Sensitive Skin Magazine http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com Post-beat, pre-apocalyptic art, writing and what-not Wed, 23 Jul 2014 02:56:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Tambourine Man: Gene Clark – Part 13 http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/tambourine-man-gene-clark-part-13/ http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/tambourine-man-gene-clark-part-13/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 03:41:24 +0000 http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/?p=6830 When I awoke at dawn Gene Clark was driving and humming to himself. We’re going to take a side trip to see the folks, he said and then we have a show at Wayne State in Detroit. The car broke down; it would not go over thirty and the snow started again. Gene turned off... Read more »

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When I awoke at dawn Gene Clark was driving and humming to himself.
We’re going to take a side trip to see the folks, he said and then we have a show at Wayne State in Detroit.
The car broke down; it would not go over thirty and the snow started again. Gene turned off the interstate and drove the local highways as the snow piled up alongside.

part_10_10.17.10

photograph by Ted Barron

We had another chance to flesh out my article.
I wished I could sell records, he said to me at one point, wistfully. I got a couple kids and a wife at home. It’s just sort of like a bargain with the devil. I can only do what I can do. If you want to write I would remember that. Don’t try to write like someone else. Try to write like yourself.
Do you wish you were still with the Byrds?
It was the worst thing I ever did to leave. But I had to. The part of me that wrote all the songs got eaten up by all that.
What?
The fame, he said. Just that one word, made his face look as old and expansive as a face on Mt. Rushmore.

He trailed off and I knew not to ask him anymore. A full hour passed and I spent it writing down everything that had happened.

In the gloaming we walked into Tipton and right up to his family’s house. He went around back to the kitchen.
Kitchen folks are always welcome. He sat down.
His mother called out, Look how long your hair is.
Aww mom.
We ate until we slept. Then we awakened to the sound of a gospel singalong before the fireplace in the living room. Gene’s sister played the piano and he stood off to the side and harmonized.

He came from such a big family and it was so awesome to see it all with Duke Bardwell because he took everything in from an artistic standpoint. So it was a beautiful thing to watch and be a part of. Another sister took me aside and said how Gene had learned to sing with a gospel group. She had pretty blue eyes and they all looked like him but he had the star quality. They all talked like him too and you could see that the men were not given to talking and while he was there, Gene deferred to his father. He was the second oldest of thirteen and one of his brothers just hummed and slapped his knee and had to be attended to constantly. Whenever the music stopped and they tried to take a break, this grown man would howl like a puppy. You could see that he was touched.
Diz sat with him and whispered in his ear and they calmed down. You could see that this was something the family had lived with.

It was weird to watch Gene; he was glad to be home, because he could be anonymous but at the same time he was pulling away. It wasn’t because he had a brother with challenges and it was because his brother’s challenges somehow in a nutshell if you will summed up all the hardship they must have faced, living in the wilds of the Ozark Mtns as a family of fifteen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuWDk2tb-HE&feature=youtu.be

Tambourine Man: Gene Clark is co-published with the East of Bowery blog.

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Tambourine Man: Gene Clark – Part 12 http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/tambourine-man-gene-clark-part-12/ http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/tambourine-man-gene-clark-part-12/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 00:51:33 +0000 http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/?p=6829 photograph by Ted Barron A true Operatic, Gene Clark could have sung stage, and his natural style was that of the Elizabethan ballad, songs that he had traded verses with his father since a bare lad. He learned to keep perfect natural time with his foot and add orchestra with his harmonica. Though again with... Read more »

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part12_2.20.10

photograph by Ted Barron

A true Operatic, Gene Clark could have sung stage, and his natural style was that of the Elizabethan ballad, songs that he had traded verses with his father since a bare lad. He learned to keep perfect natural time with his foot and add orchestra with his harmonica. Though again with the harmonica, he was at best indifferent and never went beyond the early Dylan honking style. If he had a band, he preferred to strum along with his guitar, but often it was not even plugged in. He never took a lead. But he could get that Western swing thumb strum sound in a treehouse.

His classic songs started with Clark playing a chord, often a minor one and the band would join in once he established a key by singing a few notes.

He was hardly a front man in the style of Daltrey, Plant or Jagger anyway, it was his voice and the incongruent elegant words projected from his humble homespun demeanor that arrested the audience’s attention. While he was capable of singular performances, he was just as often way too drunk to perform. Then he was hit and miss, ranging from the sublime to the sub-professional. His shaky approach to performance that I and others witnessed on the ill-fated No Other tour was the rule throughout his career.

Most agree that this along with his overwhelming singular style killed any chance of commercial success. He refused to tour or play the radio station publicity game; he only did it when cornered and had no other choice. Even at showcase premiers at the Troubadour, he was often too drunk to perform creditably. Whether with Dule or earlier with Doug Dilliard he would show up so wasted for the showcase that any plans for a full-fledged tour were quickly scrapped by wary PR flacks.

http://youtu.be/35AUaLNpcas

Tambourine Man: Gene Clark is co-published with the East of Bowery blog.

