But police say there’s no cause for concern: the military choppers are part of a two-week U.S. Special Operations training exercise that the Phoenix Police Department had previously announced.
Police closed down roads around Jefferson and Washington streets for safety Thursday night. A black helicopter hovered around the Sandra Day O’Connor U.S. Courthouse while crews exited the aircraft and landed on the roof of a federal building.
Spokesman Sgt. Jonathon Howard says such activities are planned months in advance.
Police say the training has taken place across the Phoenix metro this week and is expected to last through Saturday.
This week, tens of thousands of blues musicians and fans will descend upon Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee for the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge — a competition where representatives from blues associations across the world compete for the top spot in a four day battle of the bands. The winner receives great accolades, as well as guaranteed headliner positions on numerous blues festivals across the country. The IBC’s host, Beale Street, is one of the most famous musical streets in the world, and boasts a long and storied history.
For over 150 years, Beale has hosted Blues music, entertainment, drinking, gambling, and even murder. Beale played a pivotal role in branding Memphis as one of the most musically rich cities in the world, and was prominent in hosting some of the first Black business owners in the south. In between, the sometimes-infamous street was host to the birth of Blues music, the civil rights movement, Rock n’ Roll, and countless beers, racks of ribs, and bands.
Beale Street was first created as a part of South Memphis by city planner Robertson Topp. Though the origins of how Beale was given it’s name are murky, the official story is that it was named for a long-forgotten war hero. During the early days of Beale, the area became home to a great number of freed slaves and free African-Americans, many from the Mississippi Delta, as well as Irish and Italian immigrants, living peacefully among Memphis’ residents, with reportedly few racial tensions.
Much of the lack of violence that was so destructive in the Jim Crow south was attributed to the occupation of Memphis by Union troops. During Union occupation, many black men were recruited and commissioned as soldiers. Once the war was over, however, the troops left and racial tensions quickly came to a boil, resulting in the Memphis Riots in 1866, where a number of black churches and homes were burned, and over forty African Americans lost their lives.
The horrors committed against the black community during the riots led to the rapid ratification of the 14th Amendment, stating that every person should have equal protection under the law. This would be the backbone of civil rights cases that, 100 long years later, would break longstanding Jim Crow policies, stir peaceful protests in the same neighborhood — and on Beale Street, and tragically end the life of one of the greatest American heroes, and the most powerful civil rights champion, just blocks away.
Beale continued for decades to act as a relatively safe haven for racial minorities in the city — a place where people could enjoy themselves free from fear of malice, where African Americans could own businesses, largely without the concern of oppression or terrorism from the government or racist sects. Politicians in the area were well aware of the power in numbers within the community, especially in the strong voting power of the black minority, and as a result, continued to ensure a largely peaceful co-existence of the neighborhood around Beale.
By the turn of the 20th century, Beale Street had become something of a self-contained microcosm, with churches, a pharmacy, grocery, public housing, and entertainment. Beale had also become a place with a dark underbelly — where murder in it’s rough-and-tumble gambling halls was a regular occurrence. Many men spoke about the infamous Monarch, on 340 Beale. In Paul Oliver’s Conversation with the Blues, a number of former Beale residents spoke with candor about the building that was known as “The Castle of Missing Men”, where many gamblers and drinkers went in but never came out. Behind the Monarch was a funeral home, and it was reported that men who were killed in the bar room for cheating, arguing, or some other perceived injustice, would be quickly and quietly carried to the crematorium through the alley.
The famous gangster Machine Gun Kelly sold bootleg liquor on Beale during the prohibition, as the area took on what has been described as a “carnival” atmosphere, where ambulances waited in rows for the next victim to stumble out of a gambling hall,played on corners and in door frames, traveling shows pushed alcohol labeled as “medicines”, and iconic figures like Bessie Smith played the Old Daisy, (which still stands and will be hosting a number of blues acts during IBC).
