||ASK ROD : Part
|Q. What a great way to
celebrate your birthday. I wish you much success with your web site. Was the song
"Rose" which I love (both words and music) based on a true story? Also are the
songs "Movin' Day" and "I've Saved the summer" now on a disc. Years
ago when I first discovered your music and poetry, I had a couple of 33-rpm records
containing these songs. - How about "The Ever Constant Sea." That
"Sin" song is wonderful. Eburne 2.
A: I've Saved The Summer is from the RCA album The
Single Man. The Ever Constant Sea is on the CD Greatest Hits Vol. 2 [LaserLight 12
784]. Sin & Rose are both on Early Harvest CD [LaserLight 12 445]. No
plans for Moving Day, but I'll keep it in mind. Rose is pure fiction and holds a
special place in my heart because it was my mom's favorite McKuen song.
Q: I can't seem to find the album "
For Lovers ", anyway it had a black cover. I 'm looking for Listen to the Warm also.
I did manage to find Speaking of Love and it's great. Thanks for sharing your music and
A: For Lovers falls into The San
Sebastian Strings series and one way or another Anita and I will get that series back on
its feet again. Listen to the Warm is out there on CD, it's just hard to find.
Q: My wife and I have been fans for
years we were looking through some old records and the largest group is yours. My wife
loves your books and songs. Through the 70s it was always easy to get her a gift that I
knew she would love. (Anything by Rod). It is nice to see there are CD's I will have to
get her for our 36th anniversary May 12th. She has traveled to see you when you were on
tour got your newsletters, and will be thrilled when I show her this page. It is nice to
know that Rod McKuen is alive and well and is LIVING. Richard & Carol.
A: I am happy, well and enjoy
being alive a lot. Thanks, Richard & a belated Happy 36th Anniversary. Keep being good
to each other.
Q: I went through all your album releases
at your web site, I was wondering if I can get the following anywhere, 2SR 5073
Love Songs / Rod McKuen. I got this double album in the 70's through a mail order thing
over the TV. Is it available anywhere anymore, I loved this album, please let it be in CD
form. Thank You
A: Sorry but Love Songs isn't
available on CD yet, but you can get many of the same songs in The Greatest Hits
Q: Many years ago, when I was a young man
coming to terms with my Homosexuality, a major force in maintaining my sanity was an album
that you composed the music for, featuring the homoerotic poetry of Walt Whitman, and read
by Jesse Pearson. I don't remember the name of the album, and did not see it listed in
your discography. I wanted to thank you for that album (as well as all your other work!).
It meant a great deal to me. Bucky.
A: Thanks Bucky. The albums were
The Body Electric 1 and The Body Electric 2. Jesse Pearson did such a wonderful job on the
narration and was so easy to direct that those sessions really stand out in my memory.
Whitman has always been my favorite American poet and writing music to his beautiful
images came easy. Glad we were there to help.
THE FIRST ALBUM
|Q: Good Morning Rod, Welcome
aboard... we've missed you. I am an avid collector of your records and CD's. Recently my
record supplier sold me a record he said was your first. It was called 'Songs for a Lazy
Afternoon'. Is this in fact your first album or... was there another? If so...what? I have
a fairly large collection of Rod albums, CD's, books, etc. Over the years and through
various moves some of my things have gotten 'lost'. I have tried to replace things but...
You mentioned the 'Stanyan Archives'. Will this (Please, Please, Please) contain items
that are for sale? Have a better than average day and Sleep Warm, Jay Hagan
A: Good Morning Jay. Technically Songs for
A Lazy Afternoon is my first album and it's very hard to come by since it was recorded
just about the time Noah started building his ark. I did record an earlier album that
wasn't widely circulated, called Lonely Summer for a small California label Bond Records.
If I can find a copy I'll make a dub for you. For those of you unfamiliar with the name
Jay Hagan, he is one of the stalwart members of tara's RM Message Board and Ice Wine's
McKuen Poetry section [2 of the early McKuen web sites] Based on his postings I would turn
to Jay before any of my own filing cabinets for dates, times, titles and locations of my
songs and poems. His knowledge is truly amazing, even to someone like Wade Alexander who's
been on the inside for 30 years and knows my catalog like no one else. Jay's always coming
up with and posting some long lost poem or song child of mine I thought nobody knew and
loved but me. I'd love to see him put together a list of titles for my next spoken word
album, using tracks from existing LP's that have not made their way to CD yet. When he
types a poem of mine for the message board, he always gets the line breaks and punctuation
right, something Word 98 can't seem to do even with the author at the keyboard.
