inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #26 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Sat 23 Apr 05 16:46
    
Thanks Steve. Jump in when the time is right for you. I am always
amazed at the number of Gene Clark fans (for lack of a better word, but
those who appreciate Gene's body of work) there are.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #27 of 189: Low and popular (rik) Sat 23 Apr 05 22:00
    
I just want to mention that I saw Gene with the Gosdin Brothers at the Ash
Grove back in 67 or 68, and went right out and bought a copy of "Sounds of
Goodbye", which I have pretty much worn through.   They did some Everly Bros
stuff that was stunning.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #28 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Sun 24 Apr 05 06:12
    
That would have been in the spring of 1967 at the Ash Grove, likely
March, when Gene, Clarence White, John York and Eddie Hoh performed
with Vern and Rex Gosdin to promote Gene's debut solo album recorded
with the Gosdins. That lineup only did a couple of gigs. Sounds of
Goodbye came out in 1968 and is a great album now available on CD with
a ton of bonus tracks from Big Beat Records.

Interesting to note that Gene's debut solo album was never intended to
be a co-billing with the Gosdin Brothers until much later in the
sessions. Producer Larry Marks steered much of the album through and
said it was a solo album but when he left the sessions with only a few
tracks left to finish, Gary Usher and Jim Dickson finished it up and it
was Dickson who elevated Vern and Rex to co-billing status. “The
Gosdin Brothers were not involved in that album at all when I was
there,” insists Larry Marks, who produced much of the album. “I knew
them, but I was doing a Gene Clark solo album, that’s all, and that’s
the way it would have finished if I had stuck around to the end. Even
if they had done the singing on it, which was great, it wouldn’t have
been 'Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers'. It was Gene’s album.
Dickson might have thought it was good marketing for both artists. Gene
was fairly dependent on Jim.” Unfortunately the co-billing confused
record buyers who weren't sure it was, in fact, Gene's solo debut.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #29 of 189: Low and popular (rik) Sun 24 Apr 05 07:41
    
The show itself was a trio gig, billing aside.  They sounded like a band,
and they looked like a band.   I guess Gene's natural shyness had him
using them for a comfort zone.  The entire night was three-part harmonies,
and it knocked me out.  It was also the first time I's ever seen Clarence
with a Tele.   Prior to that, he'd simply been that amazing flatpicker from
the Kentucky Colonels, who played straight bluegrass.    And this was pre B-
bender.

I can see how the co-billing might have been bad marketing, but it reflected
what I saw on stage.  I don't remember waiting six months to buy the album.
was it already in the can?    Come to think of it, they weren't exactly co-
billed.  They were on the second line (..."with the Gosdin Brothes") and had
no first names.    But they were full equals on stage, and there was a buzz
around the Ash Grove/Troubadour axis that maybe Gene had finally pulled it
together.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #30 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Sun 24 Apr 05 10:16
    
The period between Gene's leaving the Byrds (February/March 1966) and
hooking up with Douglas Dillard (June 1968) remains particularly
fascinating to Genophiles because so much mystery surrounds it. In that
2-year period he only performed a handful of times (including, along
with the set you witnessed at the Ash Grove, an earlier stint at the
Whisky in June 1966 and a rare solo set on acoustic guitar in December
1966 at the Santa Monica Civic Center opening for the Count V,
Standells, Seeds, Turtles, and Love) and rejoined the Byrds twice (once
to fill in for an ailing Crosby in September 1966 and later to replace
Crosby, albeit briefly, in October 1967). Yet despite what appeared to
be a stalled solo career he was writing prolifically and later
remarked that the period represented one of his most creative in terms
of churning out songs (he claimed to have a closet full of tapes and
acetates and friends recall him recording demos frequently, manager Jim
Dickson stating that they couldn't keep up with all his demos).
Unfortunately little from that time exists today outsude of private
hands other than the debut album with the Gosdins, an unreleased single
(The French Girl/Only Colombe), and a couple of unfinished tracks with
ex-Fugitives Larry (Laramy) Smith and Wayne Bruns plus Richard 'Aaron'
Vandervordt. Myth surrounds the eight Gene Clark Sings For You tracks
cut in mid 1967, the mistaken assumption being this was an unreleased
second solo album. But for an artist trying to launch a solo career
during those two years, Gene seemed to be doing everything wrong.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #31 of 189: from JAMES DUSEWICZ (tnf) Sun 24 Apr 05 17:51
    



James Dusewicz writes:




To quote Gene Clark from the 1984 Holger Peterson
unpublished interview on pg. 180, last paragraph
thereof. MR. TAMBORINE MAN: "Part of The Byrds Reunion
Album is actually, me and David Crosby and Neil Young
and different assortments of people on it".
Has any of the principals corroborated this?
When a member of Rustlist contacted Chris Hillman he
said Neil was not on the album. That member sent
queries out to Crosby and McGuinn that are still
waiting to be answered. This album(highly underrated)
was actually my first Byrds album vinyl purchase. Boy
was I surprised!




