September 11, 2015
Bob Dylan: Livin’ Life On The Fly
Bob Dylan created the character of Bob the Drifter back at the beginning of the Sixties. He has since done his best to live the life of the ultimate drifter. Early influences on the persona were probably Hank Williams musical alter ego Luke the Drifter and possibly Simon Crumb the alter ego the country singer Ferlin Husky. His immediate role model was definitely Ramblin’ Jack Elliot who was born Elliot Adnopos making his adopted goyish name a cover for his Jewish identity much as Bob Dylan was doing. Thus these two very Jewish guys have lived out their lives under assumed goyish identities.
Like Ramblin’ Jack Bob Dylan further patterned his life on the life of the goy drifter Woody Guthrie.
Bob learned Jack’s style when both men lived in the early sixties folk environment of Greenwich Village in New York City. When that particular bubble burst in the mid-sixties partly through the machinations of Dylan himself who introduced electricity into the Greenwich Village folk scene a dispersion took place.
I say partly because seemingly unnoticed by everyone while being completely overlooked today The Lovin’ Spoonful with the really legendary John Sebastian and Sol Yanovsky had used an electric guitar since early 1965 while also writing their own songs.
After leaving recording for a year or two after 1966 Dylan led a sedentary life in Woodstock New York with his wife Sara and a growing family. The call of his destiny on the road was too strong with Dylan gradually edging back to the role of the roving hobo.
Mentally adrift for most of the seventies and eighties Bob then devised the perfect drifter life. He became a drifting troubadour. He not only roved but he made it pay to the tune of a billion dollars or more. He got himself a couple buses and phased through several identity crises. He styled his drifting as The Never Ending Tour.
While living his early years in Hibbing Negro music appears to have made no impression on him. He does say that he listened to Black music over the radio on stations blasting up over the central plain from locations such as Shreveport but I don’t detect that influence in his music too much. Of course, once in New York he saw the necessity for Negro roots and reacted socially.
Dylan does however know all the great C&W tunes and artists. His first great plagiarism was from Hank Snow one of the absolute greats. C&W was however not mainstream. In the peculiar White mentality C&W was rejected as ignorant White hillbilly music and I mean rejected. You had to cover up your liking of C&W as though it was the original sin. On the other hand with that peculiar mentality of Whites they were able to embrace equally ignorant Negro ghetto music as their own. I could never figure it out.
Dylan didn’t try. Sometime before he got to UMinnesota in the Fall of ’59 he realized he wasn’t he wasn’t going to make it as a rocker so he switched to Folk from Fall ’59 to January of ’61 when he left for NYC. At UMinnesota he had listened to a few Folk records while someone gave him Woody Guthrie’s autobiography Bound For Glory so that in some mad burst of teen infatuation he came to the conclusion that he was the reincarnation of Woody Guthrie. He adopted the persona to the best of his ability beginning to create a hokey Oklahoma drifter’s accent and vocal style.
One gets the impression that his folk act in Minnesota was raw enough that he was merely tolerated. Bob, himself, knew he was a genius so he took his half-digested act East to New York City in that January of ’61. But he was wary. Cagey then as now he decided to scope the scene before he burst upon it.
While arriving in NYC in January he didn’t make his official appearance on the Village scene until late February. Dylan himself explains that missing period by claiming to have been hustling his buns in Times Square. People have refused to take him at his word but why would he say it if it wasn’t true? Why would he say it even if it were? Dylan had very low self-esteem at the time while being a very serious drunkard. At UMinnesota he had blottoed out and spread out on the ground at full noon in the main crossroads at the U. You have to glory in your shame to do that.
We don’t know how much money Dylan had when he stepped out of the car in NYC although he was never really broke when he buskered on the street; his Ace In The Hole was the folks back home. They did send him money.
Perhaps though Dylan was so down so low that he needed to debase himself in the worst possible way. He probably did stroll 42nd St. looking to be picked up. Perhaps receiving money picked him up a little; gave him value.
As he scoped the Folk scene and picked up the odd dollar he was devising a persona to splash into the scene. His persona was totally absurd and his Ten Weeks With The Circus story would be, or should have been, seen through before he got it out of his mouth. This was sophisticated NYC for Christ’s save, New Yorkers have seen and heard every hustle ever devised. You couldn’t fool them so they must have been humoring Dylan.
Nobody could have done all the things he said he’d done and graduated from high school two years or less earlier. He also tried to conceal that he was Jewish which seems ridiculous to me, but then Dylan didn’t see the obvious Jewishness of Jack Elliot so maybe it’s just me. Anyway it took these sharp New Yorkers a year or more to figure Dylan was a little Jewish kid.
Dylan had analyzed the scene well. He realized he couldn’t go in and do what everyone else was doing. Besides there were a lot of good guitarists in the Village and Dylan wasn’t one of them. He had to shake the scene up a little. At the time the Village Folk scene was a bore. Folk was on the down trend. The New Lost City Ramblers, one of the more formidable Village folk groups were so trite they were unlistenable. While not on the Village scene I was aware of the phonograph records made by the artists and quite frankly I was amazed that anyone would record those people. I mean, like Dylan, I was a hillbilly. There were many amazing records being made by real folk artists like the Carter Family. These pale Village imitations by middle class Jews aping the mountain people were far less than authentic.
So Dylan practiced this garish voice, blew harmonica in an incomprehensible way and banged the guitar in an equally noisy and unmusical way. Bud and Travis couldn’t play guitar either. It boggles your mind to watch them flail the instrument.
People that say they liked his first couple records may very well be telling the truth but the truth is virtually no one bought them. Fortunately Dylan soon learned to write songs. They too made little impression as sung by him; sung by others, such as Peter Paul and Mary they sounded good enough to become hits. Of course, Peter Paul and Mary had that religious sounding name and earnest style that opened a lot of doors for them.
Nevertheless by 1964 Dylan was beginning to make a name for himself as a songwriter so that people were more willing to accept his bizarre performances. Andy Warhol said that Dylan began by singing political protest songs then shifted to singing personal protest songs. That change began about 1964 with his Another Side Of Bob Dylan LP.
His friend and sometime road manager Victor Maymudes said that all Dylan’s songs were about his girl friends. If you read his lyics with that in mind they will make more sense. You still have to work at it though. The language he uses really obscures the content.
It was at this point that Dylan went electric and moved out from his folk cover (Dylan said that his folk music years were just a shuck.) and began his conversion to rock and roll. Dylan began performing in high school as a Little Richard clone so the move should come as no surprise knowing what we do today. When his rock and roll phase ended in 1966 Dylan then returned to his basal influence C&W.
As he shifted to personal protest on a rock and roll frame he made his impact as ‘a spokesman for his generation.’
Dylan was never a spokesman for the generation but he was a spokesman for people with the same psychosis as his. Dylan was unbalanced as were all the people who took his message. I was one of those who Dylan characterized as ‘abused, misused, strung out ones or worse.’ Dylan converted his angst into sexual frustration and his sexual frustration into lyrics. We weren’t able to understand the lyrics because we were looking in the wrong place but we understood the songs perfectly on the subliminal level. Dylan’s psychology matched ours.
Dylan’s last album as a New York folk singer, Blonde On Blonde, also expanded his audience while also confusing those who weren’t on his wavelength. That is, people who hated him, and largely for psychological reasons, were forced to acknowledge him. At the time the LP was so far outside our musical experience that we literally had heard nothing like it before. Little Richard redux.
On the other hand I realized that he had peaked in that style and would no longer be able to continue in the same vein. At the same time the pressures of the previous five years on Dylan were such that his mind was at the breaking point and actually broke. He probably had what was called a nervous breakdown. Shortly we heard that Dylan had been in a motorcycle accident and might be dead. He wasn’t, of course, and it has never been reliably determined that there ever had been an accident. His brother David just laughs it off while many others reduce it to the equivalent of a mere scratch. Dylan himself says that his manager Albert Grossman was driving him so hard that it was killing him. He had to stop and catch his breath or die.
Dylan hadn’t yet learned to live on the road; he would master that later.
At any rate he had married his Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands, Sara in 1965 and needed time out to raise a family. He did do that.
Regardless of whether he had been hurt or not he was not musically idle. About a year and a half later in December of 1967 he released the awaited new LP John Wesley Harding. The LP was a total rejection of his first incarnation. He used a crooning voice backed by a C&W band. He returned, as they used to say, to his roots. He was no longer a trailblazer, just a C&W singer. While I knew he would not follow up in the same style I was stunned by the reversion to a conventional country style. At that time no one knew that his roots were C&W.
I loved the instrumental backing of his three big albums but had no interest in what seemed to be pseudo-country with rather ordinary lyrics. (Let Me Be Your Baby Tonight.) I abandoned him completely and never have gone back. This was 1967. The next wave of the British Invasion was in progress and it was astonishing. The music was all fresh and picked up where Dylan had left off. The sounds were all new like you’d never heard before. The lyrics were nearly as inscrutable as Dylan’s. Dylan was not missed by me nor a lot of his former fans.
As I said Dylan was not idle; he was busy. The evidence of that appeared six months after John Wesley Harding. Music From Big Pink by the Band. This was relatively sensational music and lyrics. Of course The Band was Dylan’s back up and his association with Big Pink buttressed his reputation a lot. And then the legend of the Basement Tapes appeared that was even more tantalizing than the actual music although the songs from it that appeared by other artists were remarkably good.
So while Dylan left the Sixties with a much diminished reputation it was on a positive note.
The Never Ending Tour
While talent such as Dylan’s was is important, talent will not out without good luck and a helping hand. Dylan undoubtedly had both. There has always been some mystery about how a half skilled musician could show up in Greenwich Village in March 1961 and be signed to a record contract with Columbia Records seven months later in October.
People who had been around the Village were just blown away when the news got out. Dylan’s talent was not that obvious to everyone. Many could not see it at all. He couldn’t play guitar and he couldn’t blow the harp. His voice, at the time, was so raw it grated, and still does for me. He hadn’t written a song in those seven months so his much vaunted songwriting skills weren’t in evidence. Yet Robert Shelton, the music reviewer for the ultra-prestigious New York Times gave him a rave review that amazed everyone. John Hammond of CBS signed him virtually without hearing him. Other CBS staffers had such a low opinion of Dylan’s talent that they called him Hammond’s Folly. Was there something going on behind the scenes, was something happening here that the Village couldn’t understand? Listen to Positively Fourth Street and Something Happening again closely.
Well, you know, I’ve thought about this and studied this and I’ve put together the following scenarios for your delectation. Granted it is highly conjectural yet based on facts.
Remember that Dylan is Jewish and New York City including the Village was and is a Jewish colony. Being Jewish in the Village did and does count.
Back in Hibbing Minnesota the Jewish community was three or four hundred strong while Dylan’s, or Bobby Zimmerman’s, as he then was, family was chief among them.
Both Dylan’s father, Abram Zimmerman, and his mother, Beatty Zimmerman were of the Frankish sect of Judaism. Dylan’s Jewish name, Sabtai, was derived from the last acknowledged human Jewish messiah. This undoubtedly indicated the high hopes Abram had for his son as a deliverer of the Jews; in other words, a messiah.
Father Abe was the Anti-Defamation League representative in Hibbing. That may have caused some friction between himself and the goy townsmen. There seems to be an undercurrent of resentment both to Abe and Bobby Zimmerman in Hibbing. As an Orthodox Jew Abram had connections back in New York probably with the Chabad Lubavitcher sect led by its chief rabbi, Menachem Schneerson. Abram traveled frequently on religious business including to NYC.
Abram wanted son Bobby to also embrace the Lubavitcher sect. Thus, as Bobby approached thirteen and his Bar Mitzvah Abram sent back to New York for a Lubavitcher Rabbi to come to Hibbing specifically to educate Bobby in the Lubavitcher belief system. This was the rabbi Reuben Meier. In full Lubavitcher gear he was an anomaly in Hibbing where according to Dylan he embarrassed the Jewish community.
As Dylan tells it he got off the bus one day, spent a year teaching Bobby ‘what he had to learn’ then got back on the bus presumably returning to NYC his mission accomplished.
Dylan has or had a messiah complex. Still, as he observed the fate of Jesus (look what they done to him, he said) he was unwilling to pick up the cross thus never declaring himself. Still Abe had connections in NYC that could be and probably were useful bumping Dylan’s career along.
I haven’t found any evidence that Dylan ever contacted the Lubavitchers once in NYC but then it can’t be ruled out and he didn’t have to. His father could have worked with them unknown to Dylan. Still, Dylan later in life did associate himself with the Lubavitchers. Could be coincidence, of course.
Shelton who wrote his glowing review of Dylan worked for the New York Times which was and is owned by the Jewish Sulzberger family. Thus in all probability Abram called in some favors from the Lubavitchers to forward Dylan’s career. Among them Abram had some position, and asked them to make sure that Dylan wasn’t overlooked. Thus within the synagogue, so to speak, Shelton wrote his actually preposterous review of Dylan.
Now, Shelton came to New York from Chicago in the late fifties. Dylan’s future Jewish manager Albert Grossman also came from Chicago where he had owned the seminal folk club The Gate Of Horn. Shelton knew Grossman in Chicago where he wrote reviews of the folk acts.
When Grossman went East for whatever reasons in 1959 he helped found the Newport Folk Festival with the Jew George Wein. Thus the Newport Folk Festival was a Jewish organization giving them the control over who could and could not make it. Grossman hung around the Village analyzing the talent as he had plans. He didn’t necessarily let the acts come to him but he went out and created them as in Peter Paul and Mary which was his total conception. Sensing the direction of things he realized that a trio of two men and a woman with the right lineup would succeed and spread the message. His final choices were two male Jews, Noel Stookey who became Paul and Peter Yarrow and a woman Mary Travers. He chose well.
Prodded by Shelton Grossman took a look at Dylan but could see no use for him until Dylan began to write. At that point he fit into Grossman’s plans who then created Bob Dylan as a commercial entity. Dylan justified the confidence in himself when he scored with the puerile Blowin’ In The Wind. Dylan was still unlistenable to most people but with the voices of the more musical Peter Paul And Mary he began to establish his reputation as a song writer.
The Synagogue was behind him so that coupled with his talent he was given maximum and incredible exposure. Now, Peter Yarrow who was very close to Grossman, one might say almost a collaborator, said that without Grossman there would have been no Peter Paul And Mary and more importantly no Bob Dylan. Yarrow believed that Dylan’s success was due to Grossman. Luck was with Dylan then when Grossman came to town a couple years before he did while Shelton was there at the Times. You must have that luck. Grossman definitely nurtured Dylan as a songwriter and put his career on track. Whether Grossman was connected to the Lubavitchers isn’t clear but I’m sure the religious connection was there. It was all within the Synagogue; strictly a Jewish affair.
Those who closely analyze Dylan’s songs love to point out the Biblical references with which his songs have always been replete. Indeed, when Dylan was writing John Wesley Harding his mother who was visiting him during the period says that he kept a large Bible open in his living room that he would jump up to consult it from time to time. Obviously the Bible informed his lyrics as he dealt with his injunction to be the new messiah, if I am correct in my analysis.
His religious training would surface in the seventies when he explored Jesus’ relationship to the Jews. Contrary to what people believe Dylan never turned to Christianity, he was interested in the Jewish Jesus cult. At the same time he was getting the Christian take on Jesus through the Vinyard Fellowship he was studying with the Jews For Jesus cult. Indeed, when he came out as a Jesus freak at the Warwick Theatre in San Francisco Jews For Jesus people were used to proselytize outside the theatre but not the Vinyard Fellowship.
Having satisfied his curiosity about Jesus he next showed up in full Lubavitcher gear in Jerusalem. The Christians were stunned at the seeming turnabout. Rabbi Reuben Meier had not failed the Lubavitchers back in the fifties in Hibbing. Dylan came home.
