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Hot Burritos - new book by John Einerson with Chris Hillman
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Silverface



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 324
Location: Hermosa Beach CA

PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 4:25 pm    Post subject: Hot Burritos - new book by John Einerson with Chris Hillman Reply with quote

Got my preordered copy of John Einerson's new book the other day and it was so fascinating I got ZERO sleep - read all 300+ pages in one night!

It's a great history of the "up to the Blue Album" Burritos, and there is a ton of Clarence content. He was pretty much an ex-officio member of the band, and some of the groups that formed, cut a demo and split up are amazing.

For me, being a Fender steel player (and somehow having become the technical guy for all things Fender on the Steel forum) the best thing is finally reading something where Sneaky gets just about as much credit as Gram for the groups' early style/sound. He's presented as the steadying influence, the one nobody ever argued with, and the single most important instrument player in the band - pretty much the determining factor that made them more "rock" than "country". Chris Ethridge also gets a lot of overdue credit - his R&B bass style was completely different from "country bass". The blend of him and Sneaky took even Gram and Chris' most country songs and made them something new and refreshing.

The only sad thing about the book is Hillman's attitude. he comes across as arrogant, criticizes everyone ever in the Byrds or early Burritos except Clarence, his cousin Kevin and Gene Clark, and basically sounds like a bitter, nasty-tempered guy. He's been known to diss former band members in the past, but this time it's over-the-top and by the time you're done you wish his name wasn't on it as co-author.

He'll praise Sneaky in one quote, then just wipe him out in another...and Gene Parsons is both "a bad drummer" and "not a real Byrd". He just mops the floor with the later Sneaky/Gib/Gene/Skip et al Burritos - pretty funny considering how lousy the stage shows were done by HIS version of the band. You listen to boos of both and He and Gram were stunningly awful on stage - still fun listening, but the later bands (just like the Clarence-era Byrds vs the early Byrds) would have blown them off the stage with both skill, talent and professionalism.

For a "complete" history of the band, though, it falls FAR short - the later versions deserve to be recognized for raising the public performance bar, becoming Gods in Holland, and (even though I personally dislike the stuff) given credit for some country hits due to the Gib/John Beland led band, which if not "revolutionary" WAS a commercial success, unlike Chris' Burritos.

I don't think Beland's name is even mentioned...in fact Hillman gets the current ownership of the name wrong, saying it's owned by a "small label" connected with Sneaky's "Burrito Deluxe" band - which is dumb, as the band was called "Burrito Deluxe" because they couldn't USE the Flying Burrito Brothers, or even "Burrito Brothers" names...BELAND owns them.

You don't throw rocks when you live in a glass house....and Hillma's tossing grenades - and then sitting on them.

Now I understand why Anita Kleinow did NOT want him involved with Sneaky's Steel Guitar Hall of Fame induction - or have him at the memorial service. She was adamant about the HOF thing (where we got Buddy Emmons to essentially present and accept the award for Sneaky - a major coup considering the "traditional" players worship Emmons but can't figure Pete out), and luckily on both dates Hillman had gigs out of town.

He adds a lot in describing the history of the band's formation, but he should have kept to the facts and learned when to shut up. I always thought he was the "nice guy" of the Byrds - but his personality and edginess in this book makes Crosby's "difficult" persona seem like Mary Poppins in comparison.

It really makes you wonder if there was more behind the "shy bass player in the back" in the Byrds, and if a lot of the disruption wasn't actually subversively created by Hillman himself. You don't change personalities overnight, and he comes across as a musical Jekyll & Hyde - nothing like his usual public "face".

So - it's an absolute must-read for any Burritos or Byrds fan; but it really needs a warning sticker: "May be depressing due to statements by a bitter old man".
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Savalas



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 268
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the info Silverface, I'm definitely going to get my hands on this book for Christmas and have a read.
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Brian



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 1361
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Savalas wrote:
Thanks for the info Silverface, I'm definitely going to get my hands on this book for Christmas and have a read.



I get the exact opposite response from Silverfaces' description... In other words I'll 'pass' on this book...based alone on the comments about Gene Parson's drumming or as a Byrd. He was Byrd longer then Chris and Chris is the one who quit the Byrds not Gene... I'd say Gene was the Byrd..say no more Cool
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Silverface



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 324
Location: Hermosa Beach CA

PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brian, actually it's very much worth reading. Hillman's name is on as "with", but it's Einarson's book. As you read it you find Hillman to be a very odd personality - all business on one hand, completely hateful on the other. His compliments are followed in another chapter by an insult...and it IS not nice stuff to read. But that's 5% of it. Many of the A&M stories, history of players in-and-out of the band and some of the humor are worth the price alone.

Don't NOT buy it just because of Hillman's negative comments; it appears, reading the book, that it's just how he is and he's ALWAYS been that way; he criticizes himself as well, but not nearly as much as almost everyone else. But he sure seems to have Clarence up on a pedestal

It really is a good read, despite Hillman's "spite".
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Mike Beck



Joined: 03 Sep 2006
Posts: 24
Location: carmel Valley,California

PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 10:01 pm    Post subject: Book Reply with quote

It's too bad that Hillman comes off pretty badly from your take of this book. I haven't read it, but man I think Gene is one awesome drummer.
As one who has worked with him alot..and gets him to play drums with my band on occasion, let me tell you, he is BADASS!

His playing on The Albert Hall Byrds Cd says it all in MHO.
The interplay with Clarence and Gene is a lesson in feel for us all.
The Byrds Clarence era band was an exceptional 4 piece...I'm glad that there are recordings out there of this unit. Very inspiring.

