America, the Motor City, Motown, Starship Earth and Beyond

America, the Motor City, Motown, Starship Earth and Beyond
hurricane.duane@yahoo.com

Monday, June 1, 2015

A "hippie"s personal psychedelic journey through the 60's, 70's, music, riots, drugs, disco and #'s Company.

 The music, the riots, the movies, the drugs of the hippie days. 

 "Upon a Magic Swirling Ship"
Hurricane Duane Thomas
The Psychedelic 60's, 70's & Beyond
___________________________________________
The '60's
Music, Incense, Love, Riots & Revolution, Candles, Peace, Pigs and Flower Power. 
The '70's
The dream. Tripping at Disney World, Country Rock, Artist Colonies, Disco & 3's Company. 
The 80's, 90's & Beyond
Beginning of the end, end of the beginning

"'Hippie' is an establishment label for a profound, invisible, underground, evolutionary process.  For every visible hippy, barefoot, beflowered, beaded, there are a thousand invisible members of the turned-on underground.  Persons whose lives are tuned in to their inner vision, who are dropping out of the TV comedy of American Life."
-Timothy Leary
Prologue:
This is how I grew up as a child of the ‘60’s, and are my own experiences shared with others the music, the protests, the War in Vietnam, the drugs, the lifestyle changes. This relates with specifics on how I made it into the '70's, '80's and into the New Millenium in one piece. While researching, I realized there was just too much going on back then to leave anything important out. Much more information exists on the Internet, Bookstores and in your local libraries. I will address the changes of the music and social society as I experienced and embraced it. I will only proceed with commentary on later years as necessary to the story.

My 'magic-carpet-ride' will truthfully advance from the 60's and on into the 1970's and even a bit further in order to show the impressionistic lasting (and sometimes disillusionary) after effects of the "tune in-turn on-drop out" generation of contradictions I grew up in. War and free love, revolution and Rock n Roll. For practical purposes, I'll stop in the early 1980's when the full effects and after-effects of the 6o-'s and 70's were in full swing and began determining both our future as a society, a people and tribes, and as a planet.

Quickly I realized that there would have to be a lot more details reflecting what the 60's hippies-stop-the-war-tune-in-and-drop-out-love-the-one-youre-with era was all about for you…and for me. The 1970's, still part of that era of hippies, subculture and lifestyle changes, were at times more important as the final destination of the dream, only it wasnt the end. It was only the beginning....

The 60's
Music, Incense, Love, Revolution, Candles, Peace, Pigs and Flower Power
Chapters
*"Looking back through the Looking Glass"
*"Dawning of the Age of Aquarius. When the moon is in the 7th house."
*"1967: The Summer of Love/The Motor City's Burnin' Revisited"
*"Album firsts: Can you guess which album…?"
*"Somethin's happenin' here"
*Hippie, New Age and Free-Thinking Books and Monthly Periodicals
*Underground Comix
*Musical Stage Plays
*Movies
*"Kaleidescope Eyes"
*"Getting back to the garden."

The 70's
*"1970. Remember what the door-mouse said. Feed your head"
*"I was so much older then. Im younger than that now."
*"W.M.C.A. Turn the beat around. Celebrate good times. C'mon!"

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Part 1

The '60's
Music, Incense, Love, Revolution, Candles, Peace, Pigs and Flower Power.

"Looking back through the Looking Glass"

They say if you can remember the 60's, you weren’t there. Anything was possible. I was a child of the 60's when music changed the world, and where recreational drugs were a sign of the times. Pot wasn’t illegal, and neither was LSD. Good or bad, for better or worse, I came out of it healthier, hipper and a lot smarter. The world was at our feet, and in our heads. Hippies and revolution, rock 'n roll, Free Love. Incense, candles, White Panthers and paisley flower-power, Pigs and Peace signs. .

In Fall every year, I would go to Eastern Michigan University for the High School Choral Competitions, and my father would take me to the Ann Arbor University of Michigan Campus to a music store once and awhile. It was there that I got a taste of hippie posters, incense and hash-pipes. After that, the drive through the countryside to Ann Arbor got me hooked in another kind of way. I came to love the area, its woods, rivers and history. Years into the future, I would live there for nearly 20 years and work for the University. And in the beginning, a lot of it was just cool. Being 14 or 15, I had no real idea yet of why things were the way they were, but I knew in my heart, I was part of something greater. Or I should say, it was part of me. Like a cool and crisp fall morning, a change for me was in the air.

I came to love the turn of the century homes where the Fraternity houses mostly were, and all those hippie boutiques that always seemed to be up on the 4th floor, through the pipe shops, up the stairs and into the attic of some 150 year old Victorian in college towns across America. Whether they were on either Haight Ashbury in San Francisco, Plum Street in Detroit or State Street in Ann Arbor, they looked and had the same feel about them.

As a young kid from a repressed Catholic School upbringing, it was the Beatles and the folk-rock groups of 1964-65 that had a lasting impression on me. I just knew the stoic and prim and proper Nuns who taught me through 8th grade really didn’t have a clue about the rest of the world. They were the Dominican ones who wore the black and white habits with the tall headdresses. They looked like penguins. To this day, I still cant go to the zoo. You would just go to church on Sunday, confession on Saturday, and didn’t eat meat of Fridays. But, soon reality set in for me and things were about to change.

"Dawning of the Age of Aquarius. When the moon is in the 7th house".

Within a few years, I was to become a low key member of the White Panthers out of Ann Arbor Michigan, a twin-society-sisterhood-and-brotherhood to the radical Black Panthers. In fact, I got called into the school principal's office for passing out White Panther buttons and literature in my public High School. They didn’t want me to subvert the high school into radical thinking. Like anyone could stop that from eventually happening. For some, the turbulent times meant violence and protesting for peace. Now, theres an oxymoron for you. And, I was no different. I had been a 'greaser', playing soul music in a band and wearing leather and all black clothing with hair slicked back, but then I switched to being a "frat'-boy with jeans and long-ish hair and fringe vests listening to the 'LUV", Jimi Hendrix and Quicksilver Messenger Service along with Bob Dylan.

In the coming years, there was the Attica Prison riot, the riots in Chicago, L.A. and Detroit, the Rouge Park Love-ins and the Be-in's, Berkley, Haight-Ashbury, Greenwich Village, the Vietnam War, the Beatles and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, California and communal living. John Sinclair went to prison for selling 2 joints, and the Weatherman were blowing up buildings. For a time I was participating in protests with the SDS, the Students for a Democratic Society. They too liked to blow things up, but I wasn’t into the violence thing, so I stuck with music as my form of support for the Youth Generation.

We all just wanted an equal voice to our parents shouting. We were going off to a war we didn’t understand and dying for it, so, why shouldn’t we be heard? The draft was at 18 and drinking and voting was legal at that age as well. We wanted things to be equal everywhere when they were not. Everything was possible, the world at our feet. And our feet were barefoot or in sandals or tennis shoes. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was playing, the Moody Blues had released "Days of Future Passed' the 1st rock and roll with orchestra album, and I was hooked.

"1967 Summer of Love/Motor City's Burning: Revisited"

It was a contradiction in terms my brothers and sisters. This week brings the 40 anniversary of the both the Summer of Love and the '67 Detroit Riots, started when a few White Police officers raided and after hours 'blind pig' owned and operated in the black community. While in San Francisco, Laural Canyon and Ann Arbor, the hippies where preaching harmony, in Detroit we were putting out fires. Some have never gone out.

There I was, driving into the black neighborhood to pick up my black lead singer(s) with giant afros for band practice and they would have to lay down in the back seat till we got to my all white and then racially segregated suburb of Detroit. Talk was "if them riot boys (blacks)cross over Southfield road...we'll (white boys)be waiting for 'em to drive 'em back (by shooting them)". How crazy was that! Here was Peace and Love and Monterey Pop, counterculture and drug experimentation, Viet Nam protests, and ongoing civil rights demonstrations... and Ravi Shankar.

I myself joined along with the MC5 and John Sinclair as a member of the White Panther Party, and sat to listen to Reverend John J. Crawford ask..."You have 2 things to decide Brothers and Sisters! Are you gonna be the PROBLEM...or are you gonna be the SOLUTION? The choice is yours!" I chose the later, and still consider myself a child of the sixties and peace and love. Whereas Detroit has never really recovered with still many burned out homes and delapidated houses and neighborhoods, the "Flower Children" are still here. Older, wiser, but more committed than ever. Both instances changed the world, and the music reflected that.

