That’s How Strong My Love Is
By David Loehr
Review by Lee Sobel (3/25/21)
5 out of 5 stars
I first crossed paths with David Loehr some 25 years ago. I had directed a low, okay let's say "no," budget feature film called Burnin' Love (later retitled Rockabilly Vampire) that had an all rockabilly soundtrack. The bands on my movie soundtrack were all on the scene in the 90's, keeping the rockabilly flame alive. David Loehr was one of the first American music promoters to put on rockabilly weekenders (weekend long festivals with bands playing one after another) and his event was known as "Fairmount," which was the birthplace of actor James Dean in Indiana. David and I had talked about possibly showing my film at his weekender and although that didn't end up happening, he graciously provided a hotel room, a table for me to sell copies of my movie on VHS (did DVDs even exist then?) as well as a new magazine I had just started, and a TV and VCR to continuously show my film and a rockabilly documentary I made. The year I attended his weekender it was held in Indianapolis at a vintage bowling alley. It was a good
time with some amazing bands playing, including one that I later booked when the swing scene ignited in New York, The Big 6 from England.
So, when I found out that David had written a book, I was intrigued. That's How Strong My Love Is is David's memoirs of a life lived as a rock 'n roll fan, a James Dean fan turned archivist turned advisor on numerous James Dean related documentaries, books and more, a store owner, gallery curator, and music promoter. I have the utmost respect for people who turn what they love into a way to make a living. The story of David's life is packed with many up's and down's, and this book is a breezy read. It kind of boggles the mind how many famous people David has interacted with and befriended on his adventurous life's journey. In the late 60s he meets Andy Warhol and Valerie Solanas at Max's Kansas City in New York (she later shot Warhol). He meets David Bowie. He meets so many amazing people, you lose count. He attends incredible rock concerts and gigs by now iconic bands. Along the way he is injured, received a settlement and opens his first shop, catering to rock 'n roll fans. He later opens The James Dean Gallery, in Dean's hometown of Fairmount, Indiana visited by rock stars and movie stars and visitors from around the world.
David is openly gay and the book also details his over 40 year love affair with a successful clothing designer named Lenny who he later marries. They are almost killed when their apartment is robbed by men they met at a gay bar; their kind-hearted hospitality to a troubled teenager ends up with them behind bars for supposedly contributing to the delinquency of a minor and David survives scary threats to his well being. I'm leaving a lot out of my review because I don't want to give it all away. This is a very well-written book, never a dull moment, with terrific photos. The book targets rock 'n roll history buffs, James Dean fans, pop culture enthusiasts, and those interested in the gay rights struggle. It offers an inside look at the counterculture of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. David Loehr has done an outstanding job and I highly recommend this book. Email David for ordering instructions: DL@jamesdeangallery.com