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

This week will be my last days of radiation treatments. Besides the side-effects I've had since these treatments began- extreme fatigue and a few bouts of nausea, a new one has arrived in the last week. It's charmingly called "sunburn" by the doctors but it's actually burns from the radiation treatments. Imagine the opposite of your usual sunburn, in the sense that mine is on those areas which are usually covered up when someone goes out to the beach. The doctor gave me a lotion that helps to relieve the itching.

The weeks following the end of these treatments will consist of a medical reaccessment of my health situation. The good news is that as of my last scan a few weeks ago, the tumour appears to have shrunk from 8 centimeters to less than 2; and it may even be gone by now. I'll be having another scan soon to determine that. The doctor's plan is for me to have another operation, probably in early December, to remove any visible remnants of the cancer, and hopefully to restore me to regular working condition. I'm not looking forward to more surgery, but the result should be worth the aggravation.

Reviews from the JM.COM official reporters and other members of the Joni Mitchell Internet Community about the first three shows of Joni's tour with Bob Dylan are now in.

Joni's tour with Bob Dylan begins tomorrow, with the first show in Minneapolis, Minnesota (Bob's home state). Opening all the shows will be a third act, Dave Alvin & The Guilty Men. There will be a total of 11 shows in 15 days, culminating in Atlanta, Georgia on the 7th of November (Joni's 55th birthday.)

I've arranged for an official JM.COM reporter/photographer for every show and they'll be sending in their reports as soon as they can write them, with photographs arriving soon afterwards. As with Joni's previous concerts this year, I would like all of you who attend a show to send me your review of the show. I'll be putting up a page for each of the 11 shows, and I'll include your thoughts along with those of my official reporter. (Be sure to specify which show you're reviewing.) Thanks, folks!

In stores now is Joni's new album Taming The Tiger. It's an amazing collection of ten songs (plus an "almost" hidden track) that reflect the varied stylings which Joni's used during her 30 year career. Featured on every song on the album is the sound of Joni's Parker Fly guitar, which is connected to a VG-8 computer brain that can store and reproduce her alternate tunings and is capable of creating sounds that are absolutely mindblowing. Buy it now!

Today is the launch date for the Website pages [obsolete] I've built to promote Joni's new album on Reprise Records, Taming The Tiger. The site contains lyrics, paintings, photos, sound samples, fan reviews, credits, a contest, and more.

To answer a few questions I've been asked regarding TTT-

There will be no special package version of the album. This is regrettable, I believe, especially since Joni & her art director Robbie Cavolina won a Grammy for Best Packaging on Joni's last new studio album, Turbulent Indigo in 1994. The regular TTT package is quite beautiful though, and special in it's own right. It's stuffed with page after page of reproductions of Joni's paintings, all the lyrics (of course), and one terrific photo of one of her three cats stretching after napping on a very lovely and expensive-looking chest of drawers set beneath a skylight in Joni's home.

As to the single "The Crazy Cries Of Love," there will be no commercial release and certainly no video unless the song gets good radio airplay. I've been hearing reports that it's starting to get played around the country and in Canada but be sure to call your local radio stations and request that they play the song. And the album!

In the past, I've discussed how the Billboard album charts work, and the fact that SoundScan is a system they use to count CD sales and compute an album's position on the charts. These days, the position an album reaches in it's first week is almost always the highest position the album ever reaches- it's historical peak position. It is during that first crucial week that an artist's most dedicated fans are expected to run out to the store and buy it.

Ordinarily, for sales of Joni's albums, I would recommend and approve of buying from small mom and pop CD stores but unfortunately, these methods of purchasing TTT won't help Joni secure a high debut on the all-important Billboard charts.

What you need to do on Taming The Tiger's release day is to physically go to a large CD store that is a participant in the SoundScan method and purchase the album. If you don't buy TTT on it's first day in the stores, then you should purchase a copy during the first five or six days after its release, if you want to be counted in the album's first week sales numbers. Go to Tower, Virgin or another large chain store in your area. I'll be at my local Tower on September 29th, buying copies for myself and my friends- in both cassette and CD format, of course. Thanks, Joni-philes!

I'm launching a new "Conversation" page today, as well as adding a brand new section to the Website.

