Monday, 24 July 2017

Interview with Johnny Rogan, author of Byrds: Requiem for the Timeless, Vols I & II

 Johnny Rogan 

Timeless Flight Revisited, the book
 that solidified and focused my admiration
for Gene's work
Few people know this, but it wasn't until after reading Johnny Rogan's Timeless Flight Revisited that I made the decision to pursue a side career in writing. 

At the time I was a passionate if directionless Gene Clark fan-without-a-cause -- or even a computer. Rogan's unabashed appreciation of, and sympathy for, Gene's entire oeuvre completely captivated me. This guy got Gene the same way I did!
I felt an immediate connection. Indeed, so enamoured with TFR was I that entire paragraphs of his Clark-focused writing were effortlessly committed to memory, as though it were a form of sacred text.
If that sounds over the top, so be it. But you must understand that up until that point in time my admiration for Gene's work had been a lonely obsession; one for which I had been mocked on several occasions.  
In truth, I hadn't met any other Gene Clark fans. Not one. So in that respect, Rogan was a true revelation.  

So if any single person is responsible for getting me to stop talking about Gene and start writing about him, it is Johnny Rogan.  It was indeed a great pleasure to be able to tell him that. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the 2014 Gene Clark Symposium at which Johnny appeared (although I did get the dust jacket for RFTT Vol. I signed, thanks to my dear friend Catherine!), but I'm delighted to say that he and I have corresponded ever since.  
It was a great pleasure to interview Johnny, although I will confess I was taken aback when he turned the tables and upbraided me over the inference I drew of McGuinn's character from his book (Did I deserve it? You be the judge).  
In my questioning I attempted to cover all the deceased Byrds featured in Requiem for the Timeless, Vol. II -- i.e. Gene, Michael Clarke, Gram Parsons, Clarence White, Kevin Kelley and Skip Battin -- but as you'll see, for me anyway, all roads lead back to Gene Clark. I guess it probably goes without saying that I'm an unashamed "Clark man," as Johnny puts it. 

Two giant volumes so far and more to come.

Even after conducting decades of research and having known the man, are there any questions you have with respect to Gene Clark’s life or career that to this day remain unanswered?
Above and below left left: Gene appeared on The Smothers 
Brothers Comedy Hour during his brief, ill-fated 
return flight to Byrdland in late 1967

A countless number, I’m sure. Gene could often be an elusive interviewee. I don’t think anyone ever conducted a truly interrogative interview with the man, including me. I mean by that a cross-examination beyond simply allowing him to reminisce or state things unchallenged. With Crosby and McGuinn, for example, you could challenge anything they said and debate issues endlessly. It wasn’t easy to do that with Gene. To this day there are passing comments that he made that were never properly explained or remain clear. They’re not crucially important but puzzling for some of us. By this I mean things like the ‘Blue Ribbons’ b/w ‘Artesian’ single; the odd Brian Jones ‘Eight Miles High’ comment; the witnessing of the air crash as a kid . . . and similar. More importantly, of course, there are entire episodes of his life/career that he never commented on publicly. His disastrous return to the Byrds in late 1967: what was all that about? How did he feel about it? How much of it was his idea? Did he think it would last? What was his psychological state at the time?  Of course, I’d love to know more about his interaction with each of the individual Byrds. Whether he would have been forthcoming is quite another question but I’m sure there were occasions over the decades where he might have been open to this type of questioning. Then there are the many lost projects, obscure recordings etc. I’d loved to have talked to Gene about individual songs but, like many great singer-songwriters, he wasn’t especially forthcoming about discussing his art in that kind of detail, which is understandable. 

His disastrous return to the Byrds in late 1967: what was all that about? How did he feel about it? How much of it was his idea? Did he think it would last? What was his psychological state at the time?  