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Tambourine Man: Gene Clark – Part 11 http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/tambourine-man-gene-clark-part-11/ http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/tambourine-man-gene-clark-part-11/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 22:27:45 +0000 http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/?p=6828 That night in the dark van, as the stark winter night trees made shadows on the old winding and cracked highway, Gene told us of how writing songs and singing them, sometimes performing even made him feel something like he did as a child when he played Indian in the woods from his friends. He... Read more »

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That night in the dark van, as the stark winter night trees made shadows on the old winding and cracked highway, Gene told us of how writing songs and singing them, sometimes performing even made him feel something like he did as a child when he played Indian in the woods from his friends. He told us he was of Apache origin and that the name Clark was an English name given to an ancestor by an overseer, Like a slave name, he said.

part11-2.19.10

photograph by Ted Barron

According to Clark’s biographer John Einarson, Clark’s sister said that their father never pursued his heritage because, when I was growing up, Indians were just another form of nigger. His sister also believe he had a manic depressive personality. It was the hereditary thing, she said. The in-marrying.

Gene Clark, however spoke proudly of his Apache heritage. His celebrated & and infamous friendships with Keith Carradine and Jesse Ed Davis reputedly included knife-throwing exhibitions that never failed to make mixed company fearful.

Something else that Gene Clark told me about was what I want to call the whiteness of the spotlight (apologies to Melville) and what Gene referred to as the class or curse of 1966. It was not clear to me which word he used to refer to it, maybe he used them interchangeably. I could have asked him for a clarification but I never got the chance.

He told me he wrote Eight Miles High after a conversation with Brian Jones, either in Pittsburgh about England or in England, about Pittsburgh. This also wasn’t clear. I think we were both a little stoned on Diz’s old Thai weed and my notes reflect that. When he wrote the song anyway he was still a Byrd, for the moment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuWDk2tb-HE&feature=youtu.be

Tambourine Man: Gene Clark is co-published with the East of Bowery blog.

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Tambourine Man: Gene Clark – Part 10 http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/tambourine-man-gene-clark-part-10/ http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/tambourine-man-gene-clark-part-10/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 06:25:33 +0000 http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/?p=6771 When I awoke at dawn Gene Clark was driving and humming to himself. We’re going to take a side trip to see the folks, he said and then we have a show at Wayne State in Detroit. The car broke down; it would not go over thirty and the snow started again. Gene turned off... Read more »

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When I awoke at dawn Gene Clark was driving and humming to himself.
We’re going to take a side trip to see the folks, he said and then we have a show at Wayne State in Detroit.
The car broke down; it would not go over thirty and the snow started again. Gene turned off the interstate and drove the local highways as the snow piled up alongside.

part_10_10.17.10

photograph by Ted Barron

We had another chance to flesh out my article.
I wished I could sell records, he said to me at one point, wistfully. I got a couple kids and a wife at home. It’s just sort of like a bargain with the devil. I can only do what I can do. If you want to write I would remember that. Don’t try to write like someone else. Try to write like yourself.
Do you wish you were still with the Byrds?
It was the worst thing I ever did to leave. But I had to. The part of me that wrote all the songs got eaten up by all that.
What?
The fame, he said. Just that one word, made his face look as old and expansive as a face on Mt. Rushmore.

He trailed off and I knew not to ask him anymore. A full hour passed and I spent it writing down everything that had happened.

In the gloaming we walked into Tipton and right up to his family’s house. He went around back to the kitchen.
Kitchen folks are always welcome. He sat down.
His mother called out, Look how long your hair is.
Aww mom.
We ate until we slept. Then we awakened to the sound of a gospel singalong before the fireplace in the living room. Gene’s sister played the piano and he stood off to the side and harmonized.

He came from such a big family and it was so awesome to see it all with Duke Bardwell because he took everything in from an artistic standpoint. So it was a beautiful thing to watch and be a part of. Another sister took me aside and said how Gene had learned to sing with a gospel group. She had pretty blue eyes and they all looked like him but he had the star quality. They all talked like him too and you could see that the men were not given to talking and while he was there, Gene deferred to his father. He was the second oldest of thirteen and one of his brothers just hummed and slapped his knee and had to be attended to constantly. Whenever the music stopped and they tried to take a break, this grown man would howl like a puppy. You could see that he was touched.
Diz sat with him and whispered in his ear and they calmed down. You could see that this was something the family had lived with.

It was weird to watch Gene; he was glad to be home, because he could be anonymous but at the same time he was pulling away. It wasn’t because he had a brother with challenges and it was because his brother’s challenges somehow in a nutshell if you will summed up all the hardship they must have faced, living in the wilds of the Ozark Mtns as a family of fifteen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuWDk2tb-HE&feature=youtu.be

Tambourine Man: Gene Clark is co-published with the East of Bowery blog.