My "Conversation" is with Ingrid Pastorius, widow of Jaco Pastorius, famed bass player who has excelled on solo albums as well as on records as a member of the group Weather Report. Jaco is most famous to Joni-philes because he played his amazing bass on four of her albums in the late 1970s. Ingrid is a lovely and gracious woman and I enjoyed talking with her so much.

I'm also launching a brand new section on the JMHP called the "Shop." [obsolete]. On this page, you'll be able to see what momentoes are for sale. The Internet Community shirts, exclusive photos of Joni in concert, and two original illustrations of Joni are all now available. One third of all proceeds from these items will go towards helping to pay expenses here on the JMHP (except for the shirt offer which is handled by Les from the JMDL. In this deal, one half of any profits will go to each of the two sites.)

Sue McNamara's report on Joni's "Day in the Garden" concert is now complete and it's full of her recollections about the day and her many gorgeous photographs of Joni, her band members, and the other artists who performed that day. There's also one very interesting photo of some of the JMDL contingent. (Hey, folks!)

Leslie Mixon received a touch of fame a couple of weeks ago when her local newspaper, The Santa Cruz County Sentinel, ran a piece on her adventures in Joni-land. Reporter Chris Watson, in her column called "Nothin' but Net," wrote: "For this fan, posting to Web was a labor of love." Congratulations, Leslie!

Both Sue and Leslie, as you probably all know, have served as official JM.com photographers- Sue at the "Day in the Garden" on August 15th, and Leslie at the San Jose, Ca. show back on May 19th. They've both recently approached me with an idea that I think is very kind and generous. They want to offer for sale the photographs they took during Joni's shows and then to donate a portion of their proceeds towards expenses here at JM.com. This is so very sweet of them and I greatly appreciate the offer. This will hopefully fulfill the demand for concert photos that we've been receiving by e-mail and will make lots of you happy, as well as contribute towards costs here on the Web. We'll have more info about the order process up on JM.com soon, but for now, if you're interested:

I know that it's been more than a few weeks since my last health update but frankly I've been trying to just live my life lately and I haven't felt really eager to report about the process of my cancer treatments. But from your e-mail messages, I do know that you folks care about my condition and for that affection I'm most appreciative. So here's the latest about my condition- Last week, I had my second session of chemotherapy with the drug 5-FU. Even though the dose was the same as I received during the first week of treatment back in July, this dose was much more difficult for me to handle. In fact, here it is today, four days after the last day of treatment, and I'm still feeling nauseous. I hear that it's the build-up over time of the drug in my system and that the queezy feelings will go away soon. My energy levels are so quixotic that I may get energized perhaps for an hour and then collapse on the couch for two. That's one of the reasons why it took me ten days to complete the design of the "Day in the Garden" page.

I have two or three appointments during the next two weeks to have x-rays (or an MRI) taken of the area where the tumour is located to see what effect the chemo treatments have had on it, and to determine where exactly to aim the beam of radiation which I'll begin receiving on September 15th. These radiation treatments will continue five days a week for six weeks. During the first part of this period, I'll also be on a constant IV drip of chemo, worn in a pack at my side. So the worst is still yet to come, I guess. I am, anyway, still optimistic about a disappearance of the tumour and for a complete recovery.

I'm launching two pages on the Website today. First up is the page I've designed for the upcoming reviews of Joni's "A Day In The Garden" concert sent in by members of the Joni Mitchell Internet Community (That's you folks!). As I mentioned in an earlier message, Sue McNamara is attending the event as the official homepage reporter and her enthusiastic pre-tour essay is now up, along with another amazing illustration from Ken Corral, done at my request. Thanks to both of you!

Next up, there's a page about a new book called "Musicians and the Internet," [obsolete] which is part of the Ultimate Beginner Tech Start Series, a series of books that introduces readers to the various aspects of music technology. It includes a chapter that features 4 screens from the JMHP! I'm honored to say that there are only two musician Websites featured- Chick Corea's and Joni's. (BTW, the link to our own Ken Slarty's Midi page is seen in a shot of the JMHP's "Sounds" page.) You can order a copy of "Musicians and the Internet" through an 800 number, and you can also enter a contest to win 1 of 25 free copies of the book.

