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 New memories shared by Michael Stuart

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lemonade kid Posted - 09/02/2020 : 13:14:46
Michael kindly shared some more memories that he kindly gave me permission to share with you all...

This great letter I got from answer to an email I sent to Michael - I referenced some of the jazz greats that Michael brought to mind as I read his book again...

Thanks for the positive feedback on those parts in my book where I kind of "list" the various artists, both rock and jazz, that influenced my musical outlook.

My dad was so into jazz...I guess for the most part all the big band greats, and his favorite singer was Ella Fitzgerald. Her [handler] was the drummer Chick Webb and I had one of his sticks (a 7A, signed!) that my dad scored from a concert back in the early forties.

And then I was lucky enough to be a part of organized music in high school, so all my friends in band and orchestra were into the smaller jazz groups led by Cannonball Adderly and Shorty Rodgers and Max Roach and Gerry Mulligan, etc, so I was exposed to some fabulous music. Then of course on the radio I listened to all the rock greats like Elvis and Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis and The Everly Brothers. The late fifties and early sixties were the golden era for me.

The name David Ackles is just barely recognizable [ I had asked if he ever met Ackles, an Elektra stablemate] but as you say, he sounds special. Jack Holzman was always good at recognizing unusual talent (except of course the well documented case of not really being into The Doors until Arthur gave him the strong sales pitch.)

That whole thing was so funny, because if you remember from my book, the whole idea of Arthur hard selling the Doors to Elektra was he thought they would be more inclined to let Love out of our contract if they had The Doors, so then we could move to a bigger label. Didn't work.

Thanks for sending David Ackles. I'll give a listen.



The actual writing of a song usually comes in the form of a realisation.
I can't contrive a song. GENE CLARK
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lemonade kid Posted - 09/02/2020 : 13:24:59
Another little gem from Michael this morning concerning Michael's immense respect and love for Arthur's lyrics...and I also love Arthur's lyrical talents (I remember Johnny saying Arthur should be America's Poet Laureate. Of course it would have to be a tripped out alternate universe!).

For someone who had very limited skills on any instrument, Arthur was a genius at song composition and lyrics. He could write a symphony and brilliant lyrics to boot, in his head, all at once...he just counted on his bandmates and someone like David Angel to flesh it out. David said Arthur could have been a brilliant symphony composer. David would just play notes and chords on the piano, trying to find the right sound for the strings arrangements. They sat there for hours at the piano, David searching for notes, with Arthur shaking his head... or nodding "that's it". Angel made it happen but Arthur was the genius behind it all.

And man did they come through, those guys in the band or David. But in the end, it was Arthur. The melody. Those words. Wow!

This from Michael:

My favorite line from "You I'll Be Following" is "I went to Frisco, bumped into Cisco. He had a shoebox, behind the icebox." He rhymed box with box. You know... a shoebox full of weed, because that's what he was following. Nobody wrote lyrics like that in the mid-sixties (or ever.)
Actually if it really matters at this late date, Jolly lived one street up on Lookout Mountain, not Kirkwood.



The actual writing of a song usually comes in the form of a realisation.
I can't contrive a song. GENE CLARK
lemonade kid Posted - 09/02/2020 : 13:24:06
And this (I had asked about "Kathleen", the dog in Bryan's song of the same name):

"It's OK with me if you share anything you think is worthwhile.

Actually Bryan's dog when he was with Love was a yellow lab named Skyler. As far as I know the name didn't have any special meaning. That was just his name. The funny story associated with Skyler is, one day when Skyler was a puppy about 8 months old, Bryan was backing out his driveway and because his reverse gear synchro's were trashed, it (some kind of odd brand European make I never heard of before or since so I don't remember it) always kept popping out of gear. So when he was backing up, he kind of lurched the car trying to grab the gearshift and Skyler fell out the back window. But before Bryan noticed Skyler was gone he had already put his car in "drive" and started off down the block and accidentally ran over Skyler and he had to put him in doggie hospital because he broke his leg. So the offshoot is, Bryan is the only guy I ever knew who ran over his own dog.

You know the story about Arthur's black lab Self. He was given Self by a Love fan who lived on Kirkwood named Jolly King. So like I said in the book, Arthur was sitting on his living room couch at his pad in Laurel Canyon, trying to think of a name for his new dog and Bryan was on his way out the front door with Arthur's one true love, Stephanie, and Bryan turned and said, "Why don't you call him Self?" So he did. There was a flippant saying back in the sixties that was designed to make people think deeply about themselves and the world around them. It went, "Self, you don't know yourself." So maybe that's where Bryan got it. I don't know for sure really.

Great story about Mr. Bunch (my old junior high music teacher). It's a strange belief that most band directors share that they can frighten and humiliate students into playing something properly. It never worked as far as I know but they keep doing it."

Take care,


The actual writing of a song usually comes in the form of a realisation.
I can't contrive a song. GENE CLARK
lemonade kid Posted - 09/02/2020 : 13:23:21
A couple more amazing memories from Michael that he sent along in the last couple answer to a few questions I had:

"The funny thing I used to get a kick out of in my beer bar and frat house days, was that I not only was allowed in and treated well by dudes that would have otherwise kicked my ass, but I was actually revered and welcomed with open arms.

No way would I ever have walked into one of those beer bars like The Beaver Inn and The El Roach Club as just a regular person. They were downright intimidating UNLESS you were a regular patron or a member of the band. When I was there it was like the extreme example of the "stranger in a strange land" syndrome at work.

I don't really play my guitar anymore. What happened was when Johnny and I lived together in our Beechwood Canyon pad, he told me how he taught Arthur 7 or 8 chords and Arthur wrote the whole first album. And the thing is, even though Forever Changes understandably gets most of the attention the first Love album has always been far and away my favorite. It just has everything. Exciting tunes like "My Flash On You" and "You I'll be Following", Bryan's masterpiece "Softly To Me" and beautiful songs like "Message To Pretty"...all so simple and beautiful. So I figured that if Arthur could write all those songs based on 8 chords then I could maybe learn to play them so I did.

The chord charts are all online so it was pretty easy."



The actual writing of a song usually comes in the form of a realisation.
I can't contrive a song. GENE CLARK
lemonade kid Posted - 09/02/2020 : 13:21:32
Here is a previous bit from a conversation I had with Michael -- I think is worth repeating...

You know, for months I have wished I had added a final thought regarding several comments I made in our last email exchange, so I'll take the opportunity to do so now...

Although I often become over-critical of our efforts to achieve perfection during the recording of Forever Changes, my dominant emotion, far and away, is one of overwhelming pride in having realized every musician's dream and participated in the making of music that has stood the test of time. And beyond that, immeasurable gratitude to Arthur for having invited me to be a part of its making.

Take Care, Michael


The actual writing of a song usually comes in the form of a realisation.
I can't contrive a song. GENE CLARK

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