Interview with Neon Brambles about the #GetGetIn campaign
Neon Brambles is a dedicated Gene Clark fan on a quest to see Gene Clark inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (the SHoF is not to be confused with the controversial Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, into which Gene was inducted with the Byrds shortly before his death in 1991).
Toward that end, a Twitter/Facebook/Instagram campaign (#GetGeneIn) was launched earlier this year to spread awareness of a petition -- a petition that Neon Brambles hopes to present as part of a more formal application to the powers-that-be at the SHoF.
It may interest some of the readers of The Clarkophile to note that David Crosby has already been inducted as a member. Interestingly, on his induction page, 'Eight Miles High' -- the principal songwriter of which was indisputably Gene Clark -- is listed as one of two "Catalog Highlights"in David Crosby's career. If that isn't sufficient reason to add your name to the petition to #GetGeneIn, I don't know what is.
But Neon Brambles didn't stop there. All petition promo materials sent out thus far -- and e're talking about buttons, mini-tambourines, postcards and more -- were designed, created and self-financed entirely by Neon Brambles. An extraordinary gesture of love for an artist and dedication to his memory and legacy.
I invite you to read my little chat with NB, after which I sincerely hope you'll take a moment to sign the petition if you haven't already done so.
How did you come up with the idea to start this petition?
I've been a Gene Clark fan since I was a teenager, but had only recently discovered the book by John Einarson (Mr. Tambourine Man) and the documentary The Byrd Who Flew Alone. From there I sought out other fans in groups dedicated to Gene Clark on Facebook. It all started last year when there were some discussions going around in one of the Facebook Gene Clark groups where I had originally suggested that Gene have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but that suggestion was rejected by many in favour of something more honourable, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame came up as one of the possibilities.
After looking into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, its inductees and history, I decided to pursue this by starting a petition on Change.org. The petition was launched this February, but I had a lot of support to kick it off from other Gene Clark fans. Personally, this has been a labour of love for me to make this happen.
Why do you feel Gene belongs in the SHoF?
Gene is already in the of the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Byrds, which is nice, but I really feel strongly that Gene should also be recognized for his tremendous body of work as a solo artist and most importantly, as a songwriter for his contribution to American music.
I'm not alone in feeling that Gene Clark has been under-appreciated and unknown for far too long. Many of the comments left by fans on the petition site are of sheer disbelief that he isn't in there already. I think if -- check, when he is inducted, it will secure his place in music history for future generations -- and that would be a wonderful thing.
Tell me about some of the more well-known individuals who have signed the petition?
I'm so pleased by the supporters who have signed so far! There's Textones leader Carla Olson, who played and recorded with Gene in the last decade of his life; Sid Griffin from the Long Ryders, who knew Gene personally and wrote numerous liner notes and articles about Gene; John York, a Byrd himself who toured with Gene in the 80s; Lee Sklar, session man extraordinaire who plays bass on No Other; Duke Bardwell, another bass player who toured with Gene in the 70s in the Silverados (and also played bass for Elvis!); Johnny Rogan, Byrds expert and author; John Einarson, music writer and author of the biography on Gene; Torbjörn Calvero, professional photographer who did some wonderful shots of Gene during the Two Sides for Every Story period; Paul Kendall, who made the one and only documentary film out there on Gene Clark, The Byrd Who Flew Alone; Gene's brother Rick Clark; and also Andrew Loog Oldham, former manager of the Rolling Stones!
There are also many others who are not 'well known' but who knew Gene, as a friend or relation, and of course his many, many fans from literally all over the globe. I'm so grateful to everyone for their support!
Where do people go to sign the petition?
The easiest place to go is directly to Change.org and just search "Gene Clark" and you'll find it from there. You can also access the link from the Gene Clark Petition Facebook page. Signing up is quick, easy and doesn't cost you a dime! Remember to share with your pals...please! I also have a twitter account under the handle @Neon_Brambles.
What advice would you give to someone who may wish to sign the petition, but who may have reservations about privacy or receiving unwanted emails?
It's understandable that people have concerns about privacy and spam from change.org. As for privacy, I can assure everyone that your private information (email, address) is not shared with anyone (I'm the only administrator of the petition and your email isn't even visible to me). If you choose to display your signature, only your name city, state and country appear (not your street address and not your email). Once you sign, you have the option to make your signature public or private and also the option to leave a comment. Comments are encouraged, so please tell everyone what Gene's music means to you! Supporters may also choose to opt out of receiving emails from Change.org. More information about privacy is available here.
Is there a cutoff date for signing the petition? If so, when is it?
There is no cut-off date, per se, but selection of the 2017 nominees by the Songwriters Hall of Fame Board of Directors begins in mid-August and, I believe, goes through September. Nominees are announced sometime in October and the election continues through December.
The inductees will be announced in March of next year.
Ideally, it would be great to have Gene on the ballot as a nominee, so the more signatures we can get from now until mid-August, the better! We need to create a buzz about Gene and get the petition out there to the media -- so if anyone has those kind of connections, please contact me and let's "Get Gene In"!