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ARTS AT ST. ANN'S
Feldman, Artistic Director
GREETINGS FROM TIM BUCKLEY
Co-Produced with Hal Willner
Friday, April 26, 1991
PROGRAM (Subject to change)
Strange Feelin’(arr. Coleman)
Sharp, Coleman, Freeman, Cohen, Roberts, Gabay
Here Woman (arr. Sharp)
for Janie (arr. Andersen)
Earth is Broken (arr. Reynolds)
Rouge (arr. Quine)
Healing Festival (arr. Sharp)
You the Girl?
Surrender (arr. Sharp)
Moon (arr. The Shams)
Never Asked to Be Your Mountain (arr. Buckley)
River (arr. Lucas)
(The King’s Chain) (arr. Lucas)
Lonely (arr. Mazzacane/Langille)
Street (arr. Sharp/Smith)
Glory (arr. Hardwick)
from Room 109 at The Islander (on the Pacific Coast Highway)
in Two (arr. Reynolds)
I Was (arr. Buckley)
TIM BUCKLEY was born on Valentine's Day Washington, D.C. in 1947. He spent the first ten years of his life in Amsterdam, NY, before moving to southern California, first to Bell Gardens, then to Anaheim. “I was only about 12 years old, and I had about five or six notes to my voice. I heard a recording of a trumpet player playing things way up there. So I tried to reach those notes - Little Richard got them. It was like a falsetto scream. I’d ride my bicycle around the neighborhood screaming at the buses until I couldn't go any higher. Then one day I heard the opposite end, a baritone sax ... I said, there's got to be a way to do that. So I practiced and screamed until I finally ended up with a five-and-a-half octave range.”
As a boy, he loved Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, and Hank Thompson, along with the occasional Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis or Miles Davis albums his mother used to play. By the time he graduated from high school, he and his poet friend Larry Beckett had written some 20 songs together, which they took to Herb Cohen, who signed Tim to Elektra. Tim was 18.
Buckley regarded his first release as naive, stiff, and innocent. Because he played a guitar and sang, he was dubbed a “folkie”, a misnomer from which he never freed himself. He began playing his 12-string in solo concerts at small clubs and colleges on the East Coast. By the time he cut his second record, GOODBYE AND HELLO, his musical style and point of view perfectly matched the searing energy of the times. He had begun writing his own lyrics with a personal commitment and vulnerability he had never shown before. “I Never Asked To Be Your Mountain", in which he first incorporated asymmetrical rhythms, awed his listeners not only with the round, seductive tonal qualities of his voice, but the technical dexterity with which he was able to use it.
Buckley was an uneducated, lower-middle-class, street kid. He knew nothing about the formal and academic aspects of music, nor could he even make a barre chord on the guitar due to broken fingers warned during his stint as an unlikely high school quarterback. But he inhaled knowledge, inhaled personalities. His voracious creative and intellectual appetites made tremendous demands on the people around him.
After GOODBYE AND HELLO, he began to move away from the "literary” world of Beckett and into the personal world he was developing on his own. He began to shun politics and social movements, and resented being cast as a rock 'n' roll savior. He had come to regard the blues-oriented rock of the day as white thievery and emotional sham. He also began his war with the business world, when he walked out on a Buffalo, New York, TV show after they asked him to lip-sync the words to “Pleasant Street”, a darkly powerful song about the illusory and destructive nature of drugs. “I live in a hundred-dollar-a-month house in Venice, California, and I don't need anything. You could take all the money away, and I could make it anyway. I did it before and I could do it again,” he said in an interview for Changes.
He turned his ears to jazz, listening to Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Thelonius Monk, Charlie Mingus, Roland Kirk, Ornette Coleman. He was learning how to select words not only for their meaning, but for their sound. HAPPY/SAD was the result and included the beautiful ballad “Dream Letter”, written for his son, Jeffrey Scott.
In performance, Tim began to improvise at exhausting length. The band no longer rehearsed, just tried to keep up with him as he introduced new material onstage. He wanted his musicians to stay close to their instincts. But even as he worked at staying fresh and original, problem arose. “You're supposed to move on artistically, but the way the business is ... you're supposed to repeat what you did before ... It's very hard to progress.”
