Perfect Sound Forever

Johnny Rogan's Byrds Requiem For The Timeless Vol 2


Uh... You Left Out A John, Johnny
An Intense Review, Part 2
by David Chirko

(if you came from another site here, see Part 1 of the Byrds book article)


New nests found

After appearing on some of the Fifth Dimension LP recording sessions, Gene announced that he was leaving the flock on March 1st of 1966. He soon became the first Byrd to embark on a solo project. His post-Byrds recording endeavors, solo, or with other musicians, which never acquired commercial success and inevitably devastated him, began with Gene Clark And The Gosdin Brothers (later, in 1991, expanded for CD and titled Echoes). Because it was released at the same time--February 10, 1967--as the Byrds' Younger Than Yesterday LP (which even had the same producer, Gary Usher), the LP suffered from lack of sales. After all, Byrds aficionados turned their worship and money toward the more seasoned Byrds. Featured players on Clark's solo effort were Byrds Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke on rhythm, Clarence White, then a session guitarist, and the Gosdins--who all also played on Younger Than Yesterday, as well as banjo virtuoso Doug Dillard. Eddie Tickner and Jim Dickson, who managed the Byrds, also did so for the Gosdins. Dickson was involved in this Clark project. Clark and White ended up in the later-inaugurated Gene Clark Group, which included John York on its roster.

Dillard & Clark--1968-1969. Here he worked with Doug Dillard, future Eagle Bernie Leadon, and Michael Clarke again, pioneering rock with bluegrass and recording albums of such. They recorded The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark and Through The Morning Through The Night, respectively.

Solo--1974. David Geffen, president of Asylum Records, acquired the services of the original Famous Five for the Byrds' 1973 reunion album, Byrds, produced by David Crosby, reaching the US top 20 and UK top 40. On it, Gene had penned two gems, "Changing Heart" and "Full Circle Song." Upon hearing these, Geffen financed about $100,000 for Gene's solo offering, which the latter called No Other. One song on it included Chris Hillman on mandolin. When Clark friend and producer Thomas Jefferson Kaye handed the finished recording to Geffen and he ascertained there were but eight songs on it, his response for his investment was contumelious. He refused to back a band or tour for Gene to promote the album, which foundered in the charts. Clark was, needless to say, disconsolate. His material with the Gosdins and Dillard, are highly lauded today by critics, but No Other is Gene's most beloved record. Colin Larkin (EIC) in Virgin All-Time Top 1000 Albums (1998) rates it at 136 and believes his "... songwriting contribution to the... Byrds was a glorious asset that even they did not appreciate..." (p. 64). Len Lauk, in Rock the Rough Guide (1996), edited by Jonathan Buckley and Mark Ellingham, encourages the reader to "Get this record into your life now. Untouchable" (p. 170).

McGuinn, Clark & Hillman--1979, 1980. They put out a couple of fine albums, McGuinn, Clark & Hillman and City, respectively. Some of it sounded like the Byrds engaging in a pleasant rendezvous with disco.

Firebyrds--1983-1985. This group, with Michael Clarke (touring) and others, released an album entitled Firebyrd, in 1984 (rereleased in 1996 with a few extra cuts and renamed This Byrd has Flown). This included Chris Hillman on harmony vocals and offered some handsome country folk-rock work.

CRY (or CHRY)--1984. The acronym (Einarson employed both; Rogan, only the former) stood for Gene Clark, Nicky Hopkins, Pat Robinson and John York (who today is a master of 30 string, keyboard and wind instruments). At that time, CBS wanted to make Clark the star with the others as sidemen, but they wouldn't have it and album plans were shelved. Around 1999, to eschew legal issues and royalties pertaining to Clark's estate, Carla Olson (who earlier performed with them) might have become the "C" in the affair, replacing Gene's vocals, but York took umbrage because she wasn't part of the group. A CD of Clark's songs with CRY, called After The Storm, was finally released in 2000 by York and Robinson, minus Clark and Hopkins. In 2001, presented as a Gene Clark solo double CD album--with CHRY's members (but no specific mention of "CHRY") plus Rick Danko--Under the Silvery Moon, contained 29 songs, including much of the CHRY stuff and was scheduled for release, but soon withdrawn/destroyed because of issues Robinson encountered with Gene's estate. In 2003, it was rereleased as a single CD by Gene Clark, with the same moniker, but featured only 14 songs.