Looking back, there were moments when I could have got more involved than I did. There was that time in the late Eighties when he talked to me about his planned autobiography. He wanted Dickson to write it, even though, as Jim was the first to admit, he wasn’t an author. You’d think I would have nominated myself for the job and, when I think about it now, I could have spent days with Clark doing the groundwork with long interviews. He was very keen about that project. My attitude was ‘Well, I can’t do it, I’m a Byrds’ biographer.’ Had I done so, that material would still exist and could have been drawn upon. There were similar opportunities with others, but I never pursued them on the grounds that I don’t do authorized projects like this. I felt always that it wouldn’t be fair on the other four Byrds. Strange, isn’t it? These days that seems an odd objection but testifies to a certain idealism I had at the time about authorial objectivity or something similar. I alluded to this in the intro to ‘Requiem Volume 1’. I never wanted to be part of any Byrds faction – such as a ‘Crosby man’, a ‘McGuinn, man’, a ‘Clark man’ etc. They were all important to me and I admired them all for different reasons at different times. That remains so.

Musically speaking, Gene's career had several distinct phases. What is your favourite period – and why?

I’m not sure I have a favourite. I loved all those phases and lived through each one. Of course, there were exceptional moments. It’s no secret that I loved No Other, for example,  but I can’t think of any part of Gene’s career – or probably the other Byrds – when I wasn’t intrigued. The only phase where I felt Gene maybe spent too long on something was the various Pat Robinson collaborations. Some good work was produced but there were other home recordings where he had a different, less commercial focus that remained unexplored or undeveloped. That dichotomy is summed up for me with Under The Silvery Moon in relation to Gypsy Angel. The former is professionally recorded and worked on tirelessly, but the material isn’t especially inspired; the latter features several compositions that I feel are brilliant, but the recording quality leaves so much to be desired. I wish he’d had the backing or found the money to record, for example, ‘Pledge To You’ in a proper recording studio. On the other hand, I’m pathetically grateful that we have any surviving recording of this wonderful composition.





You and I have had many interesting discussions about the provenance and artistic significance of the song ‘Communications.’ It is quite obviously an important song in Gene's canon, yet there is so little information about it. Were you able to uncover any new details? 

It’s a story in itself. I know Einarson suggested I’d been misinformed about its origin as a late GC composition as he had a copy on the end of the ‘Glass House Tapes’. My copy of the ‘Glass House Tapes’ doesn’t include it.  I ended up reinvestigating the whole history and more less ended up back with what I’d said in the first place, although it’s a pretty convoluted saga.  I don’t believe ‘Communications’ was ever part of the ‘Glass House Tapes’, but it’s a very convoluted tale. This is the type of information that would appeal to you and hard-core GC aficionados rather than the general reader. So I don’t even mention it in the main text but I wrote three or four pages about it in smaller print in the Endnotes.

Gene’s baroque/chamber-pop period of ’66-’67 both yielded gems like ‘Echoes’ as well as more puzzling works, like the Hugh Masekela-produced version of ‘Yesterday Am I Right’. Could you share your thoughts about the raft of songs that were slated for Gene’s follow-up to his solo debut (‘On Tenth Street’,  ‘Bakersfield Train’, ‘Translations’ etc.)? Big question: Do tapes of these unreleased songs exist in any form?

I know this is the area of Gene’s recording career that possibly intrigues you the most. I agree that it leaves us feeling that there is a great lost album that might have come out in 1967, a followup to Gene Clark with The Gosdin Brothers. The recent Sierra release (with ‘Back Street Mirror’ and ‘Don’t Let It Fall Through’) as with the belatedly issued ‘Only Colombe’ are revelations in miniature. Publicly, Gene had a quiet 1967 and I don’t think he even saw Monterey, but in songs of songwriting and private recordings he was prolific. More tapes were recorded, of course.


The recent Sierra release (with ‘Back Street Mirror’ and ‘Don’t Let It Fall Through’) as with the belatedly issued ‘Only Colombe’ are revelations in miniature. 


The Gene Clark Sings For You session seems to be shrouded in mystery.  Case in point: apart from Alex Del Zoppo, we don't even know who accompanied Gene on bass, guitar drums, calliope, etc.  Del Zoppo himself couldn’t remember.  Have you uncovered any new information?

