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Published: 2014/01/02

Robbie Robertson Talks About Final Meeting with Levon Helm

Robbie Robertson recently appeared on the CBC Television program George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, where he spoke his emotional final meeting with friend and former bandmate Levon Helm. The co-founding member of The Band talked about going to see Helm in the hospital after attending the 2012 Rock n Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony saying:

I did the induction ceremony, and then flew directly to New York and went to the hospital and I saw him, and I spent an hour holding his hand. Then a day, or a couple of days later, he passed on. I was relieved that I was able to get there, and just be there with him.

Robertson also spoke about he and Helms strained relationship, adding:

We were never not friends…What happened after I wasn’t with the Band anymore — I did leave, after The Last Waltz. I knew it was time. It was survival time, and I had to go. And years later, after that, Levon became very bitter — and he was right in saying I walked away. But he went to a whole other place in this that was never true. It just kind of ate him up, and it became part of his personality.


There are 81 comments associated with this post

BC January 2, 2014, 15:14:49

Must have been a tough hour for Levon to pretend he was asleep/unconscious.

John J. Wood January 2, 2014, 15:34:12

Meanwhile, Robbie gets all the coin from The Band re-releases, and never helped out Levon nor Garth when both were in financial need because of the royalties not given to them.

PM January 2, 2014, 15:43:32

No Robbie No Band

Strop Stabler January 2, 2014, 15:57:12

Know Robbie Know Band

adam January 2, 2014, 17:18:25

from what I’ve heard/read paints a picture of RR being the opposite of Levon, a selfish friend and band mate.

MarZaPhiGar January 2, 2014, 17:39:54

How nice that RR got his opportunity to clear HIS conscience…great talent, maybe best band ever (watch Festival Express- blew Janis & the Dead away)- but a ROYAL DOUCHE.

Patrick January 2, 2014, 17:55:16

what an egomaniac….I wish Robbie Robertson would eat the piece of shit that he is….fuck you Robbie

Patrick January 2, 2014, 17:55:17

what an egomaniac….I wish Robbie Robertson would eat the piece of shit that he is….fuck you Robbie

NutmegRyder January 2, 2014, 18:01:09

That was one of the more awkward interviews I’ve ever seen. RIP Levon.

Travis January 2, 2014, 18:30:41

RR paints an interesting portrait of his view of post-Band “relationships,” but one certainly not echoed in LH’s “This Wheel Is On Fire” and more recently in the excellent biopic “Ain’t In It For My Health.”

Bruce DeGrado January 2, 2014, 23:25:33

What a asshole

Bruce DeGrado January 2, 2014, 23:26:40

What a asshole

greg January 3, 2014, 06:51:18

Robbie should help Garth now!

pete January 3, 2014, 07:54:30

RR had the ability,when he saw the rest of the band struggling, of throwing out the lifeline. Instead he watched Richard Manuel commit suicide, Rick Danko fall further into his own death slide,Garth’s economic troubles and Levon … all so he could follow his Muse and grace the world with all the brilliant music and art that followed… can anyone name any of those songs he wrote?

ras i'an'i January 3, 2014, 10:20:33

You know, Robbie had to do what was best for him and his career – timing is everything in life. Don’t shit on him for being successful – if the rest of the boys couldn’t keep it together, start another band, etc without Robbie, then that’s just life. Robbie took a huge risk of his own and has been thus rewarded. Just like Bob Marley when it came to Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer.

Mick D January 3, 2014, 11:10:29

I used to deliver pizzas to RR in Brentwood. He was a shitty tipper. His music post-The Band sucks.

Something'sPhishy January 3, 2014, 13:20:06

“Like Bob Marley when it came to Peter Tosh & Bunny Wailer”??? Apples & oranges my friend. Both of those guys left the Wailers on their own accord. Peter was simply ready to step out on his own & up the ante in lyrical protest. Bunny didn’t want to play shows outside of JA any longer. Check your HIStory ras i’an’i.

majortom January 3, 2014, 13:23:55

I have no way of knowing anything about the truth of the matter, but one thing’s for sure—the first self-titled RR album is excellent across the board. I can name several songs immeditely, like “Hell’s Half Acre,” “Showdown at Big Sky,” and “Somewhere Down the Crazy River.”

skeptic January 3, 2014, 17:28:45

Watched the interview and was confused – this make-up between LH and RR in 1993 sure was news to me. Went back to the Mikal Gilmore obituary for Levon published in the 5/10/12 issue of Rolling Stone, where he reports Helm in 1994 refused to attend the Band’s induction into the R&RHOF rather than be in the same company as RR, quoted him as telling writer Barney Hoskyns in 1998 that “Robbie’s got people who’ll say he wrote everything…those are the same people that are helping him spend all the f-ing money”, and that, in Dec. of 1999, after RR appeared at the memorial service for Rick Danko in Woodstock, Levon wouldn’t enter. Now, that 1993 clip shown of Levon might be him in a moment of magnaminity at the time, but to watch Robbie bask in all that unknowing applause kinda makes me sick, seeing it again. (btw – I greatly admire Robbie’s work – I just don’t think this is right.)

Luke January 3, 2014, 19:17:11

What an ass! Had to get the last word in on a dead man. Rock on Levon! You are my hero!