Bogus Byrds--1985... Much to the consternation of a few of the original Byrds Gene first played with, conglomerations involving bogus Byrds bands were initiated, which sometimes included Michael Clarke, Skip Battin, John York and Gene Parsons. Gene Clark and Michael Clarke were later legally challenged by Messrs. Crosby, Hillman and McGuinn, who decided to bow out for pecuniary and legal reasons.

Carla Olson--1987. Gene recorded an endearing album with her (the wife of Saul Davis, co-producer), called So Rebellious A Lover. Chanteuse Carla also played acoustic guitars and piano. Chris Hillman took part on mandolin and Pat Robinson showed up on vocals.


Eight Miles of Controversy

"Eight Miles High" is the work Gene will be eternally remembered for. After the Byrds created folk-rock, psychedelic-rock evolved on their farraginous musical merry-go-round. As it says in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum series volume, I Want to Take You Higher The Psychedelic Era 1965-1969 (1997), edited by James Henke with Parke Puterbaugh, the Byrds' December 22nd, 1965 version of "Eight Miles High" was "... the first aural reproduction of the LSD rush..." (p. 190). There was later some confusion as to who composed the lion's share of the piece because of the order of the songwriters' names appearing in the credits, underneath the song title. Usually such information is found with the CD's liner or song notes. However, a caveat: it may not be the author of such notes who is responsible for how the songwriter credits are arranged under each opus on the disc; whether--in this case, Byrds recordings--it's Johnny Rogan, David Fricke, somebody else, or not printed.

With "Eight Miles High" originally, on vinyl (1966), the songwriter credits appeared as such: G. Clark/J. McGuinn/D. Crosby. When Jim (Roger) McGuinn's name appeared first on 1990's The Byrds (Box Set), presenting the credits thusly: R. McGuinn/G. Clark/D. Crosby, fans cried heresy. Rogan (2017) elucidates on this, saying that this was "... a trivial administrative error..." (p. 280). Such had been exacted since the original release of (Untitled) in 1970. For the 1996 remastered reissue CD of the Byrds' 1966 Fifth Dimension LP, the songwriter credits for "Eight Miles High" appear in this sequence: R. McGuinn/D. Crosby/G. Clark; but under the bonus tracks (alternate/RCA Studios version), they appear: G. Clark/R. McGuinn/D. Crosby! In the Greatest Hits expanded reissue CD (1999), the original version correctly places the credits like this: G. Clark/R. McGuinn/D. Crosby. For the 2000 expanded (Untitled)/(Unissued) double CD set, the credits go like this: R. McGuinn/D. Crosby/G. Clark. In the 2006 There Is A Season box set/DVD (where, alas, of 99 songs featured, 17 involve Clark's pen, unlike the first Box Set, where McGuinn was a musical consultant, in which Clark placed a paltry six songs he wrote of 90 contained), the songwriter credits are in this sequence: G. Clark/D. Crosby/R. McGuinn. In the end, suffice it to say, through the years, various Byrds compilations have different formats for the songwriter credits because of happenstance.

Clark had mistakenly believed that, during their meetings, Rolling Stone Brian Jones was engrossed in the composing of "Eight Miles High." Rogan (2011, pp. 257-258) dispels such a notion, revealing that Clark altered his version of the event frequently. He said Clark spoke of an "idea" he may have shared with Jones. Moreover, he points out that Jones wasn't one to embrace lyric writing but rather, music and the song's lyrics, alluding to London, were not completed until after the Byrds August 2nd to 20th, 1965 UK tour. Clark presented the melody and chord changes, McGuinn did the John Coltrane facets via 12-string guitar, and Crosby added a couple of lines.