I want to invite all of you who attend "A Day In The Garden" on August 15th to send me your reports on Joni's performance and your day in Woodstock. I'm also looking for photos from the event. Since I can't go to the show myself, Sue MacNamara will be serving as the JMHP's official reporter and will be posting her account to the page I'm designing for the concert. More info next week!

Tickets for the first two days of the "Day In The Garden" concerts are now available at a special 2 for 1 deal. This offer is good only until this coming Sunday, August 2nd, and the word is that if you've already bought a ticket, you can still qualify for the deal, so check it out. Joni is scheduled to perform on Saturday the 15th of August, along with Pete Townsend, Lou Reed, Richie Havens, and Donovan.

It's been awhile, I know. But here I am again. How am I feeling? Well, actually a little better everyday. I'm healing from the surgery and trying to gain back some weight and strength before I start chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Sincere thanks to all my friends for helping me through this episode, and thanks to my best buddy, Jim for taking such good care of me while also writing updates for the JMHP. (He hasn't done any updates lately because he wanted to encourage me to do it myself!) Thanks to Leslie and simon for their friendship, and for their assistance in getting reports on my condition out to the rest of the JM Internet Community. And I'll always appreciate Joni's thoughtful phone call while I was in the hospital.

I've been profoundly moved by the support and love I've received from all of you since the announcement about my health. I received e-mails, cards, books, CD's, photos, checks, flowers and more. These gifts and your kindness have meant so much to me, often brightening my mood and outlook over the last few weeks. Thank you ever so much! You folks are my extended family.

Now, I haven't been totally idle for the last few weeks. I've added a few more of Karl's photographs to the "Tour '98" pages, as well as a couple from Wirly Pearl who sent me shots from the two Burbank videotaping sessions. (Thanks, Pearl!)

Sometimes I think the paperwork can be worse than the disease itself.

Wally isn't having too bad of a day today. Comparitively minor discomfort, compromised mobility, low (but increasing) appetite. At the moment, though, the big concern is paperwork; the home care nurse got here about 15 minutes ago. Even though she doesn't work for the insurance company and I'm sure would prefer to just help him out right away, insurance questions, one after the other, about what the HMO will and won't cover are the unfortunate first order of business. Again, the silver lining Wally's been blessed with all along continues -- she's very patient, friendly, and human. The distasteful necessaries are being handled in an atmosphere that facillitates recovery; I hear conversation punctuated by laughter, which says a lot for both of them as far as I'm concerned. It seems like the HMO might actually be more of a help than a hindrance at this point.

This nurse is in for some entertainment. Wally's never been a fan of big parties, but he enjoys one-on-one situations and has always had a tendency to joke around with doctors, nurses, waitresses, store clerks, whoever; I'm not sure she was prepared to answer questions about whether or not this was the right time to take up ballroom dancing.

When the last tube was disconnected Sunday evening, we were pretty sure that Monday would be Escape From the Hospital day, so Wally's friend Brian and I packed up the boom box and decorations in his room and schlepped it all back home. When it was time to go home (at around noon on Monday), no extra packing time was necessary -- we were outta there!

The first few hours away from the hospital were a little disorienting. Leaving a tightly controlled hospital situation and moving back out into the world is best experienced gradually, so driving home through the lunchtime street hustle was more than enough initial stimulation. He felt a lot better after sinking into a comfy chair in quiet, familiar surroundings.

The days leading up to Wally's discharge from the hospital were a bewildering muddle, as steady physical progress was coupled with a parade of well-intentioned doctors, nurses and technicians coming by to assess his condition and advise him of what's going to happen in the near future. Although he physically felt better as the days wore on, the gravity of his situation loomed ever larger as the haze of anesthesia and morphine wore off; there was no time to reflect or even just relax because every time he turned around there was something new to contend with.

One of the most striking effects of this process has been the contrast of ups and downs. Yes, Wally is getting better. He's also still sick and it's nowhere near being over. During the past month, he's experienced some of the highest highs (the tour) and some of lowest lows (the surgery) of his life -- almost simultaneously. The agony of his illness sits alongside the joy of loving support from friends and family contained in flowers and cards, and in a massive stack of e-mail from around the globe. That's a lot for anybody to process, and the potential for emotional overload is huge.

