Was it 1973 that Michael Harkins and I talked about taking his white Bentley to Nebraska in search of Rena Easton. Michael had beheld the large painting of Rena I did when I was Peter Shapiro’s roommate again. He asked me if I knew what happened to her. I lost her grandmother’s phone number.
What I suggested, is, we make a movie about our Search for Beauty – who may be the “Female Messiah”. I suggested we get some white suits from Saint Vincent De Paul’s and Italian sunglasses. We would pull to the curb and ask young beauties if they knew Irene Christiansen ‘The Serene Christ’ of our age.
“She may be the Female Messiah.”
“The what? Where are you guys from?”
Michael was asked by Oliver Stone’s people to contribute his memories of his friend, Jim Morrison. He told them to go fuck themselves. Michael was goof friends with the Beat Poet Michael McClure who put Jim in touch with the poetic Muse. Yesterday I found a book that explores Jim’s “Jesus Complex”.
A couple of years ago I sent an e-mail to my friend Jeff Pasternak. I told him about my idea of a Broadway Musical based upon the music of Love. Jeff went to high school with Bryan McLean and I. He was in love with my girlfriend Marilyn, who he later to took to France.
Bryan was Christine’s lover for several months. Love had a powerful influence on Jim Morrison. Marilyn’s sister co-authored a book about Fela, which is now a off-Broadway musical. Rena was Rosamond’s Muse. She is the vehicle that brings us all together at the end of our days for the Last Dance. Jim summons the Natives for a Ghost Dance.
Jim Morrison Jesus Complex
by Wayne Grogan
Jim Morrison: rock god, poet, libertine. Sixties superstar and 21st Century cultural phenomenon. Long dead but never more alive in the public eye than now.
Forty years after his sensational death comes Jim Morrison Jesus Complex, a book unlike anything ever written in memory of the magnetic Morrison.
Acclaimed author Wayne Grogan turns his award-winning talent to a new psychological autopsy of Jim Morrison – the showman, the shaman, the spiritual seeker, the chronic boozer. It’s an eye-rolling trip to the soul of the legendary Doors frontman who flamed out in Paris on July 3, 1971, at the age of twenty-seven.
Well-worn misrepresentations of this missionary star will be sundered when readers walk through the door opened by Jim Morrison Jesus Complex, which is published online and in paperback by Deep Line Books
Posted 07 August 2006 – 08:52 AM
1965, the Strip and Arthur Lee
Love’s singer was a man in style and substance ahead of his time, a rock hall of famer recalls.
By John Densmore, Special to The Times
August 7, 2006
It was 1965 when I rushed down to the Whisky a Go-Go to stand out front and listen to a group called Love. My band, the Doors, was playing in a dumpy club up the street, and we were on a break. I craned my neck past Mario, the doorman, to get a glimpse of a band that was so far ahead of its time, the public still hasn’t caught up.
The first time I saw Love, I was shocked. They were bizarre. Arthur Lee, the African American lead singer, wore rose-tinted granny glasses, and they had a guitar player whose pants were so tight, it looked like he had a sock stuffed inside his crotch. It was a racially mixed group who seemed to be friends. After experiencing Love, I knew I had a ways to go before being hip. Wearing leather capes and pin-striped pants, suede moccasins, paisley shirts and jackets with fringe everywhere, I wondered if they went out on the street like that. Not that they were fashion without substance; as Lee told us all: “And the things that I must do consist of more than style.”
This was a revolutionary band, way before Jimi Hendrix. No black man had crossed over from “soul music” into rock before Arthur. I desperately wanted to be in this band. Arthur clearly had tons of talent and charisma, a quality that our singer, Jim Morrison, hadn’t developed yet.
When we finally became the house band at the Whisky, Arthur graciously suggested to Jac Holzman, the president of Love’s record company, that Jac check out the Doors. Due to Arthur’s jump-starting, we got a record deal.
Jim and I would drive down from Laurel Canyon to the Chinese restaurant next to Greenblatt’s Deli to get egg fried rice for breakfast. On one of those excursions “My Little Red Book” came on the radio, Love’s cover of the Burt Bacharach-Hal David song. “If we could make a record as good as that,” Jim said, “I’d be happy.”
Love went on to make several albums for Elektra Records, one of which, “Forever Changes,” is a masterpiece (and, it should be noted, was produced and engineered by the vital Bruce Botnick). This album defined the ’60s and is the “Sgt. Pepper’s” of the West Coast, the “Pet Sounds” of psychedelia. One title from that album, “Maybe the People Would Be the Times, or Between Clark and Hilldale,” reflects the street life on the Strip, the Whisky being located on Sunset Boulevard “between Clark and Hilldale.”
And oh, the music is so loud
And then, I fade into the … crowds
Of people standing everywhere
And here, they always play my
Wrong or right, they come here
just the same
Tellin’ everyone about their
Forgive me now, for copying a slew of lyrics from this brilliant record, but better to quote a genius than wax on with helium upstairs.