Q: I could not find anywhere listed on the
website to indicate
where one could purchase recordings onsite. Is there such a site? I am interested in a CD
of the spoken album In Search of Eros. C. W. McKissick
A: In Search of Eros isn't
available on CD, but I've thought of coupling it with Time of Desire on a single CD, or
better still issuing both separately with bonus tracks containing unrecorded poems or
isolated poems from LP's that haven't made their way to CD yet. Any thoughts on that? For
where to buy see the answer to the next question.
Q: For those of us who are not yet
familiar with/or do not have technical capability to download your recent recordings can
you provide other options. Can you please add available recordings to your site and/or
tell us how/where they can be purchased. Looking forward to your new publications. Paul H.
Krieger at the Red Rocks concert, 1970. And there was a similar letter from Peggy who
wanted a complete list of books & records and a source for buying them. Simply copying
the discography and bibliography to your scrapbook & downloading it to your word
processor will give you the list.
A: Before long there will be a
designation in the Discography section as to which format each recording is available in,
CD, LP or Cassette. As to where they can be purchased I refer you again to Johan's list of
Where To Buy on tara's McKuen Message Board Site. If you know somebody who'd like to buy
several storage spaces of McKuen books, records & "stuff" you can contact
Edward McKuen at this address & he'll be glad to stop paying storage charges. All
kidding aside, we are trying to arrange for somebody to take over the McKuen stock on hand
since we no longer have the time or resources to sell books & records through Stanyan
Mail Order. Ken and I have had lots of discussions about an Airport Gift Shop but Mail
Order is such a time intensive job that so far we've decided to leave it to the
professionals. Stanyan was once in the mail order business & we have a warehouse full
of stuff, but just not the time or personnel to handle mail order anymore.
|THE WAR YEARS
|Q: Imagine my surprise
when after so many years I find an old friend in my living room! I'd listen to your
recordings in the early 70's. They traveled with me throughout the Army and college. When
I got married they were not needed anymore. However once in a while they call me. I don't
have the records anymore but they play just as well in my mind. Thanks. Bob. DIV
Q: I returned from Vietnam in the Autumn of 1967. I expected
to see a number of friends a bit later but they never arrived. Instead, I made new friends
Thanksgiving Day, 1967 as we fasted on Restaurant Row, La Cienega & Wilshire. In
protest of that which made me Old Friendless, a lady gave me Listen to the Warm. Thank you
for that and all of the rest. Joe Young
Q: I remember several times while I was in
Vietnam our unit received 'care packages' from you and Stanyan. Books, records, candy,
cookies. You have no idea how much they were appreciated. Andy
A: My feelings on The Vietnam War
are pretty well documented. I hated The United States being involved in a dumb war we
couldn't possibly win, but felt our men and women serving there should be respected,
honored and taken care of. I did send packages and letters and so did everyone at Stanyan.
And I attended and put in my 2 cents worth at anti-war rallies and marches. None of this
seemed a bit schizophrenic to me. I was against the war, while being for those fighting it
and being killed, maimed and some coming home brain damaged as a result of their service
to our country. Those feelings haven't changed except that I'm more ticked off than ever
that many of our Vietnam veterans still aren't being taken care of properly by their
|FINDING MY FATHER
|Q: I think I
learned about the book about your search for your father via a TV interview in 1976. I was
very interested because my first love (in high school) had given up a child born out of
wedlock (those were the days when Dad had no say). He had grieved and wanted to make a
home so much for that baby, that the subject has long had my full attention. I have
carried a love for a lifetime for this man who was not able to be monogamous after that
loss (i.e. I looked for someone who could -- yeah, Right!). I read your book in its
entirety on the first New Years (1977) that I ever stayed sober. The experience was
awesome. I had so many questions. I thought about writing, but did not, and then when I
was ready I could not find you anywhere. That aria, The Stone Song, nailed me. It was my
own. I made notes on the whole book and would still like to discuss it. I just found you
(my son put me on line), so I will be locating my notes. Welcome back!!! Where is the
update on your time away. I know it would be worth reading. Carol
A: Your story reminds me of so many I've heard
since I started the search for my father. One of the reasons I wrote Finding My Father was
to try and get some laws changed or amended making it easier for birth parents and
children to get in touch with each other. The book was instrumental in amending statutes
in England, but we have a long way to go in the United States before reasonable laws are
passed. More than an up date on my "time away" is in the works Carol, but that's
about all I can say on the subject right now. Meanwhile ASPTL is a good place to find out
about anything new I'm up to. This is home & you folks are 'family' so whatever is
happening or about to happen will be talked about here first. Carol, it sounds to me like
you've straightened your life out pretty well. When you find your notes, come on back
& we'll have a long chat.