I've listed some music and groups that either were born of the generation, or formed it. Either out of changing times and revolution, or by experimentation and freedom of expression. They changed our world forever for the better.

                                               From the Top Ten of '67

The Beatles, "Penny Lane" b/w "Strawberry Fields Forever"
Aretha Franklin, "Respect"
The Rolling Stones, "Let's Spend the Night Together" b/w "Ruby Tuesday"
The Who, "I Can See For Miles"
Jackie Wilson, "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher"
Sam and Dave, "Soul Man"
The Doors, "Light My Fire"
The Buffalo Springfield, "For What It's Worth"
Procol Harum, "A Whiter Shade Of Pale"
Otis Redding, "Try A Little Tenderness"
Sgt Pepper-Beatles
Days of Future Passed-Moody Blues
Are you Experienced?-Jimi Hendrix

We were introduced to the music of the Ravi Shankar, Beatles, Byrds, the Four Tops, the Doors, Donovan, James Brown, the Who, Monterey Pop, Mothers of Invention, McCoy Tyner, the Yardbirds, Beach Boys, Moby Grape, Love, Aretha Franklin, Richie Havens, Jefferson Airplane, Easy Beats, Monkees, Hollies, Left Bank, Velvet Underground, Tangerine Dream, Sam & Dave, Supremes, Otis Redding, Pink Floyd, Scott Walker, Wilson Pickett, Rolling Stones, Cream, Buffalo Springfield, Captain Beefheart, Traffic, Janis Joplin, Country Joe & the Fish, Joan Baez, Tim Hardin, Moody Blues, Procol Harum, Tim Buckly, Bob Dylan, Incredible String Band, Arlo Guthrie, Small Face, Jeff Beck, Soft Machine, Dan Hicks, Roland Kirk, Archie Shepp, Phil Ochs, The Electric Prunes, Charlie Musselwhite, Commander Cody. It was an amazing time on both fronts.

As the riots and fires in Detroit smoldered into history, as the fire on Hendrix's Stratocastor at Monterey Pop burned bright. Both events left people in attendance in awe. No one had seen anything like that before, and probably not since. It was changing times, and for the most part, dawn of a new day and a newer generation. The kids today have no concept of what we went through in the "Summer of Love" while the Detroit Riots had the "Motor City Burnin'". As we banded together into new groups of Hippies and White and Black Panthers, we all learned to recycle by reading Mother Earth News. Sure, we segregated into our little groups of war protesters and draft dodgers, soldiers and revolutionaries, but we all were getting the same message. The more we pulled apart, we began to see a common need to unite. And, it's still happening now. Even though it's taken some 40 years, it may still take awhile longer to get it together in harmony and peace.

"Album 1sts. Can you guess which album....?

What album was...? (*Answers at the end)

1. First obviously LSD inspired record? First with L.S.D. initials?
2. First album cover commisioned by a fine artist?
3. First to construct an elaborate set for a cover?
4. First album with 'goodies' or surprises inside?
5. First album with Cannabis(Marijuana) on the cover?
6. First Pop album with lyrics on cover?
7. First with the artist's back turned?
8. First album where the group holds instruments they can't play?
9. First to mention 'turning on'?
10. First 'Soul-Pop' song with a fake fade out?
11. First album with 'phasing' effects used the 1st time, and on more than one cut?
12. First 'Soul-Pop' song with and orchestral 'freakout'?
13. First song with 'I get High' in the lyrics?
14. First record to combine circus music with outer space?
15. First established group pretending to be another group?
16. First to explore dead celebrities?
17. First to come with Marijuana rolling papers?

The Beatles Sgt. Pepper album was...
1. First to end/w a 43-second...?
2. First cover to risk being sued by the estate of what Bowery boy?
3. First where John let Paul...?
4. First to use a comb and tissue instead of...?

*Answers 1.)1966 Blues Magoos-Love Seems Doomed
2.)1955 Jackie Gleason-The Great One/w Salvador Dali
3.)1958 Satan is real-The Louvin Brothers
4.)1962 Chubby Checkers Greatest Hits, pullouts and stickers
5.)Country Joe & The Fish & Dave Peel (Tie)
6.)1955 Sing along with Mitch(Miller)
7.)1967 Inside-Out Bobby Darrin
8.)1967 Surrealistic Pillow -Jefferson Airplane
9.)1964 The Beatles-She's a Woman
10.)1962 The Contours- Do you love me?
11.)1958 Miss Toni Fisher-The Big Hurt
12.)1960 This Magic Moment-The Drifters
13.)The Beatles-I wanna hold your hand
14.)1947 Bozo and his Rocketship
15.)1965 Franki Valli & The Four Seasons-3 singles as The Wonder Who?
16.)1957 Concert in the Sky -Teddy Phillips and his Orchestra/w the Jack Halloran Choir, Narrator-Ken Nordine
17.) Cheech and Chong-Big Bamboo (Thanks Tommy!)

*Answers-Sgt. Pepper1.)Piano chord 2.)Leo Gorcey 3.)...have his way for once 4.)kazoo

"Somethin's happenin' here."

By about 1968, after my years as a Detroit-based 'soul-music' and rock n roll guitar player in local bands, I began really exposing myself to all kinds of music from the 'hip' scenes around the world. West Coast, East Coast, England, India and Southern Rock. Jug Band, Folk, Country, Rythmn and Blues, Bob Dylan, Country Joe & The Fish, Richie Havens, Janis Joplin, the Electric Flag, Ravi Shankar and Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks. I started wearing hippie clothes like green and black paisley shirts with black and red polka dotted ties and leather cowboy fringe n things. I even took to wearing a cowboy hat. Everything was cool. John Lennon sang "Nothing is real. And nothing to get hung about." And he was right. It was all relevant, and nothing was relevant. A new world of contradictions was before us.

Soon to come would be the Woodstock, Newport and Monterey Pop festivals, and all organized religions and political agendas would be considered passé and "old world". But in some cases, old world wasn’t so bad. It was a longing of the youth for things to change not back to the way things were, but to become something new. Still, at the same time, we knew things just couldn’t stay the same forever. Something had to give. It did for me, and it was all at once. In Ypsilanti Michigan and Ann Arbor, serial killer John Norman Collins had begun killing college girls. For a bit, I lived down the street from his house.

After all the years of  war and Vietnam, and then with Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King being assassinated, and Charles Manson sending his tripped-out hit-squad to Sharon Tate's house, all of it was beginning to turn ugly. By 1969's end and the Rolling Stones Altamont Festival where a black man died at the hands of the Hells Angels, the days of flower-power were beginning to signal yet another change. The flowers were starting to wilt. Before we knew it, we as the 'new-society' were becoming blasé ourselves. We were slowly but inevitably becoming our parents. As the song title said: "Child is father to the Man".

The 1st really self-liberating thing for me was getting married at 18 in 1971. Theres another oxymoron. Tied down and liberated at the same time. Looking back, it was the stupidest thing I could have done. The tied-down part, not the self-liberating. I just shouldn’t have mixed the 2. My wife suffered and gave up the most. I was always a musician, and always in a band. And, after all. It was the free-love generation anyway. I had deferred the draft and as a student for a year of so. Soon after, President Nixon abolished the draft, and I was free from worrying about dying for a war I thought we had no business in.

Many books, plays and movies we all hold sacred from the Hippie days accurately reflect the ideals and lifestyles and dreams of  the Beatniks of the 50's and early 60's and the Hippies of the early 60's and 70's. Below, Ive listed quite a few examples with comments following them. These impressed us 'hippies' with life-changing ideas and ideals.