Around my town
Here, everyone’s painted brown
And if with you that’s not
Let’s go paint everybody gray
I’ve been here once, I’ve been
I don’t know, if the third’s the
fourth, or the fifth’s to fix
There’s a man who can’t decide
If he should fight for what his
father thinks is right
Prophecy (Arthur spent some time in jail years after this was written):
They’re locking them up today,
They’re throwing away the key,
I wonder who it will be tomorrow,
you or me
This is the time in life that I am
And I’ll face each day with
For the time that I have been
given, such a little while
And for everyone who thinks
that life is just a game
Do you like the part you’re
Sitting on a hillside, watching
all the people die
I’ll feel much better on the other
Arthur, I hope you’re sitting on that hill … in fact, the Doors’ lead singer is waiting to show you where that hill is … and I’m sure you’ll feel better.
Unfortunately, Arthur smoked so much herb that he was reluctant to leave his house. “Forever Changes” became a critical and chart-topping monster in England, but Lee wouldn’t cross the pond. For those of you who are new to the importance of this band called Love, please check it out.
When I heard the news that Arthur died Thursday, I lit some white sage given to me by Native American musician friends, in honor, and to help Arthur Lee with his crossing. He was an extremely talented, tortured artist, not unlike Jim, and the two of them are sitting on that hill.
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
— Howard Thurman, African American mystic and activist
Densmore, author, essayist and drummer for the Doors, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix were avowed fans of Love’s Arthur Lee, one of the key figures in West Coast psychedelia during the 1960s. The legendarily wayward Lee, who improbably outlasted many of his peers, died yesterday afternoon in Memphis after a prolonged bout with leukemia. He was sixty-one. After his diagnosis became public, several artists — including former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant, Yo La Tengo and Ryan Adams — took part in a benefit show for Lee at New York’s Beacon Theatre on June 23rd.
Though never a great commercial success — the band made the Top Forty just once, with the tough 1966 single “7 and 7 Is” — Love was at the very center of the fertile Sunset Strip scene of the mid-Sixties. The group’s ambitious third album, 1968’s Forever Changes, still a critical favorite, stands among that era’s seminal records. Lee was Love’s driving force, hiring and firing collaborators at will and pushing them to explore their various musical inclinations. Love’s first four albums ranged wildly, from prototypical garage-punk and jazzy experimentation to Spanish guitar, Broadway-style melodicism and deceptively “easy” listening. In later years, as he struggled with mental and physical issues and his own missed opportunities, Lee often complained about getting less than his due. “Without me there’d be no Jimi Hendrix, no Sly Stone,” he once said. “I was the first so-called black hippie.”
Arthur Lee Porter was born in Memphis on May 7th, 1945. His family moved to Los Angeles when he was a child. By his teen years, he was forming local bands. One of them, Arthur Lee and the LAGs (named in tribute to Booker T and the MGs), recorded an instrumental single for Capitol Records in 1963. The following year, Lee engineered what was perhaps Hendrix’s first studio session, hiring the young guitarist to play on “My Diary,” a song Lee wrote and produced for R&B singer Rosa Lee Brooks.
Although many of his models were black soul singers — Sam Cooke, James Brown, Jackie Wilson — Lee began to head in another direction when he recognized an affinity for Beatlesque pop and the folk-rock of fellow Angelenos the Byrds. Forming a band he named the Grass Roots, he recruited fellow Memphis-born guitarist Johnny Echols, bassist Johnny Fleckenstein and drummer Don Conka and began playing such L.A. fixtures as Brave New World and the Whisky A Go Go. Bryan MacLean, road manager for the Byrds, soon asked to join; he would became the group’s second songwriter.
Beaten to the name the Grass Roots by another Los Angeles act that went on to some success, Lee rechristened his band Love. Bobby Beausoleil, a friend and future member of the Manson Family, would claim that the name was drawn from his own nickname, Cupid.
With its fearless innovation and flamboyant stage presence, Love quickly became the toast of the Strip. Their residency at Brave New World attracted a celebrity clientele — “the Yardbirds, Mick Jagger, Sal Mineo,” according to Lee. Morrison would later claim that the Doors’ original goal was to be as big as Love. Lee and his band became the first rock group to sign to Jac Holtzman’s folkie Elektra label, releasing a self-titled debut in April 1966. The album featured an early take on “Hey Joe,” recorded almost simultaneously with the hit version by another L.A. group, the Leaves, and a raw adaptation of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “My Little Red Book.” Bacharach was reportedly furious with Love’s hard-edged rendition.
The debut reached No. 57 on the charts, selling 150,000 copies. The band, already contending with the hard drug habits that would plague it for years, moved into a communal home in Laurel Canyon, a house once belonging to Bela Lugosi. Bassist Ken Forssi, a former member of the Surfaris, replaced Fleckenstein, who would go on to join the Standells. Drummer Alban “Snoopy” Pfisterer replaced Conka, later moving to keyboards with the addition of drummer Michael Stuart.