Q: Please help me to locate a poem Mr.
McKuen wrote. It starts..."Mama canned currents and mama canned peaches and____ (I
can't remember!) It ends with him saying something about wishing he was 7 again, and
wanted to ride the bus back to his mother. Please help. Tess
A: Tess, it's actually part of a
song I began writing when I was about 12 and never got around to finishing. I used it to
open Chapter 4 of my memoir, Finding my Father. Here it is;
Mama canned currents
And mama canned peaches
And Mama washed clothes by hand
And us kids had more
Than the people next door
For we had a mama
Who played the piano
And taught us to read
By the light of a lamp
A sailor man brought her
From some foreign land.
And I wish I was seven again,
I might even settle for ten
I wish could go
To the Saturday show
And take the bus back home again.
Seems like I was kind of young to be waxing this
|Q: tara's something,
eh? Mary [Mary is tara's lover in law, a term coined by Hale Matthews to denote the
relative of ones love. Good term, eh?]
She certainly is. I owe her many thanks for the last fourteen months of her RM Message
Board. Plan to write her a long letter when I can get off the keyboard and back to pen and
paper. Hmm. Wonder if I can still hand write. By the way if you put a lion in a cage with
just WebMistress tara and her whip, I wouldn't bet on the lion.
Q: You were and still are my favorite poet
and the autograph that you signed for me in 1970 at the Rendezvous in SF still hangs on my
wall. All my best regards
A: Ah The Rendezvous! They don't
make nightspots like that any more.
Q: I attended a performance of yours in
Greenwich Village some years ago and the experience was so awesome, I wrote a short story
about it. The true story is comic, as well as tragic, and wonder if I need your permission
to get it published. I am a GREAT FAN and am a former fan club member. Raymond, Massapequa
A: As long as it isn't libelous
or contains any existing copyright work, I don't see why you'd need my permission or
anyone else's to have it published
Q: You said once that a hunter goes out in
autumn, searching for love because if you're alone in autumn you'll be alone all winter
long. Mr. McKuen, is it true? Kja1984
A: Kja, sounds to me like I was a
lot more cynical in those days than I am now. Still, autumn and being alone when the
leaves turn in unfriendly weather is a recurring theme in my writing. The line was
appropriated by Alan Jay Lerner in one of my favorite songs for Paint Your Wagon, Another
Autumn. Keep looking, Kja, whatever the weather, pay no attention to old poets. But, do
read the rest of that quotation. It'll be coming up soon in one of the Flight Plans.
Q: I'm delighted to find this Rod McKuen
WebPages! I'm looking forward to visiting your "Safe Place to Land" regularly.
Something recently brought to mind a poem I'd read long ago. It was in a paperback
publication of McKuen poems that I read from cover to cover as a teenager. That book fed
my young imagination about love and sex and romance. I've been surfing the net trying to
figure out what book it was in....I've also checked libraries, book stores, etc., and
can't find it. Can't find my old paperback either...I'm sure I loaned it to a friend who
never returned it. Part of the verse in the poem I'm particularly searching for is:
"I have loved you in so many ways...In crowds and (or?) all alone....While you were
sleeping beside me...." If you can tell me where I could find that collection....I'd
be so grateful! Thanks...happy to see you out here in "cyberspace," Mr.
McKuen....I am, Admiringly...a fan, Deb.
A: The poem is entitled I Have
Loved You In So Many Ways and was in the paperback "Seasons In The Sun." It
first appeared in my third hard cover book "Listen To the Warm" where each poem
was referred to by a number. It was number Fifteen.
Q: In the early 70's we heard you at a
coffeehouse in LA. You were on the bill with the Smothers Brothers. You did a poem about
your father--what was it? I have looked for it for years and have many of your books but I
still have not come across it. It was very moving to me. Kelly B
A: It might have been Biography
the opening poem from Stanyan Street & Other Sorrows, or any one of a number of poems
used as introductions to chapters of Finding My Father.
|YOU CAN'T PLEASE 'EM ALL
||Q: what is
this......one day I can reach you..the next it takes
forever. Today......its as if you do not exist............I wanted to ask....... With
certainty I s'pose of no reply......though I ask with sincere respect .......however harsh
the question may seem.....