Having done his “folk”, “rock” and “jazz” things, he now wanted to delve into areas virtually uncharted. He began to listen to Luciano Berio, Xenakis, John Cage, Stockhausen, Ihlan Mimaroglu. His long-time guitarist, Lee Underwood, introduced him to Cathy Berberian, “the musical friend [he’d] been looking for.” After hearing Berberian, he no longer doubted himself. He regarded the title cut of LORCA, recorded in 1969, to be his debut as a unique singer, an original force. He held notes longer and stronger than anyone in pop music ever had. He explored a wide range of vocal sounds, which in pop contexts were revolutionary. He began his odyssey into odd-time signatures, which at that time were unheard of. In the ballad, “Anonymous Proposition”, he composed one of the most voluptuous and demanding personal ballads any singer had ever recorded.
The record bombed. Most of the critics regarded the music as being morbid, “weird”, and decidedly uncommercial. After the first three records, still embraced by the majority of Buckley fans to this day, his sales dropped, and dwindling audiences demanded the old material and resented the new. At the insistence of his advisors, Tim grudgingly dipped back into his past and pulled out eight previously unissued songs, including “Blue Melody” and “Café” (which he loved and continued to perform) and released the album, BLUE AFTERNOON.
But the performances were perfunctory; his heart wasn't in them. With the imperfect beginnings of LORCA, and the interruption of BLUE AFTERNOON behind him, Tim threw himself with a passion into his magnum opus, STARSAILOR.
STARSAILOR was a pop monster of odd-time signatures, bizarrely dissonant criss-crossing shrieks, moans and wails, and virtually unparalleled exoticism and sensuality in the lyrics. “I even started singing in foreign languages - Swahili, for instance - just because it sounded better. An instrumentalist can be understood doing just about anything, but people are really geared for hearing only words come out of the mouth. If I had my way, words wouldn't mean a thing.”
When STARSAILOR came out and proved to be a terrifying failure, Tim became furious, then profoundly depressed. He could not produce his own records anymore; eventually, he couldn't get any bookings. When he ran out of money, he took out his anger on himself, descending into the depths of drug and alcohol abuse. After two years, he was strapped in every way. He desperately needed the adulatory recognition of his vanished public. For that reason, he came back with three rock albums - GREETINGS FROM L.A., SEFRONIA, LOOK AT THE FOOL.
He did it “their” way, but it didn't work, primarily because he despised the conventional r&b formats, the thin, canned arrangements and the necessity of having to record other people's songs - with the exception of Fred Seaman's “Dolphins”, which he dearly loved and remained a staple of his live performances. He felt forced to endure the pitifully pedestrian, inadequate and unfulfilling r&b context (though he was a fan of r&b), especially on those few excellent songs that were for him achingly impassioned – “Sweet Surrender”, “Because of You”, and “Who Could Deny You”. Ironically, his voice never sounded better, more technically controlled or emotionally capable.
His sense of isolation became excruciating. Although in his effort to regain an audience, he had made effective and constructive strides in controlling his substance abuse, he was still liable to binges. Following a gig in Dallas on the weekend of June 28, 1975, he began one at a friend's house. With his system relatively clean, the combination proved to be too much for him. On many occasions, Buckley had ingested considerably more, and his friend, thinking he was only drunk, took him home. As his friend discussed the situation with Tim's wife, Judy, Tim lay on the floor with his head on a pillow. When the friend knelt beside him to ask how he was feeling, Tim whispered quietly, “Bye-bye baby,” and was gone. At the time, all he owned was his guitar and amplifier.
Tim Buckley held hands with the world for awhile. He gave in fire and fury and perverse humor the totality of his life's experience, which was far beyond his mere 28 years. He stood courageously on the stages of arenas, barrooms, and auditoriums, singing from within his own flames like a demon possessed. He had a beauty of spirit that etched the face of the lives of all who ever truly heard him sing.
- excerpted from Lee Underwood's remembrances of Tim Buckley, downbeat, June 16,1977
For some reason, I thought that Buckley's music (in this type of multi-artist situation) would work better live than on lp. I agreed to do it thinking it would never happen. It happened.
Without going into stories about why the current personnel only slightly resembles the cast from two weeks ago, and the fun of putting on one of these things live, I must say that this show may be alright! You'll probably go through a lot of emotions, including wanting to confess, but stay through the whole show if you can. You’ll leave a better person and we’ll have you out of here by Chanukah.
I’ll be seeing you.