W.C. Handy was probably Beale’s most famous resident prior to Elvis Presley, and his presence continues to be felt through his giant statue, a museum on Beale dedicated to his life in his original house, and numerous other accolades showered upon the man known as the “Father of the Blues”. A mayoral candidate in the early 1900s, in an effort to win the black vote, hired Handy to create a theme song for his mayoral bid. The resulting tune was “Mr. Crump”, which Handy reworked and released as ““, which quickly became one of his most famous numbers. W.C. went on to be a highly successful artist and band leader with numerous hits to his credit, earning his position as arguably the most celebrated of the decades-long list of musicians on Beale. Parks, bars, and streets bear the name of Handy, who’s music is celebrated as an irreplaceable part of Americana music.
In 1946, a young man named Riley B. King trekked to Beale to seek out his Cousin, musician Bukka White. While King had cut his teeth playing on Church Street in his adopted hometown of Indianola, Beale was a much larger platform, and King “got his licks” busking the famous street. He landed a job as a disc jockey for WDIA radio station in Memphis by making an on-the-spot jingle. It was there that he picked up the handle of the Beale Street Blues Boy, which was later shortened to Blues Boy, and finally, B.B. 45 years later, the celebrated blues club bearing his name was opened with great fanfare on the corner of Second and Beale. Just a single block away, Gibson Guitar’s famous factory produces B.B. King’s signature ES-355 Semi-Hollow body, and boasts a two-story likeness of King’s famous “Lucille” in the reception area.
At the same time as B.B. was earning what would become international widespread fame, another young man was daily found roaming the streets of Beale in search of the blues. A shy and wiry Elvis Presley couldn’t stay away from the blues music that moved him. “When I was in Memphis with my band, he used to stand in the wings and watch us perform,” B.B King said to Sepia of the future fellow “King”. Not long after, the young man wandered into Sun studio to make a single record “for his mother’s birthday.” Owner Sam Phillips called him back some months later, and on the weekend of July 4th, Presley cut “That’s All Right Mama”, a blues number by Arthur Crudup. Elvis was an instant hit, becoming a driving force in the creation of what Jerry Wexler would soon call Rock n’ Roll. But through his international accolades and unprecedented worldwide fame, Presley always called Memphis home. Purchasing a tract of land and large house south of town, he called the estate Graceland.
by the mid-1960s, The Civil Rights movement was in full swing. Brown v. Board of Education, using the 14th Amendment (created in the wake of the 1866 Memphis Riots), had finally cracked the “Separate but Equal” laws which were masquerading as equality, but ultimately, were used to continue to enable widespread segregation. Peaceful protest marches and demonstrations began across the south as African Americans struggled for equality.
Memphis became a hotbed of activity in the movement, home to many key civil rights events such as the 1968 sanitation strike. On April 3rd, Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. returned to Memphis, as he had a great number of times, to make a stirring, compelling, and ultimately prophetic speech, known by many as “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”. On April 4th, 1968, only 6 blocks from Beale, an assassin gunned Dr. King down as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, now known as the National Civil Rights Museum.
King’s murder changed Memphis. Racial tensions again boiled as riots broke into the streets, most starting on Beale. As Beale Black & Blue: Life and Music on Black America’s Main Street stated, “The riots and looting rampages left shops with broken windows and ransacked counters. Stores closed, buildings emptied.” For decades, the street had been something of a safe haven; where African Americans could own businesses and enjoy themselves, largely without fear of racism and persecution, but the area began to descend into ruin. The Memphis housing Authority bulldozed some of the landmarks that had fallen into disrepair as many businesses had closed up shop. By the 1970s, Beale had eroded into a virtual ghost town, despite an act of Congress officially declaring the iconic street the Home of the Blues in 1977. As one of the great epicenters of the Blues had all but died, a renaissance of blues music, the first of many, was brewing across the world. According to Beale Black & Blue,
There was yet another irony to add to the contradictions that figured so prominently into the mile-long maelstrom. As Beale lay dying, the blues that had helped bring it fame sprang to life again. Elvis Presley’s blue suede blues branched out into amplified hard rock, rock and soul, and progressive country rock; the Beatles acknowledged their debt to blues old timers like Lightnin Hopkins; the Rolling Stones took their name from a Muddy Waters song; and there was born a new interest of what Beale Streeter Willie Blackwell called the “true blues — the old time, natural blues.”