Is it with true hunger....... You write again......and hope to tap your fellow
neighbors.......or just simple greed.....to obtain the heralded barn.......or whatever
materialistic ........Thing. I take offense to your obvious pleasure......regarding your
statement of having the audience....only to purposely........lose them.....simply for the
thrill 'n challenge of winning them back..........where's that soul we once
embraced......I see it not in your casual words......your casual photographs echoing your
Have you forgotten..........poetry is read and bred......from people....victims.....of
having a heart and soul.................duval
A: Lady or Gentleman, er duval, are you sure you got it all off
your chest or is there more? None of your questions seem harsh. I write because I have to
write, that's what I do. Whether or not I get paid for it is beside the point. I am,
however, happy to have made a living at it for 5 decades. Beats digging ditches &
graves and working in soup kitchens which I've also done. Interaction with a live audience
is the most exciting thing in the world to me. I don't apologize for playing with them any
more than they would apologize for doing the same with me. We used to play together often
& we had lots of fun - you should have come and seen us. I miss it like crazy.
"Poetry is read and bred from people, victims
of having a heart and soul" What kind of babbling nonsense is that? Poetry is hard
work. Ask any poet and they'll tell you it's like any work, more perspiration than
inspiration. It isn't easy to find the right word to describe an emotion you feel and want
to express. I've been writing for a long time and my soul has yet to leap out & hand
me a finished poem. If it did it would scare the hell out of me. Poetry isn't bred, it's
more like bread. You don't copulate to produce a poem, although screwing your mind now and
again couldn't hurt. And if someone screws with your heart, so much the better for the
poetry but worse for you. I'd hardly call anyone with a heart and soul a victim. I'm
certainly not. If I have problems, I usually bring them on myself. If I get sick it's
because I didn't take care of myself. It's important to me to take responsibility for all
my actions good or bad.
Please, please, don't bandy the word victim around
till it becomes of no use. Millions of Jews, Homosexuals and members of other minorities
were victims of the Holocaust; Everyday in this country women are victims of domestic
violence; children are routinely victimized by other children in schoolyards; Ethnic
cleansing has victimized civilized and non civilized nations around the world. A Black man
was recently tortured and dragged behind a speeding pick-up truck, just because he was
Black, And, it happened in these United States. Victims are people who find themselves in
situations where they have no power over a particular circumstance. Again don't trivialize
the word victim by applying it to something as unimportant in the scheme of things as mine
or anybody else's poetry,
Sorry if I look happy in some of my pictures, but I
really am. I will get my barn, it's been a life long dream and I expect to make that dream
come true. If you promise to behave yourself and look and act casual, you might even be
invited to the barn raising. But I warn you in advance; It's going to be lots of fun.
||Q: I came across this
site while looking at the news about Frank Sinatra. Rod (and because of him) Jacques Brel,
were important parts of my adolescence and young adulthood. Now I'm a 42 year old mother,
wife, mortgage banker, singer in my youth, and thrilled fan. I work with some Belgians who
were amazed to know that I knew about Jacques Brel--I'm adding this site to my favorite
list! Thank you. Skkc.
The great privilege I had of working with Brel & Sinatra made me a better songwriter
and a better human being. As a writer and performer I've had the good fortune of meeting
and coming to know more than a few people of exceptional talent and true genius, none more
so than Jacques Brel and Frank Sinatra. Each changed my life in more ways than I could
possibly enumerate. Before Frank and I began our A Man Alone collaboration he recorded two
Brel/McKuen songs, If You Go Away and I'm Not Afraid.
Q: For some time I have been researching
the link between Jacques Brel and yourself. My understanding was and is, that you
co-wrote, through translation, though I was never sure if you co-wrote with Brel the
original lyrics for any songs. Perhaps you could say something of the method of your
Co-operation with Brel and what you feel was your contribution, and to which songs. This
is a most important point, and one that only you can answer. Jim Bennett [Note:
Another part of Professor Bennett's letter appears in a section of this column under
A: I have always termed our work
together as collaboration, translation and adaptation. As an example; I wrote the words
and music to The Lovers and Brel translated it some years later as Les Amant de Cour. To
You was a complete collaboration from start to finish and we have a dozen or so
unpublished songs in various stages of completion that I hope to assemble one day. On
Seasons In The Sun [Le Moribund]. If You Go Away [Neme Quitte Pas], Zangra, Les Bourgeois
and The Statue I stayed as close to Brel's French lyric as translation into English would
let me, given the limitations and compromises that have to be made in going from one
language to another. Though I'm proud of those songs, nothing could touch the original
Brel lyric. I have written at least three sets of words to the melody of Fils De. I'm Not
Afraid and Still We Go On have absolutely nothing to do with the French lyric. Sons of the
Rich, Sons of the Poor, my third lyric to the melody is entirely based on Jacques original
setting. No one has ever heard it because until recently I just wasn't completely
satisfied with it. I'm ready to record it now as part of the next Brel/McKuen project. Le
Plat Pays literally means 'the flat lands' and is Brel's description of his homeland in
Belgium. There is no place quite like it in America, so as my homage to Jacques I wrote
The Far West, describing my homeland. As you can see Jim, it's not really all that
complicated but it isn't an either or situation. Hence my description of our work together
as collaboration / translation / adaptation. One day we'll meet and talk about it at
greater length. Meanwhile if you don't have the McKuen Sings Brel CD or LP, Eric Jaeger
has posted the complete liner notes on his Listening To The Warm Web-Site.
