Friday, June 13, 2008


Bobby Kennedy asassination 1968

Martin Luther King assassination 1968

In 1968, three very important things happened in America. In April of that year Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn.. In June of that year Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles, and in August of 1968 there were huge riots in Chicago at the Democratic National Convention, which assured that Richard M. Nixon would be elected the next President of The United States Of America.

The level of depression and anger that was being felt across this country, and the whole world for that matter, following these events, was palpable as 1968 moved towards it's final months. Because the shock of what had happened was so complete in that year, it was responsible for altering the lives of millions forever. It was hard to put your finger on exactly how much changed as a result of the year's volatility exactly, but I know that I had a feeling deep inside me that never left.

It was as if you finally knew that those in power were never going to let certain things happen. If you looked to change things too much, too fast, that power would rise up in one form or another and take you out. We had seen this happen, and then happen again, and again. It was as if it were being beaten into us through repetition.

Life changed! There was a sense of paranoia that was creeping into our lives in 68. The freewheeling open mindedness of the early 60's began to dissipate like a slow leak from a tire. It took some time, but the paranoia was definitely there to stay. Back in those days I began to reevaluate my own position in life.

One day Steve Clark approached me out of nowhere, saying he was having financial troubles, and couldn't continue paying me $100 a week to write songs for Since Music anymore. This was a devastating blow, but Steve also said he was trying to get Bob Ross, who owned Harmony Recording, to take on my publishing at Bob's own company, Teresa Music. Had I known at the time that Steve's reason for putting me with Bob Ross, was because Steve had used up the $10,000 Verve advance that he'd stolen from me, my whole life might have gone in an entirely different direction.

I liked Bob Ross alright, and knew he had a genuine interest in me, so I figured it would be OK for a while. In my mind I reasoned that by going with Bob, I could keep getting $100 a week to write songs. That money was all I had coming in, and I depended on it.

At the same time, Curt Boettcher was basically working himself out of Steve's grasp, and was slowly but surely making new plans for himself, Michele O Malley, Jim Bell, and the other Boettcher loyalists who had previously worked with Steve. I just stayed where I was, because Bob Ross was going to pay me, and I didn't want to be broke again.

There was talk of a new album by Bob, but there was no label offering to foot the bill at the time. I'd brought the Verve deal to Steve Clark, via Frank Zappa, for "Color Him In" the first time around, but now I was of no help as far as having a connection to an interested record company.

Possibly Steve's reputation, coupled with mine, was more than some people wanted to take a chance on at the time, who knows? But Bob Ross wasn't afraid. He kept the idea of an album alive, and had his own studio where we could cut the record, which would make it easier than having to go out and rent studio time somewhere else, which was expensive.

Between Steve and Bob cutting deals with each other, using my writing, publishing, and me as the artist for chips, they somehow managed to strike up a deal between them that they both could live with. Once again, I just stayed around because of the 100 bucks a week, it was that simple for me.

Demo from 1967-68 period