"Hippie, New Age, Free-Thinking Books and Monthly Periodicals'
Various Authors

*On the Road-Jack Kerouwac (Sent millions searching the " road' in America FOR America..and themselves)
*The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test- Ken Kesey (The story of the Merry Pranksters, their bus and travels across the country on Acid)
*Guitar Army-John Sinclair (A bit after-the-fact explaining the rock and roll revolutionary music-political movements, the SDS, White Panthers and Free-Love theories of the pre and post hippie days in Ann Arbor and the world)
*Brave New World-Aldous Huxley
*The Psychedelic Experience-Timothy Leary (Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead and the psychedelic experience by)
*The Doors of Perception-Aldous Huxley (The psychedelic experience inspiring the name of the rock band The Doors)
*LSD, my Problem Child-Albert Hofmann
*Stranger in a Strange Land-Robert Heinlein (Popular among subculture participants)
*The Strawberry Statement-James Simon Kunen (60's College-political-lifestyles)
*Desiderata-Max Ehrmann
("Desired-Things"-prose poem)
*Whole Earth Catalog-(Mother Natures bible of Earth, Water, foods and lifestyles)
*Mother Earth News-(Mother Natures other bible of Earth, Water, foods, lifestyles and how-t-do-and-grow periodicals)
*Teachings of Don Juan-Don Juan (His journeys of the soul and spirit while experiencing psychedelic peyote, mescaline and mushrooms in the Midwest and Mexico)
*The Marijuana Cookbook (How to make brownies, Hashish and LSD from blue mold on Oranges)
*Steal this book-Abbie Hoffman. (Guide to living while avoiding the rules of the establishment)
*The Hobbit-H.R.Tolkien (Life in Middle Earth and a mirror of society(ies) in general)
*Alice in Wonderland/Alice through the Looking Glass-Lewis Carroll (Down the rabbit hole)
*Chariot of The Gods-Eric Von Daniken-(We came from space with the proof left in ancient times)
*Yi Ching-Wade/Giles (Cosmology and Philosophy)
*Quotations from Chairman Mao-(The wisdom and philosophical thinking of the Chairman)
*Nietzsche- Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (Philosophy)
*Freud-Sigmond Freud (Philosophy)
*The Bible
*The Quran (Koran)
*The Talmud/Torah

"Underground Comix"

Ive collected these and still have a generally wide assortment of the best. They are my pride and joy and an eternal connection to my past. They tell the stories of the times, politics, people and their dreams and disappointments. These are just the top-5 of many we enjoyed reading by rolled smoke, candles and tea cups.

*Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers
*Mr. Natural
*Harold Hedd
*Dopin' Dan
*Zap Comix

"Musical Stage Plays"

*Hair    (The Dawning of the Age of Aquaius)
*Godspell    (Day by Day. God is Love)
*Jesus Christ Superstar    (Hippies and God, Peace. Love and Brotherhood)

"Movies"

*The Graduate       (Life and Love after College-60's)
*Love Story         (Love in College-60's)
*Woodstock         (The Festival that started all the rest)
*Alices Resturant    (Hippies makin' a living-60's)
*Felix the Cat        (Animated and X-rated)
*The Wild ones      (Bikers)
*Born Losers        (More Bikers)
*Easy Rider         (Bikers looking for America)
* Reefer Madness   (Anti-pot smoking propaganda from 30’s-50’s)
*The Trip           (Film attempt at an Acid Trip at a party)
*Alice B.           (Humor and Hippies)
*Beach Movies     (California Dreamin' before the Hippie Generation hit the road)
*Hard Days Night, Help!, Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine
(Beatles and Babes, Beatles and a mystery, A magical journey by bus to the
center of their minds, and an animated romp to the bottom of the sea)
*Romeo & Juliet          (Love and forbidden love in classical times)
*2001: A Space Odyssey  (The answer to where we came from)
*Planet of The Apes       (Where we are going perhaps: answered)
*Soylent Green            (“We’re eating PEOPLE! Soylent Green is PEOPLE!”

Though there are many, many more great seminal movies and books not listed,  these wonderful memories above of the literature, movies and musicals is an accurate mirror of the way things were, and how, when and why they changed. Some, from the 60's and to a lesser degree, the '70's, shook the world for me and you and everyone else. A wide berth was cut during those years when the world as we knew it began to change.

"Kaleidescope Eyes"

I began packing my Sherlock Holmes pipe, and off into the cosmos I went. It's kinda like that old saying. "Its like I took acid in 1967 and never came down". Fantastic music set my mind racing, and it was all fantastic. One would have to experience what I did, when and how I did them, and under what circumstances. LSD, Peyote, Mescalito Cactus, mushrooms and "acid-trips" are something that everyone had to experience in their own way to understand. Writing about it hardly gives it justice. If fact, it’s the one thing that cannot be adequately explained by definition only. Just like Alice, you have to go down the rabbit hole so-to-speak. Times were different then, and surely, some kids were harmed by less-than pure manufacturing of mind-altering and expanding drugs. Some died. I was one of the lucky ones.

The journeys expanded my mind and consciousness, and showed me how to find and recognize what was within me. It helped me better understand what was going on out-SIDE of me as well, and the world we all lived in. Or thought we lived in. There were many surprises. In the hippie 60's, burning your bra or draft card were just a couple of the things you could do to protest society. And protest we did. We objected to most things our parents accepted as normal. I had a few radical high school teachers with long hair who could be called hippies, and they embraced the ideals and thoughts for a spiritually brave new world, and a better and greener way of living

Pot, psychedelics, Jasmine Tea, incense and music were our escapes from worrying about school, the war, the government, equal rights, and saving the planet from ourselves. Back then as I said, most recreational drugs were still legal. I had begun an inward search of my outside-self involving marathon music headphone listening sessions with incense, wine and candles, along with the usual stimuli of the times. I needed to find something. And usually when referring to those searches we hippies had undertaken, we were really only searching for ourselves by artificially taking journeys or 'tripping' to the 'land inside our minds'.

We had no real maps, and didn’t know then what we know now. Those drugs were our GPS of the day. The answers and the directions of how to get somewhere could be found within us. We only needed to look. We didn’t realize we really didn’t need any special ways to get there. I took up Transcendental Meditation, interspersed with Ravi Shankar's sitar, black lights and incense. It was a very eye opening set of revelations to say the least. We changed forever…

"Getting back to the Garden"

As the 1970's approached, winds of change blew hard and came from all directions. We all tried in our own ways to maintain the dream by music, pacifism, holistic medicine, natural foods, college, even military (though against all we really stood for. Returning Vietnam vets were spit on and called 'baby-killers), and by working the machine. None of it was like tending in the garden we were so trying to hang onto in hopes we could spur growth. We did, but it was not as fast as we expected or hoped for. Some of us to this day, are still waiting to get back to the garden.

As a later member of the 1950's Rock and Roll group Johnny and The Hurricanes, in his biography "SAX MAN" that I co-wrote, at the end of the Beatnik era around 1959 and the death of Buddy Holly, it was the "very birth of rock and roll and the day the music died". It could arguably be the beginning of the hippie era as well, culminating some 10-15 years later in the mid-70's with the start of the Disco era. Personally, I had experienced everything between the end of the Beatniks in 1961-62, the rise of the Hippies and the Beatles from 1962, through the riots and Summer of Love in 1967, Woodstock in '69, and the end of the era after Charles Manson and the Tate-la Bianca Murders, the Rolling Stones and death at the Altamont Festival.

What was once "Cool Daddy-o!" in the 50's, turned into "Death to the Pigs!' and melted psychedelically into "Peace and Love!" in that 10 years or so short space of time. And speaking of Space? I think a fitting ending to it all was when I watched on astronaut Neil Armstrong on television walking on the moon. The Bee Gees and Saturday Night Fever style music for what it was and what it was to represent, was our future. And just like the 50's and '60's, we would roll right into it, through it and right over it.

A young suburban lead guitar player in a high school garage band, I had gone from band to band, would soon start recording and touring, and shortly would reached some fame, traveling to places I only read about. I had gone from 50's rock n roll, to the Beatles, Acid Rock and the Allman Brothers, and would wind-up for awhile on the Hee Haw television show playing country-rock. I also played with Waylon (Dukes of Hazard) Jennings. I touched on folk, learned styles and tunings used by Middle Eastern musicians, and played Gospel and Jug Band tunes. All the while, I was still searching and meditating.

In the near future, I would find myself living in Florida, South Carolina and Kentucky. True to my roots, I never lost my affinity and love for the college towns of Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor. It always reminded me of those 1st days of black light posters, incense, bongs, pipes and beads, tie dyes and choker necklaces. It was to represent fresh ideas and new ways of thinking. To this day I still wear tye-died shirts and chokers. Where once we were the flower-children of the 60's, we now had become our children's fathers and mothers. We were the society that we rebelled against. We were the old ones claiming to know it all. After all of our searching, self inspection and reflections, I seriously doubt we will ever really know anything.

