Another in our occasional series of top-notch transcontinental rocknroll conversations tapped out over our gmail IM....
lamont : Do we have anything to say about Arthur Lee's life and death?
alexvcook: only speculation as to who's next. Syd Barrett, Arthur Lee....they all come in threes
lamont : Who's Next?
alexvcook: Is Skip Spence still alive?
lamont : I don't know who Skip Spence is...
alexvcook: skip spence is from Moby Grape, he had a big freak out and disappeared to record "OAR" immediately forgotten then, but hailed as a lost classic now
lamont : Still lost in this house. Fortunately/unfortunately, I want to hear everything but somehow I don't want to hear that.
I was pretty shocked when I heard that Arthur Lee was dead. Surprised. He was pretty young. But damn, he must have written 'Forever Changes' when he was 21 and it was a long way down from there...
alexvcook: forever changes is one of those perennial top tens that I can't argue with, Sgt Peppers, pet Sounds, fuck em - but forever changes is always good none of the other 2 Love albums ever really grabbed me.
lamont : I was surprised that he has spent most of the past ten years in jail
alexvcook: I know. it was some very pedestrian gun charge
lamont : I guess maybe I never knew him at all.
alexvcook: I remember a very short lived "Free Arthur Lee" t-shirt thing going round on the web, but that had a shorter shelf life than The West Memphis 3
lamont : The thing with Love is, every few years a Love pastiche band will pop up. And then for those who simply can't buy sixties music, there's that god awful Damned cover of 'Alone Again Or'
alexvcook: I remember a Jim Morrison-obsessed girlfriend of mine in collage though it was funny that Jimbo wanted the Doors to be "as big a Love one day" laughing, "who ever heard of Love?" its pretty damned hippie, no denying that but the two key tracks "A House is not a Motel" and "Alone Again Or" are unstoppable.
lamont : I am not sure of the chronology, did they predate the pretty damn risible 'It's A Beautiful Day"?
alexvcook: hmm forever changes is 1967...
lamont : IABD must be 1970 or so surely.
Arthur Lee at least lived up to his crazy rock man reputation
alexvcook: yeah I would think so
lamont : he wasn't faking it
alexvcook: didn't lee tour with a reformed Love in the nineties doing little gigs in LA here and there?
lamont : He did x-rated by taste critics full on orchestra versions of forever changes end to end
and then he reformed love and then left love who became love without arthur lee one of the better band names of all time
alexvcook: oh yes, I remember the orchestra thing
lamont : Love were one of those bands that people older than me liked, that weren't Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple they had a mystery probably because they weren't around much I think if anything Love helped me to begin mining the musical past. So one great album, two great songs, pretty good at shooting guns off into the air, and what else?
alexvcook: There is the decided intractibility in Forever Changes, like its pop music despite itself
lamont : Yes. Well put.
alexvcook: Well, skip Spence died in 99, so he won't be next... Roky Erikson is still somehow still alive. I hope its not him next
lamont : Sky Saxon is 70 this year...
alexvcook: ahhhh, theres the good money
Alex V. Cook listens to everything and writes about most of it. His latest book, the snappily titled Louisiana Saturday Night: Looking for a Good Time in South Louisiana's Juke Joints, Honky-Tonks, and Dance Halls is an odyssey from the backwoods bars and small-town dives to the swampside dance halls and converted clapboard barns of a Louisiana Saturday Night. Don't leave Heathrow without it. His first book Darkness Racket and Twang is available from SideCartel. The full effect can be had at alex v cook.com