inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #126 of 189: Darrell Jonsson (jonsson) Tue 3 May 05 02:30
    
In L.A. at the moment 8 Miles high came out it seemed like 
they finally hit the nail on the head.

The satisfying thing about 8 Miles High was in part that it
dove-tailed so perfectly with the jagged/melodious L.A. audio/music
environment, the jet engines overhead, the jazz, oriental, rock and
folk music pouring from the radios and doorways. IMHO it was the
(beginning of) the fufillment of the potentials the Byrds had been
artfully groping for prior.

CS&N carried a similar satisfaction in an LP length work, it seem to  
serve as sort of a masterpiece for both the Byrds & Springfield,
or at least for the folk-rock genre.

Wasn't Sweetheart of the Rodeo though the first really coherent LP
length work under the Byrds umbrella?  Otherwise is it possible the
Byrds outside of SOTR or NBB ever were full-length and/or concept LP
maestros, or even trying to be? 

Crosby should not be too hard on himself about the reunion LP,
as McQuinn had clearly lost it in terms of having
a solid concept for putting a coherent recording project
together.  "Untitled" almost by accident turns out to be
a fine piece of work, mostly due to the synergy of the other 
members, but before and after it were 2 LPs each direction needing
various degrees of finesse, somebody clearly needed to grab the
steering wheel.

IMHO the conduit of the Byrds laboratory served Clark, Crosby as well
as Clarence White and the rest of them in moments of brilliance, and
their catalog although having a few bumps was a nice ride from
beginning to end, I've been as often pleasantly suprised rediscovering
their early work as well as their later work.  Gram Parsons 2 solo
works though have never been out of my reach in vinyl, cassette, and 
(finally) CD form since its release, desert island stuff.  Echos, and
as well his awkward peformance at Trancas in the 80's sort
of turned me off to Gene Clark, although listening to Echos it again
during this discussion makes me want to give Gene another chance,
especially now that more is readily available in CD than ever seemed
to be in vinyl.

One direction though I'd liked to have heard more of out of
this scene were those Young and Nitsche collaborations on the 
Springfield LPs Broken Arrow & Expecting to Fly, it seems to me there
was a sub-genre in the making in those 2 folk-rock cinemagraphic epic
tracks that was never really fully realised.  Even though Young has
done fine music since, it is possible to say Young's work ever really
matched the depth and beauty of those 2 works since, and/or did anyone
including Clark attempt anything similar?
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #127 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Tue 3 May 05 05:51
    
I think had Gene and Leon Russell been able to record an entire album
together in the latter 60s it might have been similar to the more
elaborate production/arranging concept and approach Neil Young and Jack
Nitzsche were working within in the summer of '67. Expecting To Fly
remains an aural masterpiece. When and if Neil ever releases his
multi-CD package Selections From The Neil Young Archives it will
include more of the Young-Nitzsche experiments. I think Neil was more
of an influence on Gene than is ever credited.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #128 of 189: Steve Silberman (digaman) Tue 3 May 05 07:39
    
The "Country Girl" suite on CSNY's Deja Vu seems to me to be a pinnacle of 
that direction, and it's often totally overlooked even by Neil fans 
because it's on the "wrong" album.  I think it's brilliant.

While I have never heard a jazz version of Eight Miles High, there are two
excellent jazz versions of Crosby's Guinnevere, both of which happen to be
available on the Apple Music Store.  The first was recorded by Miles
Davis' Bitches Brew band in 1970, and stretches the theme across a
21-minute brooding meditation by Wayne Shorter, John McLaughlin, Chick
Corea, Joe Zawinul, and others enhanced by tambouras etc.  It's gorgeous,
and it's on the Complete Bitches Brew sessions set as well as a couple of
other Miles packages.  The second version, which is much lesser known but
equally poignant in its own pithy way, is by some little jazz band called
Crosscurrents, on their album Rituals.  The Apple Music Store is the only 
place I've ever seen it, and it's genius is extrapolating the Guinnevere 
mode for piano while retaining the feel of the CSN version.  It's sublime.

