Originally Posted by Don Miller
Gram gets the credit for what a whole bunch of much harder working folks were doing...he was a rich kid with a trust that fed him alot of 1969 dollars and he wasnt real focused and the indulgences took their toll..but there was some tragedy that put some heart into what he sang...when he was on he was dead on... He auditioned for Poco but they thought he was a little too far out for them...would have been an interesting mix...
There's a story, dont know if its true but either McGuinn or Chris Hillman were on a CMT talk show in the 80s...and the host..might have been the "Drug Store truck Driving Man" guy asked "How's Gram?"....to which they replied "still dead"....
Chris Hillman wrote a book a few years ago...doesnt sound like working with Gram was real easy...and his contributions were not as extensive as history would have you believe...and Hillman sounds a little perturbed that Gram gets all the credit. For his solo stuff he basically hired Elvis Presley's band...who could make anyone sound good...
You can stay in the room he died at the motel in Joshua Tree.
Yes, this stuff is true, but in the end, Gram had the songs and I don't care who's band is backing you up, if your songs suck, then you aren't good. Gram wrote some terrific songs and took the songs he covered to another level. There was something in Gram that you couldn't fake. That guy could sing that the world is indeed flat and I'd believe every word of it.
I realize that a lot of people didn't take him seriously because he was a trust fund baby and Gram's own attitude and shortcomings brought a lot of that on as well, but there was something inside him from his past or wherever that made him write and sing songs like no other. I respect Hillman for his musicianship and huge accomplishments, but I've always felt that he was incredibly jealous of Gram's songwriting and charisma.
A lot of bands took what he was doing and made it popular, but none of them were as good and as deep as Gram. The Eagles were ok in the beginning, but went downhill as their fame rose. The only two bands country/rock bands that I thought were on par with Gram and/or the Burritos were early Poco and early Pure Prairie League.