The Notorious Byrd

A contentious item in Byrds' lore is Gene's participation in The Notorious Byrd Brothers recording sessions of 1967. As regards to this, on March 5, 2007, I e-mailed John Einarson, and his response to me (personal communication, March 5, 2007) was "Regarding the ongoing dispute over Gene Clark's participation on Notorious, I am amazed that some people, one person in particular, remain so intransigent and refuse to believe he took part in those sessions when there is eye witness testimony." He added that there was a photographer who contacted him, assuring him that he took photos of Gene present there (and was, at that time, searching his files for the photos) and that in (Ric Menck's) 33 1/3 book, another person stated he was present and met with Gene when he was in the studio. In fact, Einarson (2005, p. 127) tells us that three members of the Rose Garden were invited by Gene (just prior to him rejoining the Byrds, briefly) to Columbia where they espied him, sans the other Byrds, annex his blending to the vocals on "Goin' Back." Rogan (2017, p. 84; 2011, p. 1025) admits that Clark came to one October playback session of the Notorious songs, including listening to the vocal segments of "Goin' Back," but he was not listed in any of the studio logs for the LP. Notwithstanding, Einarson (2005) apprises us that McGuinn stated "... 'He and I had a good blend, so why wouldn't we have kept him on the track?" (p. 127). In Requiem 1, Rogan, discussing the 1997 remastered version of Notorious, tells us that Crosby "... refused to appear on the released recording of 'Goin' Back', the bonus track herein is an early attempt on which he sings harmony..." (p. 806). Which version was Gene on? It was Bob Hyde's album liner notes to the Byrds LP Never Before (1987) where I first garnered data on the Notorious studio sessions and he stated that "Goin' Back" (version I) for the single release (Rogan, 2011, p. 1024, says this was for the LP) was recorded September 5th-6th, 1967, with Crosby present, but not active. "Goin' Back" (version II) for the LP (Rogan, 2011, p. 1024, says this was for the single, released US October 20th) was recorded October 9th, 11th and 16th 1967. Further, Crosby departs and Clark rejoins the Byrds at this juncture.

Notorious' "Space Odyssey" was recorded October 23rd, 30th and November 1st 1967 (and Rogan concurs). Then, Clark again departs the band. Moreover, Einarson says, "Gene... remarked... he also added his voice to... 'Space Odyssey'..." (p. 127).

McGuinn is adamant that Gene co-wrote with him the Notorious album's opus, "Get To You," affirming, p. 406 of Rogan's Requiem 1, that Clark came over to his house when he was laboring on the chords and they proceeded thence--as Einarson (2005, p. 127) also says. Clark never took exception to not being listed as a contributor on this song while he was alive. However, Rogan states that, "... Chris concedes that the lyrics were almost entirely the work of his colleague [McGuinn] and could not even remember his own contribution" (p. 406). In Requiem 2, Rogan avers that Hillman cannot recall Clark's contribution either. Paradoxically, Rogan, in Requiem 1 declares that Clark "... appeared at some recording sessions, mainly as an observer rather than a participant. His major contribution was... uncredited. Outside the studio, he helped McGuinn complete... 'Get To You'..." (p. 389). Hyde (1987) stated November 13th, 1967, "Get To You" was recorded (as does Rogan). I might add that Rogan's personnel listing is more comprehensive than Hyde's.

Based on all of the testimony, I'm going to acquiesce with John Einarson. Therefore, I believe that Gene Clark was present in the studio during the recording of The Notorious Byrd Brothers, singing along on "Goin' Back" and "Space Odyssey." Furthermore, I can't see how Gene wasn't involved in composing "Get To You." In fact, Gene has had seven tribute albums devoted to him and, on A Thousand Sad Goodbyes The Songs Of Gene Clark (2012) by Jon Emery, "Get To" is one of the works covered, and the songwriting credits went to Roger McGuinn and Gene, which seems to be the current climate of opinion.


