I Want The Truth! (You Can’t Handle The Truth!)
July 20, 2005
Now I have to admit. I made a trip to the messageboard and I was a bit surprised by the Herzberg’s temperament. What surprised me was that, not only were a lot of people singing along with all the words, but after our set, we signed hundreds of autographs. Not one of those people have posted their experience online. two people who hated the show did though. Now, in THEIR defense I do think, hey, speak your mind and YOUR experience. But I also don’t think they may have come to hear the MUSIC of LOVE get played. because the MUSIC was Bryan, Johnny, Michael, Kenny, John Fleck, Tjay, ect. Johnny has intimated to us about the ‘good ol days’ and it seems that, Johnny, Arthur and Bryan (according to Mr. Echols) had their own sort of fan following on the strip and each thought they were the important spoke in the wheel and ultimately, that led to the demise of the Original band. Of course Arthur was the genius behind the voice and words and melodies but the music a LOVE fan listens to is not Arthur ‘telling people what to do’ as many LOVE fans seem to think. there’s a lot more to it than i originally thought but, as someone who had to learn the songs correctly from the records, I can see how, in addition to Johnny’s input to the songs and arrangements, Bryan’s contribution, especially, has been grossly overlooked. And the poor guy ain’t even here to say his peace.
But a London filmmaker, Chris Hall, has made a documentary about LOVE and for the first time, many of those characters from back in the day (including Johnny, Michael Stuart and John Fleckenstein, as well as old roadies and Elektra folks) have told what THEY remember and from what i’ve heard second hand, it’s a tad bit different than what we’re used to reading in Mojo and other UK rags. (Speaking of Mojo, they interviewed Johnny the day of the Milton Keynes show…)…ok but back to the Germany show. from where i sat, and keep in mind, we went on at about 7pm in the hot sun with the sun in our eyes, sans sunglasses, and had to play to a skeptical audience. they were expecting LOVE with ARTHUR LEE. so i don’t blame them for being angry at us. some were. but most were willing to give the MUSIC a chance and that’s who we play for. hey, that’s Johnny’s music too. just because Arthur has unfairly not given him the credit here truly deserves (this, us in the LOVE organization know to be certainly true) doesn’t make him chop liver up there. Johnny has more class and commands way moore respect than some of you give him. All because he wasn’t interested in the cut throat rock business for 30 something odd years and never felt like challenging the fantasy that some fans actually believe is the gospel truth. well, i do think some heads are gonna turn in the near future and only hope at the end of the day it’s the music that matters most, and not someone’s ego or hype or whatever the rock magazine’s hyperbole paints.
so, again, back to the Herzberg gig. Now, i’ve play nearly 500 shows maybe with these guys. out of those gigs Arthur has missed about 4, maybe 5 total. One time he was in jail so he couldn’t make it (not his 1996 stint but a year or so before) and the other times he just didn’t go because he didn’t want to (which is EXACTLY why he didn’t go this time.) im not afraid to say that and if any of the cronies wanna ring him up and say i said that, please be my guest. Im so close to dropping the TRUTH bomb, it ain’t even funny. but i think, that show in Germany we played pretty well and certainly did as well as anyone could, given the situation. before that, i believe we played a show in Berlin that was ‘ok’. other than that, LOVE hadn’t played Germany for nearly 30 years. Why? good question. when we book tours there never ever is the interest from german bookers that says, “come to Germany, people want to hear you.” instead, we’ve been in the position where we’ve had to turn down Germany due to the shit money we’ve been offered. why the shit money? appearently, not enough people know the name or the music that could sustain a tour. or that’s the story we’d get from time to time. but all in all, we thought it was a fun show and we had a blast. i’m sorry to two nice folks there that posted thought it wasn’t so good and also if they think we’re as bad and terrible as they suggest, hey FAIR enough. of course, WE actually got on the plane and fulfilled our obligation, which is more than i can say about some people i know.
now, i may not have tripped over dogs and broken my ribs 19 times or had 7 leopards at my door or hurt my head in a 3.0 earthquake and all that stuff but i got my problems too and the legal ramifications from the obvious sabotage (and yes, sabotage would be a very perfect word here) put me and 4 other VERY DECENT FAMILY MEN in the position where we played about 13 gigs for exactly ZERO money. yep. now you know. except for the kind folks who gave us their refund (which we used for food and drinks for the bus), we were skint. we could have said, fuck it, and not gotten on the plane. of course several people that have always believed in us would have been screwed finacially even more than us and i think they would have basically saw to it we never played the UK or Europe again. So we made that decision. Also, at each gig we dictated that every venue should let people know that not only wasnt Arthur playing but we werent even the name on the bill. we played the tour as THE LOVE BAND. so each person that bought a ticket knew precisely what they were getting, because they were offered refunds on the spot or a discount to see the show. i dont think this happened in Germany. Could that affect a person’s enjoyment of a show? perhaps, perhaps not. but i think messageboard readers ought to know some of the politics behind this tour, particularly that show. also, at the last minute our time slot was changed from about 9pm to 7pm. i dont know if that matters but if you ever been to work and found out you were due TWO HOURS EALIER then you can imagine the nervousness and whatnot. But we didn’t let even that slow us and played, what i thought, was a fun, good show. but i am glad that people post what they think is a bad show as well, because that’s important. of course we must also understand that some people place Arthur above the music and not so much WITH the music, possibly. that’s not for me to decide. i personally spoke to 50 people that loved the show and, although saddened that the guy wasn’t there, they still had fun. now i feel bad that we lied in the announcement. because, as usually, we let him off the hook so that YOU wouldn’t think bad of him. of course, in hindsight i should have read the announcement myself and not only told people he didn’t come because he didn’t want to, maybe i should have told em he was also leaving me nasty, discusting, felony-type messages on my home machine, each time making a point to say “And bring me my money.” But also ive saved each message so that’s something to think about…hmmm…Xmas presents, anyone? LOL! But we didn’t say what really happed. We tried to do it with class and thus, some of that anger was certainly obsorbed by us, even though, we were absolutely the GOOD GUYS in all this. If only you knew.