Fueled by the interest in blues, rock & roll, B.B. King, and Elvis Presley, a strong investment was made into the street in the 1980s, fueling re-establishment of new businesses, and revitalization of old ones. Tourists made their way back to the Home of the Blues, slowly at first, then quickly, as the live music poured into the streets. By 2009, Beale Street alone was reporting nearly $32 Million in gross sales. With the revitalization and tourism that has come with the street in the past two decades, there has been some criticism that the street has become a sort of caricature of it’s former self. Regardless, the music has a nearly unprecedented opportunity to bring new exposure to the millions that walk the streets of Beale during their trips and vacations — undoubtedly the first time many new visitors are even willing to hear the blues.
As thousands of bands, fans, major blues players, entertainers, and reporters (including American Blues Scene) descend on Beale, the street once again takes a party atmosphere as only the blues can provide, colliding a searing helping of original Memphis soul with dozens of different styles, takes, and interpretations of hundreds of artist’s blues music and dedication. Most of the buildings that exist on Beale are the same buildings that have been frequented by the great many music lovers and great musicians that came in the 100 years before, providing a proprietary sense of history to the legendary street.
In 1890, Beale Street underwent a classy renovation with the addition of the Grand Opera House, later known as the Orpheum. The Orpheum, originally built in the late 1800s and rebuilt in grand fashion in 1928 after a fire, was a place for vaudeville, nationally touring shows, and early movies. Sparing no expense, the theater was built to be larger than life — a Memphis jewel. During the International Blues Challenge, the best-of-the-best will adorn the stage at the Orpheum, and a 2012 winner will be crowned!
American Blues Scene will be covering the event, as we do every year, and will be bringing you up-to-the-minute happenings. Stay tuned to the American Blues Scene to be at the event without leaving your screen.
Interview by Sylvie Simmons – Portrait by Piper Ferguson – Courtesy of MOJO
He’s still recognizable as the man on the front porch on the cover of the 1969 Crosby, Stills & Nash album. His long hair is silver and wispy now but still qualifies as a mane and frames a moon face with laugh lines, sideburns, bushy brows and a thick, white, groomed mustache. (“If you keep it clean, he recently told an American men’s magazine, “girls love it.”) There’s something of the sultan about David Crosby, even when wearing a checked flannel shirt — in tribute, perhaps, to Seattle, where CSN have come to be feted with a Founders Award gala at the EMP Museum of Music, Sci Fi and Pop Culture. He’s an imposing man though there’s four stone less of him than the last time we talked.
“I go to the gym three days a week and work out, and I feel terrific but, you know, it’s a very odd situation to be in. I’m 72 and I have three fatal diseases. Hep C, which there’s no cure for and which is currently dormant — I had the transplant (a liver in 1994) and it saved my life. Heart disease — I’ve had two heart attacks and I have five stents in my heart. And diabetes, which is a real killer, and a disease of paying attention, which is very difficult for someone as scatterbrained as me. But,” he says, his eyes twinkling, “I’m managing to stay alive. The truth is I’ll probably have several more years of being able to make music and having a strong enough voice to sing it.”
As if proof were required, Crosby recently completed a European tour with Crosby, Stills & Nash, and is now also set to release his first solo album in 20 years. Simply titled CROZ, it will see him take to the road once again and draw on what has been a lifetime of remarkable music and sanguine experiences. Saving his period in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young for a later date, it is Crosby’s personal story that we focus on during what is an engaging and typically candid conversion. . .
You were born in Los Angeles in 1941. With a cinematographer as a father, were you more into movies than music as a kid?
Film was fascinating to me. I went with my dad to the set a number of times and I wanted to be part of it. I wanted to be an actor. But there was a lot of music in the house.
What are your earliest musical memories?