The End

Barry McGuire, in an interview for The Byrd who Flew Alone: The Triumphs and Tragedy of Gene Clark DVD (2013), edited/directed by Jack and Paul Kendall, said that the last time he had ever seen Gene (not long before his demise), he announced to him after closing a show, "I'm a loser" and then departed quickly. McGuire said he then thought to himself, "Gene, you're not a loser...You're a champion. You're king of the world!" Gene's last batch of public performances was in April of 1991, at the Cinegrill in Hollywood.

The afternoon of Sunday, May 26th, 1991, I was listening to The Source, a rock and roll oldies show on Ottawa, Ontario's CHEZ-106.1 FM, hosted by Brian W. Murphy, when I got the shocking news of "champion" Gene's passing the Friday previous, or 24th (coincidentally, birthday of Murphy, as well as the 50th for Bob Dylan 5, who once "... described Gene Clark as one of the three best songwriters in the world" [amazon.com]). Murphy said that Gene, because of exorbitant alcohol consumption, looked rough at the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony for the Byrds, earlier that year, and intimated that his untimely death in Sherman Oaks (suburban Los Angeles) may have been linked to substance abuse. Our local daily newspaper, The Sudbury Star, featured an article, about 225 words long, replete with a small photo of Gene, Tuesday, May 28th, with the headline, "Byrds founder dies at home."

Later, David Clark, Gene's brother, arrived at Gene's domicile after he passed away and Rogan quotes him saying, "... the house was ransacked" [2017, p. 316]. There was a plethora of friends and associates on hand at the scene the day Gene passed away and his awards and unreleased tapes were missing. No drugs were found therein. Saul Davis was mentioned as Clark's manager.6

The Star article explained that record books stated Clark was 49 years old, but Davis averred, correctly, that he was 46. Further, it said that Davis was unaware of Gene's poor health, and that the last time he had been in hospital was 1988, to remove a stomach ulcer. No autopsy was planned and a physician declared "... the death appeared to have been from natural causes..." What officially killed Clark--the day before his parents' 50th wedding anniversary- was a bleeding ulcer (and he was then bereft of most of his stomach), no doubt exacerbated by inordinate drinking, impacting on his heart. Rogan (2017, pp. 293-295) explains that, years after Gene's passing, there was news of an unfounded throat cancer scare involving Gene, sans any documentation regarding whether or not he visited a doctor and, if so, what was found.

It's interesting that not one Byrd showed up at Gene's funeral in Van Nuys, (suburban Los Angeles), California or in Bonner Springs, Kansas. Curious, I e-mailed John Einarson March 13, 2007, telling him I espied, on the Ready Steady Go Web Site, info on his book (2005), where he mentioned his interview of Crosby and McGuinn and how they reacted to Gene's passing, and that one was teary eyed. I therefore asked which one of them he meant, and he responded to me (personal communication, March 15, 2007) "It was Crosby who turned misty-eyed during my interview with him about Gene backstage before a CSN gig in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. But Roger was very nostalgic and warm in his memories of Gene, too." York, Clarke, and Hillman later on purveyed written eulogies.

Nevertheless, there was an egregious scenario at Clark's funeral involving his drug buddy, the actor David Carradine. 7 Einarson (2005) describes in his book the event at Gene's casket, where Pat Robinson explains, "When Carradine came up... he wasn't as much drunk as he was on acid, I think... And we're standing there and Carradine says, 'You cocksucker... ' and grabs Gene by the lapels... And Carradine goes, 'You pissed on my daughter when she was 13.' ... and then he says, 'I saw him snicker, boys, heh heh.' ... that was weird" (p. 314). Einarson believes that Carradine was alluding to an early 1980's occurrence at his house when Gene, after a row with Dylan, inadvertently went into Calista Carradine's bedroom and urinated. Also, he thought that some present at the funeral mistakenly believed Carradine shouted, "You fucked my daughter." Actor Jason Ronard believed Carradine was acting out a scene from the 1976 Western movie, The Missouri Breaks, when Marlon Brando grabbed a fellow from a casket and exclaimed, "You sonofabitch! Why did you do this?! Why did you die!" (p. 314).

