Tambourine Man: Gene Clark – Part 8

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.

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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.

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