Forever Changes

Michael Stuart-Ware (drummer on LoVE's classic albums Da Capo and Forever Changes) and Johnny Echols (lead guitarist and co-founder of LoVE) have joined us here on the Forum to answer your questions about their time with LoVE.At this moment they are not active as members and are not answering questions but I'm proud to have them both aboard at The Freedom Man Forum!

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Johnny Echols
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Post by Johnny Echols »

The "scat" singing was definitely planned. I developed my guitar parts,and eventual solo, with the knowledge that Arthur would be doubling either me or a trumpet. David decided to have the brass mirror my guitar parts, so the trumpet ended up being doubled. JE.
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Post by BallroomDays67 »

Was there an initial sequencing of the tracks by the band, or was it completely at the hands of Jac Holzman? What do you think of the sequencing? Would either of you have changed it at all?
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Post by Johnny Echols »

That was done by the mastering engineer, Paul Rothschild. I like his choices!! JE.
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Post by BallroomDays67 »

According to the Collector's Edition booklet, Holzman has claimed responsibility for the sequencing, and said that Arthur didn't like it. It's hard for me to imagine it any other way. I guess that's natural when you've listened to an album so many times.
Last edited by BallroomDays67 on Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Johnny Echols »

Jac Holtzman claims credit for many, many things. Most of which, he had minimal, or no involvement. I think because he was president of Elektra, he felt he deserved recognition for anything that happened on his watch. JE.
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rothchild

Post by jamestkirk »

It seems that Botnik was not a Love favorite...and that Rothchild had more empathy for Love's sound....according to what we have read. But there is no denying that Forever Changes is a high watermark...the highest; with credits going to Botnik!

Was Rothchild involved at all on FC?... it lists Botnik for all the production, with Jac "supervising", & David Angel as arranger---Jac said he placed the tracks in the order they are in...I can't find your previous post on that.
Of the three, it seems that David Angel was most responsible for the "sound" on FC...

Michael & Johnny--Your thoughts please?!
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Re: rothchild

Post by Johnny Echols »

jamestkirk wrote:It seems that Botnik was not a Love favorite...and that Rothchild had more empathy for Love's sound....according to what we have read. But there is no denying that Forever Changes is a high watermark...the highest; with credits going to Botnik!

Was Rothchild involved at all on FC?... it lists Botnik for all the production, with Jac "supervising", & David Angel as arranger---Jac said he placed the tracks in the order they are in...I can't find your previous post on that.
Of the three, it seems that David Angel was most responsible for the "sound" on FC...

Michael & Johnny--Your thoughts please?!
Of course Arthur Lee receives, and deserves the lions share of credit for Forever Changes. Without his poignant, and riveting lyrics, combined with his relentless, and excellent stewardship, there would have been no record. Add [all] of the group members, each of whom.... though fighting their own personal demons. Stepped outside themselves, too experiment, invent, create, and play, music that was absolutely essential to the creation of this record.

Next there is David Angel, who really listened to the tracks, and developed brass, and string parts, that fit seamlessly into the music already played by the group. He also presented ideas, that brought out the best of each song, especially Alone again, and Old man.

And then we have Paul Rothschild, who took a hodgepodge of tapes, recorded under less than ideal circumstances. He mastered them, sequenced them, and turned them into an album of songs that have become timeless.

Finally we have Bruce Botnick and Jac Holtzman. From my perspective Bruce was more of a hindrance, than a "producer". He didn't understand the project from the beginning, and most, if not all of the technical problems, can be traced directly to him. Arthur felt the same way, and expressed his feelings most eloquently in his book. Too bad the lawyers had the last word. As for Jac Holtzman, he owned Elektra records. "Nuff said!"

The fascinating thing here, is [all] of the players, and all of the drama, conspired with serendipity, to create this Magnum Opus. The Masterpiece that is Forever Changes. In this instance the Whole, is by far greater than the sum of the parts. JE.

Postscript: On further consideration, Jac Holtzman may have been involved in the sequencing of Forever Changes. Since it was done in New York, and I wasn't there, it is only fair that I take him at his word! JE.
Last edited by Johnny Echols on Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by The Freedom Man »

who decided with "The Good Humor Man" to let the song end the way it does?
Whenever somebody new to the LP hears it they always ask me about it.I always say it's an "artistic" mix but I am curious why it is mixed like that.
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Post by Johnny Echols »

The Freedom Man wrote:who decided with "The Good Humor Man" to let the song end the way it does?
Whenever somebody new to the LP hears it they always ask me about it.I always say it's an "artistic" mix but I am curious why it is mixed like that.

