Prince Arthur

arthur_lee_and_jimi_hendrix arthur7 arthurlee5 arthurlee6 arthurlee7 arthurlee8 arthurlee9 arthurlee14

I don’t get Prince, unless it is true, he emulated Arthur Lee. Then, it all makes sense. Everyone that heard and saw Love, wanted to be like Arthur Lee, but only one person was allowed to do that. My friend, Bryan MacLean had trouble being Bryan around Lee.  When Nancy and I saw Love at the Fillmore in 1966, we thought we would be invited backstage. Instead, Bryan came out into the audience. He was too fucked up to talk, less play. Their show was – shockingly bad! From what I gather, Lee was intimidated by the all white San Francisco bands that were making it big, getting outstanding record contracts.  He didn’t get it, that they sprang from the Acid Tests, and had a following of loyal – heads! There had to be something in – THE DRUGS!

We had planned to invite the band to visit our commune ‘Idle Hands’. Giving up on having a real conversation with me, Bryan turned his back, and walked away – into history! From here on we knew our Hippo Scene was not going to produce Magical Unicorns in a field of paisley hallucinations – forever. The Doors and Jimmy Hendrix hit the stage – with their Love Sound. Then, here come Prince! People want to feel sexy.

Arthur Lee ended up begging on the street. Here is Americas unidentified Poet Laureate, our Dylan Thomas who never had a pay day and died a mysterious death – like Prince! Arthur was in love with the English Language, and died not knowing this.

Bryan had a great command of English. He was forever playing with words. It was our common bond. I was doing automatic writing with Bryan’s friend, Mark Owen, on an electric typewriter. We took turns typing the first words that came in our head without hesitation. We then circled ‘The Keepers’ and read them aloud. We were sixteen. It was mind-altering – and for free! We were Word Smiths. We were Men.

Christine and Bryan were lovers for a couple of months. One evening he confesses he loves my sister, but, wants to date other beautiful young women. He asks my opinion.

“You’re a lover, and can be in love with everyone. The age of the couple is ending. A greater love is coming that involves the love of people, not just one person.”

That was 1963. Apparently Bryan made a note of what I said. He was just learning to play the guitar and perform at the New Balladeer in the Sawtelle.

When I met Belle in Kesey Square, and learned she was a dancer, I saw her as helping me with my vision I titled ‘Love Dance’. We need a Broadway play about our Love of People – and our Love of Dancing – a group activity!

If you were lucky to see Love in Hollywood, then you know they invented Bollywood. I never saw so many beautiful young women in one place. They were in costume. The goddesses in India were envious. Bryan had them all strung, like pearls. Love were Regionalists. There was Cosmic Sex going on – without sex! You really got your third eye opened. LA Eye Candy! Porcelain-faced Dolls. Flat bare stomachs grinding. Much hip action to colorful lights. Dylan Thomas wrote most of his famous poems when he was a teenager.

Jon Presco

PEOPLE ARE talking about Princes new CD, now in its planning stages. Prince is a great fan of the 1960’s group Love. This band — headed by Arthur Lee and Bryan MacLean was the first racially mixed rock band. They mixed a lot of styles — classical, flamenco guitar, blues and hard-driving rock. Some feel Love was the forerunner of the much more successful The Doors. There were dramatic problems within the band, and the original group broke up in 1968. Their three albums are cherished by music aficionados. 

Now, Prince wants to cover all of Love’s great songs in a tribute album. Well, it would a profitable, smart way to introduce it all to a new generation that seems completely in the dark about the pleasures of Love.

Forever Changes only reached #154 on the Billboard album chart, and its first single, “Alone Again Or,” was similarly ignored—except for in Los Angeles and Great Britain. Dismayed at the reception Lee reportedly upped his drug intake, and the band broke up soon after. 

A House Is Not a Motel


At my house I’ve got no shackles
You can come and look if you want to
In the halls you’ll see the mantles
Where the light shines dim all around you
And the streets are paved with gold and if
Someone asks you, you can call my name

You are just a thought that someone
Somewhere somehow feels you should be here
And it’s so for real to touch
To smell, to feel, to know where you are here
And the streets are paved with gold and if
Someone asks you, you can call my name
You can call my name
I hear you calling my name, yeah, all right now, hey

By the time that I’m through singing
The bells from the schools of walls will be ringing
More confusions, blood transfusions
The news today will be the movies for tomorrow
And the water’s turned to blood, and if
You don’t…

The Backstory
Arthur Taylor Lee was “the undisputed prince of the Sunset Strip in the 1960s,” according to his biographer John Einarson. He was a dashing mulatto alpha dog who sported fringed buckskin jackets, silk scarves, triangular sunglasses, and cowboy boots—and he did it before anyone had heard of Jim Morrison or Jimi Hendrix. His band, Love, was a local idol after it played residencies at clubs like Bido Lito’s, the Hullabaloo, and the Whisky A Go Go. The band received fans, groupies, and druggies aplenty in the Castle, a communal mansion on Commonwealth Road in Los Feliz that had once belonged to Bela Lugosi. But underneath the groovy threads and flower-power name lay darker paradoxes.