James  Dusewicz
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #32 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Mon 25 Apr 05 10:05
    
Memories fade over time, James. Not sure if anyone can corroborate
this now (and they may not want to, that's their perogative). With that
album there were so few times when the 5 Byrds were all present
together that they may not have known who was and wasn't contributing.
It was a very piecemeal album to make. 
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #33 of 189: Steve Silberman (digaman) Mon 25 Apr 05 10:21
    
Since <croz> produced the album -- to greater and lesser effect -- maybe 
he remembers.  I have invited him here.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #34 of 189: Low and popular (rik) Mon 25 Apr 05 10:22
    
Ahh, the miracle of multitracking.   I once played rhythm guitar for Mike
Bloomfield, but I never met him.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #35 of 189: Steve Silberman (digaman) Mon 25 Apr 05 11:06
    
John, one of the things that I wanted to ask you is, how much do you think 
that Gene's lack of consistent management impaired his career?  
Obviously, somebody like Neil has been packaged and handled very well for 
decades now, giving him both a tremendous amount of creative freedom and a 
solid image in the marketplace that has enabled him to surf everything 
from the singer-songwriter era to grunge, and always come out on top.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #36 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Mon 25 Apr 05 11:52
    
I think Gene suffered from a lack of consistent management, Steve.
Unlike Neil Young who has always had Elliot Roberts in his corner
allowing him to focus on the artistic/creative side without worrying
about the business, Gene never had that. He lacked any business acumen
as well as never having someone out there always fighting for him in
the music business. There is no doubt that Gene needed direction and
was not, by most accounts, an easy guy to give direct to but his career
suffered as a result. 

For example, when he left the Byrds (the official announcement was
made in March 1966) he should have been ushered into a studio as soon
as possible to get a single rush-released to capitalize on the
attention from the split and to keep his name at the attention of the
record-buying public as well as Byrds fans. Instead, his debut solo
single, Echoes, appeared in mid December 1966, with the album following
in February (by then he was almost forgotten). Then he didn't release
another album for a year and a half! If he had strong management behind
him there would have been some momentum building. 

If you look at his recorded output after leaving the Byrds it's
erratic - different labels, gaps between releases, different
collaborations, an inconsistent style from album to album. While these
qualities certainly rank him as eclectic they didn't encourage a
consistent career. And Gene wanted his records to succeed and was
deeply disappointed when each one failed. But he never really wanted to
play the game, namely to become a public personality, tour, do
interviews, release recordings at regular intervals. Gene just couldn't
do that. Perhaps strong, consistent management could have dealt with
that. It’s not like Neil's a public personality. I think Neil and Gene
had a lot in common.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #37 of 189: Steve Silberman (digaman) Mon 25 Apr 05 15:27
    
Thanks, John.

How much do you think Gene's influence has percolated outward into the 
current musical landscape?  Obviously, the Byrds as a whole, as a 
signature sound, is now inextricably woven into pop music.  But what about 
Gene's particular influence?  How much did his other projects, such as 
Dillard & Clark, have an effect on the evolution of so-called country 
rock?  Can you point to any bands today in which you hear traces of Gene's 
sound, or have any living musicians contacted you since the book came out 
to tell you how much Gene meant to them?
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #38 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Mon 25 Apr 05 15:53
    
There have been three Gene Clark tribute compilations released in the
last couple of years by young artists who have been inspired by Gene's
body of work. Most are alt. country/indie outfits like The Kennedys,
Steve Wynn, Buddy Woodward, Sid Griffin, but some are well known like
John Jorgenson (hotshot guitarist in the Desert Rose Band), Nashville
singer/songwriter Bill Lloyd, and Carla Olson (one CD was recorded by
Australian artists). 