On The Barricades
Jewish self-confidence was ruined in the wake of WWII but began to resume with the establishment of Israel in 1948. A feeling of power began to revive after the 1956 war; then after the Six Day War of 1967 a feeling of invincibility seized the Jewish mind. Born in 1941 Dylan was 26 in 1967. In 1968 the aborted Paris insurrection took place.
As a result of the Six Day War the New York Rabbi Meir Kahane organized the Jewish Defense League (JDC) as a terrorist organization from which came the JDO or Jewish Defense Organization. The JDO was murderous. Both were terrorist groups who engaged in serious bomb attacks in NYC and assassinations. It was pretty nutty.
At roughly the same time the Weatherman group was formed that was a combined Goy and Jewish affair designed to bring down the US government. That group was headed by the Chicago terrorist nutcake Bomber Billy Ayers. The JDL, JDO and Weathermen traced their origins back to Dylan while including Dylan as one of them. Dylan had JDL members as bodyguards and possibly JDO so at one time he seems to have been a member. More regular Jews warned him to dissociate himself publicly from the JDL and JDO so that he did disassociate them from himself at least as far as one can see.
Dylan’s association with the Weathermen if it existed was more tenuous. It would be interesting to know if through Greil Marcus Dylan knew Ayers. All groups considered Dylan a revolutionary. This could easily be inferred from songs like Subterranean Homesick Blues and Ain’t Going To Work On Maggie’s Farm No More plus many of his Negro protest songs.
Now, when Dylan was awarded the French decoration, The Legion Of Honor, in 2015 he was commended for his contributions to the Paris insurrection of ’68. What those contribution were weren’t specified; it may only have been the moral support of his songs that the revolutionaries heard as a call to arms. Or perhaps Dylan functioned as a courier during his tours throughout the world. It wouldn’t be the first time entertainers were used as covers.
In 2007 when Sarkozy had been elected President of France one of the first things he did was to call a number of people to Paris to receive awards. Three relevant Americans made the trip, Dylan, Greil Marcus and David Lynch the filmmaker.
As it turns out Dylan and Greil Marcus are or were fairly closely associated. Marcus was ostensibly a music critic for Rolling Stone Magazine, another Jewish set up, but he was also a member of the French Jewish revolutionary group, the Situationist International led by Guy Debord. Debord and his SI claim to have been the moving force behind the Paris revolt thus tightening the connection between Marcus, Dylan, the SI and the Paris insurrection. Dylan was also associated with the revolutionary group centered around John Lennon and his widow Yoko Ono.
Now, in 2001 Dylan, Marcus and future president of the United States Barack Obama were in Chicago as associates at the time of 9/11. Dylan’s LP Love And Theft was released on that date that has references that seem applicable to the destruction while Marcus published an article shortly thereafter that seemed to celebrate the attack. So Dylan’s actions seem to point to revolutionary ends.
Now, as Dylan was touring the world from the Sixties through the present he may have been a courier connecting global revolutionary activity. It would not have been wise to communicate by phone or internet in later years as phones and electronics are easily tapped so it would be necessary to communicate by hand delivered messages. Such services would have been invaluable while coded messages in songs or interviews on radio and television appearances are possible. Eric Burdon formerly of the Animals was arrested by the German authorities on that suspicion.
You don’t get awards just for being cute.
August 4, 2015
The Life And Times Of
Andrew Loog Oldham
Of The Rolling Stones
Oldham, Andrew Loog: Stoned, 2001, Vintage
Oldham, Andrew Loog: 2Stoned, 2003, Vintage
Oldham, Andrew Log: Stone Free, 2012, Escargot Books
Oldham, Andrew Loog: Rolling Stoned, 2013, Because Entertainment
Who Is Andrew Loog Oldham
For those who know this introduction will be superfluous, but for those who don’t know this essay will be an introduction to a man who through his exploitation of the Rolling Stones was an important influence on that memorable Sixties decade. Perhaps moreso than is commonly thought.
Out on the consuming edge of the record industry in those days the name Andrew Loog Oldham seemed to be displayed as prominently on the record covers as The Rolling Stones themselves. In the early days Andrew Loog Oldham might be known before Mick or Keith and certainly the other members of the band. Yet Oldham wasn’t in the band so who was he? And then records were issued bearing the name The Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra. Where did he get that name Loog anyway? And just as suddenly the name Andrew Loog Oldham disappeared but the Stones remained. Who was this guy anyway?
In those days when information could be gathered, if at all, at the proverbial snail’s pace, things have changed today when I can make a few clicks and see Andrew moving and hear him speaking; actually see his fabulous style of dressing as he described it. In addition he has written two thousand pages describing himself more or less in full. Now we can know who Andrew Loog Oldham is and what his relationship to the Rolling Stones was.
Andrew’s, we’ll take a familiar approach throughout, great tragedy is that his fated life opportunity showed up too early. He was only nineteen in 1963 when the opportunity that few ever get a chance to grasp showed up on his front doorstep, so to speak. That was the appearance of the London music group The Rolling Stones. In order to come into his inheritance as he was under twenty-one and couldn’t legally act in his own name, Andrew had to find a surrogate to act in his stead. Chance provided an old reprobate by the name of Eric Easton. Eric was a plodder who had served as an organist at the resort town of Blackpool while representing two or three nondescript acts of which one was the redoubtable Mrs. Miller. While not a household name at the present time Mrs. Miller whose act consisted of being an amusingly terrible singer, had her moment in the spotlight both in England and the US. She did have records released and they did sell no matter how modestly.
Easton was slow on the uptake not realizing the cultural shift that was taking place with the arrival of the Beatles and would have been incapable of managing the Stones without Andrew’s grasp of the changing cultural situation of the Sixties. However he was not too slow to understand money in the bank of which he made off with a fortune or two much to the chagrin of both Andrew and the Rolling Stones.
Andrew’s four volumes are records of his vicissitudes being a young Lancelot reaching for the Grail. Andrew was green, he was. In ordinary times he would have been cleaned and discarded never to be heard of again but these were the Sixties and not normal times. Even in failure the times conspired to make Andrew comfortable by luxury standards, perhaps even rich, but not filthy rich. The marvelous Sixties did that for so many people most of them undeserving. By undeserving I mean takers with nothing to offer.
Well, this isn’t a tale about justice but one of the Sixties in which the whole concept of justice disappeared like the vapor from a nuclear plant. As an extra special gift of the times to Andrew he is today still alive and kicking having passed the seventh decade barrier at 71 years of age. The good didn’t necessarily die young just the unlucky. Andy is lucky.
He can be seen introducing his third book, Stone Free, at his Face Book site for those interested. Always the fashion plate he is a dapper impression of his hero Phil Spector, pointy nose and all. His hair is becomingly combed back on the sides making for a very presentable 71 year old young at heart gentleman. He wears a mint green light jacket and shirt, something of a cross between a butch femme and an effete hommy, but altogether passable. He projects a pleasant aura indicating little brain damage from his very legendary drug use. A look at him shows how Alex, the chief Droog of A Clockwork Orange may have looked as he made the passage from rough youth to a more dignified mature, the word ‘old’ does not apply to one like Andrew, or I might vainly say, myself.
Andrew Finds That Life Has It Hazards
I don’t really envy the English kids that came along after my birth year of 1938. The war years were tough enough but then the long years of national poverty after 1945 must have been grating. I can’t imagine a life without candy that the lads and lasses had to endure for nine long years. In my paradise in the US candy bars in those days at a nickel were monstrous. I couldn’t eat a whole one at one sitting. Stuffed at less than a half. Andrew must have known hardship and suffered horribly.
The war babies, mostly from ’42 and ’43 can have no memory of the war but the long ten years of rationed everything gave a cast to their psyches. When the war babies grew up and became rockers they laid out long tables of delicacies and then ignored them letting them go to waste. The pain was forgotten but lived on in the subconscious. Andrew was conceived in ’43 and popped out in ’44. Tragic for Andy, he should have born in ’42 and been 21 in ’63.
His was a special case. In a country in which the majority of men were US soldiers, normality had flown out the door in ’43; his mother not unnaturally took up with one. It was a tough time. Andrew’s father, Andrew Loog, was a soldier from Texas. He had a wife and son back there. As a younger man I applied my moral training to people in Andrew Loog’s situation and condemned them but now hopefully wiser and certainly older I understand. As a soldier in an active war Andrew Loog could die at any time so why not a little happiness? Perhaps he cringed at violating his peacetime morals. In any event as a member of a bomber crew he didn’t even make it across the Channel just after impregnating Andrew’s mother with his future self. Big Andy hoped he’d dodge the bullets but as it didn’t happen at least it resolved what would have been a difficult emotional situation.
Big Andy hadn’t married Little Andy’s mother so that made little Andy the bastard son of a bigamous father. Having been in the orphanage myself being a bastard means nothing to me. But society is unkind to bastards and orphans. Having read all four of Little Andy’s reminiscences more than once it seems clear that his bastardy left its mark on Andy. He had stormy relationship with his mother, perhaps beating her frequently while in his late teens. She said he did but he says he can’t remember doing it while it would have been wholly outside his character, however, he definitely admits booting her out of a moving car while she was pregnant. Those temper tantrums he had!
Possibly Andrew blames his mother for bringing him into the world as a bastard. He shouldn’t, better a bastard than not at all. Now, Andy discusses this from different angles constantly in his memoirs so my purpose here is to try to put his mind at ease.
The war had a devastating effect on social life especially in England which was merely a staging area for US forces in those years. Churchill was merely a stooge of Roosevelt’s. Just as in WWI a million or English men died or were incapacitated meaning that just that many women were condemned to spinsterhood or whatever. Oh, I know that the dyke Gloria Steinem said a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle but Steinem was an unnatural woman. Andrew’s mother wasn’t.
As she gave Andy his father’s full name, that is Andrew Loog, I’m guessing that given the times and circumstances she really loved the guy so she named what surely must have been her darling Andrew, Loog, tacking on her name Oldham. Maybe I’m sentimental, but coming from the orphanage, I find that touching.
Now, Celia Oldham, for that was her name, was a Jewish girl. Andrew Loog I’m guessing from his name was probably of Dutch ancestry. Probably a Protestant but possibly a Sephardic Jew. Andy may know but I don’t.
So, here Celia Oldham is post-war with the little tyke, Andy, and no husband or father for his child. There is a massive shortage of men after the GIs clear out so while Celia is attractive the mating pool is small. Celia did the next best thing and probably with Andy in mind did it well; she became the mistress of a wealthy man while including Andy in the equation. Not only was he wealthy he was a decent man who maintained her and Andy as a second family. No kidding. He kept them in relative style while putting Andy through the public schools. (Public is private in England.)
What more could a single mother with no prospects do? Perhaps Andrew’s schoolmates were typical louts and ragged him continuously for being a bastard. I know that in the orphanage during and after was hell on wheels but that was the hand that was dealt and I had to play it; four deuces, trey high. Could have been worse. I’m not saying my psychology wasn’t affected and as Andy tells it his sure as hell was.
My point is that life being what it is he should be grateful for a loving mother who made the very best of a bad situation.
Lost In The Ozone Without A Parachute
As noted Celia Oldham was Jewish and while Andrew says that the religion didn’t play a big part in their lives nevertheless the mother is the culture bearer. The culture she passed on to Andrew must have been Jewish.
Judaism is an identitarian faith. To be Jewish is to separate oneself from the ‘gentiles’, from all others, the rest of mankind. As the US Zionist Samuel Untermyer was to proclaim on nationwide radio in opposition to Hitler’s claim that the Germans were the master race: We, the Jews, are the aristocrats of the earth. In other words, Drop this master race crap because you ain’t it.
Thus in a country nominally English, as Andrew describes his youth it was lived in an entirely Jewish community. As he describes it he associated with no one who wasn’t Jewish. Like the Jewish Bob Dylan he is always surrounded by Jews. As he set out to find his way in life he chose the record business as his métier. I think Andrew wanted to be where it was happening and as his antennae flickered about sensing for that taste of honey he perceived that his future lay in records. The entire music business if not the entertainment business was in the control of his fellow Jews.
Andy took his sense of reality from movies. There are a couple influential films he refers to frequently. One is the American film The Sweet Smell Of Success which however is about two Jews, the one based on the newspaper columnist Walter Winchell and the other his sidekick and the other is the British film Espresso Bongo. Naturally I obtained both movies and have checked them out. Also naturally at this age and distance I do not see them through nineteen year old eyes.
In Sweet Smell Andrew concentrates on the character Sidney Falco played by Tony Curtis. Andy identifies with Falco as a hustler in US terms and a Wide Boy in English terms. Thus Andrew identifies himself as a Wide Boy. Falco was an unsavory character, a stooge of his boss J.J. Hunsecker played by the repulsive Burt Lancaster. Curtis played the role well. One laments Andrew’s fascination with the character.
Espresso Bongo is a pretty decent rock film. It takes place I believe at the actual legendary 2i coffee house in which English rock was centered. The film puts you back in the day. The star is Andy’s all time hero Laurence Harvey who also turns in a stellar role. Harvey has that downtrodden hang dog look that carried David Janssen through the US The Fugitive TV series so well. As I lived in a constant depression until I was forty I knew the look and it suited me well. I identified with both Janssen and Harvey. Harvey was one of my favorite actors too. Depression and Laurence Harvey go together
In Espresso Bongo Harvey plays a role of a hapless manager of a singer who gets away from him much as Andrew himself would let the Stones slip away from him.
All the managers were Jewish and all exploited their ‘boys.’ Perhaps the most famous of these, what the English amusingly call manipulators, was Larry Parnes. As England emerged from rationing in the fifties and the rebuilding of the infrastructure destroyed by the bombing of WWII created a sort of false prosperity those young people who survived the bombing and rationing were coming of age. The war had caused a generational break. Young England began creating an England in their own image. They rejected the pre-war England of their elders. It was a world they never made. Of course neither had their elders.
Parnes sensing the direction began creating an image of recording stars to gratify youthful yearnings, especially of young girls. He found god looking boys giving them great stage names such Georgie Fame, Billy Fury, Tommy Steele, Marty Wilde, Vince Eager and my favorite, Lance Fortune. There can be but little question that he exploited, not to say cheated, his ‘boys.’ Parnes was both Jewish and homosexual, a killer combination that dominated the industry.
For instance this about Vince Eager from the Widipedia entry for Larry Parnes
Vince Eager began to wonder why he had never received any record royalties. ‘You’re not entitled to any.’ Larry Parnes told him. ‘But it says in my contract that I am.’ Eager protested. ‘It also says I have power of attorney over you, and I’ve decided you’re not getting any.’ Parnes replied.
Parnes was of course both Jewish and homosexual. As he had many of these performers on salary he was cleaning up. Of course he had merely plucked them off the streets and set them up designing their acts, teaching them stage presence, choosing repertoires etc., they may have been little more than employees. However they did have ‘contracts’ although as the above quote indicates they were more than one sided making the contractees little more than slaves
The whole record scene was exploitative and homosexual. When London’s leading criminals horned in on the record scene, the Kray brothers, Reg and Ron they were Jewish and homosexual while their older brother Charlie who was straight with no police record managed the business end of the record racket.
As Andrew was coming up through the years this was the situation he perceived. While he couldn’t have broken into the Parnes style star system once the Beatles hit and the emphasis switched to groups an opening appeared. Parnes who had his star system going disdained the group thing leaving that open so that the Beatles manager Brian Epstein slid through the opening developing his group and star roster dislodging Parnes.
The market had expanded exponentially since the fifties when Parnes developed his system. Andrew, then, aquiver with the possibilities had his eye out for the new Beatles. He was told about the group working in Richmond called The Rollin’ Stones. He went, he saw, he signed.