For the most part, in general, now-a-days we attempt to exercise and work out and eat healthy, try to "think-green" and save the planet. We've learned a bit about ESP, meditation and psychic energy, the YI-Ching, and Tai Chi. We learned we're all in this together, yet we still had disease, wars, conspiracies, hatred, murders and false prophets. We came to find we cant save the world from itself. Or, from ours-elves. It all must be done with small steps. And with such tiny movements, we cant change things very much overnight or maybe even in our lifetimes. It will take many of them, and even more of us to make things change.

When we marched in the streets in the 60's, and 'grooved to the music of our heros, we just rolled more 'doobies' with extra-wide banana papers, and never realized how long change itself would take. We wanted it right then, and didn’t want to wait. So. Did things change after all? They did. Did all the smoking and tripping in the "hippie-days" open up our minds any farther or deeper? Of course it did. We all really learned a lot during those sessions. I know I did. No regrets.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Part 2 

The '70's
The dream. Tripping at Disney World, Country Rock, Artist Colonies, Disco and 3's Company. 

"1970. Remember what the door-mouse said. Feed your head!"

By 1970-71, I personally had come a long way from that 1st 4-way Purple Micro-dot Acid Paul gave me 40 some years ago. And he didn’t tell me that it was for 4 people to split-up and take. I took all of it. What a 1st trip it was! I spent the next 2 days pressing my nose against the window staring at the street below as it appeared to shimmer in the sun, and then glitter in the moonlight. I put on headphones to the Moody Blues, the Beatles and Acid-Rock bands of the day. And Ravi Shankar and Santana. My ears opened my mind and I was off on a journey to the center of it.

I had the distinct pleasurable mind-altering experience of 2 Orange Sunshine acid tabs dropped in orange juice at Florida's Disney World around 1973-74. Not to approve of or condone taking the drugs we have now-a-days, if anyone was ever to experience psychedelia under any circumstance, I always said it should be at Disney World or Disneyland. I will never forget being on the ride Space Mountain, a roller coaster in the dark while I was tripping-out, or Hall of the Presidents who seemed to come alive, and it was the same at the Haunted Mansion. It was hysterical when Mickey Mouse and Minny both ran up to me with those giant ears. So, I have always stated that would be the one place if you ever wanted to experience a one time only acid 'trip'. After that, you would never need to take another one. It would explain everything.

Over the next 30 years or so, under different circumstances and in odd times, I was to take more "journeys to the center of the mind". I heard, saw and felt things that only existed in that world of crystal prism rainbows. And like many of my peers, we were just searching for something, somewhere, somehow, someway, someplaces both odd, historical and unusual, while trying to find ourselves, and where we were and where we were going to. The real life-changing secret revelation to it all was evident. We create our own reality. The psychedelics only opened the door. Reflecting now, we had searched under many conditions and in many ways and places in dark corners, loud concerts, bright rooms, on mountain tops, on College Campus's, in the Ocean, at the Circus, on islands, rivers, underground in caves, and cemeteries. We found ourselves everywhere, and sometimes nowhere.

After the death of the psychedelic 60's, our sojourns were still an eternal searching for the meaning of life itself. We saw wavy colors, demons and dragons, giant butterflies, talking dogs and musical notes turning into people and crayons. Words jumped off pages, dancing and swelling back and forth and up and down, and chanting voices reverberated inside our heads. Though it was mostly visual and auditory imagery, we all came to understand that everyone of us must search in our own ways for the truth we seek, for it was always, and is still…inside of each of us. The meaning of life is to live it.

Sadly there would be no real going back to those times. At least, not in the same ways. And there shouldn’t have been anyway. But, thats not to say some of us didnt continue the search for Shambala and Nirvana the rest of our lives. We did. For some, one trip was enough. For others, 200 acid trips was nowhere near enough. Still, our journeys always brought the same results. What lies within, is with-out. The answers are all the same for all of us. That we really are "Stardust". And, "we are golden". It was only how we perceived that realization that was the real difference. And how long it takes each of us in our own ways and methods to figure it out.

Sometime down the road and a bit later in life, I would learn one infallible massively simple truth. We don’t need the artificial stimuli to search for oneself. There are other ways to get to and go inside and find that world we hippies found in the 60's. But, it wasn’t exactly around the corner. Dues needed to be paid 1st, and life lived. The 1970's were beginning, and the war wasnt dwindling down. There were still boys coming home in boxes. It was still along way off to ending for real. A lot of suitcases were packed and ready to cross the border into Canada. Mine too.

"I was so much older then. Im younger than that now"

We were all trying to go forward with our lives, by somehow looking into our past to see where we had been. Once found, once learned. That which is revealed…you know? Then again, maybe you don't. In reality, it was a journey we never completed and many of us are still on, and will be taking forever in that quest for Utopia. Its the road less traveled, perhaps an impossible dream. But, for the bohemians, beatniks, and hippies of 1960's, it was our Holy Grail. And at the start of the 70's, I was still well into the midst of my own personal search. And that search led me to people, and cicumstances that need to be accurately represented here.

I had recently gotten married, began teaching guitar lessons, joined a famous rock n roll band, and recorded by own solo record at Motown Records. Shortly thereafter, I traveled to Florida and had my Disneyworld experience, and eventually settled in the Miami suburb of Coral Gables. The Bohemian Hippie enclave of Coconut Grove was within walking distance of my home. Being an artist-hippie community which it still is to this day, it was like being back home in Ann Arbor with all the head-shops, paraphernalia, freaks and hairys. Only with palm trees. Key West, another 'land of the hippies community' was a 4 hour drive south across the dotted line of islands and freeway called the Florida Keys. One long, lone strip of concrete with nothing but the blue-green waters of The Gulf of Mexico on your right, and the Atlantic Ocean on your left. There I continued my search-for-self.

I would visit the Coconut Grove, Key West and Ft. Lauderdale head shops and bookstores frequently. I got into Oriental Philosophies, Transcendental Meditation, different Religions and Ideologies, meta-physical and paranormal pursuits. And music itself was about to change. From the folk-rock groups to the Arena rock bands, to the Southern Rockers like Marshall Tucker, The Allman Brothers, Charlie Daniels and other country rock and pop sounds, on the immediate musical horizon, stood something both new and different.

It had been a literal explosion of contrasting styles for every taste. That was another great influence the 60's had on us. Music. And, lots and lots of every color and kind. But, the dominant music at the onset of the 70's, would change everyones perceptions, including mine, about everything in our world we had been trying so hard to understand. It was called: DISCO.

"W.M.C.A. Turn the beat around. Celebrate good times. C'mon!"

Looking back, it was a gradual thing. I can say that because as a musician in a bar band, we rolled through the changes in music as they happened. We could be doing a Crosby, Still and Nash song, then would go into a Bee Gees tune. One rock, than 1 dance song. One guy in the band might have afro hair leftover from the 60's, and the other guy might dress in platform shoes (that was me). Everything we did, we learned and played from growing up the 60's, mish-mashed together. The bar and club scene wanted both kinds of music, and we played both. What tipped the scales was the desire to dance.

Dancing became a predominant pleasure at the clubs. Especially after "Saturday Night Fever". The 50's had their line-dancing, to be revived in future 80's as 'country-line' dancing, and the hippies and rockers had their 'freak-out' and trippy kind of dancing. You would see it all in the clubs and Soul Train. Somewhere between Dobie Gray's "The In-Crowd" and the Temptations "Psychedelic Shack" and "Cloud Nine" and perhaps Marvin Gaye's "Whats goin' on?", black and white, soul brothers and hippies blended together into the 'common man'. All was acceptable, whether it was rock or soul, greaser or frat, freak, Hindu or hillbilly. And it made everyone want to dance. And all that dancing brought out more of it BECAUSE of it.

The music scene began to change to reflect the times. Even I myself had gone on to 1st my solo Motown recording, then to a 50's Show Band, and on to relocating in Florida where the #1 Group was Henry Casey's band. A studio producer of dance tunes, he is best known by his other name: K.C. & The Sunshine Band. While he was recording disco music, across town the Allmans and Eric Clapton were recording their thing. It was all possible. But, lines in the sand were being drawn in music. Stupid me tried using an eraser, and I learned a valuable lesson. Stay true to your roots. Humph! Easy to say when you’ve come out of the musical soup potpourri that was 60's music.

I continued headlining my own group playing mostly my own original tunes. Sometimes it was as a solo folk type singer, and sometimes as a piano man, working the hotels in Miami Beach and up and down the coast for Holiday Inns of America. All that led me to little money. But, being a 'star-child' of the hippie-movement, I was convinced that I would make it in music. Funny how dreams have a way of waking you up when you'd rather keep dreaming.