JCJim January 3, 2014, 20:08:22

RR: self absorbed band killer…maybe John Fogerty is his brother…

mike pratt January 3, 2014, 20:20:03

Robertson always was and always will be a dick.

band fan January 3, 2014, 21:02:14

I’ve read all the biographies and autobiographies and am a huge fan of both Levon and Robbie I can see both sides. But when I saw “Ain’t in it for my health” I realized just how bitter and confused Levon became. Watch the scene where he explains to Billy Bob Thorton what happened to the Band. He does not take any responsibility or initiative whatsoever for his future and his career, is quick to assign blame but not to acknowledge at all his own part in what happened. His notion of “taking this thing where it takes us” is misguided and hugely unfair to Band mates like Robbie who actually did care about shaping their destiny and living a healthy life free of all the drugs and partying and touring. Even in those last years he clearly had no desire to understand or embrace or use the music business to benefit his career or his family – he was a great musician and he just wants to play great music and hopes that everything will work out somehow. His stamina and creativity and musical ability are awe-inspiring. But he leaned on other people to make things happen and then whined when it didn’t unfold the way he wanted. He was very naive to see things in black and white when the reality is much more complex, and the enjoy money and fame and even use his fame for leverage, but at the end but criticize others for wanting to be recognized and compensated. You can criticize Robbie all you want but he has created some great music post-Band and written many great songs since then. Levon made a couple nice albums but all the good songs are covers. He is not a great songwriter or producer and the last few decades are ample evidence of that.

Band fan is a douche January 4, 2014, 00:55:03

Levon’s spirit lives on forever. Robbie’s notoriety for being a douche will hopefully as well.

Band fan is. A douche January 4, 2014, 01:00:17

“A couple nice albums” what the fuck do you call dirt farmer or electric dirt cause it better not be mediocre? Did Eric oops I mean Robbie’s new album even win any fucking Grammys?

band fan January 4, 2014, 01:37:46

I am a true Band fan and love Levon’s solo albums. I have seen him perform live many times and I agree, his spirit lives on forever. The Band didn’t break records for albums sales and didn’t rake in Grammy’s; that is no indication of success or influence or talent. Look at the list of recent Grammy winners, they are largely an uninspired and and unimpressive list, and Levon’s Grammys in a weak category are a nice nod to his accomplishment but prove nothing. Robbie’s new album has a couple good songs I think, and a few where he seems to have phoned it in. Levon phoned it in for years as well. Those guys are so talented that even that music is good. The polarity of your thinking pretty revealing. If you can only think in black and white and only express yourself with insults and profanity, then you’ll never be able to understand a nuanced issue, never be able to learn or modify your understanding of something, and close your mind to all alternatives. Robbie has done a lot of amazing things in the past few decades and I’m sure his influence and art will be remembered. I can tell you this: there wouldn’t have been The Band without either Robbie or Levon. Robbie will readily admit that, and calls Levon the most talented guy he ever played with. Levon never would admit how instrumental Robbie was, just as you won’t. If you can’t recognize his contributions and importance then your comments and insults are completely empty. This “notoriety” you imagine is propogated only by Levon’s unfounded and stubborn bitterness and by a handful of narrow-minded ignorant “fans” who take sides and form opinions without actually knowing anything. Levon was extremely blind and stubborn in his views of the business side of music. He benefitted from it (willingly and happily) but didn’t understand it, didn’t try to understand it, and let it define him rather than trying to allow himself define it, as many successful artists do. It is called having a life and a career rather than being a pawn. It was an unfortunate weakness in an otherwise amazing musician.

otto January 6, 2014, 11:26:41

“narrow-minded ignorant “fans” who take sides and form opinions without actually knowing anything.”
“Levon was extremely blind and stubborn in his views of the business side of music. He benefitted from it (willingly and happily) but didn’t understand it, didn’t try to understand it, and let it define him rather than trying to allow himself define it, as many successful artists do.” bandfan is a Freaking douchebag!

BC January 6, 2014, 16:49:17

“band fan,” I’m not gonna get into the RR/Levon debate. All I will say is that Robbie did have the means to help out his “friends” over the years, but did not, despite their clear troubles. I’ll be interested to read Robbie’s autobiography to hear his side, but I suspect that at this point, everyone’s memories are distorted by time and hard living. And plus, no one is left to speak against him at this point (funny coincidence there). One bone to pick though — Levon DID have some good original songs that he’s credited as writing with others, so to say he phoned it in for years is, in my opinion, wrong. I personally really liked The Caves of Jericho, Don’t Wait, High Cotton, and Last Train to Memphis – off of the re-formed Band discs – and Growing Trade off of Electric Dirt, all on which Levon is crediting as being a writer. Sure, he was never a prolific writer of original tunes, but I highly suspect having listened to Robbie’s solo work that Levon, Rick, Garth and Richard did more than just help “arrange” the Band tunes (as Robbie claims).

lbh January 6, 2014, 23:05:41

I’d just be interested in some basic facts, for example, what is the split on royalties for re-releases of The Band classics, such as Live at the Academy of Music 1971? If Garth, and the estates of Levon, Rick, and Richard aren’t getting a sizable chunk, isn’t something wrong?

Wallsend January 7, 2014, 14:12:14

BC, If Levon could write songs, why didn’t he ever write any on his own without the help of others? Do you have any evidence Robbie didn’t write the songs he is credited with? Seems all the allegations about Robbie are just based on Levon’s claims without any supporting evidence.

Virgil Cane January 7, 2014, 16:29:33

Angry name-calling nut jobs need to get some perspective. Levon made some great music after Robbie left, definitely appreciate BC’s comments, but face it Band fan is right.

