inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #151 of 189: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Wed 4 May 05 08:52
As long as we're talking about Gene's up-and-down wealth, something
that's always puzzled me a little about his financial situations is how
much he got in terms of song royalties. The point has been made, in
John's book and elsewhere, that Gene was making more money than the
other Byrds in their first year or so of fame, because he had by far
the most songwriting credits. It's been speculated that this is one
reason that relations between him and the others became strained in the
era shortly before his departure. Presumably, in the lean years when
his records weren't selling or he wasn't making records at all, those
royalties from the early Byrds records helped sustain him to some

John, I'm guessing you didn't have access to financial records that
would let you know what the royalty flow was. But in your estimation,
was it really that big a factor in causing resentment among the other
Byrds, and one of several factors in his departure from the band? And
were continuing royalties from those days one reason he was able to
more or less keep afloat in later years?
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #152 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Wed 4 May 05 10:57
Gene's song catalogue is still earning his estate, of which his sons
are the sole benefactors, a high 5-figure return each year. And that’s
almost exclusively from his Byrds songs. He did not control his
publishing (which takes 50% of the money a song earns) but his estate
still receives his writer royalties from 4 sources: performance income
including radio, television, film; synchronized licensing with film,
television, or movies; print — sheet music; and mechanicals — record
sales. Carlie Clark told me that during the latter 60s and early 70s,
Gene was still pulling in a substantial sum annually from his
songwriting even though his records at the time weren't selling that
much. His Byrds income was still spinning plenty of dough to keep them
living comfortably in Mendocino for the first few years. The Tom Petty
cover of "I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better" brought in well over 6 figures
for Gene in the early '90s because Petty's album sold something like 4
million copies. Obviously that album is still selling and earning

Back in the mid 60s if you had a single that went gold (1 million
copies) and you wrote either the A or B side (both earned the same sum
from mechanicals - not performance and other rights), you could expect
to pocket anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 depending, of course, on
your contract (most singles only earned a couple of cents per sale).
Gene wrote the flipsides of "Mr. Tambourine Man", "All I Really Want To
Do" and "Turn! Turn! Turn!", two of which were gold singles and at the
time (and still today) staple radio play fodder. Plus he wrote 5
tracks on their first album and 3 on their second, both albums selling
over 100,000 copies easy (and still selling in reissued CD form). Add
to that 1/3 share of the writer royalties on "Eight Miles High", 1/2 of
"You Showed Me" plus small amounts for a few other covers of his songs
as well as a percentage of record sales for the Byrds as a group off
the singles and albums and you get the picture that his bank account
was significantly fatter than the others. Did it cause resentment? Yes.
Both Roger and David admit that. Not enough to force him out of the
Byrds but fuel for an already burning fire.

Consider the fact that even in their big year, 1965, the Byrds likely
weren’t making more than $10,000 per gig, in fact, probably less given
ticket prices at the time. So touring revenue was pretty insignificant
for the five members. That’s one reason why Gene had no problems
leaving the group; touring wasn’t worth the hassle for him when he
could sit at home and collect royalty cheques.

Both Kelly and Kai Clark realize that the royalties will not go on
forever and have invested the money and draw on the
interest/investments. But it’s their legacy from their father.
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #153 of 189: Darrell Jonsson (jonsson) Wed 4 May 05 11:06

So it sounds like he may not even been fianancially 
motivated after the Byrds to continue making music.

He must of had a relentless muse over the decades
and loved some aspect of music, or were other 
people/forces pushing him back into the game?

Just curious.
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #154 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Wed 4 May 05 11:15
Gene was driven by his muse, not other forces. He only went back out
on the road for financial reasons in the latter 70s but his songwriting
was always self-driven. It was the one constant in his life and he
continued writing until the day before he died.
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #155 of 189: Dave Zimmer (waterbrother) Wed 4 May 05 13:26
John, about that wonderful poem about Gene by Pamela Richardson,
Tipton's Vein of Silver, which can be found in your book ... where did
you come across this moving verse? And who is Pamela Richardson?
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #156 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Wed 4 May 05 14:50
Pamela Richardson is wonderfully talented Chicago-based
singer/songwriter who has been influenced by Gene Clark/the Byrds among
others. She wrote "Tipton's Veil of Silver" for a Gene Clark tribute
CD and when I read the lyrics, courtesy of Buddy Woodward (of Buddy
Woodward and the Nitro Express), I thought it would make a poignant
closing to the book. Go to to check
out Pam’s recorded works. You won't be disappointed. She has a new CD
out very soon.
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #157 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Wed 4 May 05 15:58
Sorry. I'm all thumbs today. That's "Tipton's Vein of Silver".
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #158 of 189: Darrell Jonsson (jonsson) Thu 5 May 05 00:46