Arthur was more of a punk than a hippie,” recalled David Anderle, an A&R scout for the band’s label Elektra Records, in the book Waiting for the Sun. “There was almost a gangster thing going on there, rule by intimidation.” As for his biracial band, its name, in the words of one ex-member, “should have been called Hate.” Future Manson murderer Bobby Beausoleil was one of its early guitarists. Love’s first two albums carried the dark, aggressive edge of proto-punk; Rolling Stone called it “like strange, sloppy Byrds.” Love thought nothing of following a gritty garage-rock standard like “Hey Joe” with a cover of Burt Bacharach’s “My Little Red Book.” “They were pretty ‘out there,’,” recalled Neil Young to writer Jimmy McDonough. “They were just bad enough and fucked up enough to make fun of—but they were so good, too.”

Love’s internal strife, mainly a battle of wills between Lee and his two guitarists, golden-blonde surfer-boi Bryan MacLean and Johnny Mathis lookalike Johnny Echols, were already the stuff of legend. Such tensions haunted the sessions for their next album, recorded from June to September of 1967. Though it was conceived as a double album, Elektra’s budget allowed no time for the rest of the band to learn the complex song arrangements. (Added drummer Michael Stuart: “We got high too much.”) Lee retaliated by bringing in L.A. session pros to complete the first two tracks. It was a productive attitude adjustment: The other band members dutifully rehearsed their parts and returned to the studio that August, where they completed the final nine tracks in three days at a bargain-basement cost of $2,257.

Why You Should Listen
Forever Changes may have been born of internal dissent, but it plays like a fully flowing, organic whole. It encompasses a stunning and esoteric breadth of musical influences, from flamenco, jazz, and lounge-pop to acid rock, folk, and classical (the melody of MacLean’s “Old Man” was inspired by Prokofiev). Although it was Lee’s maverick vision that held it all together, it was not his alone.

Both Echols and Stuart had jazz backgrounds—Echols, who attended Dorsey High School with Lee, grew up next to saxophonist Ornette Coleman in the West Adams district—and brought a loose, behind-the-beat feel to the songs. MacLean brought the influence of classical music, Broadway show tunes, and Hollywood pop. Bassist Ken Forssi played in an early lineup of the Safaris and brought with him the driving thump of California surf rock. Producer Bruce Botnick and arranger David Angel, a jazz saxophonist with classical training, were responsible for the lush flumes of orchestration that connected the disparate material. Elektra Records head Jac Holtzman suggested using more acoustic guitars, which gives Forever Changes its soft-focus, sun-drunk quality.

The result is a masterpiece that remains eerily unmoored from its time even as it has outlasted the legions of forgettable psychedelic bands formed in the wake of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper.

Local Color
Like R. Crumb’s early art or the opening credit sequence of HBO’s Silicon ValleyForever Changes is a time-lapse animated parade of the Sunset Strip during its 1960s transformation from love beads to heroin needles. Like one of his antecedents, L.A. author Chester Himes, Lee was equal parts literate social observer and hardened street hustler, a man who reveled in the widescreen countercultural processionals of the ’60s while at the same time becoming more paranoid and suspicious about it all. As his band became more successful and the drugs started taking hold, Lee grew hyper-sensitive and nearly agoraphobic.

After he went to check on his mother while parts of his childhood neighborhood burned during the 1965 Watts riots, Lee became one of the first Sunset Strip musicians to relocate to Laurel Canyon. From this hermetic vantage point Lee sank into chemical abuse and mental isolation. His brilliance lay in his ability to couch his disquiet in allusive lyrics and bizarre wordplay. On the macabre “The Red Telephone,” for example, Lee sings about “sitting on a hillside watching all the people die” and recites a twisted nursery rhyme worthy of Roald Dahl: “They’re locking him up today/They’re throwing away the key/I wonder who it’ll be tomorrow/You or me?”