Nothing significant. That was a rather rough session. I assumed they were local players and the whole thing wasn’t well rehearsed. It wasn’t like the Masekela recordings earlier in the year. I’m still amazed that Gene was in a studio experimenting independently with a new direction (‘Back Street Mirror’ etc) as early as January 1967 before the release of his debut  solo album. The fact that later that summer Gene provided the winsome name ‘Gene Clark Sings For You’ for a crude, eight-song acetate has given that project greater significance in some fan’s eyes, making them assume it was  a full scale project. In truth, he did a number of private recordings during this period. It’s a shame that the fruits of all those labours couldn’t have found a home at the time. To answer your big question: yes, tape recordings exist of ‘One Way Road’; ‘Whatever’; ‘Down On The Pier’; ‘Bakersfield Train’; ‘Back Street Mirror’; ‘Got To Get You Off My Mind’; ‘Only Colombe’; ‘Translations’; ‘I Just Like You’; ‘I Am Without You’; ‘So Much More’ and ‘Don’t Know What You Want’. Another Clark composition, ‘It’s Easy Now’, listed on the tape box, has been crossed out, presumed lost.

Apart from ‘Communications’, you’ve documented other unreleased late-period songs (‘Adios Terri,’ ‘Big Bad Mama,’ etc.).   Since only a few have heard them, could you take a moment to tell us about these songs?

Sure. ‘Battle Of The Sexes’ has that Elvis Sun-period sound that Gene liked to employ sometimes. ‘Adios Terri’ was probably a playful working title. I think had he issued the song it would have been retitled ‘Stray Cat Blues’. It sounds pretty impromptu, a toothless blues and you can probably guess the date by some of the topical allusions. Gene mentions the Iraqi War and sings about “Indian boys” entering the desert there.  Like ‘Communications’, he also alludes to Ezekiel’s Wheel, another reason to pair those songs chronologically. It also appears on the same tape on my copy. ‘Big Bad Mama’ is a favourite of mine. It begins with a ghostly howl with Gene sounding positively ancient. His dental issues made it sound even spookier. I love the guitar work too, possibly the work of Garth Beckington. The bridge is really impressive. Lyrically, it dissects a relationship in an accusative tone, but it’s also sardonic and funny. He sings about betrayal and loss but with great defiance, like the narrator in ‘I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better’. It would be reductive to offer an autobiographical interpretation even though the tone is confessional. Perhaps it was inspired by the two major loves of his life but that’s for the listener to decide. It may be a song of personal loss, but it’s also one of existential loss too.  “Where did we go wrong?” he constantly asks and the ending is really poignant: “She never came home”. He was still writing potentially great stuff at the end. I wish he’d gone on that final tour with Garth Beckington as an acoustic duo. They already had England booked at the time of Gene’s death with a full itinerary. 

Timeless Flight Revisited paints Roger McGuinn as rather cold, aloof, ruthlessly opportunistic individual (e.g. selling footage of Chris Hillman’s house fire; the “If you can’t fly you can’t be a Byrd” incident with Gene, etc.). Is that how you intended to characterize him? Have you spoken with him in recent years? Has your opinion of him changed?  


I think this question reveals more about you and your perspective than mine. Firstly, I note you say Timeless Flight Revisited appears to paint him this way. Does that mean you don’t think Volume 1 of Requiem For The Timeless offers a similar portrayal or not? I’ve never described McGuinn as ‘ruthlessly opportunistic’. Aloof? Emotionally detached? Yes.  The
Jim Dickson, 1967
quip about having to fly to be a Byrd is a typical one-liner. It’s also very true. The Byrds weren’t renowned for their bedside manner. Hillman never complained about McGuinn filming that fire or, as far as I know, felt upset by it. McGuinn liked filming things, and that was it. Derek Taylor did tell me he advised McGuinn to give Hillman the $75.00 fee he received from ABC TV for use of the footage so that “it would look good in the papers”. I don’t  know whether he took Taylor’s advice or not but it’s a funny story. I don’t think McGuinn is characterized as you described him. You don’t acknowledge the positive sides of his character. I recall an interview where they were talking about his relationship with Crosby and he cited the caption of a photo of him and David in TFR. I’d captioned it with three words: ‘Fire and Ice’. McGuinn said that was the perfect summation of their different temperaments. McGuinn’s ability to distance himself emotionally was what kept the Byrds going, long after they might have disbanded.  If he’d had the personality traits of Gene, David or Chris, I don’t believe it would have lasted anywhere near as long as it did. Crosby told me “McGuinn was the heart and soul of the Byrds”, but that’s a possible overstatement. He was the master illusionist leading the Byrds in often impossible circumstances. As I said at the end of TFR, McGuinn’s great achievement was making us still believe in the Byrds, despite all that had happened. 