Just FYI.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #129 of 189: Steve Silberman (digaman) Tue 3 May 05 07:39
    
sorry, "its"
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #130 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Tue 3 May 05 07:50
    
Wow!1 I was unaware of these jazz versions and will seek them out.
Thanks Steve.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #131 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Tue 3 May 05 08:03
    
In an interview, Gene once cited “Eight Miles High” as his favorite
Byrds recording “because of the way it came about and the process that
happened. It was really a unity thing that happened within the group
and the guys really got together and worked on a song and innovated
something.” David Crosby agrees. “It was my favorite moment, too,
exactly for the same reasons. It was when we actually started to come
into our own.”
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #132 of 189: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Tue 3 May 05 08:19
    
You talked about Chris Hillman's career here recently; you've talked
to him for several of your books; and in the acknowledgments in the new
book, you note, "Someday we'll do the Chris Hillman story." Would you
like to do a Chris Hillman bio? It's not as dramatic as the Gene Clark
story, but it would be pretty interesting, not just in terms of his own
career, but also because of the extraordinary musicians he's worked
with.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #133 of 189: Steve Silberman (digaman) Tue 3 May 05 08:25
    
I'd like to hear guitarist Bill Frisell tackle some of Gene's songs -- 
particularly Eight Miles High, ideally in the same fashion he 
deconstructed Madonna's Live to Tell on his album "Have a Little Faith."
Believe me, I'm not generally a huge Madonna fan, but Frisell's version of 
Live to Tell is one of the highlights of psychedelic guitar music of the 
last ten years.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #134 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Tue 3 May 05 08:27
    
I've raised the idea of a biography with Chris Hillman on a few
occasions but while he is agreeable to have me do a book on him
someday, he feels that the timing is far too soon and insists I wait
until he's 75 years old to tackle it. I respect that. Chris has always
said he's got the best Byrds stories. I think a biography of Chris
would make fascinating reading as he's rubbed shoulders with most of
the greats and would have insights into some of rock's most important
and influential, not to mention eccentric, characters. He's been there
and done it. But it's Chris's call.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #135 of 189: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Tue 3 May 05 09:11
    
Tell him it would be a damn shame if he got hit by a bus when he was
74 and to at least tell some of the stories into a tape recorder now.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #136 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Tue 3 May 05 09:15
    
Oh, I agree with you on that. God forbid something should happen and
he doesn't get the opportunity to share those wonderful stories,
insights and reflections. But, as I said, it's his call. 
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #137 of 189: from JACQUI BLISS (tnf) Tue 3 May 05 09:50
    



Jacqui Bliss writes:



Dear John

I am intrigued by the women in Gene's life and in particular his 14 year
tempestuous relationship with Terri Messina.  Can you provide any insight
into why their relationship lasted so long and what kind of influence she had
over him.


Thanks
Jacqui Bliss
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #138 of 189: Andrew Alden (alden) Tue 3 May 05 10:54
    
(Surely Gene Parsons, not Gram Parsons, is meant up there with the two solo
albums. I adored his "Kindling" album from 1973, as you say a folk/country
classic.)
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #139 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Tue 3 May 05 11:11
    
Hi Jacqui! Nice to have you onboard at the Well. Jacqui Bliss's
Australian group Deep End dedicated their album to Gene Clark and have
worked with Chip Douglas, Gene's former bandmate and Turtles/Monkees
producer. Chip worked the group on a fantastic version of The Door Into
Summer.

An interesting question, Jacqui (and non-Byrds related for a change).
I think that Gene and Terri Messina had a fatal attraction (certainly
friends at the time use that phrase when recalling their turbulent
relationship). She was an attractive, glamourous young woman when she
and Gene hooked up following the dissolution of his marriage to Carlie
in 1977. Some readers of the book have assumed that Carlie and Terri
were polar opposites but while Carlie may have taken to the more
laidback, rustic Mendocino lifestyle, she was no Daisy Duke and was a
college graduate and had been a dancer and record label exec before
running off to marry Gene in Mendocino. However that lifestyle had no
appeal to LA-born Terri who travelled in well-heeled Hollywood circles.
Certainly Gene’s circle expanded in her company.

Carlie fled from Gene because the booze and drugs were turning him
into something she could no longer deal with, especially having two
young children. Terri was already into that scene when she met Gene and
by her own admission was involved in the “supply side” of the drug
scene. Gene could get ‘way out there’ around Terri and it was okay, at
least at first, and got caught up in the whole Hollywood scene again.
As friend Ken Mansfield described, “That was the peak in Hollywood and
for all of us, when the drug thing was just at the heaviest. When you
said hi to someone, when they walked into the room, they’d say, ‘Who’s
got the blow?’ That was the whole thing. We all hung out at the
Troubadour and at the Roxy on the Strip. We would just go out together.
There was a real concentrated time when we would be out on the Strip
almost every night.” Also, there was a steady supply of drugs available
for Gene. 