Mike January 8, 2014, 11:27:26

How would we feel if Ringo Starr was barley getting by financially as Paul McCartney lived like royalty. I’ve lived with this sad feeling for decades while supporting our brother Band members at every chance.
Each show would leave me emotional and bittersweet and praying for Lee, Rick, Richard and Garth.

leo January 8, 2014, 14:58:57

truly a gifted group of musicians the BANDS music is timeless like alot of groups that breakup they never recover the magic what i’d like to know is what robbie robertson has done since the last waltz ? but live off his past glories that being said my last response is god bless the members of the band and rest in peace LEVON HELM you will be missed

scott January 8, 2014, 16:54:54

Seems there’s something big (to me) not being said here. That is (to me) the blatant racism of The Band. I don’t know enough to comment much. But I also don’t know why Joan Baez did that disgusting “Dixie Down” song, and why I saw an interview with LH and other Band guys where there was a Confederate flag on the wall.
Just like Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Patrick January 8, 2014, 23:21:47

Been a Band fan since 1968, cant even bring myself to watch the RR interview. They made some wonderful,unique music and its a real shame that their legacy will be forever tainted by the song-writing royalties issue. Pick your side of the argument but theres no question that after the1st two albums the one-for-all all-for-one feeling dissappeared and except for a hand-full of songs on the remaining albums never appeared again. Just count gotta our blessings that we found and heard the greatest group of our time.

e barton January 9, 2014, 00:22:04

I knew Levon and was with him for years in the late 60’s and also when the band broke up. Now RR can say anything about Levon at that time. RR was a sh-t then and was unfair and took many liberties with the $$ and the glory from the Band. He never helped any one but himself. Anything he says about how great he was, should be taken with many grains of salt. Sorry RR but you are not a fair or nice person. Too bad you think you got away with the false stories. Like you said RR “there are some things you can’t wash away”.

George January 9, 2014, 09:54:33

In “Ain’t In It For My Health” there is a scene with Larry Campbell and Levon involving an unfinished Hank Williams song. Larry starts throwing lyric ideas into the air. Levon gets up and walks away, contributing nothing. Then you get Levon with his “Robbie and the suits ruined The Band” and everyone around him just nodding. And how do they end the film? Watch the special features, Larry Campbell, his wife Teresa and Amy Helm singing “Twilight” – written by Robbie Robertson

Kevin John January 9, 2014, 12:11:11

Folks…........Do yourselves a favour and pay attentions to what The Band’s producer and “6th member John Simon” has stated: ( by the way a perfect witness as Simon does not like RR )…….“Robbie was the one who wrote the lyrics and wrote the music. Wrote the lyrics on legal paper, or whatever he wrote it one, and figured out the chords to the song and dictated the melody and the chords to the other players”
Now, repeat this folks…Robbie “WROTE THE LYRICS, FIGURED OUT THE CHORDS AND DICTATED THE MELODY” according to the man who produced their records……......or The Band Mamager Jon Taplin: “I don’t want to speak ill of the dead, but in the three critical years of The Band’s ascendence, I was there every day. Robbie worked writing at the piano or guitar every day. In the first couple of years Richard and Rick did some writing as well. By the third album, only Robbie was taking the time and effort to write. The boys showed up at the recording studio and learned the tunes.” The comments of other people who have posted in this site make me embarrassed to be a Band fan…..Levon was a great mucusian and a soulful singer but he was not a song writer…..The Band had two great song writers….Robbie Robertson and Richard Manuel…....The credits reflect that.

RLP January 9, 2014, 14:38:22

I’d be embarrassed to post most of this stuff, the pizza delivery guy in particular.

stop bashing robbie January 9, 2014, 15:13:13

alright,enough with the hatred of robbie robertson…yes i read levon’s book that everyone is so quick to point out what a monster robbie was,but in the book levon quotes rick danko making a couple hundred thousand dollars on a half of writers credit for the song ‘‘this wheel’s on fire’‘ hell he named his book after ricks and dylan’s song…why is it alright for rick to take credit and get payed,but robbie can’t…i also find it funny how levon is quick to point out how the bad press robbie got from the album ‘‘northern lights,southern cross’‘ because robbie took credit for all 8 songs…yet levon states that northern lights was the best studio album since the album ‘‘the band’‘ in 1969…he will later repeat the same sediment on the album ‘‘islands’‘ what my point ?? if it was quality music then it was a collaboration and everyone deserves writers credits,but if was not good then robbie is to blame…also levon points out how richard completely quit writing songs after ‘‘the band album’‘ well if richard was not writing then who the hell is ?? also i find it funny that garth hudson is silent on writing credits,levon points out that garth deserves writing credits on songs like ‘‘chestfever’‘ but yet i have never heard garth speak out against roberetson…and he went bankrupt so you would think if garth truly believed he wrote or co-wrote chestfever he would have taken steps in court…i just find it amazing how so many band fans are so quick to take levon’s side because he wrote a book…also in his book he blames albert grossman,yet he cites how when albert died in a plane crash that this was the final straw for richard manuel ( grossman was taking care of richards affairs and levon states that their was lots of talk of richard going solo ) my point is that levon appears to be on a island,his story is 1/5th of the band,yet their are so many band fans that believe him where the other 4 boys are generally silent…also to answer ibh’s question about who gets compensated for re-issues ( and their has been a lot ) in 2011 levon released a trio of cd’s called ‘‘three of a kind’‘ it consisted of the first three band albums ( music from big pink, the band and stagefright ) and the kicker was ‘‘three of a kind’‘ was only available at levon helm studio’s…so yes levon has access to any band material for re-release he wants…( i would think robbie wont see a dime from this as it is only available through levon helm studio ) also garth has done a album called ‘‘a canadian celebration of the band ‘’ where garth composed new versions of old band songs with a canadian backing bands ( neil young did a song and a couple other canadian stars ) also recently garth took place in a last waltz tribute in philly ( their was over a thousand people at the troc,so garth got paid good i am sure ) garth also did a couple gigs with his old band mates titled ‘‘songs of the band’‘ my point in all this is if robbie was this monster so many of you guys think he is,he could fight this…but robbie went on record saying he would not get in the way of his former band mates trying to make a living…time and time again robbie showed total class while levon threw dirt on him…and the biggest thing to me never mentioned by the robbie haters is that robbie was correct about the road taking the great artists,and unfortunately the road took richard…robbie is not responsible for the other members of the band,they all made millions and pissed it away,hell i have a ticket stub from 1994 for $54 dollars, the boys made a ton of money when they reformed,again where did the money go ?? normal hard working people just cant relate to these financial mistakes the boys made…and one more thing how can we believe levon’s claims when he rail’s against the greatest rock movie ever made…i am 42 yrs old and i have spent a lot of money on the band only because i saw the last waltz…this movie gave levon and rick so much notoriety clearly translating into new found fame and fortune…levon should thank robbie,but he is way to bitter…finally this took me years to get off my chest and i am not done if anyone would like to continue this debate in a civilized way i would love to just give me a e-mail

