we never had it so good
gothic harris (10/10/54-2/10/04)
i can't believe i'm writing this, beginning and ending dates in parentheses, beside the name of another brilliant, generous, loving giant with whom i had the pleasure of spending some time in this life.
i'm listening to his voice on a videotape, from an afternoon at jeremy gilien's studio, cottage southend, on spaulding below pico. "you never had it so good..." how many saturday afternoons did we spend there? i always half-joked that i was the new kid on the block, having only known these guys ( gothic, jeremy, jeff morrison, pasquale 'pat' amodeo, sometimes richard frasca, or 'boolge,' rene castro) since 1979, introduced by cathy (and little autumn), when they had already been a band for several years... wafting swaft...playing some of the many hundreds or possibly thousands of songs that these people had written, individually or in combination, sometimes i'd do one of my songs, which they would treat with the same respect they always had for eachother, as if i was their equal, which i am not. even if sometimes like an old married couple, jeremy and gothic had one of the purest and most creative friendships i've ever had the pleasure to witness. i have never had a partnership with anyone that lasted as long, through as many incarnations, brought back from the dead so many times...
meeting all of these guys was a life-changing experience. for the good, of music, long time friendships and harmonious, good times.
professor harris was the wildest genius around, in a room full of mad brilliance.
village was their name but they had names for everything. the backyard was spaulding stadium, for the informal softball games played there. the studio was cottage southend. 'swaft,' 'swinge' was something you either had or didn't, 'metro' meant something was very cool. 'skebbidge,' not cool. i may be wrong but i think those are all gothic-isms which became part of the crowd's secret language.
i'm so glad that jeremy took gothic with him to england last year (?year before?) and that those guys made frequent trips to visit joshua tree. my second ever trip to joshua tree was with them, on harmonic convergence in 1987. while we never found the new age collection of people who had gone to the desert that day, we did find a nice rock to sit on and do what we liked doing for world peace, singing and playing some songs out in the sun.
gothic wanted to move to the desert in the past few years but he was worried that he'd be unable to get the medicines he needed to get by. for me, he wil always be a part of this place, as well as jeremy's.
gothic could play any instrument and sing like an angel. at my 40th birthday, he sang 'in the court of the crimson king' so tenderly... he could remember details of songs thirty years old that he heard once or twice. gothic's enormous spirit held so many songs in it, it must be soaring, like one of his perfect harmonies now. i'll really miss you, man.
THE MODERN ERA OF POPULAR MUSIC STARTED 40 YEARS AGO TONIGHT
long before phil spector hired the woman attorney, long before janet jackson's sunburst nipple was exposed to the superbowl football fans, or brother michael's computers and video computers were seized, before the televised re-unions of berlin and the alarm or the osbornes or the monkees or , before the subscription drives for santa monica radio stations...i don't want to promote sales for capitol records, or sell their latest dvd...i just want to say, for the record, they changed my life, they changed the world, their music sounds as great today as ever, we've never had anything close to them since, their impact will outlive us all, they opened the genie bottle and let us out. most of my friendships and all of my musical collaborations owed them something. it may be safe to say that all music owes them something. everything since and everything they had drawn inspiration from. my sense of humor, my sense of style and my core belief in 'all you need is love' was all a part of their wild gift. the four of them together were a perfect union, like one fuly integrated, realized Soul with a divine purpose. i'm glad to have been around for it. many thanks to you, living or dead, long live the beatles.