Many of the alt. country recording artists today like Mark Olson and
Victoria Williams cite Gene's direct influence on them. As Victoria
Williams told me, "The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark was a
great record! I think we learned every song on that album. When I
started playing music in Louisiana we did Dillard & Clark songs, and
Gene Clark’s songs, and, of course, Gram Parsons. They sort of gave me
that inspiration to think, ‘Well I’ll write songs too then.’ I got to
meet Gene Clark when I first moved to California. He was so wonderful.
He was one of these people whose music I loved back in Louisiana. I met
him at the Whisky. I was in awe of him." Adds Mark Olson, “When you
listened to Gene Clark, you realized you were listening to someone who
could really sing and write well. For me, listening to that first
Dillard & Clark album shoved me more in the folk direction.”

There is no doubting the influence Dillard & Clark had on the
evolution of country rock in the latter 60s to early 70s (pre-Eagles).
When I was researching and writing my book "Desperados: The Roots of
Country Rock" so many of the pioneers of that genre declare Dillard &
Clark to be the most authentic country-rock amalgamation of all the
artists attempting that merger at the time. Certainly Chris Hillman
insists that Dillard & Clark were far more innovative and influential
at the time than the Flying Burrito Brothers (and insists Gene was a
far better songwriter than Gram Parsons), as does Rusty Young from
Poco, Mike Nesmith, and John McEuen from the Dirt Band, just to name a
few. Dillard & Clark are an important cog in that wheel of what would
become commercially acceptable by the mid 70s with the Eagles. Don't
forget that founding Eagle Bernie Leadon was in Dillard & Clark before
the Burritos and learned songwriting from Gene.

While I've not been contacted directly by any current recording
artists, that doesn't mean Gene's influence isn't still felt. I know
that he is held in high esteem in the UK and younger bands like Teenage
Fanclub have covered his songs. But more than just his existing songs,
Gene's poetry and melancholy style remain an influence on songwriters
today. Anybody who cites the Byrds as an influence knows about Gene's
influence.

What is needed is a high-profile Gene Clark tribute CD or concert
where some of those big name artists who revere Gene step up to the
plate and pay tribute.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #39 of 189: Steve Silberman (digaman) Mon 25 Apr 05 16:18
    
Wonderful answer, John.

For the sake of the fans here who may not have read your book yet (Go get 
it!), could you please clarify Gene's role in the composition of 8 Miles 
High?
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #40 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Mon 25 Apr 05 17:09
    
Thanks Steve. Gene was inspired to compose “Eight Miles High”
following the Byrds' hasty tour of England in August 1965. The band did
not go over well and were lambasted by most of the press. In their
defence, the five Byrds were exhausted from a rigorous US tour and
suffering from colds/flu.

Back in the US in November, the Byrds were opening for the Rolling
Stones in Pittsburgh when Gene and Brian Jones got together for dinner
at their hotel and talked about that ill-fated Byrds UK tour. The germ
of a song idea was planted in Gene's mind based on his conversation
with Brian (Gene credited Brian for assisting with the genesis of the
song in an interview once) and, back out on the road, he began
developing the lyrics and chords. “I had an idea for some lyrics,”
stated Gene in a later interview, “and wrote them on a piece of paper
during the conversation with Brian. Later on I found them in my jacket
pocket on the tour bus. I took my guitar and started making up a melody
for it. The initial idea was discussed on the plane over the Atlantic
on our trip to England, but the actual writing of it started on a tour
with the Stones when we were back in the States.”

Gene played the rough composition to David (Crosby) and Roger
(McGuinn) who then contributed to its completion, David with the line
"Rain grey town known for its sound" and Roger the distinctive Ravi
Shankar/John Coltrane-inspired guitar figure that would later be termed
"raga rock", a precursor to acid/psychedelic rock. The Byrds had been
listening to nothing else other than Shankar and Coltrane in their
minibus on the road.

So the basic song (chords, lyrics) came from Gene describing their
flight (hence the eight miles high reference although it was closer to
six miles), landing, arrival in London, and culture shock the Byrds
experienced. David added a line, Roger the unique guitar part and
arrangement. So when the song was released, the credits were shared by
all three equally (they still share the royalties equally). Gene
acknowledged in several interviews that “Eight Miles High” represented
the pinnacle of his Byrds songwriting experience because it was a
collaboration between all three. David and Roger both agreed in
interviews with me. “It was my favorite moment,” says David. “It was
when we actually started to come into our own.”