"Three's company too"

It was after all the 'Swingin' 70's'. I swear Jack Tripper had nothing on me. In fact, he stole my life completely. Except on the show, Jack, Janet and Chrissey never had sex together. Well, I got that one on him. My wife worked for a major insurance firm in Coral Gables while I worked fairly steadily performing at the Miami Beach Hotels. "Miss Sunshine" was a pure little blonde beach-chick. She picked me up in the bar at the Holiday Inn. She sat in that Holiday Inn every night for 2 weeks while I performed. I guess you can perhaps tell where this is going?

Whenever this part of my past has come up, Ive stated that given the chance, I would not do it over again. But, I wasn’t sorry either that I did it. The short ending to a long story is that 'free-love' still existed, right or wrong, well into the 70's and 80's. We ended up in a performing Sonny and Cher type duo, and she, my wife and myself, shared a one bedroom apartment. We all lived together (descriptions and details un-mentioned to protect the guilty), and as a trio, we lived the life expressed in the 60's. "Love one another right now" and "Love the one youre with" were mantras all three of us practiced and believed in. That’s not to say it worked out in the end.

Ive often remarked that I learned from that experience was "what does sex have to do with marriage?" Nothing and everything, and I experienced it both ways. This is important to mention because that lifestyle is the end result of all we learned about being brothers and sisters and sharing our homes and our beds. Looking for something? Sure. Find it? More than I wanted. Was it good? That depends on what you mean, and about what part of it. But was it worth it? I'd have to say both yes and no. For the experience of it, it was invaluable as a lesson in giving and sharing and supporting. On the downside, it produced jealousy and betrayal. The sexual part of trying to live the life us hippies promoted in the 60's, was obviously what it was. I will not delve into any particulars for the sake of us all involved.

So, how did it end? It started with a business agent partner taking all of our performing money, stranding us up in North Carolina, and (unbeknownst to us) with him ripping off Florida cocaine dealers. I found that out when I opened the blinds to my 3rd floor office and there were bullet holes in the 3rd floor glass parallel to the freeway ramp. Pretty good aim I suspect. Within 3 days, the wife, myself and the blonde packed it up and headed North to Michigan were we moved for good. At least, for the foreseeable future. I went back to teaching guitar lessons and playing in bands, my wife transferred back to her old company, and my father gave "Miss Sunshine" a job in his Drugstore where she ripped him off on hundreds of dollars of make-up. I last saw her when she ran off with a Karate Instructor. My wife and I divorced, and it is there that our "3's Company" story ended.

Regarding communal living and sharing love and life, of course there is still much more to tell about the adventures the 3 of us had. Some were sad, and some were really amazing. Some of them were really funny, and some of course were sexual in nature. More were bitter and resentful. There were a few more joint acid trips in that part of the 70's we took together as well before the end. How it all ended would make another kind of story. Suffice to say, it did end, and not very well. By that time, it was 1979 and 10 years had passed since Woodstock. In my future I would repeat some of my mistakes, some more than once. Sometimes, we just never learn. But all in all, I have learned a lot about life, love and happiness. Karma is real. I am living proof of that.

The 80's, 90's & Beyond
Beginning of the end, end of the beginning

I would continue searching for meanings in life, and trying to find why I am still even here. And to this day, I still am on that quest. Free love and drug journeys were still practiced by those hippies turning 30, and their little brothers and sisters trying to follow them by example. I had a few more psychedelic experiences in the 80's and again in the 90's. But it was never the same. The 90's found me experimenting with life and death on the night shift in Ann Arbor at University Hospital. That was a trip itself. And by then, the acid wasn’t that great, and psilocybin mushrooms were taking its place.

I found that I had come full circle back to Ann Arbor and the my days in the 60's and 70's on the Diag and State Street. Once, I thought we could change the world on the outside, by changing ourselves on the inside. In the end, I did begin to see things in a different light. Just not with so many colors.

And for all my "trips", demonstrations, protests and searching, and with all of the chanting "Ohm, Ohm!" and "Hare Khrisna, Hare Khrishna!" the world really didn’t change all that much. I guess in the end, it was me that changed. And it was for the better. Looking back after nearly 60 years of living, I suppose what they say still holds true. Old hippies never die. They just fade away. Either that, or open a candle booth or 'smoothie'-shop at the local Art Fair.

Peace, Love n Light to you all my Brothers and Sisters. Gregg Allman said it better than I could that “the Road goes on forever…”


8-30-10/ Edit Update 6-1-2015




Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Gift of Talent. Preparing the way...

The Gift of Talent. Preparing the way for people with talented gifts, to share them with others like themselves.

It's been a long time coming. The Gift of Talent website, brain-child of Roger Banks and Andre Pough Sr's , looks to be their "gift" to the world of talented people. After the original plan to develop the website came to a screeching halt after a year or so of waiting, it wasn’t for lack of interest. All good things come to those who wait. And that’s about to change.

A website like this one is a great idea whose time had come, and was long overdue. Roger Banks, singer, musician, published author whom I've known for over 20 years, was on to something. Andre Pough Sr, an author and co-author of several different books with and without Roger, definitely had some great ideas. Let's call it a vision. I could see it the 1st time Andre spoke of this idea: he had passion in his eyes. And when it comes like that, it always hints of something great. In this case, "tunnel vision" was a good thing. They both never let up with their dream for a unique website for talented people of all kinds. When I expressed to Andre and Roger its potential for video, photos, comments and critiques from peer-to-peer in a greater depth…lights went off in my own head too. This could be something that would gain world-wide popularity. And now, that’s the plan.

Networking sites are little more than just what they portend to be: social networking sites. There's hardly any that come to mind that expose talented people and their individual gifts to each other. Singers, musicians, actors, dancers, authors, multi-media artists, graphic designers, and even poets, comedians and magicians will finally have a one-stop website where they can put up examples of their talents. Others talents like Roger and Andre, will be able to comment and critique, sharing their hopes, dreams, talents and "gifts" with each other. America, Asia, Australia, Scandinavia, and any and everywhere "talented" people wish to share their gifts, Roger Banks and Andre Pough Sr's vision for a better way to reach out, will be there with The Gift of Talent website.

And so it begins. Thanks Andre and Roger…it's about time!
"Hurricane" Duane Thomas"

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

3/28/53-? Birthday again: Still here.

"Drivin' Sideways in Detroit!" by Hurricane Duane Thomas

Howdy friends. Nope…I haven’t quit writing or died, jus' didn’t have anything particular to say. So here's an update about everyone and everything in my life, and what I've been up to.

Books:
*In England in a Publishers office outside London: "SAXMAN", my non-fiction novel of Johnny Paris's life story, "The Hurricanes" and the history of Rock n Roll. Publishing date? Unknown. That’s England for ya…
*"Upon a Magic Swirling Ship" is a bio of my journey into Psychedelica , and the 1960s Rock and Roll, drugs and women scene I went thru, and why we did the things we did. From the Beatles, Woodstock, Soul Train and Three's Company, it explains a lot and mentions many songs, events, movies and books about those times. Another I written "Spirits I've known…and a few I didn’t" is another true life chronicle of weird and strange-but-true events that have happened to me over all these years and places. Ghosts and shadow people, mysterious events and places. I hope most will find it entertaining. Publishing release dates will be soon I hope.
Work:
*CERT TEAM Dearborn Community Emergency Response Team: Still a Team member, but due to a bad hip, my general contribution is as the monthly Newsletter Editor and Publisher, and volunteering for special events.
*Ford Motors? Gave up 4 years as Supervisor and moved to one of the auto plants as a Patrol Officer and Dispatcher. This way I keep movin' after too many years behind a desk at Fords. Besides…that suit and tie was gettin' itchy.
Music:
*Musically? Ive lost most interest with my musical partner and brother Paul having passed. We had written, performed, traveled, recorded, did tv shows, tours and the like for over 40 years. I do still have a plan to at least record my originals again: most over the years have been lost, but without Paul, it's not gonna be easy. Well, anything worth doing usually isn’t easy anyway…
Life:
*Lucky-the "Wonder Dog"? He's still around my ankles and 10 lbs heavier, whereas Im 20 or so more myself. And the wife's always on her eternal search for the perfect job, and she's SO-O-O great at what she does…it’s a shame its taking a bit to find a niche that fits. But, she will for sure.
*Working on a new website with an old friend in Ann Arbor Roger Banks. A great guy, and most talented as well, he is on a journey himself to give the world his "Gift of Talent" with a new social entertainment website of the same name.

