Bald is Beautiful

A quick note: I never knew Roy when he had hair. By the time we met he’d entered his tall, dark, “Spellcaster” mode… By the way, if you knew Roy in the “early days”, the word “Spellcaster” might be a meaningless reference. In the late 70’s (I believe) Roy was the star of an elaborate stage show, in the main room of The Landmark Casino in Las Vegas, called “The Spellcaster”. Roy Clayborne was finally at the center of his own show, in a main room in Las Vegas. Sadly, while the show was “in the black” (making money, and well recieved by the public) the casino itself was floundering. The Landmark filed for bankruptcy, which ended the show. It was very tough luck for Roy. If The Landmark had stayed in business the show might have lasted for years – it could have been a great launch pad for even bigger things.

Prior to the show Roy had spent a few years developing a unique, onstage persona – with a shaved head, and a black leather wardrobe. What emerged was something bewtween Kojak and Johnny Cash. The look, in combination with Roy’s charisma, had helped propel his career to new heights. Roy often talked about what a difference the “new image” had made in his career.

“I looked like Benjamin Frankin, hoss….!
I asked him, once, about his decision to start shaving his head. He told me that he had started doing the “comb-over thing (as he called it) and I recall, distinctly, that he laughingly told me that he was “starting to look like Benjamin Franklin” – so he decided to get it over with. I laughed my ass off……

A favorite “Roy-ism”

Referring to his “hairless state”, Roy also made the following comment (many times) which cracked me up:  “They always say I’m bald ’cause it’s in my genes – they’re right, I gotta lotta hair in my jeans!” 

“Tuscon Daily Citizen” report of Roy’s “close shave”

One day we were in a hotel in Las Vegas and Roy asked me to come over to his room and help him go through some old boxes and get rid of some “junk”. I was kind of a neat-nick and, for some reason, Roy just wanted some help. There was all kinds of cool stuff in his boxes. For instance, he’d had a role on one episode of the old TV show, “Gunsmoke” – he played a bartender and laughed about the fact that he only had one line. He had a bunch of uncashed residual checks in one box; even though he was still getting them they for ridiculous amounts of money – like $1.27 each, or something. Roy wasn’t particularly sentimental and was just pitching those, and, a whole lot of other stuff. Here’s an article I found, that day, and later scanned from a crumpled up old newspaper. It was a mess so I used Photoshop to reconstruct the thing…..I haven’t finished (you can see where I stopped)….:
“A Kojak Moment” – from “The Tuscon Daily Citizen”

4 thoughts on “Bald is Beautiful

  1. I am so happy to have found this site. I don’t know why I was remembering Roy Clayborne and decided to google him.
    We never missed a show when he was in Tucson. He was a great entertainer. We loved him. I don’t remember him shaving his head. My husband and I left the state in 1976, must have been just before he shaved.
    He had this “name that tune” segment in his show and my husband won every time. Finally, Roy stopped at our table for spell and asked Rod to exclude himself from the game so others would have a chance. Rod agreed and never played again. Roy of course made aknowledgement that Rod was the hands down expert in the house. What fond memories of good times long ago.

  2. I was the ‘fiddler’ in SPELLCASTER with Roy. I have lost touch with all the performers in that show. I’d love to hear from David the Drummer, Laura the dancer…acutally if any of you wonderful musicians, singers, dancers, read this…contact me at I would also LOVE to know if there is a video of the show. I have NO photos, videos or anything!

  3. I managed Roy from mid 70’s to 1980. He was a lot of fun and we could draw huge crowd s. He was a very talented man,a true showman.

  4. My father and I played with Roy in the ‘90s (me on lead guitar and dad on drums) and Roy has tons of great bald jokes. Here are a few of my favorites:

    Roy was a master impersonator but occasionally he’d say “Here’s my impression of half of Dolly Parton” then he’d take his hat off and lower his head!

    “They say that every time a man has sex, he loses one hair!”

    He’d ask the bass player, Rick, to take his hat off. Rick would and reveal that he was bald on top to which Roy would reply “Ricky, if we put our heads together, we could make an ass of ourselves!”

    And lastly, at Roy’s memorial, there was a bunch of pictures of him with various famous musicians. The best was a pic of Roy squatting down in front of Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top with Billy’s long beard parted down the middle and hanging over the sides of Roy’s head like it was his hair!!!! I wish I had that picture!

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