September 25, 2016
A Beatles Fantasia:
John Lennon In Leather
R. E. Prindle
Dizzy Dez, a fellow Beatles researcher and internet friend, recently wrote a piece ( https://thenumbernineblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/22/taking-the-world-by-hurricane/ ) about the strange story of Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. Rory Storm led the most popular Liverpool band of the period. He was more important in Liverpool and Frankfurt than the Beatles. Yet, as Diz points out, when all the shouting was over and the dust had settled, the Beatles went unto worldwide fame pulling the best of the Liverpool bands after them, Rory Storm was left out in the cold. He never knew other than Liverpool success.
Just an inconsequential odd fact (except to Rory) that I found interesting but also significant. It was good of Diz to dig this story up, but then, Diz left me with a thought: What if the Beatles’ success had nothing to do with their talent; what if the only reason they found success was a fact that had nothing to do with their musical skills; what if their success depended on a queer’s fascination with one John Lennon?
Consider that Liverpool was an English backwater, a tough , gritty town with little sophistication and small hopes. If you have ever been in the Liverpool/Bristol area you really know what depression is. I was never so happy to leave an area since. I had become acquainted with a bottom surpassing Philadelphia and that is saying a lot.
So, in 1960-62 what you had was a city full of louts, what the English call Yobboes, desperately trying to find some distinction for their lives by playing in rock bands. In 1960 that was a desperate hope indeed. The hope was so desperate that the bands ended up playing before a bunch of rowdies and prostitutes, the underbelly of civilization, in Hamburg’s red light district on the Reeperbahn. Not the place for refined cultured manners. More like changing you from a lout or Yobbo into a super Yobbo. The indications are that the Beatles became very rough. What the homosexuals call ‘rough trade.’
In any event the Beatles went to Hamburg where they refined their rock n’ roll skills coming back to Liverpool to take their place in the hierarchy of Liverpool bands where they were a sensation although lower in the hierarchy than Rory Storm and his Hurricanes. Still in their locality and in their age and social set they were prominent.
Now, the local record store, NEMS, was managed for the family firm by a young homosexual Jew, Brian Epstein. At the time it was a punishable offence to public morals to be a homosexual so Brian Epstein was quite repressed. Raised on all the Jewish holocaust nonsense he felt like a powerless oppressed Jew. Therefore as a homosexual Jew he favored the rough trade.
Probably having heard the Beatles talked about along their outrageous leader John Lennon, dressed all in black leather, Brian made it down to the local rock emporium, the Cavern, to have a look.
What he saw made his dick throb. There on stage was God’s own Yobbo, John Lennon resplendent in his leather while projecting confidence and totally outrageous. Rough trade on a stick. Gimme dat ding. So, totally smitten Brian has to figure out a way to realize his dream.
It is clear that Brian wasn’t on the make to find a band to promote; for Christ’s sake he had a city full of rock bands to choose from including Liverpool’s number one, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes and he made no effort to sign any. But, suppose he heard of Lennon’s desire to be the toppermost of the poppermost. Perhaps, Brian thought, I’m in the record business, I know execs at the London labels, perhaps if I gave John what he wants he would let me make him mine. Sounded good.
Now, let’s be clear, when Brian approached the London labels there was no interest in the Beatles or any other Liverpool band. There was no reason for any exec to ever even visit Liverpool and perhaps none ever had. Regardless of any talent, that had not yet been demonstrated, the Beatles were not going anywhere. The execs even considered the name stupid; what in the hell does beatle mean? Can’t even spell it right. Brian persisted and if he hadn’t the Beatles would never have had a shot at the bigtime. They would have disappeared the way they came in, unnoticed. The Beatles were going nowhere.
But, and this is the important fact here, Brian had a hard on for John. Bear this in mind, Brian had a tin ear, he could have cared less about the Beatles as a band; he had a hard on for John. And hopefully by making John the toppermost of the poppermost, and this meant only the small market of England, it was inconceivable that any band, let alone an English band, could become a worldwide phenomenon. Whatever happened next was totally serendipitous. Who could have dreamed of worldwide fame and hundreds of millions of dollars.
So Brian signed his Boys, as they say in the managerial parlance, and left for London to put them in a recording contract. Of course NEMS was a major account in the retail record world so Brian got a polite hearing but no real enthusiasm. Probably to get rid of a pest who wouldn’t quit he was allowed an audition. But this was only after making the rounds.
The Beatle’s ended up at EMI’s sub-label Parlophone and had George Martin assigned to them as a producer. While the Beatles had been all the rage on the Reeperbahn of ill fame and the backwater burg of Liverpool, what set the four aflame in those two locations was not so evident in the London recording studio. It was like someone from Poughkeepsie showing up on the Great White Way. George Martin found their musicianship flimsy but something apparently appealed to him about them. Everything about them was off, they still had the aroma of the Reeperbahn, but, the story goes, George was a technical wizard, so somewhat in the way David Seville created Alvin and the Chipmunks George’s wizardry created the Beatles. This is the legend.
The label thought they were hopeless so perhaps as a joke they allowed the Beatles to make ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ as a first record. And as with Alvin and the Chipmunks they probably viewed the disc as a novelty record; something along the lines of Mrs. Miller the off key virtuoso.
They were surprised when the record took off. No less surprised than I was when the record was a success in the US. Why the hell does anyone like that I wondered. But I and we were witnessing several seemingly unrelated things: First the song was the first true teenybopper, bubble gum song that soon inspired groups like the Ohio Express and the Lemon Pipers. ‘Yummy, yummy, yummy, I’ve got love in my tummy.’ Remember that inspired tune? A step up from, I Want To Hold Your Hand.
The social conditions were right for the Beatles innocent, probably tongue in cheek, song. The Fifties had been tense what with the Cold War and the Bomb and things were getting more tense. Nerves were frayed. Perhaps a return to innocent pleasures of the young were in order. At any rate after becoming the rage in England Brian had actually jockeyed the Beatles and John into the toppermost of the poppermost in that small sceptered island but after a terrific promo campaign in the US when their plane landed, they hit exactly the right insouciant note at the exact right psychological moment in time. You can’t plan this. Nobody, nobody, could have forecast that. Brian and the Beatle’s ship had come in.
John Lennon had realized his dream in a Spade Royal Flush. The Beatles, words fail me, were on top of the world. The planet’s first globally successful band. They were bigger than Jesus. Oops, when John said that all hell broke loose. Abashed, John announced they would tour no more. When it came to business sense John was lacking but he and the band were only musicians, a ‘hot little band’ as McCartney recently characterized them.
But what about Brian?’ What about Brians’s reward. He had little business sense too and hadn’t been working for the success that came or was prepared for it. Of course John and the rest knew Brian was a poof. Who didn’t except for those who chose not to see. Brian had always been attentive to John in that peculiar way, certainly that hadn’t escaped he leader of the band. He joked about how Brian and the whole record industry was Jewish and queer.
According to Peter Brown in his ‘The Love You Make: An Insider’s Story Of The Beatles’, Brian did get his reward. Brown says that Brian invited John on a holiday in Spain and there John gave him the reward he wanted.
What if the story of the Beatles success had nothing to do with their musicianship, their songwriting, their personalities or anything else but Brian Epstein getting a hard on for a bit of rough trade: John Lennon in leather.
Wouldn’t that make a fabulous movie? Wouldn’t that be as ironical as all get out? It might not be literally true but it can’t be too far from the truth. Forget about poor old Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, history’s forgotten band. Once again, what a movie.
March 13, 2016
Clip 6: The Vampyres Of New York
The post-war years saw the Jews moving out from under the umbrella of Communism into a solely Jewish movement. No longer having need of the Soviet Union after 1948’s establishment of Israel as a Jewish State many formerly Communist Jews abandoned loyalty to the Soviets to play both ends from the middle. Among these were a number of writers and intellectuals who had opted to live in the West. This was a fairly lucrative choice as the CIA chose to claim these writers and intellectuals as converts to the US side. Allen Dulles as head of the CIA lavished subsidies and perks on these people making them in effect wealthy, at least as long as the Cold War might last.
At the same time William Buckley working from his magazine base, The National Review, also staffed mainly by Jews purged the Conservative ranks of nationalists denying them employment opportunities. If you wanted to work you had to be philosemitic and ‘middle of the road’ and internationalist; or the rightwing of the left. The one party system had come into existence.
While the 1956 Jewish-Arab war was welcomed by Americans who all had been indoctrinated to favor the Jews the apparently easy victory gave Jews renewed confidence as warriors. While in Nazi Germany they had objected to wearing the yellow star they now virtually put yellow gold stars in the middle of their foreheads. Going into the Sixties then the Jews wore their shirts open to the waist with their necks laden with gold chains and stars, they became very aggressive with increased revolutionary ardor.
The tools of sex and drugs were becoming more efficient tools in their arsenal. To them rock and roll came along fortuitously to form the triumvirate of sex, drugs and rock and roll that would seduce the youth of America.
I think all of us here either lived through the birth of rock and roll or in the case of Max grew up with it. You will probably remember the accusations that rock and roll was a Communist plot to corrupt the youth of America. In fact, sex, drugs and rock and roll did corrupt the youth of America. The question then was it planned or directed. Another fact is that rock and roll did turn pro-Red, pro-Jewish and pro-homosexual all three of which were Communist and Jewish goals. Another fact is that Jews both in England and the US controlled the record industry. Astonishingly nearly all the corrupt talent managers were Jewish. The major and most of the minor record labels were owned by Jews. The Jews who had no other ideology than Semitism posed as leftists so as to ingratiate themselves with non-Jews. The Jewish ideology rejects non-Jews so some other avenue for association was needed and this was the left.
By the mid-Sixties at least it was impossible to have a career in music if one wasn’t leftist. At the very least an artist had to pretend to be a leftist; it was not enough to be silent. Testing was prevalent.