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Tambourine Man: Gene Clark – Part 9 http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/tambourine-man-gene-clark-part-9/ http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/tambourine-man-gene-clark-part-9/#comments Fri, 04 Jul 2014 06:20:56 +0000 http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/?p=6772 Roger White showed up in Champaign on his motorcycle, a good thing. Gene played all the new songs in a semi-fugue state. Like he was all alone up there, singing, testifying before God. photograph by Ted Barron Gene said, I wrote some new songs just recently. Lessee if they have the strength of strings. Well... Read more »

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Roger White showed up in Champaign on his motorcycle, a good thing. Gene played all the new songs in a semi-fugue state. Like he was all alone up there, singing, testifying before God.

part_9_11.2.10

photograph by Ted Barron

Gene said, I wrote some new songs just recently. Lessee if they have the strength of strings.

Well Goddamn, so that’s what the song means, said Duke Bardwell later and tapped my shoulder. Did you get that for the book? I had my own spiral notebook a little one that fit in the pocket of my coat with a pen for easy access.
Roger White pulled in the parking lot on his fancy motorcycle with his guitar strung across his back like some unsung hero, like some Easy Rider Captain America. And he was in his own mind. White was the hired gun. He could finger pick on acoustic guitar. He could also play the bottleneck style. This was featured on White Light, with Jesse Ed Davis, and No Other with Russ Kunkel and Skunk Baxter. Neither of these guys were up for a bare bones tour, but Roger White who did not have the session chops of the others, was available.

The bottleneck thing begs elaboration. It’s a special skill among guitar players as it requires a special amount of skill. The bottleneck is something that comes right at the heart of rock n roll, for those who believe the music is the real and true integration of white and black styles. You don’t meet a lot of white blues singers and fewer black folk players. The bottleneck was used by both as a semi-pro way to augment either sound. Where Muddy Waters meets Woody Guthrie and bore the love child Elvis Presley,
You can actually play it with the long neck of a whiskey bottle. This is hard because if you hold the bottle your hand is pretty far from the strings. You really have to watch what you’re doing, or be able to feel the neck of the guitar as an extension of your own body. You can also sit the guitar in your lap like a baby and play it like a country or lap steel guitar. Another way to do it, is to slip a small prescription pill bottle over one’s finger and slide on the strings that way. Also there are professional sliders made of metal. Glass is the best, though with a little wax on the strings to make them slippery. In fact Clarence White’s famous string bender was a variance of this.

What you get is a more versatile guitar sound, a whine that you can draw out and slide from key to key. This comes from using the bottleneck like a bow on a violin; it’s a totally different sound then pucking with a pick or even fingerpicking. A bigger sound, like the sound of leaves in the wind.
If tuned right with the harmonica, it’s a poor man’s orchestra.
Especially when a voice like Gene’s is added. David Crosby has gone on record about a lot of things. He’s the kind of fellow where everything he says is a bit of a proclamation. One thing he said is that Gene Clark had the most purest pitch of any singer he’d ever heard. This is interesting because by modesty Gene preferred to sing with others and to collaborate when he could on songwriting. He was famous for giving song credit to anyone who helped him the least bit. See Doug Dilliard and Bernie Leadon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWlth2csLNw&feature=youtu.be

Tambourine Man: Gene Clark is co-published with the East of Bowery blog.

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“Burning Bush”, directed by Agnieszka Holland – Review http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/burning-bush-directed-by-agnieszka-holland-review/ http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/burning-bush-directed-by-agnieszka-holland-review/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 06:45:24 +0000 http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/?p=6820 I saw this movie (originally a three part Czech television miniseries directed by the Polish director, Agnieszka Holland, now being shown in two parts at Film Forum) on Sunday. I bought my ticket in advance, not that there was any chance of it selling out. But I have a deep affinity for films of tragedies... Read more »

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I saw this movie (originally a three part Czech television miniseries directed by the Polish director, Agnieszka Holland, now being shown in two parts at Film Forum) on Sunday. I bought my ticket in advance, not that there was any chance of it selling out. But I have a deep affinity for films of tragedies occurring in authoritarian states. It was a beautiful day, and, as my girlfriend pointed out, I chose to spend the day in a dark movie theater.

On August 20, 1968, forces from the other Warsaw Pact states invaded Czechoslovakia to suppress the reform Communist government of Alexander Dubček, which had come to power a few months earlier, in January, 1968, after Leonid Brezhnev withdrew support from the previous First Secretary, Antonín Novotný. The invasion ended the brief “Prague Spring.” But spring is always a short season.

burning_bush_film_still_1

On January 16, 1969, the student Jan Palach set himself on fire in Wenceslas Square in central Prague to protest the Soviet occupation. The film follows these events and the following chain of events.