Classical first, then folk. There was a Philharmonic radio show that was on every Sunday morning of my life, and they had records, albums – l’m talking big, thick books of 78s. Then when LP records, which were 1O-inch then, came out, I encountered folk music: The Weavers, Josh White, Odetta. My brother [Ethan], four years older, was a musician and, when I was around 16, he gave me my first guitar – his old guitar, when he got a better one. And that’s what started me off playing and singing. Folk songs first. I would learn two chords and go back and forth between them. What took it to the next level was my brother started listening to 1950s jazz – Chet Baker, Dave Brubeck, people like that. That caught my ear pretty strongly; listening to jazz really widens your world. I didn’t really like any of the pop music on the radio until The Everly Brothers, and they were fantastically good.
Was there an epiphany that made you choose music over acting?
Yes, and it had to do with the other haIf of the species. Movies took a very long time to come out, and in order to get the attention of a girl by being in a movie, you had to have actually been in a movie which the girl in question had actually seen. So it was a very long and iffy process to winding up with what you had in mind. Whereas if you went down to the coffee house and sang really well, it could happen tonight, and that was very appealing to me! (Laughs) But as soon as I started being able to sing a song to somebody and have it affect them, that was it. I knew exactly what I was supposed to be doing. There was never any maybe or any “Should I have a real job?”, it was directly to music. I always felt bad that my brother, his whole life, never did find his path, not as a musician and not in life. I always felt a little guilty for having it fall so completely dead-center on me. (Ethan Crosby committed suicide in 1997.)
Did you perform with your brother?
Yes, for a long time – he played bass, I played guitar and we both sang. But you know how it is with brothers. I wound up off on my own very quickly – from Los Angeles to Phoenix to Colorado to Florida to New York, the Village – anywhere there were coffee houses, which meant I could get a job and eat, and eating is good. Then I went back to Los Angeles where I encountered Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark.
What were your first songs like?
The first one was called Across The Plains – l’ve always been fascinated with wagon trains and the movement of people west. It wasn’t a very good song. I think the first song I wrote that was any good was Everybody’s Been Burned, which I did when l was with The Byrds (and was released on 1967’s Younger Than Yesterday).
What’s the most important thing you took with you from Greenwich Village?
The Village was rich territory. There were two really good mentors, Bob Gibson and Fred Neil. Freddy taught me a very great deal – among other things that there was music all around me and I had to widen my perception of it. You could be in an old elevator car and the cables would be going “bomchicka-chicka-chika- ching-ching” and he’d whisper, “See man, music.” Yes, we were herbally enhanced. One time in Florida we were sitting outside smoking one and listening to a bamboo thicket singing in the wind. He made me conscious of that, and he taught me things about how to play the guitar and how to sing. He was a great singer. A hero.
Did you meet Bob Dylan then?
I didn’t get to meet him until much later, but he changed my head the way he changed everybody’s head, because he elevated the dialogue. lt wasn’t, “Ooh baby”, it was, “It’s all right ma, l’m only bleeding”. It was the important stuff, and that stuck with me. When we had a chance to do Mr.Tambourine Man later (with The Byrds), I was all for it.
Was Dylan all for it?
When Dylan came to the studio in LA to hear what we were doing with his song, he heard that there was something going on. When he listened to it you could hear the gears whirring in there. He was strongly impressed. I mean, Roger McGuinn is enormously talented; he took Mr. Tambourine Man and turned it into a great record. I did a good harmony but he’s the one that made that record what it was. And it was the first time that I know about that anybody put good poetry on the radio. Shortly thereafter, possibly within days, Bob had an electric band and was offending people at the Newport Folk Festival. He knew exactly what he’d heard and I think he was pleased by it and I think his reaction was, “Give me an electric guitar.”
The Byrds were also big Beatles fans.
I remember Roger and Gene (Clark) and I going to see A Hard Day’s Night – that was our first time seeing them – and, man, we came out of that movie completely gobsmacked. We didn’t know what to think. We knew one thing: that we wanted to be them. They blew us right out of the water. They changed everything.
You’ve told MOJO about several escapades with The Beatles in the past. Are there any untold stories that you’ve hidden from us?
