The 60’s: Chapter 10
There is no way to talk about the 60’s unless I can bring the music to you.
The Fillmore was the invention of a guy named Bill Graham. I’m not sure what his background was, but he brought the sound track of the 60’s into being.
I will try to bring the essence of that time through the words and musings that I will be a painting on these pages. These music words are being written knowing that they will pass like a small contrail of incense smoke into the pleasure centers of your brain.
One thing I remember is Bill Graham handing out apples at the front door of the Fillmore lobby.
He was a beefy guy that stood about 6 feet tall. He had masses of dark brown hair that was streaked with silver shards. His mouth was very voluptuous with deep pink lips that were not unlike the rosy color of a woman’s labia.
Over the years I saw Bill Graham many times in different contexts, he carried a leonine magnificence and he carried himself with the supreme knowledge that he was the king of the Hippie music and entertainment scene.
These were the music events I went to in 1968:
* Big Brother and the Holding Company lead by a wailing, sweat drenched, electric and charging Janis Joplin.
· Jimi Hendrix, with his wild and otherworldly guitar licks.
· The opening concert of the Jefferson Airplane, who had just recorded their first hit album, Surrealistic Pillow.
This was the soundtrack of my clan. We sang to it, we took drugs to it and we made love by it. The music became a slim silken rope that tied us all together in the special alchemy that comes from a secret that only we “ The Tribe,” were the holders of.
In the years between 1967 and 1970 there were no strangers, we were all having the same life experience at the same time. The music embraced us like a cosmic umbilical cord that primordially connected us as we bobbed gently in our own warm rainbow womb broth.
The Janis concert was huge. I had never been in a room with that many people in my entire life. From the balcony of the Fillmore I could see this roiling mass of bodies that danced and swayed with the cosmic blues. Their regalia were all tie dye tatters, satins, silks and velvet.
The music on the stage was a direct infusion into our brains, which were fueled by pot, psychedelics and other mysterious substances.
There was always the light show that formed the backdrop of the gigantic center stage. The screen captured colors that were a fluid, melting swarm of vitality which was created from paint that was drizzled and swirled around on a glass surface that had oil it that was projected onto the screen behind the band. The effect matched the color rivers that surged and receded in our very stoned craniums.
The music, pot smoke, incense and the pungent smell of patchouli drenched bodies was all happening in one huge scene. It looked like a round, rolling snake ball that slithered on the floor below me. It was fascinating and yet somehow horrible in its movement and size.
I was very aware that I was in a situation that was very labile and could go in any direction that could be either supremely delightful or very dangerous.
For Big Brother and Janice, I swallowed 25 micrograms of LSD. In the hour and a half from Boulder Creek to San Francisco I started lifting off. By the time we got to the city we were all in the rainbow realms that shifted and moved with every thought and feeling we were experiencing.
En masse my friends and the crowd trudged up a huge long stairway to the nosebleed seats in the balcony.
Upon my arrival, I was drawn to the railing and peered into the crowd. I wanted to absorb the scene beneath me.
As I squinted into the colored semi-darkness I started feeling woozy, then I pitched backward and fainted dead away. My friends told me my body never hit the ground.
I was caught mid-air and lifted atop the hands and arms of those that were standing around me. I was passed across the top of the crowd, face up, arms and legs dangling beside my body until I was gently laid on the floor behind them.
The party continued. In fact, I don’t think it ever missed a beat.
Janice had been screeching out “Ball and Chain” when the lights went out in my noggin.
That long adventure ended and we gathered ourselves to return home to the mountains.
We drove home that night in the little VW bug that had transported the five of us into the City. The Volsky had been transformed into a rainbow clown car with a psychedelic driver and four very trashed color thrilled clowns.
I have no clue how we ever got back home from this trek. The LSD angels is my best guess.
But in that ride, something began niggling around in my mind. My thoughts were like a tongue that was feeling around in an empty socket, examining the place, where a tooth had once resided. I kept trying to remember. What was it I had started to think about, just before the party had begun?
I had started hearing the murmurings and whisperings of something in the air. It was something that would change us all and the love fest would be over by 1970.
Vietnam was coming, and it was going to kick the shit out of everything.
And the bands played on.
Chapter 11: Happy Birthday January 21st 1968