As Gene’s friend Tom Slocum noted,“Terri was a very sophisticated
woman. She was the daughter of a doctor. She was a very smart person.
She may have had chemical problems, but what attracted Gene to her was
not the drugs. She had that aura of sophistication; she came from a
good family. She was a very pretty woman in her youth.”

But while the two lived the high life, Terri eventually cleaned
herself up and set as her goal cleaning Gene up, no easy feat indeed.
Terri got Gene’s financial house in order, took care of his medical
problems (including his stomach operation) and sought to create a more
stable environment for him. She even played surrogate mother to his
sons Kelly and Kai (although not all too well by her own admission).
But by then Gene was becoming his own worst enemy.

As son Kelly Clark remembers, “My earliest memories of my dad are the
Laurel Canyon days when he lived in the elf house with Terri Messina.
There was absolute craziness going on there. Terri and my dad were
doing a lot of cocaine. He got to the point once where he got kind of
nuts and threw stuff out the top window. They were way out of their
minds. I remember all the cool toys and hanging out with my dad, but I
also remember he was not very available most of the time. He slept
late; they were out a lot. I just remember lots of babysitters.”

Their on again, off again relationship included physical fights,
threats and drunken rages. Friends recall that they would break up only
to get back together after Gene would beg forgiveness and promise to
mend his ways. A friend of Terri’s beat Gene up and put him in hospital
once. Gene seemed obsessed with Terri and had a deep need to possess
her yet could never keep it together around her. He asked her to marry
him on more than one occasion but she refused (something she would come
to regret after Gene’s death). He clearly loved her but couldn’t
control his own excesses and demons enough to sustain a relationship.


Gene always seemed unlucky in love throughout his life. Probably his
most stable relationship was the first four or five years with Carlie
in Mendocino. They created an idyllic life there interrupted only when
Gene had to go back out on the road. Gene was looking for that kind of
stability in his relationship with Terri but by then there were just
too many variables involved - namely drugs, alcohol, and a frustrated
career - to keep it on an even keel.

Youngest son Kai Clark puts the two relationships in perspective. “A
lot of people are divorced and they’re always thinking that first
person is their love, but they know they can’t get along together, talk
to each other, or live together. That was my mom and dad. My mom and
Gene loved each other. She was the love of his life and he hers. They
knew they would never love anybody else like that. My dad loved Terri,
of course, but I think Terri was more of a soul mate and friend as well
as a lover. She was someone who was there when he needed someone to
confide in, hang out with, or drink with, or celebrate with, because my
mom wasn’t there. My mom and dad weren’t together a whole long time,
but the time that they were together was very special, and the result
was the two of us.”
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #140 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Tue 3 May 05 11:13
    
Hi Andrew. Yes, Gene Parsons' Kindling album is among my favourites
but as wonderful as it is it's not quite as groundbreaking or
influential as Gram Parsons' two solo albums GP and Grievous Angel. For
a lot of alt. country/new country artists today those albums are
ground zero.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #141 of 189: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Tue 3 May 05 14:22
    
There is an amazing amount of research in the book, particularly in
the wealth of first-hand interviews. Something that struck me, perhaps
in part because you got so very many perspectives, was that many of the
impressions of Gene were so different. Not necessarily at odds with
each other, but I almost got the sense that his life was rather
compartmentalized, with some of his closest musician friends knowing
little of his personal life, and some of his intimates being hardly
aware of different sides of the man than they saw. As just a couple of
examples, there's the comment earlier in this topic that Chris Hillman
found the book a revelation because he knew little of Gene's
background, despite having worked with him more closely than just about
any other musician. Also the book notes that when he left his family
and the Midwest to make it big, he was barely in touch with them over
the next few years, almost as though he didn't want them to know much
about his career.

Could you talk a little about your thoughts on whether Gene showed
different/limited sides of himself to others depending on his
relationships with them -- why he might have done this -- and how it
came through in his music?
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #142 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Tue 3 May 05 18:20
    
It was quite a jigsaw puzzle piecing together Gene's life because he
did compartmentalize his life and kept various circles as separate as
possible. More to the point though, Gene didn't trust many people and
was generally wary of most who encountered him. It took a long time for
him to get comfortable with people, which meant that what they knew of
him was dictated by how at ease he felt to open up with them. I've
heard from so many who knew Gene, not just Chris Hillman, who have
commented that they learned so much about him they never knew, yet they
spent considerable time with him. Or they learned about the other
compartments in his life, his other associations. I just heard this
evening from one of his closest friends who told me that the book
revealed so much he never knew, and he considered himself a close
confidante, as well as answering many questions. It's quite amazing
that between early 1964 and mid 1965, when he left the New Christy
Minstrels, formed the Byrds, forged a new identity and sound, took
Hollywood by storm at Ciro's, recorded a groundbreaking single and
album, and topped the charts worldwide, that his own family never heard
boo from him. They were completely in the dark until after the fact.