The band cut two versions, one in late December at RCA studios and
another in January at Columbia studios (ultimately the single version).
Fans remain divided over which is the best version. Both have their
merits (and both are on the reissued Fifth Dimension album if you want
to compare them – the RCA version is a little more urgent)

Unfortunately when the single was released in March 1966 after Gene
had already left the band, the title made some radio programmers
uneasy. To them the “high” implied drugs, despite insistence from the
group that it was about a plane ride. Many radio stations refused to
play it and influential programming service Bill Gavin’s Record Report
banned the record. Why such an incredibly innovative record was kept
out of the top ten (it should have been #1) remains a travesty but that
was the tenor of the times. “Eight Miles High” is a milestone in rock
music’s evolution pointing the way toward psychedelic rock a full year
before.

Since Gene’s death, the credits have been altered on subsequent Byrds
releases to read McGuinn, Crosby, Clark, a move that has drawn ire from
Clark associates.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #41 of 189: from GENE HARROLD (tnf) Mon 25 Apr 05 18:41
    


Gene Harrold writes:


Hi John.
   Did you ask the surviving Byrds why Gene was left out of the Byrds box set
sessions? I know there was tension due to the court case about the ownership
of the Byrds' name... Gene had used it for his Byrds 'tribute' tour but he
had shut it down by that time.. Just seems awfully petty to have left Clark
out and what a lost opportunity!!

Thanks,
Gene Harrold
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #42 of 189: Steve Silberman (digaman) Mon 25 Apr 05 18:43
    
> Why such an incredibly innovative record was kept
 out of the top ten (it should have been #1) remains a travesty but that
 was the tenor of the times. 

And increasingly the tenor of ours, courtesy of the Republicans who'd 
rather have us chattering about "wardrobe malfunctions" rather than Iraq.
But that's another story.

As outrageous as that Gavin tale is, I always found the Byrds' insistence 
that the song was not a double entendre about drugs to be somewhat 
disingenuous.  They were certainly 200 miles high during that time period 
often enough -- I find it hard to believe that the double meaning didn't 
at least cross their minds, even if the fact that the lyrics are a perfect 
description of acid anomie, as well as travellers' anomie, was a 
propitious accident.

Interesting footnote:  The music of Ravi Shankar entered the scene when 
Jim Dickson turned Crosby onto it, and it was Crosby who got George 
Harrison into it.  And the rest is history, as they say.

That's wild about Brian Jones.  I suppose the Jones/Clark parallels don't 
stop there?
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #43 of 189: Steve Silberman (digaman) Mon 25 Apr 05 18:44
    
Sorry, an extra "rather" in there.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #44 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Mon 25 Apr 05 19:52
    
The three Byrds at the time in 1990 - McGuinn, Crosby and Hillman -
were mad at Gene and Michael for both doing their Byrds tribute shows
and decided not to include them in the sessions for the new tracks on
the box set. That was according to Chris Hillman. In retrospect he
regrets that decision. At the time, though, it was a case of who has
the right to use the Byrds name, not necessarily the legal right (as
Michael won it in court, although David owns it now) but the moral
right. The three believed that latter belonged to them. In court Gene
was ruled the "lesser Byrd"; he turned that into a persona as Lester
Byrd. So many vintage bands have run afoul of the name game with
certain members going out under the collective banner. Sad.

I agree, Steve, that the "high" was likely a double entendre and an
hip in joke played by the Byrds that, regretably, backfired.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #45 of 189: Steve Silberman (digaman) Mon 25 Apr 05 23:18
    
John, who was the best interview for the book?  Who was totally unlike you
expected?  Who got away?
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #46 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Tue 26 Apr 05 06:05
    
Good question, Steve. Actually I've got to go with David Crosby as the
best and most unexpected interview. I've never interviewed David
before although we've exchange the odd email. But when I contacted him
regarding the Gene Clark book he made himself available for an
in-person interview and arranged for me to meet up with him backstage
between soundcheck and concert time when CSN played a show in Sioux
Falls, South Dakota in April 2003 (it's about an 8-hour drive south for
me in Winnipeg). When I met him backstage he was most gracious and
accommodating allowing me as much time as necessary to ask him about
his relationship with Gene. We conducted the session in his private
dressing room. At one point he got teary-eyed recalling anecdotes about
Gene and the other Byrds. Clearly there was and remains a strong
emotional bond. The interview was honest, insightful and revealing.
David was nothing like what I had expected. We met up again later that
summer when CSN came to Winnipeg and once again he was extremely open
and accessible.