Spain was a whole nuther story. But Spain is a country i’ ve played in many times and after our last debacle, where Arthur showed up out of his goard (and where Rusty had to sing the set and we were all embarrassed and the Swedes were flown in to do strings and horns and we’d let Spain down, basically…well, not WE…), i wasn’t so sure if we’d get stoned off the stage. after Johnny told the crowd (through a translator) about ‘no show jones’ (my words, not his), we were looking at 10,000 people with their heads down. and it hit me: HE let THEM down. not us! I stepped to the microphone and told the people that, if they were here to hear great music and see a great show, they came to the right place. So i think the Spainish are pretty smart. They deduced that, if they’d come to hear Arthur – knowing about that last show – maybe it wasn’t so bad to hear US, since the live music anyone has been hearing has been OUR interpretations of that great music. well, after 3 songs sad frowns turned to huge huge smiles and before long 10,000+ people were singing every song. And the show, though better than Germany’s, wasn’t THAT much better or different. The sound system was certainly better and the crowd, much more youthful and excitable. After the show, all of us went out to greet people and thank them and if i had a 2 pence for every hug and thank you i coulda bought a case of wine. man, they were just so wonderful and they also thanked us for continueing to play the music because it’s the songs they really wanted to hear. And i think that makes sense. see, in August last year we played that Bennecassain festival and we started out with 10,000 as well. guess what? we had 700 by the 3rd song. Even though Rusty pitched in to cover the vocals, people were discusted by what they saw as pathetic. i was terribly embarrassed and when we got home, me, Daddyo and Rusty took a quickfile CD of the show to the old guy’s house, sat him down and had him watch it. he SWORE. SWORE SWORE SWORE SWORE he’d never show up in that state again. And then of course the COACHHOUSE show happens that December, not to mention the 2 Spaceland shows just 3 weeks after the Spain debacle where, man, i don’t even want to talk about those shows and that rediculous garbage of a show.
So, when he chose not to get on the plane (and when i say chose i mean he had his bags packed, ticket in hand and decided instead, while the rest of us were at the airport, he decided not to go.) and at any time he could have hopped a plane and lived up to his promise, not only to you THE FANS but to us, the band. because, due to the ‘no-show’ reputation our agents were now no longer fronting our airfare (and taking it our of the production pay) so we instead bought our own tickets. except HIS ticket, which was bought by our manager on the absolute promise that the guy would be on that plane. even after all that, even after the tour lost TENS of thousands of Pounds, even after we came home with nothing, it was worth it. Because we have our respect and our integrity intact. We have the respect of the venues and the promoters to not only sweat this out, but to still maintain 70-80% of the fans that didnt ask for a refund. So, the ‘Sabotage Plan’ back-fired. All that’s left are pathetic messages on my (and the other guys) answering machine, ranging from ‘I’m gonna kill this and that person’ to out-an-out back door deals that involve him and us playing in some imaginary club he’s going to open here in LA with Robert Plant (for the record, Plant and Arthur met for 5 minutes in a hotel for the first and only time, thanks to our manager Glenn, and this was back in 2003 and to our knowledge, that’s the extint of the story so i’m not sure what’s with this Plant story but this follows well in line with what we have to deal with on a regular basis….or USETA have to deal with) It HAS gotten that bad, folks. Hey, i almost wish someone coulda flown him to Germany so those 2 people could have gotten their money’s worth.
Anyways, much love to all and great things are to come but more on that very soon. i honestly don’t like to come out and tell people what really goes on behind the scenes because i dont like to mess up someone’s ‘dream’ of their hero. and i mean that sincerely. but when you get like 300 emails and even though 95% are so down with US and the band, the general feeing is that this guy’s a victom. hey. wanna know a victom? how about a woman who has a 4 month old baby, home alone while her husband is out playing music in Europe for nothing but pride and the wonderful people called LOVE fans and having a 61 year old man call the house and threatening to send ‘Crips’ to her house to have her killed? Even though I KNOW this is bullshit and a con, how does she know? So please excuse me when i write and concentrate on the REAL victoms from all this. and hopefully, the ‘yes-man’ or ‘lackey’ that prints this out and gives it to him would think better and instead get the guy some help. some REAL help.
all the best,