Setting yourself on fire is an extreme, shocking act. In December 2010, the same act, by a street vendor who had suffered police brutality, led to the fall of the long ruling Tunisian dictator, in a mere 18 days. In this case, that didn’t happen.

The first cop on the scene finds Palach’s letter, which states that he is part of a group who will start immolating themselves, one by one, if their demands are not met. The demands are, basically, the reversal of the Soviet crackdown. The letter gets out: the first thing a police investigator tells the cop is that he shouldn’t have opened the letter.

One thing that struck me is that everyone seemed to think that there could be such a group, that is, a group who will, one after another, by prearrangement, publicly set themselves on fire. This attests to the extremeness of the situation. All involved recognized that life under occupation might drive individuals to set themselves on fire in public. Student leaders think they can use the event; the police investigator’s superior officer fears the Russian reaction. He feels that the police must immediately find the other “human torches.” The investigator is stuck between his superior, who cares about his own job first, and his underling, who wants to move up in the chain of command.

We see the reaction of Palach’s brother, who is dumbfounded, and then grim, and Palach’s mother, who is grief-stricken, and then quietly determined. There is a funeral, a burial, a demonstration in central Prague, attended by thousands. Although there is one more self-immolation, apparently a copycat, the authorities cover this one up better. The legions of human torches never appear.

As one would expect with television, there are a lot of close ups. Fittingly. a lot of the photography is dark. The Prague we see is beautiful, but somewhat decrepit, and damp and dark. The countryside is greener and marginally more cheerful.

We see the ordinary events of life under military occupation: soldiers in a jeep, confronted by angry citizens, casually shoot off an AK-47; a passing train loaded with armored vehicles. We see people looking over their shoulders before talking with friends. (Good thing there were not as many video cameras back then as there are now in Manhattan.) We see Russian soldiers swilling vodka (Stoli, the good stuff) at the party headquarters. I thought this portrayal of boorish drunkenness was a bit gratuitous, until I remembered the depiction of the insane drinking of Czarist officers in St. Petersburg in the brilliant Brezhnev-era film of “War and Peace.”)

Several months after the immolation, a high-ranking Communist official, Vilem Novy, an older man who looks like an evil grandfather, gives a speech (at an election rally in a provincial hotel!) in which he outlines an absurd conspiracy involving “rightists” and a student leader, who supposedly duped a mentally disturbed Palach into committing the act. The mother and brother, outraged, decide to sue for libel. Amazingly, the regime allows the suit to proceed.

This really happened. And it shows the lengths to which authoritarian regimes will go to provide a pretense of legitimacy, and justice. Every nation nowadays must be a nation of laws and elections, it seems. The family finds a lawyer, Dagmar Burešová, who pursues the lawsuit, with seeming faith that justice is possible and can be pursued. One is reminded that Gandhi and Nelson Mandela started out as lawyers. (At the end of Part III, we learn that Burešová went on to become Minister of Justice in 1989, in Vaclav Havel’s government. One might ask how someone who seeks justice can become a Minister of Justice, but that’s a question for another time.)

Of course, the regime thwarts the lawsuit, through a combination of bureaucratic obstruction and veiled power. But pretenses are maintained.

Burning Bush is a fine addition to the emerging genre of movies about life under authoritarianism. Recently we’ve seen the superb The Lives of Others, The Counterfeiters, and Sophie Scholl, as well as the creditable Generation War (a German miniseries). The starting point is perhaps the two great Louis Malle films about life in France during the occupation, Lacombe, Lucien and the incomparable Au revoir les enfants, which will rip your heart out.

Holland’s career has encompassed “The Wire,” “Tremé,” “Bitter Harvest,” “Europa, Europa,” and numerous other efforts. She was a film student in Prague at the time of the Soviet invasion.

Also, it’s fitting that some praise be given to the estimable institution of Film Forum. The place means a lot. Quite simply, they show many films that would otherwise never be seen on a big screen. After an extended hiatus from movie-going to pursue other entertainments, a little over ten years ago I bought a membership. The first films I saw were Modern Times and Dr. Strangelove. This was followed by an over thirty film retrospective on Ingmar Bergman, which changed my life. I have not stopped going back.

Burning Bush, available streaming from http://www.fandor.com.

