August 9, 2007

You'd think these guys would have something to salute by now.
Something that'd make the government so proud

Michael Ciervo, Untitled, 2007

* From a 1999 interview of Lee Hazlewood by Dean Warham (originally appeared in CMJ), excerpt:

DW: How old were you when you started with (guitarist) Al Casey?

LH: I think Al was about seventeen years old when he played on that first hit for Sanford Clark, 'The Fool' (written and produced by LH). I put his name on the record, which they never did in that day, but the riff was so good, I had to put his name on it. In lieu of more money. And I used to list the 'recording rebels' on the back of all the Duane Eddy records. I put the musicians’ names on there so they could show it to their mama, so they didn’t think they were holding up gas stations.

DW: You dedicated the new record to Larry Flynt.

LH: I like him for what he did. When the republicans were being so snobbish and everything, he caused a couple of them to resign. All of us have a little dirt, so to sit there on TV and look so prim and proper and say you’ve never sinned... well I don’t consider making love a sin, but anyway... I decided to dedicate this record to him. I don’t know about the magazine. That’s for a certain kind of person, but what he did with the power of his magazine was good. Using all that money and power. He’s gotta be a liberal, and I’ve gotta be a liberal ‘cos I was born with liberal parents, which I had to keep a secret. My grandfather on my father’s side was a judge, my two uncles were lawyers and my Dad was a wildcatter. On the other side, my mother’s, was a farmer-rancher from Oklahoma, and he was a staunch Republican -- couldn’t stand FDR.

DW: Did he think he was a communist?

LH: No he thought he was a fascist. When the government sent people out to kill the pigs, to keep the prices down, he thought that was fascism. He had a huge ranch. I worked for him from age six or seven, working in the summers. A big Gary Cooper looking sort of man. I went there because I was such a city boy. He worked you, and he paid you, and I loved him to death. You could go into town on Saturday and boogie away your salary.

DW: When did you leave Oklahoma?

LH: As soon as I could. I was only born there, I consider myself a Texan. I spent summers at the ranch, but I never considered myself an Okie. I was only born there ‘cos my mother happened to be there.

DW: This has my favorite Lee Hazlewood track, 'My Autumn’s Done Come.'

LH: Not bad for a guy who wrote that when he was thirty-one years old. I was much older when I recorded it, but I wrote that song and saved it. Now is when I should do it, but I guess I could change it to 'My Winter’s Done Come.'

DW: Who wrote 'Your Sweet Love?' That’s a great song.

LH: I did.

DW: It's misidentified one of the bootleg CD releases as a Leonard Cohen song.

LH: Leonard Cohen writes great melodies and pussy lyrics. We used to be out of the same office, lawyers in New York. I used to see him when he came to Sweden. I got no problem with Leonard, except he takes care of the little people a little too much.

DW: He comes from a poetry background.

LH: It’s a terrible thing to say of a poet, that you don’t care too much for his words.

DW: Nancy and Lee.

LH: That’s our accidental album. The songs, most of ‘em, can be found on one of Nancy’s albums. I wrote them for her and someone else to do, but I taught them to her. She auditioned some really good singers (I can’t tell you their names), but she had heard me and my bad guitar playing, and she said 'I’d rather do them with you.' I said 'here’s the deal, I’ll do one on each album with you' and that’s what we did. Forever. That’s how my musical career was revived.

DW: The production is fantastic on this.

LH: It’s good, isn’t it? Damn I was a good producer.

DW: What do you think you’re best at? Lyricist, singer, producer?

LH: I’m a fair lyricist. My songs were kind of Cadillac lyrics with Model-T melodies. I disguise the melodies alot. I’ve written some pretty songs. Songs like 'For One Moment.' But the critics would say, he couldn’t get the line in, he had to speak that part.... Let me look at that record... I don’t even know my own records... Some Velvet Morning. Listen to the tempo change in the beginning. The track was recorded in London, when Nancy was doing her London album.

DW: Who plays on these recordings?

LH The best. Frank Sinatra called it the B-team. That’s Al Casey, Donnie Owens, Don Randy, Hal Blaine on drums. Sinatra had the A-team with all the jazz players, but the B-team played on 'That’s Life.' I talk to Hal Blaine every now and then. He’s been married more often than I have. I loved Hal’s playing. There were drummers who played just as good and sometimes better than Hal, but no drummers who tuned their drums like they were timpani. He had five sets floating between sessions, and he would tune them to E, or A or whatever. I gave Hal some of his first jobs, I convinced him to quit working for Patti Page, I said come work here, I can give you enough work. She paid him about $300 a week). And I didn’t have much work then.

* TV's top closet stoners.

* The world's oldest map.

* "It's really the obligation of the sculptor to define sculpture, not to be defined by the power structure that asks you, that while you put your sculpture up, to please make this place more beautiful. I find that a totally false notion, because their notion of beauty and my notion of…sculpture are always, invariably, at opposite ends." -- Richard Serra


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9:44 AM  

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