Along with that went an enforced reverence for Negro music. The promoters of Negro music were almost uniformly Jewish and Leftist. The intellectual differences between Whites and Blacks is such that Negro music was a very hard sell. Successful Negro artists during the Fifties were lovable like Fats Domino or catered to White tastes as the Platters did, pandered to White tastes as Harry Belafonte did or as the Jewish songwriters Leiber and Stoller did write clownish songs for Negroes to sing.
However ghettoish singers such as James Brown And His Famous Flames met with total rejection. Still in the Sixties a dedicated cadre of White fanatics made Brown a legend that few Whites would still accept.
It took English groups and singers who worshipped these Negro musicians to not exactly revive but create an interest in Negro blues thus opening the doors.
Thus it became possible to demand that Whites reverence Negro music or else be known as ‘racists’; that is the equivalent of anti-Semites. Along with Negro music came Negro ‘liberated’ sexual morality that helped undermine White sexual morality based on chivalry and a reverence for the female, a concept that the Jew Betty Friedan successfully attacked in her book The Feminine Mystique. By the end of the Sixties the female had been reduced to a piece of meat existing only to satisfy essentially perverted male desires. This was known as sexual liberation. Woman’s formal pedestal was carted off the ideological junkyard. The feminine mystique was indeed gone.
New York City was not representative of the United States nor was Los Angeles. The rest of the country still professed traditional morality as the Sixties began while drugs would be slower to penetrate.
Chemistry had been transforming the drug scene in a little revolution of its own. During the Fifties the amphetamines and barbiturates had been known as mood changers while the psychedelics were restricted to the cognoscenti and the CIA.
As I mentioned earlier by the Sixties the Feelgood doctors were transforming New York. Max Jacobson had established himself after a slow beginning. By the late Fifties he had moved beyond a beachhead and by the early Sixties his practice was so established that it included the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. The elite of New York was gracing his waiting room. Max was your typical Jewish earthshaker desperate for renown.
It is difficult to think of him as an MD. He was much more of a charlatan, a snake oil man dispensing his amphetamine panacea. He was a devoted user of his own product. By the Sixties his amphetamine/vitamin cocktail contained many ingredients including animal glands and unidentified substances that he would mix up on the spot for your very own ‘signature’ preparation. There were secrets to the various amphetamines that produced different effects. There was one that made you tear off our clothes and make you run down the street naked. Experimenting on himself Max mixed up the wrong formula giving himself nerve damage so that he lost a certain amount of coordination in one of his legs.
His shots were serious business that destroyed a number of people. One would last three days or more while preventing sleep. Max himself is said to have been awake for thirty days running. The result was either insanity or perhaps transfiguration, take your choice. Talking to a man in that state must have been an experience.
Other Feelgood doctors rushed to take advantage of the very lucrative practice. The shots usually went for seventy-five dollars, equivalent to perhaps five hundred dollars today, while at most costing the doctors a few cents. By the late Sixties they had become such a nuisance that the authorities shut them down.
It must be noted that amphetamines were not illegal until the late Sixties so no laws were broken. Nevertheless many lives were ruined while life in NYC became chaotic, perhaps, as you fellows remember. NYC became a hellhole in the seventies and eighties as no society can succeed on drugs.
Max Savings: I knew things were getting chaotic but I wasn’t aware that amphetamines were so endemic.
Me: Mm, yes. This is a sort of aside but an interesting story. Were any of you guys around the Village back then? No? Did you hear of a group called, my apologies but history is history, The Fugs? No? Well, their front man, Ed Sanders, was a very interesting guy, he palled with another zinger, Tuli Kupferberg, a real nut although revered as a saint by some…
Max: I’ve heard of him. Don’t know much about him. (Same here from the three others.)
Me: Tuli is a different story but this is a fairly amazing situation overall. Ed was a real voyeur who disguised his mania as a scientific investigator. He was a Catholic, just for the record, from Kansas City, had a degree in Egyptian hieroglyphics. He wanted to film some live sex so he went out and bought three ounces of amphetamine for thirty dollars then advertised, might have been the Village Voice but maybe not, for couples to perform sex before his camera offering free amphetamine, as much as they wanted…
There was no dearth of applicants so Ed got a good cross section of speed freaks on amphetamines on film. Shot with enough these people became oblivious of their surroundings. That is, they were essentially insane or, more kindly, transfigured out of this world.
The FBI busted Ed and confiscated his collection of films. Broke Ed’s heart. After that he turned writer issuing his memoirs, a good read, and, get this a socialist history of the US in verse and many volumes. Ed’s a terrific story from the Sixties really. He…I can’t go on as it is less pertinent but just amazing. Check out his autobiography.
Thus as the story moves into the Sixties a form of evil social engineering designed to destroy traditional Anglo-Saxon culture is gaining momentum. The main engine for social change will be the libertine Bohemian culture of the Village. Greenwich Village, the East Village and by the vehicle of the Folk Music scene.
That scene while not being wholly Jewish was governed by Jews. Now, this was a very unhealthy situation in which absolute non-entities would emerge to take direction of American culture. A hapless bozo from Chicago would virtually take over the radio airwaves especially when another hapless noodnick from Hibbing Minnesota would arrive on the scene. Who would have taken bets that these two nothings would point the direction of American culture for the foreseeable future but they did. Their names were Albert Grossman and Bob Dylan, two Jews. Dylan wrote the songs while Grossman created the group that sang them, Peter, Paul And Mary. Two Jews and a shiksa. This group essentially sang Communist hymns. Their influence was immediate and deep. As a successful songwriter Dylan, who began as an atrociously bad singer was able unbelievably to develop an eccentric style that while actually wretched found an audience. All I can say is that the time was right.
The war had created a situation… You know fellows, I can go on but we’ll be here all night and I don’t want to overstay my welcome on the first night. So this might be an OK place to stop. I’m ready to go on but it’s up to you.
Lessing: As far as I’m concerned Perry, go on. It’s not that late, it’s that early. The night’s shot but my time is my own and I can sleep anytime.
Max: Uh, right. Tomorrow’s Saturday so while all my time isn’t my own tomorrow is, or rather today. I’ve got an empty schedule and I don’t really want to leave this chair, so, go ahead.
Marc: Sure, I’m in.
Me: Ok then…
Baron: Hold on a minute. I’ve got this to say: It’s always the Jews, isn’t it. I…
Me: That’s all right Lessing. I’m solid. Well, you’re right Baron. Yes, it always is the Jews. And without accepting guilt the Jews themselves admit it, albeit after the fact.
Baron: What nonsense!
Me: Well Baron, the point you have brought up is rather a trite one, one of the so-called great canards but I’ll give you my reading anyway. I see you’re not Jewish so you must be a Judeophile and impervious to facts. I can refer you to a book, pamphlet really, by a Maurice Samuel entitled: You Gentiles. He explains in his fashion why the differences between Jews and Aryans are irreconcilable and why we or the Jews must be eliminated. The book was published in 1924 and you know what happened after that.
But back to It’s Always The Jews. Underlying the Jewish problem is their conception of themselves. While the Jews are only too human they conceive themselves as placed between the angels and mankind. Thus they see themselves as demi-gods; however as demi-gods they conceive of themselves as being ‘pure’ and holy. The reality they can’t quite escape can be named Satanism. They thus combine Godly and Satanic in one entity and that is an irreconcilable impossibility. What to do? Following Freudian psychology, the national personality splits in two reflected in every member of the community. That is, as Robert Louis Stevenson preceded Freud by a couple of decades one has a godlike Dr. Jekyll and a Satanic Mr. Hyde. The problem then is how to dissociate the Godlike from the Satanic so one can feel ‘pure’. As a simple solution one projects one’s Satanic shortcoming onto the other, we gentiles. And one calls the recipients anti-Semites and they are everything the Jews imagine themselves not to be. Thus in example we have the Christ and the Anti-Christ, and the question which of the two will triumph. Thus the anti-Semites become a psychological necessity for the Jews on which to transfer their shortcomings. If no anti-Semites exist the Jews must create them.
As we have seen after WWII there were no anti-Semites in either the US or Europe. Nevertheless the Jews searched and searched hurling slanders like Fascists and Hitler left and right. This only cowed gentiles further. What to do? Simple, import them. Thus having thoroughly antagonized the Middle East Arabs or Semites the Jews compelled Europe and North America to take in millions of Moslems. The Moslems immediately turned on their Middle East tormenters living in Europe, raped their women and beat and shot them. Perfection! The Jews then began publishing articles complaining against the rising tide of anti-Semitism in France, Germany and the US etc. They were back in their comfort zone again.
Another amazing phenomenon is that the creative figures in Jewish history are said to be non-Jews. According to Wilhelm Reich who knew Freud well, Freud didn’t really consider himself a Jew or didn’t want to be one. His ambivalence is easily seen. Thus as a founder of twentieth century Judaism, that founder was conceivably if not actually non-Jewish. In fact, as a child Freud’s Christian nurse instructed him in Catholicism and may possibly have had him baptized.
If Freud’s parents thought this might be true that might explain the arrest of Freud’s nanny for some minor household theft, or maybe she was set up as a punishment for her transgression against the Jewish rites. At any rate Freud always lamented her disappearance from his life.
Freud thus was instrumental in his Moses and Monotheism in trying to prove that Moses himself, the founder of Judaism per se, was Egyptian and not Jewish at all. Reich then says that Freud identified himself with Moses.
Now, in early eighteenth century Germany there arose the legend of the Jud Suss, that is the Jew Suss, Joseph Oppenheimer. Suss was what was called a court Jew or a sort of major domo for the ruling Duke or Prince. He was the greatest Jew of the time serving the Duke of Wurttemberg in southern Germany next to Bavaria. He may be said to have organized the early modern Jewish economic organization in Europe paving the way for the later Rothschilds who in the wake of the Napoleonic war seized economic control of Europe and actually the Americas.