GREETINGS FROM TIM BUCKLEY was Hal’s idea. It seemed like a good subject for an attempt to bring one of his records to life in concert. All of Buckley's music had been recently re-released by Enigma and Elektra, with the exception of TIM BUCKLEY and LORCA, which was as obscure then as it is out-of-print now. We spent months listening to the music on our own; then got together for several marathon sessions to finalize a list for performance. A tape was made of the selected songs in alphabetical order, and the skeleton of a running order was born from some of the transitions revealed on the tape. We included music from every aspect of Buckley’s career, including the experimental and more emotionally exposed music, which we really like, that cost him most of his audience.
Artists were approached by our thinking they could do something interesting with the music. In some cases, the artist was already a fan of Buckley’s. This was the case with Shelley Hirsch, the Horse Flies (who had to drop out because of their touring schedule), G.E. Smith. Loren Mazzacane and Suzanne Langille, known then as Guitar Robert got wind of the project and got in touch with us. Other times, the music was new to the artist but the affinity was instant -- Mary Margaret O’Hara (who also had to withdraw in order to finish a film soundtrack) and Richard Hell fell into this category. Herb Cohen, Buckley's manager, revealed that Buckley had a son, now a young man and a remarkable musician in his own right. Jeff Scott Buckley told me that he had never performed his father’s music in public, and this seemed like a good time to finally do so. Listen and be amazed.
Our intention was to reveal Buckley's courage and imagination as a composer, and enormous continuing influence as singer. I hope we did him justice.
JEFF SCOTT BUCKLEY (guitar/voice) When I was six, I found my grandmother’s old 6-string guitar in a closet. I loved the thing. My mother, who was a classically trained pianist/cellist, was married (at the time of the guitar-find) to an auto mechanic, Ron, with amazingly right-on taste in music. Our house was always jumping with sound: Bach, Chopin, Gershwin, Beatles, Zeppelin, Hendrix, Nat King Cole. The auto-mechanic eventually found the woman he loved, and he and my Mom divorced. My Mom began to tell me more about my father, Tim, and when I was 8, she decided we should meet each other. The only other time I saw him was when I was 2 years old. I got to see him play at The Golden Bear and met him face-to-face backstage. I spent Easter vacation with him, his wife and their adopted son. They had an apartment in Santa Monica and I stayed for a week, a really good time. Somehow, in between my visit and Tim’s death, we lost touch with him and Judy and I never saw Judy again until '88.
I got my first electric guitar at 13. Left home for L.A. at 17, spent some time in a so-called music school, went on the road with some reggae acts. Escaped to NYC in '90 for about 7 months; got into hardcore and Robert Johnson. Went back to L.A., did a demo of some of my songs. I got a call from Carole King after she heard my stuff through a mutual friend, very cool. We wrote a track together. More to come. Right now my band is almost complete. I'm showing up at club jams around town trying out new songs. My life is now complete and utter chaos.
GREG COHEN (bass) grew up on Beachwood Drive (Los Angeles) during the 50's and 60's. There he received his musical training playing chord organ for "Charleston Grotto”. Being the youngest, eventually he was forced to play bass guitar. He has also worked with Tom Waits, Marty Grosz, David Sanborn, Alan Watts, Crystal Gayle, Harry Shearer, Teddy Edwards, Robert Wilson, Keith Richards, Woody Allen, Freddie Moore, Odetta, and the Burbank Symphony.
ANTHONY COLEMAN (keyboards) was born and raised in Brooklyn Heights. He is a pianist and general keyboardist and composer whose works have been performed by his own and other ensembles throughout the US, Canada and Europe. He has also performed and recorded with John Zorn, Glenn Branca, Elliott Sharp and Marc Ribot's Rootless Cosmopolitans, among others.
CHRIS CUNNINGHAM (guitar) Chris likes to play things with strings and has done so since he was young and carefree. He has written music for films, theatre and dance, and is always playing with some band or seven. A native New Yorker, his frequent escape attempts have often left him scrounging for adequate rations of cruelty and wit. From the past to the present, his co-dependents have included James White and the Blacks/The Contortions, The Lounge Lizards, Saqqara Dogs, Radiante, Gavin Friday and the Man Seezer, Hubert Felix-Thiefane, Marianne Faithfull, Annabouboula, and his current group, The Sirens. Mr. Cunningham plays primarily for God, country and those who art down by law, but contributions are appreciated.