The Aftermath
Forever Changes only reached #154 on the Billboard album chart, and its first single, “Alone Again Or,” was similarly ignored—except for in Los Angeles and Great Britain. Dismayed at the reception Lee reportedly upped his drug intake, and the band broke up soon after. 

Lee would spend the next two decades in chronic career confusion, releasing bizarre hodgepodge-solo albums on tiny labels and periodically reviving Love before dissolving it again—he even fired one lineup live onstage in San Francisco—and distancing himself from Forever Changes. (When audiences would call out requests from the album, Lee would respond: “I don’t play that shit anymore.”) In the ’90s, Lee did five and a half years at Pleasant Valley State Penitentiary in Coalinga, California on a “Three Strikes” charge of weapons possession.

– See more at:

After his release in 2001, he embarked on a tour performing Forever Changes in its entirety backed by horns, strings, and Silver Lake popsters Baby Lemonade. He found that the majority of his audiences were young music fans who weren’t even born when the album was released. Lee died in 2006 of leukemia.

Signature Tracks
“Alone Again Or” – Anchored by Latin-flavored, poignant acoustic guitar and a mariachi-pop trumpet solo, this is one of the late singer and songwriter Bryan MacLean’s two contributions to the album.

“Andmoreagain” – Arguably Lee’s finest vocal performance the song displays his debt to pop singers like Mathis and Tom Jones. It also name checks a homeless man shuffling around on the street under Lee’s window.

“You Set the Scene” – The seven-minute epic is actually a mash-up of three separate songs, all held together by Ken Forssi’s Motown-mutation bass and building to a verdant pocket-symphony coda.

– See more at:


Dylan Marlais Thomas (27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953) was a Welsh poet and writer, whose works include the poems “Do not go gentle into that good night” and “And death shall have no dominion“; the ‘play for voices’ Under Milk Wood; and stories and radio broadcasts such as A Child’s Christmas in Wales and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog. He became widely popular in his lifetime and remained so after his premature death at the age of 39 in New York City. By then, he had acquired a reputation, which he encouraged, as a “roistering, drunken and doomed poet”.[3]

Rumours circulated of a brain haemorrhage, followed by competing reports that he had been mugged and even that he had drunk himself to death.[131] Later, there was speculation about drugs and diabetes. At the post-mortem, the pathologist found three causes of death – pneumonia, brain swelling and a fatty liver. Despite his heavy drinking his liver showed no sign ofcirrhosis.[134]

Dylan’s legacy as the “doomed poet” was cemented with the publication of Brinnin’s 1955 biography Dylan Thomas in America, which focuses on his last few years and paints a picture of him as a drunk and a philanderer.[135] Later biographies are critical of Brinnin’s view, especially his coverage of Thomas’s death. David Thomas in Fatal Neglect: Who Killed Dylan Thomas?claims that Brinnin, along with Reitell and Feltenstein, were culpable.[120] FitzGibbon’s 1965 biography ignores Thomas’s heavy drinking and skims over his death, giving just two pages in his detailed book to Thomas’s demise. Ferris in his 1989 biography includes Thomas’s heavy drinking, but is more critical of those around him in his final days and does not draw the conclusion that he drank himself to death. Feltenstein’s role and actions have been criticised by many sources, especially his incorrect diagnosis of delirium tremens and the high dose of morphine he administered.[136] Dr B. W. Murphy and Dr C. G. de Gutierrez-Mahoney, the doctors who treated Thomas while at St. Vincents, concluded that Feltenstein’s failure to see that Thomas was gravely ill and have him admitted to hospital sooner, “was even more culpable than his use of morphine”.[137]


PrinceThe Revolution

You don’t have to be beautiful
To turn me on
I just need your body baby
From dusk till dawn
You don’t need experience
To turn me out
You just leave it all up to me
I’m gonna show you what it’s all about

You don’t have to be rich
To be my girl
You don’t have to be cool
To rule my world
Ain’t no particular sign I’m more compatible with
I just want your extra time and your

Oh oh

You got to not talk dirty, baby
If you want to impress me
You can’t be to flirty, mama
I know how to undress me, yeah
I want to be your fantasy
Maybe you could be mine
You just leave it all up to me
We could have a good time

Don’t have to be rich
To be my girl
Don’t have to be cool
To rule my world
Ain’t no particular sign I’m more compatible with
I just want your extra time and your


About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Prince Arthur

  1. Reblogged this on Rosamond Press and commented:

    I had a drewm about producing a play, that may be a musical.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.