|AND HOW DID YOU ENJOY
THE PLAY MRS. LINCOLN?
|tara is my brother's
lady. She has sent a proud email to announce your site to friends and family and I come by
way of that notice. She brought back a memory when she first told me about her site. You
read poetry to me (and the rest of the Jubilee auditorium). That was in a different time
and I don't remember much of the actual readings. I more remember what happened after. I
remember feeling uplifted and kind and off to meet "friends" at the Cecil Hotel.
It was not then and is not now one of Edmonton's finest hotels although it makes scads of
money. As we walked in a male was holding a female by the throat (that's the kind of
establishment it was/is). She pulled a knife on him. She had made her point. He let her
go. We still sat down to have a beer. Strange memory, huh? (or, eh?) I always refer to
that evening as the "ultimate culture shock". Still loving your stuff after all
these years. Mary
Q: Why did
it take so long for you to come back and "help shoulder our old flags"? Okkfry
A: For more detailed reasons you
can read Webmaster Ken Blackie's recent interview with me. But it boils down to being
tired of the road & enjoying being home. And I went through a bout of clinical
depression that left me at times feeling I wasn't proper company for anyone, especially
fans and friends.
|WHO WAS THAT MASKED
researching in reference books to try to dig out a comprehensive list of your work, I ran
across a mention, supposedly made by you to an interviewer, that you had written some
verse under a pseudonym in more traditional form and that it had been very positively
critiqued. Did you actually do this; and if so, what is the title and pseudonym? Also, I
note on your list of publications shown here no mention of the Rod McKuen Omnibus. Since I
have a copy of this, I would like to verify that it is an actual authorized publication.
Great to see that you haven't dropped off the face of the earth. Look forward to new
book(s). Sincerely, Wes Fish.
That's a true story, Wes. It really happened. But you don't honestly think I plan to
reveal the name of my alter ego. Naw. The Rod McKuen Omnibus was published in Great
Britain by W.H. Allen & contained Stanyan Street & Other Sorrows, Listen To The
Warm, Lonesome cities & 12 additional poems. Soon we'll be doing a section on
international publications & Omnibus and all the other overseas books will be listed
|Q: I read you like
crazy in the beginning. Loved your song lyrics and wished I'd written some of those poems
in "Stanyan Street Revisited." I even sang and read you in a "musical"
some of us put together when I was in the army in 1970. Now I teach poetry to high school
students and sometimes run across your poems used in comparisons to others. Often the
point is that yours are simple, sentimental, and saccharine. How much does it bother you
that some see your poetry as second-rate? C Moore
A: I can't imagine anyone wanting to see
his or her name next to anything but glowing adjectives. But it comes with the territory.
I closed the introduction to 1971's Rod McKuen Omnibus by saying "Finally, a word
about critics. If I sell 5 copies of a book they are unanimous in their praise. If I sell
ten I can expect one dissent. If the number grows to ten thousand my reviews will always
be 'mixed.' At ten million I have detractors of every persuasion, most notably those
reviewers who read the statistics not the books. None has a banner bright enough to carry
me past the sunset, and no known or unknown legions' unsheathe swords' sharp enough to
silence me. I say it again the poem is me, I lived it or am living it. I accept no advice
on how it could or should be lived."
Q: I just checked out your website. Didn't
realize that you have been so prolific, and have been publishing since the mid-50s. Your
recent unpublished poems from "A Safe Place to Land" struck me as among your
most interesting work--terser, more conversational, less romantic, and less singsongy than
your general trend. Still, I think they could be improved by invoking fewer deities and
high-flow concepts and just focusing on the objects around you, and perhaps using less
Elizabethan diction such as "'tis" and "ye." What I like most about
all your work is that Eros is always at the surface. Keep "it" up. Jim Kobielus,
A: Guilty, Jim, of overdoing it
with the deities. Good advice telling me to watch it. Physical lovemaking is kind of
spiritual to me. It might be because I get so little of it that I tend to hold it aloft.
