Thursday, April 9, 2009

SATURDAY, MAY 10, 2008


What I am writing about here in regard to religious beliefs or lack there of was an extremely important factor to me back in the 60's. There was no evangelical movement then like there is now so religion was viewed somewhat differently in the 60' than it is in the 21st century. There was no TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) on cable TV or anything else like we have come to take for granted these days. There were no cell phones, no cable news channels etc.. Newspapers and magazines, network news in the evening, and AM radio was where we learned about our world, unless you were part of what was making the news, which we were, we being the anti war pro peace hippie movement.

Religion represented the establishment and all that the establishment stood for, which was the war, fear of sex drugs and rock n roll, guilt and fear of self expression. Religion and government were intertwined in a way that set up a false moral structure which was assumed, by it's creators and supporters, to be the last word on all things moral and important to the whole collective body of America. The hippie and peace movements, which was embraced by much of the music and it's creators at the time had specifically different ideas. Not all of these ideas were shared by those in positions of power within the music and radio broadcast mediums, so this would be one of the driving forces behind FM radio in the 60's.

The tension that existed between this duality of forces was what I was attempting to get at by writing the kinds of songs I was writing at the time. Like Hitler and Jesus, a perfect metaphor for a pair of opposites. Yin and Yang, positive and negative, light and dark etc.. I saw HOLY HOLY HOLY as a way to draw a distinction between the supposed goodness of religion and religions inability to produce members who could see that blowing up Vietnam was not a net positive to the world.

I saw that people who were going to church and proclaiming their moral high ground were also supporting a war which I was against. They were afraid of braless hippie girls but seemingly unmoved by the wars increasing body count. The priests I saw as leaders within religious structures, whatever the denomination, that had a moral obligation to speak out against the ongoing slaughter of human beings. I should add that I am aware that what I am saying was not true across the board in all cases. There were many, but never enough, who did speak out such a Martin Luther King in his brilliant speech against the war in April of 1968.

My need, which was to articulate through music and lyrics my growing dissatisfaction with the world around me, was met with animosity and skepticism by many and down right hatred by some. The more I worked at capturing through art what I believed to be the truth the further I was pushed to the side of the "money for music" business. A lot of people said, "Yeah, the guy's real talented, but why doesn't he write something commercial." This infuriated me because I had written things that were commercial and they had complaints about that too. I pretty much decided that if they were going to keep me out I might as well write the kind of stuff I wanted to, at least I knew I was serious when I did that, and I'd already had my shot at "bubble gum."

A while after I'd cut "HOLY HOLY HOLY" and had a tape copy in my hands I ventured up to San Francisco to see a friend of mine name GREG THOMAS. Greg introduced me to the guys in BLUE CHEER and we told them about the tape of HOLY HOLY HOLY which they thought was a real trip. One of the guys in Blue Cheer said he new the girl who was a DJ on the first FM rock station on the west coast and that she was on that afternoon and that we ought to go to the station and see if she would play the tape on air. We all thought that sounded like a good idea so we loaded ourselves into the car and ended up at the station. The girl who was the DJ was on the air when we got there but she invited us in anyway feeling loved by all the attention she was getting.

It seems this particular lady liked downers so we asked her if she wanted a couple, which she instantly said,"yes" to. I pulled a couple of 3 grain "Rainbows" out of my pocket and handed them to her and she promptly swallowed both of them. We all broke into laughter exclaiming, "Damn girl, you really do like those things." As we joked and laughed for twenty or thirty minutes it became apparent that the DJ lady was getting high and a bit slurry in her speech. At that point we brought up the tape and without batting an eyelash she said, "You got it with you? Gimme it, I'll put it on." I handed over the tape and she threaded it through the machine and picked up her mic and hit the cut in switch.

Now you have to remember that this was a live broadcast at the time. "Hello all you.." She broke in to what ever was playing and said she had an exclusive and was going to play it for everybody for the first time anywhere and she did. About half way through the song the telephone switchboard lit up like a christmas tree and all hell broke loose. The tape got yanked and the lady DJ handed it back to me saying, "You guys better get out a here cause the owners on his way and we got big trouble." We all apologized to her as we left, saying we hoped she didn't get fired or anything like that and thanked her for playing the tape. As we all trampled down the stairs to the street below we didn't know whether we should be guilty, happy, or impressed that the song had caused such a huge reaction. "Yeah, and they didn't even hear the whole thing," somebody yelled.

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