News archive

JoniMitchell.com has been bringing you the news on Joni since the day the website went live in 1996. It's all archived and searchable here. In addition to the news, you can find an archive of "upcoming tributes and events" that have been listed on the site as well.

News archive

Last weekend (May 29th and 30th), Joni gave two concerts at Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, Ca. With a guestlist of less than 200 people, she appeared before the cameras for two and a half hours each evening, performing both solo and with her touring band.

The concerts were filmed by Eagle Rock Productions and a video will be compiled of the best of the performances from the two shows, and this will be offered to TV in Canada, the U.K. and other countries. In the U.S., it will be shopped to PBS and VH-1 before it's offered for sale as a home video this coming October.

Joni asked that her fans be included as some of the guests, and Eagle Rock and Reprise asked for my help.

My "On The Road" (with Joni/Bob/Van) reports are now up on the web, as well as the reports of others from the Joni Mitchell Internet Community.

The new pages I designed for my "On The Road" reports are up. There's not much info on them yet but as the tour rolls on, they'll be filled with both my reports and the accounts of anyone else who submits a review of a show, as well as the photos that my photographer takes.

I leave for Vancouver B. C. and the first of Joni's seven shows this Thursday the 14th. In my dreams we fly...

I'm launching two new pages on the website today. First up, a conversation with Brian Blade, who plays drums on Joni's new album Taming the Tiger. In fact, she's referred to him as her "musical partner" on the project. He's a soft-spoken guy from Shreveport, LA., whose first JM album was Hejira, which he listened to in his VW Bug driving to and from high school. Brian is also one quarter of the band that will be playing with Joni at her shows with Bob Dylan and Van Morrison this month.

The Official Joni Mitchell Internet Community Shirts are now available. There are two types, a "t" and a denim which you can now buy directly through the [expired] link below. Wearing one of these shirts at the upcoming JM concerts with Bob Dylan would be the perfect way to show your support of Joni's music and her internet community, and for us to identify each other at the shows!

Today, I'm launching a new page containing my conversation with photographer Mark Roth. He took all the photographs for Joni's first album, "Song to a Seagull," and he's given me permission to reproduce those photos as well as a couple of shots of Joni from that era that have never been seen before. Mark has also taken photos for Life, Fortune and other renowned magazines. In addition, he's worked for many years with performer Richie Havens as a co-producer and songwriter.

The First Annual Writers Contest is now closed for submissions. You may now vote for your favorite entries with these rules:
You may vote only once.
Voting ends at midnight EST on March 21, 1998.
You must be a member of the JMDL on March 21, 1998 for your vote to count. All votes will be verified with the JMDL roster on this date (using the email message's return address) and votes by non-members will be disqualified.
Within each valid vote received, first place votes receive 3 points, second place votes receive 2 points, and third place votes receive 1 point.
At the end of the contest, the entries with the 3 highest total points will win the contest.
All entries have been randomly numbered.

Welcome to the First Annual Writers Contest (presented by the Joni Mitchell Discussion List & Cafe in cooperation with The Joni Mitchell Homepage). Send in your original essay, short story, poem, etc. (fact or fiction) with Joni as it's primary theme. For example, you can send an account of how you were first exposed to Joni's music, the first time you went to a JM concert, a poem about Joni, and so on. The most well-written submissions will win a copy of "Joni Mitchell: The Complete Poems and Lyrics" and many other great prizes.

Three winning essays will be chosen by vote and published in "The Written Word" section of the JMHP. They will also be hand-delivered to Joni herself! Deadline is February 20th. (Contest is now closed.)

Today, I'm launching two new pages which contain my conversations with two women linked by their love of the dulcimer. Ruth Barrett worked on the Hits & Misses songbooks project last year by transcribing the songs which Joni wrote on the dulcimer for her album Blue.

Ruth partnered on these songbook transcriptions with Joellen Lapidus, who also has a longtime link to Joni due to the fact that at the Big Sur Folk Festival in 1969, she sold Joni her very first dulcimer, an instrument handbuilt by Joellen. Some of you may remember that in concert in the early 70s, Joni often talked to her audiences about Joellen as she described the beautiful dulcimer (with it's intricate carvings) which she was playing on the tour.

Here they are:
A CONVERSATION WITH RUTH BARRETT - OCTOBER 17, 1997
A CONVERSATION WITH JOELLEN LAPIDUS - OCTOBER 18, 1997

The newest biographical section, "Just Rewards 1995-97," is ready for launch. Within this two-part review, I report on Joni's Grammy Awards, the Polar Music Prize, the interview by Morrissey, her reunion with her daughter and much more!

Elektra has begun it's re-release of the eight Joni Mitchell albums that came out on the Asylum label in the 1970's. These projects are re-mastered in HDCD and re-packaged to include all the original artwork, lyrics, typesets, etc. from "FOR THE ROSES" in 1972 to "SHADOWS AND LIGHT" the live album from 1979. I had the occasion to listen to DAT tapes of six of the eight HDCD releases and I have to tell you that this is such a wonderful present for appreciators of Mitchell music. These are stellar sounding and beautiful re-issues. If you have "HITS" & "MISSES," (and if you don't, then why not?) try comparing (A/B) a song between the original CD release and the HDCD version on the anthologies, and you'll hear how good these CD's sound. The upgrade of the sound was done by Joe Gastwirt of Ocean View Digital Mastering in W. Los Angeles.