A Clockwork Orange
As Andrew freely acknowledges by his late teens he was experiencing mental problems so I am merely discussing what he has disclosed. He says he was suffering from manic depression. Probably so, but he must also have blended in a little schizophrenia. The stresses of his childhood were taking possession of his mind. I know whereof I speak. This combined with his disastrous choices of role models that would be joined in 1962 by his reading of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange issued that year made him something of a phenom. Burgess, there’s another sicko.
A Clockwork Orange Boy, there was a Satanic book if there ever was one. The book took a certain mentality by storm, organized it and gave it expression. Its history is intimately connected with Jagger and Richards.
As influential in its limited sphere as the book was, Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 movie was perhaps the most destructive Satanic movie ever produced. It set the tone for the years that followed. The movie just tore a certain type of mind apart; Alexes by the dozen, nay, hundreds, thousands moved roved out every night after it was shown, snatching girls off the street. Clockwork was seconded by the movie The Collector that appeared about the same time. The book of Clockwork was less powerful but would still influence Andrew and through him Jagger and Richards. The other Stones led separate lives not involved with Mick, Keith and Andrew’s antics.
So Andrew’s brain is in a complete turmoil as he tries to find his way through the maze of life. Influenced by the real Larry Parnes and the fictional Johnny Jackson for a modus operandus he went in search of an act to manage and found his way to The Rolling Stones. Having discovered his mother lode, having a clear vision of what to do he was stymied by being only nineteen in shark infested waters without a cage.
Short of twenty-one he had to team up with a shark. As he was renting an office from an inoffensive appearing shark, Eric Easton, he convinced Eric to essentially through himself represent the Stones. Eric may have been a pretty sincere stodge but he was no fool when it came to his self-interest. He may have been close to a bottom feeder but that didn’t mean he hadn’t learned most of the tricks of the Great Whites. The ins and outs of contracts presented no problems to him while dizzy Andy and the naïve Mick and Keith probably hadn’t considered the existence of contracts. Give them a pen and dotted line under their name and they would sign. But, really, it was never a fair fight.
As Pretty Boy Floyd the Outlaw is alleged by Woody Guthrie to have said: Some will rob you with a six gun; some will use a fountain pen. Oh boy! Those contracts. The advantages are all on the side of the contractors; contractees beware. As Larry Parnes said: I’ve also got your Power Of Attorney and I say you don’t get anything. Revoking a Power Of Attorney is simple but how many amateurs think of it.
But legally contracts don’t really matter unless money is involved. There wouldn’t be a lot of money for a few years but when there was Andrew and the Stones not unsurprisingly got the bum’s rush.
Andrew’s brain was a regular pinwheel especially as in addition to his youth and mental condition he imbibed drugs freely. If your brain’s not already a mess drugs will certainly paint it black.
Even though Andrew chose poor role models he got the drift of what had to be done to make stars of random stones. Very few performers, they only become artists after success, know how to get from point A to point B and beyond. That’s where the manager, if he’s any good, comes in; he recognizes the possibilities of the raw talent and nurses them through the actual birth process. Believe me: this is worth a lot.
It is somewhat like Larry Parnes. He sensed what the teen public wanted and rather than wait for it to come to him, he created it from the rawest material and then took more than the lion’s share or the benefits. But then, he also inadvertently gave his ‘boys’ lives. There were actual careers awaiting them after Parnes had scraped off the cream.
The question then is were the Stones too talented to fail? I don’t think so. Not without Andrew to shape them and point the direction anyway. Andrew couldn’t sing or play but he could turn dross into gold not too much differently than what Larry Parnes had done with his ‘boys.’ The Stones were the evidence.
The key to the Stones’ success was when they learned to write songs. Would they have learned to write songs if Andrew hadn’t literally forced them into it? I would answer with a clear cut negative. The Stones playing nothing but crappy old Chicago blues and would have sank without a trace. In that sense Brian Jones insistence on playing ‘pure’ R&B would have led to dismal failure. But then, maybe that is what Brian wanted.
Let me point out here that in the US all this crappy old blues stuff was unlistened to but by a very small minority. Nor would the stuff ever have gained popularity without the English influence. Even today very few listen to that junk. ‘I woke up this morning, lordy, lordy…’
While Mick, Keith and Brian were boggling their minds concentrating on the ‘music’ Andrew realized that teen age girls (the Parnes influence again) weren’t going to get too enthused about grizzled old Negroes complaining about how their mama wouldn’t drop down. Does anyone think sprightly young teenagers looking for a good time are going to wallow in anybody else’s misery? Not likely.
So Andrew directed his ‘boys’ toward a more pop sound alienating the ever insistent ‘purist’ Brain from Mick and Keith. Bill and Charlie were pretty much just boys in the band.
Thus faced with the overwhelming competition of the Beatles, the lovable Mop Tops, Andrew made the fatal choice of turning Mick and Keith into his criminal Droogs, taking the low road and leaving the high road to the Beatles. Alex in A Clockwork Orange called the members of his gang Droogs. In a sense Andrew tried to make the Stones Andrew and the Droogs.
All very well but as Andrew got a little money his brain went from a pinwheel on a stick to real fireworks where pinwheels shoot flames. His brain was really in a whirl. He was passing out at parties. He became self-absorbed. He became interested in other projects that took his time, setting the Stones more or less adrift. His protégé Mick was no fool while being a quick learner. Why, Mick said to himself after becoming successful should I pay all these dufuses for what I can do myself. He couldn’t of course do it himself but it seemed like it at the time. He slammed the door in Andrew’s face.
Where’s Strength And Wisdom When You Need It?
The four years Andrew was with the Stones could have been a couple three or four lifetimes for the changes Andrew was forced through. Success is rightly called the bitch goddess. You’ll never know until you’ve said hello. The time from when he and Eric Easton signed the Stones to the time Andrew sold the Stones out to that Devil In Disguise Allen Klein nearly destroyed Andy. Allen Klein wasn’t in that much of a disguise either.
The trajectory of Andy’s career was so rapid it was hard to follow. It wasn’t so much that he bit off more than he could chew as that he tried to chew without biting it off. First things first, Andrew.
Obsessed with A Clockwork Orange he moved in with Mick and Keith where he gave them lessons in Droogism. Both were apt pupils. This is difficult to follow but his brain captured and sensing what seems to have been the book’s importance Andrew approached Burgess to buy the movie rights. Burgess told him the rights had already been sold but he wouldn’t tell Andy to whom.
It turns out that the rights had been sold to David Bailey the fashion photographer who had made Mick his ‘mate’ and possibly bought the rights jointly with Mick. If so, one wonders where Mick got the money. Sometime in 1963 the pair split with their rights to New York City to interest Andy Warhol in a film project. This also is rather remarkable because Andy was not yet that prominent while he hadn’t made any kind of stir with his puerile movies as yet. Somehow the rights passed to Warhol and finally to whoever acquired them to make Kubrick’s movie.
Warhol did make a film based on the book although the connection seems tenuous while not being worth watching. More importantly Alex and his Droogs had a profound effect on members of Warhol’s group. The group left Warhol’s atelier, the Factory, at night on their predations a la Alex and his Droogs. I believe Bob Dylan is referring to them in this lyric from his 1965 song Desolation Row:
Now at midnight all the agents and the superhuman crew
Come out and roundup everyone that knows more than they do
Then they bring them to the [F]actory were the heart attack machine
Is strapped across their shoulders…
For some reason both Oldham and Bailey thought Mick was the perfect Alex while the Stones could be the Droogs. It didn’t work out but Mick and Warhol bonded like superglue. They would be very close friends until Andy died in 1987 when Mick flew to Pittsburgh for the funeral. Not only did the Stones practice Black and Blue at Warhol’s Montauk compound but Andy did two or three covers for them most notably Sticky Fingers. As a result of Mick and Warhol’s friendship the Stones always had the key to Greenwich Village.
So Andrew lost out on his bid for A Clockwork Orange. But then his brain racing a mile a minute and wanting to be a record magnate he founded Immediate Records. Not one for details Immediate stretched him pretty thin. I know we’re talking ancient history here, or at least ancient technology, so the reader will have to let go of the present to imagine the impact of Immediate Records on the cognoscenti of the time. I modestly include myself in that number.
Andrew was on the far edge of flamboyant; his ideal Larry Harvey who he met about this time thought him arch camp so Andy in his eye makeup and fey manners must have cut a startling figure. A lot of people thought he was queer and not just ambiguous. The Immediate label was an astounding pink, almost fluorescent seemingly confirming homosexual tendencies. It got your attention but in those days you almost had to apologize for buying a record with such a label. His covers were all good, in a class with the best and perhaps…. He signed and produced a lot of very good groups. The label’s production values may have prevented him from having any smashes, at least I don’t remember any.
I’m sure few will remember the Nice or even have heard of them but the first Nice was a pretty good record while the members went on to greater things. The sound wasn’t as immediate as it could have been. I worked it in my store but couldn’t get anywhere with it.
In those days British imports were all the rage on the West Coast while US records were despised. When I first went to England in the early seventies I was astounded to find the fans waiting for American pressings because they were thought better. Oh, I said, how strange. What makes them better? In so many words they said production values. In still other words they thought they had more immediacy. So Andy’s Immediate records lacked immediacy. I thought they were great anyway and they were always the first of the new releases I auditioned.
But, the devil is in the details, and Andrew wasn’t much on details so he went broke although he did hang in there until 1970. Not a bad record for an independent. He doesn’t tell us what happened to the masters but they must have been worth something.
By that time Andy was not only deep into drugs he was legendary. In Stoned and 2Stoned he has some great descriptions of being out of it if you like that sort of thing. His first two books were based on the oral biography method of Jean Stein’s biography of Edie Sedgwick called Edie. In that book acquaintances were interviewed and then cut and pasted to form a continuous narrative. Knocked out by ‘Edie’ Andrew did the same with the exception that he commented on the interviewees’ comments.
Rolling Stoned begins in a straight autobiographical style then begins to wander and meander. Andrew is always a good read but unless you want to read three different four hundred page books covering the same ground with variations I would recommend his most recent, Rolling Stoned, or perhaps 2Stoned. Still, I don’t mind…
February 26, 2015
Reflections On Manson
Coming like a clap of thunder from a clear sky the Charles Manson murders of Summer ’69 caused all eyes to go wide. The psychological impact was greater than the A-Bomb that, after all, happened far away. Gruesome murders were nothing new. Hillside Stranglers, Boston Stranglers, Richard Speck, Charlies Starkweather and Whitman…we’d seen them all. So what was so spooky about Manson?
Perhaps the sense of disaster had been building all decade long and when the explosion finally came, while expected, it was more devastating than imagined. Manson himself was an odd one. At the time seen only as a lifelong petty criminal recently released from a spell in the joint he seemed so unlikely as a spectre of evil. He was soon elevated to the status of an unbelievable arch-villain, capable of almost superhuman malevolence, the very face of evil.
It was the end of the Sixties, a haze of degeneration was hanging in the air. The degeneration began at the other end of the Sixties. In the beginning. Crimes don’t just happen, the way has to be prepared for them. The antecedents that led to the conclusion came to be in place. Without the right conditions a certain type of crime can’t be committed. Charlie Manson was the result of a whole string of conditions mostly beyond his control or influence, some of them going back quite a ways.
The rise of Satanism and the death of God in 1966 as proclaimed by Time magazine on the one hand and Ira Levin’s novel Rosemary’s Baby on the other published in the same year, was the tipping point of the decade though how many people understood is the question. I certainly didn’t although I witnessed both. I had an uneasy feeling building as society seemed to be decaying around me, but, you know, those were squally days.
While many were standing up claiming to be the Great Satan, Kenneth Anger, Anton LaVey and Mick Jagger come to mind, the actual Great Satan had gone back underground in 1938. His earthly name was Sigmund Freud. Manson claimed to be the Great Satan and Jesus combined. Was he Sigmund Freud’s successor? Or just a satanic prophet?
Freud had served his apprenticeship before arising in 1900, the year attributed to his masterpiece The Interpretation Of Dreams. Contrary to common belief Freud did not invent the Unconscious, although he did frame its interpretation, in fact the unconscious had been a staple of speculation since Franz Anton Mesmer began the codified notion of the subliminal processes of the mind in the eighteenth century. The great French investigators Charcot, Pierre Janet, Gustave Le Bon, Liebeault and Bernstein had done the spadework, the heavy lifting.
What Freud did was organize the research into his specific interpretation of the unconscious; a view that suited his ulterior motives that were less than scientific. As a motto for his masterpiece Freud used a Latin quote that translated roughly as If I cannot be rewarded by God then I will raise Satan. And that is just what he did. In Charles Manson you see a culmination of Freud’s work. Freud realized that dreams were the unconscious at work. He didn’t fully understand the mechanism but as he put it, dreams are the royal road to the unconscious.
He made his interpretation of the unconscious the abode of demons and he sought to release them, turn them loose to destroy morality. Freud reveled in destruction. As his disciple Isidore Sadger put it: Oh yes, Freud was a great sadist. Nor did what Freud was aiming at escape the attention of some of his contemporaries. The novelist D.H. Lawrence zeroed right in on Freud’s objective. Freud was not aiming for a reformation of morals but their complete elimination.
By the end of the Sixties Freud had succeeded, for after Manson came Mick Jagger at Altamont. Harbingers appeared along the way of course. When Ursula Andress stepped from the wave like the goddess Aphrodite of old in 1962’s Dr. No it seemed to herald a new day or perhaps the old day of the Ancient Evil returning. Andress represented the new Anima for the times, the uninhibited sex goddess whose corresponding Animus was represented by Sean Conner as .007, James Bond with a license to kill.
Bond was free to shoot anybody he wanted, no consequences. Bond had no morals beyond the expedient. Thus the decade would be characterized by the Summer Of Love and the Winter of Despair. While Freud prepared the grounds with his psycho-analysis propaganda developments played into his hands to create a perfect storm for his purposes.
Himself a cocaine addict Freud understood perfectly the effects of drugs on morals. While drugs such as amphetamines, morphine, heroin and cocaine had been in use for many decades before the Sixties dawned they were to become more readily available. Freud himself was well aware of the effects of drugs on the mind as he had been a cocaine addict most of his adult life. He was at one time an avid advocate pushing his drug on his associates and even his wife.
New York City as the Sixties began was in the throes of an amphetamine deluge. Dr. Feelgoods such as the Jewish immigrant from Germany, Max Jacobson, were dispensing huge injections wholesale. While amphetamines were understood to be a dangerous drug they were still legal while Jacobson had devised a vitamin-amphetamine cocktail that was supposed to be safe as it was thought, or hoped, that the vitamins negated the harmful effect of the amphetamines. Thus everyone from high society to the Bohemians of the Village was blasting holes in their psyche.
That other great cultural node of the country, LA, was not far behind NYC. LA had had a drug culture for decades, hip to all the latest developments as they arrived. LSD was old hat in LA long before Tim Leary arrived bearing his gospel of LSD in 1960. While not particularly widespread before the Sixties, but still in extensive use, consumption blossomed as the Sixties progressed.
Cocaine the great destroyer, emerged into prominence in the late Sixties. Uppers and downers ruled the mind of the generation. Let me say here that there is no difference between licit and illicit drugs. A pill from a doctor is exactly the same as a pill from a street pusher so while Hippies were deemed to be taking drugs, the straights took those same drugs as prescription medicine. Those prescriptions amounted to billions of pills a year so one might say that the whole country was doped up.
Drugs tend to concentrate your attention on yourself while removing moral inhibitions. Morality then becomes a matter of expediency. The whole country became increasingly criminal minded. It was also at this time that the Mafia dominated the country. The failure of the authorities to suppress or confine the Mob also undermined morality. By the seventies murder and mayhem were endemic to the culture. Manson was not unique nor were his victims innocent of wrong doing themselves. The story runs deeper.