*"DRIVIN' SIDEWAYS IN DETROIT!"/ http://www.drivinsidewaysindetroit.blogspot.com. There are over 70 articles by myself about music, life, love and everything else you can think of. Please give it a look and search around. Drop me an email too!

For now, that about sums it up: life goes on….at least for another year I hope. Unless of course the 2012 Mayan Doomsday Prophecy comes to pass!

Love one another…find some peace in your life as well…for life is short. And it doesn’t come with a manual!

Peace, Love n' Light to all as always…..I'll be back.

"Hurricane" Duane Thomas
Johnny & The Hurricanes
hurricane.duane@yahoo.com
http://www.drivinsidewaysindetroit.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Upon a Magic Swirling Ship"

My Journey through the Psychedelic 60's, 70's & Beyond


The '60's
Music, Incense, Love, Revolution, Candles, Peace, Pigs and Flower Power.

The '70's
Living the dream. Tripping at Disney World, Country Rock, Artist Colonies, Disco and 3's Company.

The 80's, 90's & Beyond
Beginning of the end, end of the beginning

"'Hippie' is an establishment label for a profound, invisible, underground, evolutionary process. For every visible hippy, barefoot, beflowered, beaded, there are a thousand invisible members of the turned-on underground. Persons whose lives are tuned in to their inner vision, who are dropping out of the TV comedy of American Life." Timothy Leary

Prologue:
This true-life real biography and short story is about my own experiences as a flower-child of the 60's. It relates with specifics on how I made it into the '70's, '80's and into the New Millenium in one piece. While researching, I realized there was just too much going on back then to leave anything important out. Much more information exists on the Internet, Bookstores and in your local libraries. I will address the changes in the music and social society as experienced and embraced by myself and the generation of the times: the Hippies. I will only proceed with commentary on later years as necessary to the story.

My 'magic-carpet-ride' advances from the 60's and on into the 1970's and even a bit further in order to show the impressionistic lasting (and sometimes disillusionary) after effects of the "tune in-turn on-drop out" generation of contradictions I grew up in. War and free love, revolution and Rock n Roll. For practical purposes, I'll stop in the early 1980's when the full effects and after-effects of the 6o-'s and 70's were in full swing and began determining both our future as a society, a people and tribes, and as a planet.

Quickly I realized that there would have to be a lot more details reflecting what the 60's hippies-stop-the-war-tune-in-and-drop-out-love-the-one-youre-with era was all about for you…and for me. The 1970's, still part of that era of hippies, subculture and lifestyle changes, were at times more important as the final destination of the dream, only it wasnt the end. It was only the beginning....

The 60's
Music, Incense, Love, Revolution, Candles, Peace, Pigs and Flower Power

* "Looking back through the Looking Glass"
* "Dawning of the Age of Aquarius. When the moon is in the 7th house."
* "1967: The Summer of Love/The Motor City's Burnin' Revisited"
* "Album firsts: Can you guess which album…?"
* "Somethin's happenin' here"
* Hippie, New Age and Free-Thinking Books and Monthly Periodicals
* Underground Comix
* Musical Stage Plays
* Movies
* "Kaleidescope Eyes"
* "Getting back to the garden."

The 70's
* "1970. Remember what the door-mouse said. Feed your head"
* "I was so much older then. Im younger than that now."
*"W.M.C.A. Turn the beat around. Celebrate good times. C'mon!"

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The '60's
Music, Incense, Love, Revolution, Candles, Peace, Pigs and Flower Power.

"Looking back through the Looking Glass"

They say if you can remember the 60's, you weren’t there. Anything was possible. I was a child of the 60's when music changed the world, and where recreational drugs were a sign of the times. Pot wasn’t illegal, and neither was LSD. Good or bad, for better or worse, I came out of it healthier, hipper and a lot smarter. The world was at our feet, and in our heads. Hippies and revolution, rock 'n roll, Free Love. Incense, candles, White Panthers and paisley flower-power, Pigs and Peace signs. .

In Fall every year, I would go to Eastern Michigan University for the High School Choral Competitions, and my father would take me to the Ann Arbor University of Michigan Campus to a music store once and awhile. It was there that I got a taste of hippie posters, incense and hash-pipes. After that, the drive through the countryside to Ann Arbor got me hooked in another kind of way. I came to love the area, its woods, rivers and history. Years into the future, I would live there for nearly 20 years and work for the University. And in the beginning, a lot of it was just cool. Being 14 or 15, I had no real idea yet of why things were the way they were, but I knew in my heart, I was part of something greater. Or I should say, it was part of me. Like a cool and crisp fall morning, a change for me was in the air.

I came to love the turn of the century homes where the Fraternity houses mostly were, and all those hippie boutiques that always seemed to be up on the 4th floor, through the pipe shops, up the stairs and into the attic of some 150 year old Victorian in college towns across America. Whether they were on either Haight Ashbury in San Francisco, Plum Street in Detroit or State Street in Ann Arbor, they looked and had the same feel about them.

As a young kid from a repressed Catholic School upbringing, it was the Beatles and the folk-rock groups of 1964-65 that had a lasting impression on me. I just knew the stoic and prim and proper Nuns who taught me through 8th grade really didn’t have a clue about the rest of the world. They were the Dominican ones who wore the black and white habits with the tall headdresses. They looked like penguins. To this day, I still cant go to the zoo. You would just go to church on Sunday, confession on Saturday, and didn’t eat meat of Fridays. But, soon reality set in for me and things were about to change.

"Dawning of the Age of Aquarius. When the moon is in the 7th house".

Within a few years, I was to become a low key member of the White Panthers out of Ann Arbor Michigan, a twin-society-sisterhood-and-brotherhood to the radical Black Panthers. In fact, I got called into the school principal's office for passing out White Panther buttons and literature in my public High School. They didn’t want me to subvert the high school into radical thinking. Like anyone could stop that from eventually happening. For some, the turbulent times meant violence and protesting for peace. Now, theres an oxymoron for you. And, I was no different. I had been a 'greaser', playing soul music in a band and wearing leather and all black clothing with hair slicked back, but then I switched to being a "frat'-boy with jeans and long-ish hair and fringe vests listening to the 'LUV", Jimi Hendrix and Quicksilver Messenger Service along with Bob Dylan.

In the coming years, there was the Attica Prison riot, the riots in Chicago, L.A. and Detroit, the Rouge Park Love-ins and the Be-in's, Berkley, Haight-Ashbury, Greenwich Village, the Vietnam War, the Beatles and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, California and communal living. John Sinclair went to prison for selling 2 joints, and the Weatherman were blowing up buildings. For a time I was participating in protests with the SDS, the Students for a Democratic Society. They too liked to blow things up, but I wasn’t into the violence thing, so I stuck with music as my form of support for the Youth Generation.

We all just wanted an equal voice to our parents shouting. We were going off to a war we didn’t understand and dying for it, so, why shouldn’t we be heard? The draft was at 18 and drinking and voting was legal at that age as well. We wanted things to be equal everywhere when they were not. Everything was possible, the world at our feet. And our feet were barefoot or in sandals or tennis shoes. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was playing, the Moody Blues had released "Days of Future Passed' the 1st rock and roll with orchestra album, and I was hooked.

"1967 Summer of Love/Motor City's Burning Revisited"

It's a contradiction in terms my brothers and sisters. This week brings the 40 anniversary of the both the Summer of Love and the '67 Detroit Riots, started when a few White Police officers raided and after hours 'blind pig' owned and operated in the black community. While in San Francisco, Laural Canyon and Ann Arbor, the hippies where preaching harmony, in Detroit we were putting out fires. Some have never gone out.

There I was, driving into the black neighborhood to pick up my black lead singer(s) with giant afros for band practice and they would have to lay down in the back seat till we got to my all white and then racially segregated suburb of Detroit. Talk was "if them riot boys (blacks)cross over Southfield road...we'll (white boys)be waiting for 'em to drive 'em back (by shooting them)". How crazy was that! Here was Peace and Love and Monterey Pop, counterculture and drug experimentation, Viet Nam protests, and ongoing civil rights demonstrations... and Ravi Shankar.