The first two album packages to be eased into general circulation are Joni's biggest seller "COURT AND SPARK" and her first live album "MILES OF AISLES," both from 1974. I received an e-mail from Robbie Cavolina, art director for the projects, and he told me that "COURT AND SPARK" is "a triumph of repackaging. It's just like the original album." Four minutes of segments of Joni talking to her audience that were removed from "MILES OF AISLES" to accomodate the mid-1980's limit of seventy-five minutes per disc have been restored in their entirety. The inside photos (by Henry Diltz) have been changed from black & white back to color and are now in their proper dimensions. The cover has actually been re-designed to fit Joni's original concept and intent. Robbie Cavolina told the "ICE" newsletter the following about the cover art-

"David Geffen had just sold Asylum when the album came out. Joni designed the cover and had given it to the art director, but she didn't like their proofs; the picture was supposed to be airbrushed to the drawing. They were supposed to sync up together. And she hand-wrote the type up in the corner for them to typeset, (not reproduce as is). She didn't have anybody left on her team there, and they ran out of time...."

I've seen this "MILES OF AISLES" package and it's beautifully done, complete with a fold-out of the photo of Joni with the members of her band, The L.A. Express. Watch the stores throughout 1997 for all eight HDCD re-mastered albums to replace the older versions as they sell out.

The news about Joni being reunited with her daughter is truly marvelous. Here's what I know :

Joni gave birth to a daughter in February 1965, but was not able to handle raising the child by herself. Difficult as it might be for some to comprehend these days, it was a great disgrace to have a child out of wedlock at that time; Joni didn't even tell her parents about the birth until two years after she gave the child up for adoption.

Joni did make a few attempts over the years to find her daughter, but adoption secrecy laws in Canada are apparently very strict. She hit one barrier after another in her search, but fortunately her daughter also began looking for her birth mother recently.

A friend told her about a report he'd read in a Canadian tabloid newspaper about Joni's search and she went to the research library at a local college but was unable to find any substantial information on Joni there.

Now here's where it gets amazing: Joni's daughter, who was taking computer classes, then went to the internet and found the Joni Mitchell Homepage (here!). She discovered 15 leading facts about Joni's history from reading the bio sections that matched information she'd received about her parents; After reading the information, she decided that she'd found her birth mother. She then contacted me thru e-mail.

Joni had mentioned in an interview that her daughter had been born around Valentine's Day, so I asked one pertinent question: her birthdate. When her answer was close to that date, I referred her name to Joni's managers. She'd contacted their office by phone around the same time but she'd met, as could be expected, with distrust. There had been many pretenders who'd contacted the managers and myself claiming to be "Little Green." (I had inquiries from more than a dozen women looking for their mothers). The managers eventually investigated and verified her authenticity after she faxed her birth records to their office.

Les Irvin from the Discussion List was also contacted and he e-mailed her a couple of articles about Joni's search that had been printed in Canadian news periodicals.

Sue McNamara, who at the time was assisting me with the mail, was also helpful in urging me to be certain to pay attention to this particular e-mail. She said she had a feeling about this one.

Joni's daughter's name is Kilauren Gibb, a former model and current computer student living in Toronto with her boyfriend Ted, and her 3 1/2 year old son Marlin. (So Joni is now a grandmother!). Kilauren flew to L.A. in mid-March and spent nearly three weeks with her mother there. When she returned to Toronto, she e-mailed and told me : "Just got back from L.A. It was wonderful. Thanks for your help. If it wasn't for your J.M. home page I would have never found her!"

I was told by Julie Larson, my friend at Reprise, that Joni was preparing a statement about her experience for publication on the homepage, which she thought was appropriate considering the role that the Web played in helping Kilauren find her. When the news leaked out to the Canadian press, however, Joni decided that she must talk to the L.A. Times, which she did.

My very best wishes go out to Joni and Kilauren.

I feel that the Web connection to the reunion was the spiritual purpose of my project. My work began from love, and more love still has sprung from it. This is real magic and no one can ever take that away.

My work here, however, would not have progressed so far without the encouragement of the thousands of folks who've written and thanked me for providing a place for everyone to join together to celebrate Joni. I thank all of you for your emotional support. It was a lonely place for Joni fans on the Web before I started the homepage two years ago, and now look what we've created together!

I also salute those who've directly helped me. Because of their assistance and enthusiasm, I was inspired to spend a year building the bio sections and when Kilauren came to the Web, the information that she needed to positively identify her mother was there for her to read.

The only credit I'll personally accept for the reunion is for doing a great job on this website. And it's a job I'll continue to do. The fact that my homepage was here to facilitate Kilauren finding Joni, that I share with all of you. Thanks for being here with me.