stop bashing robbie January 9, 2014, 18:26:29

here is all the proof you robbie haters need…this robbie writing a great song…
‘‘twilight’‘ also robbie explains how he wrote ‘‘the night they drove dixie down’‘ on vh1 classic albums ‘‘the band’‘ it is easy to find on youtube

stop bashing robbie January 9, 2014, 19:39:03

the link to twilight did not post so if anyone is interested it is listed on youtube as:
twilight (song sketch) this song sketch also appears on the box set ‘‘a musicical history
also in regard to ‘‘the night they drove dixie down’‘ levon has not much to say only that he helped robbie research ‘‘dixie’‘ so the lyric’s pay due respect to Robert E. Lee this is very important because levon never sang this song again after the last waltz ( if he did it was rare ) levon clearly thought he should have had writing credits for a song about his forefathers

BenPike69 January 10, 2014, 10:48:06

Every time there is anything written about The Band there are comments made by “fans” that take sides. None of us really knows what the true story is. Some think they do based on what is written. Some love Levon and take his side and hate Robbie. Some love Robbie and need to defend him. I love the Band and all their music and I resist judging but I feel the Band’s legacy has been damaged by the hate spread out on the written page. If Levon, Robbie, Garth, Richard or Rick had issues with the others they should have kept it within their own.
Why would any “fan” trash a member then listen to their music?
We’ve seen animosity in other groups(Beatles, Floyd, Eagles, etc, etc). It happens in families and it is not satisfying, constructive or healthy. Let it go. Attend to your own house.

marlo stansfield January 10, 2014, 14:19:47

C’mon robbie kinda strange that you only heard Levon had gotten sick again 2 or 3 days before he passed. Why was it that you and Marty were out in Ca. with a mountain of powder as well as a ton of cash when the other guys had to go out on the road just to make ends meet? The thing about cancer patients when they are in hospice it usually means very strong medicine and sleep, no sitting around talking about the day when you took the lion share of recording credits. Enough of that, what it comes down to is this, there is no way in hell after Levon’s c-word came back i hate the word c-[anc,r after losing a brother and my father to that nasty stuff. You wanted to come across like you cared,when Levon started his treatments do ya think maybe you coulda helped then with medical bills. Maybe when Levon’s barn burned to the ground you coulda helped. But you show up in his hospital room so after Levon passed you can say I loved him or he was my best friend,Bro is that how you treat your best friend? The last time i saw Levon was in his barn when Los Lobos stopped in he played his drums with everything he had,i also remember looking into his eye’s and knowing levon did not have much time left.

marlo stansfield January 10, 2014, 14:19:50

C’mon robbie kinda strange that you only heard Levon had gotten sick again 2 or 3 days before he passed. Why was it that you and Marty were out in Ca. with a mountain of powder as well as a ton of cash when the other guys had to go out on the road just to make ends meet? The thing about cancer patients when they are in hospice it usually means very strong medicine and sleep, no sitting around talking about the day when you took the lion share of recording credits. Enough of that, what it comes down to is this, there is no way in hell after Levon’s c-word came back i hate the word c-[anc,r after losing a brother and my father to that nasty stuff. You wanted to come across like you cared,when Levon started his treatments do ya think maybe you coulda helped then with medical bills. Maybe when Levon’s barn burned to the ground you coulda helped. But you show up in his hospital room so after Levon passed you can say I loved him or he was my best friend,Bro is that how you treat your best friend? The last time i saw Levon was in his barn when Los Lobos stopped in he played his drums with everything he had,i also remember looking into his eye’s and knowing levon did not have much time left.