(Rubs his chin and hesitates) Hmm… I used to go to the press conferences to watch how they did it. There’s actually footage of me doing it. John [Lennon] particularly got really put off by stardom and the press, but they made an attitude up to deal with the idiots. I did that with Dylan too, to watch how he dealt with the dumb questions… And I also remember a night at George Harrison’s house where everyone had dinner and Ali Akbar Khan played. He blew our minds. George told somebody, l’m not sure who, that l’d turned him onto Ravi Shankar. I know lwas carrying one of [Ravi’s] albums around and turning people onto him whatever chance I got. “You ain’t heard nothing, try this.” The only person I heard that could move a melody around as well as Ravi Shankar was John Coltrane.
On the road with The Byrds in the summer of ’65, you’d be rolling big ones and playing Coltrane and Shankar cassettes.
Yes, and another album: the first album of the Bulgarian National Folk Choir under the direction of Philip Koutev. These little Bulgarian women could sing better than anybody I d ever heard. lt affected me in terms of harmony because they did things that were so daring I couldn’t believe it, working with dissonance in a way that was musically advanced. lt was like listening to Bach and then encountering Stravinsky. All of a sudden the chords got a bit more dense.
In October 1962 the tension within The Byrds came to a head. Was it a blow when Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman fired you?
My strongest feeling was, “You guys are going to regret this.” I wasn’t happy about it but I didn’t feel like my life was over, not at all. I was already singing with Stephen Stills and I was already writing my own songs. And I went off and got a sailboat and started sailing, and that was a joy. I was a young, egotistical, talented but feisty guy. I can understand why they did that! They were advised to do so by a manager I had brought to the party, and they were tired of me. I was not easy to deal with. I wanted a bigger piece of the pie. I wanted to be one of the people writing the songs, I wanted to sing lead on something, because I was a pretty good singer.
I miss (that band) now. It’s not until much later that you realize the value of some things in your life. I would do a Byrds tour or a Byrds record in a minute, and l’ve tried to convince Roger over and over to do it but he’s not interested, and music isn’t something you can legislate into being. When they were walking out the door they said to me, “We’ll do better without you” – which is an unfortunate line, I think more for them than me. I think that may still be stuck in his craw a little bit.
On Henry Diltz’s 1969 cover photo of Crosby, Stills & Nash you looked like the archetypal hippy, living the dream.
I was. Being a hippy was the most natural thing in the world for me. I liked having long hair. I liked smoking pot, and hippies treasured music, so that put me in a good place. And it was fun. It was not the ’50s, Pat Boone and [radio/TV drama] Father Knows Best, it was a new place to go. But it had a precursor, the beatniks. I had already read Kerouac and Ginsberg and encountered thought- streams that were breaking new ground and looking at things a different way.
CSN and CSNY remained engaged with counterculture politics, much more so than many of your peers.
Yes. That sort of happened along the way. It’s not that we started out being political, they politicized us; it smacked us in the face. We didn’t like it that they shot Kennedy and we really didn’t like it when they went into Vietnam, and that the black people in the South could not vote in their own country. Dr Martin Luther King – man, if you encountered his words you were not the same human being. He would change your life. And we certainly didn’t trust the government. The old line was never trust anybody over 30. We thought we’d never be over 30.
By the end of the ’60s you’d found all sorts of ways to threaten your life. How did having an arsenal of guns and being coked out of your brain gel with being a hippy?
It’s a fair question. And it’s two separate things, not really connected, until later. When I was , growing up, we had a house in Carpinteria where we were growing lemons and avocados and my dad would go down to Hollywood to work, and out in the country, when you’re 12, it’s just part of the deal: you get a .22 – a very small calibre rifle – and you learn to shoot. So I’d encountered guns before and I didn’t really have any interest in them until later when these horrific murders took place at our producer Terry Melcher’s house. (The Manson murders of August 9, 1969, which occurred at Melcher’s former home on Cielo Drive.)
I thought about that and went out and got a 12-gauge, which is a shotgun, the biggest home defense weapon. So I don’t feel the same as most of my compatriots. I do shoot, I maintain a level of competency at it and I try to be responsible about it. I don’t think the problem’s in the gun, I think it’s in the people.
But guns and cocaine?
