The Band’s dispute plays on
I would like to start this by congratulating Levon Helm on his Grammy win for “Dirt Farmer.” It’s nice to see him in his element again [“Levon Helm Is Still Ready for the Load,” Feb. 10].
That being said, I am sick of having Levon Helm’s stale bitterness chronicled. The sensationalizing of his wild allegations that my father, Robbie Robertson, “hogged” songwriting credit [in the Band] is reprehensible. I realize that only those five guys will know what went on between them, but I am stunned that nobody has bothered to state the obvious. Levon Helm has barely penned an original song on any of his solo efforts. The proof is in the pudding. Levon is an amazing drummer and singer. He brought those songs to life, but that was his job. It doesn’t mean he wrote the songs.
I must applaud my father for always taking the high road on these claims. I imagine it saddens him that there isn’t even an ounce of gratitude. Without him, those guys would have never had the career they had. They all benefit from his talent and ambition.
In light of the Band’s lifetime achievement award, let’s remember the music that is so gorgeously evocative and crush the sour grapes, please!
Paul Lieberman’s story says “The original member of the Band will skip the ceremony. . . . “
I, Mickey Jones, not Levon Helm, was the original drummer with the Band. I was the drummer with the Hawks on the first Bob Dylan electric world tour in 1966. The media never referred to us as the Hawks. All they ever said was, “the band is too loud, the band should go back to America.” We decided early into that tour we were the Band. Levon took my place when I left the group because I did not want to stay in New York.