stop bashing robbie January 10, 2014, 15:10:01

really nice post…i do not think the bands legacy has been hurt…levon wrote a book,i bought his book,,,now do you think levon would not want his fans to have opinions on his book ?? of coarse he does,because that is what will sell more books…it is sad that we band fans are so divided…but to much has been said… mario,
nobody knew levon was sick again,it happened fast ( levon just did a concert a week or so before he got sick again ) also robbie is not responsible for helping rebuild levon’s barn when it burned down…that is the insurance companys responsibility…also you assume that levon is broke and robbie should help,,,but levon did have income…a ticket to a ramble was not cheap,also he did other concert venues and had income from his recent grammy winning cd’s…
as a fan i supported lee by buying his cd’s and buying his book

BC January 10, 2014, 15:34:06

I always find this debate really interesting, and enjoy reading the counterarguments from “Robbie supporters.” While I agree, benpike, that it’s sad about the division between the Band members and between fans, I don’t think their legacy is tarnished at all. The music is the music; the politics and infighting is another. Nothing said here will change the genius of the Band for me. And as for benpikes advice to “tend your own house,” take your own advice. We’re here commenting on Robbie’s decision to offer his characterization of Levon’s and his friendship – that’s fair game. If you don’t want to hear the debate, don’t read the comments. Finally, to address Wallsend’s invitation to provide “evidence” that Robbie wasn’t the sole songwriter, that’s asinine. First, to clarify, I’m talking about the first two Band discs only. It clearly seems from what I’ve read (not just Levon’s book) that Robbie took over after those first two records — be it because of success, drugs, laziness, etc. But as for the first two albums, there are only 5 people who know the real story – that’s the only evidence we have. One of them claims he wrote the majority of the songs on the first two discs on his own (Robbie); one of them disagrees and recounted his recollection in his book (Levon); one of them killed himself before ever voicing his opinion on this (Richard); one rarely if ever does interviews, so you likely won’t hear anything from him on this (Garth); and finally, Rick agreed with Levon. In an interview in 1993, Rick said: “I think Levon’s book hits the nail on the head about where Robbie and [manager] Albert Grossman and some of those people went wrong and when The Band stopped being The Band.” I think Rick’s quote speaks volumes. He always struck me as a pretty mellow guy with no axe to grind with anyone really – so why lie? I just think there’s more to it than Robbie lets on – - where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Rick sums it up well in that interview: “I’m truly friends with everybody but, hey — it could happen to Levon, too. When people take themselves too seriously and believe too much in their own bullshit, they usually get in trouble. . . . There’s more to life than money. I live a comfortable life — as do Robbie and Levon. It’s just got to add up to something, you know? . . . I’m an optimist. I just want everybody to do their part and not be something they are not and not be led on by other people thinking they’re something they’re not. Everybody knows that they have their own contribution to make. The Band was always a very unique thing. The Band was never one person. There isn’t a boss or leader. To go back out and make another Robbie Robertson record….After the first two Band albums it really wasn’t a band anymore. We were on somebody’s ego trip. Success can be a very strange thing. It can rear it’s head like an ugly beast.”

stop bashing robbie January 10, 2014, 17:24:36

probably the best post i read hear and i heard that story before…i think that rick quote was in response to mid 90’s rumors that david geffen was trying to reunite the original members of the band for a new album plus tour…but to be fair rick had a lot of interesting quotes over the years in regards to his relationship with robbie…
1) in lee’s book levon said he thought that rick called robbie when the band reformed in 1983
2) just recently when rick’s wife elizabeth died,robbie recounted how when ever robbie was in town ( woodstock ) rick would ask robbie to play some new music that robbie was working on
3) rick also said that when he writes his autobiography ( very sad this never happened ) that his story would be very positive and he thought lee’s was to dark
4) i heard rick on a couple of occasions mention that he was planning to get together with robbie and write some songs… so in the end i think rick was a neutral band member just always wanting to make people happy with his great music

lastwalzer76 January 10, 2014, 19:12:36

There is more to this sordid story none of us know, not friends or managers. It goes back to ’74. Only four people know what went down with this so-called “feud.” Robbie, Dominique, Levon, and Libby. Three of the four are still with us, but I don’t think any of them will ever reveal what it is. That is why Libby invited Robbie to visit Levon at the hospital for the last time.

lastwalzer76 January 11, 2014, 19:01:21

Robertson is not the sole proprietor of The Band’s publishing any longer. Canaan Music. Before he ever married his second wife, he had the foresight to leave the publishing duties with somebody who has far more maturity than his very much younger spouse. He’ll probably eventually give her his rights to Medicine Hat Music though.

stop bashing robbie January 11, 2014, 22:29:41

that is interesting lw76 also i read on wiki that garth just sold his stake of the band in 2002 to robertson…also levon never sold his publishing and shares of the band…this is from levon’s book