SHARON FREEMAN (piano, French horn) Miss Freeman has worked and recorded with many jazz greats: Gil Evans, Frank Foster, Charles Mingus, Don Cherry, Carla Bley, Richard Muhal Abrams, David Murray, Lionel Hampton, Charlie Haden and the Liberation Music Orchestra, of which she is the current Musical Director. She has also been musical director for Don Pullen and Beaver Harris’ 360 Musical Experience. Her name was submitted for a Grammy nomination for her arrangement of “Monk's Mood” for five French horns and rhythm section for Hal Willner’s A&M release, “That’s the Way I Feel Now: A Tribute to Thelonius Monk”. She has been commissioned by the Jazz Composers’ Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and the Harlem Piano Trio. She has been cited by Jazz Times as the top-rated established jazz French horn player. She is currently music director of both Nanette Bearden Contemporary Dance Theater and the Jazzmobile Workshop.
YUVAL GABAY (drums) is a founder of the band, Bosho. In the last five years, he has been composing music for choreographer Kumiko Kimoto; he will be performing his music for Kimoto at LaMama from May 21-24. Other recent collaborations have been with Paul Langland, David Zambrano and Sara Skaggs. Gabay is a member of David Linton's “Owthaus” and the Fast Forward Ensemble.
CHERYL HARDWICK (piano) is, with G.E. Smith, Musical Director of “Saturday Night Live”. She is also a founding member of the “Saturday Night Live” Band. She is the recipient of an Emmy for her work as a composer for “Sesame Street”, where her specialty is rhythm & blues.
RICHARD HELL (guitar/vocals) has recently published a new book, Artifact, on Hanuman Books, and is Editor of the literary magazine, Cuz. He has a new single with Thurston Moore, Steve Shelley and Don Fleming (The Dimstars) due out in May on Ecstatic Peace. An expanded CD of his album, “Blank Generation” is just out on Sire/Warners, and a new CD of “Destiny Street” is scheduled for May release on the same label.
JULIA HEYWARD (vocals) Julia Heyward’s work centers around the orchestration of music, words and images in the forms of performance art and music videos. In Heyward's early career, she toured Europe and America as a solo performance artist. For the past decade, Heyward has worked with music/performance ensembles, winning a Bessie Award in 1984 for “No Local Stops”, written in collaboration with musician Pat Irwin. Other notable full-length productions include “Mood Music”, a cartoon opera written in collaboration with musician Robert FitzSimmons, presented at The Kitchen in 1988. These projects were partially financed by Heyward's commercial work as a music video director and producer. Heyward created “The Visit”, an Art Break for MTV in 1989, and in 1990 she designed and directed the Host segments for the TV series “Buzz” and for MTV. She has just recently signed a contract with guitarist/composer Gary Lucas on CBS/Sony Entertainment.
SHELLEY HIRSCH (vocals) is a vocalist, composer, and performer whose work has been seen worldwide from CBGB’s to the State Opera of Stuttgart. Her musical passions originate from a childhood fascination with The Reader's Digest Collection of Music of The World. Last year her multi-media storytelling piece, "O Little Town of East New York”, was produced by Dance Theater Workshop. She has worked extensively in the downtown music community with musicians such as Fred Frith, Christian Marclay, Ikue Mori, Elliott Sharp, John Zorn, Butch Morris, Mark Dresser, Zeena Parkins and many others. Her main collaborator is electronic keyboardist David Weinstein, with whom she released the CD “Haiku Lingo" on No Man's land. She is widely known as the woman yodelling on a swing in an MTV clip.
GARY LUCAS (guitar) Dubbed “Guitarist of 1000 Ideas" by The New York Times and "Guitarist Extraordinaire” by Ear Magazine, Gary Lucas first cut his teeth as featured guitar soloist with Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band in the early 80's. After producing albums for The Woodentops and Adrian Sherwood, Lucas began performing solo concerts at the Knitting Factory in NYC, and now tours frequently in Europe as a solo artist. His debut solo album, “Skeleton at the Feast”, which includes his music for the 1921 German silent film, The Golem (performed at the 1989 New Music America/Next Wave Festival) will be released shortly on Enemy Records. He is currently working, on an album with singer/video artist Julia Heyward for Columbia Records.