But my cleanliness is next to godliness [as in a good clean, or sweaty, body] is getting
to be a bit much. Think you would have gotten a kick out of a bit of self-censorship I
imposed recently. Was all set to post a poem entitled As Gods Go By in the last batch of A
Safe Place To Land poems . . .. Well, this ode to Eros makes anything I've written on the
subject of love making before seem like a pillow fight in a nunnery. Even my brother, a
pretty worldly guy, was aghast. The day before it was to go up, we were selected as Family
Site of the Week. by a very respected Web Organization. Could just picture the family
gathered around the monitor at A Safe Place To Land & finding it not quite as safe as
expected. I pulled As Gods Go by from the page [may sneak it in later] but it will stay in
the finished book. Or will it? The chapter it's slotted for is (maybe was) entitled Love
Is My Religion. Hmm? As To the "Elizabethan" 'tis' & 'ye' in Jho John Visits
Chat Room Nine, the references might have been a bit too obscure. There's a wonderful old
Scottish song by Robert Burns called "John Anderson, My Joe John" and I invoked
it at the end of each stanza of the poem in an attempt to show the dichotomy of the
impersonal chat room where Joes and Johns are plentiful and the solitary balladeer
lamenting the loss of her one and only 'Jho John". Those stanzas were meant to be
italicized, which might have helped, but somewhere between California where they were
written and South Africa where they were posted the Italics disappeared. As for being
sing-songy, are you sure you're not referring to some of the lyrics from my songs?
Remember when you read a song lyric, you're only getting half of the story. Without the
music I can't think of any song lyrics I've written that would stand up as poetry.
Q: [Continuation of Prof. Bennett's letter
from Brel section] On a more personal note may I say I am a great admirer of your work,
and as a lecturer in creative writing at the University of Liverpool (UK) I have several
of your titles on my students reading list. If it is of any interest to you, my opinion is
that in the future your poetry will be seen as standing for your generation. The problem
was you were so unique you never had a movement so you were difficult to compartmentalize.
But I see by your unpublished work that you are as sharp and observant as ever. Wonderful
stuff, your voice has been quiet too long. Jim Bennett
A: Thank you, Jim, I needed that.
I think being a successful poet rankles a lot of people, especially other writers. Dick
Cavett once introduced me as "Americas most understood poet". It was meant to be
a dig, but I liked it. Poetry should communicate, or what's the point.
||Janet Hasselman was
19, and loved your words, so I gave her three of your books for her birthday, November
4th, 1969. When we parted, a few months later, she hand wrote a copy of "I'll Never
Be Alone", in her last letter to me. Twenty-six years later, she came back to me, and
I showed her that poem, glued in one of my diaries. It was our common love of words, the
right words, chosen and spoken at the right times, that made us fall in love, and stay in
love for all those years, and it was that love, of words, that brought us back together,
and married us, after almost three decades. We were very sad when we searched for you last
year, and we couldn't find a trace of you. Barnes & Noble, in its corporate
gigantic-ness, had never heard of you. Maybe I should have gone to "The Tattered
Cover", in Denver. We love your words, and we will be back to this site many times.
We are so happy that you came back to the world. William & Janet, Chapman Kansas
||Q: What has been
the most interesting and genuinely moving thing that's come from surfing the web in recent
months & particularly finding tara's Rod McKuen Message Board? Alex
A: Easy. Discovering the experts on my
work here in Webland. Not just knowledgeable people familiar with nearly every aspect of
my career, but new friends. Friends I haven't met yet, true. But friends.
I mentioned Jay Hagan earlier. Janice, or as she
prefers to be called "Ice Wine", must have a near archive of my poetry that she
updates and changes on her web site.[we'll get around to talking about the copyright
ramifications later, lady], It's always a pleasure to cruise her web site with its
beautiful graphics and clear readable type. And she has the most eclectic collection of
links to other really unusual sites I've ever seen. Hey, I just thought of something, when
I want a particular poem for my Flight Plan, think how much faster I could get it into my
Mac by asking Janice if she already has it archived & if so, could she send it to me.
Wouldn't that speed up my laboriously slow two fingered typing? And I certainly couldn't
pick or choose my own work better than she does. Talk about Chardonnay on ice when you
Johan Grobbelaar has assembled a list of McKuen
collectibles the likes of which I've never seen. Just looking at it makes me feel a lot
better at having stayed at home the past dozen years doing little else but writing. If you
want a list of your accomplishments [good & bad] don't do it yourself, assign the job
to New Zealand's Mr. G. Johan posts something on the message board one day, Jay trumps
him. Then there's a turn around and Jay makes a low bow to Johan. It's never competitive
always graceful, like Kelly and Astaire.