–Franklin Mount

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Tambourine Man: Gene Clark – Part 8 http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/tambourine-man-gene-clark-part-8/ http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/tambourine-man-gene-clark-part-8/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 11:13:34 +0000 http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/?p=6773 For the rest of the show, Gene Clark pitched in with the others. They just had their guitars and used whatever PA was available. They sang to one mike like some old fashioned country round up. They had to go back to their hotel and Candace that was her name took me back to the... Read more »

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For the rest of the show, Gene Clark pitched in with the others. They just had their guitars and used whatever PA was available. They sang to one mike like some old fashioned country round up.
They had to go back to their hotel and Candace that was her name took me back to the dorm. She went in the front and I went around back where ten minutes later I heard her whisper and climbed up the fire escape.
I could hear Diz laughing behind a closed door and other voices but I did not see him again until the dawn sun rose through the barren branches of the winter trees on the hill out front. We were talking on her bed in the pooling dawn light when she went to the window.

part_8_1.12.11

photograph by Ted Barron

Someone was hitchhiking and she said, Isn’t that your brother?
Oh shit.
You got to go? No it’s all right she said. It’s perfect.
But.
You’re a gentleman, I know that. You have to go with your brother. Write me a letter, she kissed me like morning flowers.
Diz laughed when he saw me and started walking up the road. There was a motel with trucks parked.
Isn’t the bus station the other way?
I’m not going to the bus station.
How are we going to get home?
I’m not going home.
He turned and trudged. It dawned on me that he had this planned all along. All the snow that had fallen in the night had frozen solid in the howling wind. The wind blew the snow piled high in the branches of the trees and over our heads a hawk alighted.
I looked back, saw Candace in the window. She was not looking at us. She was lost in her own thoughts, watching the day come on, a woman for the first time. What I had given her, she had in return given to me.

Diz gave me a look, stuck his thumb ouit walking forward not watching the road. When the Dodge Van pulled over, the window rolled down, Duke Bardwell stuck his head out and said wryly, Y’all need a ride somewheres? Jump on in. Just don’t interrupt the artiste, he laughed. Gene Clark himself sat on a blanket with his guitar in the back of the van writing songs. That man has not quit since y’all had that talk, said Bardwell.
Clark writes all day as we drive. Bardwell introduces the boys to speed.
We told him our life stories and Diz said he was running away to join the army, the first I had heard of it.
When Bardwell looked at me, Diz said, He wants to go to Detroit to write for Creem Magazine. To be a rock journalist? Well, you do, don’t you?
I admitted as much.
Bardwell said, You fellows are kind of making it up as you go along aren’t ya?
Well, welcome to the world of Gene Clark, who meanwhile was humming to himself, strumming his guitar with this 69 cent spiral notebook and a pencil.
Bardwell said, You know that Elvis shebang was amazing. Me I’m just 23. What a thrill! But every note is rehearsed on that tour. And you spend the whole time trying not to fuck up. With Gene here you can’t fuck up. Once we start with that art making, like your girlfriend back there said, it all works out together.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_pc-xflPCU&feature=youtu.be

Tambourine Man: Gene Clark is co-published with the East of Bowery blog.

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Tambourine Man: Gene Clark – Part 7 http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/tambourine-man-gene-clark-part-7/ http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/tambourine-man-gene-clark-part-7/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 06:18:41 +0000 http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/?p=6774 Gene Clark released his first solo album more than a year and a half after Eight Miles High. He recorded it with some of LA’s best session musicians including Leon Russell, Glen Campbell and Clarence White, all of whom were unknown at the time, all of whom would go on to fame that would eclipse... Read more »

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Gene Clark released his first solo album more than a year and a half after Eight Miles High. He recorded it with some of LA’s best session musicians including Leon Russell, Glen Campbell and Clarence White, all of whom were unknown at the time, all of whom would go on to fame that would eclipse Clark’s own as a solo artist.

1.25.11-part7

photograph by Ted Barron

In a curious move the vocal stylings of the Gosdin Bros. were added to the album in the studio and they received co-billing on the album. The album failed to chart, as did the single: a Baroque pop beauty called Echoes. This began a pattern of self-sabotage for our hero that continued to the end of his career. His next project was disbanded. Another with Doug Dilliard produced two great albums but whenever they tried to play and support the work, both principals would appear so drunk that it was a fiasco.

After the freakout on the plane at the height of Byrds popularity, these disastrous gigs with the Dilliard and Clark Expedition were what seeded Clark’s growing reputation as a flake in the industry, someone who was capable of creating beautiful music that was admittedly a little weird, who was a disaster in all other aspects of publicity and promotion. After the flameout of the Dilliard and Clark something else significant to our purposes happened for Mr. Clark. He got in the sports car he had bought from his first Byrds earnings and drove up highway 1. Let’s imagine the morning after the latest fiasco at the Whiskey or the Troubadour. He got in his car and drove up Highway 1. He had on a pair of jeans, a tshirt with a pocket on the chest and a corduroy jacket. His guitar slung in the back seat.

He was looking for peace. He drove until he found a little place called Mendocino.
Geno himself would later admit that leaving the Byrds was a mistake, how he freaked out on the plane, and walked off a cross country flight on the eve of an appearance with Murray the K in New York. He went home to Missouri and spent a number of weeks there. The situation was so fresh that none of his family was aware that he had quit the band. They expected a celebration and got a young, confused 23 year old. He later tried to rejoin the band twice officially and played with various members for the rest of his life. Arguably his revival of the name in the 80’s was just as legitimate version of the band as the Skip Battin era, as he had two original members and McGuinn’s last 70′s version had only one. It’s also interesting to note that the biggest selling Byrds album after the golden era was their reunion album from 1973.

