logo the freedom man

Johnny Echols



“Truth is in the Ear of the beholder”
October 19, 2009

Since posting words to that effect, some People have asked me which truth am I referring to.

For Starters, I’ve seen it written many many times that Love as a group did not want to tour, and that we preferred to remain comfortably ensconced in Los Angeles, bull****

None of the members of the group Love were independently wealthy, we all needed to play in order to live, playing music was our job our only job, if we don’t play we don’t eat, besides we had worked for years “Chasing” our collective dream, it would be ludicrous for us, with the brass-ring in our grasp, to decide Let’s just stay home and chill.

We loved touring, playing for new audiences, seeing new places, meeting new people.

Further to the point, each and every one of us had a house, a car and countless other expenses, required to maintain our lifestyles!

Too that end, we had three booking agents, Bert Zell at General Artists….Mike Gruber at Personal Management’s Associates, and Ronnie Mellon, all diligently working toward one goal….keeping us working, however we did incur a few “speedbumps”

We had a self imposed handicap, we absolutely refused to play, unless we received “Top Billing” over any group we played with, that placed “huge ” limitations on our options.

That was acceptable to the Doors, the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and many other “west coast” groups, they were well aware of Loves drawing power … our ability to sellout, almost any venue we were booked in, meaning more money for everyone.

That, however was not acceptable to many other groups, who rightfully believed, a hit record earned them the right to the higher billing.

Also because of the fact that we were an integrated group, playing under the obstacles that existed at the time, we faced another big disadvantage in finding places to play.

America was a different Country back then, that which is commonplace now ….was totally unacceptable then, the south and most of the Midwest were off limits to us, people had dogs put upon them, for having the audacity to try and vote, mixed race marriages were “taboo”,even black and white friendships were “frowned” upon … with that as a “backdrop” trying to book an interracial rock group [In those parts of the Country] was fruitless on it’s face.

Many times we would receive a booking only to have it canceled when the groups racial make-up became known to the venue.

So after a time, and many such disappointments, it became easier on the psyche, not to mention one’s ego … to allow the belief, that we didn’t tour by choice, and not because of something as “Uncool” and outdated as racism.

Some critics have challenged my assertions with … what about Jimi Hendrix, or Sly and the Family Stone, they were mixed race, “you’re over simplifying,” perhaps I am.

Other’s have stated, that we were victims of the times, I find that also, to be ridiculous.

Victim is such a debilitating word, that I refuse to buy into it, and all that it, stand’s for!

We most definitely, reaped the harvest of our own excesses and a few other things, not mentioned, but we…..were most assuredly not victims and especially not of our own complacency, we played whenever and wherever we could.

As for Jimi and Sly, etc., it may just be, that they were beneficiary’s of a changing time’s and “we” were one of the first, to open the door, thereby making it easier for the next group to walk through!

It also, could very well be true that the group, and the music itself was too far outside the mainstream for it to gain widespread acceptance, and the bookings that go with it !

Whatever the reason, it is what it is!

Johnny Echols