On December 16, 2011, I e-mailed Johnny Rogan, posing questions, one regarding his version versus Einarson's of the Clark funeral in the first Requiem (p. 778) which, he maintained, was dignified but that Clark's earlier showing was another matter. His response to me (personal communication, snail mail, undated, received December 30, 2011) that "Einarson relies on... Ronard's account, but I think it's... clear... that the 'incident' Jason refers to involves another girl... and he's confused..." Not seeking any discrepancy with Einarson, Rogan apprised me everything would be expatiated on in Requiem 2. Jason, in Einarson's book (p. 314), never referred to the urination incident, rather, the sexual, and Einarson's text appears exactly like this: "Gene never fucked her," insists Jason."I did. Gene never had anything to do with his daughter."

Rogan tells us that Clark compadre Tom Slocum, and his former girlfriend Terri Messina, apprised him he heard Carradine say, "You fucked that girl when she was only... Wake up! Wake up!" (2017, p. 318). The name and age of the girl were expunged. Another friend of Gene's, Shannon O'Neill, who, along with Slocum, was part of security said, "I was at the back and all I remember was someone shouting, 'Come on, Geno, let's get the fuck out of here. Get the fuck up!'" (p. 318). Slocum and Gene's brother, David Clark, say they witnessed Carradine almost pull Gene out of his coffin. Together, security escorted Carradine out of the premises. A few days later, an unapologetic Carradine came across a number of Clark's family members and explained that his earlier opprobrious behavior was merely his way of showing respect. On pages 318-319 (and in his notes, p. 400, where he doubts Robinson's observations), Rogan describes how Slocum, O'Neill and Messina ascertained Carradine's inebriation. Furthermore, Hillary Beckington (former wife of Thomas Jeferson Kaye) attests to the fact that Clark had but little to do with Carradine's daughter Calista. Moreover, Rogan (Gene Clark: Notes, p. 400) elucidates that the urination event never occurred at Carradine's home either. He avers that Carradine, in his autobiography Endless Highway (1995), maintains he deposited his daughter with Linda McGuinn (who later became Linda Carradine). Carradine then took Gene to another home, where the latter mistook a bedroom--with a slumbering girl, daughter of the hosts, who weren't named--for a privy, wherein he micturated. Kudos to Rogan for offering a more accurate account of what transpired at Clark's funeral.

Gene's body was soon transported to Bonner Springs, Kansas, where a quiet funeral, attended mainly by friends and family, took place. He was interred at his birthplace, Tipton, Missouri. On his tombstone epitaph, the moniker of his famous solo album: "No Other."




Notes

1. John Payne Guerin, b. October 31, 1939, Hawaii d. January 5, 2004, West Hills, CA (heart failure).

2. Guerin may well have been the most recorded drummer ever. Not only playing as a member of the Byrds, he was a session drummer for everyone from Frank Zappa to Frank Sinatra, Oscar Peterson to the Animals, Ray Charles to Linda Ronstadt and Joni Mitchell.

3. So, it has been witnessed that, at times, what some scribes and performers have asserted as fact did not always coincide with historical reality. Take for instance Moody Blues keyboardist Patrick Moraz--who replaced Mike Pinder--adamantly insisting after his departure from the Moodies that he was a member of the group from 1978-1991, as he was featured and/or pictured on five of their albums and promotional materials. The rest of the group remained incredulous, regarding him as merely a "hired musician" (read: session player, like Guerin, although he never battled for any recognition of his member status in the Byrds, as I am insisting). As a former member Moraz, in 1992, sued the other Moodies in court, for wrongfully firing him, tour earnings and royalties. He won, but only acquired a portion of what he was offered before the fiasco. One can only speculate what the other members--Graeme Edge, Justin Hayward, John Lodge, and Ray Thomas--were thinking. He is also found mentioned with the other four members, under Moody Blues #3, July, 1978 to now, in Pete Frame's Birmingham Beatsters Family Tree (Clifford, 1988, p. 52) and, like Guerin and the Byrds, in numerous other rock sources. Surprisingly, Patrick wasn't with the Moody Blues when they were, in April of 2018, inducted into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame (when, for whatever reason, Pinder did not speak or play, although ephemeral Moodies founder Denny Laine shared but a terse statement). At the same Hall of Fame the original Famous Five--Clark, Clarke, Crosby, Hillman and McGuinn--have made their Byrdhouse since 1991. Though, like Moraz and the Moodies, there were absentees at that Byrds' induction ceremony too--the exclusion of the other five surviving (at the time) Byrdsmen Skip Battin, John Guerin, Kevin Kelley, Gene Parsons and John York. In the final analysis, regardless of what anyone says, or even how they viewed themselves, John Guerin was a Byrd, just as Patrick Moraz was a Moody Blue.