Has my opinion of him changed? Not a bit. Have I spoken to him in recent years? Yes. I don’t usually go backstage anymore but on his last UK visit I did. I felt I was fulfilling a final wish of Jim Dickson. I spoke to Dickson some weeks before his death. For some reason, we got to talking about Gene and McGuinn. Decades earlier, I’d mentioned the Elizabethan qualities in some of Gene’s songwriting meditations. I quoted to Dickson Sir Walter Raleigh’s ‘Even Such Is Time’ which ends with the words, “I trust”. Dickson nearly fell off his chair. We spoke about ‘She Don’t Care About Time’, McGuinn’s motto ‘I Trust Everything Will Turn Out All Right’ and similar allusions. “We must get McGuinn to put that poem to music!” Dickson enthused. In our final conversation he repeated that. After his death, I felt obliged to pass on the message to McGuinn. Typically, he filmed me backstage reciting the poem. Whether he ever will put it to music I don’t know. I wish he would.

I've always been interested in Gene's friendship with Michael Clarke. Their paths crossed many times after their respective departures from the Byrds. Time and again Gene turned to him when more capable drummers were at hand.  Why do you think that was?
Michael Clarke, 1965
(photo by Curt Gunther)

Mainly, because Michael was such fun to be around. He was also always underrated. It wasn’t just Gene who went back to Michael. Clarke was in the Byrds, Dillard and Clark, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Firefall and more. His CV looks pretty impressive, doesn’t it? Writing the Clarke chapter, I realized how loved and respected Michael was by everyone around him. He was like a Huckleberry Finn character. His personality was engaging and attractive and his modesty impressive. A number of people noted how he never boasted about his Byrds’ connections. The fiasco about the name game I’ve covered, of course, and the tales of Gene and Michael on the road are hilarious and moving. Michael was so carefree, confident and cavalier.  His final months in the Byrds are still fascinating. Remember the studio argument? Priceless. He’s replaced in the studio, then he’s back. He’s still playing with the Byrds in December 1967, performing ‘Milestones’ no less. And there he is at the final session for Notorious back on the drums for ‘Artificial Energy’, a song he co-wrote. He even came up with the title, the line about ‘artificial energy’. 

Writing the Clarke chapter, I realized how loved and respected Michael was by everyone around him. He was like a Huckleberry Finn character. His personality was engaging and attractive and his modesty impressive.

There was homophobic humour there too that was typical of Michael at the time. Being in jail for killing a queen. There was mischief there. I think the person Michael was thinking of with that line was a Byrds’ associate who’d fallen from grace in their eyes.

The inclusion of the Flying Burritos Brothers’ version of ‘She Darked The Sun’ on Sierra Records’ recent release (The Lost Studio Sessions 1964-1982) presented us with the tantalizing possibility that Gene and Gram recorded together. But a nagging question among the country-rock cognoscenti is what kind of relationship Gene Clark had with Gram Parsons? Was it cordial? Are there any recollections from people who saw them interact?
The only known photograph
of Gene Clark and Gram
Parsons together, 1969

Not much. There seems to be a rivalry among certain fans – as it Gene versus Gram –  in terms of importance or influence. I don’t think they interacted much. Funnily enough, Gram was probably much closer to McGuinn than Gene at that time. Parsons socialized at McGuinn’s home a fair bit, playing pool and drinking. There is of course that famous quote from Tom Slocum about Gene saying that if he met Gram in the hereafter he’d know he was in hell. People seize on that as if it demonstrates that they were in conflict.  I think that’s simply people misunderstanding Gene’s humour. You have to consider who Gene was talking to. Slocum had been married to Emmylou Harris, as Gene well knew. I think that line was part of their dark humour. Gene probably felt Slocum would find it amusing. I believe Gene respected Gram, who partly inspired ‘Some Misunderstanding’ and don’t forget Gene later covered ‘Hot Burrito # 1’, a composition he rightly admired.