Now, Suss who lived and died a Jew according to the legend perpetuated by the Jewish novelist Lion Feuctwanger in his 1926 novel Jud Suss was the bastard son of a German duke, hence not a pure Jew at all although his mother was Jewish technically making him Jewish.
Thus in Feuctwanger’s account, perhaps merely legend, the founder of Judaism was not Jewish; the eighteenth century organizer of European Judaism was also not Jewish and if one accepts Reich’s story of Freud neither was the founder of current Judaism. So what does this mean? It probably admits a psychological truth, perhaps a metaphor for the relationship of the Jew to the gentiles.
In point of fact as the Jews only came into existence four thousand years ago while they date a creation of the world to six thousand years ago then Terah, the first Hebrew must himself have been a non-Jew arising from whatever people he belonged to. Perhaps then the Jews are admitting that they are an artificial creation. Needs a little further development.
Now, rather than the gentiles being envious of the Jews in all probability the Jews have reversed the situation being envious of the Gentiles. Viz. the story of Cain and Abel. That was certainly true in Germany where the Jews were decidedly the inferior. So, what then? The Jews conspire to destroy what the other has created. Is it a coincidence that Germany was bombed flat in WWII?
Rather than do a chronological review of the societies that the Jews lived in, exploited and destroyed I think I’ll use a frame of the Jud Suss to make it more interesting. You guys know of Suss Oppenheimer? OK, that’s good enough just so there’s a context. This is impromptu now so don’t go too rigorous on me.
The story of Jud Suss is an interesting one. Suss lived from 1698 to 1738 being thus a young forty at his death. His career at Wurttemberg was only from 1733 to 1737 a short four years to arouse such intense hatred.
The hatred was such that he was hanged high, higher than the gallows, perhaps thirty feet high in an iron cage and left exposed for six years. It is very difficult to believe he had given no cause as the Jews, as usual, assert. At any rate, then his life quickly turned to legend. The legend was treated in story and theater although I am not aware of any songs. And then in 1926 the Jewish novelist Feuctwanger wrote his interpretation titled Jew Juss. He turned the story into a combination fairy tale and myth. He had previously written a play on the same theme in 1916. Note the dates: The Bolshevic Revolution occurred in 1917 while the Jewish influence in the Weimar Republic was pronounced and jewish/Communist street fighters were battling the German nationalists.
In 1933 just after Hitler’s accession a film went into production in England that was released in 1934 titled Jew Juss based on Feuctwanger’s novel, renamed Power in the US. It is still available. The film was pure Jewish propaganda. Whether Hitler read the book or not his propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels did. He also saw the movie rightly thinking it was an attack on Germany. He countered Feuctwanger’s propaganda with his own when he produced his own film in 1940 titled Jud Suss, so Suss epitomized the Jewish and German struggle for supremacy.
Feuctwanger’s novel is supposed to be sympathetic to Suss but as I read it the novel seems to be fairly objective Jewish national history, or mythologized history in this case. To me it seems to be an epitome of Jewish history in Europe.
One also has to consider Feuctwanger’s intent. Towards what was the novel pointing as an example or lesson for current affairs in 1926? Feuctwanger portrays Suss as a Jewish savior not unlike Jesus who organized Jewish affairs for success in Europe and then like the scapegoat of Jesus who died for Jewish sins or perhaps like Moses who led the Jews to the Promised Land and then was denied entry and could only see it from afar.
Jewish mores are always contra mores so that in Jewish eyes their mores must supplant those of Europe. Thus Suss enters the capital of Wurttemberg forbidden to Jews, Stuttgart, on his own terms not those of the Duke. With Jewish suppliantcy he seduces the Duke and cheats him at every step.
That he was a new Jewish paradigm for modern times is evident in Feuctwanger’s contrasting him with the old fashioned Jew Landauer. Suss wants to display his power while Landauer argues that concealed power is better than the appearance of power. Jews control the money and in money lies the true power.
In the actual contest of who will rule Wurttemberg, the Jews through Suss or the Germans through the Duke, Suss has the real power while the Duke has only the appearance of power that Suss must accord him. Suss then plunders the State of all forms of wealth not unlike the Jews of Spain while doing so with a ‘power of attorney’ from the Duke that places all the responsibility of his crimes on the Duke. Technically Suss is innocent. Suss operates against the Duke on the principle of two for me, one for you.
He then becomes wealthier than the Duke, remember this is all being done within four years, with the money he has the real power. According to Feuctwanger then as the most celebrated and powerful Jew in Europe, not unlike the successor Rothschilds, he acts as a sort of Prime Minister of the Jews as a single economic unit. Using various commodity monopolies granted by the Duke the Jews throughout Gemany, then became monopolists in their turn. All the money of Europe must eventually become theirs.
Suss thus put the Jews on the track followed by the Rothschilds with such signal success. Mayer Amschel Rothschild the founder of that dynasty would be born six years after Suss’ execution. Roughly following Suss’ example combined with the rapid development of Europe Rothschild would set in place the system that would plunder Europe as Suss’ had plundered Wurttemberg.
In Feuctwanger’s time, 1926, the Jews by their own admission had seized control of Germany as well as Russia. At the time of course they denied it.
They might very well have done the same in the US except that US nationalists had wrested control from the Wilsonians in the 1920 election, as Hitler would do in Germany in 1933. At that time the Jews through their tool Franklin Delano Roosevelt gained the role in the US they had enjoyed in Weimar Germany.
As soon as Hitler gained Germany English Jews filmed Feuctwanger’s version of Suss releasing the movie as Jud Suss in 1934. The film was pure propaganda depicting Suss as a victim of what one might call pre-Hitler persecution. This perpetuated the myth of German hatred of the innocent long suffering Jews.
Of course Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels was keeping close track of both book and movie so that he countered Feuctwanger with his movie about Suss in 1940. It should be noted that a barrage of pro-Jewish propaganda movies were also being produced in the US. Jud Suss was released in the US under the name Power while movies lauding the Rothschilds also appeared as well as a revival of the Dreyfus persecution myth among others. While this propaganda war has never been acknowledged it raged.
While the English film was Jewish anti-German propaganda that was deemed Ok; the Goebbel’s version was denounced as the foulest anti-Semitism. In realistic terms winner takes all but the war isn’t over.
Feuctwanger’s depiction of all Germans as fat doltish boors or simple dullards versus the great masculine beauty of Suss combined with what is depicted as the innate cleverness of Jews which was only deceit and cheating was grossly racist but that has been ignored.
So there you have it, Baron. Which is it Jewish war on Germany and Europe or the persecution of the Jews?
Here I sank back exhausted. Reading prepared pages wasn’t so bad but extemporizing an interpretation of Feuctwanger’s novel from memory and maintaining a decent order nearly took me down.
Me: Hey, listen guys that took nearly everything out of me. I see the sun coming up so how about putting off the continuation of The Vampyres Of New York until a later time. I’m done in.
Lessing: Are you game for breakfast?
Me: I’d love to Lessing but I’ll beg off if you don’t mind. Sessions like this knock me down besides being up all night even with the Obetrol. I’ll call Ragnar and go back to the condo.
When I say I was beat, I mean it. This meeting had given me a lot to think about but I’m too beat to get the mind working. I needed rest. Ragnar dropped me off and Ottmar let me in. I threw myself into bed suddenly aware that I had a fitting the next day at James Carter.
I’d felt like I could sleep forever but strangely two and a half hours later I was wide awake. It wasn’t even noon yet; further I felt refreshed. Then I realized it was Saturday. I thought it was going to be Monday. Don’t know how I got turned around, further I felt refreshed, even relaxed. Although I felt refreshed mentally I was still languid physically so I thought I would hole up until Monday and get some work done. Maybe I was just over excited. I read and wrote.
Ragnar dropped me off at James Carter and I mounted the staircase to go up to see Abe Goldbladder. Abe wasn’t too happy to see me, but what the hell, the customers are always right. Right? Right.
Abe looked me up and down, then said:
‘Is this the weight you usually carry:’
‘Right, Abe. I won’t get heavier while on the other hand I might shrivel up further so worry about me getting smaller rather than larger.’
‘You talk like a wise guy.’
‘I don’t have much respect for things anymore Abe. All is irrelevant except myself.’
‘Except yourself! (snort) We know who you are Mr. Wright.’
‘’We know who I am? Who’s this we? The ADL and all those people?’
‘At least. What we want to know is what you’re doing here. What’s up your sleeve?’
‘You couldn’t expect me to tell you that Abe, but I’m not up to anything. I’m here on what you might call a sabbatical.’
‘Oh, a sabbatical! Then why are you staying at the Carmichaels and how is it you connected up with that Fascist Farquhar? You deliver an anti-Semitic rap at one of soirees he has?’
That took me back a little bit. That he knew I read my paper at Lessing’s confirmed that Baron Cammell was a spy but that Lessing and the Carmichaels were conservatives under surveillance made me think. I had thought it was strange that my ad produced a response so quickly plus I thought it was amazing that they didn’t know someone locally they could use. I was clear that the three had read my website, so maybe…. I’ll have to call Lessing when I get back and check things out. I might be able to realize a fantasy here if I can catch the tide just right.
‘What’s the deal with Lessing and the Carmichaels Abe?’
‘You’re going to play innocent huh? You deliver a defamation of the Jew Suss like you did and you don’t think that fits right in with those Fascist bastards?’
‘Fascist bastards, Abe! Wow! All I can say is you know more than I do. As far as Suss goes, Baron probably didn’t give you a very accurate report. I’ve just about finished writing my interpretation of Suss up. I can give you a copy if you like so you get it right.’
‘You’ll give me a copy will you?’
