Psychedelic Psounds: Interviews from A to Z with 60s Psychedelic and Garage Bands

By Allan Vorda | Go to book overview

LOVE: ALONE AGAIN OR

Along with the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and the Doors, Love was at the forefront of the creative musical explosion in Los Angeles, California during the mid 60s. Their "folk rock meets the Rolling Stones" sound was groundbreaking in its time. Love's first three albums are considered epic 60s American music and Forever Changes (their third LP, released in late 1967) is still talked about in hushed terms today.

Coming out in March of 1966, I remember vividly the first time I saw Love's debut album. I had heard (and liked) their first 45 ( "My Little Red Book") on the radio, but knew nothing about them. I saw this strange record album at the local music store. There was weird red florescent lettering on the left side, and five strangely dressed characters were posing around some sort of chimney. Their faces were sullen, and each musician looked more baleful than the next. To top it all off, one short-haired character named "Snoopy" looked as if he belonged in the band about as much as I did!

I had been used to hearing standard Top 40 radio: Beatles, Beach Boys, Paul Revere and the Raiders, etc., but this album was unique. Like a good Byrds' record, tambourines and chiming guitars were everywhere. The vocals seemed to vacillate between snotty and plaintive, and the lyrics were way too complicated for me. These guys seemed to personify "West Coast cool" their image and sound were perfect.

I immediately started to follow Love. They got little airplay, and less was written about them in the teen music magazines of the era. Their records were hard to find, but well worth it. The leader was Arthur Lee--he wrote and sang most of the songs, as well as played guitar and produced. There was one other name that was mentioned as being a songwriter and lead singer.

And Bryan Maclean was certainly an integral part of Love's magic. Possessing the blonde haired good looks of the Byrds' Michael Clarke or the Rolling Stones' Brian Jones, Maclean was definitely more than just a sex symbol. He brought a clear sweet voice and a flamenco/mariachi guitar style to the band, which offered a dynamic contrast to Love's darker, punkier side.

While Love was primarily Arthur Lee's vision and music, each of those first three classic albums would be significantly weaker without Maclean's vocals, writing, and guitar. Thanks, Bryan!

____________________
The following interview with Bryan Maclean was conducted by Neal Skok on February 22- 24 and December 6, 1993. Additional questions ( 12/6/1993) provided by Allan Vorda. Introduction by Neal Skok.

-129-

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