has admitted in a radio interview that he purposefully didn’t include opposing commentary in his film, because it was coming from a perspective that he didn’t share. In otherwords, it didn’t support the allegations that Di Sabatino has made against Larry Norman in his movie.
  • He has been spreading false rumors about members of the Norman family publicly, and in chats on Facebook, etc.
  • The most bizarre of these is that Di Sabatino has been telling people that he thinks Larry’s brother Charles isn’t actually his brother, but his son. According to Pamela Newman, one of the early screenings of Di Sabatino’s movie “Fallen Angel” contained a segment which made this absurd allegation.

Di Sabatino’s friend Andrew Wallace has has been openly proclaiming and repeating this idea in public Internet postings. “if it makes you happy I will go on the record .. Yes, I believe that Charles is Larry’s eldest son based on a number of strong indicators.” When someone replied saying that it was a crazy allegation, Wallace retorted “Crazy allegations ?? .. this time last year the fact that Larry had a son in Australia was a “crazy allegation” but I think most people can see that we are not into baseless statements.. our track record and determination in regard to Daniel is proven .. The matter of Larry’s other son, Charles, is not our issue!!

I emailed Charles and asked him what he thought about David Di Sabatino’s strange assertion. He replied “Yeah, I’ve heard that Sabatino and the Wallaces have been saying that. I think they are lunatics. It would almost be funny if it wasn’t an insult to my parents. And the Wallaces wonder why their credibility is questioned by so many? They’ve been claiming that Daniel Robinson is Larry’s son. They claim that I am Larry’s son too. What’s wrong with these people? They’re quite tiresome, but I’m glad that their “track record” speaks for itself.”

Here is Charles Norman’s birth certificate in JPEG.

UPDATE – July 2010: Since this page was first published, David Di Sabatino has claimed that the birth certificate has been “doctored” and that he has seen a “different” birth certificate for Charles Norman that contradicts the one posted here. Both he and Andrew Wallace still refuse to retract their errant statements since it would damage their credibility. In light of their refusal to admit that they were wrong, I have posted undeniable photographic proof that they are wrong. YOU CAN SEE THESE PHOTOS HERE:

Waaaaaahhhhhh……..Get Lost!

Recently, Di Sabatino got into a conversation / argument with someone who was questioning his line of logic. Apparently, another bizarre theory going around is that Larry Norman was contractually signing other popular artists to his record company so he could waylay their careers, thus keeping himself the most popular Christian artist. When questioned about this and asked for evidence, Di Sabatino got into the following dialog.

You can read the transcript here. It’s an interesting way for Di Sabatino, who studied theology and led worship services, to communicate with someone who is merely questioning his speculative accusations.

The Letter of the Law

Concerning the copyright issues with using Larry Norman’s music without permission in Fallen Angel, Di Sabatino claims that he “won the legal challenge” brought about by the Normans. When asked about his legal actions in a recent Cross Rhythms Magazine radio and online interview with the public, Di Sabatino replied with a non specific answer:

[WilliamT] 12:29 pm: David, why did you sue Solid Rock in a California court?

[Di Sabatino] 12:30 pm: we asked a judge to clear our film…that’s all

David has repeated this several times, as if one can simply “ask” a judge to make a decision on something. Here’s the truth about the legal skirmish. Charles Norman contacted Di Sabatino with a proposition, that any legal objection to the untruthful assertions in the film could most likely be avoided if David would simply send him a copy of the film. Charles wrote “I’m hoping, eager even, that upon viewing your movie I’ll be able to overlook the shortcomings in the veracity of these assertions and set aside any legal objections in light of the big picture. If you’d like to meet figuratively on neutral ground, please send me a copy of the film this week and give us both an excuse to make some lawyers less than happy :-(“

David Di Sabatino refused.

When Fallen Angel was finally released to the public, on March 1st, 2009, Charles Norman issued a cease and desist notice. Di Sabatino had not asked permission to use Larry Norman’s music and other copyrighted items such as photographs owned by Solid Rock (Which is what David did with Larry’s music in his first film, Lonnie Frisbee: Hippie Preacher). Di Sabatino had, however, asked the permission of other people who contributed their copyrighted material, and in some cases paid them for their material, but he did not ask Solid Rock.

Rather than replying to the cease and desist notice by contacting anyone at Solid Rock or trying to suggest compensation for the copyrights, David Di Sabatino decided to take a much more heavy-handed approach.