What Geno tried to explain to me once was that it was the spotlight, the white hot glare that really forced him out. There were a lot of little factors that added up to the same thing. Crosby riding everyone, the competition over songwriting credits, the unending demands of the press and touring, the drugs, the alcohol, the fact that none of these young men were much older than 25. None of them had gone to anything close to college. All of them had gone from scuffling to having more money than they could ever know what to do with, and more girls, more drugs. Whether the level of stardom they reached would ever be achieved is one argument; certainly the class of 1966 was the first: The Stones, the Beatles, Dylan and the Byrds: The class of ’66.

It was just impossible for them to go on as a band. After that all of them went into hiding. The Beatles quit touring, as did the Stones until ’69 and dylan disappeared. The only band to appear in 1967 was the Byrds at Monterrey Pop which was a one-off festival. This appearance was famous for the level of rancor shown between members. In all interviews it’s clear that McGuinn is still angry at Crosby for his paranoid rap about the real story of the Kennedy assassination. This sort of paranoia would resurface around Kent State and the Lennon killing. Clearly Crosby took a little too seriously for McGuinn’s taste the whole spokesmen for a generation thing. He has never let go of it in fact, see the most recent CSNY tour where the band tried to reclaim the mantle for the geriatric set.

Dylan has disclaimed spokesman status a number of times. Jagger’s painful performance in interviews in Gimme Shelter regarding the aftermath of Altamont expose the weirdness of this phenomenon. Humbler folks like Clark and Keith Richards have never taken it seriously, though both had drug problems every bit as bad as Crosby’s, they never bit the meglomanic fruit. In Melville the whiteness of the whale signifies many things not least among them the unknowable quality of such a great beast as the great white leviathan. I was reading Melville at the time of the No Other tour and brought along a copy. I brought it up to Gene and he laughed. There’s a theory, he said. It was unknowable. The spotlight was so white hot, so bright that in its glare you forgot who you were. And it turned you into something else. Half man, half rock star.

Like in Moby Dick it was something that was knowable but really too big to articulate in terms of human understanding and communication. Just because you lived it did not mean you could talk about it in any coherent way, or communicate what it was like to anyone who had not experienced it. This is why Moby Dick is such a shape-shifting baggy monster of a book. Melville was trying to show what it was like to an audience which could never know. It was bigger than all of us, Gene said.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7nR3FF69Cg&feature=youtu.be

Tambourine Man: Gene Clark is co-published with the East of Bowery blog.

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Tambourine Man: Gene Clark – Part 6 http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/tambourine-man-gene-clark-part-6/ http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/tambourine-man-gene-clark-part-6/#comments Mon, 23 Jun 2014 06:13:41 +0000 http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/?p=6775 We got our tickets, went up the escalator to find our platform. The buses were so behind by now, getting dark outside as 4:30 turned to six pm. I had to go to the bathroom really bad. Never has a room smelled as bad as the bathroom, the wet doggy clothes, the shit and piss... Read more »

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We got our tickets, went up the escalator to find our platform. The buses were so behind by now, getting dark outside as 4:30 turned to six pm. I had to go to the bathroom really bad. Never has a room smelled as bad as the bathroom, the wet doggy clothes, the shit and piss and the odeur of unwashed humanity stuffed up your nose like a head cold with every breath one dared to chance. We shared a urinal like nine year olds. Diz got the giggles and I did too. Some man was hollering from one of the stalls about his pants. Someone better brung my pants back or I aint a coming out, he hollered. And we started laughing and could not stop.

12.1.11-part6

photograph by Ted Barron

I felt something warm on my hand and realized Diz was pissing on me turned as he was half around to keep and eye out for trouble and watch the festivities.
There was this little man who looked like Truman Capote’s railroad homeless bum doppelganger, this horrible squeaky voice that and eyes that looked at us so rudely, I could not get myself back into my pants fast enough. I’ll give you your goddamn pants, he kept saying. And you could tell by the tone of their voices that they lived in that bathroom or close by and the nature of their dispute was domestic not like the code among strangers that most travelers observed in a passing through commuter situation. I wanted to wash my hands but this gnome was between me and the sink so I shook them off, wiped them with some snow from my own dungarees and followed Diz to the door. The gnome saw me too and he must have sensed the fear of virgin blood because something in him, some aura reached for me and as I scurried out the door I literally felt myself escaping from his need like it was some green airborne gaseous mass of malarial infection.