On Saturday night, a nurse removed the tube that siphoned the acid from his stomach. It took all of one second. It was painless. He immediately burst into tears. Life is so precious to him, he's got so much left to give. At the same time, the climb is so steep ... and this guy means so much to so many people ... for me, well, he's just my best pal. Sometimes I don't think I can bear to watch him go through this, but I just scrape myself back together and pick up the slack when I can -- I know he'd do the same for me if our situations were reversed. I find it difficult to imagine what the tempestuous emotions he's experiencing must be like.

Wally put on a Stevie Nicks CD a while ago (he brings so much music over here I don't need to buy CDs anymore) and is now napping on the couch under an Indian print blanket I threw over him, as Stevie sings "Free Fallin'" in the background. Free Fallin', indeed.

I'm glad Wally's home (or virtually home, anyway -- he spends lots of time here when he's healthy too). Last night, invaluable Andrew (who's been propping me up through this ordeal) made some of his famous homemade comfort soup for him while I was out at a class losing my concentration; I came home to find Wally comfortable and cheerful. He looked great -- as a matter of fact, the surgery enabled him to get rid of a couple stubborn pounds he wanted to lose! He stayed up late, until almost 3 AM, just enjoying the everyday environment.

So this is how the next chapter begins. I might be posting another update as we watch the story unfold, but for some reason I kind of doubt it. Wally has already sat down at the computer a few times and I'll bet he'll be banging away at the keyboard before long; I'll happily drift into the background of the JMHP again, editing photographs and supplying Wally with the occasional adverb. We'll see what happens ... ah, he just woke up. He's telling me the Indian print blanket makes him feel like he's the inside cover of Chalk Mark in a Rainstorm. What a goofball.

Love, Jim

Visualize, vizualize ...

Wally started eating again yesterday. To start off, the nurse brought up a few glasses of fruit juice. After she left the room, he said what he really wanted was something like some kind of creamed soup; at that moment, the nurse came back in with a complete lunch tray. "Well, I didn't order a lunch tray for you," she said, "but for some reason they brought it up anyway. So here it is if you want it." On the tray: a cup of cream of mushroom soup! That brought a chuckle.

Just after he got done eating, the phone rang. Still in visualization mode, Wally said "Ah, that must be Joni" as he picked up the phone. And it was!

Joni had just returned to LA after taking a short post-tour breather -- looking through a large stack of paper that had accumulated while she was gone, she'd found a memo from her manager telling her that Wally was in the hospital (Wally had advised Joni's management that he was going to be out of action for a while, and they apparently forwarded the contact information directly to her). The memo didn't elaborate on the reason for the hospitalization.

Needless to say, Joni was very sorry and concerned when she found out what was wrong. She voiced her distress about the prevalance of cancer, about how it's "in the water and in the food and everywhere," and told Wally about a few related experiences she's had. One acquaintance had colon problems and treated them by taking natural therapies like slippery elm bark, and a certain kind of mushrooms (I've forgotten the name) that you would size up before you ate them -- if the mushrooms looked like angels, they were good to eat, but you'd avoid them if they looked like devils.

Wally recalled that her kahuna (that's Hawaiian for medicine man or woman, I've learned) had battled colon cancer. Joni wondered where a kahuna would go when they get sick -- her kahuna unfortunately wasn't able to cure herself.

They talked about healing energies, too. Joni said she has used yoga to help through periods of ill health, and described a process in which she visualizes spinning discs, white at the top, then purple, continuing with other colors as she works her way on down. She visualizes the discs spinning clockwise 20 times, then 20 times counterclockwise, repeating the process over and over again ("You can't do it too many times").

As most of you probably know, Joni had polio as a child; she learned the power of "tone" at a young age. The tone that you put behind what you say can be even more important than the words you're saying, she told him, as she recalled her early experiences with that dynamic. ("I'm not going to be a cripple!!") They also talked about energy centers at different locations in the body, what I know as chakras -- Joni said that she often uses the 6th chakra (which I've heard described as the "third eye," located in the forehead) in her work. Wally had me tell Joni about "body enneagrams," a series of movements I've learned that identify one's dominant chakra (everyone has one principal chakra that tends to be more active than the others) and helps to open and balance the others. Wally and I are both "5's" in enneagramspeak, meaning our dominant chakra is the 6th or crown chakra at the top of the head (it governs comprehension and understanding).