‘Why sure, Abe, why not? I’ll put it up on the web anyway. You guys read all my stuff, don’t you? You repost my stuff on your notorious anti-Semite pages on ADL’s site, don’t you? I’m not keeping any secrets. There’s nothing clandestine about what I write. I think it will be titled The Jewish Savior Joseph Suss Oppenheimer. Feuctwanger portrayed Suss as one of your messiahs like Jesus. It should be up in a few days but I’ll have Ragnar drop a hard copy off for you. You’ll love it. By the way, Abe, when you finish this suit I’m going to want a hot pink flannel suit in a modified zoot style. Do you think you can find a fabric?’
‘A hot pink zoot suit? My god, do you have a wild hair up your ass?’
‘Mind your manners Abe. No. I’ve been thinking about this a long time Abe. It’s a tribute to my mother. Uh, I didn’t say that last Abe, just forget it. Plus I’m going to want a matching hat and wing tip shoes. Think anything like that is available?
‘Yes, it can be done. I don’t think the fabric will be too difficult but the hat and shoes may be expensive. They may be special order.’
‘That’s alright. The odd request is always more expensive. At the same time check out a bright yellow, deeper shade. The pink will be three button, the yellow double breasted and I might also want a powder blue one button roll, all flannel.’
‘One button roll? My, you have been thinking of this for a while, haven’t you?
‘Yes I have.’
‘Your mother, one button roll, powder blue. Hmm.’
‘I don’t recall ever mentioning my mother to you Abe; but since I’ve mentioned all three suits I’ll take them if you can get them.’
‘I can get ‘em, I can get ‘em.’
‘Good, Abe. Thanks.’
I was elated as Ragnar pulled up. I really wanted those suits. I didn’t know where I was going to wear them. Maybe a stroll down Broadway to see who whistled. Maybe a big pink Cadillac would stop with a hot blonde at the wheel. ‘Need a ride, Big Boy.’ She would say. ‘I sure do.’ I would snicker with a broad double entendre. Well, enough of that; a little too revealing, back to reality.
Abe had put me on to something I hadn’t suspected. Lessing and the Carmichaels might be into some kind of right wing (so-called) conspiracy and that meant that Ragnar might be involved too. Maybe these guys at his gym were using body building as a front to conceal something else. Maybe in addition to bulking up they were also heavy into the martial arts. Maybe…but how to broach the subject to Ragnar. Oh, I had it.
‘Ragnar, pull into the limo parking lot I want to talk to you.’
I got out of the limo when Ragnar pulled up.
‘Let’s stand away from the limo, Ragnar, it’s probably bugged.’
‘I don’t think so. I sweep it every day.’
‘Visual or electronic?’
‘Visual. I look it over pretty thoroughly.’
‘Electronic might be better.’
‘Are you sure it’s bugged?’
‘Pretty certain. Do you know the Carmichaels are under surveillance?”
‘I don’t know it but I always check. Do you know something?’
‘I was talking to the tailor back there and he knew I was at Farquhar’s and what the paper I read was about. That means a spy. That explains some of the people who always seem about. I’m definitely being tailed, while Farquhar is also certainly under surveillance.’
‘Really? I didn’t know that.’
‘Any chance you’re under surveillance Ragnar?’
‘Why would I be?’
‘You drive the Carmichaels and now me.’
‘Why would Jews follow you?
‘I’m a historian, Ragnar, and I write essays concerning the Jewish role in history. Some of my essays are reposted on the ADL hate site. I had no idea they were so sensitive.’ Boy, that one had to be tongue in cheek.
‘Oh, wait a minute. You’re not that Partly Wright are you? The I, Dynamo guy?’
‘Yes. You’ve been reading my stuff?’
‘Couple of guys at the gym have mentioned your things.’
‘Have they? You know what I stand for then. Any chance the gym is used by, uh, a certain political outlook?’
‘Maybe, we do talk politics, but a certain outlook? What does that mean?’
‘You know, a conservative point of view.’
I saw he wasn’t sure how far to commit himself so I let it drop telling him I would talk to him later. First, before I committed myself further I wanted to talk to Lessing, see where he stood. Back at the condo, I called him making an appointment with him at the Metropolitan Modern for the next day.
We found each other without too much difficulty, drifting into a near empty gallery. There was no chance that I and probably Lessing wouldn’t be followed so it was necessary to be alert for anyone trying to occupy the same space so to speak. Some call it paranoia others call it survival.
‘Ah, Lessing. How are you?’
‘As good as can be expected in these troubling times. I’m glad to see you survived your initiation. Any problems?’
‘Who me? No. Actually it was fairly mild. I’ve been through some harrowing initiations, hazings or whatever.’
‘You didn’t find Baron too irritating?’
‘No. He’s normal, even a little more civil than most; but that brings up a question: Do you know you’re under surveillance?’
‘Under surveillance? Goodness, why would you think that?’
‘No need to hold your breath Lessing, the cat is out of the bag. I’m being fitted for suits at James Carter and my tailor, Abe Goldbladder, reported the contents of my paper to me on Monday. That means one of two things: your condo is bugged or you’ve got an agent attached. I’m betting on Baron Cammell.’
‘That fellow, did you say Goldblatter…’
‘Goldbladder, with two ds.’
‘Goldbladder? Does he pee gold?’
‘Don’t ask me questions like that, Lessing, I’m not privy to the results in his privy. I thought it was a spectacular name myself. Beats Spingold my previous favorite. Imagine the name Rumpelstiltskin Spingold. Put that up on the marquee. Anyway Abe knew everything two days after it happened. Gotta be Cammell. Are the Carmichaels under surveillance too?’
Lessing looked at me quizzically not sure of himself.
‘Don’t worry Lessing. I’m secure. I knew that at least one person there had to be a spy. Everybody gets infiltrated. What was it: The Carmichaels went abroad for a cooling off period?’
‘I wouldn’t put it that way Perry, let’s just say their affairs were becoming enmeshed and they needed to disentangle them.’
‘Yes. But then I thought that how could I be so lucky as to land the house sitter opportunity unless there was something more involved. I mean, I have never won the lottery before, the odds were never longer than this. You’re familiar with my website. I consider my essays pure history although the ADL for instance considers them outrageous anti-Semitism. You don’t have to be told that, obviously, but you must have thought they were how shall I say, risky?
I don’t know whether Ragnar told you but at the airport a couple other people attempted to snag me. Who knows what the outcome would have been. So, I’m sort of a dangerous acquaintance.’
‘Yes, I suppose we knew that…’
‘Listen, Lessing, I know where you, I and the Carmichaels stand and I’m sure we can work together. I know that they’re on to you as well as me. What say?’
‘What did you tell this Goldbadder fellow?’
‘I didn’t tell him anything. I just smiled and stared. You don’t talk to or argue with Jews; it just goes on forever. They’re inexhaustible. If it’s a question of wearing down it’s futile there’s no winning. Besides I’m hep to them anyway. I picked up Cammell first thing. I just waited for a little confirmation.’
‘Let’s go to a more secure place, Perry. I have to think a little.’
Believe it or not Lessing took me to the Dakota. We went up to 701, a very large apartment that was unoccupied. We sat at a table while Lessing studied me intently.
‘You wouldn’t have lent me the condo if you hadn’t thought my attitude was right, Lessing. My essay ‘Chumps Playing Stud’ must have indicated something.’
‘Yes. I did like that essay.’
‘Really. And my work on Ford. Rehabilitating Henry Ford is a top priority even at this late date. This is serious stuff. I think Lady Carmichael said you were a lawyer, is that correct, can I ask your field?’
‘Yes, I was a lawyer. What significance do you attach to that?’
‘Well, Lessing, I hope I am not overstepping any bounds but I dimly perceive that you and the Carmichaels summoned me here with some motive, perhaps you are not fully aware of what your motive was but I am guessing you were looking for a catalyst, someone to brings things together and get them moving. We need a diem to carpe, a moment to seize. But it looks like the times are here for aggressive measures. A plan is needed.’
‘We do have a lot of disgruntled folk who have no coherence to move in a defined direction. However, I wonder why no actions have been taken against you Perry, you who write so forthrightly.’
‘Lessing, actions have been taken against me but they have been covert. Hundreds of pictures I was using have disappeared from the net, replaced with the most generic kind. It is forbidden to post my essays on aggregators. I used to have wonderful numbers on reposted essays but that has been stopped. My numbers no longer grow as they should while certain more critical posts get no response at all or very little so they are blocked some way. Passages are changed and words deleted or misspelled to make me look stupid.
As far as the Jews go I more or less have a free pass within that framework because to contemn me would give me too much publicity so they follow a course they call ‘dynamic silence’. If nobody looks at you nobody knows you are there. Besides my posts are built around a post they have written so they would have to criticize my criticisms of them and they’re not going to do that. Their stuff doesn’t stand up. And then my posts are built up on a secure historic base that is not easily refuted.
Otherwise I have traveled little because when I do clever assassination attempts are made so that it requires constant vigilance on my part.’
‘You’ve had assassination attempts?’
‘Oh sure. Several that I can identify. Others are not so clear.’
‘You mean like shootings?’
‘No, Lessing. They don’t do anything obvious. You get shot and everyone knows it; you have a fatal accident and those things happen. Since I’ve been slandered mercilessly nobody would care, they might even applaud.’
‘Can you give me an example?’
‘OK, Lessing. I’ll give you one, but as far as I’m concerned my attitude is clear from my essays. I belong to the Edgar Rice Burroughs Bibliophiles for which I’ve written dozens of essays. I consider myself a major contributor to Burroughs studies. Nearly two decades ago I attended my only convention. I don’t know who was on my case but I was ill-treated on the plane, ill-treated renting a car, and when I got to the hotel in Fort Collins they had no record of my registration with the group, or the payment. I reminded them the payment was made with my card and that could be checked. They found my payment after an interminable wait, then they assigned me a room as far away from the others as they could not with the reserved section. Dirty unpleasant room. I ordered a hamburger at the restaurant and was told they were out of hamburger.