LOREN MAZZACANE & SUZANNE LANGILLE (guitar/voice) In 1978, improvisational guitarist Loren Mazzacane released a series of albums which sparked continuing controversial discussion about the relationship between blues and “new” music. London's WIRE magazine has called him “the Eric Satie of blues guitar”; Guitar World named him the “Best Blues Guitarist” of 1990. Canadian critic Jurgen Gothe describes Suzanne Langille as “a blending of Josephine Baker and Claudine Longet.” Sound Choice observes that her vocals “merge uncannily with the guitar in a way that is seamless in execution and deeply emotional.” A new CD entitled NEVER THE BLUES will be produced on the Aerial label. They perform at the Knitting Factory on May 11.
WILBUR PAULEY (vocal) Mr. Pauley's credits include Broadway, television, film, music/theater, opera/oratorio, and 12th century liturgical drama, to composers like Schickele, Schoenberg, Penderecki and Elliott Carter. Mr. Pauley returned yesterday from France, where he toured as Sarastro in The Magic Flute with the Bulgarian Radio orchestra. Upcoming engagements include works by Harry Partch (directed by Tom O'Horgan) and Michael Gordon at the Bang-on-a-Can Festival, Meredith Monk's Atlas at the American Musical Theater Festival and at least six roles with the New York City Opera, the Utah Opera and the San Antonio Festival.
ROBERT QUINE (guitar) was born in 1942 in Akron, Ohio. He first became known in the late 70's with his appearance on Richard Hell & the Voidoids' “Blank Generation”. Between 1981 and'85 he played and recorded with Lou Reed (“The Blue Mask”, “Legendary Hearts”). He has also played and recorded with John Zorn, Marianne Faithfull, Tom Waits, Lloyd Cole, and others.
BARRY REYNOLDS (guitar/vocals) Born in Kearsley, Manchester, he was a member of Island Record's in-house band (Compass Point), backing Black Uhuru, Grace Jones, Joe Cocker, Robert Palmer, Sly & Robbie. He has been Marianne Faithfull's co-writer since the "Broken English” record. He just finished a world tour with Marianne, joined by Chris Cunningham.
HANK ROBERTS (cello) is an improvising cellist and composer who plays and records extensively with the groups Arcado, Miniature and the Bill Frisell Band, and his own group, Birds of Prey.
ELLIOTT SHARP (guitar) Composer/multi-instrumentalist Elliott Sharp leads the groups Carbon and Terraplane, as well as performing with the cooperative groups, The Sync and Semantics. He has been performing improvised music since 1969. Large ensemble pieces include “Crowds and Power”, “Re/Iterations” (commissioned by American Composers Orchestra), ”Sili/contemp/tations”, “Self-Squared Dragon” and “Larynx” (for a 13-member version of Carbon, commissioned for the 1987 Next Wave Festival). His string quartets have been performed by the Soldier String Quartet, Kronos, and Finland's Avanti String Quartet. Other recent activities include an appearance on the NBC-TV show “Night-Music”, and over 30 performances with Carbon throughout Europe. In addition, he has on-going collaborations with Korean komungo-player Jin Hi Kim and Rachir Attar, a leader of the Master Musicians of Jahjouka from Morocco. He performed in NY and Chicago with Czechoslovakia's Plastic People of the Universe/Pulnoc. Recent recordings include Datacide (with Carbon) on Germany's Enemy label, and K!L!A!V! (for keyboards) on Newport Classics.
G.E. SMITH (guitar/bass) is, with Cheryl Hardwick, Musical Director of "Saturday Night Live”. He first became widely known for his recordings and live appearances with Hall & Oates. More recently, he toured the world as lead guitarist for Bob Dylan. He is currently working on a record of his own music.
HAL WILLNER (Co-Producer) was Music Producer of NBC’s “Night Music” for 2 shows in the first year and the entire second season. He most recently released “Dead City Radio” with William Burroughs, and “The Carl Stalling Project”, music written for the classic Warner Brother cartoons. His reputation was made with three “tribute” albums celebrating the music of some of his favorite composers – Nino Rota (“Amarcord”), Thelonius Monk (“That’s the Way I Feel Now”), and Kurt Weill (“Lost in the Stars”) featuring some of his favorite musicians. He has also produced two records for Marianne Faithfull, “Strange Weather” and “Blazing Away”, the latter recorded live at St. Ann's in November, 1989; “Stay Awake”, music of the classic Disney films; Gavin Friday and the Man Seezer, and Alan Ginsberg's “The Lion for Real”. His new record of Charles Mingus’ music is soon to be released on CBS/Sony.