Friday, September 15, 2006

50TH LONDON FILM FESTIVAL

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Love Story
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In 2002, Labour backbencher Peter Bradley entered a motion in the House of Commons, declaring 'That this house pays tribute to the legendary Arthur Lee... front man and inspiration of Love, the world's greatest rock band and creators of Forever Changes, the greatest album of all time.' Though many would be entitled to question the credibility of the source, few who love rock music could argue with the sentiment. First time filmmakers and fans Hall and Kerry celebrate Love's music, seeking to tell the story of the striking, multi-racial LA phenomenon, together at a time of extreme racial tension in the USA, by focusing on their first three classic albums, culminating in the timeless masterpiece that is Forever Changes. There are interviews with band members, including charming Johnny Echols and eccentric drummer Alban 'Snoopy' Pfisterer, along with archive footage of the late Brian MacLean, and telling contributions from Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman, all providing insight into the creative chemistry of the band. Inevitably, it is the touching interviews with Arthur that provide the focus of the film. He passed away as the film was being completed, and, sadly, it now stands as a fitting eulogy to the man and his genius.
Michael Hayden
Cast and Credits:
Directed by Mike Kerry, Chris Hall
Country UK
Year of Production 2006
Running Time 110 minutes


REVIEW OF LOVE STORY

‘Love Story’ - The Ritzy Brixton (BFI 50th London Film Festival) - 29th October 2006.

Review by Andy Riggs

As part of the BFI London Film Festival there have been two showings of a new documentary about the life of Arthur Lee and Love (mainly covering the years 1965-1967). First time filmmakers and fans Mike Kerry & Chris Hall have produced a gem of a film seeking to tell the story of the enigmatic, combustible, multi-racial LA phenomenon that was Love. Mike & Chris spent several years trying to get access to Arthur Lee and the surviving members of the band in addition to Jac Holzman & Bruce Botnick.

Arthur Lee passed away in August of this year and this superb documentary raises as many questions as it does answers, to the enigma that was Love in the halcyon days of mid 60s of LA. Unlike many cult figures that were around with Love such as Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix & Janis Joplin, Arthur survived the self-inflicted drug onslaught.

The film is a revelation, when the group first formed there was resistance about having two black musicians, and for the cover of Forever Changes there was an artist’s drawing of the group which avoided the fact that this was one the first mixed race ‘pop groups’.

There are some terrific home photos of Arthur, his great adversary in the band Bryan MacLean & surviving member Johnny Echols in addition to live footage from 1965. Arthur’s competition with Bryan led to many conflicts within the group – and it was clear that the band should have been called Arthur Lee & Love. When they first signed up with Elecktra records the $5,000 dollars signing on fee was paid in cash to Arthur, Jac Holzman recalled that Arthur immediately went out and purchased a two-seater Corvette costing $4,500 – the balance was shared out amongst the rest of the band. Jac Holzman recalled with some emotion driving through LA and hearing Love’s brilliant rendition of ‘My Little Red Book’ on the radio (it became their highest chart entry). You can see the writing the wall as success brought the cash and the ‘hangers on’.

The conflict between the two leading songwriters Bryan & Arthur contributed to the split in the original line up, with Arthur looking to create music with a ‘message’ and Bryan concentrating on the more melodic side with Softy To Me, Orange Skies, Alone Again Or & Old Man under his belt Arthur obviously felt threatened.

The film concentrated on their first three releases, which rank as some of the best music of the sixties, even allowing for the rather eccentric and experimental 18 minute jam on Da Capo. In addition, the film elaborated on the role of the Elektra team and how Love introduced The Doors to Elektra (John Densmore was interviewed). The Doors debut was released in 1967 and stole the thunder from the peerless Love record of the same year Forever Changes. As we all know Love’s career high was Forever Changes, refusing to tour outside of LA combined with Elektra’s apparent decision to promote The Doors instead of Love contributed to the lack of sales and the demise of the original line up.

Arthur is interviewed driving through LA, and it’s very clear Arthur had his own take on the Love Story, he comes across as shy, introverted, egoistical but hugely charismatic. There is a terrific segment from 2004/5 where Arthur wanders through the legendary Bela Lugosi Castle where Love held court after the release of their first two records.

The film features music from all three records and allows the story to unfold. Lasting almost 2 hours the film never treads water, each interview peels back the layers of this legendary group whose story has never really been told.

After the show the two directors & original member Johnny Echols answered questions for about twenty minutes. The directors aim to get distribution in the UK and US – let’s hope they get the DVD issued before Oliver Stone decides to make a film about Arthur with Will Smith as the lead!

When I got home I played Forever Changes all the way through, testament to this terrific film and enduring hold that his music has on many of us, and the enigma that was Arthur Lee.

