Friday, November 23, 2007

Anatomy of a ‘Riot’

Anatomy of a ‘Riot’
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Photo Courtesy Domenic Priore
~ Revelation: Love guitarist Johnny Echols at the Hullabaloo in 1966 ~

I’m going down to the Strip tonight
I’m not on a stay-home trip tonight
Long hair seems to be the main attraction
But the heat is causing all the action …

–The Standells, “Riot on Sunset Strip”

That was the scene in November 1966, as police cracked down on teenagers protesting draconian enforcement of a curfew intended to keep them off the Sunset Strip. Along this magical stretch between Crescent Heights and Doheny, kids had thronged clubs like the Whisky a Go Go, Ciro’s, the Trip, and Pandora’s Box for nearly two years – mingling, dancing, and watching the Byrds, the Doors, Love, Buffalo Springfield, the Standells, and many other eventually iconic rock bands. It was a vibrant creative interlude that, as author Domenic Priore writes in his new book Riot on Sunset Strip (Jawbone Press, paper, $29.95), “has given our world immeasureable color and contributed to much positive social change.”

But, as conveyed by the brash guitar lead and howling sirens on the Standells’ theme to 1967 teensploitation flick Riot on Sunset Strip, the thrill of the new soon clashed with the will of the old. And, despite youth outrage and even parental objections, baton-wielding sheriff’s deputies quickly put a stop to the freewheeling fun.

Priore’s book – including a foreword by the late, great Arthur Lee of Love – arrives just as the popcult cuckoo clock heralds the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love. (Gee, seems like just yesterday it was the 30th anniversary of the Summer of Love.) These repetitive milestones are tiresome, but the ’60s remain a fabled era of innovation and evolution. After all, back then a former Mouseketeer – namely, Standells singer-drummer Dick Dodd – could grow up to become a cool, socially conscious garage-rocker instead of an empty-headed product à la Britney, Justin, and Xtina. Riot reminds us that, in those days, teen culture was the tail that wagged the capitalist running-dogs, and not the other way around.

But mostly, the book demonstrates that Los Angeles was a virtually unparalleled ’60s crucible for the underground fusion of music, visual arts, and activism that flowered in mainstream culture during the Summer of Love. Priore conveys the excitement, as well as the turmoil, of change. Still, Riot has a pervasive sense of doom.

“I see this story as a tragedy,” says Priore, a longtime acquaintance who, full disclosure, includes me among the book’s long list of “those who helped” (although I’m not sure why). “And I think the most dismaying thing is how people perceive [that time] now: San Francisco was the god city, and Manson was what L.A. was about. I am hoping the book might change some of those opinions.”

An obsessive pop-culture historian whose 1995 Look! Listen! Vibrate! Smile! remains the definitive book about the Beach Boys’ legendary lost album Smile, Priore scoured old copies of the L.A. Free Press, culled info from liner notes, and tracked down vintage photos to create a vivid sense of time and place. His fascination with minutiae can be head-spinning, but the details make Riot a compelling exploration of the historical, political, racial, and cultural contexts affecting the Strip, and L.A. itself, as far back as the 1920s.

“It’s hard to capture the essence of a scene as a whole,” says the L.A. native, and that’s an understatement. He was only five in 1965 but caught occasional fleeting glimpses of the Strip from the family car, as well as hearing about it from older siblings who were there. He also saw many Strip bands on Shindig!, Hollywood a Go Go, and numerous other L.A.-based rock TV shows of the day. These memories fueled his curiosity about how this impromptu movement arose, and he works hard to show how various discrete local scenes – Chicano rock, Venice beats, rockabilly, surf, folk, R&B, as well as art movements, comedy, and film – crossed paths and cross-pollinated with the Strip scene, which was also fed by and in turn influenced such American heroes as Bob Dylan and British stars as the Rolling Stones.

The demise of it all is tragic indeed, but the “Aftermath” chapter may be more depressing, delineating how much the Strip has changed. When you look at the old photographs of the street, you can recognize the outline of what’s still there. But when you actually travel down the boulevard, no trace of those days remains.

Domenic Priore, with special guests Michael Stuart-Ware (former Love drummer) and Jim Lowe and Mark Tulin (of the Electric Prunes), appear at Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, on Thur., July 12, at 7 p.m. (310) 659-3110 or


Friday, November 09, 2007

NOW isn't this spirit lifting?

