inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #76 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Thu 28 Apr 05 07:06
In the mid to latter 80s Gene toured with a group under the Byrds
Tribute (or Celebration) banner that, for a time, included Rick Danko
and Garth Hudson (The Band), Rick Roberts (Burritos, Firefall), Blondie
Chaplin (Beach Boys), John York (latter day country Byrds) and Byrds
original Michael Clarke. It was Gene's own 'Rolling Thunder Revue' and
the cast of characters carried some serious baggage. Even Byrds roadie
Carlos Bernal was in the lineup for a time. Players came and went and
the lineup solidified around Gene, drummer Greg Thomas, John York,
Michael Curtis on bass and Billy Darnell on guitar to the end of the
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #77 of 189: Dave Zimmer (waterbrother) Thu 28 Apr 05 10:55
Speaking of multi-musician touring bills, do think the idea of having
the original Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash &
Young tour U.S. stadiums on the same bill during the summer of 1974 was
ever anything beyond a promoter's fantasy?  It's hard to imagine it
happening logistically, even if all of the musicians were available and
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #78 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Thu 28 Apr 05 11:10
More than a promoters fantasy, it certainly would have been a fantasy
concert for just about any music fan in 1974 but I agree, Dave, that
ability to mount such a concert bill would be herculean and the
logistics of those three groups actually agreeing to tour together and
pulling it off were highly unlikely, swollen egos notwithstanding. That
was a concept mooted in the media just around the time the Byrds
reunion album was released but after the album garnered less than rave
reviews there was no more triple bill reunion talk. Thanks for jumping
in, Dave!
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #79 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Thu 28 Apr 05 11:13
I have a question to throw out to the gathering here posed by a friend
of mine recently. Which current recording artists would you want to
see on a Gene Clark tribute album or concert (covering Gene's songs)?
I'm talking upper echelon artists. I'd be curious to hear who others
feel would be suitable/appropriate. I have my own fantasy list but
would love to hear from others.
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #80 of 189: Low and popular (rik) Thu 28 Apr 05 11:36
I heard Richard Thompson, Clive Greggson, and Christine Collister do a
haunting, stunningly lovely version of "Here Without You" about 10 years ago
at the Fillmore.    It was a great show and that was the most memorable
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #81 of 189: from JAMES DUSEWICZ (tnf) Thu 28 Apr 05 12:21

James Duzewicz writes:

Two things, John: 1) had you ever met or seen Gene
Clark before and talked to him? If you did, what were
your impressions of him then verses now? And 2)what
indelible impressions, surprises, and just plain
oddities did you observe while doing the research for

Thanks for being so kind to answer my questions.


James  Dusewicz
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #82 of 189: Peter Meuleners (pjm) Thu 28 Apr 05 13:53
    <scribbled by pjm Thu 28 Apr 05 13:54>
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #83 of 189: Peter Meuleners (pjm) Thu 28 Apr 05 13:54
    <scribbled by pjm Tue 3 May 05 22:01>
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #84 of 189: Steve Silberman (digaman) Thu 28 Apr 05 14:07
Amazingly enough John, I came here just now to ask you the same question 
about a fantasy tribute/cover list.  Please do post your list here, 
matching ideal performers -- living or dead -- with ideal song choices.

I'd love to hear Elvis Costello sing any of Gene's songs in his darkest
mode.  I once heard him sing a cover of "Pretty in Pink," of all things,
that made it sound like the most melancholy, haunted song of all time.

Mark Kozelek, the founder of the Red House Painters, could sing a 
mind-blowing version of "She Don't Care About Time," either acoustic or 
electric.  John, if you are unfamiliar with Kozelek -- or if you only know 
his very immature work on the first two RHP albums -- you owe it to 
yourself to hear RHP's "Songs for a Blue Guitar" or Kozelek's recent album 
"Ghosts of the Great Highway" with a band called Sun Kil Moon.  His solo 
albums "Rock and Roll Singer" and "What's Next to the Moon" (an album of, 
believe it or not, AC/DC covers that makes the songs sound like they were 
written by Nick Drake!) are also near-masterpieces.  He's a very 
underappreciated artist who reaches me in the same place as Gene, Neil, 
Nick, etc.

I think the Band could have done a helluva job with a song like "Train 
Leaves Here This Morning."  (Sure, the Eagles' version was nice.)
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #85 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Thu 28 Apr 05 16:25
Hi James. No I never had the opportunity to meet Gene Clark. He came
through Winnipeg with the Firebyrds in '84 but I wasn't living here at
the time.

