Yesterday Helm’s manager, a wonderful woman named Barbara O’Brien who deserves a ton of credit for giving Levon what MTV’s Bill Flanagan described as the greatest encore in the history of rock, addressed the future of Levon Helm Studios…
“There is a gaping hole in my life and in my heart. Your words of kindness and compassion have been a source of of great comfort to me and to the rest of the team. As Levon always said, no man is an island. The successes we have achieved over the past 9 years weren’t the result of any one person’s efforts. The successes came from a combination of the foundation that was built by people before me and by the people who arrived on the scene with me. Added to the formula was a fan base unlike any other. You all have stood by us through thick and thin – through voice and no voice, through illness and through health. As Levon always said, we’re all partners. Let’s not allow that partnership to falter. Keep following my FB posts because I have a plan – and I’d like you all to be part of it. Again, thank you so much for your strength through this very, very painful time for us. We need you.”
We expect that over the next few months the future of Levon’s beloved home will become more clear. Helm surrounded himself with staff members that understood his vision, respected his legacy and made the miraculous last decade possible. Sure, a Midnight Ramble without Levon won’t be the same, but it can still be a soul-nourishing experience and chance for fans to pay their respects to Helm and The Band. Levon Helm Studios should stand as a tribute to Woodstock’s unofficial mayor as the greatest singing drummer in the history of music wouldn’t want it any other way.
Finally, one of the few good things to come out of the past week was seeing how much people still care about The Band. Considering how many shows the group played between 1969 and 1976, there are very few recordings, video and audio, that circulate of The Band in their prime. Why did everyone run to watch The Last Waltz for a hundredth time after Levon’s passing? Because not only is it one of the best, if not the best, concert film of all-time, it’s also the only official, full-show, visual document of The Band’s peak available.
Without Levon Helm to carry The Band’s flag moving forward, it’s time for a live archival series from that magical seven-year period. The source material is out there. Check out this version of Chest Fever from London’s Wembley Stadium in 1974 and tell us you wouldn’t want to see this whole show come out?
The Band even shot video of the famed Rock of Ages shows. More of this please…
Levon may be gone, but let’s make sure The Band lives forever.