The interview below has been kicking around the edges for awhile and having at last secured it to the floor, I just felt it was so lonely and dark and unsuitable; didn't FEEL and with Arthur always "keep on the sunny side," ya know,and if it's a tuffy "mind over matter" so I just brought this beauty to accompany the groovy interview down yonder. enjoy.
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Bowery Ballroom New York USA August 10, 2002
Photos by Gary Brant

Arthur Lee Interview

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thanks to torben
Arthur Lee Interview from
Rockmusic ru Magazine
December 2003

Arthur Lee: "I am blessed enough to know who I am"
Arthur Lee is the strange and contradictory persona. His band Love albums became classics no less than The Beatles´ "Sgt.Pepper´s Lonely Hearts Club Band" or "Piper at the Gates of Down" Pink Floyd.
Love was the first LA underground band to sign with the major label - Elektra: dark-skinned frontman, dressed in camouflage, leather jeans, one military boot and with a bottle in his hands, screaming wild and twitching onstage - he knew, how to make the impression. But on the peak of success Arthur Lee have decided, that touring is unnecessary - and Elekta boss Jack Holtzman hired Love imitators, The Doors, - and everyone knows, what happens afterwards. In 1969, after the most successful album "Forever Changes", Lee suddenly disbands Love and recruits absolutely new musicians.
He is all that - contradictorous, rebel-by-the-cause, even if the cause is he himself. Distant echoes of his ideas, his songs are everywhere in modern music, from pop to trip-hop to radical punk. As Bruce Botnick, sound engineer who recorded Love in 60s, said: "Hit parades of the 90s were overflowed by Arthur´s ideas of the 60s".
In 1995 Arthur Lee was imprisoned for 12 years for gun usage (Lee said, accusation was unjust). The campaign was organized for his discharge, where I did what I could (we have organized a concert here for Arthur Lee freedom). The goal was achieved, and in 2001 Arthur Lee was set free. He re-banded Love, and the new concert album and DVD "Forever Changes In Concert" was released.
I have contacted Arthur Lee and ask him some questions."

Q: J. Andrey Manoukhin for Rockmusic.Ru

A: Arthur Lee of Love

Q: In our country of 70-years totalitarism music of Love was absolutely prohibited, for listening it you could have been fired or even imprisoned for a half of month. Listening music of Love was such an exploit here. And Arthur Lee himself was like The Statue of Freedom. To think of THE man, who invented virtually all modern music, to have his breakfast or ironing his shirt, was a blasphemy. And how do you think, the living man Arthur Lee - who is he?

A. I am blessed enough to know who I am.

Q: The world has radically changed in this almost 40 years. Now, years later, you calmed down or still rebelling, in heart if not in words? And do world now needs The Man in One Boot?

A. Has the world changed now from what you thought I was rebelling about?

Q: You called yourselves Love - and were so wild and sometimes dangerous, that Peter Albin of Big Brother & The Holding Co. once said: "They should call themselves Hate". Don't you think you were too aggressive to be Love?

A. I think the guy from Big Brother has a mental problem at the time. I wonder how he is doing now.

Q: Your most successful albums, Da Capo and Forever Changes, both were released in 1967, year of Summer of Love. But you weren't the heroes of Summer of Love. You haven't even performed not one of big festivals of hippie era. Why? Was it, maybe, because of hippie ideology or something else?

A. I never was much for those non profit organisations. But I was one of the first black hippies.

Q: Some called Iggy Pop godfather of punk, some called Lou Reed. Haven't you ever wanted to state your own fathership? You deserve it.

A. I thought 7&7 Is was the first Punk record.

Q: Robby Krieger of Doors wanted to be as good as Love. You were both on Elektra, have same producer. But both now and in late 60s Doors were more popular, then you are, even if less interesting. What do you think of the situation?

A. I think it should be known that I was the one who helped the Doors get signed to Elektra Records.

Q: In early 60s you worked with another icon, Jimi Hendrix, and later recorded together. What do you think of him? Is that true, that you recorded not the only song, but the whole album together?

A. The first time Jimi Hendrix played in a recording studio was on one of my songs called MY DIARY. Read my book (when it comes out) and you'll find out what else I think of Jimi Hendrix.

Q: Now you are releasing Forever Changes In Concert both in CD and DVD formats. For me, it is the "must have" thing. But what do you want to say? And why now? And DVD - do you think it would be SO interesting, that people would not only listen, but watch you doing music onstage after all this years?

A. Buy and see yourself.

Q: Music of Love is loved for many people, and many of them are musicians, too. Notably, Robert Plant did House Is Not A Motel on his latest Song To The Siren album. Do you like cover versions of your songs, particularly his?

A. Although I've never heard his version, I think Robert Plant is a fine singer, a trend setter and a gentleman.

Q: What cover versions would you like to play, if it'll be the ocasion?

A. Mazzay Star, I guess Five String Serenade.

Q: You've created base for most of modern music scene. Who of current musicians could be creator for 30 years forward scene? Or you have successfully returned to fill that space?

A. I don't know anyone who can do what Im doing now

Q: You were and are a superstar, your name is in every rock encyclopaedia. What it is - to be a star?

A. I can't do nothing without the Grace of God.

Q: What do you believe in now?

A. God.
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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

MY FLASH ON YOU slide show

Slide show of Arthur Lee and band members of Love. The music is My Flash on You

WHO WROTE MY DIARY? decide for yourself



Lee wrote the great soul song My Diary for Rosa Lee Brooks, and this was one of Jimi Hendrix's first recording sessions. Lee also wrote I've Been Trying for Little Ray.