I myself joined along with the MC5 and John Sinclair as a member of the White Panther Party, and sat to listen to Reverend John J. Crawford ask..."You have 2 things to decide Brothers and Sisters! Are you gonna be the PROBLEM...or are you gonna be the SOLUTION? The choice is yours!" I chose the later, and still consider myself a child of the sixties and peace and love. Whereas Detroit has never really recovered with still many burned out homes and delapidated houses and neighborhoods, the "Flower Children" are still here. Older, wiser, but more committed than ever. Both instances changed the world, and the music reflected that.

I've listed some music and groups that either were born of the generation, or formed it. Either out of changing times and revolution, or by experimentation and freedom of expression. They changed our world forever for the better.

From the Top Ten of '67:
The Beatles, "Penny Lane" b/w "Strawberry Fields Forever",
Aretha Franklin, "Respect",
The Rolling Stones, "Let's Spend the Night Together" b/w "Ruby Tuesday",
The Who, "I Can See For Miles",
Jackie Wilson, "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher",
Sam and Dave, "Soul Man",
The Doors, "Light My Fire",
The Buffalo Springfield, "For What It's Worth",
Procol Harum, "A Whiter Shade Of Pale",
Otis Redding, "Try A Little Tenderness",
Sgt Pepper-Beatles,
Days of Future Passed-Moody Blues,
Are you Experienced?-Jimi Hendrix

We were introduced to the music of the Ravi Shankar, Beatles, Byrds, the Four Tops, the Doors, Donovan, James Brown, the Who, Monterey Pop, Mothers of Invention, McCoy Tyner, the Yardbirds, Beach Boys, Moby Grape, Love, Aretha Franklin, Richie Havens, Jefferson Airplane, Easy Beats, Monkees, Hollies, Left Bank, Velvet Underground, Tangerine Dream, Sam & Dave, Supremes, Otis Redding, Pink Floyd, Scott Walker, Wilson Pickett, Rolling Stones, Cream, Buffalo Springfield, Captain Beefheart, Traffic, Janis Joplin, Country Joe & the Fish, Joan Baez, Tim Hardin, Moody Blues, Procol Harum, Tim Buckly, Bob Dylan, Incredible String Band, Arlo Guthrie, Small Face, Jeff Beck, Soft Machine, Dan Hicks, Roland Kirk, Archie Shepp, Phil Ochs, The Electric Prunes, Charlie Musselwhite, Commander Cody.

It was an amazing time on both fronts. The fires in Detroit smoldered into history, as the fire on Hendrix's Stratocastor at Monterey Pop burned bright. Both events left people in attendance in awe. No one had seen anything like that before, and probably not since. It was changing times, and for the most part, dawn of a new day and a newer generation. The kids today have no concept of what we went through in the "Summer of Love" while the Detroit Riots had the "Motor City Burnin'". As we banded together into new groups of Hippies and White and Black Panthers, we all learned to recycle by reading Mother Earth News. Sure, we segregated into our little groups of war protesters and draft dodgers, soldiers and revolutionaries, but we all were getting the same message. The more we pulled apart, we began to see a common need to unite. And, it's still happening now. Even though it's taken some 40 years, it may still take awhile longer to get it together in harmony and peace.

"Album 1sts. Can you guess which album....?

What album was...? (*Answers at the end)
1. First obviously LSD inspired record? First with L.S.D. initials?
2. First album cover commisioned by a fine artist?
3. First to construct an elaborate set for a cover?
4. First album with 'goodies' or surprises inside?
5. First album with Cannabis(Marijuana) on the cover?
6. First Pop album with lyrics on cover?
7. First with the artist's back turned?
8. First album where the group holds instruments they can't play?
9. First to mention 'turning on'?
10. First 'Soul-Pop' song with a fake fade out?
11. First album with 'phasing' effects used the 1st time, and on more than one cut?
12. First 'Soul-Pop' song with and orchestral 'freakout'?
13. First song with 'I get High' in the lyrics?
14. First record to combine circus music with outer space?
15. First established group pretending to be another group?
16. First to explore dead celebrities?
17. First to come with Marijuana rolling papers?

The Beatles Sgt. Pepper album was...
1. First to end/w a 43-second...?
2. First cover to risk being sued by the estate of what Bowery boy?
3. First where John let Paul...?
4. First to use a comb and tissue instead of...?

*Answers 1.)1966 Blues Magoos-Love Seems Doomed 2.)1955 Jackie Gleason-The Great One/w Salvador Dali 3.)1958 Satan is real-The Louvin Brothers 4.)1962 Chubby Checkers Greatest Hits, pullouts and stickers 5.)Country Joe & The Fish & Dave Peel (Tie) 6.)1955 Sing along with Mitch(Miller) 7.)1967 Inside-Out Bobby Darrin 8.)1967 Surrealistic Pillow -Jefferson Airplane 9.)1964 The Beatles-She's a Woman 10.)1962 The Contours- Do you love me? 11.)1958 Miss Toni Fisher-The Big Hurt 12.)1960 This Magic Moment-The Drifters 13.)The Beatles-I wanna hold your hand 14.)1947 Bozo and his Rocketship 15.)1965 Franki Valli & The Four Seasons-3 singles as The Wonder Who? 16.)1957 Concert in the Sky teddy Phillips and his Orchestra/w the Jack Halloran Choir, Narrator-Ken Nordine 17.) Cheech and Chong-Big Bamboo (Thanks Tommy!)

*Answers-Sgt. Pepper1.)Piano chord 2.)Leo Gorcey 3.)...have his way for once 4.)kazoo
"Somethin's happenin' here."

By about 1968, after my years as a Detroit-based 'soul-music' and rock n roll guitar player in local bands, I began really exposing myself to all kinds of music from the 'hip' scenes around the world. West Coast, East Coast, England, India and Southern Rock. Jug Band, Folk, Country, Rythmn and Blues, Bob Dylan, Country Joe & The Fish, Richie Havens, Janis Joplin, the Electric Flag, Ravi Shankar and Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks. I started wearing hippie clothes like green and black paisley shirts with black and red polka dotted ties and leather cowboy fringe n things. I even took to wearing a cowboy hat. Everything was cool. John Lennon sang "Nothing is real. And nothing to get hung about." And he was right. It was all relevant, and nothing was relevant. A new world of contradictions was before us.

Soon to come would be the Woodstock, Newport and Monterey Pop festivals, and all organized religions and political agendas would be considered passé and "old world". But in some cases, old world wasn’t so bad. It was a longing of the youth for things to change not back to the way things were, but to become something new. Still, at the same time, we knew things just couldn’t stay the same forever. Something had to give. It did for me, and it was all at once. In Ypsilanti Michigan and Ann Arbor, serial killer John Norman Collins had begun killing college girls. For a bit, I lived down the street from his house.

After all the years of war and Vietnam, and then with Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King being assassinated, and Charles Manson sending his tripped-out hit-squad to Sharon Tate's house, all of it was beginning to turn ugly. By 1969's end and the Rolling Stones Altamont Festival where a black man died at the hands of the Hells Angels, the days of flower-power were beginning to signal yet another change. The flowers were starting to wilt. Before we knew it, we as the 'new-society' were becoming blasé ourselves. We were slowly but inevitably becoming our parents. As the song title said: "Child is father to the Man".

The 1st really self-liberating thing for me was getting married at 18 in 1971. Theres another oxymoron. Tied down and liberated at the same time. Looking back, it was the stupidest thing I could have done. The tied-down part, not the self-liberating. I just shouldn’t have mixed the 2. My wife suffered and gave up the most. I was always a musician, and always in a band. And, after all. It was the free-love generation anyway. I had deferred the draft and as a student for a year of so. Soon after, President Nixon abolished the draft, and I was free from worrying about dying for a war I thought we had no business in.

Many books, plays and movies we all hold sacred from the Hippie days accurately reflect the ideals and lifestyles and dreams of the Beatniks of the 50's and early 60's and the Hippies of the early 60's and 70's. Below, Ive listed quite a few examples with comments following them. These impressed us 'hippies' with life-changing ideas and ideals.