I recognized the ploy and rather than run through the whole menu I went to bed hungry. Of course I was suspicious especially as people in the adjoining room were raucous, I mean raucous non-stop. In inspecting the room for booby traps I noticed a large heavy picture above the bed was loose rather than screwed tightly against the wall.
Some call it paranoia but I could envision the picture dropping down on my head as I slept perhaps hitting me and either hospitalizing me or killing me. I long ago learned to heed my premonitions. It was a king bed so rather than sleeping vertically I slept horizontally across the foot of the bed.
Sure enough, a couple hours later the picture came crashing down. Had I slept normally who can say what the result would have been? The rest of the stay was variations on those themes. Of course with ‘accidents’ one never complains about them and you certainly don’t mention that you think they were planned because you are then ‘paranoid’ and discredited.
Food poisonings aren’t worth mentioning they are so common. Never eat eggs the morning of checking out. Check out and go have breakfast somewhere else where you aren’t expected. Accidents, Lessing, accidents, they happen all the time. So what do we have going here?’
‘I see. I suppose you are safe. You appear to have experience with skullduggery.’
‘Right, in spades. So what kind of elements are we dealing with.’
‘You’re right about me and the Carmichaels. I’m not sure what Ragnar is doing but I know Ottmar is a member. I know a number of people who are afraid, so they appear Liberal. As you say we need a catalyst so possibly that is why we received the appearance of your ad for an apartment as fortuitous. You have seemed to be what we are looking for.’
‘OK. I can see the possibility for a good time. The resistance seems to be rising. Success depends on how you go about it. I suppose that you know lawyers and judges who are sympathetic?’
‘Yes, there is a fair number of us.’
‘OK. I suspect the athletic club is a conspiracy center so Ragnar might be part of a ‘commando’ group for gaining control of the streets. For that we would require lawyers and judges to obstruct prosecutions, delay proceedings etc., you would know better than I, and also have police on our side. Perhaps Ragnar’s group is already doing that. Since the cops rarely leave the station house now we might have a fairly free hand in the streets.
But first it will be necessary to neutralize the courts. Can you get some lawyers and judges together? Organize them?’
‘Good. Time is of the essence.’
‘I see. Yes, I will get to work on it immediately. You will be the leader?’
‘I’d rather not. I’d rather operate behind the scenes. If you know any safe writers I would like to organize them for psychological warfare and propaganda. Next to the courts that will be a key. We’ll follow the usual conspiratorial methods. You work on the legal end and I’ll investigate Ragnar. If I’m right I’ll try to line them up. Once we have a nucleus, we’ll have to have an organizational setup.’
‘Yes. It’s frightening work.’
‘Paranoia rules the day. I’ll try to approach Ragnar and get to it.
Clip 7 follows.
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…
Mick Jagger, The Rolling Stones
And The Yobbo Revolution
…they’re just war babies with the bell bottom blues.
Along about 1968 Jagger among the Stones, at least, became disenchanted with his and their new manager Allen B. Klein of notorious fame.
By 1968, counting 1963 as the beginning of their labors the Stones had been working hard. Jagger and Richards had emerged as successful songwriters giving them a financial advantage over fellow stones, Jones, Wyman and Watts. By that time the band was said to have earned millions but had virtually nothing to show for it except for a heroin habit and several cases of VD. When one says heroin habit one reduces disposable income considerably.
The Stones last effort Their Satanic Majesties Request seemed to indicate a loss of direction. Their initial impetus had been expended. The impetus that began in 1963 had then played out. The good part of the Sixties was over and the bad part had begun with the ’66 release of the Doors first album containing the appropriately named song The End. The Rock scene had turned dark while turning the volume up.
The Stones knew dark so they quickly reinvented themselves as a Dark band turning out Beggar’s Banquet in 1968. Out there on the buying end of rock and roll I groaned. The new Stones were born as the Hounds of Hell emerging from a drug fueled Freudian unconscious. Just what the world didn’t need.
While Jagger and Richards engaged the world with their follies the other three members had to suffer enduring the ignominy in silence. Richards would go on to astound the world with his drug offenses. While Jagger himself descended into darkness as a Satanist carrying his inamorata Marianne Faithfull along with him.
While both deny other than a titillating passing interest in Satanism the facts imply a more serious involvement.
These years that should have been bright were the beginning of dark times, darker than the Communo-Nazi era for the world. Deny it if he can, Jagger was a leader on the downward path.
Undeniably the Fifties and Sixties were a trying period but which decade of the century hadn’t been? Fear of both Communism and the A-Bomb, not to mention the Neutron Bomb, kept people tense. There was a disturbing lack of balance in which TV, newspapers, and magazines presented developments. Nevertheless the beginning of the post-war period was one of astounding advances in knowledge both in Science and the Liberal Arts. Huge layers of ignorance were sheared away. For instance the knowledge of geological tectonic plates that demonstrated how the planet evolved was, shall I say, earth shaking.
In 1950 the highest an object had been was measured in feet; the atmosphere hadn’t been penetrated. Seven years later the Soviets put the Sputnik in orbit. Telstar went up in July 1962 to tremendous astonishment and acclaim opening the way to the future and the fabulous prosperity of the late Sixties and the Seventies.
Medicine cured syphilis and all venereal diseases, killing and disabling diseases were gone and even TB and polio were ended. At the beginning of the Fifties a child had to ponder being debilitated by both as a probable occurrence. The diet was improved immensely and made more varied. But, as life improved the psyche grew darker, dissatisfaction with virtual perfection was endemic. Murder and crime increased dramatically. Charlie Whiteman in his UT tower, Richard Speck’s ritual murder of the Chicago nurses. While the good genie let many good things out the bottle at the same time a cloud of darkness followed. The country chose to embrace the darkness rather than the light.
During the Sixties Satanism was on the rise. We all know there is no existing entity called Satan but Satanism is a fact of the psyche. First truly released by Freud in 1900 Satanism had been emerging as a social force. A 1966 cover of Time Magazine asked the question Is God Dead? This sparked a fair controversy at the time. That same year, less conspicuously and metaphorically saw the birth of the Son of Satan, Andy, in the book Rosemary’s Baby by the Jew Ira Levin followed by the movie of the same name directed by the Jew Roman Polanski. Rosemary’s Baby was followed by a spate of Satanic novels and movies. The shift from God’s Son, Jesus, to Andy was quite noticeable but we were slow to comprehend.
The Satanic movement had been building since the middle of the nineteenth century when the Frenchman, Eliphas Levy, reorganized the occult along modern lines. The Golden Dawn brought Satanism into prominence in the English speaking world. The Golden Dawn was captured by the pervert Aleister Crowley who guided Satanism through the first half of the century. He died in 1946. A druggie and sex fiend, his sex magic in the Sixties was joined by that of the Jewish sex madman, Wilhelm Reich, also a notable Freudian. Reich had even had his books burned by the US government but like a phoenix his sexual ideas rose from the flames during the Sixties. ( See the movie WR, The Mysteries Of The Organism, read organism as Orgasm. This movie is not for the weak of mind.)
The magical crowd had coalesced in the beginning of the Sixties. In England it was led by the Satanic Process Church that emigrated to the US, LA based, and back to England. In the US the chief Satanist was the San Francisco based Anton Lavey with his acolyte in Los Angeles, Kenneth Anger. It is to be noted that the sex magician Charles Manson was associated with all these people in one form or another.
Jagger and his consort Marianne Faithfull were drawn into the flames through their friend in London, Groovy Bob Fraser who seemed to be the clearing house for all strange in London. He introduced Mick and Marianne to Kenneth Anger while they found their own way to the Process Church. Mick was recruited by the Crowleyian Satanist and filmmaker Donald Cammell. Cammell’s father had been a Crowleyian having writing a biography of him. Cammell’s mind thus had been corrupted from childhood.
Cammell starred Jagger and Keith’s girlfriend Anita Pallenberg in his ’68 movie Performance. Pallenberg was a long gone cutie deeper into Satanism than probably anyone in the crew.
Mick had become acquainted with the fashion photographer David Bailey in late ’62 or early ’63. Anthony Burgess published his Satanic novel A Clockwork Orang in 1962.
In ’62 and ’63 Jagger was a nobody, a student at the London School of Economics while doubling as frontman for the unknown Rolling Stones, or Rollin’ for the purists. The two apparently bonded on sight as the two bought the movie rights to A Clockwork Orange. This strange situation has never been explored. As far as we know Mick had no money or anything really to recommend him to Bailey who was a very successful photographer and the model for Fellini’s movie Blowup. Yet while a student and singer for a grungy R&B band Bailey took him under his wing, or perhaps Andrew Loog Oldham that inveterate man about town introduced himself to Bailey, then introduced Bailey to Mick with whom he was palling. It would seem that Andrew first discovered A Clockwork Orange in mid-62 talking it up with Bailey and Mick. Andrew and Bailey saw Mick as the hero of the book, Alex, leader of his band called The Droogs. The idea of the Droogs exerted a fascination over the minds of Andrew, Bailey and Mick and through Bailey and Mick the Warhol crowd of NYC. As a photog for English Vogue Bailey would have had an intro to New York and the American Vogue.
For those who aren’t aware, Vogue Magazine is a huge global presence. There are many ‘local’ editions of the magazine published for Germany, France, Russia, Italy and even Japan. It is really extraordinary. I subscribe to the English edition and buy Italian, Parisian, German and the occasional Japanese copy from a news dealer in my own city. Globalism takes on a real meaning.
In reading Stone’s histories there is no mention of Jagger being absent from London in 1963 but Bailey scooped him up and took him to New York, presumably at his own expense or perhaps that of Vogue to shop for a movie maker for their book. Bailey who was very up on things may have thought that Andy Warhol would be interested; in fact Warhol did make a movie that purports to be based on Clockwork Orange but you couldn’t prove it by me. But, in 1963 Warhol was not yet that famous or his vacuous movies. Bailey must have had his nose to the ground with the sensitivity of a bloodhound. Where Mick got the money for his share of the rights and trip to what is now known as The Big Bagel isn’t clear.