Terrible mix. Again, I never shot anybody though, even when I was really, really on cocaine. Cocaine, separate issue. When we encountered cocaine, the people who brought it around – we had to go to a criminal to get our weed – said, with a straight face, “Here, try this. It’s not addictive.” We didn’t know it would destroy you. We knew heroin was big daddy evil. All we knew is it gave you energy for days and made you feel like you were on top of the world. lt was a very seductive drug, easy to get and very easy to get strung out on very fast. That was a very destructive thing in my life. When I encountered it, which was towards the end of The Byrds and the beginning of the CSN era, I misused it massively and it really got its hooks into me. Seriously; 20 years. It’s probably the most evil drug on the planet and worse if you’re freebasing, which I got into later on.
Coke is notorious for its adverse effect on music, and yet in the wake of CSNY’s debut Deja Vu you released an exquisite album, your solo debut, If I Could Only Remember My Name in 1971.
I wasn’t doing much coke; that’s when I started doing heroin. I was in a very strange state, I had songs, good songs, and we had just finished Deja Vu, and my girIfriend [Christine Hinton] had been killed. I didn’t have an instruction booklet on how to deal with that one, and heroin, of course, is an anaesthetic. lt doesn’t really do anything but make you suppress the pain and you don’t really deal with it, which of course is not a good idea. If you stuff it, and I stuffed it, you stay there for longer.
But… there’s a lot of joy on that record, because that’s where I needed desperately to go. Graham Nash came a lot, Jerry Garcia came even more, almost every night – he was a good friend and he liked it that I was as open to the accident of music as he was. Phil [Lesh] came very often, Jorma [Kaukonen], Grace lSlick] Paul lKantner], Joni lMitchell]. They were all friends. lt saved me. Because I could dive into making that music and spend a whole night stacking harmonies on myseIf, being the Mormon Tabernacle me, and it would elevate me out of the hole that I was in.
Fast-forwarding: in the mid’80s, in Texas, you were sentenced to five years on handgun and freebase cocaine charges. Nash read a plea to the judge saying confinement in prison will possibly kill him. I actually wrote a thank you letter to the judge saying, “You saved my life. You may not know it but you did.” I tried to quit and slipped a number of times, and it took me going to prison to make it stick.
How in hell does someone whose life personified freedom, travelling and doing whatever you wanted, cope with being locked up?
You see that (flat screen) TV? Make it about four times that big. I lived in that space for a year – nine months in prison and about three months in jail.
l’d have lost my mind.
Well I didn’t, I found it. I woke up. It’s a tough place to wake up.
Were you able to make any music while you were in there?
Yes. And it was funny, because we used to tell ourselves that getting high was where we’d get all these ideas for making great music but l, at the very end, had stopped writing completely. The last decent song I wrote was Delta, and then there was probably two years of nothing as the drug use went up.
When I was in prison I would write letters to my wife Uanl, and every once in a while I would write a line in the letter where l’d think, “That was a good line.” I started writing a song and I realized then that “No, I didn’t lose it, it’s coming back”, which was a huge boost for me. We had a band in the prison – there were guitars that had been donated – and once a week we got to go out to a little cinder-block building and play music. I was the only professional but the other guys were pretty good. The lead guitar player, Billy Jones, had shot a cop so he was never going to get out, ever, and he was a pretty good player. The drummer, a black kid, he was quite good. lt was fun and it was something to do – and something to do in there was a big deal. And when I got out I was no longer addicted and I was able, with the aid of 12-step stuff, to make it all the way out.
Do you ever have the drug-taker’s equivalent of wet dreams?
Yes. They’re called slip dreams. If you’re trying to quit from hard drugs everybody has the exact same dream where you did it, you have the pipe in your hand and you’re using again. You don’t feel the high; you wake up absolutely panic-stricken – “Oh my God, oh my God!” – because you know how close to death you came and you’re trying so hard not to slip. lt took years, literally. l’m not worried about hard drugs at all now. They haven’t been snapping at my heels for 25 years now but if you lay down a line of coke on that computer right now there’d be a David-shaped hole in the wall. l’d run that fast.
To move onto the third part of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, you had quite a reputation with the ladies. ln your song Triad you urged two of your girIfriends to share you.
