The Tim Buckley Archives


Follow The Music

Follow the Music: The Life and High Times of Elektra Records in the Great Years of American Pop Culture

by Jac Holzman and Gavin Dawes

DAVID ANDERLE: Tim was already signed when I came to Elektra.
JAC: Herbie Cohen had sent me Tim's demo.
HERB COHEN: One of the great voices of our time. He had a four-octave range, five if he wanted to stretch it. Just brilliant.
JAC: I listened to it over and over. If I was down I would play it and it would lift me. And as an artist to sign...he was so gifted, so original, the talent and the vision still unfolding.

DAVID ANDERLE: When I came, Tim had done his first album, and he was just finishing "Goodbye And Hello". I remember Jac and I listening to it together, both of us being so in love with that album.
JAC: The pain and purity of the song writing, the plaintiveness of his melodies, the nakedness of his vocals, the artistic risks. I had believed in Tim from the beginning, and the enchantment of "Goodbye And Hello" exceeded anything I could have hoped for.

STEVE HARRIS: At his high point, Tim did a concert at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. It was sold out. When he looked out he said something that was unintelligible, but it was almost like, "Oh shit". He didn't want it. He didn't seem nervous, he just seemed pissed off, almost, you know, "OK, I've done this, now what do I have to do?" The concert was wonderful, it was fabulous. He had it all at his fingertips. And he had nowhere to go. After that, his whole musical outlook and his perception of what he was about and doing, changed. Almost the next day, changed.

HERB COHEN: Whatever success he had, he would try to avoid it.
JAC: On the Tonight Show he would insult the host, or he would refuse to lip-sync and walk out. At the Improv he would be on stage, snoring, and I heard about him once barking at an audience.
DAVID ANDERLE: He was poised all the time to become a major pop artist. Because he was so attractive and his voice was so beautiful, it was a natural tendancy to say, "Come on, man, you could do this in your sleep and have everything you want." He had pressure from Herbie to do it more commercially. He had pressure from the label to try and make singles. He had pressure from everybody to do it in a certain way. And he rejected it. He wanted so badly to do his own music. I went to every one of his gigs at the Troubadour. A lot of times he would have a good audience for the opening show, but at the midnight show there might only be 3 or 4 people. It never bothered him. He would get into his experimental mode. Sometimes he would do one number for the whole set. He didn't give a shit, as long as he got to play what he wanted to play.

PAT FARALLA: The time I remember best with Tim was going down to Venice one night, and we cruised the bars, jazz bars, whatever, having the night I always wanted to spend with Tim. Just reaching into his mind. A lot of talk about jazz.
DAVID ANDERLE: I think he had the jazz demon. Certain guys--Charlie Parker, Thelonius Monk--they go after this unattainable thing. The music Tim was hearing was really different. And he had demons he could not control.
STEVE HARRIS: Tim was self destructive, changing what he did, going into drugs. The last time I saw him was at a club in San Francisco. He was playing jazz and it was interesting. But all that went through my mind was how important an artist he could have been. He was so eager to talk about old times at Elektra. Elektra was Camelot and people never realized it better than when, like Tim, they went elsewhere. I could see it in his eyes, talking about how well he was treated and respected.

CLIVE SELWOOD: The first time Tim came to England he was at our new house, and he went out in the backyard, which was still uncultivated, and played with our little daughter for an hour and came back in all covered with mud. The hippie child.

With "Follow the Music", Jac Holzman and Gavan Daws provide an inside look at the music industry that most of us have never been privy to before. Not only did they do that, but they also allow us to see what it takes to build a business from the ground up. The book is filled with obvious careful attention to detail. The roots of folk music and the stories behind all the troubadours that made up the music scene in Greenwich Village and L.A. in the fifties, sixties, and seventies are captivating and right on the money - Jack Brolly

US Publisher: Jawbone Press (August 30, 2000)