Well, I didn't observe any oddities while researching the book but
there were some odd things I discovered, the most striking learning
that Gene once wrote the music score for a really lame anti-drug
educational film narrated by Sonny Bono that many of you probably were
forced to watch in Health class back in the latter 60s through the 70s.
Talk about a bad career move!

In terms of revelations there were many. Delving deep into his years
up in Mendocino and the significance living their had on his music was
quite fascinating. Any biographical references to Gene Clark mention
his move to Mendocino merely in passing, a sentence and move on. It's a
period few ever really knew about yet it had a profound impact on him
personally (he was married there and both his children were raised
there) and professionally (he wrote 4 albums worth of songs while in
Mendocino, some of his best material). White Light's stark folk
simplicity was inspired by his first moving up to Little River where he
composed the songs on that album amid a gorgeous, rustic setting.
Roadmaster represented a return to country music roots after purchasing
the old coach house in Middle Ridge. No Other found Gene's musing on
life with the arrival of his first child, and on Two Sides To Every
Story he pours his heart out over the breakup of his marriage to
Carlie. So all four of these pivotal albums in his career emerged from
his Mendocino years.

As well, exploring the two lost years between the Byrds and Dillard &
Clark, 66-68, was quite intriguing getting a sense of what Gene was
going through during a very troubled period in his life.

I do a lot of research in advance before I tackle a book so going into
it I have a sense of the story. But I found with Gene's life there
were so many gaps, myths and mysteries. Filling in the gaps and
dispelling the mysteries (like the longheld notion that the No Other
album is all about drugs) became an exciting aspect of writing the
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #86 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Thu 28 Apr 05 16:28
I would love to hear Chrissie Hynde tackle one of Gene's songs. I
fully agree with your choice of Elvis Costello, Steve, and Richard
Thompson as suggested earlier would be marvellous. Obvious choices
include REM and Neil Young but Springsteen might be able to plum to the
heart of Gene's more introspective songs. 
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #87 of 189: Dave Zimmer (waterbrother) Thu 28 Apr 05 17:56
John, you're right about Springsteen, and it would be great, indeed,
to have Chrissie Hynde or REM on a Gene Clark tribute album.  And
hearing Neil do "Silver Raven" solo acoustic would be shiver city. 

Shifting down from the hall of fame crowd ... Chris Isaak could
probably do something very special with "You Showed Me" ... of course,
jumping back up the ladder, so could Crosby & Nash.
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #88 of 189: Dave Zimmer (waterbrother) Fri 29 Apr 05 05:27
A couple of other thoughts this morning, John, regarding artists to
consider for a Gene tribute CD: The Finn Brothers (was at the Pantages
in LA in '89 when Crowded House played a sublime Byrds medley with
McGuinn); Graham Parker (has delved into acoustic folk-country in
recent years, but still has that wonderful snarl in his voice); The
Wallflowers (Jacob Dylan would do justice to a number of songs in the
Gene canon); Dan Fogelberg (ditto); Merle Haggard (with John R. Cash
and Waylon gone, the Hag could handle "So You Say You Lost Your Baby"
with quiet strength).
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #89 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Fri 29 Apr 05 06:06
Wonderful choices Dave and Steve! I hadn't thought of Graham Parker
but a great choice. Some of the current country artists could do a fine
job of tackling a few of Gene's country-flavoured songs like "Gypsy
Rider" or "Rodeo Rider". I would love to hear the Dixie Chicks take on
"Why Not Your Baby." I think Emmylou Harris would be well-suited to
several songs from Gene's catalog. Plenty to speculate on.
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #90 of 189: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Fri 29 Apr 05 10:07
John, I know the book has only just been published, but I'm wondering
if you've gotten some interesting reactions from some of the people
close to Gene that you interviewed. You mentioned in an earlier post,
for instance, that Chris Hillman found reading the book a revelation. I
imagine some other people are very interested and surprised to find
out so much about Gene that they might not have suspected. In addition,
there are some different and even contradictory recollections/opinions
of Gene expressed in the book, particularly in the confusion and
controversy regarding how his death and estate were handled. While you
take care to let all of the players have their say, I imagine there are
still some strong conflicting feelings among family and friends about
the different ways in which Gene is viewed. Have you gotten any
interesting feedback in these respects?
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #91 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Fri 29 Apr 05 12:57
Hey Richie, great to have you onboard. For the uninitiated, Richie’s
two volumes on the evolution and impact of folk rock on popular music
(Turn! Turn! Turn! and Eight Miles High, both from Backbeat Books)
remain the definitive resources on that subject. Thanks for your

I have, indeed, received reactions to the book from several associates
and family members. Gene’s son Kai loved the book as did his sister
Bonnie who told me she was moved to tears at several points in the
story. Both feel the book is honest yet compassionate and goes a long
way toward a greater understanding of Gene Clark the man as well as the
artist. A few former band mates and friends (including long time
Mendocino friend Philip O’Leno) have written me to say that they feel
the book is an accurate portrayal of the Gene Clark they knew. As you
mentioned, Chris Hillman found the book a revelation because, despite
working with Gene for so many years, he knew little of Gene’s
background, family or personal problems.