In New York Mick met the Dark, if not Satanist, Andy Warhol with whom he banded as quickly and tightly as he had Bailey. Because of this the Stones would always be big in the Village.
Interestingly Mick’s girlfriend during this period was Bailey’s top model Jean Shrimpton’s sister, Chrissie Shrimpton.
Things fell out, Mick gravitated to the adultress, Marianne Faithfull. The two were arrested at the famous drug bust at Keith’s Redlands in 1967.
Apparently Mick et al. thought they were immune to the laws and mores of the time concerning drugs so that Mick took the arrest and subsequent conviction as a grievous insult. It confirmed and hardened his devotion to Satan while solidifying his revolutionary aims. He thought the ‘kids’ would be able to bring down the State.
Thus in 1967 they recorded and released the record album titled Their Satanic Majesties Request. Smarting horribly- for all practical purposes Marianne’s life was ruined. In combination with a succession of injurious events that would follow, Marianne’s psyche would never recover. She had been holding the burning match to see how close to her fingers it got before she was burned, she now knew.
Still in reaction to the arrest, following Satanic Majesties, Mick decided to make a film. This became the long lost Rock And Roll Circus. The movie only has historical significance as it was never released at the time. Rights were held by Allen Klein so after his death in 2009, under his son Jody’s direction ABKCO released it for the first time. Psychologically it places where Mick was in 1968.
The American Satanist Kenneth Anger had a huge shoulder to shoulder tattoo of the name L-U-C-I-F-E-R on his chest to show his dedication to the Commander In Chief. At the end of Rock And Roll Circus as the band plays Sympathy For The Devil we see Mick groveling on the stage as though to the Master. He wiggles out of his shirt rising to his knees to display a Lucifer tattoo on his bare chest. Whether real or a transfer isn’t clear. I hope the latter.
In 1968, at least, Jagger had dedicated himself to Satan. While Marianne has since repudiated Satanism claiming the fascination was a passing fancy it seems clearly to have been more than that.
That aside, to be borne in mind as we move along. Mick, who is no dummy, had been quickly learning the ropes of the record business since his introduction in 1963. As he wasn’t getting enough money to indulge his fantasies, finances became his chief concern.
The Stones were first managed and promoted by the nineteen year old Andrew Loog Oldham. Oldham was the right man to put the Stones on the road. Unfortunately for himself Andrew was at the flighty if not to say flaky stage of life so that he found it expedient to sign the Stones to the American desperado or operator, Allen Klein. Klein was the big talking type so endemic to the industry who promised the moon while actually being able to pry money from the labels not that much ever got back to the artists. While first being pleased with Klein’s services getting money out of him was a problem so that Jagger quickly became disaffected with him. In 1968 he began the search for a money man who would work in the Stones’ interests.
This was a critical period for Jagger and the band. Their first rush of creativity ended about 1966 as the songwriters went dry and the band quit touring. The transition from the sixties to the seventies actively took place between ’66 and ’67. In fact that was the Sixties, the rest of the decade was a long slow fade. The artists most identified with the sixties didn’t make the transition to the seventies and beyond. The Stones before ’68’s Beggar’s Banquet were a quintessential 60s’ band. Beggar’s Banquet eased them toward the seventies.
So at this transitional period that must have been cause for great anxiety the band had little to show for their sixties output other than a certain notoriety that was however global and second only to the Beatles.
In his search for a money man Jagger asked his friend Chrissie Gibbs for his help. Gibbs was a central figure in the Groovy Bob Fraser circle. Fraser’s place was a central gathering place for the crowd including the American Satanist Kenneth Anger and the Warhol crowd.
Fraser himself was an art dealer who associated himself with the upcoming Pop Art Movement. Thus he was the center of all that was hip and modern.
Gibbs knew of an investment banker by the name of Prince Rupert Loewenstein. Rupert was an actual hereditary Prince who prefaced his name with that title. According to Rupert’s memoirs, A Prince Among Stones, Rupert knew Gibbs in only the most casual manner, Gibbs was not exactly a member of the aristocracy as he is presented.
Rupert is a bit of an enigma. He says, in his memoir, that he had never heard of the Stones when Gibbs mentioned them. In the context of the times the Stones were rock musicians who are as a class not welcome in polite society and even some not so polite society, yet Rupert said to this very casual acquaintance that he would look into it. Then, as he tells it, he learned who or what the Rolling Stones were and that all three principals of the group had been arrested on drug charges a year earlier along with Robert Fraser the art dealer and a true member of the aristocracy although now declasse. Rupert even says that he agreed wholeheartedly with the judge.
Just as a point of reference, when I opened my record shop in 1967 the insurance agents would not even sell me insurance while the AAA agent cancelled my auto insurance. I could obtain no amenities and only grudgingly services. So, it is extremely strange that Rupert knowing the actual unsavory history of the Stones jeopardized his standing in respectable circles in the City and society to associate himself with them. And I mean associate, he actually toured with the band. If he didn’t know the kind of people he was with he certainly learned then.
Now, no one associated with rock and roll had any social standing especially the Stones as the bad boys of rock. Then all the creeps and drug dealers who being around the record scene especially attached themselves to the Stones and believe me that crowd was well beyond unsavory. Robert Greenfield’s book S.T.P. will give you some examples but the flavor of these people doesn’t come through in print.
As I read Rupert’s autobiography, he died a year or so ago, I find a distaste for Stones from beginning to end. Even the title of his memoir, A Prince Among Stones, is a put down of the Stones. Rupert obviously disdained the Stones. So, one asks why he would choose to represent them? And that’s only the beginning of the mystery.
Having accepted the assignment as they used to say on Mission Impossible he had to familiarize himself with bushels of documents and assorted records. Before he could even confront Klein he had to spend a year trying to understand the documentation. Klein was a tough cookie who didn’t play by any rules. You grappled with him. I’m not sure that the Stones to this day know what Rupert did for them.
Here’s the point: The Stones are said to have no money with which to pay him, we are told that they were stone broke. Didn’t mean that they didn’t have a great stash but, you know, they were broke. This was a serious time for the band. Get this: Rupert worked three years gratis with no guarantee of ever making a dime. That any of us should have luck of that kind. Further he learned that there was no way the Stones were going to get any money out of Klein without very expensive litigation. But, there were exceptions as we shall see. The Stones entire career from 1963 to the end of the contract in 1971 that Andrew had saddled them with belonged to Klein. Never fire your manager when he holds your life in his hands.
Any career they would have to make money would begin in 1971. The intellectual properties Jagger and Richards’ had created would provide them with an income apart from the band although the publishing was sold to Klein by Andrew. But the full intellectual properties would begin only with Exile On Main Street. And of course by then the big boom in record sales was underway. Even at the end of the sixties the record business was small potatoes. The stadium era was on the horizon.
From Rupert’s point of view the only real potential for money for him would come from the Stones’ touring. The Stones would do some non-stop touring beginning in 1971. The ’69 US tour was Rupert’s introductory tour during which he learned how inefficient and criminal touring was..
Until Rupert reorganized touring, the road had not been profitable for the Stones. No money at all. So Rupert began his management career on the off chance that the Stones would stay together, actually a fairly long shot, and he could mount some extravaganzas and monitor expense to make the road profitable. Little he knew that he was catching the really big one.
If you sit and think about this a little it will blow your mind the chances that Rupert was taking especially with a heroin addict of the status as Keith. I mean we’re talking the Master of Flake with Keith- no offense intended. The man blew millions that Rupert was setting up in recording contracts when Keith was arrested with a jug of heroin in Toronto. Keith was not in this alone, there were three other Stones plus Mick as well as Rupert who had bet his life on the Stones. Can you imagine how crushed Rupert was when he had to call all the bidders and advise them of Keith’s gaffe. Keith cost Rupert a couple million too.
This is amazing, the pre-’68 money had been so badly managed that the Stones owed more tax money that it appeared that the band could ever pay off; especially when every new dollar would be taxed at ninety percent. What were the Brits thinking? As I understand it the Stones have never paid the debt off, or tried. So Rupert compelled them to leave England for a more tax friendly climate. As we are repeatedly told they were broke one wonders how they expected to finance their life in France. Mick and Keith were OK because as Robert Greenfield tells us in his book Ain’t It Time We Said Goodbye: The Rolling Stones On The Road To Exile just before the Stones left England Klein sent Mick and Keith each a check for 800 and some odd thousand dollars. That is nearly a million each. I don’t know whether BMI paid royalties quarterly or half yearly but Mick and Keith should have gotten a check of comparable size quarterly, semi-annually or annually. For the next decade or two probably double that. No sympathy here.
Wyman and Watts both bought handsome residences on the Riviera so one wonders where that money came from while Exile was being recorded. They settled on the Riviera where they spent a fortune recording Exile On Main Street. Over half a million dollars. And while Exile sold well still only over seven hundred and some thousand copies on its first release; not enough copies to surpass recording costs so they received nothing for the LP initially. Still Rupert hung in there, drug stories or no.
As the only hope for the Stones to make money, apart from intellectual right for Mick and Keith, was touring and thereby justify Rupert’s decision to throw in his lot with them Rupert set about to make touring as profitable as possible. He was in for some surprises as he had to come into contact with the Underworld, Mafia to you and me. I don’t see how he or they ever thought that there would be the truly big money of the last tours especially in North America but luck and the times were with him and them.
The Stones, about whom hung an air of vulgarity, were never a top selling recording band, mediocre at best but Jagger was a top performance artist while Keith was and is revered as a guitarist and personality. The nature of the tour also evolved so that under the guidance of Rupert major companies such as Chrysler sponsored tours contributing up front money while toward the end promoters ponied up a couple hundred million to manage the tours. The expense of putting on the show was the Stones but the mechanics of lining up venues and retailing the tickets was off their hands.