The private lives, careers and personalities of drummers Michael Clarke and Kevin Kelley have not been as well documented as, say, Crosby and McGuinn.  I don’t even know the circumstances surrounding Kelley’s death.  Can you share with us an interesting fact or two about Kevin Kelley that you learned during the course of your research for Volume 2?

Despite all that has been written about the Byrds, Kevin Kelley was virtually a blank slate. Most of what is written about him anywhere is largely borrowed from Volume 1 of Requiem and Timeless Flight Revisited. I spent most of 2007 on Kelley alone. In fact the chapter was more or less completed a year before the publication of the first volume. It’s a moving story of love lost, opportunities missed, musical collaborations previously unknown,  and much more. Kelley was a formidable jazz and country player. He was also a songwriter. ‘All I Have Are Memories’ was recorded by the Byrds, although it was wrongly credited on first release, initially appearing as an instrumental.
Kevin Kelley, during his stint with the Sweetheart of the Rodeo-era Byrds (L-R, Kelley, Gram Parsons, Roger McGuinn, and Chris Hillman (Kelley's cousin)
Kevin was upset about this, feeling his songwriting contribution hadn’t been properly recognized. What surprised me most Kelley’s emergence as an accomplished singer-songwriter.  The tapes confirm he had a decent catalogue and could have been signed by a major label by the early to mid-Seventies. He even wrote his own epitaph with the moving ‘Home Again’. Maybe justice will be done and these songs might yet appear.


Requiem for the Timeless Volume 2 deals with the lives and tragic deaths of Gene Clark, Michael Clarke, Kevin Kelley, Skip Battin, Gram Parsons and Clarence White.  I’m sure many will remember your vivid, harrowing descriptions of Michael Clarke’s final days (I was haunted for days after reading that chapter; up till then I had been blissfully unaware of his deterioration). How did it affect you to have to chronicle the lives and careers of people with whom sadness and death is the common denominator?
Clarence White
Skip Battin
Well, death comes to us all. I’ve always had a great respect for the dead and eulogies like these offer a chance to reflect. I don’t think there’s anything morbid about these chapters. Rather, they celebrate the lives and work of all these characters. Some of the stories are sad but – as with Michael Clarke and Gene Clark to name but two – there is a tremendous esprit that dominates the story and makes you still miss them.

Can you provide us with any teasers about the Gene Clark chapter? Any recording projects that you unearthed?

Terry Melcher
Well, one thing that came as a surprise was a key song that Gene wrote about the Troubles in Belfast. That puzzled his brother-in-law. What was Gene doing in the depths of Mendocino writing about events in Belfast? Previously, of course, I was aware of the songs that were recently premiered on the Sierra release. They were interesting as they hadn’t been logged anywhere. What people don’t know, though, concerns the lost sessions with Terry Melcher. I discovered that while Gene’s wife Carlie was pregnant with Kelly, she and Gene actually left Mendocino and relocated to Idlewild, where they stayed with Melcher who had his own recording facility. They worked on an album project and I imagine a fair amount of material was recorded as they were there for some time. This also explains why nothing was logged with any record company for these sessions. I imagine this stuff may be unearthed at some point.

Do you feel Gene’s standing as an artist has grown since his death? I could ask the same question about the Byrds.

Well, the Byrds resisted the lure of the big reunion. So much money and publicity is now connected with these resurrection tours that it must be difficult to resist. McGuinn takes the longer view. I think the Byrds are already established in the pantheon but their profile would probably be higher if the survivors played the reunion game. I’m happy for McGuinn to resist the temptation. Either way, it’s their decision. 
   Gene has become something of a cult figure, not to the extent of Gram Parsons, but I think there’s been a shift in that balance over recent years. Hey, it’s not a competition. It’s great to see Gene’s lost work receiving recognition, along with his familiar catalogue. 