As for Chris, I don't know the man, but the few times I've worked shows with him, as an opener or the same radio stuff, he was fine to be around, had high praise for Bobby and Clarence, and dug the bender...

Best to you all
Mike
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Murr



Joined: 24 May 2008
Posts: 384
Location: http://www.youtube.com/user/skydogz1

PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't mind if Hillman is arrogant, his bass sounded cool (when he was a Byrd).
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Murr



Joined: 24 May 2008
Posts: 384
Location: http://www.youtube.com/user/skydogz1

PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
His playing on The Albert Hall Byrds Cd says it all in MHO.
The interplay with Clarence and Gene is a lesson in feel for us all.
The Byrds Clarence era band was an exceptional 4 piece...I'm glad that there are recordings out there of this unit. Very inspiring.

I think Gene and Clarence had a telepathic connection, and Skip was linked to their network.
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Mike Beck



Joined: 03 Sep 2006
Posts: 24
Location: carmel Valley,California

PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amen Murr....Let's not forget Skip...I love his playing...he completed that sound.
AMAZING

Mike
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getbent



Joined: 11 Sep 2006
Posts: 116
Location: San Benito, CA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim & Brian and guys,

I just got the book last week and am starting it tomorrow night... John Einarson is a good guy and a very 'fair' writer who just tries to get the story from the persons involved. I've liked all his other books and his contributions on the John Stewart list have always been stellar.

I'm excited for the book. The petty stuff is just kind of the way things can be in bands... for me, it will just be nice to 'transport' into it and let it wash over me. I'm rigging up some good playlists to have playing while I read.
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Bob Warford



Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Posts: 97

PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with getbent - I've read several of John's books, and have communicated with him several times by e-mail - he is a very fair and intelligent guy who tries very hard to get it right in his books, and I haven't seen any instance yet where he has failed to do so.

Ordered the book yesterday, and will be interested in reading it. As many of you know, I sat in with the Burritos (original version) while I was playing with the Everly's, and almost joined the band at that time, but Gram was so erratic... I had known Chris from the bluegrass days before the Byrds, and, much later, played on the Desert Rose album for him. My impression of Chris has always been consistent - he takes the music, and his role in presenting it, seriously, and has no hesitation in being critical of those who don't. I can't quarrel with that approach, and while some may disagree with his personal opinions/views about specific players, I've never gotten the feeling that Chris was anything other than straightforward, outspoken, and honest in his attitudes and opinions.

In an industry which was often plagued in the '60s and '70s by very flawed and inconsistent (while sometimes brilliant) players, Chris was always not only talented, but also the dedicated professional, whenever he played. I continue to have great respect for that approach, one which, I might add, was one of Clarence's many virtues.

Bob
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Matt



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 183
Location: St Louis, MO

PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob, as always, thanks for the insight!

I'll have to put this one on reserve at my local library.
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duke.grievousangel



Joined: 08 Apr 2008
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Silverface, I cannot tell you how relieved I am that someone else blew the whistle on Hillman's attitude in Einarson's book. I left a relatively-long review on Amazon.com, saying that it's a great book, save for Chris' occaisonal, unashamedly-opinionated rants.

I personally have met Chris Hillman, and he struck me as a really nice guy (along with Herb Pedersen, who is, for lack of a better phrase, the man), but even then, I detected a dismissive streak that would occasionally surface. It seems that, when he states his opion, discussion is "off the table". At times, it's positive (as with Clarence White), at times it's negative (as with Gene and, most obviously, Gram).

Now the book goes to great lengths to "reel-in" Gram Parsons myths, as they have admittedly grown out-of-control in the past years (did anyone else see "Grand Theft Parsons? Wow Rolling Eyes ) But, as I stated in my review, Hillman's opinions of the man are SO negative, he seems to create his own myth...namely, that - save for his vocal contributions on "Hot Burrito #1" and "Hot Burrito #2," Gram was useless.

Simply put, this is false. While Gram DID lack discipline, he was, as someone points out in the book, the "resident boy genius". All spark, no discipline.

But what of Chris Hillman? Strip away all the intangebles and look at his musical output..sure, he was in Manassas, the Byrds, and the Burritos. BUT REMEMBER, with the possible exception of the late Burritos, Chris always played second fiddle to a more talented, "spark filled" figure, be it Stephen Stills, Gram, or McGuinn/Crosby/Clark. His solo output (and Desert Rose Band stuff) pale in comparison. So it seems Chris was all discipline, no spark.

And the way he dismisses the latter-day Byrds is sad. As many have pointed out, they blew the Burritos out of the water.
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Rosemarie J



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 284
Location: Port Townsend, WA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reading your opinions about Chris having an attitude, makes me want to go out and buy this book.
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rballister



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 174
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read it over the last couple of days. Not nearly as fascinating and informative as Einarson's "Desperados, the Roots of Country Rock". "Hot Burritos" seemed like a compilation of stories that had already been told a million times, "Gram and Keith"", "drugs", etc. It also seemed overly repetitive---Gram would transgress, Chris (in retrospect) would respond that he wasn't ready to take charge. Again and again and again...
I've enjoyed the body of work created by both these artists. Sometimes it's not the best idea to look too closely at the lives of people you admire for their work.
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Brian



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 1361
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Either way it sounds like an interesting book. I recently saw Chris Hillman in Solana Beach at the Desert Rose Band reunion gig and he was very entertaining as a performer and a host. I really enjoyed it...he and the band were fantastic. They had had 2 rehearsals and sounded like they hadn't missed a beat after being broken up so long...

re Chris' opinions in the book. I know I would be disappointed if I had quit a band that Clarence White had joined...wouldn't the rest on this forum? The Byrd's and Clarence rule!!! Cool
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