Thursday, April 9, 2009
(Part 53) Curt Boettcher And Bobby Jameson...The Making Of Color Him In
MONDAY, APRIL 14, 2008
The telling of the story, regarding the making of "Color Him In" is different than the previous stories, in that this particular record was more specific in it's intention than the other previous recordings I'd made, with the exception of, "Vietnam/Metropolitan Man." It was begun in 1966 prior to the "Summer Of Love" time period in 1967, which has been well documented as a central time frame and theme of the 60's. "Color Him In" was a psychedelic work of the times. Much of what is on the recording was inspired by LSD, Vietnam, the Peace Movement, and the overall context of "Freedom From The Establishment."
It was basically a concept album. Songs like, "See Dawn" deal with duality. "Just as up must have a down. Just as silence must have a sound, and I say see dawn see dawn the setting sun," which attempts to look at things from opposite ends of a single spectrum. These pairs of opposites run throughout the work. Curt Boettcher was delighted by these kinds of things. My lyrics and melodies, according to Curt, were like a playground for his arrangements. He would take the demos I made of me and a guitar and arrange vocal harmonies and instrumentation around them. He would come up with entire arrangements based on a specific lick of mine such as "Jamie," which was a piano chord progression I used in writing the song.
Curt built the progression into the dominate sound of the song. He didn't just have a chord progression to follow he made the progression stand out as a specific feature of the entire recording itself. The album was recorded entirely at Columbia or CBS Studios on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. These were very up to date studios in the 60's when we worked there, and were engineered entirely by Union Engineers at the time. This was problematic not only for Curt Boettcher, but others such as Brian Wilson. These guys, Curt and Brian, were better than the Engineers that were running the equipment, but the rule was only the Union Engineers could run things so what you had was two young genius's telling these old farts what to do and how to do it. It was a problem, but it also helped change things in the long run.
The cover art for "Color Him In" was thought up by Steve Clark and originally photographed by Dan White in 1966. The album jacket has always stood out in a crowd. I have had people say they didn't really like the record, but they loved the cover. Another problem we encountered was that Curt was also finishing up an album with "The Association" who were trying to produce themselves and arguing with Curt all the time about who had the final say. So as you can see we were never just concentrating on one thing. We were always arranging time to suit numerous demands made by several different entities.
Staying for a moment with problems involved in the making of this record. We were constantly up against the money clock. We always had a limited amount of time to do everything. Steve would tell us, "OK you've got 3 hours of studio time on thursday to get something started or finished," and we never really knew when these times were going to be available until the last minute, so it was always under stress that most of the work was done. Curt was surrounded by people who all became friends of mine such as Micelle O Malley, Jim Bell, and Lee Mallory, and a lot of others. Fans of Curt Boettcher will readily know these names from other Boettcher works. At one point I moved into a house with all of these people and we tried living together, but it proved too difficult in the long run.
Too many dominate personalities in one place. Working together was one thing, living together was another. Curt and I were very close friends while we worked on "Color Him In." We were never anymore or less than friends, so those of you who are familiar with Curt's personal life can put your wonderings away. Curt and I were good friends. We liked working together and we inspired each other. We created a record in the 60's called "Color Him In." I have much more to tell you about the making of this record, and the people who made it possible, but for now, I have set up a pretty fair groundwork for the telling of that story.
Before I go on with the "Color Him In" saga, I must tie up some loose ends regarding the other things that were occurring at the same time, such as, "What about The Monkees?" I had to go to Phil Turetsky and tell him of my decision to go with Steve Clark and Curt Boettcher rather than become a "Monkee." Phil, who was extremely easy going, took it all in stride and said he'd figured that that would be my decision so he wasn't surprised. He told me that either one would have been the right one, and that it was important that I felt comfortable with my choice rather than do what others thought I should do and be miserable. I thanked Phil profusely for his help at getting me pointed in the right direction and told him that without his help I would have just continued doing one thing after another without ever getting anywhere. He assured me it was his pleasure and kind of hinted that he wanted to keep being involved, which was OK by me. He said he'd make sure that Columbia was notified about my decision to pass on "The Monkees" television show.