As the decade began the record industry was very small blossoming from sixty million dollars a year in the late fifties to billions in the seventies. The huge increase was fueled by the generational increase of interest as ‘music’ replaced literature as the culture bearer. Through music the culture was then seized by the revolutionary cadre. On the West Coast the two major centers were San Francisco and Los Angeles although both Portland and Seattle were significant contributors.
On the East Coast, namely NYC the major revolutionary group was the folk movement of Greenwich Village. One may say that they were led by Pete Seeger until Bob Dylan arrived one night, say, from nowhere, Hibbing Minnesota, to take the movement big time and in a different direction. Dylan was total negativity which set the tone for the decade.
In the year ’66, year one of the Satanic dispensation, the birth of the son of Satan took place in the Dakota apartments, allegorically but still in a psychological real way. In association with this, in my mind at least, was the first record of the Doors in ’66. It contained the song that more than Dylan ended what had gone on before. That song was The End.
In its own way it prefigured the atmosphere that created Charles Manson. In the song Morrison intones in his ominous baritone that a murderer walks a hallway into his parents’ bedroom where he announced the Freudian Oedipus mantra to his parents: Father, I want to kill you…Mother, I want to…the rest is obliterated by screams and electronics but the message was clear.
By 1966 a significant number of brains were addled by drugs and actually Freudian psychology so that the song had a powerful mind changing effect, releasing subconscious desires of every kind. The effect was repeated and amplified endlessly by subsequent bands. The generation then was raised to a fever pitch of revolutionary zeal and released, or liberated as the term was, repressed sexual desires. This was the season of the witch as Donovan sang, or the day of the toad of which Dalton Trumbo complained. Perverted activists came out of the wall as though summoned from hell.
Thus, Charles Manson. Manson was not a fortunate child. Born out of wedlock in West Virginia he was shuffled around as a child going from one terrible environment to the next until he found himself in the worst, a prison cell. Manson was an intelligent man who imbibed an education of sufficient worth to allow him to read and speak well. The guy was no fool. Along the way he learned to play guitar in prison. He was sufficiently adept to pass as a musician in LA among musicians. He was well known in Laurel Canyon and admired. He was actually part of it. He was also, if not part of it, associated in some manner with the Process Church Of The Final Judgment, usually referred to simply as The Process.
Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull had associations with the Process. The Process as one might conjecture was a Satanist outfit. Thus, while one may surmise that Manson was familiar with Satanist lore from prison, he quickly assimilated to LA Satanism envisioning himself as both Christ and Satan, the dichotomy of Christ and anti-Christ was realized in his person to his satisfaction. In San Francisco after his release from prison in 1967 in which, by the way, he was quite happy he soon acquired an entourage of girls and lost boys with which the Haight-Ashbury teemed. All of them were bonkered on massive doses of lysergic acid- LSD.
SF was Flashback City. Stanley Owsley kept the Haight awash in very high quality acid. While San Francisco is where the drop outs and runaways congregated they were a loser crowd. They were not material for much of anything. Anybody with any sense knew that LA was where the action was. Hence 1968 found Manson drifting down and establishing himself and his entourage among the musicians of LA and more specifically Laurel Canyon.
As noted Charles learned to play guitar in prison in a passable manner. He could also write songs. Thus his entrée into the Laurel Canyon crowd was facilitated. Especially when Manson and his entourage moved in on Dennis Wilson the drummer for the Beach Boys. In’66 before the Hippie influence flooded the markets, the Beach Boys were perhaps the number one group. In fact their biggest hit Good Vibrations, Hippie influenced, came in that year, 1966. It was their last big hit.
While the name Terry Melcher, might not be that familiar he was the son of Doris Day and a musician and producer of some note. He, too, was attracted to the musical potential of Manson. Thus once again this allowed Charles to roam Laurel Canyon freely. Having cleaned Dennis Wilson out, Manson and entourage moved to the Spahn Ranch near the Simi Valley and Chatsworth. Charles naturally got involved with drugs, Satanism and biker gangs going by such spine chilling names as Satan’s Disciples and Hell’s Angels. (I know, Manson probably had no dealings with the latter group but when a Californian thought of bikers, he or she thought of the Hell’s Angels and were terrified.)
As it happens this was a time when the Negro insurrection or rebellion was in full flower. For some reason the true nature of the Negro insurrection has made no impression on the popular mind. Tens of thousands of acres were burned over perhaps hundreds of lives, maybe thousands, were taken, a whole Negro paramilitary organization came into existence that was matched by a Federal corps of ‘crime’ fighters. The US unable to come to terms with the rejection of itself that the rebellion indicates insists that military actions are merely violations of the law thus wasting tens of millions of dollars trying these militants in court.
In Marin County the combatants actually burst into the courtroom and shot it up. This was interpreted as merely a case of bad manners. You tell me. Not only were billions in real estate burnt in huge conflagrations but actual giant cities began their disintegration. Detroit has disappeared from the map in all but name. The Bronx and parts of Brooklyn and Queens have become virtual deserts of burnt out buildings and decaying infra-structure. We’re talking combined areas larger than many countries.
For Christ’s sake Dresden didn’t fare much worse from incendiary saturation bombing and the Bronx was to have no effect on the American mind. Very few people are even aware of it, even though during the 1977 world series the flames shown above Yankee stadium. When asked what the glow was the announcer calmly said: Oh, the Bronx is burning. Well, it had an effect on Manson’s mind. He saw the rebellion for what it was, a Negro revolution, and he envisioned it increasing rapidly into a full blown open incontrovertible war. He called it Helter Skelter and planned to retreat into Death Valley until the Negroes would win, as he presumed, at which point Charlie and his angels would emerge when in his charismatic way he would take over the Negro society. Might have worked, who knows?
So, what we have here is a near perfect storm, sex, drugs, rock and roll, revolution, whatever was needed. However trouble was brewing within the Family, Freudian sexual desires being what they are and integrity being something to admire from afar. Key to the Manson thing, or Sharon Tate murders, is the arch villain movie director Roman Polanski. Sharon Tate was a hot babe that Polanski married in a fever but changed his mind when he cooled down. At that point Tate became unwanted baggage. Can it be a coincidence that Polanski was out of the country when Tate was murdered or was it a convenience to dissociate himself from the crime?
All the victims at the Cielo address have been denounced as vile people who were into child abuse and pornography as well as other Freudian sexual indulgences such as sadism etc. These were not innocents. Freud himself was considered by at least one of his disciples as an arch sadist. Manson was probably acquainted with all the victims. They were not strangers to him. Tex Watson ran a wig business and probably knew Jay Sebring who undoubtedly would have recognized Tex. The girls also who were not unfamiliar in Laurel Canyon may also have been recognizable by the victims.
The prevailing story is that Mama Cass Elliot ran a party house in the Canyon, an open door at home place where nearly anyone could wander in. I suppose I should give some indication as to how I’m aware of this as I certainly was not there. One source is the estimable Ed Sanders study titled The Family. Ed explored the area in 1970 and is probably as reliable as anyone. Another source is David McGowan’s Weird Scenes Inside The Canyon. McGowan is more speculative although exceedingly well informed. He has also written a series of essays on his website, with pictures, that makes exciting reading. McGowan points the way down astonishing avenues but has open ended conclusions. A very important book dealing with these subterranean doings is Maury Terry’s The Ultimate Evil: The Truth About The Cult Murders.
Terry is an important source for the Process Church and the general unrepressed Freudian Satanic unconscious that characterized the era. And then there are Bugliosi and Barney Hoskins of course, as well as others. At any rate Polanski’s crowd at Cass Elliot’s a few days before the Cielo Drive murders had felt cheated on a dope deal.
They therefore strung the dealer up by his thumbs and practiced a little Freudian sadism on his body that might have made the Nazis blanch. The fellow deeply resented this treatment and sought revenge. Sixty-nine was not as vile as things were to become but all these dope dealers were very unsavory characters especially after cocaine became the drug of choice. See the movie Sid And Nancy to get an idea of their character. So the Canyon crowd were morally bound to these criminal types while everyone concerned was firing on all eight cylinders without a muffler, so to speak.
Somebody, we don’t know who, contacted Manson requiring his services to rectify the dealer’s humiliation. The question here is what is right and wrong? What moral universe were all these people functioning in? Bear in mind now that by this time it was thought that all morality was relative, nothing was good or bad, right or wrong, but thinking made it so. Hence the reasoning outside the conventional notions of law. You’re only committing a crime if you think you are although others may have a different opinion in which case might is right.
The murders were only wrong if you didn’t understand the logic and were unmoved by Freudian Satanism. The beneficiary of the murders was Roman Polanski who rid himself of an unwanted wife thereby freeing himself to engage in the child molestation that caused him to flee the United States to the safety of Europe. Manson himself who had undoubtedly explored the mysteries of the legal system in prison in serious confabulations with other prisoners on concerning how to avoid arrest was confident that according to legal requirements he was immune to arrest or, at least, conviction.
Quite simply, he was not present at the murders so legally he could not be convicted of them. According to himself he did not order his angels to murder anyone but somehow they determined that the murders were the thing to do so in his mind he couldn’t be convicted of conspiracy to murder. Even though the murders of both the Tate and La Bianca people left clues that the Negroes were responsible in an attempt to aggravate the race war, or Helter Skelter in his term, this could merely be the result of group conversations from which the Family acted on its own. Thus, legally, Charlie had his bases covered.
He had been elsewhere, like Polanski, and guilty of nothing. As evidence that Helter Skelter had begun the Family invaded Death Valley actually carving out a little kingdom of their own. Amazing story, really. The US was a free country with minimal supervision. Had the society been coherent, that is governed by a single set of mores, the whole situation would have been impossible but with the birth of Satan in 1966 and the Freudian dissolution of morals anything was possible. And indeed, everything became possible.
While according to Christianity and the old legal code based on English Common Law murder had been committed and someone had to pay. Innocent, and he was, or not, Manson had to pay. This was only because he had terrified an immoral Hollywood society who recognized their own image in the Tate-La Bianca murders. The murders were only one of numerous horrendous crimes being committed at the time including the equally horrendous Zodiac murders in San Francisco.
Additionally there were two other murder rings to consider. One was the Weather Underground and the other was the activities of the Jewish zealot Rabbi Meyer Kahane who founded the JDL, Jewish Defense League. The Jewish Defense League gave birth to an even more murderous offshoot called the Jewish Defense Organization. Both these groups were off into an insane vision of reality that boggles the imagination. The Weather Underground was the brainchild of the mutant Bomber Billy Ayers and his sidekick the murderous female Bernadine Dohrn. In a way similar to Manson Ayers was guiding the destiny of the amazing flakeouts comprising the Weathermen. Ayers as leader was responsible for numerous bombings and several murders. He was involved in the plan to bomb a military dance. The bomb had it succeeded would have killed or maimed dozens if not scores of party goers.
The bomb was filled with shrapnel and nails that would have torn through the swirling figures on the dance floor. The plan was aborted when the bomb makers blew themselves up. Certainly the crimes and proposed crimes for which Ayers was responsible were as horrendous if not more so than those for which Manson was convicted. In point of fact, after leading the authorities on a merry chase Bill the Bomber was apprehended, tried and convicted quite similarly to Manson. However he was immediately released on a legal technicality and never tried again. He was later heard to chortle: Guilty as hell and free as a bird. God, what a country. But he was never tried again.
He obtained his PhD becoming a ‘Distinguished Professor’ at UIllinois and put in charge of indoctrinating the children of the US. He lives in ultimate luxury today. I’m sure there were enough legal irregularities in Manson’s case to declare his conviction null and void but that was not to be.
The second case is the equally strange one of Meir Kahane. He was a Rabbi from New York, therefore of the privileged caste of Jews who in many ways are set above the law. Like Manson, Kahane too lived his life unto his own set of mores. Kahane was driven mad by the events of WWII. Even though that nasty event was a Jewish-German war the Jews miscalculated the course the war would take. They were enraged that Hitler did to them what they were trying to do and actually did succeed in doing post-war to the Germans. Thus, post-war the whole Jewish people essentially went mad.
Perceiving Nazis under every US bed, the country itself overflowing with Hitlers out to get them. They made endless movies about their paranoia. One of the best called Hitler’s Brain is about the notion that while Hitler died his brain was saved and kept alive continuing the extermination of the Jews from some undisclosed South American location.
In another movie, The Boys From Brazil, a number of boys had been cloned, perhaps from cells of Hitler’s brain in its undisclosed location, and they were growing up to be just like Dad to finish the job Dad had begun. Good sci-fi movies actually and these were only two of a number. Hence Kahane’s brain rent asunder, leading his paramilitary troops of the JDL, he began a horrendous bombing and murder campaign.
Apparently everyone knew about it except the FBI. Kahane was never arrested but somebody got tired of him and offed him or else the Assassination Bureau got him. The point being, although guilty as hell he was allowed to be free as a bird never being arrested. Like Ayers said: What a country.
Another interesting situation involves the Process Church and the Son of Sam murders but it is not exactly pertinent here. Really what we had in the US was an amoral society, or a developing one. The rise of Satanism was remarkable. Suddenly after Rosemary’s Baby there was an absolute avalanche of Satanic or demonic movies. Younger undeveloped minds were completely demoralized. Laws were regularly passed that enlarged the rights of criminals and made police work nearly impossible.
Understandably they became frustrated as they watched arch criminals like Bomber Billy Ayers walk and then admit guilt. Into the seventies a new type of vigilante movie arose depicting characters like Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry and Charles Bronson’s Death Wish films as Paul Kersey. The police were unable to control the criminal element that became emboldened by every law passed to handcuff the police.
The Silent Majority of Nixon respecting not only the Law but also the idiot laws against their interests that the criminal enablers passed were unable to defend themselves, indeed they were forbidden to, so they took refuge in film fantasies. Eventually one, Bernhard Goetz. tired of being abused, armed himself and when four Negroes, commonly referred to by the media as ‘youths’, who were terrorizing the subway train he was riding attempted to rob him Goetz shot all four although none fatally. Although the Liberals were unable to put him away for assault or attempted murder or whatever after Goetz escaped them in his first trial he was sentenced to prison in his second trial for carrying an unregistered pistol. So much for refusing to be assaulted and robbed by Negroes.
So, society created the environment that enabled the whole pattern of behavior that permitted Manson to even think of dreaming the situation he became involved in. Remember, he was only one actor among many in this amazing social situation. Of all the crimes committed by the various members only he and his angels were punished. Freudian sexual fantasies released the girls of Manson’s family to behave in the more than the loose way they did. Rampant drug use befogged their minds so that they barely knew what they were doing and that was encouraged by the Satanism nearly created and legitimized by Hollywood movies, led by Roman Polanski and Rosemary’s Baby.
In case folks haven’t realized it yet movies are not only a sort of entertainment they are open propaganda encouraging the propaganda of the deed. And then society only punished arbitrarily certain propagandas of the deed. Bomber Billy Ayers was actually rewarded for his crimes and is honored in certain circles today. Because the Bomber was released we have the asinine Barack Obama as president today. If Ayers had been treated as Manson has and he has surely deserved it, Obama would have remained an obscure street person.
Mier Kahane’s crimes far exceed those of Manson and he was tolerated until a vigilante took matters in hand. Perhaps Manson represented a vision of what US citizens were or becoming so that in the shock of recognition they were so repelled by their own image they would try to obliterate it. Thus Manson, who had killed no one was given a death sentence to wipe out that image. Manson would have died for our sins. Unfortunately California abandoned the death penalty prior to Manson’s date so he has remained to haunt our subconscious all these decades. Will his death be some sort of cathartic? A cause for great celebration not unlike VE day? We’ll see, won’t we?