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Released in USA
Titles: My Diary / Utee - 7" single
My Diary - (Arthur Lee)
Utee - (Rosa Lee Brooks, Billy Revis)
Producer: Billy Revis
Release date: 1965
Label: Revis Records
Catalog number: 1013
Matrix A: RR-1013-A
Matrix B: RR-1013-B

Exists in 2 different versions:
- Stock copy (red & black label)
- With text: "Promotional Not For Sale" (red & white label)


Rosa Lee Brook's only claim to fame seems to be the 45 with Hendrix on guitar. Currently I'm aware of just one other recording that might feature her vocals. Rosa Lee still lives and performs in Los Angeles. According to her not only did Hendrix play on "My Diary" and "Utee", in addition they also had a relationship during Hendrix's stay in Los Angeles.

Hendrix himself never mentioned the Rosa Lee Brooks single, but both Arthur Lee of Love (who composed "My Diary") and Rosa Lee Brooks have stated that he played guitar on the session. Arthur Lee says that he met Jimi Hendrix when Billy Revis recommended him as someone who could play in the style of Curtis Mayfield.

The Big Takeover > news
Forever Changing: R.I.P. Arthur Lee (Love), 1945-2006
by Greg Bartalos
9 August 2006

And Arthur wasted no time in making his mark. At 18, he had his first known recording under his belt, as part of THE LAGS. Around this time Arthur composed “My Diary,” which was performed by ROSA LEE BROOKS, and featured a then little-known guitarist named JIMI HENDRIX (possibly his first officially-released recorded output).


Arthur Lee (1945-2006)
The mastermind behind pioneering psychedelic-pop outfit Love succumbs to leukemia at age sixty-one

JAMES SULLIVANPosted Aug 04, 2006 9:58 AM

Arthur Lee Porter was born in Memphis on May 7th, 1945. His family moved to Los Angeles when he was a child. By his teen years, he was forming local bands. One of them, Arthur Lee and the LAGs (named in tribute to Booker T and the MGs), recorded an instrumental single for Capitol Records in 1963. The following year, Lee engineered what was perhaps Hendrix's first studio session, hiring the young guitarist to play on "My Diary," a song Lee wrote and produced for R&B singer Rosa Lee Brooks.


ARTHUR LEE by Barney Hoskyns

Page 5
Rosa Lee Brooks's My Diary, a cracking little soul single he produced way back in 1964, and which features (so he claims) the very first session ever played ...
Page 16
Lee wrote and produced the aforementioned My Diary, hiring recently- fired Little Richard sideman James Marshall Hendrix to play on it after seeing him back ...
Page 33
(Message To Pretty, like My Diary before it, was about Lee's "first love" Anita, whose parents didn't want her consorting with such an obvious bad apple. ...


Aug 4 2006 1:45 PM EDT
Love Frontman Arthur Lee, Psychedelic Pioneer, Dies At 61
Talented, troubled singer/songwriter succumbs to leukemia.
By James Montgomery, with additional reporting by Jem Aswad

Lee, a native of Memphis, moved to Los Angeles in the early 1960s to work as a session musician and songwriter: One of his earliest compositions, "My Diary," was recorded by R&B chanteuse Rosa Lee Brooks, and the sessions featured a young Jimi Hendrix on electric guitar (Lee and Hendrix would later collaborate again, with one song called "The Everlasting First" appearing on Love's 1970 album Fals Start.


Spectropop remembers

ARTHUR LEE (1945 - 2006)

In 1963, they signed a one-off deal with Capitol Records and issued 'The Ninth Wave'/'Rumble-Still-Skins', two surf instrumentals. When they disbanded, Lee formed a new band called the American Four with the guitarist Johnny Echols. In 1964, they cut one single, 'Luci Baines', and Lee began showing promise as a producer and arranger with Li'L Ray and Ronnie and the Pomona Casuals. He worked with the young Jimi Hendrix on 'My Diary' by Rosa Lee Brooks and was impressed by the guitarist's musical ability and freaky afro.


MDb: Movies, TV, Celebs

Gave Jimi Hendrix his first paying gig. Lee produced a song for a woman named Rosa Lee Brooks titled "My Diary" in which Hendrix was hired to play guitar. The two would not cross paths again until a few years later.


In 1964 he forayed into R & B by writing a song, and local hit, for Rosa Lee Brooks, "My Diary," recorded for Revis. Most interestingly, it featured a very young Jimi Hendrix guitar accompaniment! (Jimi would later play guitar on the Love LP title cut, "Everlasting First" in early 1971.) Producer Bob Keene, who was associated with Donna, Selma, and Atco, used some of his tunes, like "I've Been Trying" for Little Ray, and wrote for his vocal part "Luci Baines" for the American Four. He became the composer and lead singer for a club band, Ronnie and the Pomona Casuals, with his contributions to the "jerk" dance craze/phase, the "Everybody Jerk," and "Slow Jerk."


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See any date on this proposed contract? I don't.












NOV 8TH @ 7:30PST. 9:30 EST.