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Love: Behind the Scenes Paperback – 15 Sep 2003
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Love was one of the legendary bands of the late 1960s US West Coast scene, and their masterpiece "Forever Changes" still regularly appears in critics' polls. Yet the band never truly fulfilled their potential and broke through to the Los Angeles premier league inhabited by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. The author was the band's drummer and shares his inside perspective on the band's recording and performing career. He tells how drugs and egos thwarted the potential of one of the great groups of the burgeoning psychedelic era.
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Until this book, "Love" pretty much remained a mystery. Just as the doors were a mystery until the advent of the Sugerman book.
If any one is interested in the music scene, primarily in los angeles during the late sixties, this is the book!
I had a similar background to the author, except I'm from the working class with lower expectations, unlike the author who was from the middle class. I had a state scholarship to the university, because of my low income family. Back then in los angeles a lot was expected from drummers -- "play wipe out kid!". Anyway, I think "Love" is the most underrated group ever. Remember that the summer of love was just two years after the historic watts riot in los angeles. I too am guilty of not noticing arthur lee's greatness until seeing him perform on DVD in London in 2003, subsequent to rhino's release of the "love story" CD. All I remember of love from the analog days is "little red book" (vaguely) and of course "7 & 7." Also, "da capo" as the #1 album playing during a party. Speaking of drummers in los angeles, the Keith moon book is still rather expensive --- I haven't yet been able to find a used one on Amazon reasonably priced. I think I actually saw moon in a movie theatre (one screen back then) in Tujunga (los angeles county). This would be the early seventies. A young guy a few years older than I came into the theatre dressed as Hitler, even wearing a uniform!
Who else but moon? (I read he liked to go around wearing a Hitler costume). If moon had appeared like that on Fairfax ave (Hollywood), he would have ended up in the hospital! In conclusion and getting back to the subject ("Love"), you cannot escape the forever changes!
Arthur definitely comes off as a jerk. A genius, a magnetic personality, a strong and charismatic force -- but a a jerk. Sarcastic, cruel, and he even, according to the author, stiffed the other guys and didn't ever give them their royalties from the work on these two albums. Harsh. My interactions with Arthur have all been positive; he even wrote me back when he was in prison, and has been kind and curteous every time I have ever approcahed hm. But maybe he has just softened as he's gotten older. Because in this book, he seemed pretty mean and unsavory. The liner notes to McLean's "If you Believe..." paint a similar portrait.
My only criticism of this book is that it gives really short shrift to Forever Changes. In my opinion, Forever Changes is the greatest album of all time, ever. It moves me more than any book I have ever read, more than any painting I have ever seen -- it is simply the greatest human creative expression that I have ever expeienced. That said, I was let down that the author really doesn't say all that much about it. Just a little: they didn't rehearse much, studio musicians were brought in, then let go, then it was recorded -- and that was that and he quickly moves on. I was stunned. There was no discussion of the sheer brilliance of it; the non-traditional musical arrangments (like no choruses or hooks), the astounding lyrics, the chilling snare work in the beginning of You Set the Scene....I wanted to know more; how did they feel as they recorded it? What did the author think the first time he heard The red Telepone, for instance?
This is a must-read for any Love fan, or anyone compelled by LA in the 1960s.
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