CorteztheKiller January 12, 2014, 10:28:41

Who’s to say? The Band was and still is a legacy of time the stitches such a vital part of American rock and roll music together. There are alot of fans that seem bitter in that they never got to see them reform and work together again. Who wrote what, when, where, how, what lyrics, what chords, what key, what notes. These questions are a part of any working band and it’s called “contribution” every band member endures at the moment to get an album made, get the hell out of the studio and back to your party lifestyle of hot women, good booze and good drugs.The fact that some of the best music to ever be made came about in the late 60s to the mid seventies was not written without the help of various coctails of everything from LSD to cocaine to heroin.Through it all the record producers, managers and all their lawyers were sitting on gold mines keeping these band members highly intoxicated while they prepared to roll pull the carpet out from under them.
If all of you want to blame RR for the destruction of The Band so be it but before you do take a look at any record contract each one of these band members had to personally sign and below their signitures will be a lawyers signiture. If you want to find someone to blame blame devils advocate lawyer that swayed RR to go after more money. When it comes right down to it every rivalry over credits and royalties in any band comes from some greed soaked lawyer who one day dropped by with a legal pad and shows an easy drug induced target like RR the amount of money he stand to make as a member of the band and what he could make if he claims his writing contributions. Probably to a point he literally asks RR just how comfortable he is living in that expensive California mansions with a view of the ocean, if he likes the cars he’s driving and all the fast chicks he can get around the corner. And like the devil himself he gets RR to sell his soul by signing on the dotted line. In a matter fo weeks the rest of The Band are told of RR decision and the rest is history. Depending on the very day RR decided to sell his soul to the devil changed the course of history for this band and made RR a very, very rich man! But for the immediate future put Robbie in a very comfortable lifestyle.To choose the loss of friendship with these very four mortals over wealth took no more than the stroke of a pen and almost like the George Bailys deal with the angel wishing he was never born (movie “Its a Wonderful Life”) RR saw his whole world change in an instant. He chose money over friendship with little to no regard for any of his bandmates wll being. But you have to ask yourself how could he be so heartless? Well chances are at that very moment he signed some of his band members were self destructing with drug and alchohol addiction to which RR decided they would not be around on Earth very long. With that in mind he came to selfish terms with himself knowing being somewhat health concious he would out live them all anyway and so could live a very rich life without having to face them for what he had done. In the end he is getting his wish but unfortunately they didn’t all kick as fast as he had wished they would and only the last ten years is it now he and Garth left. Perhaps when RR made his pact with the devil he also was granted eternity to outlive his fellow bandmates. Not a bad deal I suppose but sadly one that he will go to his grave with in regret.
theeleven at live dot com RIP Richard
RIP Rick
RIP Levon

CorteztheKiller January 12, 2014, 10:55:14

American Roulette!..
state your life upon it!...

stop bashing robbie January 12, 2014, 12:25:09

i have heard a few times that robbie was the responsible one,while the four other bandmates were killing themselves robbie was plotting and planning his future at the expense of others…
i don’t believe this because it is very clear that cocaine was everywhere during the last waltz and after the last waltz robbie and marty where room mates where robbie and marty installed large drapes over the windows so no sunlight would ruin their late night cocaine binges…
this is stated in levon’s book plus robbie later would write a song ‘‘he dont live here anymore’‘
robbie would talk about this situation often on the promotion of the song on talk shows like the view and others

stop bashing robbie January 17, 2014, 16:39:35

did i enter this debate to late !!!i did not write a damm book for nobody to not response to…where are all the robbie haters out their ??? you know who you are: john j wood,patrick, bruce degrado pete,luke,
jc jim,mike pratt,band fan is a douche
e barton and mario stansfield,bc and marzaphigar…i want this off my chest once and for all…robbie has been thrown in the mud for way to many years without fighting back…special thanks to kevin john, who actually offers up real proof as opposed to adam,who is the exact reason why people thinks robbie is greedy only because mr.robinson has been silent way to long,and it has hurt his image…also thanks band fan who had to put up with silly and senseless name calling…otto you hit the nail on the head,great post…i hope to hear back from the anti-robbie posters…

r. jones February 3, 2014, 17:08:27

However the various members of the Band behaved toward each other is irrelevant . just be happy that you all can still hear the greatest body of work ever made by an american band. Yes I am aware that four of them were Canadian, but the music was Americana at its best.

stop bashing robbie February 4, 2014, 22:06:41

i love the movement these days to label the band as the first true americana band…
it seems to be fitting in my opinion…

Wallsend February 9, 2014, 00:38:03

I think all the people that post hate aimed at Robbie are just crazy. Why do you get so upset about something that doesn’t concern you and is none of your business? Get a life.

stop bashing robbie February 10, 2014, 10:32:05

wallsend i remember my first band concert in 1991,,,back then i had no idea who was playing in the band ( i seen the last waltz my senior yr. in high school ) a friend of mine who attended the concert told me one of the members committed suicide,but he did not know witch one it was…i did not expect robbie to be their because of what he said in the last waltz…well i was relieved when i saw rick, ( what a shock to see him gain so much weight ) then garth,and of coarse levon…
but when it sunk in that one of these great pioneers of rock took their own life it was sad…( it was stan szeltz on piano ) anyways i thought i would share that story long before the world wide web and something i had to find out on my own

Wallsend February 11, 2014, 03:55:33

Sad about Richard. I had a chance to see the Band in 83 in Tokyo but I didn’t go. For me it was just not the same without Robbie. I think all the hate that is being posted towards Robbie on this and other sites is being done by a small group of trolls. They always use the same kind of abusive language. I don’t even think they are fans. I mean, if I hated Gerry Garcia I just wouldn’t have listened to the Dead at all.

stop bashing robbie February 12, 2014, 08:47:22

wallsend,,, thanks for replying back…exactly my feeling to !! like i said above rick called robbie but robbie stuck to his words he stated in the last waltz…now if rick called and said ‘he robbie let make another record” i believe robbie would have done it…anyways their are always two sides to every story and you have to wonder how things might have been…
BUT their is no doubt that the road took richard…rick is up for debate,,,dying at 56 is way to young,,,i just don’t know where the road and a hard life style meet…rick died doing what he loved doing,,,entertaining so my guess would lean to a hard life style

stewart bullen February 19, 2014, 18:27:57

i’v followed the band from day 1.everybody from that generation knows all the great bands and what happened to them,lots of stuff was consumed,some handled it better than others,some never did,and some never got thru it.just accept it was their lives and their job to entertain.just keep listening to all the great music,and stay them all for what they gave us,and we’ll never know the problems they went thru,so don’t get hung up on it.