By James Leahy

Joni Mitchell didn't do a lot of publicity for Hits and Misses in Canada. She accepted the Governor General's Performing Arts Award in Ottawa in November and did a few newspaper interviews while she was there. However, before coming east, she snuck down to Vancouver from her house in Sechelt, BC, to do an interview with Vicki Gabereau for CBC Radio. It was broadcast in two parts, October 9 and 10, 1996, and yours truly actually missed it. Thank goodness for CBC's audiotape service! Vicki is one of the country's best interviewers -- tough as nails but with a heart of gold. (In fact, Joni personally requested an interview with her for her Canadian promotion of H&M).

Each half of the interview was bookended with songs from Hits and Misses. Total talking time was under an hour. Here are a few of the highlights:

· Polar Music Prize ceremony. In Stockholm, Joni was tired and giddy from jet lag and felt like a kid in church during the ceremony. She was in the mood for giggling, but she had no "conspirator" to fool around with. She wore army boots under her floor-length dress -- she dresses for comfort nowadays. Joni said Sweden's King Carl Gustaf had a mischievous air.

· Travel: Joni doesn't travel to exotic locales because of her propensity to come back on a stretcher. Africa is out because of "air-borne AIDS," which I have never heard of -- nor had Vicki Gabereau, who could only repeat: "air-borne AIDS?"

· House in B.C.: Evidently, property taxes on her island are going through the roof so that property owners will be forced to subdivide their land. Joni hasn't done this yet, but says that her property is becoming dangerously full of wildlife.

· Joni Mitchell hates her job: Joni says she was on the verge of mouthing off to the entire music industry when she accepted her Billboard award. She even approached Reprise to tell them she hated the music business and that she needed their help to make things better. She said musicians are viewed as sharecroppers and the record company as the shareholders; the artist's work is reduced to "a ribbon of red."

· The dream: To illustrate her distaste for the music business, Joni related a dream she had. She was getting off a bus in early spring on a bleak Prairie landscape. As she stepped off the bus, she stepped into a puddle of slime. On an embankment she saw a blue heron, its mouth propped open with popsicle sticks. The bird said "Don't look at me." Dream-Joni realized that she didn't have to look at the bird -- the bird was her.

· Geffen Records -- Bah! Humbug! One Christmas, Joni was preparing some of her paintings to give to her record company at the time, Geffen Records. Their gratitude took the form of "obliterating" Wild Things Run Fast and Dog Eat Dog by deleting them from the Geffen catalogue. [Of course, we know they were eventually reinstated.]

· The hostile press: Joni lambasted the Toronto press for their treatment of her during her Turbulent Indigo press tour there (here!). One critic said that Raised on Robbery represented Joni's "sexual awakening." Joni: "Did he actually think I go into bars and pick up men with lines like 'I'm a pretty good cook, I'm sittin' on my groceries'?" Joni tells of meeting Emmylou Harris at a recent awards ceremony. Emmylou looked tired and explained that she had just finished doing a press tour. "Why can't they leave us something of ourselves," she said to Joni.

· Vicki and Joni square off: Joni continues dissing the press. Vicki shoots back that artists always want interviews when they're trying to promote something but when Vicki wants Joni, she never returns her calls. "You use me when you want me," said Vicki.

· Small People: Joni talked of meeting a writer named Michael Small. Small told her he would like to do an in-depth interview with her for People magazine. "Isn't that a contradiction in terms?" Joni countered. Small said that the magazine "owed him one." The only trouble, he confessed to Joni: "I'm not a very good writer yet." [This article did eventually appear in a December 1985 issue of People magazine -- and it was a biggie.]

· The Fez: Joni talks of her appearance at New York's Fez club in November 1995. Since this story has been printed numerous times, I won't go into details. However, I like the way Joni described how Chrissie Hynde was allowing her irritability from touring to fester: she was "mulching" in it. Joni confessed that she too is irritable and grumbles a lot, but "it's not fruitful and people don't want to hear it ... I like to sit alone in cafes a lot." [Personally, I think Joni just has low blood sugar -- that explains all those melancholic masterpieces from the seventies.]

· Polite Canadians: The more she lives in the States, the more she seems a foreigner when she's in Canada. To Joni, Canadians appear nicer on the surface but there's a meanness bubbling under all that politesse -- "when it turns it really turns." "The U.S. has a tradition of criticizing itself. Canada doesn't. I can criticize the States, but I can't criticize Canada."

· Good friends: As an only child, Joni wanted to have brothers. Today, she gets along with men but has a hard time with women. Most of her buddies in LA are gay men.

· Special good friend: Her latest beau, Donald Freed, is six years her junior. They both grew up in the same town, and hung out at the same places -- listening to the jukeboxes in town, smoking driftwood ("I was always looking for something new to smoke"). However, they did this separately and never knew each other until they were adults.

· Smoking: Joni tells of meeting a Hawaiian kahuna lady. This woman was told to smoke at age 14 -- so she smoked Sobranis and carried around a purse ashtray because it wasn't considered ladylike to smoke in public. This kahuna told Joni that for certain people tobacco is a grounding herb. "I canÕt think well without it." The kahuna died at age 65 of colon cancer.

And that's about it, folks. In all, a very relaxed interview between two "good old gals."