Since so many Country Rock afficiandos seem be lurking here, 
I wanted to explore a couple of interelated questions.

digaman and waterbrother mentioned above the Stills stardom syndrome
that Gene seems to share somewhat. I was wondering if the L.A. scene
fed they stardom-trappings ethic more than the S.F. scene?

Also was curious with the cultural differences between L.A.
and S.F. how Gene Clark was recieved and/or related to the
S.F. scene if at all?

I realise that GD members as well as Gene Clark, Chris Hillman,
Clarence White, McQuinn, Gene Parsons, Gram Parsons all had
solid country/country-folk credentials of one degree or another.
In fact just about everybody who grew up in North America can
claim without too much of a stretch some degree of C&W legacy.
It seems a little wierd Hillman would be bugged or threatened
by the Parsons cult.

Still tho;
Working Man's Dead and American Beauty seemed to almost have come out
of nowhere, I was wondering if there were any complaints from those who
had earlier plowed the Country Rock furrows to what could be
interpreted as GD's jumping on the bandwagon?
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #159 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Thu 5 May 05 05:28
Hi Darrell. It took me a few minutes to figure out what GD was in your
post. In fact I don't think Workingman's Dead and American Beauty came
out of nowhere. There was already a growing and influential
folk/country/bluegrass/roots music community alive in southern
California in the latter 60s and many of those players/bands crossed
paths with the Dead. More to the point, Garcia was a die-hard bluegrass
and country fan having played that music earlier in his career. Herb
Pedersen, of the Dillards and later the Desert Rose Band with Chris
Hillman, had been a member of the close-knit folk and bluegrass
community in Berkeley during the early sixties that included David
Grisman and Jerry Garcia. “We had a bluegrass band, at the same time
Garcia had another bluegrass band,” recalled Herb. “David Nelson, who
was later with the New Riders of the Purple Sage was with us. Jerry
grew up in the Bay, so we would see each other a lot. He was into the
real traditional stuff, Ralph Stanley and all that, and played banjo.”
Herb also remembered attending Buck Owens concerts with Garcia in the
early 60s.

While the country rock community was based in and around LA it still
filtered up to San Francisco where electric country music was
appreciated. As Buckaroo Tom Brumley recounts, "We did the Fillmore in
San Francisco in 1967, and that was an experience. There wasn’t a chair
or seat in the building. Everybody was on the floor smoking pot having
a good time. We filled that place two nights in a row, and they loved
it. It was absolutely amazing.” 

So, in this context, I never regarded the Dead as jumping on any
bandwagon. It just made sense after the excesses of psychedelic acid
rock had run its course to return to a more natural, American roots
music in the latter 60s. In addition, the Dead were being assisted by
Stills and Crosby to develop their vocal sound and harmonies.

Gene was more of an LA-based performer, or at least associated more
with the LA music scene (even while residing in Mendocino) than a
Frisco artist. He performed there and recorded there but was never a
part of that scene.

I don't think Chris Hillman is "bugged or threatened" by the Gram
Parsons mystique. It's just that Parsons receives an inordinate amount
of credit for "giving birth" to country rock when, in fact, Hillman was
doing that earlier and became a collaborator with Parsons. Many of the
original country rockers harbor some resentment that their
contributions are ignored as younger players today rush to canonize
Gram Parsons. The fact is Gram was not alone nor operating in a vacuum.
There was plenty of country music in the air in California (and
elsewhere) in the mid to latter 60s. It's just that Gram's life fits
the romantic Tennessee Williams/Hank Williams image. 
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #160 of 189: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Thu 5 May 05 08:36
Gene Clark's most direct contribution to country-rock seemed to be as
part of Dillard and Clark in the late '60s. I've always found it
strange, though perhaps indicative of part of Gene's personality, that
he was somehow eased out of a central position in that act. I think
everyone involved in Dillard & Clark (as well as virtually all
listeners) would agree that he was the most talented songwriter and
singer associated with them. But by the time of their second album, it
was almost as if he was a sideman in his own band.