Arthur Lee R.I.P.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

YOU'RE THE PRETTIEST SONG

LUMONICS created this for me click title and see their work
photo: Mike Fornatale ?93?
vest: moi 89

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

WONDER PEOPLE (I DO WONDER)

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COMMENTARY and SONGS on Arthur Historically

YOU MUST CLICK TITLE

Janice Long BBC2 Interview 2004 CLICK HERE

Requires Real Player is 27 minutes and some.

MOJO AWARDS 2004 Arthur receives LIVING LEGEND

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photos copyright ross halfin
June 22, 2004
The Mojo awards. It looks very different from yesterday. The ceiling's been lit, it's a giant Rubens mural (I only know this 'cos Mick Jones of the Clash pointed it out in his speech). A very nice vibe. I still have to do the shot in the library. Set it up and watch the awards with Jimmy Page on his table. He's also got his daughter Scarlet and son James with him, plus his bodyguard Wilf (this is a joke).

Pathetically the only person in the building with one is Morrissey and an entourage of Sanctuary minions who follow him looking at the floor. He gets an award, says one word and leaves with his disciple's. Phil Alexander (editor) is furious, "I'm gonna ask for it back! I didn't realise we were giving out the cunt award today"... Everyone I thought would be difficult were easy, James Brown (I had to call him Mr Brown), Sting, Roger Daltry, Arthur Lee, Marian Faithfull, Delroy Wilson etc... eeeeeasy. They did whatever I asked. Sting even asked to take a picture of me with my camera. The RHC Peppers were in awe, John (the guitarist) was visibly shaking as he read out a speech about Jimmy Page. Enjoyed it, must go to more events like this.

Arthur Lee Dies NME.COM boards CLICK TITLE

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Live Review: Robert Plant, Ryan Adams Do It For Love at Arthur Lee Benefit Concert

ROLLING STONE

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingPhotobucket - Video and Image HostingRobert Plant ended his headlining hour at “We’re Doing It for Love” – a benefit for Arthur Lee, the ailing singer-songwriter of the pioneering Los Angeles band Love, at New York’s Beacon Theater on June 23rd – with “Ramble On” from Led Zeppelin II. It was a perfect finale, a thrilling folk-rock gallop with Plant singing of those “days of old, when magic filled the air” with the same excited, forward motion he heard as a teenager in Love’s classic mid- and late-Sixties albums. Most of the acts on the bill played at least one Love or Lee song: Nils Lofgren (pictured) put Stratocaster electricity into the flamenco diamond “Alone Again Or,” from 1968’s Forever Changes. Garland Jeffreys sang “My Little Red Book” acapella, reading the lyrics from – what else? – a little red book. Yo La Tengo flashed their encyclopedic-geek credentials by pulling out “Luci Baines,” an homage to then-President Lyndon Johnson’s daughter, written and recorded by Lee in 1964 with his pre-Love band the American Four. (“Written” is stretching it; the song was “Twist and Shout” with new lyrics.)
But Plant – working with a band of New York-based players, on two days’ rehearsal – truly came for the love of Lee (who is battling leukemia in a Memphis hospital and has no medical insurance). Plant mixed psychedelicized Zeppelin (“In the Evening,” “What Is and What Shall Never Be”) with a genuine-fans’ selection of vintage Love, including the delicate Forever Changes ballad “The Old Man” (Plant acknowledged its writer, Love’s late, often overlooked guitarist Bryan MacLean) and a Zeppelin-ized reimagining of “Seven and Seven Is” from 1967’s Da Capo (with a surprise tease of Neil Young’s “Cowgirl in the Sand”). Plant gave extra credit where credit was due by bringing original Love guitarist Johnny Echols out to reprise his leads on “A House Is Not a Motel” and “Bummer in the Summer.” But Plant is a catholic classicist. He followed a dynamic march through Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” with a rowdy duet with Mott The Hoople’s Ian Hunter, also on the show – the pair of them making like a heavy-glam Everly Brothers on “When Will I Be Loved.” Plant also showed off his big love of Elvis Presley with a startling, credible croon through “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.”
There were some false notes on the long way (four hours) to Plant’s midnight set. Flashy Python and the Body Snatchers – a mix of members from Dr. Dog and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, with a bad-Sixties name – sounded like an under-rehearsed side project. Ryan Adams and the Cardinals played raw, hard urban-prairie rock: fine in itself but out of joint with the evening’s context. And singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw, apparently shoehorned onto the bill for no other reason than he was in town that day, was a prolonged irritant, mangling Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” with exaggerated faux-soul. If he’d been there, Lee, legendary for his cantankerous manner and dictatorial quality control, would surely have kicked DeGraw off the stage in mid-woah.
But the late payoffs – Lofgren’s long guitar-solo revel in Bruce Springsteen’s “Because the Night”; Hunter’s serving of classic Mott – were worth the wait. And Plant’s dedication to the occasion, in performance and song selection, affirmed why Lee is an artist worth celebrating and aiding. Near the end of his version of “Hey Joe,” Plant took a detour into “Nature Boy,” the pastoral ballad made famous by Nat King Cole, repeating the last lines like both prayer and hurrah: “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn/Is just to love and be loved in return.”
The best way to do that is while Lee is still here. For donation information and updates on Lee’s condition, go to thelovesociety.com.