November 26, 2014
Exhuming Bob 31e
A Review Of
Another Side Of Bob Dylan
There’s nothing left for me,
I live in memory among my souvenirs.
Some letters tied with blue,
a photograph or two,
I see a rose from you
Among my souvenirs.
A few more tokens rest
Within my treasure chest,
And though they do their best
To give me consolation
I count them all apart and
As the teardrops start
I find a broken heart
Among my souvenirs.
As sung by Ferlin Husky
There is now an interregnum of a decade or two where Victor goes off to New Mexico to live his life without Bob nursing his bad memories among his souvenirs.
Dylan has left a memory over the years of cruel and vicious behavior to friend and foe alike. While his victims endured his insults and injuries during the high tide of his fame some are now coming out to denounce him. Joni Mitchell, a competitor for top folk honors, has denounced Bob as a plagiarist and all around fraud. Al Aronowitz registered his complaints long ago in now unavailable books and ignored articles. Jacob Maymudes has taken this time to release his father’s list of complaints.
Victor’s life was so entwined with Bob’s that he still wished to conceal the depth of his grievances not wishing as he said to write a tell all book. More’s the pity. He did relate his worst stories to Al telling him to use them. Not necessary, Al had enough complaints of his own to fill volumes. Even then Al’s respect for Dylan’s talent was such that he too restrained himself relating only his most hurtful remembrances among his souvenirs.
The amazing thing is that Dylan couldn’t even restrain himself with his Madonna, Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands, and wife Sara. One is astounded that in her own home he allowed her to come downstairs one morning to find him dandling another woman on his knee in the kitchen. Sara promptly filed for divorce astounding Bob: ‘People in my family just don’t get divorced.’ he complained uncomprehendingly.
Either that is embarrassingly naïve or perhaps in his parents troubled relationship something similar had happened and he was only acting naturally. Some sort of repetition compulsion such as happens, as Bob’s heart was broken he left a trail of broken hearts behind him. Certainly the root of his behavior can be found in his hometown of Hibbing. Apparently Bob suffered unbearable humiliations at home thus venting his anger on those around him throughout the rest of his life. During the Sixties ‘what goes around comes around’ was a common expression. It was a long winded way of saying karma, so once he was in power he made everyone look out. ‘Trouble in front, trouble behind’ as Bob Hunter wrote. Man, woman and child beware, Bob’s chugging on down the line.
Al, who hung around with Bob the longest relates a situation or two with Dylan at the Isle of Wight Festival in England shortly after Woodstock. Al was in Levon Helm’s dressing room when Dylan came in. Dylan glowered at Al snarling ‘What are you doing here? Get the fuck out of here.’
You can imagine the effect that had on Al who hadn’t yet figured out the imperial Dylan. Al stifled himself and left. Astonishingly he was able to endure such an insult as he continued his duties while remaining loyal to his idol.
Perhaps Dylan was just trying to get rid of Al who was in reality an eternal presence while I’m not sure he was invited or just stringing along. As a journalist his presence could be explained as pursuing a story. If Al didn’t take that hint Dylan gave a stronger one that Al managed to surf also.
This is a rather amazing story. Al tells it well too.
It isn’t clear whether this was a setup to humiliate Al or not but if not then it was a major testing of the audience to see what they would take. The show had been going on all day a roaring success. The time of Dylan’s appearance was scheduled for about ten o’clock at night. He was to be preceded by The Band. The Band’s technical expert decided that the sound was not quite to his liking although according to Al it had been excellent all day. The technician began checking the cables, crawling around in the equipment and what not taking a very long time. Al was in Dylan’s camper so Bob ordered him to go find the reason for the delay.
Al didn’t really have official status so he had to be especially courteous. He explained to the tech that Bob was getting irritated at the delay wanting to get the show moving. The tech fobbed him off.
Bob was even more irritated when Al reported back abusing him further. After a while, the delay was getting to be quite long, Bob sent Al forth again this time to see Robbie Robertson, prod him to get his guy moving. Robertson merely turned his back on Al walking away.
Al reported back to be abused further. More time passed, Bob sent Al back to the tech. The tech told Al that The Band wasn’t going on until he was satisfied with the sound. Al returned for a torrent of abuse from Dylan. Enduring the abuse must have been a deep humiliation. It was probably meant to send Al packing but Al hung in there. Eventually the show got on the road; Bob made his appearance.
Over the years many people have noticed Dylan’s seeming contempt for his audience so it may be that he was combining an opportunity to see how much Al could take while testing his audience.
Of especial significance here is Bob’s use of the phrase ‘Get the fuck out of here.’ He would also use this phrase in dismissing Victor’s daughter from his coffee house. Victor of course could not allow Bob to talk to his daughter using such language putting forth a mild protest although the incident precipitated his final break with Dylan.
It seems pretty clear that in his career Dylan was acting out his resentment of the way he had been treated back home in Hibbing. It is not improbable that someone had used the same phrase to him back in Hibbing so that Bob reacted in his life by setting up situations in which he could shift his burden onto someone else.
Dylan could be emotionally quite violent in venting his anger and making it public too. The really hate filled rant Ballad In Plain D directed at Carla Rotolo and her mother is really quite astonishing. He would vent his rage over incidents more than once on record over quite trivial things although they may have represented more serious disturbances in his psyche. Most notable of course is his hate filled rant against Edie Sedgwick in Like A Rolling Stone.
Bobby Newirth had taken Edie Sedgwick to meet Dylan in late ’64. Dylan was taken with her even though he was in the midst of several affairs including Suze Rotolo and his future wife Sara. Edie and he had a meeting the next month in January of ’65 where some sort of understanding was apparently reached. Bob then left on tour including England where he tried to establish a relationship with Marianne Faithfull, returning in May of that year.
In the interim Edie met Andy Warhol. Edie was living on an inheritance that she was quickly consuming thus she was seeking some way to earn money. Teaming up with Warhol seemed promising so her magic summer of ’65 was about to begin.
Dylan returned to find his own plans for Edie disrupted. They had it out at a party in June during which Edie explained her financial situation to Dylan.
In a towering rage at his seeming rejection Dylan sat down venting his emotions in what turned out to be Like A Rolling Stone. While none of us record buyers had a clue of what the song was really about, we devised all kinds of fantastic explanations that make us look ridiculous now. The hate anthem was merely about Dylan’s situation vis-à-vis Edie and Andy. Thus the lines:
You used to ride on the chrome horse
With your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat
Ain’t it hard when you discover that
He really wasn’t where it was at.
After he took from you
Everything he could steal.
In the context of Bob, Edie and Andy then Dylan is excoriating Edie who may or may not have gotten the reference. Bob’s technique was to make a sort of dream displacement from the fact to the image. Thus he makes Andy Edie’s diplomat while Andy did have a Siamese cat. The term chrome horse is merely a motorcylist’s term for his bike although it seems like a tough image to crack for those of us who took it symbolically.
Edie had opted for a relationship with Andy but that was not working out well as Andy, while using her in his movies, was not providing her with income. Hence he really wasn’t where it was at, money being the issue whether with Bob or Andy.
In his effort to woo Edie from Andy to get his revenge Dylan and Grossman would promise to put Edie in a movie with Dylan. Perhaps that was the crux of the meeting in June.
Edie who was of old stock New York society, the Sedgwicks were socially important, had introduced Andy into a society to which he could never have been admitted on his own. Thus while he benefited Edie’s reputation was destroyed by her association with him hence she was out on the street where she couldn’t function. Andy had taken everything from her that he could steal and then dropped her.
Of course, the same would have been true with Dylan who was not exactly a society icon and never would be. Having lured her away from Warhol Dylan then dumped her while writing another vicious song about her, One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later).
This viciousness was part and parcel of Dylan’s personality. Somewhat miraculously he writes that he has a clear conscience down among his souvenirs. I truly hope he has but I don’t see how.
Victor left Dylan’s employ mid-1966 going off to live his own life until he rejoined Dylan a few years down the road.
We will examine those years in Exhuming Bob 31f.
November 16, 2014
Exhuming Bob 31d
A Review Of Victor Maymudes’
Another Side Of Bob Dylan
I’ve got a tangled mind,
I’ve got a broken heart,
I got a gal somewhere,
I guess she thinks I’m dead.
I’d go back home if
I could clear my head.
Cryin’, cryin’, all of the time,
I’ve got a broken heart,
I’ve got a tangled mind.
-As sung by Hank Snow
In Exhuming Bob 31c I said I was waiting for a copy of Al Aronowitz’s book Bob Dylan And The Beatles. It arrived and I read it. Like Victor’s book it is a first hand account of Dylan. Strangely, or perhaps not so strangely, Al like Victor wanted to be Bob. Dylan epitomized their hopes and vision of themselves. Couldn’t be improved on.
However not being Bob the next best thing was to be as close to being his shadow as possible. Amazingly, or perhaps not so amazingly, both men were glorifying Dylan at the same time during those magic years of the Sixties Bob. Al once asked Bob why he wanted to perform. Bob replied simply: I want to be exalted.
There may be a key to Dylan. He wants you and I, the country, the whole world to make him feel exalted and he achieved that goal in spades. In that context one can only imagine how crushed Bob’s feelings must have been when he was booed and booed and booed when he went electric in 1965. No exaltation there.
As a side note Murray The K in his book says that one reason Dylan was booed, especially at Forest Hills was because he was switching to rock and roll which the folkies considered pimple music. Murray who MC’d part of the show was also booed but because he was considered a bubble gum disc jockey. So Dylan was perceived as switching from serious folk to teeny bopper rock n’ roll.
It must have been a period of profound fear that perhaps he would be rejected and never be exalted again. It must have been quite similar to when he did his Little Richard act during assembly to an uncomprehending student body and faculty back in Hibbing. The principal wanted to pull his plug that day just as Alan Lomax would want to take an axe to the cables in ’65.
Bob persevered, overcame resistance, or elected a new body of fans, and then crashed in ’66 from the strain. He laboriously and falteringly rebuilt his career after ’66. And this is important, he would make his audience exalt him no matter what he did. I saw his October ’14 Portland show and he had taken electricity to a new level of voltage. I would have said he took electricity out of Arkansas but I don’t know how many have heard or remember Black Oak Arkansas’ When Electricity Came to Arkansas. Dylan remembered it because his sound was close to lifted from that performance; spectacular for the early seventies.
Dylan’s show was fabulous; perhaps the finest rock show I’ve ever seen. The band was the thing. Dylan’s performance truly being peripheral. He no longer sings per se but gargles along in tune with the band; if you catch his drift not bad at all. As a composer and conductor is where he excels.
Bob however has been in pain all his life. He acquired a tangled mind, tangled up in blue. Never a fashion plate, for the show he came out in some godawful gauche and need I say outre version of a Southern planter’s suit while he acted as though we of the audience were slaves on his plantation down in Dixie. As is well known Bob studied the Southern plantation systems in the New York City public library while he was waiting for stardom to strike him. Apparently he learned his lessons well. So, I’m from Dixie too. I got it.
Although from a distance he looks pretty frail he stood at the mike and in front of a wall of sound that Phil Spector would have envied lectured us on how he wasn’t as stupid as us living humdrum lives, the very idea of which he had renounced from the first time he heard Accentuate The Positive on the radio before he could walk.
Something happened along the way as Bob hasn’t accentuated the positive since he was five.
Perhaps Victor and Al had also been slapped down hard along the way becoming those of the ‘abused, misused, strung out one’s or worse’ Bob materializes in his song The Chimes Of Freedom. Back in the old days he says that was the audience he was reaching for and that’s the audience he got. It was that appeal that brought the ones who felt abused and misused into his sphere. Either I outgrew the feeling or Bob left the hall in ’66 for another show. He forgot about us after that.
Victor and Al, as I say, obviously knew the feeling, bonding to Dylan like a Siamese twin.
Al, by the way, corroborates everything Victor said. He really did say into a tape recorder rather than write in text. So in Chapter five Victor relates how he and Bob turned on the world. Victor must have been sidelined after the August ’65 meeting with the Beatles because the period from August ’65 through the ’66 motor bike accident he merely summarizes his relationship few details. No mention of Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick or even Bobby Neuwirth. Nothing about the ’66 tour on which he was the road manager.
In point of fact after picking up Neuwirth in SF Bobby replaced Victor as Bob’s sidekick and confidant. It was the arrival of Neuwirth that completed the fearsome putdown act of him, Dylan and Grossman.
While Neuwirth is a hazy figure in the biographies, Al Aronowitz gives the fullest profile of Neuwirth that I have read. According to Al Neuwirth was an excellent performer and prolific songwriter. Dylan had first met him in Boston where he sang in the folk clubs around Harvard. Unfortunately Bobby was a psychopath which prevented him from ever recording successfully or having a career. Al says that there were efforts to get him on record. Twice he recorded material but snuck into the studios and destroyed the tapes. The record for David Geffen that he did complete is quite a story among Al’s great stories. After running up studio costs of nearly 200,000 dollars he delivered product that Geffen said would sell only six copies. He appears to have been a prophet. If the record was actually ever released try to find a copy now. Perhaps a key to Neuwirth’s psyche is the song of Don Gibson he recorded for Geffen , A Legend In My Time. Key lyrics,
If tears and regrets
Were gold statuettes
I’d be a legend in my own time.
In his way then his relationship to Dylan was the same as Victor’s and Al’s. Neuwirth could see or sense that Dylan would get the gold statuettes, be a legend in his own time, tears and regrets Bobby’s lot. Dylan had the ego and the drive. Neuwirth had the fear of success (there’s no success like failure and failure’s no success at all, perhaps that line of Dylan’s was written with Neuwirth in mind) or perhaps as accurately, fear of failure. Probably also he realized he would never equal or surpass Dylan. Paralyzed his will. While Bob could and would realize his dream of success Neuwirth could never have been able to measure up to that. Like Victor and Al then Neuwirth lived his fantasy through Bob.
There was no place for Neuwirth in Bob’s life after the ’66 accident so he drifted off doing other people. According to Al he drifted around attaching himself to people with money. Al admired him greatly, considering him much hipper than Dylan. His account, his thumbnail of Bobby, is really worth reading. Al has been neglected as a source by the biographers but both his own career and account are significant Not a lot of copies of his book around though, mine came with Al’s autograph although made out Michael Gross whoever he may be.
So, during this crucial year in Bob’s life Victor seems to have been marginalized but he still makes himself central to Bob’s life showing him how to be cool.
Victor says, p. 115:
Bob and I searched for an identity in the clothes that we bought; granted, it was only after Bob started to have an income that we really dove into fashion. He and I would go shopping at thrift stores together, searching for new identities when the one we were using started to get picked up by those around us. This cat-and-mouse game pushed us to wear increasingly outre clothes. We would try on every odd ball outfit we could find, trying to stay one step ahead of our social group. On tours around the country, we would seek out the salvage clothing stores and pick out the wild stuff. I found polka-dot shirts with Bob, and I made that a big deal. Polka-dots would become our contribution to the fashion of the sixties I look back on it now and I think it’s pretty funny how ridiculous we looked and how everyone around us took us so seriously. Bob and I shared this together, but I didn’t have the spotlight on me the whole time as he did.
Note he heavy use of I, we, us. Sounds like they were joined at the hip with Victor in control guiding Dylan on the path to higher achievement. Al wanted to be Bob and in his way so did Victor but they chose different paths. Probably because Victor was six years older he assumed what is really a patronizing attitude. Must have irritated Bob.
In this year covering mid ’65 to ’66 then Dylan had three intense buddy associates to deal with, Victor Al and Bobby, all three of varying types of servility. Of the three Aronowitz would last the longest while Victory and Bobby were followed by Robbie Robertson, who, by the way was born Jaime Robert Klegerman. He was the son of a Jewish father and a Mohawk mother, an interesting combination.
