Monday, November 29, 2010

(part 219) TOO HIGH ON A DREAM

The Legends Of Rock-N-Roll idea deteriorated over a period of months. Along the way, there were a number of meetings with the group in Century City before the complete demise of the project.

During these meetings there were times when it seemed the idea had been accepted at face value, and that the people I'd been talking to were going to make it happen.

My weakness back then was that I was broke. That's why I had to go begging for money. The fact that I had none, forced me to become involved with the people in Century City.

Originally I'd met John York at the recording sessions I'd done during the Dennis and George deal, when money hadn't been an issue.

Back then, I was able to pay for his work in the studio, but now with the Legend's thing, "me and no money" was the main threat to the success or failure of the entire project, because I couldn't even pay for the studio.

John and his family were barely getting by back then, and I didn't know about the financial status of Nicky Hopkins or Gene Clark.

Mostly I knew that musicians had always gotten screwed over, so even if they'd been part of some successful ventures in the past, it didn't mean they had any money now.

John York, Nicky Hopkins, and Gene Clark had all agreed to offer their services for free as a personal favor to me, so I wasn't about to hit them up for money to pay for the studio time too. The understanding was, that I would get the studio time and they would show up and record some songs with me.

With their participation guaranteed, you might well be able to imagine that there were going to be others who would want to play as well, simply because Nicky, Gene, and John were involved. It's a music thing. "Who's gonna be there? Oh yeah, OK I'll play."

I kept trying to convey to the Century City group the realities of the situation and why I needed money, but after awhile they seemed less and less capable of grasping the importance of what I was telling them.

They treated my need for studio time as a problem, instead of agreeing to resolve the issue. They repeatedly implied that it was some sort of shortcoming on my part.

I, on the other hand argued, that if I had the money to get started in the studio, I wouldn't even have bothered talking to them in the first place.

I complained that they were losing sight of who I'd lined up for the project. "This is a one time deal, man! You won't ever see this again," I yelled. They were completely unmoved.

Whether it was because they were unconvinced about the calibre of those involved, or something else, I will never know. But in the history of music, and in the lives of those who make the music, this will go down as one of the dumbest things I have ever had the displeasure of watching fail.

To think of an album, full of original music, with Nicky Hopkins, John York, Gene Clark and the others, including myself, who would have ultimately played on such a record, is in and of itself a colossal act of stupidity, because it didn't happen.

To realize it didn't get done, simply because I couldn't raise a small amount of money for studio time from a bunch of half wits, still boggles my mind today.

In my life I have seen more idiotic bullshit done and not done over money than I would have ever thought possible in the beginning.

The lost opportunities and failed realities which are consumed by the fires of greed and stupidity, and then shelved or lost by fools who piss on art for the sake of a dollar sign, still leaves me shaking my head today.

Years later, when I talked to other musicians about how this record almost happened in the early eighties, they shook their heads in disbelief that something so valuable got shit-canned over mere studio time and a lack of vision, particularly in the light of Hopkins and Clark's passing.

Ultimately I walked away from the fiasco, numbed in a way that still haunts me today. After living through so many failed records and soured deals, my bitterness toward fools, money, and greed reached epic proportions.

I took this defeat so hard that I quit trying to get anything going with anybody. Not because I didn't want to do things, but because the misery and pain caused by events like these was going to kill me if I didn't stop trying to tame the monster.

The going up too high on a dream was now not worth the seemingly predestined crash to earth that just kept repeating itself...


  1. It was a brilliant and eclectic conception: Hopkins, Clark, York, and Jameson—rock, country, folk, blues, pop—performed by proven masters. It would have been a great document. The fact that you were considering tapping very early into the "TV Infomercial/Self Promotion" approach was a really interesting premise.

    As we've seen a million times, talent and vision are not enough to assure success. Gene Clark had been through this before. After he left the Byrds, he hooked up with Doug Dillard, a brilliant banjo player and great performer who had toured for years with the very successful folk/bluegrass band, The Dillards. We saw The Dillards many times in LA; they were both terrific and hilarious.

    Despite the excellent album by the Dillard and Clark Expedition, it never really went anywhere. It should have...It just didn't. They got another album out of it, but it went nowhere. Nevertheless, both of those albums are really fine listening.

    The "Legends" album might have been a huge success, but even if it was a flaming failure "commercially," it is tragic that the conception got that far, with full buy-in from the musicians, yet we have no record of such a promising project.

    Just imagine how many such projects were nixed by the music "movers and shakers," while pondering the incredible amount of crap that gets the go ahead. It's a crazy business that only seems to be getting worse every year.

    Thanks for picking up the story,

  2. Great to have you back as well my friend...I always enjoy your take on this stuff I push out of my head onto digital paper.....

  3. Yeah, no money is a major drag. I'm there right now. People think when you say you have no money that it means you have some money, just not much. They just can't grasp the idea of NO money. Makes you not even wanna get out of bed sometimes, I tell ya.

  4. You have nailed it Rob....Thanks........

    By the way, and unrelated to what I just said above.........I did say that the Legends episode happened in 81 or 82......and that I didn't remember for sure... It's in post 219.....