He sued them.

A strange response, indeed. Especially for a movie subtitled “A Bible story.”

See 1 Corinthians 6:1-8

The lawsuit was filed on April 21st, 2009.

On May 19th, 2009 Di Sabatino for some reason declared in a Yahoo chat group that he had “won the legal challenge.” This is nowhere near the truth as it didn’t go before a judge until nearly two months later.

In July, after weeks of drawn-out negotiation and at least one cancelled film festival showing, a settlement agreement was arrived at. Di Sabatino and Norman settled the case out of court. Norman refused to consider taking any money, not wanting to sell out his brother’s legacy. Instead, he just wanted to walk away rather than get bogged down in a protracted case in a court nearly 1000 miles from his home. The case was closed by a Stipulated Consent Judgment, meaning that Charles Norman decided to concede on the condition that Di Sabatino adhere to a few of Norman’s stipulations, one of which was that Di Sabatino stop using the Larrynorman.net web address.

Eight months later, Di Sabatino is still using the address. http://www.larrynorman.net

In an email to me, Charles Norman stated “Sure, we could have fought David’s unauthorized use of the material we own, but it would have taken a long time and cost upwards of $50,000 in up-front attorney retainer fees. In the end I decided against wasting my time on a movie that practically nobody is going to see and that most people who do will realize that something’s very fishy about it. So we decided to turn the other cheek and let the movie flop on its own merits.”

You can request the transcripts of Di Sabatino’s lawsuit against Solid Rock and the attached stipulated settlement agreement by contacting the Clerk of the District Court and referencing the case number.

United States District Court

Case Number SACV09-0357

The lawsuit documents are a matter of public record, but far too lengthy to post here.

Pam Newman had an interesting encounter with Di Sabatino while he was putting together his movie. Here are some “fair use” excerpts from two emails Pam sent out after seeing the movie’s premiere in San Jose, California.

“HE TOLD MY FRIEND THAT HE PLANNED TO DESTROY LARRY NORMAN WITH THIS MOVIE.”

I’VE LEARNED SO MUCH, HOW A PRODUCER CAN SPLICE AND CHANGE THINGS AROUND TO MAKE SOMEONE LOOK GOOD OR BAD.”

Click here to read more.

David Di Sabatino appears to practice the very activities he accuses Larry Norman of in Fallen Angel and other media outlets. Read some of David’s claims on the Internet and think about his actions. Then look at the following things that David has said about Larry:

“Part of Larry’s dysfunction was that in order to hide some of his bad behavior, he would threaten and bully anyone who was threatening or questioning his created reality.”

“He was deathly afraid of the truth coming to the surface. His closest friends say this fear was worse to him than the threat of hell itself.”

“For years I’d watch him throw the first punch then run into the corner, put ashes on his face and claim the other guy started it.”

“Slander is a poison which kills charity, both in the slanderer and the one who listens.” Bernard, St. on Slander

Stay tuned for more information. Until then….

Daniel Amos

I’m still working on this Daniel Amos page. The full story will appear here in a few days, including the audio recordings made with everyone’s knowledge at the Solid Rock offices in 1980, Daniel Amos’ lawyer’s threats to Larry while the band was trying to wrangle their way out of their obligations to Word Records and Solid Rock, and Larry’s replies to the band and their lawyers.

Daniel Amos

Members of the band claim in the movie that Larry delayed the release of their Horrendous Disc record for 3 years and ended their career by finally releasing it at the same time as their follow-up album Alarma. The documents I have uncovered will prove that Daniel Amos themselves were responsible for much of the delay, and that they exacerbated the situation by legally harrassing Larry when they could have resolved it peacefully as was Larry’s wish.

And as far as Larry Norman being responsible for ending their career in 1981 as Ed McTaggart states in the movie?

Daniel Amos went on to release TEN more albums AFTER Horrendous Disc, which is more than most bands release in their entire careers.
Stay tuned for the completed page which will include the Daniel Amos legal threats which ultimately went nowhere, and as an interesting footnote, the truth behind Larry Norman’s Barking at the Ants record cover which Terry Taylor is still complaining about, 30 years after the fact. These documents will once again illustrate that the Fallen Angel movie is not telling the truth, and that Terry Taylor and Company have a tendency to make “much ado about nothing.”

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