DJS February 24, 2014, 10:24:53

Friendship and business don’t mix. Someone always seems to get hurt in the end…and there is always an end when money is concerned…An end to a friendship. I’m confused how Robbie was able to take advantage of his fellow band mates. Where were THEY and THEIR lawyers when the money deals went down? Someone had to sign away the rights and agree to the contracts. Maybe Robertson was just more business savy and looking out for his future, and knew the Bands “15 minutes of fame” was at end? Levon Helm after the death of Manual QUOTE: “I know Richard felt we weren’t getting the kind of respect we were used to.’‘ One could blame American culture for the way it treats its artists like disposable commodities: while in fashion to be lauded, while out of fashion to be consigned to the dung heap, or the Cheek to Cheek Lounge”. Speaking of dung heap, I just bought “The Bands” Greatest Hits CD remasterd in the $5.00 dollar bargain bin at the local Walmart. I’m not a fan of any greatest hits album, but could not pass this up…it was kind of sad to see such masterful tunes in the “dung heap” of a Walmart bargain bin.
Felt as if I was rescuing them.

stop bashing robbie February 24, 2014, 20:32:35

great post djs,,,i agree with you… i think with
the future of digital music,downloads,youtube,etc. i would guess
all cd’s are headed for the wal-mart bargin bin…

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raz June 22, 2014, 13:56:21

Gee. Another bitter guitar player. Why not just admit his talent dwarfed that of your own.

carl peters July 27, 2014, 21:12:20

I find it very sad that it has come to this , an extremely talented group has ended with such bitterness over money ,but let’s face it they where ,are , all millionaires at one stage . I think Robbie was just a bit more shrewder and got out before the drugs killed him too ,no – one can blame the man for that.
It’s just a shame they didn’t record more music together before Richard, Rick and Levon passed away,and i’m sure Robbie and Garth will regret that too if they don’t already, Thanks for the music ,and god bless.

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fran August 4, 2014, 03:20:07

the forgotten man in this discussion is albert grossman…he was without scruples and not only did he screw 4 members of the band but also janis joplin and bob dylan…spend a little time and investigate him…interesting read…rr is a legend in his own mind…levon was pure joy when he played his music as well as rick danko and richard and garth…it is sad to think of how great the band would have been if a selfish ego manic had not killed the mojo…

Jim O'Neill August 5, 2014, 12:09:45

I just finished reading “This Wheel’s On Fire,” and loved it — especially Levon’s description of the rough times Bob Dylan endured as he switched from acoustic to electric. I had known for decades about the infamous Newport Folk Festival where Dylan got booed, but I had no idea that he continued to face hostile audiences (hostile to his electric band, mostly) for such an extended period. Be that as it may, my main purpose in writing this is to throw in my two cents regarding Robbie Robertson, whose albums “Robbie Robertson” and “Storyville” are two of my all time favorite CDs. I don’t believe that the eponymous “Robbie Robertson” has a clunker in it — and his tribute to Richard Manual, “Fallen Angel,” is IMO one of the most moving and beautiful musical eulogies ever written. “Storyville” shines as well — with “Go Back to Your Woods” and “What About Now” being especially notable examples of rock with heart and soul. Levon’s animosity toward Robbie after The Band’s breakup is impossible to miss in Helm’s autobiography. Maybe it was justified, and maybe not. I don’t know — I have never known either of the gentlemen involved, and have no insider insights. I do know this though — a person does not (cannot) write the sort of lyrics that Robertson has written, and have a heart of stone. You will never convince me otherwise. Robertson has said that he is at work on his own autobiography. If and when it comes out we will be able to compare it to Levon’s (Lavon’s) version of events, and compare the two. The truth will probably be somewhere in the middle.

White knuckles August 23, 2014, 09:19:28

Robbie seemed like the bright one of the group. He can’t be blamed for not wanting to share credit. (If for no other reason than ego). There is only so much creativity in an individual and it was spent when it ended. Their greatness depended on a collaborated effort.

BB October 22, 2014, 22:00:06

Loved Levon, went to many a ramble and got to know him and his band members a bit… He has said that Robbie did do much of the writing but all should have received some credit for creating the finished product. And the whole was greater than the parts, but I sure did love going to the Rambles. Jim Weider is an amazing guitarist in his own right, and sometimes Garth joins him for some shows. You are cheating yourself if you don’t catch one of Jim’s shows.

dbutcher October 30, 2014, 20:13:47

Levon was the type of man you would want your son to grow up to be like. 1 question fact Levon continued to write Grammy award music after the band RR probably was the least of all of The Band. Guitar players of his quality are found in most any Texas hockey tonk or LA club. Rick and Levon were the heart and soul. Levon was a gentleman until he passed and as the great man he was he forgave RR

redshooter November 4, 2014, 15:44:25

Levon Helm was fabulous, I loved him. He also had throat dance and smoked until he died. this was not a man who took responsibility for himself as the rest of us, rock stars or not, have to do.