A funny (well, maybe not so funny) aside to my Sioux Falls interview
with David was that I had been having the odd gall bladder attack in
recent months and had arranged with my doctor to have my gall bladder
removed in May. But just prior to my interview with David I felt an
attack coming on (anxiety can also affect it and I was anxious over
interviewing David) but I gamely went ahead with the interview. Despite
a redder than usual face I don't think David had any inkling I was in
any discomfort. It was a mild one but, nonetheless, I wasn't going to
pass up what could potentially (I didn't know about the CSN Winnipeg
date at the time, it had not been announced) be my only interview with
David Crosby. 

I don't usually do the "fan" thing when conducting interviews because
it crosses the line between professional journalism and fandom. But I
did bring along my copy of David's autobiography and following the
conclusion of our interview I asked him to sign it. He graciously did
so.

What I found was that everyone I contacted was open to discussing
Gene. There were few roadblocks. I was fortunate to get access to his
closest brothers and sisters as well as his two sons, ex-wife and close
personal friends, besides the usual music associates. That added a
whole new dimension to Gene's story.

I would love to have interviewed Bob Dylan to glean his thoughts on
the impact the Byrds, and in particular Gene, had on his career but Bob
doesn't do interviews. David Geffen might have been interesting but I
doubt he would take the time to discuss Gene given their relationship.
I would have liked more from Leon Russell but he was recovering and not
in the best of health so I took what I could get. Other than that
everyone was great.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #47 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Tue 26 Apr 05 06:29
    
Back to your previous point, Steve, about Gene Clark and Brian Jones,
the two do, indeed, have some common threads in terms of their careers.
Both were among the first to ever leave a top echelon band while that
band was still at the top (Gene probably being the first to do so),
both were founding members and integral driving forces in their
respective groups getting off the ground yet pushed aside as success
came, and both left because of power struggles within their groups that
left them out on the side. And both died tragically due to excesses.
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #48 of 189: Darrell Jonsson (jonsson) Tue 26 Apr 05 10:46
    


The distribution of G.Clarks music seems a little uneven, at least
that was my impression as an emerging member of the record buying
public in the early 70s.  I likely would of bought more of his work,
had it had shelf space in the record stores in Alaska and 
California where I was living during the time.

Was Clark better distributed elsewhere, Canada, the U.S. South, UK...?
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #49 of 189: Darrell Jonsson (jonsson) Tue 26 Apr 05 10:47
    

Another question what is that 1971 mini-reunion of the 
Byrds you refer to earlier? 

Where did those tracks land up?
  
inkwell.vue.243 : John Einarson, "Mr Tambourine Man"
permalink #50 of 189: John Einarson (johneinarson) Tue 26 Apr 05 12:24
    
The distribution of Gene's recorded output post Byrds was definitely
uneven. Dillard & Clark was a groundbreaking group yet never achieved a
commercial breakthrough and Gene's White Light album sold poorly
despite critical praise. Roadmaster was abandoned by A&M before
sessions were completed. No Other was given virtually no promotional
budget and left to twist in the wind. After that he was on smaller
labels (with the exception, of course, of McGuinn, Clark & Hillman).
Consider it from the perspective of a record label, though. Here was an
artists, albeit an amazingly gifted songwriter, who doesn't tour,
won't fly, doesn't like doing interviews and, in fact, is uncomfortable
in front of people whether performing or otherwise. He had not enjoyed
a hit record under his own name thus had limited name recognition and
releases albums stylistically different from the one before. In
addition he can be reclusive, reluctant, moody and erratic in terms of
behaviour. It was a big gamble dealing with him in terms of the music
business, not the artistic side. No wonder distribution was spotty. His
albums barely sold beyond the faith few, despite critical accolades.

In 1970 and 1971, Jim Dickson managed to recruit the other 4 Byrds to
back Gene on a proposed single: "She's The Kind Of Girl" and "One In a
Hundred". Not all of them were in the studio at the same time, although
4 of 5 were present at one session. The two songs ended up on the
Roadmaster album released in the Netherlands and more recently on the
UK compilation Flying High. It's too bad the single was never released
as the two tracks are fabulous. More Byrds-like than anything on the
1973 reunion album.
  

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