Love’s second album, Da Capo, notable for the success of “7 and 7 Is” and the eighteen-minute jam of “Revelation” (one of the first rock tracks to span an entire album side), came out in early 1967. Neil Young was briefly enlisted to co-produce the next record, 1968’s Forever Changes, though that association, like much of the session, was problematic. With the band increasingly unreliable, Elektra brought in several session men, including drummer Hal Blaine. The band took the move as a wake-up call, and the result was a unique creative outburst, marked by complex song structures, archly mannered singing and dark, obtuse lyrical material.
Forever Changes was not a success; the dramatic, flamenco-style single “Alone Again Or” barely cracked the Top 100. Much of the failure was attributed to Lee’s refusal to tour. Holtzman, in his Elektra memoir, speculated that the singer wanted to be near his drug connections. (Lee had already declined to perfom at the Monterey Pop Festival.) Shortly after the release, Lee parted with his band mates, beginning a long cycle of rotating band members. Four Sail was Love’s last record for Elektra; subsequent releases found Lee flailing to retrieve the sound of his original band. In England, he cut lengthy jams with Hendrix, but the tapes were bogged down in legal disputes. One track from those sessions, “The Everlasting First,” eventually appeared on Love’s “False Start” album.
Meanwhile, past band mates were struggling. Forssi and Echols were rumored to have fallen into lives of petty crime, holding up a series of coffee shops, for which they were dubbed the “Doughnut Bandits.” Maclean suffered a nervous breakdown and became a Christian, occasionally performing with his half-sister, Maria McKee of Lone Justice. He died of a heart attack on Christmas Day 1999.
After dropping out of sight in the 1980s, Lee attempted several comebacks, beginning with the release of “Arthur Lee and Love” on the French New Rose label in 1992. A conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm resulted in a prison sentence; upon his release in 2001, he toured accompanied by the Los Angeles group Baby Lemonade.
Despite Love’s enduring status as a cult act with little commercial success, the band cast a long shadow. Syd Barrett called Love a defining inspiration for early Pink Floyd. Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant specifically mentioned Lee at the 1995 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. A film company in London is currently finishing work on a documentary entitled Love Story.
And it was Arthur Lee’s headling rush into a fantastic variety of music that defined the group. “I’d love to hear Johnny Mathis do ‘Foxey Lady,'” he once said, “or Howlin’ Wolf do ‘Turn! Turn! Turn!'”
Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/arthur-lee-1945-2006-20060804#ixzz2tpK3aDQF
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Originally released at the tail end of 1967, Love’s third album made the UK Top Thirty the following year (and would eventually be hailed as a masterpiece) but, by then, their reputation in the US had been eclipsed by their labelmates the Doors.
This rather rankled with Lee, even though he had been the one who had convinced Holzman, the Elektra boss, to take a second look at the Doors. “Jim Morrison used to sit outside my door when I lived in Laurel Canyon,” Lee told the rock writer Barney Hoskins. “He wanted to hang out with me, but I didn’t want to hang out with anybody.”
In 1966 Jeff Pasternak, songwriter, artist and son of legendary film producer Joe Pasternak, was strongly advised by his father not to get involved in Show Business. However, after meeting Elvis Presley on an MGM soundstage Jeff quickly forgot that advice. Months later, out for a good time at the London Fog on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, Jeff and a friend found their way to a sleazy backstreet bar and Jeff’s life changed forever.
The club was almost deserted as they waited for the new band they’d come to hear. Then, around 9:00 pm Jim Morrison and The Doors strolled onto the tiny dance floor. Jeff was captivated and mesmerized. He recalls that surreal night as one of The Doors‘ very best performances. “I knew after I left the club that night that this was the style of music I wanted to write, and the singer I wanted to sound like.”
Shortly after that evening Joe Pasternak approached Jeff, asking, “What rock and roll band would you recommend for my new movie, The Sweet Ride?” Jeff immediately told him about The Doors, whom Jeff had been following to about every gig they had around L.A. By then, Jeff says, “Their music and energy had saturated every part of my being.”
In a few more weeks Jeff had convinced his friend, John Branca (to later become one of the world’s top music attorneys) to experience The Doors. Two months later, Jeff and John had their own band, The Mustard Greens. “I was on top of the world,” Jeff says, “co-writing original material with John and waiting for my dad to sign The Doors. Who could ask for anything more?” Unfortunately for both the film’s success and music history, Joe Pasternak chose to sign Moby Grape, because they wanted $5,000 less. Shortly thereafter Light My Fire soared up the charts, racking up sales and fans. That’s Show Biz
Michael McClure (born October 20, 1932) is an American poet, playwright, songwriter, and novelist. After moving to San Francisco as a young man, he found fame as one of the five poets (including Allen Ginsberg) who read at the famous San Francisco Six Gallery reading in 1955 rendered in barely fictionalized terms in Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums. He soon became a key member of the Beat Generation and is immortalized as “Pat McLear” in Kerouac’s Big Sur.
McClure was a close friend of The Doors lead singer Jim Morrison and is generally acknowledged as having been responsible for promoting Morrison as a poet. To this day, McClure still performs spoken word poetry concerts with Doors keyboard player Ray Manzarek and they have released several CDs of their work. McClure is the author of the Afterword in Jerry Hopkins’s and Danny Sugerman’s seminal Doors biography, No One Here Gets Out Alive