John, do you think Gene lacked the leadership skills and assertiveness
necessary to be the focal point and creative engine of a band (not
just Dillard & Clark, but any band he was involved with over his long
career) on a long-term basis? I'm not using "assertiveness" as a
negative adjective here. I think, to use examples from his most famous
group, McGuinn, Crosby, and Hillman all had or developed the confidence
to put their ideas forth and steer them in a band situation, both
within the Byrds and in their subsequent projects. But Gene Clark
seemed riddled with a reticence that held him back in this regard.
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #161 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Thu 5 May 05 08:54
You are correct in your assessment of Gene's reluctance as a band
leader, Richie. Almost every band member he worked with throughout his
career pointed to Gene's lack of assertiveness and inability to take
the reins and be a leader. He was more passive aggressive. In every one
of his band situations another more dominant personality would assert
direction (McGuinn and Crosby, Doug Dillard, Laramy Smith, Tommy Kaye,
Rick Danko) and Gene would follow until he had had enough, got
frustrated and wanted to move on. 

Instead of taking the rudder and steering the boat in the direction he
wanted to now go he would simply withdraw. His brother David pointed
that out from early on in Gene's life. He certainly did that in Dillard
& Clark and as a result of his withdrawing from any leadership role,
their second album suffered under Dillard's direction moving the band
into a more traditional/old time bluegrass outfit. If Gene had been
more assertive, Dillard & Clark might have achieved far more than they
did (although they became extremely influential after the fact). But
that just wasn't in him and his entire career suffered. He could be
stubborn, for sure, but he lacked the ability to direct his fellow
players. In addition, he hated to be the one in the spotlight with all
attention focused on him, and a leader needs to be able to deal with
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #162 of 189: Darrell Jonsson (jonsson) Thu 5 May 05 09:03
It sounds like Gene Clark started ball dropping as early as New
Christy Minstrels. He seems like quite a complicated case, the more
John tells us about him the more complicated and puzzling Clark sounds.
I'm going to have to get this book just to read about this personality
of previously unimaginable personality complications. Whew what a
piece of work!

John did you have any clue what you were getting into when you
started exploring this story?

The thing that amazes me is that all the demons that plummeted
his body and mind still had him lifting a few world-class tunes up for
offering into at least the late 80s.
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #163 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Thu 5 May 05 09:16
That Gene was able to create such a brilliant and timeless body of
work despite the obstacles he had to deal with is quite remarkable. Did
I know what I was getting into when I took on the project? No. Believe
me, it's been quite a journey of exploration and revelation. From the
feedback I've been receiving both from reviews and comments from
readers, the book offers a hitherto unopened window into the often
troubled psyche of a gifted musical giant. A lot of longstanding
questions are answers and myths shattered. I hope you do pick up a copy
of the book (and not for any commercial reasons on my part) because I
think you'll find it a fascinating read.
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #164 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Fri 6 May 05 06:16
Last day of my stint at the Inkwell and it's been a wonderful
experience. Thanks to everyone at the Well - David, Cynthia and Hal -
for getting me onboard, up and running, and to Steve Silberman who kept
me on my toes with insightful questions and stimuli. It was a hoot.

If you've got any questions or comments, please fire away today.
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #165 of 189: Dave Zimmer (waterbrother) Fri 6 May 05 06:52
John, your tenure on Inkwell.vue has featured wonderful thoughts and
tons of information. Anyone with even a passing interest in Gene Clark
should read your book -- speaking of which ... on the final pages you
offer insights into the current lives of Gene Clark's sons, Kelly and
Kai -- the latter trying his hand at music.  Even though we're in an
age where '60s musician's progeny (from Jakob Dylan to Chris Stills to
Sean Ono Lennon to Rufus Wainwright) are achieving various levels of
success (and lack of success), do you have any sense of whether or not
Kai has what it takes to add much to the Clark musical legacy? 
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #166 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Fri 6 May 05 07:02
Thanks Dave. I've appreciated your postings during my stint here. Kai
Clark included one of his own compositions, In My Heart, on the Not
Lame tribute CD Full Circle: A Tribute to Gene Clark released in 2000
and it's a good song inspired by is father. I've heard some of his
demos and he definitely has talent and sounds a bit like Gene. I
recently talked with Kai and while he is still pursuing his music
career, he's also at college learning a profession. Kai has always
approached the music business somewhat cautiously and not as
aggressively, perhaps, as some young artists might. But I think he's
got it in perspective and is level-headed about a music career. He's
seen the pitfalls and is careful to avoid them. I think his attitude is
that music is a part of who he is and it always will be but he doesn't
want to make the sacrifices his father had to make or deal with.
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #167 of 189: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Fri 6 May 05 09:49
This is one of the most content-rich inkwells I've seen.
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #168 of 189: wish you the very beat (tinymonster) Fri 6 May 05 09:52
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #169 of 189: Peter Meuleners (pjm) Fri 6 May 05 10:11
John, what's your next project?
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #170 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Fri 6 May 05 10:36
Thank you! I was worried that my responses were sometimes a bit too
lengthy but I must admit the questions/issues everyone has been raising
have really been thought-provoking.

