Thursday, April 9, 2009

(Part 51) The 2nd Monkee, Long Hair, And The 60's


Each one of these posts and the content is written with a purpose. I do not talk about being busted or my drug use and who was with me just for the hell of it. Each part played a critical role in what actually transpired in the scheme of things and what occurred over time. For example, if I had not been busted for drugs, I surely would have gone to Vietnam. That fact that Gail Sloatman, Franks eventual wife, was with me will again play a specific role in how things turned out.

I went back to Columbia to participate in the planning of the "Monkees." David Jones and I went with someone from Columbia to "The Ashgrove, a folk club in Hollywood in the 60's. There was always new talent there and so we went to scout out other potential "Monkee" candidates. I was beginning to notice that what they expected of me was to be that shiny faced "pop star" personality that I had learned to dread in England. I had started growing a beard and my hair was getting longer and there were hints that they wanted me cleaned up.

It sounds like a small thing, but at the time I was extremely reluctant to be once again guided to a personality that was not really my own. A lot of things had happened to me in the past couple of years that had changed me. I was not so trusting and naive as I had once been and to me it was a form of protection to decide for myself who I was, rather than have that critical point determined by others. This began to push and pull me in two different directions at the same time. I knew I would benefit in a lot of ways if I became one of the "Monkees", but I also felt that being true to myself at that point was of equal importance, at least to me if to no one else.

I spoke to Phil Turetsky about it because he had gotten me the original audition for "The Monkees". He didn't make a big deal about it in fact he said he had someone else he wanted me to meet who was looking for a new artist who wrote their own songs to record an album with. His name was Steve Clark and he had a production company called "Our Productions" that had a hit with "The Association" and the song "And Along Comes Mary" which I was familiar with. He told me that Steve had a genius kid he was working with named Curt Boettcher and thought I might get along with him real well. A time was set up for me to meet with Clark at his office in the tower at Sunset Blvd. and Vine, in Hollywood.

I had a lot of songs at that point, because like I said, I had done a lot of writing at Zappa's house and the other house where the bust occurred. Phil told me that Steve Clark was about as easy to get along with as anyone I'd ever meet. This was a good thing, because I was having trouble with the endless personalities and ego's of record executives and wanna be producers. I was leery at that point about who I met and how I would react to them. I was, needless to say, somewhat edgier than I had been earlier. I think at that point in my life I had a lot of frustration, anger, and disappointment bottled up inside me and was kind of a walking time bomb in the making. I used drugs and alcohol to steer myself in a particular direction. Drugs and alcohol were working for me at that point and had become a prominent part of my new personality.

I think I have to remind myself and possibly the reader, that this was the 60's. Everything was alive and electric. Things moved at a ridiculously fast pace. For a growing number of people drugs were not negative they were part of the mind alteration and a new philosophy and social understanding. Drugs were part of the mind expansion and new sense of freedom that was sweeping across America and the world and I was determined, in my own mind, to be at the front of the battle lines. These brave words nearly killed me in the end, but at the time they were deeply and sincerely felt by myself and an ever growing number of others world wide.

I still believe that the 60's did more to change the world than anything I have ever seen or heard about. I'm sure there are those who would agree, but believe that most of those changes were negative. Even though I was as much a victim as a survivor of those times, I believe that I also learned some of my most important lessons from those years. I am even now looking for the kind of openness and peace that many pursued with an earnest back then. The world would be a far better place than it has become with a whole lot more peace and love than now exists. Hippie girls to me were the most lovely of all creatures I have ever met. Every now and then I see someone who is that picture in my mind and I am instantly returned to the Sunset Strip, Griffith Park and the 60's.

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