That was one of the technical problems I mentioned. On that particular mix, there were serious drop-outs on the tape. They could have chosen to go back and remix, or try and "finesse" the one that sounded better as a whole. Bruce decided to manipulate the track. At the time, I didn't like it, I thought it sounded contrived, and affected. But over time, I've come to believe it reflected the philosophy of the times. JE.
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Post by BallroomDays67 »

Was there a certain period of time in which you noticed that FC’s popularity and reputation really began to build momentum? If so, is there any particular catalyst that you can see as having caused that to happen. Otherwise, do you see it as having built up steadily since the time it was released?
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Post by Johnny Echols »

BallroomDays67 wrote:Was there a certain period of time in which you noticed that FC’s popularity and reputation really began to build momentum? If so, is there any particular catalyst that you can see as having caused that to happen. Otherwise, do you see it as having built up steadily since the time it was released?

Actually my royalty statements were pretty predictable throughout the seventies and eighties. Though the mid nineties saw a decent spike, after the release of the Love box set. But I'm sad to say, it was Arthur going to prison that caused sales to go way up, they've leveled off a bit, but remain quite good :D JE.
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Post by jamestkirk »

It is interesting, Johnny, that Rothchild gets no credit for anything on the jacket of FC considering his important contribution......
"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music".

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Post by Johnny Echols »

jamestkirk wrote:It is interesting, Johnny, that Rothchild gets no credit for anything on the jacket of FC considering his important contribution......
I'm not sure what was happening with Paul and Jac at that time. I kept a room at the Landmark motel, and so did Rothschild. We often sat around the pool and chatted. We discussed his work on Forever Changes... back in New York. And he would tell me how screwed-up the tapes were, and how much work it took to fix them. I do know that without him, the record wouldn't sound as good as it does.

Back then mastering engineers, were not nearly the "superstars" they are today. They were paid for the gig, just as studio musicians were. Most recordings made nowadays, are done in project studios, or at home. So the mastering engineer is indispensable, in making it sound like a record.

For those who don't know what a "mastering engineer" does I'll give you a brief description. They are the ones who sequence the songs (determining their order) and remove any noise, leftover from the mixdown. They do the fade ins, and fade outs, add equalization, compression, and sometimes a bit of reverb. These invaluable artists, are the ones who make recordings that are produced at different studios, sound as if they were done in the same space. They are usually the last chance one has to "fix it" before it goes out to be made into records. JE.
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"You Set the Scene"

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You mentioned in another thread that "You Set the Scene" incorporates three separate unfinished songs. I hadn't expected that to be the case, as it was done seamlessly. Prior to Ken's contribution, what was the status of those songs? Had they been discarded, or were they still being worked on individually? What were the circumstances behind their being combined into a single song?
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Re: "You Set the Scene"

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BallroomDays67 wrote:You mentioned in another thread that "You Set the Scene" incorporates three separate unfinished songs. I hadn't expected that to be the case, as it was done seamlessly. Prior to Ken's contribution, what was the status of those songs? Had they been discarded, or were they still being worked on individually? What were the circumstances behind their being combined into a single song?
Those songs, were like several we began, that didn't go anywhere. Without someone, (in this case Kenny Forssi) working on them, they would have gone nowhere. Kenny didn't write any of them, he just combined, or arranged songs Arthur had started. I always maintained he should have received some kind of recognition, but for whatever reason, he chose not to pursue it. Music is a cut-throat business, if you don't demand what you believe is yours, you have no one to blame, except the man in the mirror. JE.
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Post by BallroomDays67 »

Did you participate in the selection of outtakes for the "Forever Changes: Collector's Edition" CD set? Do you know approximately how much more there is that hasn't been lost?
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Post by Johnny Echols »

BallroomDays67 wrote:Did you participate in the selection of outtakes for the "Forever Changes: Collector's Edition" CD set? Do you know approximately how much more there is that hasn't been lost?
I was in constant communication with Andrew Sandoval, throughout the production of the "Collector's Edition". Missing are slightly different versions of most of the songs, plus various out-takes. We are also left without the banter, the give and take between group members. Then we have two instrumentals, that I wrote, that were almost finished. One was a jazz tune called "Search for the Fatherland". I could not play a decent guitar solo, even when doing take, after take. It just wasn't there. I felt so embarrassed, when Hal Blaine and Don Randi kept trying to encourage me to "play". The other song was called "Booker T". a soulful, up-beat instrumental, that was just never finished. I would have loved to have had the opportunity, to go in the studio, and finish those songs. JE.
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Post by BallroomDays67 »

Wow. Is there any chance that those songs will be a part of the Gethsemane project?
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Post by Johnny Echols »

BallroomDays67 wrote:Wow. Is there any chance that those songs will be a part of the Gethsemane project?