[robert plant photo: http://www.bpfallon.com]

-- David Fricke

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Mashuganish Yogi | 8/4/2006, 8:45 pm EST

I was here, there, & everywhere that night. As proprietor of the Naked Luncheonette, I jus’ want to say thanks to Mistuh Lee. He certainly served up a delicious confection of aural candy at the Beacon which was channeled by many wonderful musicians and performers. We grooved to Arthur’s LOVE songs. All involved sang with sincerity and enthusiasm including the audience. Everybody’s gotta live and everybody’s gotta die. But in between… everybody has gotta embrace LOVE. R.I.P. Mistuh Lee.

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ED FADDE' LONG ISLAND | 7/21/2006, 7:15 pm EST

To have attended a show for Arthur Lee was one of the best things I have done in years. To know that his music is still appreciated by so many of his real fans (I’m 61)and so many Legends of Rock brought me way back that night. “Forever Changes & his “Greatest Hits” lives in my car CD player.

A speedy recovery & Best Wishes from one who you, Arthur, has given me years of listening pleasure. You are a musical artist to the max.

Long Live Arthur & Love

cheryl Victoria,b.c. | 7/15/2006, 12:05 am EST

I recently had the pleasure of seeing Robert and the strange sensation.Robert rocked and soothed my soul to it’s deepest! I’m still orgasmic!I could only Imagine the magical love that filled the air at the Arthur Lee benifit . I’m sure Robert was and always will be filling the air great love!!!!!!!!!

T Bear.. Jacksonville, FL | 7/8/2006, 12:09 am EST

Arthur Lee unfortunately is one of the most overlooked musical genious’s of the 20th century. I can’t begin to say how much his mucic has mean’t to me in my life. May God Bless him, and take special care of him through his ordeal. “In the morning we arise and start the day the same old way”
Bless you Arthur.

Anonymous | 7/2/2006, 8:46 pm EST

I was at the show and besides the cumbersome set changes the show was just wonderful. Robert radiated true concern for Mr. Lee and the audience from the beginning of the show was there for the Love. Robert’s performance was perfect. From the set list to the arrangements. I also thought Gavin Degraw was good. Not polished, but has the basics for a good blues singer. Ian Hunter rocked, could have used some more of Nils Lofgen. Ryan Admas and The Cardinals were not on the best of their game. Good time had by all and what a wonderful venue.

back2life | 7/1/2006, 5:45 pm EST

What a thrill it was to see Johnny Echols, the absolutely fantastic original guitarist and still Arthur’s brother after all these decades. Echols and Plant really rocked together. Thanks so much for including this long overlooked legend!

peggy coleman | 6/30/2006, 2:22 am EST

What a gift Robert has given over the years, my heart has always been so very grateful and humbled by the music I have had the honor of listening to for thirty five+ years. Zeppelin and Robert have and will always rock me to the depths of my soul. He is now showing truly the all encomposing giving and loving nature that is Robert Plant…he is not only ,in my opinion , one of if not “the most talented” musicians of all time, but also a wonderful man..

Reva | 6/27/2006, 9:35 pm EST

I just have to say that I was at the show and thought Gavin Degraw was fantastic. Most of the audience, at least from where I was sitting in the mid-back of the orchestra, gave him a well deserved standing ovation. He is incredibly talented, and, while much younger and a newcomer compared to the other performers, definitely held his own.

Darius Maximus | 6/26/2006, 9:46 pm EST

You forgot to mention the knock out performance of DJ BP Fallon in between the sets. I thought he kept up the atmosphere very nicely with his mixture of music by Love & their contemporaries and current music by Primal Scream & their immediate forbearers The Jesus And Mary Chain.

yours,

Darius

KIM SOLI, PHILADELPHIA | 6/26/2006, 6:10 pm EST

In my opinion, ROBERT PLANT, is still one of, “ROCK’S INFULENCIAL VOCALIST, OF ALL TIME.” Whith his love, LEE SHOULD RECOVER IN NO TIME.

MAY GOD ALIEVATE LEE, AND MAY ROBERT, LIFT HIS SOUL, TO THE MAX!