“The Diary speaks back”
June 24 2002
As I was sitting here watching for the last glimps of daylight dissolve into the York night (about 11:45 pm…it’s very north up here), and was thinking about music and how it affects us all so differently. I suppose what sent me thinking was that I stayed up late last night and read/answered every single e-mail I’d gotten since the tour started. I always try to answer as many as possible but they begin to pile up a bit when I go for a day or two without a computer (next purchase; LAPTOP). But I really like it so don’t let that deter you if you want to say hi or comment on something or anything you might want to say. Some people simply ask me to get a message to Arthur, although I’m not a messenger! But I do my best. Some people even vent a little anger, and that’s ok as well. It seams we’re all a network of music lovers and there is a passion that true fans of an artist have that goes beyond words. I was fortunate enough to see many, many people who were in “heaven” just to hear Arthur’s voice again and to know that, instead of being in some prison cell in California, he was in their hometown, in their country, in their lives for an hour and a half. Thank you for having us, every city that welcomed LOVE with Arthur Lee.
I know that feeling of hearing something for the first time and not believing how well it connects with your soul, your head, your everything. Many LOVE fans describe Arthur’s music that way. When I was a teen, I had a friend named Elisha Lewerke. I would go over her house and listen to records. We were just friends and her mom was even cool about me spending the night a few times. Those were the times we’d stay up listening to records. One day she asked me, “Have you ever heard The Ramones?” I told her,”No”, and she proceeded to play me that entire first record. I think it took about 15 min. I said, “That was unbelievable, play side two!” But she told me that WAS side two that had just finished so I asked her to play the whole record again for me and we listened to it about 10 times. Now, I was in a state of shock because I’d never heard anything like that.
Now, jump to 1998. I am on tour in the support band (MIchael Shelley) for Shonen Knife and playing at the Bowery ballroom in NY City. Marky Ramone comes up to me and says, in the thickest new york accent imaginable, “Wear da gurls at?” Huh? You mean Shonen Knife? They’re out eating. They play at 10:30. By the way (I say), I really like your version of LOVE’S 7 & 7 is. Arthur even told me..” Waid-duh-mennit…you play wid Awthuh Lee? yeah, you tellz him we gonna bust him da fuck outta dare.” And that was the extent of my conversation with Marky Ramone. I couldn’t even tell him how much their music touched me…he wouldn’t have understood, you know? I’ve been in that situation before a few times…you sort of meet your heroes but you just go stiff (not THAT kinda stiff) and it seams difficult to say anything meaningful. A 7 years ago, I was in a Sushi bar in brentwood (my fave, HANA Shushi!), and non other than Tony Curtis was standing right next to me waitng for a table. My girlfriend at the time, Melissa, knew he was my favorite actor and she knew I knew every line to SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS and told me to say hi , but I turned to him and I couldn’t remember a thing! Dammit all! Well, about 2 years ago I met his daughter, Jamie lee, and I told her the story and she told me I should have just been myself and told him I enjoy his work. Sounds so easy, huh?
So, I suppose, the things in life that really touch you, and the people that really touch you, can stay with you for a lifetime, if you’re lucky. What I’ve learned is, being a fanatic doesn’t really help the fan or the famous person. Being yourself and treating people they way you think people ought to be treated is the ticket. I think about songs that Arthur wrote like “Between Clark and Hilldale” and the vibe of that place in the mid 60’s; it must have been something. I drive by the whiskey maybe, 3 or 4 times a week and I pass by Clark street and Hilldale street and I can’t help but think it could use it’s king back. Their place is as plastic as Ann Nicol-Smith’s tits, and twice as lonely. The Roxy and the whiskey used to swing. But the Sunset Strip is now just a shadow of it’s former self. I can not see the real fans anymore. But maybe, just maybe, if the Whiskey gets it’s act together, we may one day again see Arthur Lee’s name on the Marquee between clark and hilldale.