He laughed and winked.
Horace, he shouted, You will get your goddamned pants. We went to the front of the line again. It was back up the stairs past lines of people, some who had sat down in their places. There was a plastic glass shelter with a door at the end of the tunnel. We stepped out into the snow again to watch. Anyplace with height in the city is like a hill in the woods where you can step out and survey your kingdom.

When the bus came we got on first, found seats and I will never forget the smile that Diz gave me as we rode around the chute toward the Lincoln Tunnel. He was so happy and like I said I knew something was up. The only thing was when I had another coughing fit my brother gave me the death eye again. What? I asked, but he didn’t answer. It snowed all night and Gene Clark and the Silverados sang all night too.

The concert hall, an old theatre space with a stage and pitched seats leading up to it, like a vaudeville hall served as much as a shelter that night. Stragglers dragged in covered with snow as we had, warmed up, sat down, clapped along and in the third set when Gene and the fellows opened up the stage and invited all comers sang along. He opened the first set with Strength of Strings. For each song it was only Clark at the microphone with his guitar. We got there just as the crowd had hushed for the first song and there might have been twenty five of us, weary and cold travelers by the end when Gene invited a folk music class and the instructor, a Mr. Donaldson, up to sing along a couple of hundred people filled the hall.

He could not figure out how to work the harp attachment so when he felt like it he would whip the harmonica after the pocket of his shirt. He wore a pocket t-shirt and a pair of jeans, like a bricklayer who’d picked up a guitar and starting singing songs as they came out of him. This was his way, to summon up the genesis of each song in the performance, as if no song was ever played the same way twice. Maybe it was an illusion. We had never seen him before, Diz my baby bro and I, but if it was it was a helluva sweet illusion. They took a break and began the second set with Babe Ruth.

I wrote this song last night Gene said. This led to a whole suite of brand new songs. The accompani-ists, because that’s what they were and there’s a talent to that. Roger White and one Duke Bardwell looked at one another and shrugged with these shit-eating smiles on their faces. For all of us it was like watching each song come to birth.

I wrote most of these last night, said Clark. And it was not someone bragging it was matter of fact like he was admitting to it. He laughed, And some of them still need some work, quipped Bardwell and Clark looked at him like he was angry and then let loose a laugh. Roger White was the serious one. He had a wandering eye and his hair combed over the other so his appearance was both spooky and angelic. Bardwell with Gene looked like a grownup Huck Finn with the impresario he met on the Mississippi raft. Bardwell was gregarious and introduced the songs. What’s that one called, Geno, he’d asked. You got a name for that one yet?

Hot chocolate was served. Diz met some girls and they invited us back to their dorm to spend the night.
We’re going to miss the bus? I said.
He winked and one of the girls smiled at me and it was in her bed that I spent the night.
But I have to interview Gene Clark!
Ooh I want to see that. I’m a journalist major. Are you too? The girl asked.
Diz winked again. It was from him I learned you never had to lie, just say very little and let someone else’s imagination take over.
I asked Gene Clark about being an artist and he listened and laughed.
You’re just a kid aren’t ya. I mean a college kid.
You quit the Byrds to be an artist.
That’s one way of looking at it. You didn’t want to be a pop star in Tiger Beat magazine.
Clark laughed. What does the pretty lady think?
No real artist calls himself a real artist. We’re studying that now.
Real Artists?
Exactly. About how real artists can only survive in an environment where they can create real art. When the environment changes they move on.

Clark nodded like a boxer taking instructions in the corner the whole time she was talking. She had freckles and russet hair. She looked nothing like my mother and when we kissed in her room later that night she really did taste like some kind of flower, not the sweet smelly part but like the actual petal. We started talking in their van, as they loaded. Clark pitched in with the others. They just had their guitars and used whatever PA was available. They sang to one mike like some old fashioned country round up.

Isn’t that why you’re on this tour? Clark laughed. He had the kind of laugh that made everyone feel at ease.
Duke Bardwell pitched in, We’re out here because he tried to strangle the executive of the record company.
Tell em about that Gene.
Aww he’s just off the Elvis Presley tour. Duke here’s a little spoiled.
I ain’t complaining. I think what this kid is saying is right.
Gene, I never saw anyone write songs like this feller, Duke Bardwell said to me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPghGSOrHFk&feature=youtu.be

Tambourine Man: Gene Clark is co-published with the East of Bowery blog.

The post Tambourine Man: Gene Clark – Part 6 appeared first on Sensitive Skin Magazine.

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Tambourine Man: Gene Clark – Part 5 http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/tambourine-man-gene-clark-part-5/ http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/tambourine-man-gene-clark-part-5/#comments Fri, 20 Jun 2014 06:49:32 +0000 http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/?p=6776 The flurries turned to big wet lazy falling snowflakes that we caught on our tongues as we walked. Diz lit a bone, hit it and passed it to me. The next thing I knew we were walking up on Broadway and I was looking at all the windows as the buildings got taller as we... Read more »

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The flurries turned to big wet lazy falling snowflakes that we caught on our tongues as we walked. Diz lit a bone, hit it and passed it to me. The next thing I knew we were walking up on Broadway and I was looking at all the windows as the buildings got taller as we moved turned uptown and crossed 14th to imagine that exponentially I could take on the lives of the people behind each of the windows. It was the thing that always tripped me out about New York, all the possibilities, all the opportunities for life to take a turn. Just stay open and you never knew what was going to happen.