Kevin December 20, 2014, 19:21:24

I guess I just enjoyed there music so much the animosity is not worth it I’m from Montreal Quebec
and I saw Levon Helm in the seventies or early
eighties with the cake brothers a superb southern
band worth seeing even without Levon I considered my self honored to see a member of
the band.Great show in a dive after each set levon would mingle I even spoke with him he wad a friendly outgoing war ravaged man having said that
it wouldn’t be the band without levon or any of the
others. You just have to realize getting wasted all
time doesn’t make for good focus nor business
decisions that time pretty cruel for alot of bands
Robbie wasn’t as wasted all those times.He had
the for sight to move on an continue to write music
some that I and many others considered quite good
Show down at big sky,somewhere down the crazy
river and get such legends as Odessa to par take
he has also written music for films and other productions so the were all great musicians not all great musicians can write songs try ss they might
one just has to look at Pink Floyd with out Roger
Waters who wrote all the lyrics and without him
writing The Wall the members of pink Floyd would not be so well off as they are today if you look at there pre wall albums all members were credited
with each song maybe the band should have partied less and payed more attention or paid more
Robbie is justified wish I had never found this site just enjoy there great music cheers

Great Whie North January 28, 2015, 10:12:13

Observation I like all the posters love The Band. We care because of the joy their music brought. Then our strong feelings about justice sucks us into debate. This reminds me what Phil Ochs wrote “Tell me every detail, for I’ve got to know it all,” – Crucifixion “And they argue through the night
Black is black and white is white
Walk away both knowing they are right
But nobody’s buying flowers from the flower lady” – Flower Lady Is there anything positive we can do?

Joel billingsley March 9, 2015, 23:19:51

A band is a band takes all to make the sound sitting here watching last waltz wouldn’t be the same without any of them sit back enjoy the music their businesse not ours Richard rick and levon god bless them didn’t live long enough

jimmac March 16, 2015, 23:12:48

Levon won three grammy’s, fought and beat cancer the first time, had a tremendous array of musicians at the Ramble’s, was the most prolific maker of music after the Band disbanded and Robbie (who I think is the greatest guitarist and songwriter of his generation) got fat, literally and figuratively.

ws walcott April 10, 2015, 18:37:19

Robbie is one of the bigger egomaniacs music has ever seen. Albert Grossman was about nothing but himself and money and other peoples money. It was nice seeing albert dosed out of his mind thanks to weir’s old girlfriend. Robbie’s music after the Last Waltz blows. He stopped by the hospital to see Levon because he JUST found out. He went by in hopes there was a news channel with camera’s so he could act like he is so distraught. Robbie you could not get up off your wallet and write a check to help a “friend”? Deviated septum is kinda painful ,huh? At least Levon got a chance to play with all those great musicians at his barn and travel when his health let him before he passed. But the energy coming off the little stage in his barn as Levon counted off with one of THEE greatest voices ever 1,2,3,..Boards on the window, mail by the door….it is sad we won’t hear that anymore,so sad. Robbie is not even relevant and hasn’t been for quite sometime.

floyd the barber June 7, 2015, 23:04:06

One thing that comes out in the Levon Helm documentary (courtesy of Danko’s window) is that the Band DID make a ton of performance and record royalties, and a lot of it went up their noses and in their arms. They blew fortunes on heroin and cocaine.

Mike D. July 9, 2015, 23:14:12

The rest of the Band didn’t really agree with the concept of the Last Waltz. They didn’t think the Band was done. RR wanted to be a movie star and write songs for films. That was never a reality. Robbie stood up at Rick’s funeral and was talking about how he wrote all the songs for the Band and Rick never wrote anything. There wasn’t any excuse for that. The truth was The Band hit a dry spell in the early ’70s, Richard, Rick and even Levon stopped or slowed down their input for new material. And RR couldn’t handle being the whole show. Meanwhile no less than Marty Scorsese wanted to make a feature film about the Band… Robbie simply jumped ship, claimed way too much of the royalties and left The Band without their star lead guitarist. Many fans had an attitude No RR — No Band. This made them more or less a bar band again. I think only one of RR’s solo albums is listenable and details his genius: contact from the underworld of redboy. if you’re a fan of the Band, you’ll love it. Otherwise, is RR a bad guy, or whatever? His voice is in general like a frog being stomped on, and wasn’t there for The Band after 1976. He made his choices and chose his words. Now he has to live with that. Can he play the guitar? Oh yeah, the boy can play. disco, dire straits, grunge and techno, and electronica, and rap have taken over… there isn’t any big roots rock movement. I saw the Band during the tour for their come back album Jericho. their lead guitarist did all the RR solos EXACTLY like the Band albums. He was great. They cherry picked the songs and sadly the Richard Manuel songs weren’t there except “I shall be released”... the only better shows I’ve seen was Chuck Berry and also Lightnin’ Hopkins. and I’ve seen a lot of shows. Lightnin’ said “You name ‘em, and I’ll play ‘em” and was spitting blood into a tin can. “where’s all the womens at? damn, I done got old” He played circles around RR I shit you not. An old guy alone playing into a practice amp sitting on a peach crate was a better guitar player RR will ever ever be. :)
In all fairness all the members of the Band did make huge piles of cash during the early ’70s they partied and threw the money away as fast as it came in. Later, they needed those royalties that Robbie had grabbed more than his fair share of…
but now we’re talking about Lowell George, I know mixed metaphor. LOL

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