Love On Earth (And Heavan) Must Be
August 13, 2006
Last night my wife woke up feeling ill. This was around 3 am. So I tended to her until she felt better, which was about 40 minutes later. I was already tired from working loads the days before so now I was like a zombie. And when my alarm rang at 8am you can imagine my face.
But I showered and shaved and dressed myself and hoped in our car and we drove up the Sepulveda pass to the Forest Lawn Cemetery, which is right next door to Warner brothers studios. I felt strange. Ill. Sick. I always imagined Arthur Lee to live to be 105, still bitchin’ about Dave Chapple’s bass pedals and daddyo’s affinity for fishing. I Imagined him still calling me up and saying, “let’s go to ERNIES” and all of us meeting him at Ernies and yuckin it up. (Ernie’s was Arthur’s fave. Mexican Resturant/bar near his Toluca lake home…i say, every march 3, why not all Love fans in the vacinity go to Ernies and celebrate one incredible Life of Love and Music and memories of Arthur?)
I imagined a lot but never this. I mean, you kenw it could happen but until you are there and you see a casket and a hat and you know in your mind and soul that the guy in that casket wore that hat and strutted on stage and brought tears to your eyes, you just thought it would go on forever.
Friends and family got up and said great things, deep things, funny things, true things. The one speech that made me cry was from Leon Hendrix. Jimi’s lil bro’ related how Arthur encouraged him to ignore the ‘label’ and ‘Pick up the guitar.’ I do remember, on tour one in Seattle, Arthur told me how he felt bad for leon, that , as jimi’s bro, he was going to have to really fight to get his own. Arthur was definitely right aout that. But Leon’s tribute was heartfelt and i completely felt for him.
There were a few of people from teh past, like Melvan and Robert Rozelle, who were very close to Arthur. And then there was Johnny who was definitely choked up. Let it be said from my end, No one loved Arthur Lee more than Johnny Echols and no one UNDERSTOOD Arthur more than Johnny Echols. Out of all of the ‘old school friends’, only Johnny and Don Conca ever really told him the truth, IMHO. many others simply said what they thought was the right thing at the time.
I was really saddened by Don Conca’s death. We were planning to take him to Europe and the UK in 2003. But Don just wasn’t that into it. But he knew music and, according to both Arthur and Michael Stuart-Ware, Don was one of the best drummers on God’s green earth. When I sit down with my son, Julian – who’s 7 – i tell him about Arthur and Don and Johnny. All Julian wants to do is draw the LOVE logo…
aND that goes back to the funeral…Julian and his mom moved to NYC today. and that was weighing on my mind today. And with a spark, i felt inspired. inspired to be better but also to go through the stuff we were working on and see if we can finish it and see what Diane lee thinks and see if it’s worthy. There were some beautiful ideas Arthur had and i prayed we could keep it together and write the tunes and make a record. THat’s not me being negative or any crap like that, it;s the truth, man. We (baby Lem, our label, our management) all wanted all this ideas and songs to come out.
And i pledge to do what I can. And it was interesting, that, on my wall is a tamborine that Arthur gave me around January 2002. it was our first songwriting session after he was released and he left the tamborine after the first day coming over to my house. I tried to give it back but he said, “Keep it man, I don’t want that thing.” So i placed it on the wall AND FORGOT ABOUT IT. And there it is. And it tells you something about Arthurly; he got many gifts but he gave them to people he cared about or maybe he felt uncomfortable receiving them? Only the good lord knows. And Arthur.