Friday, October 31, 2014

Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman: Burrito Brothers

In the annals of Rock Music, the most historically significant interview I ever conducted came during the brief tenure of the Flying Burrito Brothers original foursome: Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman, Chris Ethridge, and Sneaky Pete Kleinow. Ironically, since the underground newspapers that printed the interview (much shortened) carelessly omitted my credit, I got no strokes from its publication. But I had the last word eventually, and literally, because in this blog in 2007 I finally uploaded the never-before-revealed, three-times-longer, complete version.

Much has been written (too much, according to Hillman) about Parsons as the "flawed genius" creator of so-called Country Rock--which Gram high-falutin'ly, maybe tongue-in-cheekily designated "Cosmic..." something-or-other... "American Soul Music," maybe. No doubt I've been guilty of some hagiographing too. A&M Records sent me a promo copy of the Burritos' debut album, The Gilded Palace of Sin, and I was fascinated by it and soon sought out the band when they played Seattle on three different occasions early on.

My mother was born and raised up in rural south Georgia, a whoop and a holler from Macon, on a farm we visited regularly in the 1940s and '50s. I felt some kinship with Southern charmer Gram, and we hit it off, briefly; he came to dinner, I interviewed Hillman and him, separately and together, and he subsequently vouched for me with Jim Morrison... which led to a strange afternoon, an encounter also documented in the IW Archives. (More on that some other time.)

For Rock historians, Parsons fans, and regular readers with stamina, here's the complete saga in five sections--beginning here, continuing in Part 2, diverging in the third segment, shifting briefly for Part 4, and then finally concluding.

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