I did. And I did that a number of times. It’s not actually something that you can do in real life and sustain. Somebody always feels that they’re the low man on the totem pole. lt can be the guy feeling that the girls are ganging up on him or one of the girls. But it was a good song. We’ve changed it totally now – we play it in a completely different way that’s a lot of fun.
You have a new solo album, CROZ.
Yes. I wrote it with my son.
James Raymond, with whom you had CPR?
CPR was fun and we made some good music, but it didn’t make any money so we couldn’t continue. I don’t have any money to make an album. You know, I Googled myseIf the other day and it said I was the richest guy in show business and worth $250 million. Such complete utter bullshit… l can’t even afford to buy a new car; l’ve a 2004 Ford truck.
Finally, of all the bands you’ve played in – The Byrds, CSN, CSNY, Crosby & Nash, CPR and solo – if you could work with only one of them from now on, which would it be?
I’m tempted to say solo. And singing with Graham is just a joy. It’s like two old fighter pilots who know where the other guy’s wing is and you can literally fly six feet apart, no problem, and do it all, upside down, no problem. But if I had to pick one band it would be CSNY. Because that’s the one that would push me the most to really go for the peaks. And that’s because of Neil. The thing I love about Neil is that he is never, ever satisfied. He wants the magic and I love that. I want the magic.
Infamous occultist, drug addict, and mountaineer Aleister Crowley also wrote more than 70 dark, and darkly comedic, short stories, including five that have never been published until now. Wordsworth Editions have released a new edition of The Drug and Other Stories expanded to include these unseen works, titled Ambrosii Magi Hortus Rosarum, The Murder in […]
|Janis Joplin and Big Brother and The Holding Company, Lagunitas, California, 1967. Joplin’s gritty, full-throttle blues-rock style offered a new, liberating image for women in the world of rock music.|
Unconventional appearance, music, drugs, communitarian experiments, and sexual liberation were hallmarks of the sixties counterculture, most of whose members were white, middle-class young Americans. To some Americans, these attributes reflected American ideals of free speech, equality, and pursuit of happiness. Other people saw the counterculture as self-indulgent, pointlessly rebellious, unpatriotic, and destructive of America’s moral order.
Authorities banned the psychedelic drug LSD, restricted political gatherings, and tried to enforce bans on what they considered obscenity in books, music, theater, and other media. Parents argued with their children and worried about their safety. Some adults accepted elements of the counterculture, while others became estranged from sons and daughters.
In 1967 Lisa and Tom Law moved to San Francisco, joining thousands of young people flocking to the Haight-Ashbury district. The counterculture lifestyle integrated many of the ideals and indulgences of the time: peace, love, harmony, music, mysticism, and religions outside the Judeo-Christian tradition. Meditation, yoga, and psychedelic drugs were embraced as routes to expanding one’s consciousness.
|The “Freak-Out” show, Los Angeles, 1965. Rock music, colorful light shows, performance artists, and mind-altering drugs characterized the psychedelic dance parties of the sixties held in large halls in Los Angeles and San Francisco.|
|A concert in the Panhandle, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, 1967|
|The Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco, 1967. Students, hippies, musicians, and artists gravitated toward the community’s inexpensive housing and festive atmosphere.|
|Hell’s Angels motorcycle club members, the Panhandle in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, 1967. While some people admired the Hell’s Angels’ audacious style, its members had an uneven and sometimes violent relationship with people in the counterculture.|
|Musician in the Panhandle, San Francisco, 1967|
|“Summer of Love,” the Panhandle, San Francisco, 1967|
|San Francisco, 1967|
|Easter Sunday Love-In, Malibu Canyon, California, 1968. This was a celebration of the counterculture movement.|
|Suzuki-Roshi, a Buddhist teacher, at the Human Be-In, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, January 14, 1967. Also known as “A Gathering of the Tribes,” the Human Be-In was an effort to promote positive interactions among different groups in society.|
|Poet Allen Ginsberg, Human Be-In festival, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, 1967. Ginsberg, known for his poem Howl, lived and symbolized the bohemian ideals of the Beat Generation of the 1950s and embraced the counterculture of the sixties.|
|It [the counterculture] was an attempt to rebel against the values our parents had pushed on us. We were trying to get back to touching and relating and living.
