Robbie Robertson, founding guitarist and main songwriter of The Band, is the guest on the latest episode of Dan Rather‘s AXS TV series The Big Interview, premiering tonight at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
Among the topics Robertson discusses is the rift that formed between him and The Band’s singer/drummer, Levon Helm, after Robbie left the group.
In a sneak peek of the episode, Robertson explains that “10 years or more after [The Band’s original breakup], Levon…was having some tough times with health, financial situations and…I’ve been told, too, some mental health issues. And he became angry, and he turned his anger towards me at this stage.”
Helm discussed his anger and resentment toward Robertson in his 1993 autobiography, This Wheel’s on Fire, accusing Robbie of not properly sharing songwriting credits with the other Band members, among other alleged misdeeds.
Robertson says after the memoir was published, Helm told him during a phone call, “That book was bulls***…I didn’t write that book. [Another] guy wrote it, [and] he put a bunch of stuff in there.”
Robbie added that people ask him about his feud with Levon but as far as he’s concerned, “There was no feud. There was no fight. It takes two people to be in a fight.”
Robertson also recalls visiting Helm in the hospital while he was in a coma just before he died.
“I spent time with him before he was gone,” Robbie says. “And I sat there and I thought about all the amazing and beautiful things that we had done together.”
In a separate preview, Robertson talks glowingly about the making of The Band’s 1969 self-titled album, which took place in Los Angeles in a house once owned by Sammy Davis Jr.
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(First embedded video includes uncensored profanity.)