Wally told Joni about how the JMHP project has provided healing energy for him, how it got him through his first bout with cancer and helped him keep going; she agreed that it's a good thing to have somewhere to direct your energy. He was thrilled to hear that Joni had visited the site with Kilauren and her boyfriend Teddie just after Laura Nyro died last year. She said she read an amusing exchange in the Cafe section (the JMHP's discussion area, which Wally later released to Les and is now the JMDL) about "who was more oriental -- Joni or Laura Nyro." Wally voiced his opinions about the value of discussion lists and the opportunity they give fans to share experiences, correct misconceptions, and explore feelings about late-breaking news.

They also talked about the tour; Wally told Joni that he had a great time. He told her that he'd known about the cancer recurrance before the tour started, but didn't bring it up because he was afraid somebody would become concerned and wouldn't want him to go. He also mentioned how visits to the JMHP increased dramatically during the tour (48,000 visits as opposed to 36,000 visits the previous month), which to him proved that "interest really increases when you're out there."

"You do get attention out in the limelight," Joni agreed. She asked if Wally had heard that she'd picked up a bug at the Gorge and wasn't feeling well for much of the tour; he remembered when she mentioned it during the performance. He learned that Joni also developed an allergy to some kind of glue on the tour bus, which, together with the "Gorge bug," left her feeling a bit dazed and "on automatic" at times. As far as Wally was concerned, it didn't affect her performance at all. He told her that if anything, the bug gave her voice even more depth and served to emphasize her poetry.

The conversation turned to comparing notes on reactions they had heard to the tour. Wally told Joni about many positive remarks that had been made by Dylan and Morrison fans who were impressed with Joni's unique guitar sound (she used twelve tunings on the tour) -- they loved the richness of the VG-8 and thought it sounded like more than one guitar. They also spent a few moments puzzling over some of the odd comments made by reviewers. "Ignore 'em, they don't know what they're talking about," Wally said. At one point, Joni wondered if a Bay Area reviewer who had made some "senselessly negative remarks" (my words, not Joni's) was the same one who panned Carroll O'Connor's recent play, prompting him to quit the business; she sensed a sameness in the bitter shades of the writing.

(This reviewer, I remember, is the yutz who had never thought of Bob Dylan as anything other than Jakob Dylan's father up until the night of the San Jose concert -- as I said in my Internet Community review of the second LA concert at Pauley Pavillion, "Now, there's somebody with a far-reaching sense of perspective -- reviewing concerts for a major metropolitan newspaper! Get a clue!")

As Joni and Wally talked about the taping sessions May 29/30, she mentioned rumors that she was going to play a lot of oldies had somehow started to circulate. She's sorry that so many people just want her to concentrate on recycling her old material; Wally agreed, saying that he wished more people were interested in looking at music in a "historical" way, watching artists grow and mature long term instead of clamoring for oldies all the time or just hopping from one "flavor of the month" to the next.

Joni has seen the raw footage of the two taping sessions and thinks there are enough magical moments in the tapes to make up a really good set (I can't wait). The Eagle Rock Productions footage apparently makes the background black behind her -- she expects that some Super 8 footage taken by Don Freed will be used as well, because it shows the audience comfortably draped over couches in the set she designed. She originally expected to direct as well, but it now looks like she'll come in later to make the changes she wants before the final version is released.

She said that she had a harder time connecting at the Friday night taping session due to an overflow of industry types, but Wally said that he didn't think there was any noticeable effect -- he thought Joni looked great during the tapings and told her so, prompting a short exchange about "Hollywood Hair" and "Hollywood Makeup." Paul Starr, who did her makeup for the show, is an "artist who just picked faces to paint," she said. She did look wonderful, if I do say so myself -- we're all in for a real treat later this year (probably around October).

By now, they had been talking for almost an hour and a half and Wally was starting to worry about taking up too much of her time (although she apparently didn't mind hanging with him on the phone for a while longer). Before they hung up, they talked about Taming the Tiger for a while; Wally mentioned that he thought "Harlem in Havana" would have fit nicely on Don Juan's Reckless Daughter. The song is a childhood recollection of a carnival she went to -- Joni says songs that come to her when she's thinking about her teenaged years always end up as shuffles (think "Cherokee Louise" and "Ray's Dad's Cadillac"). She'll most likely just sing if she does "Harlem in Havana" live, as it's a difficult song to sing and play at the same time.

