Renaissance Man: Our Interview With Seth Swirsky

Seth Swirsky had just been told an incredible piece of news a few days beforehand: his first feature-length film, the documentary Beatles Stories, had been selected to be shown at the European Independent Film Festival in Paris. Like any proud father, he was busting at the seams and could barely wait for the completion of our greetings before springing the news on me.

A labor of love from a lifelong Beatles fan, Beatles Stories is a compilation of interviews Swirsky conducted with celebrities as diverse as Bob Eubanks, Frank Gifford, Susanna Hoffs, Sir Ben Kingsley, Brian Wilson, and Henry Winkler about the Beatles. He told me the person he was most excited to talk to was Norman Smith, the Beatles' recording engineer for many years.

For most people, having a documentary debut at the European Independent Film Festival and referred to by Cameron Crowe as "an epic and timeless masterwork" would be the highlight of their careers. But for Swirsky, it was just another success in what has become a remarkable lifetime spanning several forms of entertainment.

In the '80s, Seth Swirsky was a songwriter for Chappell Music, producing a dozen songs a year. He wrote songs for Air Supply, Celine Dion, Rufus Wainwright, Smokey Robinson, The Go-Gos' Jane Weidlin, and Tina Turner. He also wrote Taylor Dayne's Top 10 hits "Tell It To My Heart" and "Prove Your Love."

I asked him if having "Tell It To My Heart" hit the Top 10 was his "I've made it in the music business" moment. But it was shortly before that when he had his moment: it was the first time he heard the song playing on the radio, coming through his car's speakers. Swirsky also confessed that he didn't like "Tell It To My Heart" when he first wrote it and almost didn't even turn it in. Despite the fact that both of Dayne's songs hit the Top 10, neither was Swirsky's favorite song. That honored belonged to Al Green's version of "Love Is A Wonderful Thing," which was featured in The Pallbearer, Two Weeks Notice, and Sorority Boys.

It wasn't until nearly twenty-five years later that Swirsky would write songs for himself. In 2004, he released his debut album, Instant Pleasure, which went on to win Best Pop Album from the 2005 Los Angeles Music Awards. In 2010, he released Watercolor Day, a very rich and Beatlesque affair. Because his tastes and influences are buried deep in the past, Swirksy doesn't care for much of today's music, but is a fan of Coldplay.

As if filmmaker, songwriter, and musician aren't enough, Seth Swirsky is also an accomplished writer. With the 1994 baseball strike in effect, Swirsky decided to write letters to baseball players. Because he included SASEs and asked offbeat questions, he received many replies. He compiled these letters from baseball players into 1996's Baseball Letters. Three years later, he released Every Pitcher Tells A Story: Letters Gathered By A Devoted Fan, a collection of letters from pitchers like Glavine, Clemens, and Pedro. In 2003, he completed his trilogy with Something to Write Home About: Great Baseball Memories In Letters To A Fan, a collection of letters from baseball players and celebrities like Paul McCartney.

It was during the writing of these three books that Swirsky became interested in baseball memorabilia. He was responsible for creating his own memorabilia, like getting a baseball signed only by players named Mickey. He also owns the ball from the third home run Reggie Jackson hit in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series and the infamous Buckner Ball.

When I asked him if he thought the Buckner Ball was cursed, he told me a story about the 2003 American League Championship Series. The Yankees were down 5-2 in the 8th inning in the decisive Game 7 against the Red Sox. He decided to put the Buckner Ball in front of the television to "curse" the Red Sox. The Yankees ended up coming back and winning 6-5 in eleven innings. Unfortunately, he did not try this again the following year when the Yankees could've used the ball's help against the Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS.

And if your curious about his Brats pedigree, he's pro Thriller, Debbie Gibson, and Pretty In Pink.

You can find out more about Seth Swirsky by visiting his website. You can also check out the official website for Beatles Stories.

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