What I tried to do was not pass judgement but, instead, let those
closest to the story tell it through their own reflections, insights
and perspectives. There are many voices speaking throughout the book.
Not all those perspectives are congruent. There have been one or two
who have had to come to terms with the fact that what they were doing
with or around Gene in later years, or perhaps not doing or seeing in
Gene, in hindsight may not have been in Gene’s best interests. In other
words they either didn’t see the signs of his decline or chose to
ignore them. They have been forced to deal with their own feels of
guilt. Did they let their friend down? Could they have done anything
(probably not)?

The circus that surrounded Gene’s death, funeral and battle over his
estate is no doubt tough to read for some close to Gene before his
death. Clearly there is still some bitterness, resentment and
finger-pointing and conspiracy theories continue. I tried to play it
out in the book from the various perspectives involved letting the
reader decide. Several points of view are offered. It’s pretty grim in
places but real. There are still those who maintain Gene’s death was
not accidental although I do not believe so and the accounts of several
others corroborate my assumption. Nonetheless those theories persist.
In addition there are still recriminations levelled at all sides and
longstanding animosities. I don’t know if those wounds will ever heal.
Some have come to terms with it, others have yet to do so. 

In addition, one or two close to Gene’s did not want to see anything
in print that would cast even the slightest negative light on him. All
I could assure them of was that I would tell the story honestly in a
balanced manner with compassion and not dwell on the darker side for
its own sake or to spin any salacious “sex, drugs & rock ‘n’ roll”
tales for mere titillation. And I feel I accomplished that.  I have to
say that everyone I approached, from family and close friends to band
mates, contemporaries and acquaintances, was agreeable and open to
speak about Gene. There was no arm twisting necessary. Nonetheless,
sometimes when you see it in print it’s a bit tougher to deal with than
merely saying it.
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #92 of 189: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Fri 29 Apr 05 17:00
In the book, you discuss a lot of Gene Clark recordings, spanning his
entire career, that haven't been released for one reason or another. Do
you have any sense of what the chances are that some of this material
might get officially released soon? It seems like there's enough
interest among fans to merit its availability, though the market might
be fairly small, and the legalities of release clearance difficult to
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #93 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Fri 29 Apr 05 17:46
Actually there is some movement in that regard recently that, if it
does indeed pan out, could see some of the rarer Gene Clark tracks
finally available sometime down the road. Just discussion at this
point, nothing definite by any stretch, but I'm optimistic and excited.
Gene left quite a vast catalogue of unreleased tracks. Regrettably
some of it was lost or inadvertently thrown out a decade ago but some
has survived. Besides the solo demos from 66-67 there are some great
studio demos from the KC Southern Band from 1977 that are among my
favourite Gene tracks. The Glass House tape would be welcomed by
collectors as it contains the mysterious  "Communications" song
mistakenly credited as around 1988-89 by Johnny Rogan but, in fact,
dating from 1980-81. In addition, the Firebyrds band laid down some
demos as well in ’84 that are pretty hot. What I would really love to
see released are the original mix of the Roadmaster tracks from ’72 as
the sound is truly amazing when compared with the version already out
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #94 of 189: John Berger (jberger) Sat 30 Apr 05 08:23
I was listening to "Turn Turn Turn" on my ride home yesterday, and was
stricken by the way that Gene's songs had a surface veneer of the bright,
jangly Byrds sound, but underneath there was a sense of both loss and being
lost.  Was he going through a specific love loss in that time, or was this
more generalized?
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #95 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Sat 30 Apr 05 10:37
Thanks for your thoughtful question, John. According to Roger McGuinn,
Gene had a deeper, brooding quality to him that permeated his
songwriting. “There was a lot of deep sorrow under the hood. He wasn’t
a happy, bouncy kind of guy. He had one sort of main thing that he did
and that was the romantic, poetic thing. That was Gene. He was fairly
mature in an emotional, romantic kind of male way that I wasn’t. I was
like a pre-teen when it came to that. My interests were science fiction
and gadgets and things like that. I really wasn’t there with the
male/female love song thing. I couldn’t sincerely even sing a song like
that much less write one. And Gene was like a Latin lover compared to
me.” A lot of that deep emotion came out in Gene’s songwriting, that
minor key melancholy that often appeared as a curveball in a song.