After making some preliminary plans for a pre-Taming the Tiger interview (once Wally's up to it), the conversation ended with a few recuperation recommendations from Dr. Mitchell: "Watch some comedies, like Nick at Nite or comedy movies -- laughter is a healing thing, even if you prefer dramas."

"Well, I am kind of a drama queen, but OK, I'll take your advice. Bye, Joni."

Well, well! That sure perked him up!

I brought Wally home (to my place, that is) around noon today. He's in my living room watching TV as I type (Judge Judy can be a great source of healing laughter). More on how he's doing tomorrow.

Remember: visualize, visualize ...

Hi everyone,

I want to say once again how much joy I felt traveling along with Joni's tour over the last few weeks and what a pleasure it was to meet folks from the JM Internet Community. In addition, your e-mails about how much you appreciated my tour reports and about how thrilled you were that I'd finally met Joni meant a great deal to me. I fulfilled one of my own dreams but also felt like I was a stand-in for the dreams of many others.

My message today is rather like True Confessions -- I've been keeping a big secret from most of you out there in the JM Internet Community. I feel that it's time for a round of personal revelations about myself and my history.

I was diagnosed with colon cancer in March of 1995. During the ten days between my diagnosis and surgery to remove a large tumor, I took stock of my life and promised God (or my personal equivalent of that energy) that if I survived the operation, I'd commit myself to a project that was creative, beautiful and unselfish. I had no idea then what it would be, but decided to make myself available for the mission.

While convalescing from my surgery, my best friend Jim set me up with a high speed modem. As new arrivals to the Internet often do, I surfed through Web search engines trying to locate information on my favorite subjects. When I typed in Joni Mitchell's name, I was shocked to find there was nothing of any quality or quantity about her on the web. I found a picture or a mention of her on other musician's sites, but no site dedicated exclusively to her and her career. With that, I set about learning HTML and the Joni Mitchell Homepage was born.

I've accomplished many goals with this project, foremost of which is providing a place for Joni-philes to group together, learn about and celebrate their love of all things JM. I've also enjoyed conversations with fascinating people who have worked with Joni, Brian Blade and David Crosby among them. In addition, there have been magical events connected to the JMHP that went way beyond what I could ever have expected, particularly the reunion between Joni and her daughter, Kilauren.

Today I face another crisis in the fight with my disease. I must have another operation to remove a recurrence of the tumor that threatened my life three years ago. I found out about the need for more surgery before Joni's tour with Bob and Van began, but I talked my doctors into delaying the operation until the tour ended so I could travel along with it. They prescribed anti-spasmodics and pain killers to help me through my bad episodes (of which I had more than a few). I think I successfully hid my pain from almost everyone I met; the friends who traveled with me put up a protective barrier around me when I needed it. My surgery is scheduled for sometime within the next two weeks, with 6-8 weeks of recovery time and perhaps 6 months of chemotherapy following that.

Why am I announcing my condition to the Internet community? My reasons are twofold: First, I think it's important for people to know how much can be accomplished when a person is forced to face his or her own mortality. Creating the JMHP under these circumstances allowed me to muster energies I might not have otherwise become aware of. Second, the positive energy that I get from you folks is essential to my well being because I don't seem to be able to generate it as easily myself this time around. In my darkest moments, I wonder if my pact with God is now fulfilled and that it's time for me to move on. At other times, I know there's much more for me to accomplish: for example, I'm really looking forward to designing a new JMHP section where you'll be able to order t-shirts and lithographs from Joni's tour.

There have been unexpected benefits, too. While editing text for the website, I've discovered many new situations where a semicolon works perfectly well.

Needless to say, this will not be an easy time for me. I'll maintain Joni's website as well as I can, but once I have my surgery I'll be pretty much out of commission for a few weeks until I start to feel better. My buddy Jim will keep you up to date on my recovery. Please stay tuned...

Sometimes change comes at you
Like a broadside accident
There is chaos to the order
Random things you can't prevent...

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."