I've been approached to consider a couple of topics for my next
projects but haven't settled on anything yet. In the last two years I
wrote 2 full books, a TV documentary script (on Buffy Sainte-Marie) and
contributed to a couple of other books/projects so it's been quite
hectic. I'd like to take a bit of time before jumping into anything. I
do have a couple of pet projects I would like to tackle. One is a
biography of either Richard Manuel or Rick Danko, both of The Band. My
only hesitation might be that having just done a book about a deceased
recording artist who lived somewhat tragically in latter years, I don't
know if I want to revisit that place again. I have always wanted to do
a book on Zal Yanovsky because I feel he is a vastly under rated
musician (just listen to the Buffalo Springfield and you can definitely
hear Zal's guitar influence) but can't seem to convince publishers.
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #171 of 189: Gary Lambert (almanac) Fri 6 May 05 11:17

John, should it ever become reality, I will be the first person camped
out at the bookstore to buy that Zal Yanovsky bio! He was one of my
first guitar heroes, and criminally underrated, as you say. Those lovely
left-hand hammer-ons (a guitar adaptation of what the great country
pianist Floyd Cramer was doing with his right-hand) were unlike anything
I'd heard in rock music up to that point, and were widely emulated by
many of the countryfied rockers who came later.

One player who has praised Zally is Peter Buck of R.E.M.  Rolling Stone
did a piece in which contemporary guitar heroes were asked to name their
personal icons and influences, and Buck chose Yanovsky.
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #172 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Fri 6 May 05 11:27
Zal was my first rock 'n' roll hero not simply for his zany antics,
cool image and hot guitar licks but the fact that besides all that, he
was a Canadian rock 'n' roller. Not many of those in the Beatle era. He
became an inspiration to so many of us Canadian teenagers back in

You are absolutely correct, that little triplet you hear in so many
Springfield songs like "Go and Say Goodbye" and "Expecting To Fly" is
from Zal attempting to cop Floyd Cramer's distinctive piano trills.
Steve Boone from the Spoonful told me when I was writing my Desperados
book, “We loved Floyd Cramer. All of us were major fans of somebody or
other in country music. I think the Lovin’ Spoonful were one of the
front runners in bringing country influences into rock.” And Jerry
Yester, who replaced Zal stated, “A lot of Zally’s guitar playing was
based on Floyd Cramer piano licks, that little raised third he used to
play a lot. He was a big fan of George Jones as well. A lot of the folk
musicians were influenced by country music because country music came
from folk.” 
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #173 of 189: Low and popular (rik) Fri 6 May 05 11:44
That Floyd Cramer lick came into the folk lexicon by way of a bunch of us
learning "Last Date".   Do it on a Gretsch, give that Bigsby a little shake,
et voila, Neil Young.
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #174 of 189: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Fri 6 May 05 12:23

This has, indeed, been a rich discussion, John, and we thank you for joining
us for the past two weeks. You're more than welcome to continue as long as
you like, the topic will remain open for comment indefinitely.
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #175 of 189: Hal Royaltey (hal) Fri 6 May 05 12:27
As John noted above, this is the last day of his formal interview
here at the Inkwell.   I'd like to thank both John and Steve for
a lively, fascinating two weeks - weeks which passed all too
quickly.   Thanks so much to both of you!

The discussion is by no means over, however.   Well members are
invitied to continue to discuss the book and Gene Clark in this
space, and the hosts will continue to post comments from those
off the Well who would like to participate.


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