Search for the Fatherland will definitely be part of Gethsemene. Booker T. might not make the cut, I'll have to see how it fits in! JE.
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Post by BallroomDays67 »

Was "The Good Humor Man He See Everything Like This" (when it was titled "Hummingbirds") the first song from "Forever Changes" to be worked on in the studio? Was the idea of adding orchestration to the album around at that early stage?
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Post by Johnny Echols »

BallroomDays67 wrote:Was "The Good Humor Man He See Everything Like This" (when it was titled "Hummingbirds") the first song from "Forever Changes" to be worked on in the studio? Was the idea of adding orchestration to the album around at that early stage?
Hummingbirds would have been one of the first songs we did. All of us felt that the trickiest parts of the whole project, was playing to an imaginary orchestra, that had no music yet. There were no cues whatsoever. We weren't even certain Elektra was going to come through with the financing for the orchestra. In effect we had to leave room for other musicians, but not too much room, just in case they were a no show.

None of us had any idea what, or if those guys were going to play at all. Yet we were required to use a totally unforgiving strobe tuner after each song, to make sure we would be in tune with these imaginary musicians. We were essentially groping around in the dark, trying to do the best we could, with ever changing circumstances. Half the group was on the verge of mutiny, added to that, we had a recalcitrant, unreliable Record Company.... The whole thing could have self destructed at any point. Every time I listen to Forever Changes, I'm amazed we actually pulled it off.
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Post by Chris M »

Johnny Echols wrote:Then we have two instrumentals, that I wrote, that were almost finished. One was a jazz tune called "Search for the Fatherland". I could not play a decent guitar solo, even when doing take, after take. It just wasn't there. I felt so embarrassed, when Hal Blaine and Don Randi kept trying to encourage me to "play".
Oh, wow. Thanks for sharing that. I think I can speak for all Love fans when I say I'd love to hear "Search for the Fatherland" one day. What a great title. Did you not want to include it on the 2CD "Collector's Edition" because it wasn't finished or did it simply not make the cut?

Cheers Johnny!
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Re: "You Set the Scene"

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BallroomDays67 wrote:You mentioned in another thread that "You Set the Scene" incorporates three separate unfinished songs. I hadn't expected that to be the case, as it was done seamlessly. Prior to Ken's contribution, what was the status of those songs? Had they been discarded, or were they still being worked on individually? What were the circumstances behind their being combined into a single song?
These were three songs that most likely would have remained unfinished, were it not for Kenny. They were just ideas that never seemed to go anywhere. He worked on those song on his own, and presented the finished work to the group just as you hear it on the record. We were all impressed at how he had put them together as though they were meant to be that way all along. He should have received proper recognition! Many years later, I spoke with Arthur about it, and he said Kenny didn't want any credit. I'm not sure I really believe that. However Forssi did receive a pretty substantial bonus from Arthur, so I guess that's where his head was at the time. I never asked him why, maybe he thought that was the best deal he could get.
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Post by jamestkirk »

I have always heard that Arthur was a sweet man and very respectful of his fans, especially in his later years.

I get pissed (the way I would for a good friend) when fans diss Arthur for his various bad moments, which could be frustrating for many who knew him, I am sure.

But from all accounts when it came down to hard times, Arthur was the one a true friend that one could count on. He was always suspicious of those he had to deal with in the biz & his attitude about what was HIS as far as Love was concerned is well known.

But still, in the end, I think any good friend of Arthur's, or his many bandmates, were richer for having known him.

I have nothing but admiration for Arthur, for beating his demons when it counted...to give us his music. To me that is what he was about...sharing his lasting musical vision & his legacy with the world.

And I feel that is what you are still about Johnny...otherwise you would not be here, sharing your LoVE.

Scott
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Post by Johnny Echols »

jamestkirk wrote:I have always heard that Arthur was a sweet man and very respectful of his fans, especially in his later years.