-Lisa Law, 1985
|Monterey International Pop Festival, Monterey, California, 1967. Monterey Pop was one of the first large outdoor rock festivals in the 1960s. Lisa and Tom Law sheltered people who were having difficult psychedelic drug experiences in their “Trip Tent.”|
|Timothy Leary, the Harvard-trained psychologist who coined the phrase “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out,” at the Human|
The first cover was a still image from John Lennon’s movie How I Won the War, where he first wore his iconic round eyeglasses. The front-page story was an investigation into what happened to the profits from the Monterey Pop Festival. Here are amusing highlights from other pieces in the issue:
Byrd McGuinn Dumps Crosby
David Crosby, the caustic and outspoken guitarist of the Byrds, has split with the group after being asked to leave by leader Jim McGuinn…According to the Los Angeles groups’ PR man, Derek Taylor, Crosby and McGuinn have always had a tense and uneasy relationship…Crosby went willingly, asking only that it be made public that he had been asked to leave. He recently bought a $25,000 boat in Florida and now plans to live on it until he decides what’s next.
New Dylan Film
Bob Dylan is currently in his Woodstock, New York, home working on editing a new film of his second English tour shot by Robert Pennebaker. Neither Pennebaker, who shot and produced ‘Don’t Look Back,’ or Dylan’s management have as yet set a release date for the new film. [Note: forty-three years later we’re still waiting for Dylan to release Eat The Document.]
Country Joe Goes Solo, Fish Are High And Dry
Country Joe Mcdonald has split from his band, The Fish, leaving them high and dry without a lead singer, an arranger or composer of most of their original material. He didn’t dig the gig anymore. Both Joe and The Fish will go on as single acts. The Fish will not change personnel, only their name to the Incredible Fish.
Donovan Concert Cancelled
Donovan’s concert in Denver was cancelled. Even when the ticket price was dropped to $2.50, there weren’t enough sales to justify a concert. Maybe it was the Family Dog’s heavy bill on the same weekend: The Doors and Lothar and The Hand People. The latter is Denver’s hometown band. The don’t know what they missed.
London: Who, Floyd by Nick Jones
The Who are back in town looking shattered, but thinking straight, after their long, hard American tour. “I Can See for Miles” is released this week and the rejuvenated, youthful Who sound is going to pin back a few ears.
The Pink Floyd, whose “Piper At The Gates Of Dawn” we hear is doing well on the West Coast are back in the studios making some very nice sounds. They have combined with the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop on several numbers to get some exciting, new freaky electronics going and their new single certainly promises to be an excellent mind-blower.
Largely due to its beauty and inspirational isolation the tree had acquired a legendary stature and became a destination of sorts for adventurers, explorers, and people traveling along the caravan route. It was reported that the tree sprouted green and yellow flowers. In 1939 Michel Lesourd, Commander of Central Service of Saharan Affairs, wrote of the tree:
“One must see the Tree to believe its existence. What is its se-cret? How can it still be living in spite of the multitudes of camels which trample at its sides. How at each azalai does not a lost camel eat its leaves and thorns? Why don’t the numerous Touareg leading the salt caravans cut its branches to make fires to brew their tea? The only answer is that the tree is taboo and considered as such by the caravaniers. There is a kind of superstition, a tribal order which is always respected. Each year the azalai gather round the Tree before facing the crossing of the Ténéré. The Acacia has become a living lighthouse; it is the first or the last landmark for the Azalai leaving Agadez for Bilma, or returning.”
In 1973 the tree was struck by an apparently drunk driver snapping its trunk. The tree died soon after the incident, and was later moved to while a metallic monument was placed on the spot, marking its once isolated and legendary existence.
The exclusive dead.net versions of the Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead box include a bonus disc with more than two hours of behind-the scenes footage — directed by Kreutzmann’s son, Justin, who also helmed the concert footage — as well as Circles Around the Sun’s complete intermission music for the three Soldier Field shows.
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