   This is a big topic that I could discuss for pages and pages but I’m interested to see changing views on the Byrds’ standing over the decades and how they are now regarded by commentators. When you’ve lived through this stuff as a listener from 1965 onwards, it’s a lifetime’s experience of ups and downs. Late arrivals, younger listeners and latter-day music critics can appreciate the quality of the Byrds’ work without the extremes of emotion, personal prejudices and uncertainties  that  came from witnessing the story as it slowly unfolded: the exhilaration of listening to ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ for the first time; the invention of ‘Eight Miles High’; the establishment of the Byrds as an albums band; the many offshoots, Gene, the Burritos, CSN&Y et al; the latter-day Byrds touring and recording. It’s endless. 

Back in the mid-Seventies, I wrote a piece titled ‘The Secrets Of The Vaults’ which detailed the Byrds-era songs that were assumed to be buried in the archives of Columbia Records. That article culminated in the release of the two volumes of The Original Singles, which I compiled and for which I wrote the liner notes. The dream of a proper archive album wasn’t considered by CBS. A decade later, in more sympathetic times, there was Never Before and finally the CD reissues of the original Byrds albums on Sony with bonus tracks. For later listeners that’s probably how they first encountered the Byrds’ catalogue. That process led to a certain revisionism. The bonus tracks were intended to enhance enjoyment of the Byrds’ oeuvre, but a strange process has taken place in magazines, retrospectives and online commentaries. Increasingly, the original albums are looked at outside of their chronological context and the bonus tracks that were excluded are perceived as lost opportunities.
Many people can’t fathom why songs like ‘Don’t Doubt Yourself Babe’, ‘We’ll Meet Again’ or ‘Oh! Susannah’ were included in place of original compositions by the Byrds.  There’s a lack of understanding about the perceived purpose of an album in the mid-Sixties when variety, even a degree of novelty, was appreciated as important. We now tend to look at albums through the prism of the singer-songwriter era so that original work is sanctified over cover material. Complicating matters, and I’m partly responsible for this, is the feeling that Gene was held back creatively, or worse. I made much of this writing in the Seventies while researching my first Byrds book. It was true that there was jealously over the writing credits, and that needed to be said. What was a complex dynamic in the Byrds has arguably now become over-stated due to repetition. There is also the tendency to defend Gene by blaming the other Byrds for not supporting him sufficiently.

   I don’t like the transformation of Gene into something approaching the perennial victim. I’ve often read later commentators stating that the omission of ‘She Don’t Care About Time’ from the second Byrds album was the ultimate slight to Gene. This is misapplied, retrospective logic. Choosing not to place a B-side on an album made sense then. Witness the Beatles’ policy on singles. I remember applauding the Byrds at the time for not adding a song that I already owned as the B-side to ‘Turn! Turn! Turn!’ It ensured that the album was better value for money and featured a song we didn’t already own. Also, bear in mind that Gene made a small fortune from ‘She Don’t Care About Time’ as it was the B-side of a million-seller. Indeed, it would have made more money than the combined royalties of ‘If You’re Gone’, ‘The World Turns All Around Her’ and ‘Set You Free This Time’. It was far more important and lucrative for Clark to appear on B-sides of hit records than it was to be featured on albums at that time. Many people seem to have forgotten that. I’ve seen similar arguments about ‘The Day Walk’. What an innovative and lyrically intriguing composition! How could they not include it?  That’s an instinctive reaction. You can certainly argue that there was resistance due to jealously, but some qualification is required. I think there was genuine bemusement about Gene’s abstruse Dylanesque lyrics. McGuinn felt they were imitative but not of the quality of Dylan. The others no doubt felt the same, as did Dickson. More importantly, Gene didn’t push the song for inclusion. Think about it. Years later, when the track was unearthed, Gene couldn’t even remember the title. Dickson played the tape for him and he still could not recall ever writing it. Imagine that. As he couldn’t recall anything about it, he suggested they title it ‘Never Before’. By the way, I think the amended title ‘The Day Walk’ (a title found on some tape box, I believe) may also be wrong. I think the composition is actually ‘The Emptiness’.
  Lastly, on all this for now, while there’s currently a tendency to regard Gene as a composer whose work was unfairly held back, he wasn’t the only one. Crosby had two compositions ‘The Flower Bomb Song’ and ‘Stranger In A Strange Land’ omitted. Crosby doesn’t speak highly of those songs but don’t take that as proof of poor quality. ‘Stranger In A Strange Land’ is a fascinating song. Check out Blackburn and Snow’s cover for proof. The Byrds often underestimated themselves. That was part of their greatness. Gene forgot about so many of his songs. He wasn’t alone in that. Crosby couldn’t even remember ‘Psychodrama City’ and denied to me that he ever wrote or sang it! He didn’t push for ‘It Happens Each Day’ either and barely recalled the song when it was rediscovered in the Eighties. They didn’t even bother to finish it when working on Younger Than Yesterday.  McGuinn’s early compositions such as ‘Love Beyond Compare’ and ‘Come On Now’ were wiped from his memory banks too. “I couldn’t even hum them to you,” he told me. “I don’t remember a single word.” That’s the Byrds for you. So, yes, Gene was held back at times and not always treated well, but don’t transform him into a victim. It was never as simple as that.


