Feb 7, 2017


In the Winter of 1980, John Lennon dies while I'm on a ratty bus with Sammy Hall on 'tour' to sell Mountain Sound’s old Charlie Daniels sound system. My Mountain Sound company toured with the CDB and Marshall Tucker Bands and was gearing up to do all the systems for the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, TN. 

Hall is an AMWAY "artist" from Sevier Co. Tn. who performs AMWAY songs and butchers an Elvis set. He's frankly terrible, but I need to make this sale so I agree to join his tour for 10 days to train his staff on the use of the system. Hall lives in a mansion with a disco and guitar shaped pool with a hot tub tuning head off Dolly Parton Parkway paid for by AMWAY proceeds and his Diamond status. From the look of the place, you would think he ranked up there with Lee Greenwood or at least Ted Nugent. The forlorn dilapidated mobile homes clustered near the edge of his property house his band and crew in a mud-caked area prone to flood. 
Sammy Hall in 1980 is the most famous of Amway entertainers. He wrote, “Don’t Let Anyone Steal Your Dream” and “Circles” based on Amway slogans. He sells his albums and tapes along with posters of the image above, T-shirts, and his biography that claims he was drug addicted biker saved on the way to hell. Band members claim this is all a sham. 

The Amway shows have been full on this tour of hotel ballrooms in Minneapolis, Chicago & now D.C. They consist mainly of Diamond Amway distributors parading on stage in furs and jewels before a slide show of mansions, Bentley’s, and vacation homes on ski slopes and beaches. They preach ostentatious materialism and greed to salivating “wanna-bees” who will never reach the pinnacle of the pyramid held by the DeVos, Britt, and Yager families.   
The final gig of the "tour" is at the D.C. Hilton where Reagan was shot. It's Sunday, the last day of a miserable 3 stop 7 AMWAY show 9 days and this Sunday morning Sammy Hall Ministries is doing a service of hymns and gospel in order to qualify as tax-exempt.  At the mixing desk in the main ballroom of the Hilton filled with AMWAY faithful and recruits I join the sound guy for the final Q&A.
Then I hear Sammy say to the AMWAY audience - "Our bus has broken down so I need to ask for donations to repair the bus in order to continue our ministry" - “WHAT”? I cried, “This can’t be happening I have to get back to Knoxville.”  
"Don't worry," says Sammy's sound guy says as the KFC buckets roll in stuffed with $100 & $50 bills. "The bus is fine. Sammy does this routine every Sunday".
I would not have been surprised if the bus on which I was forced to travel had broken down. Hall rode in style all by himself in a fairly new Prevost worth maybe $500,000 to a million. The 12 members of the band and crew suffered in a 20-year-old converted Greyhound that leaked diesel exhaust into the cabin and had the suspension of a tank. I had caught a cold early shared with most of the indentured servants. 
But this is just too much! A Sunday morning service used to bilk Amway newbies out of their money with a bald-faced lie about an unneeded bus repair from a guy worth millions who is using “ministry” to claim tax exempt status? Perhaps “a funny thing happened on the way to hell” isn’t such a joke. How does a believer and "minister" lie to his congregation for money? This is how. It's not new or unique but being this close and involved is new for me. I think there must be a special reseverd circle in the depths for this kind of duplicity.  
I learned that Lennon had been killed the first night out when I went to a motel bar for a drink while the crew was fueling up and eating at the nearby truck stop. They were barred from drinking by Hall who I later learned had never stopped his addiction. When I informed Hall of Lennon’s death he was caustic about Lennon's politics and songs. I knew I was in for a bad trip — I had no idea how bad. 

This is the AMWAY way. Sammy Hall Ministries Sunday 'services' qualify him as tax-exempt but will there be some exemption for lying about his ministry?  It's another AMWAY ripoff and I had been indoctrinated by the AMWAY religious fervor - a tour of events key to signing up new fish to feed the greed of the DeVos family. 
Later in my career, I spent a year working for American Multimedia in Burlington NC. with Richard Clark. Owned by AMWAY's DeVos and Britt, this is where all the Amway materials are printed, recorded and duplicated. Clark was a genius and his innovations made him the leading authority in tape duplication. Clark also became a famous face at car audio shows where he won the national competition so often they forced his retirement and made him a judge for the competition. AMI was the largest duplicator of cassette tapes in the world and both Clark and Hall were made Diamond Level distributors as part of their compensation packages from Devos and Britt. 
This is a bizarre world of insane wealth for the few at the top of the pyramid and near poverty for the entry level workers.  This is the world of Betsy DeVos — you already know how unqualified this woman is for the Education post, now you know the evil and twisted world she inhabits 
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