Bob treated these guys quite contemptibly. Both Victor and Al have very bitter memories and both were dismissed in the rudest of manners. I don’t know the situation with Robertson but I imagine he and Bob aren’t talking either.
And then Victor may have been perceived by Albert Grossman as a troublemaker. Anent that, Victor on p. 127:
I called Albert the “brain” based on the fact that he looked like a potato and the only muscle he used was his brain. For me, he was a very powerful person. I respected him like my big brother. But we had our issues because I would tell Bob the truth, about anything. Even if it was just my hunch someone was trying to manipulate him I would make sure Bob was aware of what was going on. Albert felt threatened by my transparency, and my criticism of his management.
Albert was an asshole who bent over for quarters when dollars were flying by
And then Victor says he clued Dylan to how Grossman was appropriating revenues from song rights. Little wonder that Grossman felt threatened or any surprise he fired Victor after the accident thus ending that relationship for several years.
If we are to believe Victor about this first phase of Dylan’s career he was the guiding light for Dylan. Thus he makes it sound as though he nearly was the author of Dylan’s success. He wouldn’t have been Bob without Victor by his telling.
Nevertheless Bob always came out on top and Victor, Al and Bobby and Grossman were left in the dust. Bob began his career with a tangled mind, beginning his second phase in the same mental state.
Exhuming Bob 31e follows.
Exhuming Bob 31c
Another Side Of Bob Dylan
It becomes clear at this point in Victor’s memoir, Chaps. 4 & 5, that he has such great admiration for the ‘genius’ of Dylan that he begins to meld his personality into Dylan’s person and persona. Being six years older and considering himself more worldly wise thus a guide to the younger more naïve Dylan he feels actually superior to Bob, or at least compensate for his felt inferiority. He thus becomes protective and paternalistic. Dylan must have found the attitude annoying.
In Chapter 4 that concerns Dylan’s 8/22/64 meeting with the Beatles in New York City, he actually does displace Dylan assuming his role.
This meeting is perhaps the most famous incident in rock and roll history. This ‘summit’ meeting arranged by the journalist Al Aronowitz of whom more below is when Dylan is said to have introduced the Beatles to marijuana. The below is Victor’s gloss on the story.
Victor’s relationship with Dylan has almost supernatural aspects. While he realizes that Bob has the gift and he doesn’t his admiration and perhaps envy is so great that as time goes by he seems to be melding his persona into Bob’s almost to the extent that he becomes an incubus attempting to inhabit Bob’s mind and body almost like an internal double.
Aronowitz arranged the meeting between Dylan and the Beatles but his account is truncated on the website. The Blacklisted Journalist offers only a teaser of the story referring you to his book Bob Dylan And The Beatles, now out of print. A used copy is costing me 75.00 and it had better be worth it. I will probably rewrite this section when I receive it; but for now Victor’s version and, really, this is Victor’s story.
This is a great moment for Victor and he does it justice in the telling. He borrowed Bob’s muse to write it. You should probably read Victor’s account for the full flavor. It will suffice here to show how Victor elbowed Bob out of the story.
His account begins with their arrival at the Delmonico Hotel where there is an immense crowd blocking the entire street and gathered beneath the windows of the Beatles’ suite. If you were checking in as a guest at that time it would have been one of the major events of your life, if the police had allowed you through to check in. The roar as Victor describes it begins as persistent white noise like the ocean surf as Dylan’s group approaches mounting in volume to a tremendous roar at the hotel door.
On the Beatles’ floor, which is sealed off, the glitterati being more privileged than the hoi polloi replicate the scene below as they crowd the hallway. PP&M, the Kingstons, everybody is there, everybody. Probably Truman Capote and Andy Warhol. It staggers the mind that four unknown musicians could create such an uproar. One imagines the glow of importance on Victor’s brow as he surpasses all the glitterati to enter the Beatle’s suite with Bob and Al. One of the chosen.
Introductions finished, the pot comes out. This is the first time the Beatles were to get high on pot although with a knowing wink Victor explains that they have smoked some inferior stuff before with little TCP content.
Bob undertakes to roll a joint but bungles the job. Now here’s were Victor takes over Bob’s role. He reaches over and takes the papers and weed from Bob’s hands. I would have fired him on the spot. Victor then rolls perfect numbers for all concerned. Bob takes a couple swigs from a bottle and then passes out on the floor. From that point on in Victor’s account he is the show; he has become Bob or Bob has become him. The Beatles are suitably impressed becoming Victor’s great friends.
For a brief moment Victor and Bob were one in Victor’s mind.
His account is a fully detailed extended account well worth reading. I will compare it later with that of Aronowitz.
Aronowitz himself was a journalist, the music and entertainment reviewer with the New York Post. He seems to have had Victor’s need to become those he reviewed. He had a long and illustrious career breaking Billie Holliday among others in music and the movies as he says. When the Beatles landed, recognizing the next big thing he moved in on rock and roll. Being able to deliver Dylan to the Beatles was his big coup hopefully establishing him with the two biggest pop acts ever.
After the Beatles-Dylan encounter however his career went into decline. As he says on the Blacklisted Journalist neither Bob nor Victor would talk to him anymore. It seems as though the whole rock world rejected him. Perhaps he appeared to be an opportunist from another era or generation and wasn’t wanted. And then he did something to cause him to be blacklisted as a journalist.
Chapter 5 concerns Bob, Victor, Paul Clayton and Pete Karman’s cross country tour from New York, down through the South and out to San Francisco.
Victor gives a very nice sketch of Paul Clayton one of the premier folk musicians and musicologists of the period. I will highlight the visit to Carl Sandburg here as Victor gives the fullest and best account that I have read.
Carl Sandburg was of course the Chicago poet- Chicago, Hog butcher to the world, tool maker, stacker of wheat, player with railroads…city of big shoulders, etc. etc. as well as the author of the Pulitzer Prize winning biography of Abraham Lincoln. Also he was the compiler of the American Song Book, published in 1927, a collection of songs roughly from the turn of the twentieth century that contains nearly the whole of the sixties’ repertoire- Midnight Special, Stack-o-lee, alternate versions of St. James Infirmary, Nearly everything that has been attributed to Huddie ‘Leadbelly’ Ledbetter. I think most people think Ledbetter wrote The Midnight Special. I did until acquiring a copy of the Son Book at an estate sale. Apparently he must have had an early copy of the Song Book.
Bob says that he wanted to talk to Carl about the collection.
Victor gives the fullest and best account of the encounter. Bearing in mind that this gang of four burst upon the Sandburg’s unannounced they sprang on the Sandburgs’ like a summer squall. Mrs. Sandburg who was sitting on her porch greeted them graciously going in to get her husband. Remember this is 1964 and this rag tag bunch with wild hair, manners disordered by drugs, sort of exploded from the car onto the lawn. Perhaps Mrs. Sandburg was terrified.
Sandburg himself being an old trooper from the hog butchering capitol of the world rose to meet the challenge. According to Victor Sandburg spent an hour with them. In this scene Victor hung back while the bumptious Pete Karman shouldered Bob aside trying to monopolize Sandburg.
Sandburg, pushing ninety, tired, excused himself and returned to his nap or whatever, perhaps practicing banjo licks.
Victor’s account clarified this situation that has always puzzled me. Sounds about right.
Victor gives a good account of Bob in New Orleans and the trip West through Colorado to San Francisco.
Altogether two very worthwhile chapters. Good enough for general reading in my opinion.
Exhuming Bob 3d follows.
Exhuming Bob 31b
Victor Maymudes’ Another Side Of Bob Dylan
A Stranger Came Walking…
This book is actually written by Victor’ son Jacob Maymudes, since Victor died a couple decades ago. The tapes Victor recorded appear to be heavily edited while Jacob is defending his father against Dylan. In such a situation the temptation to rewrite as well as editing might be too strong to resist. It would have been better to have used the full transcripts as spoken.
Jacob has really written a biography of his family focusing on his dad’s relationship with Dylan. It is a bittersweet tale while Jacob has written a very readable and pleasant little volume. He captures well the personal tragedy of his father.
In this part of the review I will concentrate on Tapes 2 and 3 of Victor’s aural memoir.
After leaving Bob in 1962, almost ’63, Victor took up residence in Yelapa, Mexico a village of 300 at the time with a half dozen Hippies lounging about. Today, let us say, it has been discovered. Yelapa is in Jalisco State of which Guadalajara is the capital and Puerta Vallarta the main tourist destination. Yelapa is on the southern end of the 7th largest beach in the world. Undeveloped when Victor stayed there it is well developed now. Victor doesn’t explain how he knew of this, what he considers, a terrestrial paradise, but he stays there until…
One day just before sun down, I was laying on the beach with Tom Law, one of my great friends, who would later became the road manager for Peter, Paul and Mary. But at that moment He was sitting up watching the Mexico sunset while I lay with my feet in the warm glow of the sand. A stranger came walking down the beach toward us. There was nobody else in sight….The Stranger stopped in front of us and asked, “You guys know this guy, Victor Maimondez?” mispronouncing my last name.
Tom, who was always cautious and protective of me, squinted up, “Yeah, maybe. What do you want him for?”
The stranger said, “I have a message for him. From someone named Bob Dylan in New York City. He wants Victor to come back. They’re going on tour.”
Like something out of the Twilight Zone isn’t it? If it happened, it happened. Who am I to say differently.
Victor returns triumphantly as Dylan’s tour manager. Grossman grant’s Victor the magnificent salary of 65.00 a week. Victor was ecstatic. Heck, even I was making twice that in 1964 although I’m sure I wasn’t having as good a time.
Tape 3, Chapter 3 is a very long chapter of thirty four pages covering approximately eight months in 1964. These boys were certainly living an action packed life as the events covered may be the central part of Bob’s 1960-66 career.
Victor arrives back in LA on November 22, 1963 just in time for the Kennedy assassination. Victor is an authentic voice of the period. His thoughts are representative of about half the people at the time While time has sanctified Kennedy’s memory at the time about half the people were relieved to be rid of him. I was in that half.
Victor’s voice however is phrased in the spirit of the times. It brings the period back in high relief.
In February Dylan, Paul Clayton, Pete Karman and Victor took the well reported cross country auto tour from NYC to SF with Victor doing most of the driving. Today they probably would have used an SUV but theirs was a more modestly sized station wagon.
While Victor adds a few new details his relation places the story in more human terms than other accounts. He and Dylan were outraged at the Kentucky miners’ plight and the civil rights situation in Dixie so they decide on a drive through for a look see.
The key points are Dylan’s visit to Carl Sandburg in Asheville and the visit to New Orleans and the drive from Denver to SF.
Victor’s account of the Sandburg visit makes more sense than other accounts I have read. Rather than a cranky reception for this unannounced visit as often reported the boys were met cordially by Mrs. Sandburg who went to get her husband. Sandburg himself was in his late eighties and apparently frail, tiring easily. According to Victor he spent about an hour with the boys then tiring returned to the house.
According to Victor Paul Clayton smoothed over the situation while Pete Karman boorishly tried to brush Dylan aside to monopolize the interview.
For those who for one reason or another are vague as to who Carl Sandburg was his date are 1/6/1878-7/22/67. He gained fame for what is called his poetry, not only fame but he bagged two Pulitzer Prizes and his biography of Abraham Lincoln netted him another.
He was a Civil Rights activist gaining an award from the NAACP. Dylan’s interest stemmed from is 1927 collection called The American Song Bag. The volume was very successful and extremely influential. Pete Seeger was said to swear by it and if I am not mistaken Huddie Leadbelly Ledbettor memorized a great deal of it.
I managed to pick up a copy at an estate sale for a couple bucks. it is a fairly amazing collection of what might be called folk songs. Lots of tunes from the turn of the century and some earlier stuff. Midnight Special, Frankie and Johnny, the backbone of the Sixties repertoire. Words and music, nice collection.
Bob said he wanted to talk to Carl about it. Pete Karman got in the way.
Victor gives a nice tribute and portrait of Paul Clayton who he admired as a great folk figure although time has now passed him by.
The next stop was New Orleans which holds no interest for me although the stories are well told while being well known.
The inner dynamics of the car with Karman being the trouble are well known. Apparently Suze Rotolo included him, probably as a chaperone to make sure Bob didn’t stray too far. Strange attitude for a Communist girl. When they reached SF Karman was given a plane ticket and sent back to NYC. Karman was replaced by Bobby Neuwirth who would himself replace victor as Dylan’s confidant. Neuwirth fit in where Karman didn’t. But then as a friend of Suze’s who forced him on the trip perhaps his quality of mind was more equal to hers.
After returning , in May of ’64 Dylan left for England with Victor in tow. This was the English trip that formed the material for the film Don’t Look Back. Unless the tape is edited too heavily by Jacob one would gain the impression that it is just Bob and Victor on this trip. There is no mention of Grossman or Baez, the movie or even the famous scene at the Savoy, no Lennon, no Beatles, no nothing but Bob and Victor. One gains the impression that Victor is in love with Bob, practically man and wife.
After England he and Dylan make Bob’s trip to Greece. There are some interesting details here. According to Victor Dylan wrote the whole of Another Side Of bob Dylan in Greece recording it without practice on returning to New York.
There is no mention of Nico here for whom Dylan wrote I’ll Keep It With Mine at this time. Victor excludes anything except what he and Bob were doing while Victor is guiding Bob and showing him the world.
They then return to NYC
Exhuming Bob 32: Didn’t We Ramble Though, A Review Of The Bob Dylan Show, Portland Performance 10/21/14
October 22, 2014
Exhuming Bob 32
Didn’t We Ramble Though
A Review Of The Bob Dylan Show, Portland Performance 10/21/14
The steel is moanin’, the guitars are speakin’,
The piano plays a jelly roll.
The man on the drums is far from dumb,
The bassman he plays from his soul.
The tables are quakin’, and your nerves are shakin’
But you keep on beggin’ for more.
You’re havin’ your fun you lucky son of a gun
On that Honky Tonk hardwood floor.
Sung by the late great Johnny Horton
The Bob Dylan show dropped into town last night. And what a show it was. My first Dylan show, from reading all these reviews depicting the shows as atrocious my expectations were very low.
I can’t imagine what these critics are thinking. The Show was absolutely sensational. Dylan is one of the great Rock and Roll showmen. Beats anyone else I’ve ever seen.
I hope I can hit a stride here commensurate with the show and my muse doesn’t let me down. The venue, the Keller Auditorium, is a twenty-five hundred capacity house and it was filled. The stage is relatively big about sixty wide and fifty high. Bob and his musicians used the whole space like they had been performing there for a year. The lighting while minimal was dramatic, effective and beautiful putting one in a good mood. An aura was provided that brought one into the Secret Garden.
The electronic gear seemed to be artfully scattered haphazardly across the whole stage. The musicians wore red blazers while Bob came out in a white planter’s outfit, uniting the Templars with the old plantation down South. Jeb Stuart rides again.
The musicians appeared to be encamped among the gear with the lead and rhythm guitarists to the audience’s left. The drum stand was middle as is proper flanked by the bass player and finally a steel guitar player cum banjoist on the right end. Bob’s keyboard was forward and on a level with the steel. It was all very minimalist and effective. They filled the stage while being placed in perspective by the high fifty foot frame keeping everything human size. Dylan must have been studying performance art under Yoko.
It is a mistake to go to the concert to hear Dylan sing. He apparently learned to vocalize by singing along to Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music. At first I thought it was a cabover with two cylinders not hitting coming up a mountain grade hauling a hundred thousand K in triple bottoms. Then I saw that it was Bob. The music is the thing; as a composer and conductor lies Bob’s genius.
The band was incredibly disciplined, everyone knew his role, fit tightly with the others and played their instruments without exhibitionism. The harmonics and spacing was incredible.
