Love Backing Band Splits With Arthur Lee

Highlighted by the 1967 masterpiece "Forever Changes,” Love crafted some of the most celebrated rock'n'roll of the psychedelic rock era.

Highlighted by the 1967 masterpiece "Forever Changes,” Love crafted some of the most celebrated rock'n'roll of the psychedelic rock era. But its legacy languished in the ensuing years due to founding member Arthur Lee's unpredictable behavior and prison stint on a weapons violation.

After being released from jail in late 2001, Lee assembled a new version of Love that has enjoyed success touring in Europe and North America, often playing "Forever Changes" in its entirety.

However, Lee now finds himself without the services of these musicians, including original Love member Johnny Echols and members of the band Baby Lemonade. In a posting on the authoritative Love fan site, the artists have revealed plans to continue performing without Lee under the moniker the Love Band.

"Sadly, Arthur Lee's mental and physical health has been in steady decline since the Zombies/Love tour of last year," the site says, also referencing "several disastrous performances both home and abroad."

The situation came to a head earlier this summer when Lee "chose not to participate with Love on a tour of the U.K. and two festival shows in Germany and Spain this July," according to the site. "In the band and management's view this was an unforgivable and premeditated act of contempt towards Johnny Echols, Baby Lemonade and moreover, his adoring fans."

But the band played the shows anyway, and had such a good time doing it that the decision was made to keep performing without Lee. However, a U.S. tour with Lee planned for this fall has been canceled to allow time for the other band members to fine-tune the set.

"To think of Johnny Echols and Baby Lemonade performing without Arthur Lee may not seem as strange as it sounds," the site says. "Many fans have already welcomed the new lineup with open arms as it has allowed the band to perform, with unbridled pride, tracks from the Echols-era catalog including many that have never been heard before."

Meanwhile, lead guitarist Mike Randle's online diary hints at the possibility of future complete performances of Love's 1966 self-titled debut and its 1967 follow-up, "Da Capo," as well as the addition of another original member to the Love Band lineup.

"[Lee] is, or WAS an amazing performer, who I felt couldn't be touched by anyone," Randle writes. "And having a band that CARED made it even that much more apparent that you were watching something [brilliant]. Those days are gone, sadly. I wish I was wrong but if he does another show you'll see what I mean."

Lee could not be reached for comment.