I've found that many close to Gene saw the symptoms of bi-polar
disorder or manic depression and panic disorder in him but never put it
down to a treatable mental health condition. They just thought at the
time that he was moody and nervous. Now they see the bigger picture
from the book. If only he had been able to get treatment is the common
reaction I've received.

It is true that associates, friends and contemporaries often knew a
different Gene Clark. But I think the strongest accounts or
observations of him throughout the book come from his family members,
notably sister Bonnie and brothers David and Rick. They knew the real
Harold Eugene Clark.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #143 of 189: Darrell Jonsson (jonsson) Wed 4 May 05 02:58
    

Any idea what the future has in hold for release/re-releases,
of Gene Clark's catalog of work; boxsets, live recordings,
demos and so on?  Is there enough demand to drive future
releases & repackagings?
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #144 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Wed 4 May 05 05:48
    
Currently there are some plans to release some of Gene's long lost
treasure trove of 60s unreleased tracks. Negotiating licincing for some
of the material will take time as it's rather complicated but it looks
promising. The initiative is there. There is also a live CD release in
the works, too, from later in his career. Nothing definite on either
of these projects but it's encouraging. I think the greatest interest
will be the latter 60s demos comprising the Gene Clark Sings For You
tracks plus additional tracks from that period. While the UK Flying
High double CD did a fine job of pulling together some of Gene's best
work, there is still need for a more comprehensive multi-CD package
drawn from his entire career. But I'm not sure if a record label will
see the marketability of such a product.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #145 of 189: Dave Zimmer (waterbrother) Wed 4 May 05 06:08
    
Morning, John. Let's hope we do get to hear some of that work and,
that, as <slf> suggested in an earlier post, you're able to convince
Chris Hillman to start putting some of his stories down on tape.  His
high regard for Mr. Tambourine Man may help open that door a bit more.

Looking again at your book ... near the end of Chapter Eight, you
include an excerpt from a late 1984 Gene Clark interview.  At turns
wistful, regretful and hopeful, Gene's seemingly honest and candid
words includes the following:

" ... But the problem is you think you have to keep up with Stephen
Stills, that you have to keep up with so and so.  I had three Ferraris,
I had maids, I had a large home in L.A., a ranch in Northern
California.  The overhead was staggering.  You never stop to think you
can live a lot cheaper than that.  When you're a rock 'n' roll star,
one of the downfalls of it is having to keep up that image.  You don't
have to do it that way.  The advent of showmanship in Los Angeles --
limousines, parties, things like that -- you were spending hundreds and
hundreds of dollars a day.  And that's really where a lot of it went
for us.  A lot of my friends would not deny that, including my friends
Stephen Stills and Roger McGuinn. ..."

I found it curious that Gene referred to Stephen Stills twice -- first
as an example of someone he strove to keep up with, then as an example
of someone who also realized that the trappings of fame could not only
eat up your emotional center but your band accounts as well. 
Interestingly enough, by the mid 1980s, Stills was, in fact, no longer
at the top of his game artistically and commercially and had downsized
certain aspects of his lifestyle.  But I was not aware that Gene and
Stephen were friends then or hung out together much, if at all.  Do you
think Gene was just pulling Stills (and McGuinn for that matter) out
of the air during the course of an interview?  Or do you think he
genuinely viewed their fates as somehow connected to his own?
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #146 of 189: Darrell Jonsson (jonsson) Wed 4 May 05 06:14
    

Did he ever consider working the logistics of his touring more around
tourbuses, trains, transatlantic ships, or just getting some So. Cal.
residency sort of gigs as an andetote to the fear of flying?

What kind of psychological or spiritual help did he seek out if any?