I get pissed (the way I would for a good friend) when fans diss Arthur for his various bad moments, which could be frustrating for many who knew him, I am sure.

But from all accounts when it came down to hard times, Arthur was the one a true friend that one could count on. He was always suspicious of those he had to deal with in the biz & his attitude about what was HIS as far as Love was concerned is well known.

But still, in the end, I think any good friend of Arthur's, or his many bandmates, were richer for having known him.

I have nothing but admiration for Arthur, for beating his demons when it counted...to give us his music. To me that is what he was about...sharing his lasting musical vision & his legacy with the world.

And I feel that is what you are still about Johnny...otherwise you would not be here, sharing your LoVE.

Scott

When a true genius interacts with those who view this world from a different plane, there are apt to be serious misunderstandings. Arthur was a very complex individual, who was often targeted by those who lacked the capacity to understand him. If you were a person of substance with something to say, and not a fawning sycophant, or some kind of negative jerk; Arthur was as nice as they come. If you asked him his favorite color, or some other inane question, you'd have a problem. That he did not suffer fools gladly, is an under statement where Mr. Lee was concerned.

In music business dealings....Arthur was screwed so many times ( as were we all) that I often wonder why he didn't just say to hell with it.

Arthur was my brother, and I miss him dearly! I miss being awakened at three in the morning, by a ringing phone, I can still hear him yelling "X get the f*** up and listen to this."
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Post by jamestkirk »

Thanks Johnny...that is exactly my impression of Arthur, just from the little I have seen from Love Story and various interviews over the years.

That interview he did (was it in '70 while touring in Holland or Denmark?) where he talks about how he named Love and the Grass Roots ripping off that name....he just comes across as a kind & good man...one of his better interviews.
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Post by silentseason »

How are you all's rememberances of the session involving the "wrecking crew", and what is your opinion of the two recorded tracks included on the album? I am left wondering if this was a tactless ploy or it was a stroke of genius. Additionally, how accurate are Bruce Botnick's statements regarding this? I think the playing was certainly professional, but would have preferred to have heard the bands interpretation of "Andmoreagain" and "Daily Planet" included. To me that is always a kind of mar against the album.
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Post by Johnny Echols »

silentseason wrote:How are you all's rememberances of the session involving the "wrecking crew", and what is your opinion of the two recorded tracks included on the album? I am left wondering if this was a tactless ploy or it was a stroke of genius. Additionally, how accurate are Bruce Botnick's statements regarding this? I think the playing was certainly professional, but would have preferred to have heard the bands interpretation of "Andmoreagain" and "Daily Planet" included. To me that is always a kind of mar against the album.
As I mentioned in another post, Bryan, Kenny and I, played on all of the cuts. The "wrecking crew's" sole participation, consisted of drummer Hal Blaine joining us for two songs, with Don Randi on piano. And an acoustic guitar player appearing on parts, of those two songs. So in reality, members of Love played all of the tracks. Most of what Bruce and Jac have to say is made up nonsense. Bruce wasn't even there for many of the sessions, since they were done at Western Sound with John Haney as engineer. Jac wasn't there at all.
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Post by The Freedom Man »

I talked to Carol Kaye about the session, but she couldn't remember the job, although she has the bill of the session.
Do you recall her being at the session?
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Post by jamestkirk »

The Freedom Man wrote:I talked to Carol Kaye about the session, but she couldn't remember the job, although she has the bill of the session.
Do you recall her being at the session?
Michael also related to me that all of those TWO tracks with the Wrecking Crew were overdubbed by Love or recorded over--because no one could create the sound of LoVE like LoVE!! & Arthur knew it...With the session guys it was wooden and as if by rote, like an orchestral bit of sheet music without a musical director to interpret the pieces.

So was Arthur really trying to get rid of Love or was Botnik full of it there too...i always thought it was just another of Arthur's ploys as leader to kick-start you guys into stepping up and playing like you were capable of.

And MAN, did you all ever step up!!

And I was wondering how Michael has a recollection of Jim Gordon sitting in on his drums whom he personally knew as did you...and not Hal Blaine. Even that Hal had called in "sick" for a session. Is it possible that BOTH were on Michaels kit at some point?

Since I have such high regard for BOTH you, Johnny, AND Michael, these conflicting and quite detailed accounts confuse me...and many fans.
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