If you can stay together the intellectual property or ‘brand’ can become extremely valuable providing a payoff as time goes on. The Stones may be unique in the size of the payoff but many performers have been on the road for decades and are still out there, viz. Bob Dylan.
Still given all the imponderables, one is astonished that a respectable investment banker would take such a huge risk on his future. Not only had the principals been arrested and convicted, actually sent to jail, on a drug charge but they were involved with the revolutionary movement, indeed, other revolutionaries considered them one of them. Jagger wrote revolutionary and agitprop songs. As the seventies were characterized by revolutionary upheavals throughout the Western world including European outfits like the Baader-Meinhoff Gang and the Italian Red Guards and the infamous Carlos as well as the criminal and destructive American group, The Weathermen it would have been desirable to have some inconspicuous means of communication. Historically a means has been itinerants who had a reason to travel about such as the entertainers like the Stones and Bob Dylan. Cultural exchanges in governmental usage.
I think it quite possible, although I have no hard evidence that when Rupert was investigating the Stones at Chrissie Gibbs request he may have contacted the security agencies of England who seeing an opportunity to put an operative above suspicion in the Stones organization recruited Rupert.
As an intelligence agent in the Stones’ organization Rupert could maintain contact through his Europe wide aristocratic friends while dealing through the Stones with the revolutionaries who, at the very least, hung around the Stones. I suspect that Mick and Keith were more than sympathetic to them.
Eric Burdon of The Animals as a solo artist was arrested by the German police on suspicion of aiding the revolutionaries. Eric pleads innocence of course but the rock crowd as a group was sympathetic to the revolutionaries while the lyrics themselves were frequently openly revolutionary. Police suspicion would not have been misplaced.
In Eugene Oregon where I had my record store at the time, revolutionary zanies functioned quite openly, at least as far as I was concerned, infesting the foothills of the Cascades where they had built bunkers to store weapons, ammunition and food against the Day which was thought imminent. As a record store owner they assumed that naturally I too was a revolutionary. The Black Panthers for instance extorted money from me. I was caught in the middle as the authorities assumed naturally that I was too. It was tricky as I was then walking a tightrope between two hostile sides.
Thus Rupert otherwise inexplicably declassed himself while undertaking to represent a bankrupt band that was hopelessly in debt to the Inland Revenue. A debt he knew could never be paid off and never has been. In fact his first act regarding the ones was to advise them to leave England for more tax friendly shores.
When Rupert moved the band from England they ceased being a specifically English band becoming a band without a country or a true global band. As a global band it is probable that Allen Klein even though Jewish was strictly of a US geographic mentality whereas Rupert being Europe based with friends in each country was better able to deal with different tax laws, mores, etc. As a businessman he was better prepared to set up the business organization that the Stones needed.
It must be borne in mind that when the band left England on the cusp of the big boom of the seventies they became a multi-million dollar corporations with rather intricate financial problems. Klein had the reputation of a buccaneer; he could squeeze the pips but he couldn’t command respect, Rupert could.
So, the success of the Stones after ’68 depended in a great part on the superb financial management of Rupert, as well as his ability to deal with a lunatic like Keith. Rupert had no sooner got the band established in France than Keith got them thrown out of the country for, let’s not put a gloss on it, criminal behavior. Keith was handling large amounts of heroin while providing, as it were a safe haven for the Marseilles criminal drug element. Finally Keith and Anita turned a young girl, possible with violence, which resulted in the Stones having to flee France. That made two countries they could no longer perform in, at least for a while, France and England.
I’m sure Rupert smacked his forehead, wrung his hands and asked the universe, what the hell is going on? Keith and Mick must have been born under good signs as Rupert stayed on.
Having established a basis for prosperity Rupert then set about dealing with the first key problem, Allen Klein. Although broke the Stones initiated an expensive , read multi-million lawsuit against the wily Klein. Americans operate on the principle that possession is nine tenths of the law so getting anything out of Klein would be a small miracle. Without numbers to go on any accurate notion of what happened is impossible but as both sides were into the lawsuit for millions over eighteen years it would seem the results when they finally signed off were profitable for each.
So, having serendipitously acquired a supremely competent money man in Prince Rupert Loewenstein the financial future of the Stones was secured. They would become perhaps the richest band in history.
July 6, 2015
The Man Who Bailed Out The Beatles
Made The Rolling Stones
And Transformed Rock And Roll
Goodman, Fred: Allen Klein, The Man Who Bailed…etc., 2015, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Loewenstein, Prince Rupert: A Prince Among Stones, 2013, Bloomsbury
Oldham, Andrew Loog: Stoned, 2000, 2001 Vintage Edition
Oldham, Andrew Loog: 2Stoned, 2002, 2003 Vintage Edition
Oldham, Andrew Loog: Stone Free, 2012, Escargot Books
I anticipated what I hoped would be a revealing account of the infamous Allen Klein. I have been sorely disappointed by this hagiography. Bailed out the Beatles, made the Stones and transformed rock and roll? Whew! Where’s his statue so I can reverence it. Since Allen died in 2009, his son, Jody, has shaken up his father’s empire. Jody has dipped into the archives to let out the two Stones’ movies Charley Is My Darling and Rock and Roll Circus to his credit. They can now be seen and appreciated. He probably has done much else that I am not aware of but would undoubtedly approve.
Fred Goodman’s white wash of Allen is disappointing. Jody did call Fred and offer him the job so this must be a work of hire. Perhaps Jody wanted a hagiography of sorts which is what he got or perhaps Fred was so daunted by the job he swallowed his teeth. Having accepted the assignment Jody led Fred out to the warehouse and showed him several pallets of documents. That would make me shiver too.
When Rupert Loewenstein accepted Jagger and the Stones as clients after the Stones rejected Allen he spent two or three years studying all their contracts and documents which were voluminous although not several pallets. And he did it without pay.
Something tells me that Fred never touched those pallets. If he didn’t study the documents one thing is certain: he read the three books of the Stones’ manager Andrew Loog Oldham carefully. It was Oldham who sold the Stones to Klein. Apparently none of these people understood the nature of intellectual properties because, if we are to believe, none of them realized that the developing rock catalogs would be worth anything down the road. Even Oldham who is billed as prescient let the Stones’ masters that belonged to him as the producer go to Klein for less than a peanut.
The president of Decca Records, Edward Lewis, sensing the Oldham was having difficulties offered to buy the masters for 800K, K as in thousands, much less than even a million that would be a low ball. Oldham didn’t want to sell to Decca but needing money offered to them to Klein for 750K. The biggest bastard in the valley snapped them up. They have since proved to be worth tens and tens of millions of dollars over the years. Of course, Andrew would have had to wait and his blood was running too hot for that.
A few years later when he realized the masters might be worth a billion or more he has spent his life begging Allen for a larger settlement.
Andrew Oldham’s three books are Stoned, 2Stoned and Stone Free. They make good reading although 2Stoned is a rehash and expanded version of Stoned. There is a French condensation of both books into one but the translation is laughable as Andrew was much too colloquial for French. Fun to have though if you get a thrill out of mere possession. I’m not exactly guilty but I don’t object. It’s there on my shelf.
While Fred gives an overly long synopsis of Andrew’s life, probably because he needed a little filler and certainly didn’t have what It took to tackle those pallets, Andrew tells his own life better. Fred seems to have based his researches on Andrew’s brief life of Allen as contained in Stone Free. Stone Free might be sub-titled Brief Lives of the Notable Rockers. A great collection and grand background. Fred follows Klein’s Life closely.
Fred’s book was obviously written after Rupert’s: A Prince Among Stones. Published in 2013 but Fred shows no evidence of having read it and he didn’t use it. To read Fred’s account Allen was a greater prince than Rupert even though the facts as we know them read differently.
Allen who was Jewish, was born in 1931 in the city of Newark, New Jersey, a city that has produced several notable Jews including the novelist Philip Roth. Allen’s mother died when he was only a few months old so he never knew her. He briefly lived with his maternal Jewish grandmother but his paternal grandmother objected because his mother’s parents weren’t Jewish enough. His father unable to care for Allen and his sisters placed them in an orphanage. This fact explains much about Allen’s adult attitudes. I was in an orphanage but a municipal orphanage rather than a religious one. Jewish orphanages seem to have been rather cushy places. The groupie Catherine James lived in one that appears to have been a ‘country club.’ Allen’s Newark orphanage (often called Children’s Homes) had only thirty inmates and let me tell you that removes a lot of stress.
Mine had a hundred twenty or thirty most of which were bigger bastards then Allen could have been. The Catholic orphanage down the street that we visited as a group every so often was as close to hell on earth that any kid would want to get. Still orphans are pariahs in the community so I’m sure Allen’s small place left an indelible impression on him.
When he grew up and entered the record business, notable for the quality of its bastards, Allen billed himself as the biggest bastard in the valley. He was undoubtedly at war with everyone including himself.
Once in the record business he saw the easy marks and they were English. The American record people were uncommonly intense bastards while the British were mannerly bastards so someone like Allen, the biggest bastard, pretty much reversed the British Invasion traveling to England and scooping up some impressive bands and artists. I mean, Mickie Most! He was already a legend to anyone who read the record covers.
He cut his teeth on Sam Cooke as the first artist he bilked- that is robbed. Somehow he managed to steal Cooke’s face, that is his whole musical career and hence life, lock, stock and barrel. Sam Cooke died under mysterious circumstances. As might be expected Fred clears Allen of any suspicions accepting the story that a hooker he was with did the deed. Well, maybe, she caught with his pants around his ankles unable to maneuver properly; on the other hand Andrew Oldham who is fairly reliable at calling spades spades says that Cooke was badly beaten and the hooker couldn’t have done that. That doesn’t implicate Allen necessarily, him being in the record business. Sam certainly knew a few bastards, may have been one himself, who could make Allen look like a crass beginner.