Who did Ken turn to when he needed a typed copy of
my 1968 tribute to Sinatra that appeared on A Man Alone? Melinda Smith, who seems to
always be there for just about everybody. She E-mailed it to him in minutes, typed
perfectly, not scanned. I know because it was my job to edit it and there was nothing to
edit. I felt bad because of space constraint I had to change and double up on some of my
line breaks, not because I was so in love with them as they were, but because Melinda had
so carefully adhered to my original placement I felt I was betraying her.
The presumptions of Eric Yeager to put up a website
devoted to my "stuff" and call it Listening To The Warm. Who is this guy anyway?
Well, based on exchanges I've read between him and Waldo, he's a sweet, intelligent, warm,
unassumingly talented and slightly Keourazy man. I love his website. It's short, to the
point, well crafted and even interesting to me. And hey, it's only my life.. It has links
to Andy Williams, Johnny Cash and A bio on Jacques Brel. He's scanned in color covers,
song listings, credits and all the liner notes to two of my favorite albums. It has a bio
and in a Where Is He Now segment, the article from People where I disclosed my battle with
And what more can I say about tara? The mysterious
American lady who is about to make things legal with her Canadian friend, bon vivant and
computer whiz, Bill? She has web sites all over the place, including an especially nice
one devoted to a trip her mother took. Her McKuen Message Board has rallied my fans and
friends when they had no place to go for information and seems to be even more successful
now that there are alternatives. She is the soul of The Message Board, and aren't her
other sites pretty and the type easy on the eyes.
There are others; Brad Johnson, Clark, Arthur Kent
that I feel I know from reading their messages. And Clovis, who for his site dug up the
most provocative McKuen quote I've read yet on the web. You will be hearing more from me
about our own crew in Africa, Ken Blackie and Paul and Agnieszka Solomon. For now the
hours seem long and the work is hard but all those mentioned have certainly made it easier
|Q: It has been
years.... I saw you one time in the wild turbulent years of my life - 1974, when you
played the Macauley Theater in Louisville, Kentucky, premiering a concert piece with the
Louisville Orchestra. All these years, I have wanted to thank you. I bought the recording
of your concert in 1984 and recall that it came in the mail on a stormy day when I was
sick and needed that little "safe place to land". I am glad you now have a web
site and an e-mail address. I will not have to wait another 10 years to see or hear
from/about you. Thanks again, Kathleen,Verona NJ.
A: In the last few years I've had time to study orchestration
and have written a few chamber pieces. Thanks for the interest, Kathleen.
Q: I was in Kentucky for the premiere of
"The City" and the cantata for soprano and orchestra you composed to the text of
Walt Whitman. I also attended the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra Silver Jubilee Concert for
the premiere of Ballad of Distances. Are these works available on CD? Kyle, Edmonton
A: "The City" & I
Hear America Singing were both issued on Lp (TLO LS-732) and may still be available in
that format. As far as I know they have not been reissued on CD. You might check with
Louisville Orchestra Limited Editions, a mail order company operated by the orchestra's
business affairs dept. The Ballad of Distances, Op. 40 with The Edmonton Symphony
Orchestra was released as a bonus CD with the 1973 Back To Carnegie Hall album (Warner
Bros. 2WS 2731). There are no current plans to issue it on CD. Thanks for asking.
Q: Which of your classical works, if any,
are available on CD? Norm, Paris
A: In 1988 DCC released a CD
titled Rod McKuen: ConcertoWorks (STZ-103) which contained my Concerto for Cello &
Orchestra, Concerto for Guitar & Orchestra and Concerto for Balloon (Synthesizer) and
Orchestra, all remastered from the original session tapes by Steve Hoffman. It's now out
of print, but can sometimes be found through record searches online. There is a
compilation of several of my shorter works called Music For Guardian Angels (LaserLight 12
473) that includes "Night", from "The City", Church Windows &
several piano trios & quartets. It's available from all the larger record stores
|SHEET MUSIC & SONG BOOKS
||Q: Thank you for
creating a place where fans like me can stop and wonder. This web page is wonderful!
Strangely, it reminds me of when I used to buy your books at the drugstore (small town)
and read them before I reached home (I walked). It's the same feeling: kind of cozy, yet
exciting, too. Thanks for coming back and creating that feeling again. I have been trying
to find sheet music of your works. When I inquired at the local music store, the lady who
waited on me happened to be a Rod McKuen fan, too. Sadly, she said there was no sheet
music available. Will any sheet music be available in the future? Now that I'm older and
have a piano, I would love to have "I Think of You," "Kaleidoscope,"
"The Lovers," "Fly Me To The North," "The Single Man," etc.
