Monday, March 26, 2007

Phil Spector

"I sold out for a pittance. It was shit, ridiculous, around $60,000. I didn't want to but I had to. Let me tell you, I couldn't live with Phillip . . . I just wanted the fuck out of there. If I wouldn't have, I would have killed him. It wasn't worth the aggravation."--Lester Sill, former business partner with Phil Spector in the Philles label.


Can we say loser saint? No, not Dave Mustaine, but Phil Spector. This little-asshole literally had Eden handed to him by the Fates, becoming a music-mogul in his twenties...and he fucked-it-up. Yes, he was the only-person who would pay for Lenny Bruce's burial, which is a pretty resounding statement on all the people who abandoned Lenny, but it's not good enough to redeem Spector. Being addicted-to-speed for over forty-years, one could imagine that Phil is gone. He was definitely psychotic once he had fame, but then he had to add amphetamine to the mix (pun intended).

It had to have begun around 64'-65' when the British invasion was basically kicking-the-shit out of the so-so R&B and rock-singles he engineered. Sometimes, he wrote a few of the songs he produced. Usually, he ripped people off and mistreated them, but that's typical of the thankfully dying music industry. He was no Sonny Bono, but at least Sonny was a real tree-hugger at the end. The "wall of sound" approach was over-hyped. While it's clever to have two-or-three bassists, guitarists, and whatnot to make for a "symphonic-sound," it sounded awfully dirty. Take Spector's remixing of the Let it Be sessions: the arrangements are overwrought and syrupy, and the tape-hiss sounds like someone was frying-chicken and it leaked into the masters. Les Paul's invention of multi-track (aka "sound-on-sound recording") has been infinitely more lasting and revolutionary to music.

In-case you didn't know it, Phil Spector is in the beginning sequence of Easy Rider. That's him buying "the powder" from Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper's characters by some airport runway. One has to wonder if it's a direct reference to the fact that Spector was a speed-freak, but the substance in the film is supposed to be cocaine. What do I think happened at his Castle mansion? I think he met up with Lanna Clarkson at the House of Blues location that he owns in L.A., and on the way to his home, an argument began. Who cares what it was over? It was an argument, and Spector is well-known for his paranoia. He began to escalate in his paranoia of Clarkson--he felt threatened by her for some reason, probably sexually. By the time they reached the Castle, he was in a state of acute paranoia, and while his chauffeur was outside, shot Clarkson spontaneously in the face. Phil is one sick man.

History: Spector pulled a pistol on the Ramones when they were doing their one album with him, End of the Century, in 1980. Spector held a gun to Dee Dee Ramone's head over too many takes with his bass-part. That's just one-of-many incidents, and the list is endless. So, on April 16th, 2007, the trial's voir dire is scheduled by the court. The trial is likely to expose that Phil Spector has been insane for decades--a minimum of thirty years--and that he has been a meth-addict for longer. It's a sad end, but who did this to him but himself? Clarkson wasn't a great actress, but she was a person, and she was only 40. She was good-looking, and by all accounts, a charming woman. At the very least, Spector is responsible in a civil sense for her death in his home. A human being is dead, and someone has to answer the "whys." Only Phil Spector knows the truth.

He strangely asserts that Clarkson shot herself spontaneously once they had entered his manse. It just doesn't wash, and you have to be wary of the statements of anyone who denigrates the victim who is no longer alive to contradict their potential murderer. The innocent don't assassinate the lives and memories of someone who has died violently. Good people don't do that. The Wagner of Rock, indeed. By referring to his possible victim to his first police interrogators as "a piece-of-shit," he's established that he has no regard for the loss of life of Lana Clarkson. Read some of the police transcript at www.thesmokinggun.com, it's pretty bizarre and unsettling, just like its subject.