Requiem for the Timeless, Vol. II is scheduled for publication on August 2nd, 2017 in hardback. Is it likely to arrive on time or might there be delays? Will it be available in paperback?

It’s on schedule. There will be no paperback version. There wasn’t one for Requiem, Volume 1 or Timeless Flight Revisited for that matter. As each volume is over 1,200 pages, I don’t think it would work as  a paperback in terms of production. It needs proper stitch binding. I’d hate to sanction a book that might might later fall apart; the quality is important. I’ve vetoed any e-book too. There was an attempt to sell an e-book for Volume 1 by my former publisher Music Sales, but I had it taken down from Amazon within 24 hours. Only four copies were ever downloaded. They thought I was crazy to remove it, as it was earning income, but I’m not keen on having my work available in that format. It’s difficult to control but even with my Van Morrison book for Random House I declined their offer to produce an e-book. I don’t know anyone else who has ever done that. It’s not easy with a corporation, especially one of that size. I wouldn’t say I’m anti-technology, even though I’ve never owned or even operated a mobile phone, don’t engage online, don’t have a blog or site and prefer vinyl to CD or digital. I need as much time as I can just to keep writing. Finally getting this volume out is a relief. I hate the idea of dying in the middle of a project, although that may well end up happening.






5 comments:

Paul Kerr said...

Excellent interview, informative and compelling reading, thanks

The Clarkophile said...

Thank you, Paul!

Anonymous said...

I fully echo Paul's comments. Great read. As for McGuinn.... out next week by New Haven. In The Wings My Life With Roger McGuinn by ex wife Ianthe McGuinn (Delores DeLeon ) Might be the perfect summer read,along with Rogan's weigthy tome Regards Steve

Keith Rh said...

great interview,would have liked an ebook of any of his books,i find those easier to read these days...oh well. re your intro i was a pretty isolated gene clark fan in the 70's and took the oppotunity to write to a john rogan who i think was doing some work at the uni or poly in my home town of newcastle,he'd put an ad in a little mag[dark star?] & was after difficult to get gc albums,probably the american dreamer and i remember being glad to see someone showing some interest in him.he certainly pursued his interest! [i got a reply]

Chris Glenn said...

As a mental health specialist with some knowledge of neuro-developmental issues I wanted to add one point that Rogan, Einarson and others seem not to have considered. Gene Clark, a wonderful creative writer who does not read - any psychologist would immediately consider dyslexia. Not a mental health condition but a specific learning difficulty. Another condition that is generally underestimated by those who write about our gifted tragic heroes is attachment disorder e.g people become insecure and destructive in their relationships due to loss, trauma and inconsistent parenting, see Gram Parsons, Jerry Garcia, John Lennon, John Martyn, Eric Clapton who I believe all lost the relationship with their parents early - add the addiction gene and this is often literally a deadly cocktail. I know that these traumas are not ignored but generally not specifically named as attachment disorders.