Lastly if ever there was a living parable to problems of excess it
seems Gene and Gram were close to it.  Has Roger McQuinn or Chris
Hilman ever said anything about *not* wanting to turn out like
Gene or Gram, as being a motivation to clean up their lifestyle
at any point in time.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #147 of 189: Dave Zimmer (waterbrother) Wed 4 May 05 06:18
    
Darrell slipped in further comments and questions ... But in post
<145> I meant "bank accounts" not *band* accounts ... though that may
have been the case, too! Sorry for the typo, John.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #148 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Wed 4 May 05 06:55
    
Hi Dave. Thanks for your post. I never found any evidence that Gene
and Stephen Stills were friends other than the fact that each may have
shared similar music business circles at one time. I, too, found the
reference odd at the time but placed it in the context of Stills being
an example of someone who let all the trappings of success go to his
head in terms of leading an excessively lavish lifestyle in order to
live up to the rock star persona. I remember in the 70s reading stories
of Stills' owning several mansions both in North America and the UK
and maintaining a rather extravagant lifestyle hopnobbing with various
Beatles and Stones (I recall being surprised to see Stills at Mick and
Bianca Jagger's wedding). He was the typical rock star jetsetter and
was living large, likely beyond his means. 

When I was writing my biography of Buffalo Springfield friends close
to Stills in the early days claim he coveted that kind of fame and
attention as much as artistic acclaim. In other words he always sought
all the trappings of fame - cars, mansions, extravagance, celebrity
status, exclusive social circle. So in that context it makes sense that
Gene would view him as an example of the extreme rock star. After all,
Gene had been there too in the mid 60s and knew the pitfalls of that
mindset first hand. And I'm sure Gene was aware, as well, of Stills'
downsizing in the early 80s, thus the second reference to him in that
interview as someone who lived above the clouds before having to come
down to earth. I wouldn't regard Roger McGuinn in the same catagory as
Stills (I don't think he ever earned anything near the money Stills
did) but, again, Gene may have witnessed Roger downsizing in the 80s. 

A lot of rock stars from the 60s and 70s were forced to re-evaluate
their lifestyle in the 80s after the record sales and tours declined
along with bad investments and dwindling bank accounts. I recall John
Kay of Steppenwolf relating to me how one day their accountant who
looked after all their spending (they had no idea of their finances,
simply sending bills to him) came to see them to announce that they
were broke and that their investments had been tapped out. John and
Jutta had to scale down their lifestyle significantly. And they weren't
alone in that reality check.

It's odd that Gene would appear so level-headed and insightful about
the realities of the fame game and the Hollywood lifestyle in that 1984
interview only to go over the deep end five years later after Tom
Petty recorded Gene's "I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better" and the big
6-figure checks began rolling in after a twenty-five year drought. He
spent like a sailor of shore leave with no regard for investing in his
future and some financial stability, all the things he cited in that
1984 interview. He turned into Stephen Stills of old all over again.
Friends confided that Gene was often better off being without money
than with and some insist that the Petty money marked the beginning of
the end for Gene.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #149 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Wed 4 May 05 07:09
    
Thanks for your question, Darrell. As the book reveals, any kind of
travel, not just airplanes, was problematic for Gene. In McGuinn, Clark
& Hillman they tried buses, town cars, trains all with the same
panicked reaction from Gene. They tried sedating him, even having a
muscular hireling strong-arm Gene into the vehicle. He simply did not
travel well.

Gene never sought psychological help for his problems and any
spiritual guidance would have been through Native American spirituality
much too late in his life. His method of dealing with his problems was
in a bottle or a vial.

Chris Hillman related an anecdote about Gram to me once. “I read ‘Gram
did this’ and ‘Gram did that.’ But to this day, I’ve got to be honest
here, he’ll get credit for “Sin City!” ‘Gram Parsons’ “Sin City.”’ It
bothers me. I wrote half that song while he was asleep.  But it’s okay.
My wife says, ‘You wanna trade places with him right now? Don’t worry
about it.’”

Chris and Roger are survivors. They've witnessed the train wrecks and
viewed the wreckage and I'm sure have been chastened by it.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #150 of 189: Steve Silberman (digaman) Wed 4 May 05 08:13
    
> When I was writing my biography of Buffalo Springfield friends close
 to Stills in the early days claim he coveted that kind of fame and
 attention as much as artistic acclaim. In other words he always sought
 all the trappings of fame - cars, mansions, extravagance, celebrity
 status, exclusive social circle.

That would be ironic, but predictable, given how much he complained about 
those trappings in song once he had them.

"Everybody wants to hear the music in my head
The price I pay is too much
And I'm winding up in debt..."

        -- Relaxing Town, Stephen Stills 2
  

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