Gene wore his emotions openly on his sleeve. Manager Jim Dickson once
commented of Gene, “He had changed girlfriends a few times and every
time he broke up he’d get a good song out of it and every time he’d get
a new girlfriend there would be a good song and a lot of junk in

Gene’s brother Rick Clark recalled, “Somebody interviewed Gene once
and asked him, ‘How come a lot of your songs are so sad and about so
much pain and heartbreak?’ and Gene told him, ‘Well, when you’re happy
you don’t sit down and write songs. You’re too busy enjoying being
happy. It’s when you are alone and in that deepest darkest place, all
that has to be released in some way.’ And even though it was
heartbreaking and very emotional he created some of his most beautiful
songs and work through expressing those feelings. Gene was one of the
people who couldn’t sit down and discuss what he felt inside with most

When you listen to Gene’s songs, whether from the Byrds or later,
there is a deep emotional stream that runs through them. For someone 
who was not well educated or well read, Gene could express feelings in
a way few others could. According to Chris Hillman, “It wasn’t that he
decided to go out and read novels or anything every day. He never read
a thing. He just grew as a writer. He was so prolific. It just came to
him. He would just write and write and write. And he would show Mike
and I the songs first. He’d have written five songs in a week and three
of them would be great. That’s pretty good odds. He would come out
with these most poetic phrases. He had always had this same sort of odd
melodic pattern that would always include a couple of minor chords and
he would always fit right into that place. But I don’t think there was
any epiphany when he suddenly changed into this deep substance. I
think it was from just doing it. He was listening to Dylan, too, and
started searching for better ways to express some things.”
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #96 of 189: Steve Silberman (digaman) Sat 30 Apr 05 12:03
Crosby once told me that when he heard Dylan's phrase "to dance beneath 
the diamond sky with one hand waving free," he knew the ante for lyrics 
had been upped for good.

John, could you please talk a bit about Gene's time in Mendocino, which 
was such a prolific period for him?
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #97 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Sat 30 Apr 05 12:39
By the late summer of 1969 as the Dillard & Clark Expedition was
running out of steam, Gene tired of the Hollywood lifestyle and began
taking excursions in his Porsche up the California coast in search of
solitude, a rural retreat akin to his childhood years in Kansas. He
found what he was searching for in Little River, a remote yet
picturesque spot on the Northern California coast (north of San
Francisco around Albion), three miles south of Mendocino and bordering
Van Damme State Park. Captivated by the tiny seaside community and its
casual pace, Gene booked a room at the nearby Lazy Eye Motel and stayed
for several days before returning to Los Angeles. But he came back a
few weeks later to rent a cabin across from the Andiron Lodge where he
began writing a body of songs that represented a more basic approach to
his muse—just acoustic guitar and voice. These songs would become the
basis of his 1971 White Light album. Clearly the pastoral lifestyle of
the community appealed to him.

After meeting Carlie McCummings back in LA, Gene brought her up to
Little River where they soon set up housekeeping and were married in
June 1970. “Before Gene met me he used to go up there and write,”
states Carlie. “He’d just get a hotel room there on the ocean and write
music. He’d never taken anybody there, he said, but when he found the
girl he wanted to be with he would take her there. So off we went. We
had this caravan with Gene’s Porsche, my Ford Cortina, and English
Roger in the U-Haul and the three of us drove to Mendocino.”

Nearby friends Philip and Ea O’Leno brought Gene into the
Albion/Mendocino community. As Philip recalls, “We played cards quite a
lot. There was no rock star stuff with us. Part of the attraction was
the fact that we weren’t in the business and he could just relax, but
we understood what he was talking about. Every day when I would get
done at my workshop they would come by and get us and we’d go out to
the bars. He had his reputation, but in the community he was just Gene.
He had strong country roots and it was his way of getting back to the
land. He was more than a country boy at heart, although he was
sophisticated.” Acquaintances recall Gene being very comfortable in
Albion, no pretences. Just a regular guy.