The drummer carried the band on his back. He was so sensational that like the Hindu elephant he could carry the world on his back. I mean, he had time in his hands, the money in his pocket and could walk the dog on a long leash. I haven’t seen anyone like that since Michael Shrieve. The guy was terrific, he couldn’t only play he looked good doing it. The bass player standing next to the kit kept the beat rolling forward. Bob understands the rhythm section. No amateurishness near.
While relatively unobtrusive the steel player was carrying a lot of the weight.
Now, the band doesn’t play any songs; what Bob has written is some sort of symphonic suite in several movements. The lead and rhythm play a succession of chord progressions loud; there is no melody as such. The music has a strong forward flow that sweeps along like the Mississippi in flood before it was channeled and diked.
The band set the crowd off from the first chord; it was all daylight from there. Like nearly everyone else I flipped to the ozone, shouting and howling, lost in the noise. Amazingly the audience responded differently to different chord progressions; sections would shoot from seats with a roar that competed with the amplification. It was like a huge sea of deep rollers rising and falling.
A wonderful crowd, best I’ve ever seen. Everyone looked good and went way into the show. There was no one not having the time of their life. Dylan was flattered and showed it, trying a little harder to deliver the goods.
His singing was irrelevant. Why he is charged with plagiarism is beyond me. I won’t say you couldn’t understand a word because I was able to snag a few while even getting a phrase or two- Tangled Up In Blue but he shouted that out in his normal voice.
If he was singing from his catalogue it was hardly noticeable although I did get the faint impression that one of them was She Belongs To Me. Either that or Love – Zero = No Limits, or something else, might have been The Star Spangled Banner. Didn’t matter, Bob had to do something to justify his being there. He had the band so tight they could have performed without him.
The band was the cake. The progressions were so powerful it was like Godzilla walking in rhythm. There were two sets and the first one was a power walk. Just unbelievable. If all Bob’s shows are like this one I can’t imagine what critics are belittling. Forget the singing, it’s some kind of frosting to add a little variety. So is Bob’s posturing. He struts around a little like the Lord of the Manse directing the slaves striking what I suppose are meant to be power poses.
The end of the first set leaves you exhausted but energized and hoarse. During the intermission most people didn’t leave their seats but in their high excitement there was a huge billowing roar rising up. I was in the first row, first balcony. It was a kindly roar, mellow even. Dylan’s fans are OK. No weirdos there regardless of Kinney’s book, The Dylanologists: Adventures In The Land Of Bob.
I was there with my wife and our friends Mark and Jenna, two old fans. On my left I sat next to a couple from Medicine Hat, Alberta who had driven down for the show. He was a wheat farmer with 600 acres. Using three John Deere combines he harvests all 600 acres in one day. Gives him a lot of leisure I suppose.
The second set was a little more frivolous lowering the energy level considerably. But, before you went to sleep he pepped it up a little ending on a power note.
I had heard that he doesn’t do encores but after a steady drum roll of applause for about ten minutes he and the band came back for not a one piece encore, but two, ending the show with a medium power progression while Bob mumbled the words to Blowing In The Wind apparently a very personal lyric. Ah, Hibbing.
By this time I had a firm grip on the situation paying attention to the band, but it is Bob’s band and I imagine that he has composed the music. As a composer he is no mean hand. I hesitate to say it but the music is at least as good as Beethoven although falling short of Mozart.
I don’t know how long the piece was but they must have given us five to ten minutes with the crowd and myself going wild. The woman four seats to my left had virtually taken leave of her senses screaming doing a wild gyration of a dance. Really spectacular.
OK, I confess it. I did some involuntary things myself. The band was really showing off their discipline and expertise. Now this is really spectacular, they were powering along then cut off simultaneously leaving a half beat silence before resuming at the same pace and volume. They did this three times in succession.
I sensed it coming on, now I’m not bragging because I wasn’t conscious of what I was doing, but in that brief half beat space was total silence. I shouted out a perfect rock and roll ‘hey’. I did it the second time slipping that hey into that narrow opening. Perfect timing on both our parts. I think the band was surprised by the first one then sort of amazed at the second one. Then consciousness came slipping back and I missed the third opening. It was still terrific.
As the encore drew to an end the cell phones came out and whole rows held them up to snap pictures. Endless tiny images shown back to up above. Bob came center stage to pose for the cameras while the band lined up behind him.
The band was terrific. Dylan was terrific, the whole show was breathtaking and invigorating. If you are being swayed by all the negative reviews, disregard them. Dylan’s show is a can’t miss situation. Carpe Diem! Good things don’t last forever.
Exhuming Bob 31a
Another Side Of Bob Dylan
31a will concern itself with Chapter 1 only. Victor Maymudes while closely connected with Dylan has always been written of as a shadowy slightly malevolent character. My impression has been that he was an enforcer of some sort for Dylan.
In this his own memoir he is a friend, advisor and confidante. Maymudes, born in 1935, was six years older than Dylan who he met in 1961. Maymudes was already in a career in show business. In 1955 near the heart of the Beatnik era he had opened a folk club coffee house on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles called The Unicorn. He was subsequently advised by Jack Elliot who he was managing at that time to go to New York to take in a new performer who turned out to be Bob Dylan.
Elliot explained that Dylan was copying his act but doing it better. Ramblin’ Jack himself introduced Victor to Bob giving the latter a run down on Victor’s achievements. According to Victor he and the twenty year old Dylan hit it off immediately. They began to pal around.
Maymudes gives a slightly different view of this period than has yet been around. The first chapter covers the period from the Spring of ’61 to Dylan’s Carnegie Hall performance in the Fall of ’61.
According to Maymudes shortly after meeting Dylan they went on a long drive and walks around the perimeter of New York City.
To quote Victor:
Bob mentioned going to Juvenile Hall and how he quickly realized there was a social structure inside and either you are going to get along or you really shouldn’t be there.
Hopefully this should settle the issue of whether Dylan was incarcerated in Red Wing Reformatory of Minnesota. While the paper trail has always indicated he did yet his term has been denied by all. In what amounts to a self-admission this should settle the issue.
There is also a piece on the internet by someone who had been in Red Wing at an earlier time but said he knew someone who was in Red Wing at the same time as Bob. Dylan says according to Victor that in order to get along you had to go along. I take that as a reflection after the fact, while Bob probably held himself aloof from the other boys as his possible fellow prisoner as above said he did. No one has believed the article but there may be something to it.
At any rate it seems clear that Bob did serve a sentence which was very unpleasant for him as why wouldn’t it be. The stay had a devastating effect on his personality, as why not? Bob’s song The Walls Of Red Wing thus seems to be a personal reminiscence.
Some of Bob’s stories such as touring with a carnival while false as told seem to be based on actual facts while being definitely embroidered. In the same paragraph Victor says: He talked about going with the carnival when they came to town. I would take that to mean that perhaps he volunteered to help in setting up the carnival as an extra hand as was common. There were temporary jobs when the circus came to town. You could drive stakes for instance and maybe get a free ticket.
It also seems clear that Bob’s family life was far from harmonious. The Zimmerman’s seemed to have covered up a lot. Maymudes, same paragraph, p.4:
He told me deeply personal stuff like his dad leaving town and how he would have to stay at his dad’s mother in Minneapolis, how she would tell him his mother was a whore, sleeping around with other men. It was the kind of thing that probably wasn’t true about his mother, but his grandmother was sticking up for his father and trying to use her power to distance Bob from his own mother. Terrible thing to do to a child.
Bob’s grandmother may have been telling tales about Bob’s mother but I think not. My impression at looking at her picture was that she was a goodtime girl. She certainly kept Abe broke buying her furs, jewels and Cadillacs.
In Dylan’s portrayal of his putative father and his mother in his movie Masked And Anonymous his alter ego Jack Fate’s father is portrayed on his death bed while his mother with a red dress on appears to be gallivanting about.
I find it hard to believe Dylan’s grandmother would say those things about his mother if she didn’t mean them. It is also the first time I’ve heard that Dylan’s mother and father separated from time to time. As such behavior is common knowledge in a small town like Hibbing Dylan’s life may have been made miserable partly from that cause. He certainly has no love lost for that period in his life.
One major question everyone asks is why Robert Shelton wrote such a glowing review about a performance of Bob’s and why John Hammond gave a nondescript Bob a recording contract. Maymudes may shed some light on that. He says on p. 46:
Over the next week Bob and I ended up hanging out non-stop. We were together all the time. We would depart and arrange to meet the following day. Eventually we even exchanged numbers. We had extensive conversations about everything. During the day we would go see Fellini’s movies and stop by the happening clubs and cafes like the Bitter End. We would stay up till dawn each morning. I would introduce him to everyone I knew, like Richard Alderson, the guy you hear announcing bands at Woodstock. We went to Dave Von Ronk’s house and played our guitars. John Hammond Sr. had a house on lower MacDougal St. and we would go there too.
All this has to fit into a time frame of about six months but the interesting thing here is that Victor and Bob visited John Hammond Sr. apparently several times before Shelton’s New York Times article of 9/29/61 and Dylan signing a Columbia Records Contract with Hammond on 9/30/61. Did Hammond really have time to read the article and say to himself, I’ve got to find this boy and sign him by the next day? Astonishing on the face of it. It would seem to have been a plan.
No other writer, no biographer places Dylan at Hammond Sr.’s house before 9/30/61. But according to Maymudes, and why should he lie although he might misremember, Hammond and Dylan were familiar with each other as early as the summer of ’61. Hammond must have heard Dylan play and sing before Shelton’s article. Thus his behavior in the studio where he had Bob just play and sing into the microphone while he read the newspaper is more understandable.
While every other folk label in NYC had rejected Bob evidently Hammond saw and heard something they didn’t. It would seem highly improbable he could sign Bob’s nearly indiscernible talent on his own hook. It may be then that he conspired with Shelton who he surely would have known to write an extremely favorable review to be published in the premier newspaper in the country and then sign Dylan on the strength of that. As it was his prescience was not immediately justified as the record bombed.
At any rate the above scenario would make the article and signing plausible.
On the other hand Hammond may just have had the golden ears with which he is attributed. In that context my brother-in-law played me all four of Dylan’s first LPs in 1964 that I found excruciatingly painful to listen to. I thought Dylan was going nowhere but my brother-in-law said, you watch, this guy is going to be big. That goes to prove whatever Bob had could be heard but only apparently by the elect.
The Winter and Spring of 1961-62 Victor was touring with his act Wavy Gravy who he managed. He then returned to New York where Dylan was now living with Suze Rotolo. They continued their friendship.
Dylan had returned to Minnesota that Winter and had just returned as Victor hit town. Bob was now looking for management. He discussed this with Victor, pp. 51-52
During our walks on this second trip to New York, Bob and I talked about the future. He asked me about Manny Greenhill and Albert Grossman; he was wondering who he should sign with. Manny Greenhill was managing Joan Baez and her commercial success was increasing every day. At the same time Dave Von Ronk’s wife was managing Bob, but he was ready for the next step. Flat out he asked me which one he should sign with. I asked him how traditional he wanted to be and how far he wanted to reach. Those questions appealed to him and he expressed he wanted to go the distance, more commercial than Greenhill was doing. His day-to-day routine didn’t point to someone who wanted to go mainstream; he was more folky and traditional at this point. But he knew what he wanted and where he wanted to go from the start. So I said Albert was the logical choice. He was much more aggressive and much more commercial. Bob signed with Grossman a few days later.
Bob’s ability to bend and refashion words was like magic; he was the one that could break into the mainstream while still playing socially conscientious music. Bob believed in himself and so did I, and that’s why Albert entering the picture made sense. Albert had commercial connections and wouldn’t ask Bob to change his tune to fit in. With Albert’s help Bob could force his style in front of the broader public and ultimately make everyone else fit into what he was doing.
That’s a pretty good insider’s synopsis. Grossman who would soon launch Peter Paul and Mary on the back of Dylan’s songs certainly had recording connections although Warner Bros. at the time was fairly low down the list of successful, maybe unsuccessful, record companies. Anyway Bob was already signed to CBS, the actual premier recording company at the time.
Victor goes on to give an interesting thumbnail of Albert Grossman that is immediate and accurate.
Always handy with the advice Victor tells Albert how to go about handling Bob while at his own expense he was setting up Dylan’s first Carnegie Hall appearance, not the main stage but a side stage.
Victor says Albert took the concert away from him while it is usually attributed to Izzy Young. In the event nobody came and the show was a total financial loss. Victor had a falling out with Albert deciding for ‘spiritual’ reasons to depart for Yelapa Mexico. Apparently Victor had been inhaling too much from The Teaching Of Don Juan.
His last words to Bob at this time were that if he ever needed him to say to whoever he was standing next to, Get Victor, and he would come.
It was the Sixties you know.
That is the end of the revelations of Tape 1. A remarkable and interesting account. We do know that Victor and Bob were friends so barring any embroidery or misremembering the account should be accurate. If so, all biographies are now askew. The period has to be reexamined and reevaluated to include Victor’s account.
Resolving The Paul Is Dead Controversy
Sometime around or after the death of Tara Browne in an automobile accident in 1966 the rumor that Paul McCartney of the Beatles had died being replaced by a double began to circulate. The rumor itself, of course, is a fact that has been a center of controversy since 1966 although it didn‘t bloom in full until 1969 when a Detroit DJ spread the rumor through the colleges via UofM.
For my part I dismiss the notion that Paul did die and can find no solid evidence that the post-accident Paul is a double. Still the rumor calls for explanation especially in connection with the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s that depicts the demise of the whole group while it is reborn as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The reborn group is surrounded by the pictures of, one presumes, the lonely hearts.
I can’t say that I have the solution for the rumor to be sure. What I offer here is a plausible explanation based on an interpretation of the social situation created by the phenomenal success of the Beatles. That success was too great a burden for the band members to bear. If anything caused the breakup of the band that overwhelming success was a principal cause. The success far exceeded the capability of any one of the members, in other words the whole was greater than its parts. But, to recreate the environment to some extent let us consider the members of the whole entourage.
At the base we find, I think, the notorious London criminals the Kray Twins,. Ronnie and Reggie. Their gang that they called The Firm terrorized the London of the Sixties.
The Kray twins were born in 1933 making them seven to twelve during the war years. They experienced all the bombing and hardship of the war years as well as the post-war deprivation of rationing through 1954. They came from London’s East End rising through the crime ranks in the fifties to finally come into their own from 1960 to 1968. A short reign but one that coincided with the golden age of English rock and roll. The rockers were born mainly in 1942-43 making them nine or ten years younger than the Krays but still close enough in age. The rockers missed the war but faced the deprivations of the post-war years. These were character forming years for both the Krays and the rockers, primarily for us the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
The Krays were heavy handed protection racketeers moving into gambling. They, especially Ronnie, were enamored of the NYC and Philadelphia Mafia families. The Mafia families had many singers and performers under their control most notably at this time Judy Garland. When Garland performed in England the Mafia used the Krays for protection. Thus the Krays got used to associating with certain celebrities which they found exhilarating.
It was suggested to Ronnie by the Mafia that the Krays suborn English acts much as the Mafia had done with the US performers. For a good visualization of the process the 1958 film The Girl Can’t Help It is an accurate fictionalized account. The movie even features a couple of Mafia groups such as Teddy Randazzo And The Gumdrops. Right! We’d never heard of them either. Even the Mafia couldn’t promote them to fame.
Who better for the Krays to begin to build their stable than the premier English group, the Beatles?
The front line protecting the performers is always their management. The groups or singers themselves are artists not businessmen. As artists their concern is their art. They have to concentrate on their art to be successful. To realize the benefits of their art is a business. Hence managers who are businessmen enter in. The artists must trust the businessmen who are nearly all crooks so the artists were born to be fleeced. In the case of the Beatles producing all those millions and millions, they were a manager’s dream. Plus the hangers on.
