The Tim Buckley Archives

Recollections

1975 - Unknown publication

Goodbye And Hello

A personal tribute to the L.A. Wanderer

By Joe Stevens

Smog, bourbon, barbiturates, pressures of the record business ... take your pick. All could have caused Tim Buckley's heart to stop. Speculation is easy and rumors are rife. Even some of the refugees from South Vietnam know what "Rock Star OD's" means. You pay your money and you takes your choice.

The memory of Tim Buckley will most likely move more units of product than when he was around. Tim Buckley 27 with a bullet? Watch out. Remember Croce.

Not long ago (NME June 8, 1974) Chrissie Hynde ended an article on him with: "So remember next time you turn on the radio you may not hear him -- but wander outside your insulated world of rock newspapers, Top Of The Pops, school functions, clothes, and the safety gauges of home, and the music you will hear will surely include some of the songs of Tim Buckley."

This boy could finally have an easy time paying the rent, only now he don't need the house.

Record companies seemed unable to figure out how to promote Tim, so he got all too little of that, while management preoccupied with a menagerie of bigger acts kept him on hold. The records were great when he began, and so were his live appearances, but the people making the moves for him didn't understand. So Timmie got the 'two albums a year and forever on the road' samba. Amen.

I met Timmie in 1969 and we hit it off immediately, running around the Big Apple, digging and grooving. His show at the Lincoln Centre needed a lighting designer, so I designed; the darkrooms where I ran a photo service needed processors, so Timmie processed. In the evening, womanising and boozing occupied much of Buckley's time if he wasn't singing somewhere. The Dugout, a saloon in Greenwich Village, was a favorite watering hole, and later he would bring his 'catch' (of girls) back to the studio to play records and ball.

It was during this period that he did some tapes with his road manager and sound man -- The Bear -- in a makeshift sound room. Those sessions will no doubt appear one day among the above mentioned product yet to be sold.

Onstage, Timmie had full command of his voice, able to open it up from the first number. Interestingly, it wouldn't open up the same way in the studio until he'd sung for hours, but the Bear would wait patiently until it did. Then he'd turn on the machines and Buckley would give a demonstration of his pipes.

The splitting tones used to get to me. Imagine a guy singing harmonies with himself; two tones for the price of one. Maybe the Bear has still got the tapes, so stay tuned to our reviews section for developments.

Later in '69, upon completion of a stack of live appearances around the East coast, Buckley left for his home in Venice, California, and our twain didn't meet again until last year when he played Knebworth. Those fortunate to have caught his set there will long remember that soaring tenor wailing his ass off. Bitchin'.

He came around the house later and my girl friend Kate and I sat around for about twenty hours rapping with him and getting drunker than three coons in Delaware, but Tim couldn't stay cause he was flying back to LA, so reluctantly we had to let him go. Out on the daybreaking Chelsea street, Kate and I watched him make his way, waving, and he was gone.

Let me tell you, he was one helluva great guy and could sing most of these jokers right off any damn stage and I'm sure going to miss him.

Goodbye and hello, Timmie.


Native New Yorker Joe Stevens photographed for Creem magazine in the early 1970s through the early 1980s when Joe was nicknamed “Captain Snaps.” He moved to England, where he lensed for New Musical Express and now lives in Portsmouth.

© Stevens/joestevens.com


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