After the birth of first son Kelly in Los Angeles, Gene and Carlie
purchased an old coach house and surrounding woods on Middle Ridge Road
in Albion not far from Philip and Ea (later other LA musicians would
make the migration northward to the Mendocino/Albion/Comptche area in
what became known as the LA Getaway). This would be the setting for
Gene’s return to country music with a more philosophical bent that
embodied the Roadmaster album. He was living the rural life. As Carlie
recalled, “The place we had was just a magic place. It was right on the
end of the ridge so in summer the fog would come in on both sides of
you like these billowing clouds. At night we could lay in bed and we
could see the ships going up to Seattle out on the horizon. It was
idyllic. And Gene was like a little boy. We were totally innocent,
living this reality that was ours. We were living the good life and
weren’t selling out. I used to cook on a woodstove and it took an hour
and a half just to make coffee! He loved that part of it. And for a
while it looked like it was going to work, this back-to-the-land

The Roadmaster sessions ended abruptly before completion and Gene
found himself in the much ballyhooed Byrds reunion in 1972. He emerged
from that with a new recording contract with David Geffen’s Asylum
Records and set about writing a new body of songs. Borrowing Mendocino
friend Andy Kandanes’s cottage right on the coast near the lighthouse,
Gene spent his days there composing songs drawn from both his own
reflections on life and the philosophical readings of friend Philip
O’Leno. “I’m a great reader and I study and Gene depended on me for
some of that,” states Philip. “He would ask me what I read about. We
wouldn’t get into conversations about it, but he would understand it. I
would lend him books, but he wouldn’t read them. He had a kind of
moral and ethical viewpoint that wasn’t spiritual or religious or
anything like that, but he had a sense of right and wrong and he stuck
pretty much close to that. Reality was very important to Gene, getting
through the bullshit and down to what is meaningful, what is the truth.
He was no abstract philosopher, but he wanted to get at the truth of
things. To me it seemed as if he had an old soul, an innate wisdom
beyond his being.” The songs, borne from this contemplative
environment, became the No Other album, often regarded as Gene's
masterpiece, released in 1974.

By 1976 Gene and Carlie were fighting frequently. Having to go out on
the road again to earn a living with a wife, two children and a
mortgage, he was becoming crazed again and she soon fled with the boys
to Hawaii. Broken hearted Gene composed a slate of new songs that
offered his take on the end of the marriage. These became the Two Sides
To Every Story album released the following year.

So his 7 years up in Mendocino had a profound impact on Gene
personally and in terms of his music. Friends and family insist it was
the happiest time in his life, those first few years anyway, and he was
able to shed the ‘rock star’ persona and be himself. As son Kai
maintains, all his Dad ever really wanted to do was be a regular guy.
In Mendocino he could be. “Dad was into that lifestyle. He was
definitely a mountain man in the old west. I kind of see my dad then
with a smile on his face. I think he rebuilt the whole foundation of
the house and I think he loved using his hands and getting his hands in
the dirt. They cooked over a woodstove and had a well for water. My
dad was fascinated with history and the old west and living off the
land. There are still people who live that way in Mendocino. As if time
stood still. My father was probably recognized everywhere he went in
L.A. But in Mendocino, it was such a small place even if they did
recognize you, they probably knew who you were, but it wasn’t a big
deal. ‘There’s that guy from L.A.’ He loved it there. I have special
memories of that farm. We loved it dearly.”

As I mentioned earlier, few people ever knew or have written about
that time in Gene's life yet it's so pivotal.
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #98 of 189: Steve Silberman (digaman) Sat 30 Apr 05 13:05
Ah, that's fascinating.  It's still beautiful up there.  Last time I
visited, cell phones wouldn't work there, which made me respect the town
even more.  :)

The rock-star stuff must get incredibly draining.  I once took a walk 
through Provincetown in Massachusetts with Crosby, and every fifth person 
or so made a statement of some sort to him as we passed.  Most of what 
people said was really beautiful -- along the lines of what our waitress 
in an Italian restaurant told us, that she had lost her virginity to 
"Guinnevere" -- one guy asked Croz if he was Stephen Stills -- but how 
discombobulating to not have any personal space when you just want to 
take a walk down the block.

I'm glad Gene found peace there for a while.
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #99 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Sat 30 Apr 05 13:13
I think that had Gene not needed to go back out on the road, which
always drove him crazy, and his marriage stayed together he very well
might still be up there in Albion alive and well today.
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #100 of 189: from GENE HARROLD (tnf) Sat 30 Apr 05 22:14

Gene Harrold writes:

Hi John,
  Were there any Gene songs that were worked up during the Preflyte sessions
such as 'The Reason Why' or You Showed Me' that were tried during the
sessions for either Mr. Tambourine Man or Turn Turn Turn??

Gene Harrold


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