12.2.11-part5

photograph by Ted Barron

We had no bags. Diz wore one of those Vietnam field jackets with the bulging side pockets. At some point I handed him the weed and he stashed it away in some inner pocket. We wore bandannas around our necks and pulled them up over our mouths to ward off the howling wind. Something about the wind in New York that it always howls louder and blows harder down Broadway like a great out of control train came out of the tunnel at Penn Station and just barreled down the great wide way. I had one of my dad’s old tweed coats that was cavernous on me. Something you can grow into, he said. I suspect he got it in one of the Rocket trades.

I wore a jeans jacket underneath, a real Levi’s that had been scored the same way. The only new item of clothing our mother ever brought us was Froot of the Loom white crew necks. We wore them religiously. She acted like she was nominated for mother of the year whenever she slapped a three pack or two on the bar for us to share. Everything else came dad and his deals. It was a great billowy pillowly walk uptown as the snow kept coming down. You could look up and watch the flakes floating down and see a world with no end up above us and the mighty cavern of New York city architecture.

As we crossed past the statue of Horace Greely and Macy’s, we tacked to the left so as not to lose Broadway for Sixth Avenue. At the Deuce we turned left and my brother disappeared. I stoppd there in the mess of snowy commuters with rubbers on their shoes, winter coats, scarf wound faces, slowly revolving there in place on the wide sidewalk of 42nd Street when I saw him waving to me from a bar. He slapped the two id’s on the counter and ordered glasses of whiskey. The bartender, a short wide man with a red cherry face and his own drink that he quaffed from behind the bar, laughed out loud at the picture we made, completely covered with snow, frost on brows.

Take your bandannas down and lemme see your faces. He scanned us and scanned the IDs. You must be Harry, he said and laughed again. He put his head back and his belly shook.
So y’all are a couple of mil-a-trary re-croots? His accent was both a ridicule of us and somehow at once an encouragement and admiration for the audacity of the fake.
Yes sir, I answered and offered my best salute. Diz racked me in the stomach and the bartender laughed again.
He fingered a couple of water glasses, poured them half full with brown whiskey and pointed us toward the door. If you can drink these on your way out you can have them. Diz nodded thanks left a five dollar bill on the bar wood wet with spilled drinks. Drink it all at once, Diz said. It won’t taste so bad. So I did what he said. I wanted to barf but there was a bus driver by the door in his Ralph Kramden blue jacket and pants who coached and coaxed me through it. I swallowed, staggered to the door met by a round of applause by all the nearbys who had been watching us, the two snowmen come inside for fortitude.

I did not feel anything at first. It was like everything went silent. This is nothing I said to Diz. Next thing I knew I had slid to the sidewalk and he was yanking me to my feet under the watchful eye of a cop who intoned Move Along Fellas, Move Along. He had a mustache and he was smoking and he winked at me like you let me and I will let you and it was then I remember that moment even now it was then that I realized that we did not live in a system of laws but in a gathering of humans who if you didn’t fuck up too bad and cause a scene would give you enough rope to hang yourself. Port Authority was a circus or a circle of hell depending on your disposition and since we were buzzed and fortified we joined in and watched the clowns.

Wall to wall people. All the buses were socked in. We need one to Wayne to the campus of Paterson State College where Gene Clark and the Sliveradoes were scheduled to appear in the campus theater. I followed Diz he was good at making plans and following them through a born soldier Dad and Rockets called him. Did I mention that Rockets was my uncle? Did I mention that one of the weird stories that dad told me when he was high had Rockets as our dad and not him? That they were both seeing our moms at the same time. It somehow seemed a lot more likely that he would have the connection at the Idiot that he could call on to get her a job that weekend sixteen years ago when everyone’s life turned when she came home from the Ladies Infirmary with a test positive for pregnancy. Now it was turning again today.

I could tell that Diz had something up his sleeve. It was he who had dared and shamed me into actually making this trip. I would have been happy to imagine doing it all in my head. He was the literal twin; I was the dreamy eyed one. The lines were backed up all the way from the windows but Diz just walked all the way up to the front. He made a gesture to an office manager you can just tell who these people are. A mark. He pointed at me. She sighed and said. Boys, I am so glad you made it and there we were at the front of the line. There was some beefing from behind us but the office manager stared him down.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMd0XyDE9js&feature=youtu.be

Tambourine Man: Gene Clark is co-published with the East of Bowery blog.

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