A: I like the
comparison of ASPTL and a local drug store a lot. This is a place for loitering and going
easy, so take your time and browse all you want to. When I work out a new publishing
agreement there will be song books aplenty. Next month we'll print the words and music to
The Single Man and you can download it from here. Every so often we'll print out another
that can be downloaded.
Q: (In response to an earlier request)
Hey, just wanted to drop a quick note to say that I found my answer about
"Heartbroken". Phil Springer DID write it, and after I sent him a nice letter,
he sent me a copy of the sheet music! I know Phil from a show of his I was in several
years ago. He's still performing at Mort's Deli near his home in Pacific Palisades. So now
I have music from Rod's "Love Songs" CD for "Heartbroken", "When
Your Lover Has Gone", "When I Fall In Love", and "Love's Been Good To
Me", but I'm still interested in finding music for "As I Love My Own".
Whatever help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. I loved Rod's tribute to Frank
Sinatra. It was truly heartfelt. Shauna
A: And Shauna, this month's song
to be posted later in July will be, "As I Love My Own."
OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOGS:
GOD's PERFECT ANIMAL
|Q: I have always
held your sheepie Katie deep in my heart, as well as you're writing, reading it over and
over again. How many sheepies have you had and are you presently owned by any? I have my
own, Abigail Annie resting her nose on my sneaker toe as I type.....She was rescued from
New Hampshire, after being chained outside for six years. She is the four footed love of
my life....then there was Hollyberry, Patches, Abigail Wabbit, now AAI understand you may
have at one time been a member of the OESC of New England...which I am not affiliated
with.....I only do rescue. Janet.
was alerted to your site by a fellow OES-ring person. There are several hundred of us
worldwide who have websites about our OES (I have 3) as well as a daily email wherein we
discuss anything & everything about our large, fuzzy, beloved babies. Your pictures of
yours are divine! Do you still have OES? Again, it's wonderful to have you back! Best
wishes, Jenny (with OES Casey, Nikki & Lexy)
Q: I just wondered how you came to love
sheepdogs and if you still have them....I had one named Quincy for years..They are a tough
breed....but truly do own their human....I am so happy that you have come back to
us...somehow I always knew that you would! I am curious about the reference to Waldo..on
more that one occasion...and also...do you still have sheep dogs...I have one a beauty,
because I always loved the pics that you had of yours....thanks again for coming back to
us..You have no idea...how good it feels. Love Kathy
A: There were far too many Old
English Sheep Dog letters to print. All sweet, all containing the names of their
'Sheepies' most asking the same questions, so, here goes. Bob Shayne lead singer of The
Kingston Trio gave my first OES, Katie, to me. My second was a present from George
Marienthal owner of Mr. Kelly's in Chicago for breaking the house attendance record. He
was promptly christened Mr. Kelly. He became pretty famous in his own right, often coming
on stage for concerts and posing for album covers. He had a double in Great Britain who
co-starred in my BBC TV series. Third & Fourth OES, Sir Arthur [named after Arthur
Greenslade] & Old Boot [he got his moniker from a popular English comic strip] both
came from England. OES are the friendliest, sloppiest, smartest, dumbest,
best-dispositioned dogs in the world. Alas my sheep dog days are past. My cats would not
PS: Waldo is curious about the references to him
THE KING OF THE COWBOYS
|As we make ready to post
these answers, many of us mourn the passing of part of our youth, the Good Guy In The
White hat, who never chased Indians but always nailed the bad hombres in the black hats.
Roy Rodgers has died. Happy Trails, Roy. Here are the lyrics to an old song of mine that
all the movie matinees with you helped inspire.
Gone With The Cowboys
One day with any luck I'll be off again.
Gone With The Cowboys on the high roads and then
Bulldoggin' sunshine the way I should have been
All these years that I mistook for livin' settin' in.
I only hope too much time ain't gone by
I may not make Montana, but I'll give it a hell of a try.
Soon as the snow clears I'll be off again
Gone With The Cowboys playin' poker with the wind
Not thinkin' no more 'bout how it might have been
I'll be in there livin' with the cowboys again.
Gone With The Cowboys Again.
And, finally, I was up there on the big screen a
few ions ago in a western called "Wild Heritage". I was part of a pioneer family
moving west to homestead. Gary Gray & George Winslow played my brothers and my little
sister was Gigi Perreau. Mom was the versatile actress Maureen O'Sullivan. Maureen has
recently left us too. Bye Mom, you were the best.