Nevertheless Allen got all the goodies bar none and for perpetuity. After having viewed Cooke’s body he was satisfied the hooker did it. Those intellectual properties just keep on paying and paying. Poor Sam. Allen probably could have stopped there but the biggest bastard wanted the biggest bands- the Stones and the Beatles and he did realize that orphan’s dream.
Allen had the typical manager’s attitude toward his clients’ money, pp. 57-58
Theatrical producer, Lawrence Myers, a British business manager and an accountant by training, met Klein several months before Cooke’s death and credited Allen with altering the course of his own career. “Allen taught me something without which I wouldn’t have the lifestyle I do today,” said Myers. “Don’t take twenty percent of an artist’s income- give them eighty percent of yours. The difference between Allen and I is that I actually told them what was going to happen. And Allen certainly didn’t. They found out sometime later.”
Obviously being a ‘business manager’ was a license to steal. If Allen gave all his artists 80% of 20% son Jody has inherited well. As a ‘business manager’ all checks were collected by Allen and once in his pocket were the devil to get out. However after all was said and done, after taxes, fees, expenses and commissions there wasn’t that much left over to be divided five ways. Even if the manager was honest, and few are, he, as an individual was taking a minimum of one fifth. In the case or Colonel Parker and Tony Defries nearly all. There wasn’t that much left over to be divided five ways.
Consider: The tax rate in England for ordinary income was 90%. That means that after all expenses were deducted, perhaps fifty percent or more out of a million, a half million at best might be left over. Ninety percent of half million is four hundred fifty thousand dollars leaving fifty thousand dollars to be split five ways. That is at most ten thousand dollars each. While the Stones minds were confused because they were earning millions and getting peanuts. Didn’t compute in their minds.
So while from 1963 to 1968 if the group earned ten million dollars and that’s a lot of money they were only entitled to a mere good living in after tax dollars. Not flush at all. At the time I don’t think the Stones realized that.
Without knowing the exact amount of money Klein was handling perhaps the Stones were making unreasonable demands for cash. For Klein it was a stroke of good luck when the drug addled Andrew sold him the Stones masters from 1963-71 for what to him was pocket change. Those masters are the basis of what Klein made from the Stones. And it was a legitimate purchase. They have no complaints against Klein on that score as Andrew owned the rights and could sell them to who he chose.
Nevertheless Klein did not deal openly with Jagger and the group so Jagger, by far the businessman of the group, began to look for help elsewhere. A Hippie about town he knew named Chrissie Gibbs had a passing acquaintance with the investment banker Rupert Loewenstein, introduced him to Jagger, then he inexplicably agreed to represent an uncouth rock group of whom he says he had never heard. This is even more remarkable in that the Stones had been arrested and convicted on drug charges in 1967 the year before the staid and respectable Rupert took them on. It was on the front pages with pictures.
Reminded of William Rees-Moggs editorial in the London Times that Rupert had read, he writes in his memoirs that, oh yes, he did remember that but endorsed the conviction entirely. He still agreed to represent them. What do you think of that?
Analyzing a mountain of paperwork Rupert probably came to the conclusion that the Stones’ past was a lost cause and only the future earnings counted. The only hope for big money lay in performing. As the way touring was conducted at the time was less than cost effective Rupert had to reinvent it. He had to eliminate as much of the thieving and inefficiency as possible. This is actually pretty strange.
Why he felt equal to this with absolutely no guarantees is beyond me; according to his memoirs at this time the Stones were not only broke but in debt to the Inland Revenue for more than they could ever hope to pay as matters stood. Well, OK, Rupert was super prescient. You have no idea how criminal the record business is or was at the time. Think about leopards. The business is a shadow of itself today since the internet recreated the single while destroying the LP market.
Rupert was lucky in that Jagger was essentially a performance artist who would make Yoko Oko turn several shades of green. But that is part of the Stones’ story.
Rupert and Klein got into a twenty year legal battle that as the saying goes made the lawyers rich.
However as the Stones left Klein’s stable Allen’s dream of managing the Beatles, at least three of them, came true. Allen got John, Ringo and George while Lee Eastman got McCartney.
Once Klein got the money it was very difficult to get it out of him although he took a sort of paternal interest in the artists. Of course if you are robbing them it is only proper to give then an allowance now and then. Fred goes out of his way to demonstrate, or at least claim, Klein’s honesty, white washing him entirely although as one evidence of dishonesty Klein actually went to jail for a couple of months for failure to report income.
In the record business in order to get their records exposure, companies have to allow for so many demonstration albums- promos or demos as they were called. I owned a small chain of stores back in the day so I would be given sets of albums of a new release for in store play. The promo men had boxes of copies for all the radio stations and other uses. As should be obvious there is a certain play in there to sell demos.
George Harrison, a client of Klein’s put together the charity play, The Concert For Bangladesh. That was a charity release, box set of three records, for relief of the starving of Bangladesh. Any of them starving at the time of the concert were dead by the any money reached Bangladesh. Klein’s deal was that he pressed the records and packaged them, obviously he had the masters, sending the completed copies to the companies for distribution. He then pressed, according to Andrew in Stone Free, literally truckloads of copies that he disposed of as promos. Now these were sixty foot semis were talking about.
The things that happened in the record business is incredible. When the Kiss solo albums were released Neil Bogart of Casablanca seriously overestimated the demand pressing up two million copies of each in advance. Supposedly two truckloads, 200,000 copies, where hi-jacked on I-5 on their way North. As unbelievable as it may sound it was suggested that I was the responsible party. I’m sure those copies were insured.
It was not a crime for Allen to sell the records but, unfortunately, he failed to report the income and that is an IRS offense. Bad, bad.
Andrew offers this take on the situation, Stone Free p. 360:
Allen’s karma finally caught up with him in 1979 when he was convicted on charges of US Federal tax evasion. Klein had sold literally truckloads of albums that were accounted for on the books as “promos” (albums distributed free of charge for radio stations and press for which the label is not obligated to pay artist royalties. His actual felony was pocketing the income from those sales without reporting it to the Internal Revenue service. But Let’s tote up who Klein screwed in the affair, his country, which was entitled to tax him; the Beatles, both collectively and individually…UNICEF…and thousands of starving childre
Perhaps this was a sensitive issue for Jody because Fred carefully steps around the issue claiming a penny ante sharing between himself and his hapless promotion man. The jail sentence says something else.
Actually it got Klein into more hot water than two months for a tax dodging charge. By the time of Bangladesh Klein was one of the most hated men in records by fans. His reputation was just terrible. Calling him a mere crook wouldn’t begin to cover what the fans thought.
A.J. Weberman got wind of the scam. For those who don’t know, Alan J. Weberman was the first ‘garbologist.’ He was so interested in what Bob Dylan was doing he used to collect his garbage from the cans set out on the sidewalks of New York and sort through it carefully. He was trying to prove Dylan was a heroin addict among other things. So, he was a self-styled policeman of the industry.
Having got wind of the sale of the promos, he not only arranged picketing of Klein’s office but actually invaded it. By the time he got through, Klein’s battered reputation was beyond repair. Fred avoids all that even though a great story.
Allen also failed to back Harrison in his lawsuit over his supposed plagiarizing the song He’s So Fine with his song My Sweet Lord.
Andrew Oldham handles that story well in his biography of Allen in Stone Free p. 361:
A falling out with Lennon followed (John would vent many of his feelings towards Klein in his song “Steel and Glass”). but the ultimate betrayal came when Allen sued his own former client, Harrison for copyright infringement. To Allen, this was probably as simple as getting the attention of an artist he felt was off the reservation- a counter-insurgency- if you will. Like so many songs before it, George’s “My Sweet Lord” was patently based on the spiritual “Oh Happy Day”, a song long in the public domain and hence not subject to copyright. Unfortunately, another song derived from “Oh Happy Day”, the Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine’ was protected, prompting the publisher, Bright Tunes, to launch proceedings against Harrison.
Klein, naturally, was enraged, and happily assisted Harrison in preparing his defense. But as his relationship with the former Beatles crumbled, Klein looked for ways of bringing George back in line. He took himself out and purchased Bright Tunes for himself- and kept the lawsuit alive. A degree of justice prevailed as the Judge slammed Klein for switching sides…
That’s a perfect example of the record business. If Harrison had employed the same solution, buying Bright Tunes, Klein would have howled foul. Artists are supposed to function with a different morality. That’s the record business.
The thing is there are no original songs, every song is derived from another or several. I don’t know why the Courts accept the suits. There is no way the Judges can make an informed decision unless they happen to be musicologists.
As Fred obviously read Andrew as above and had other information or could get it from his employer Jody, there is no reason to shield Allen’s terrible reputation. The guy was totally unscrupulous. Probably better than his counterpart Morris Levy of Roulette or Tony Defries who managed David Bowie or the king of con men himself, Colonel Parker who robbed the King himself- Elvis.
To conclude: I can only recommend the book to the dedicated Stones or Beatles enthusiast. There is no depth or breadth to the book. Allen’s roster of clients, most of whom are still living do not seen to have been interviewed by Fred. He doesn’t even seem to have talked to Andrew who knew and was intimate with Allen the longest. Heck, Fred didn’t even bother to interview his own employer, Jody Klein.
I mean Jody must have had something to say about his father. Even the pictures ae somewhat limited. Fred could have gotten a picture of the orphanage that created the ‘biggest bastard in the valley.’ Allen’s whole career can be placed in the context of his life in the orphanage. Four years old to nine, whew!- the most formative years of a boy’s life.
I was in from eight to ten and that was bad enough. You learn a lot about bastards in the orphanage so when Allen Klein bills himself as the biggest bastard in the valley he is saying a little more than something.
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.