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Protest peace … and Joni Mitchell Print-ready version

by Lon Goddard
Record Mirror
January 10, 1970
Original article: PDF

"Yes Bwana," replied Grimes, the Eye's crowling valet as they trudged through endless miles of dense Reportus Inebriaii, hacking a path toward the last radioed position of Canadian songwriter -singer Joni Mitchell.

We must hurry Grimes, for time is running out, said the Eye effortlessly thrashing another obstacle and pushing on. "Bwana not kidding. Bar close any minute. Poor Missy Mitchell crash landing in dreaded valley of Abominable Pressmen. Not stand pig's chance, right sahib?"

But they were both wrong. So wrong, for when the two champions of justice and journalism burst into the remote clearing somewhere near the 94th parallel, they found Joni cheerful, confident and holding her own against the threatening advances of the horrible Pressmen "I'm not really quitting", she was declaring, not without shyness, "it's just a kind of indefinite postponement of all appearances, tours, and all the roadwork. I was getting to the point where I couldn't take the pressures any more. I was signed to Reprise for two LPs a year and even had that brought down to one and a half. I need time to rest up. As a woman, I need time to get to know my kitchen and home again.

"I also want time to sit down and write some songs and I've got to be prepared to entertain friends if they come over, so I need some time simply to settle down. I can't do anything if I'm distracted by a heavy schedule. I'll do some more concerts, but I'm not sure when."

"Dis last gig, huh bwana?" Yes Grimes, that's the way it looks. But you can believe one thing Grimes, she WILL BE BACK. "Honest lnjun bwana?" How would you like five knuckles Grimes?

"I can't wait to start tome writing," said Joni, "because I'm learning to play some other instruments, like the concertina and the piano. I'm even writing from the piano now. Before this, I used to replace an orchestra with the guitar by using it in the same manner. Making the backing flow as an orchestra line does. The next LP may be different. However, I wouldn't want anyone tampering with tracks after I'd finished with them. This has happened to some other artists and I think it's about the worst thing that could occur. It's like taking someone's painting and changing the blue to green."

"What I'm doing now is much apart from the last two albums. I think it comes from the new instruments. The more different ones you hear and learn to play, the more different music lines you begin to create for each one. It broadens your scope and you begin to see things in many more ways."

"I have a lot of material written that hasn't been released yet. I've been influenced by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young a lot and I think they've been influenced by me. I've written some songs for them and one, 'Woodstock' will be released in February. Tom Rush has asked for a tape of some songs."

What about peace marches, protest songs, hate week and general demonstrating? "Everybody got to have dey own soap box, right Bwana?" How would you like me to mangle your molars, Grimes?

"We all want peace," said Joni, "but we don't all have to demonstrate. You don't have to go to church to look for Christ. To me, peace demonstrations are very similar to the church. There are a lot of people in both that are more interested in making it known they are involved than anything to do with the cause itself. They want acclaim for being attached to a movement. They want notoriety. There are other ways to look for peace that are more basic; like looking for your soul and trying to be honest with yourself. Demonstrations do both good and bad, but they are sometimes overdone. Like the word 'love', which eventually was abused through misuse. Protest singing is alright and there are people who can do it effectively, but I don't do it myself. It just doesn't suit me at all."

Well, I haven't got any gripes about your style, said the Myopic Mutation.

"Now bwana? Now?"

Shuddup and keep pumping, Grimes.

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