HIGH NOTES: A ROCK MEMOIR
BY RICHARD LOREN WITH STEPHEN ABNEY
East Pond Publishing
4 out of 5 stars
Richard Loren saw a side of the music biz that most of us can only imagine. Given his amazing experiences, sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll weren’t merely the battle cries of a disenfranchised generation weaned on rebellion, but a personal and professional credo that drew him into that messy cultural milieu. As a manager and music agent, Loren dealt with the most tempestuous personalities imaginable – Jim Morrison and The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead and other ‘60s superstars whose legendary antics made any attempt to exert authority a futile mission to begin with. Nevertheless, Loren managed to navigate through these difficult scenarios with a certain savvy and grace that was often at odds with the behavior of his unruly clientele. The cast of characters is varied indeed – John Lennon, Liberace and Bill Murray are among the many that play incidental roles in this curious saga. And as “High Notes” frequently points out, the situations Loren was tossed into were often tempestuous at best, and downright disturbing at worst. It was one thing to bail an unruly Jim Morrison out of jail, but quite another to endure this public salvo from Grace Slick at the beginning of what was to be an otherwise civil and sophisticated art exhibition by a mutual acquaintance: “Hello, you fools!” You’ve got Rembrandts on the mantle and a Rolls in the garage, but your old man wouldn’t know a clitoris from a junk bond – if you had the guts to show him your twat in the first place!”
Such incidents are part and parcel of Loren’s extraordinary encounters as he navigates through the insurgency and insanity that permeated that decadent era. Yet, the author’s remarkable recollections and keen eye for detail make this book as memorable as it is mesmerizing. They say if you remember the ‘60s, you weren’t really there. Happily, Loren not only recalls, but also enthralls.