Enter Brian Epstein, the manager and Robert Fraser, art dealer and hanger on.
Just as background the English managerial caste, as well as the US, were with very few exceptions Jewish and homosexual. In the late fifties and early sixties there were no groups, there were solo singer acts. These guys in most cases were not artists they were just kids off the street. Managers like Larry Parnes cast their eyes over good looking guys on the street and selected the ones that appealed to them such as Cliff Richard and the various Furys and Storms. They taught them a little stage presence, got them a good song, usually from a Jewish homosexual songwriter, put a band behind them and ballyhooed them into stardom.
Being Jewish they looked at the goi boys as so many cash cows and so they were. As Bob Dylan famously sang in Ballad Of Thin Man, ‘Give me some milk or go home.‘ However much was made from the singers efforts most went to the managers and pittances to the boys. But, then they were only created creatures, mere employees anyway.
The Beatles were dedicated artists who had a fairly long apprenticeship learning their craft in a tough environment in the red light district of Hamburg Germany. They not only developed a sound but Lennon and McCartney became a most prolifically successful songwriting team. That’s where the real money in records is and that’s where the Beatles got skinned the worst.
So they had talent but without management the talent would die on the vine. Enter manager Brian Epstein who saw their potential and acted. He was a Jewish homosexual flake but without him the Beatles would probably have become unemployed layabouts rather than wealthy rock and rollers. Brian Epstein’s rock and roll empire was born on the Beatles backs.
Brian had a couple weaknesses, drugs and gambling, other than his homosexuality that was then illegal, a crime, hence to be carefully concealed. Combined with the temptation of all those millions, there’s a recipe you’ll never find again.
Another character in the story is the avant garde art dealer Robert Fraser, also known as Groovy Bob, impeccably English but homosexual and a drug addict and, sure enough, an inveterate gambler. Fraser spent the first couple of years of the Sixties in the NYC art scene. There he was heavily influenced by Andy Warhol, less impeccably American, homosexual, but as far as we know free of the vices of gambling and drugs.
Fraser was also involved in the burgeoning Satanist scene that would take prominence beginning in 1966. He was involved with the American Satanist Kenneth Anger and through Anger the literary influence of the English Satanist Aleister Crowley and San Francisco’s Anton La Vey.
Wanting to be with it, Groovy Bob created a sort of salon for the young rock and rollers. Apparently the whole crowd, Beatles, Stones, Marianne Faithfull, Jimmy Page and the rest all hung out at Groovy Bob Fraser’s. Bob always had a plentiful supply of the best drugs.
To supply him with those drugs enter the young ambitious criminal, Spanish Tony Sanchez. Tony worked the gambling joints of the West End for the early fifties criminal Albert Dimes, an Italian. Dimes was a huge man, a fearsome enforcer, who successfully weathered his times until he died in his nineties. Either no or little jail time too.
Spanish Tony recorded his life in the Sixties in his two books, Up And Down With The Rolling Stones and I Was Keith Richards’ Drug Dealer. The latter is an updated edition of the former with additional material so the two are similar but not identical.
Tony met Groovy Bob in a bar before going to work his shift. The friendship developed and Tony began to hang at Fraser’s becoming acquainted with the Beatles, Stones and Marianne. Tony had access to drug suppliers.
Groovy Bob Fraser was the frivolous sort who found the minor details irrelevant. Thus while losing heavily in the Kray’s West End gambling joint, Esmeralda’s Barn, he paid for his losses with checks drawn on air. Any check may bounce once but Groovy Bob’s were the super balls of checks, they just kept bouncing.
I don’t have to tell you this irritated the Krays. They threatened grievous bodily harm. Bob appealed to the incipient criminal Spanish Tony to try to straighten things out. Dimes was Tony’s introduction to the Krays and according to him he worked out an agreement but Groovy Bob, well, honestly, just couldn’t find the money.
At the same time Brian Epstein had gambled and lost, gambled and lost, gambled and lost. One surmises that he made inroads into those Beatles millions that would have been difficult to explain in court. His contract with the group would expire in 1967 at which time it wouldn’t have been unreasonable for the Boys to call for an audit of the books. Not being businessmen and trusting Brian implicitly they probably wouldn’t have but the guilty Brian couldn’t count on it. Under pressure from the Krays to turn the Beatles over to them, probably suffering the pangs of guilt and befuddled by drugs, Brian either committed suicide in the summer of ‘67 or he was erased by other interested parties.
In the interim the Krays were increasing the pressure to get the Beatles from him. They had a sit down with Brian in a homosexual bar to force the issue. Brian patiently tried to explain to them that management was no bed of roses; there were a million nagging little details, heartbreaks and frustrations.
Maybe so. The Krays had earlier broached the subject of taking over the Beatles to the UK crime kingpin Arthur Thompson of Glasgow. He had advised them against it pointing out they were criminals who as a caste gave little thought to business details as did Groovy Bob Fraser and besides when it got out that the Beatles were criminally controlled it might kill their popularity. The Krays brushed the latter objection aside but paid attention to the former.
Now, the Krays had an associate named Laurie O’ Leary who had a clean record and could therefore function above ground and obtain licenses to manage clubs and an older brother Charlie who also had a clear record who could learn the management skills and establish a talent agency. That should take care of both of Arthur’s objections.
Bear in mind that part of the deal Tony worked out was that Groovy Bob was to work to bring the Beatles over to the Krays. There was a large homosexual ring recruiting young boys from orphanages for their criminal pleasure. This ring involved some notorious people of the period. One was the homosexual Tom Driberg. Driberg had made himself familiar with Mick Jagger who he tried to recruit as a politician. A fellow called Lord Boothby seemed to be the guiding light of this group. The group also included Ronnie Kray and members of the so-called Music Mafia including disc jockeys and many of those presiding over the music scene. As events have recently shown those involved in the music industry were heavily into pedophilia. How they link up to the Krays’ invasion of group management isn’t clear but I’m sure there is a connection.
At this point a group including Kevin MacDonald and Tara Browne along with George Harrison decided to open a club for the ‘hipoisie’ that was called Sibylla’s. It doesn’t seem like it was a coincidence that the club was located on Swallow St. in Piccadilly. On this same street were three clubs patronized by the mob figures and an infamous clip joint so that the Krays would be rubbing shoulders with the rockers. Furthermore the club was managed by Kray associate Laurie O’ Leary fresh from managing the bars of the Krays’ gambling joint, Esmeralda’s Barn. The opening night crowd of the club is said to have been attended by many mob figures using aliases.
Thus the club MacDonald conceived was called Sybilla’s named after the socialite Sibylla Edmonstone. That’s the way she spelled her first name. Kevin MacDonald and Associates comprised himself and George Harrison’s photographer Terry Howard and a guy named Bruce Higham. While this area is still a bit sketchy one assumes that Howard brought in Harrison.
As the Associates had no money their principal investor was a Sir William Piggott-Browne. Amember of the aristocracy, as a youth he had declassed himself enough be a jockey. He contributed 60% of the approximately 150K pounds. A disc jockey named Alan ‘Fluff’ Freeman also invested. I imagine there were a few other small investors.
MacDonald was interviewed by a reporter for the Evening Standard apparently in the club. The interview appeared in the 7/23/66 edition. Macdonald’s picture and news clip were provided by email from a former girl friend of Kevins. I quote from the article.
But the ultimate fascination of Sibylla’s lied in its interest to the amateur sociologist. The three founders Terry Howard, Kevin MacDonald and Bruce Higham, all young professional men in their twenties who arranged bankers and backers to support their dream, claim that their club symbolizes a social revolution personified by the linkup between Marshall Field’s great grand daughter, Miss Sibylla Edmonstone and Beatle George Harrison whose respective spheres of fashionability assured the club’s success, if it needs an explanation it gets one from the most eloquent of the founders, 28 year old advertising executive Kevin MacDonald, a great nephew of Lord Northcliffe, who was lyrically evangelical on what Sibylla’s is doing for Britain when he told me using finger clicking [snaps in US] for punctuation:
“Sibylla’s is the meeting ground for the new aristocracy of Britain (click) And by the new aristocracy I mean the current young meritocracy of style, taste and sensibility (click) We’ve got everyone here (click) The top creative people (click) The top exporters (click) The top brains (click) The top artists (click) The top social people (click) and the best of the PYPs (swingingese for pretty young people). We’re completely classless (click We are completely integrated (click) We dig the spades man. (click)
Relationships here go off like firecrackers. Everyone here’s got the message (click) Can you read it, Man?
I confess to having originally looked upon the above as complete gibberish. However, although it may be due to the heady atmosphere of Swallow St., after three nights of Sibylla’s I now admit to being converted to something near to Mr. MacDonald’s doctrine.
So Kevin considers himself a revolutionary. The concept of a new meritocracy was shared by the fashion photog David Bailey who in a collection of portraits of the movers and shakers dismayed the more staid by including Ronnie and Reggie Kray.
The Kray twins did consider themselves as part of Swinging London along with the rest of the glitterati. That may partially explain why the club was located on a notoriously Firm street with three clubs they frequented. Just as Bailey was fascinated by the Kray Firm so were a lot of the fashionistas. Still, the fact that Laurie O’ Leary was named manager points to a larger Kray involvement along with the whole Boothby homosexual clique Ronnie was involved with.
While O’ Leary professes a sort of innocence in regards to his connection to the Krays he quite clearly was functioning under the Kray umbrella. It It seems probable that the club was formed and the ownership group was gotten together to put pressure on the Beatles through Harrison who was drawn in by MacDonald and Browne. Further research is necessary to discover how Browne became involved.
Probably pressure was put on both to force them to work on Harrison to bring the Beatles in. MacDonald took the quick way down from the 10th floor. The fact of the matter is that Kevin was precipitated from the 10th floor of the King Charles House on Wanda Road eighty feet down to the carapace over the entrance.
Scotland Yard’s finger printers found only Kevin’s and those at the top of an open window to which he had obviously been clinging.
There were obviously no witnesses so one is reduced to speculation. There were alternate entrances that
allowed Kevin and his conductors to enter unobserved. It seems equally obvious that Kevin was defenestrated. A favorite trick of the Krays was to dangle their victims out the window held by the ankles
That seems like the most obvious solution to the problem to me, else why would O’ Leary be advised to keep mum over the incident. When that warning was ignored Tara Browne died in an equally suspicious way in a late night car crash. This is important because Lennon and McCartney wrote A Day In The Life included on their Sgt. Pepper’s album to describe it. It was probably this song that gave some sort of credence for Browne replacing a dead McCartney.
The only witness to the crash was Browne’s companion in the car, a tiny Lotus, a girl named Suki Potier. While there are a plethora of details circulating about the accident such as Browne was racing McCartney down the street at 106 miles an hour, there would have been no witnesses to confirm this save McCartney and Potier and neither have anything substantial to say.
The Lotus is said to have hit a van. The wreck of the Lotus certainly indicates a very high speed yet we have no picture of the van to indicate how the crash occurred. By van is meant I suppose what we USers would call a panel truck or something equivalent to a SUV.
While Browne was killed Miss Potier escaped the really horrendous looking crash with nothing but a few bruises. This seems incredible. As the picture shows the roof is torn off the car while the hood or bonnet is driven up. The window on her side is intact. At the very least her head should have broken the windshield. It would seem probable that she would have been thrown through it or over it. The timing of the roof ripping off would have been important there.
The question is, was there an accident or was Browne killed and the accident staged. The intent of his death may have been meant as a second warning to the Beatles to surrender. So, now, why was the Paul Is Dead rumor circulated. Perhaps the first two warnings having failed Paul was targeted as next. Of course that would have been counter productive.
But if one connects the Paul Is Dead rumor to the Sgt. Pepper’s cover a possible Kray involvement through Groovy Bob Fraser is possible. The cover of Sgt. Peppers had been assigned to a Dutch commune called The Fool and had actually been completed, but Fraser persuaded the ‘Boys’ to switch to a group of his friends who then came up with a cover depicting the whole group as dead and buried.
The symbolism of the cover had never really engaged my attention till recently. On the lower right corner is a rag doll wearing a Rolling Stones sweater. The aspiring gangster and Fraser friend Spanish Tony Sanchez now indebted to the Krays through his association with Fraser had been hired by Keith Richards of the Stones as his factotum and drug procurer at a salary of 250 pounds a week as recorded in his Up And Down With The Rolling Stones and I Was Keith Richards Drug Dealer thus putting a Kray agent in the Stones. A coincidence perhaps but a mighty good paying job. I have no evidence but it is likely that Tony was forced on Keith by the Krays.
At any rate on this bizarre, less than hip cover, the Beatles are dressed in their Sgt. Pepper’s garb standing looking down at a grave labeled Beatles. Surrounding them are pictures of a band of lonely hearts, mostly dead people. So, what is the message? Join up or your group will be dead for real? In fact Paul’s Mini was involved in a crash but it was being driven by his factotum while bringing drugs to a party Paul was attending. It was likely thought that Paul was driving.
What is clear is that Fraser was unable to pay his gambling debts and had to make some move to show he was cooperating. The cover could be a very discreet attempt to show the Krays he was working on it. As he was involved in the Redlands bust of 1967 and sent to prison that at least got him off the street for a period of time. Then the Krays were busted in May of 1968 perhaps removing an immediate threat. Fraser chose the time after his release to vanish in India perhaps to avoid punishment.
Brian Epstein, dazed and confused, by his drug taking, continuing to rack up gambling debts was making his situation worse. He was probably deep into money that contractually belonged to the Beatles. In other words he had embezzled or misappropriated vast sums.
In a desperate move to generate more cash, perhaps, he had opened a Fillmore type rock emporium that would be competing with the Roundhouse. He also apparently attempted to sell his firm NEMS to RSO the Robert Stigwood Organization. As he was giving NEMS up for the fire sale price of 500,000 pounds it would seem that he was desperate for a way out.
Post-Sgt. Peppers the Krays seem to have been no closer to annexing the Beatles than before. Epstein died on August 27, 1967 from an apparent drug overdose. He intended to spend that weekend with friends at his home but suddenly changed his mind and left to return to London. No one knows what happened in London or who he may have met. It’s possible the Krays called him and commanded a meeting. A sort of now or never thing. He returned home, locked himself in his room and died in bed. Never. The door was broken down the next morning when he was found dead in his bed.
The Krays themselves were arrested in May of 1968 and never released spending the rest of their lives in prison, or, in Ronnie’s case, Bedlam.
Prior to the Krays’ arrest in May the Beatles chose February of that year to visit the Maharishi in India thus out of the country for those months.
Spanish Tony continued with Keith Richards after the Krays were sentenced although his relationship became more strained. The Krays are said to have had influence in the underworld from prison so Keith may not have thought it wise to dismiss Tony at that time. The relationship was ended in 1976 when Tony was refused backstage entry at a concert.
When Reggie Kray died at the end of the century thus leaving Tony without any protection Tony is said to have died in 2000 also.
There is a chance his death was merely rumored. There are people who think he is still alive. I have comments from a T. at the end of my essay Who Is Spanish Tony Sanchez. The email address purports to be from Spanish Tony. My email to the address went unanswered. You may read T.’s comments and see what you think. I think it is likely that Tony is still out there. Maybe actually in Spain where all good English criminals seem to go.
If anyone has definite proof of Tony’s demise don’t hesitate to communicate the fact.
There you have it. To my mind there is no question that the man killed in the car crash was Tara Browne. I find it improbable to impossible that McCartney died somehow or was killed with his being replaced by Browne after plastic surgery while the Paul Is Dead story didn’t actually gain credence until 1969.
The murders of MacDonald and Browne have to be explained. The above is my attempt to do it. More information is certainly a desideratum.