4. Perhaps Rogan was seeking the more apropos term, "hypomania." "Hypermania" isn't really employed that much anymore in psychiatric circles and would refer to something severe. He employs the term "episodes." Note that the DSM-5, regarding cyclothymia, states, it is essentially a "... chronic, fluctuating mood disturbance involving numerous periods of hypomanic... and... depressive symptoms... distinct from each other" (p. 140). They emphasize that the duration, pervasiveness, severity and number of the hypomanic and depressive symptoms are not sufficient to fulfill diagnostic criteria for a hypomanic and depressive episode.

5. Thomas Jefferson Kaye was working on a record by Bobby Neuwirth, who was a chum of Dylan's, just before Geffen approached him to decide on the No Other project, and said he engaged them in discussion and "Neuwirth and Dylan... both said that their three favourite songwriters in the world were Bob Dylan, Bobby Charles and Gene Clark" (Rogan, 2017, p. 139). Rogan referred to the book Endless Highway (pp. 428-429) by David Carradine who describes a scenario at his house party where an inebriated Clark cornered Dylan with a pool cue, calling him a "... no-talent whimp..." (Rogan, 2017, p. 127). Carradine intervened and later on in the night (not long before the infamous urination incident), as Rogan states, he espied "... Gene pushing around his teenage daughter, Calista" (p. 127). Also, the editors of The Byrd who Flew Alone DVD close the video bio with Gene performing "I Shall Be Released" by Dylan. All of the above seemed a skosh ironic.

6. Saul Davis held propinquity to Gene's estate and was unduly excoriated by business manager Jim Dickson and others, but Rogan (2017) reassures that there is zero evidence Davis hurt or financially exploited Clark during their 1980's liaison, and all was based on "... envy..." and that the scenario was orchestrated by "... exaggerated criticism" (p. 336).

7. David Carradine, a strange bird (pun intended), was involved in the BDSM arts, with a paraphilia (perversion) called hypoxyphilia or autoerotic asphyxia, and accidentally asphyxiated himself in 2009. Forensic pathologists Sergey Sheleg and Edwin Ehrlich, in their book, Autoerotic Asphyxiation: Forensic, Medical, and Social Aspects (2006), drawing from various sources, say that the practitioner of "sexual hanging" lives out a masochistic fantasy, wherein they are punished and must atone for a proclivity, like transvestism--Carradine had a silk panty hose around his head at his death scene. Note that the DSM-5 (2013), under transvestic disorder, regarding comorbidity, explains that it is a type of masochism "... associated with transvestism in a substantial proportion of fatal cases" (p. 704). In its diagnostic criteria for sexual masochism disorder, it mentions specifying if it is with asphyxiophilia (p. 694) and admonishes the reader of its consequences (p. 695). The risk taking and the ability to conquer possible death, as well as the loss of blood and oxygen to the brain, enhances the sexual pleasure of the act. The authors state that the regular factors involved in causing the disorder offered are psychoanalytic: "Psychoanalytic formulations have viewed victims of autoerotic death in terms of an eroticization of helplessness, weakness, and a threat to life, which is overcome through survival, thus creating a sense of success" (p. 67).


Also see our Gene Clark article
Also see Part 3 of the Requiem review


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