COLUMN 115, MARCH 1, 2005
(Copyright © 2003 The Blacklisted Journalist)
MEETING LUCIEN CARR
I met Lucien Carr in a bar
in New York in 1977.
At 51, he was slender,
handsome but getting crinkly-faced, with still a mane of straight blond hair
just starting to grey. He was
easily the most debonair and worldly-wise man I'd met up to that point.
His knowledge of women, for instance, stunned me---but I was a green kid,
a former Catholic from the good old Midwest.
He talked about women he'd
fucked the way my neighbors in Lyons, Illinois, might have talked about
tomatoes they'd bought in the market. I couldn't help liking the guy.
He was defensive with me at first---and it was clear he still hated
"the murder" of David Kammerer being brought up with his name
There had just been a really salacious piece about the killing in NEW YORK magazine, I think, by Aaron Latham, and Carr was still smarting from it. He had three kids and didn't want them
.the coal black
hair, the startling
blue eyes. . .'
thinking badly of him.
But once he saw that I was OK, just a little naive, and that I really
loved Jack's works, he opened up to me.
He told me how impressed
he'd been by Jack's looks---"the coal black hair, the startling blue
eyes"---and how he was even more amazed by Kerouac's huge heart.
"Every person Jack met
was someone new for him to love," he told me, and I could hear the love for
his friend in Lucien's cracking voice. Later,
and on a few other occasions, he took me back to his loft, where his dog peed on
my shoulder bag and recording equipment. He
just laughed at my embarrassment and misery.
He was a tough cookie, and he wasn't going to allow me to tape anyway.
I regret that, since it
would be so wonderful to hear his voice now on tape, talking about those early
days with Jack. (Even though, as of
this writing, all 300 MEMORY BABE interview tapes are still locked up at U Mass,
Lowell, special collections, because of threats from John Sampas. And I am still
fighting a lawsuit to try to free them.)
What I have are my notes
from that interview, which at least will never be put under lock and seal.
Lucien told me never to take Jack too seriously when he wrote---that he
invented more than he admitted. Jack
wasn't really in love with "Mardou Fox" (actually Alene Lee, also now
deceased) in THE SUBTERRANEANS, Lucien said.
She was just good sex, but Jack had inflated it for the sake of the
I later learned that Lucien
himself had had an affair with Alene---and that when he'd refused to marry her,
she set fire to his house. These were crazy, wild people who led the most
improbable of lives, and they were all lucky to have had Jack Kerouac to
chronicle those lives, or most of it would now be forgotten.
Lucien clearly knew this
and felt that way---gratitude to Jack for making him a "hero" in the
DULUOZ LEGEND, even though he was mad that Jack finally broke his promise never
to write about the murder---since he told almost the full story in VANITY OF
DULUOZ. Despite having spent two years of his youth in a reformatory, Lucien
clearly regarded himself as a lucky man. And
frankly, I feel lucky myself that I got to know him too---if only a little. Rest
in peace, Claude de Maubris, with your chewed-up beer glasses and Lautreamont
under your arm. You inspired a
great American writer.
February 3, 2005 ##
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Duritz (he's the lead singer and writer for the famed
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. .It is a fascinating, insightful read. You are such a wonderful
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BOB DYLAN AND THE BEATLES, VOLUME ONE OF THE BEST OF THE BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST
The sometimes scattered chronicles of
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certainly takes a bit of hubris to say that "the '60s wouldn't have been
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the Beatles' Rubber Soul, both seminal albums that altered the landscape
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being a hanger-on with these legends and their associates, including The Band,
Beatles manager Brian Epstein, poet Allen Ginsberg, deejay Murray the K and
provocative are the accounts of Dylan's erratic behavior and short temper, which
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Though his personal life certainly had its share of woes (particularly
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pride---and rightly so---for playing a key role in music history,
An enticing backstage pass to the meeting of arguably the two most influential acts in rock history.
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you are truly interested in the 'behind
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IN THIS 615-PAGE PAPERBACK, AL ARONOWITZ, ACCLAIMED AS THE "GODFATHER OF ROCK JOURNALISM," TELLS YOU MORE ABOUT BOB DYLAN AND THE BEATLES THAN ANY OTHER WRITER CAN TELL YOU BECAUSE NO OTHER WRITER WAS THERE AT THE TIME. AS THE MAN WHO INTRODUCED ALLEN GINSBERG TO BOB DYLAN, BOB DYLAN TO THE BEATLES AND THE BEATLES TO MARIJUANA, ARONOWITZ BOASTS, "THE '60S WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN THE SAME WITHOUT ME."
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". . .A highly entertaining and informative read"--HAMMOND GUTHRIE, THE THIRD PAGE
". . .Its 43 chapters provide snapshots of Darin's brief, sensational life>" ---GOLDMINE MAGAZINE
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