adding page this day:
Break Shot: What a great read!
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/Carole_King/status/1229472743344656384
‘I was a bad influence on the Beatles’: James Taylor on Lennon, love and recovery
“This is where it started,” he says. “The moment.” He made his first trip here in 1968, playing for Paul McCartney and George Harrison and becoming the first artist signed to the Beatles’ record label, Apple Records. This was before he moved to Laurel Canyon with the rest of the denim-draped California dreamers who defined the sound of the late 60s and far beyond. Before he met David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, Neil Young, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Carole King and Joni Mitchell. Before he and Mitchell fell in love. Before he wrote his pivotal album Sweet Baby James during a stint in a psychiatric hospital. Before his marriage to Carly Simon, which opened up his personal life – including his long battle with heroin addiction – to public consciousness. Before he sold 100m records, performed for the Obamas and the Clintons, and then, decades later, appeared on stage with one of the world’s biggest pop stars, Taylor Swift, who is named after him.
He has also released an audio memoir – Break Shot – which takes him back to his turbulent early years, finishing with that first London trip. He is anxious, he says, about how the memoir will be received. It covers his father’s alcoholism and his brother’s death from the disease, as well as his own drug addiction, all of which, he worries, could be sensationalised. But the memoir is mostly about the shattering effect that early childhood trauma, addiction and grief can have generations later. It’s a subtle exploration of the “ripples”, as Taylor puts it.
Was his dad abusive? “No,” he says firmly. “My father was a remarkable and powerful and beautiful guy who self-medicated with alcohol … But he was by no means an abusive or stumble-bum or knee-walking or ditch-sleeping drunk.”
Still, an unpredictable parent is rarely a recipe for a stable adulthood. “Sure,” he says. “But complacent happiness is not a gift of the gods, either.”
His first big hit, Fire and Rain, about the suicide of a friend, includes the themes that came to define his songwriting – the precarity of our emotional lives, happiness as something to be treasured and the natural world’s capacity for renewal. The line “I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend,” prompted Carole King to write You’ve Got a Friend for him in response..t
“To be able to take a juice that solves your internal stress …” he trails off. “One of the signs that you have an addiction problem is how well it works for you at the very beginning. It’s the thing that makes you say: ‘Damn, I like my life now.’ That’s when you know you shouldn’t do it again.” His wasn’t the addiction of rock mythology, chaotic and glamourised. Taylor says mostly he used the drug to “get normal”..t
His father’s family had owned a sanatorium, the Broadoaks asylum in Morganton, North Carolina. “After the civil war, there was a huge opiate problem. A lot of the business in the sanatorium was treating addiction – a lot of mental health problems were secretly addiction problems,” he says.
I was a bad influence to be around the Beatles at that time, too.” Why? “Because I gave John opiates.” Did you introduce him to them? “I don’t know,” he says. Lennon, by many accounts, picked up a heroin habit in 1968 that contributed to an unhealable rift in the band.
“It really was a perfect moment, that Laurel Canyon period,” Taylor says. “Carole lived up there, Joni and I lived in her house there for the better part of a year. The record companies were relatively benign and there were people in them who cared about the music and the artists – it hadn’t become a corporate monolith yet. There was a sense of there being a community: myself, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Crosby, Stills and Nash. David Geffen was in the mix a lot. Linda Ronstadt, Peter Asher, Harry Nilsson. You know, it was pretty much what they say. Things really worked well.”
“And I would be an addict for another 10 years. I mean, you marry (carly) an addict, you just have no idea who this person is, and he doesn’t have any idea who he is either. It’s terrible.”
the only advice I give to people who are recovering from addiction is that physical exercise is the only antidote to feeling like you can’t stand being in your own skin.”Is that how it feels? “It’s terrible. It’s like you don’t want to be here,” he says, motioning to his body. “But in here is where you live.” For 15 years, Taylor exercised for hours every day: running and rowing. “It set me free,” he says.
mermaid swim law et al