"Hippie, New Age, Free-Thinking Books and Monthly Periodicals'
Various Authors

*On the Road-Jack Kerouwac (Sent millions searching the " road' in America FOR America..and themselves)
*The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test- Ken Kesey (The story of the Merry Pranksters, their bus and travels across the country on Acid)
*Guitar Army-John Sinclair (A bit after-the-fact explaining the rock and roll revolutionary music-political movements, the SDS, White Panthers and Free-Love theories of the pre and post hippie days in Ann Arbor and the world)
*Brave New World-Aldous Huxley
*The Psychedelic Experience-Timothy Leary (Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead and the psychedelic experience by)
*The Doors of Perception-Aldous Huxley (The psychedelic experience inspiring the name of the rock band The Doors)
*LSD, my Problem Child-Albert Hofmann
*Stranger in a Strange Land-Robert Heinlein (Popular among subculture participants)
*The Strawberry Statement-James Simon Kunen (60's College-political-lifestyles)
*Desiderata-Max Ehrmann
("Desired-Things"-prose poem)
*Whole Earth Catalog-(Mother Natures bible of Earth, Water, foods and lifestyles)
*Mother Earth News-(Mother Natures other bible of Earth, Water, foods, lifestyles and how-t-do-and-grow periodicals)
*Teachings of Don Juan-Don Juan (His journeys of the soul and spirit while experiencing psychedelic peyote, mescaline and mushrooms in the Midwest and Mexico)
*The Marijuana Cookbook (How to make brownies, Hashish and LSD from blue mold on Oranges)
*Steal this book-Abbie Hoffman. (Guide to living while avoiding the rules of the establishment)
*The Hobbit-H.R.Tolkien (Life in Middle Earth and a mirror of society(ies) in general)
*Alice in Wonderland/Alice through the Looking Glass-Lewis Carroll (Down the rabbit hole)
*Chariot of The Gods-Eric Von Daniken-(We came from space with the proof left in ancient times)
*Yi Ching-Wade/Giles (Cosmology and Philosophy)
*Quotations from Chairman Mao-(The wisdom and philosophical thinking of the Chairman)
*Nietzsche- Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (Philosophy)
*Freud-Sigmond Freud (Philosophy)
*The Bible
*The Quran (Koran)
*The Talmud/Torah

"Underground Comix"

Ive collected these and still have a generally wide assortment of the best. They are my pride and joy and an eternal connection to my past. They tell the stories of the times, drugs, politics, people and their dreams and disappointments.

*Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers
*Mr. Natural
*Harold Hedd
*Dopin' Dan
*Zap Comix

"Musical Stage Plays"

*Hair (The Dawning of the Age of Aquaius)
*Godspell (Day by Day. God is Love)
*Jesus Christ Superstar (Hippies and God, Peace. Love and
Brotherhood)
"Movies"

*The Graduate (Life and Love after College-60's)
*Love Story (Love in College-60's)
*Woodstock (The Festival that started all the rest)
*Alices Resturant (Hippies makin' a living-60's)
*Felix the Cat (Animated and X-rated)
*The Wild ones (Bikers)
*Born Losers (More Bikers)
*Easy Rider (Bikers looking for America)
* Reefer Madness (Anti-pot smoking propaganda from the 1950's)
*The Trip (Film attempt at an Acid Trip at a party)
*Alice B.Tokeless (Humor and Hippies)
*Beach Party Movies (California Dreamin' before the Hippie
Generation hit the road)
*Hard Days Night, Help!, Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine
(Beatles and Babes, Beatles and a mystery, A magical journey by bus to the
center of their minds, and an animated romp to the bottom of the sea)
*Romeo & Juliet (Love and forbidden love in classical times)
*2001: A Space Odyssey (The answer to where we came from)
*Planet of The Apes (Where we are going perhaps: answered)

Though there are many, many more great seminal movies and books not listed, these wonderful memories above of the literature, movies and musicals is an accurate mirror of the way things were, and how, when and why they changed. Some, from the 60's and to a lesser degree, the '70's, shook the world for me and you and everyone else. A wide berth was cut during those years when the world as we knew it began to change.

"Kaleidescope Eyes"

I began packing my Sherlock Holmes pipe, and off into the cosmos I went. It's kinda like that old saying. "Its like I took acid in 1967 and never came down". Fantastic music set my mind racing, and it was all fantastic. One would have to experience what I did, when and how I did them, and under what circumstances. LSD, Peyote, Mescalito Cactus, mushrooms and "acid-trips" are something that everyone had to experience in their own way to understand. Writing about it hardly gives it justice. If fact, it’s the one thing that cannot be adequately explained by definition only. Just like Alice, you have to go down the rabbit hole so-to-speak. Times were different then, and surely, some kids were harmed by less-than pure manufacturing of mind-altering and expanding drugs. Some died. I was one of the lucky ones.

The journeys expanded my mind and consciousness, and showed me how to find and recognize what was within me. It helped me better understand what was going on out-SIDE of me as well, and the world we all lived in. Or thought we lived in. There were many surprises. In the hippie 60's, burning your bra or draft card were just a couple of the things you could do to protest society. And protest we did. We objected to most things our parents accepted as normal. I had a few radical high school teachers with long hair who could be called hippies, and they embraced the ideals and thoughts for a spiritually brave new world, and a better and greener way of living

Pot, psychedelics, Jasmine Tea, incense and music were our escapes from worrying about school, the war, the government, equal rights, and saving the planet from ourselves. Back then as I said, most recreational drugs were still legal. I had begun an inward search of my outside-self involving marathon music headphone listening sessions with incense, wine and candles, along with the usual stimuli of the times. I needed to find something. And usually when referring to those searches we hippies had undertaken, we were really only searching for ourselves by artificially taking journeys or 'tripping' to the 'land inside our minds'.

We had no real maps, and didn’t know then what we know now. Those drugs were our GPS of the day. The answers and the directions of how to get somewhere could be found within us. We only needed to look. We didn’t realize we really didn’t need any special ways to get there. I took up Transcendental Meditation, interspersed with Ravi Shankar's sitar, black lights and incense. It was a very eye opening set of revelations to say the least. I changed forever, and yet in many ways…I didnt change at all

"Getting back to the Garden"

As the 1970's approached, winds of change blew hard and came from all directions. We all tried in our own ways to maintain the dream by music, pacifism, holistic medicine, natural foods, college, even military (though against all we really stood for. Returning Vietnam vets were spit on and called 'baby-killers), and by working the machine. None of it was like tending in the garden we were so trying to hang onto in hopes we could spur growth. We did, but it was not as fast as we expected or hoped for. Some of us to this day, are still waiting to get back to the garden.

As a later member of the 1950's Rock and Roll group Johnny and The Hurricanes, in his biography "SAX MAN" that I co-wrote (Bankhouse Books), at the end of the Beatnik era around 1959 and the death of Buddy Holly, it was the "very birth of rock and roll and the day the music died". It could arguably be the beginning of the hippie era as well, culminating some 10-15 years later in the mid-70's with the start of the Disco era. Personally, I had experienced everything between the end of the Beatniks in 1961-62, the rise of the Hippies and the Beatles from 1962, through the riots and Summer of Love in 1967, Woodstock in '69, and the end of the era after Charles Manson and the Tate-la Bianca Murders, the Rolling Stones and death at the Altamont Festival.

What was once "Cool Daddy-o!" in the 50's, turned into "Death to the Pigs!' and melted psychedelically into "Peace and Love!" in that 10 years or so short space of time. And speaking of Space? I think a fitting ending to it all was when I watched on astronaut Neil Armstrong on television walking on the moon. The Bee Gees and Saturday Night Fever style music for what it was and what it was to represent, was our future. And just like the 50's and '60's, we would roll right into it, through it and right over it.

A young suburban lead guitar player in a high school garage band, I had gone from band to band, would soon start recording and touring, and shortly would reached some fame, traveling to places I only read about. I had gone from 50's rock n roll, to the Beatles, Acid Rock and the Allman Brothers, and would wind-up for awhile on the Hee Haw television show playing country-rock. I also played with Waylon (Dukes of Hazard) Jennings. I touched on folk, learned styles and tunings used by Middle Eastern musicians, and played Gospel and Jug Band tunes. All the while, I was still searching and meditating.

In the near future, I would find myself living in Florida, South Carolina and Kentucky. True to my roots, I never lost my affinity and love for the college towns of Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor. It always reminded me of those 1st days of black light posters, incense, bongs, pipes and beads, tie dyes and choker necklaces. It was to represent fresh ideas and new ways of thinking. To this day I still wear tye-died shirts and chokers. Where once we were the flower-children of the 60's, we now had become our children's fathers and mothers. We were the society that we rebelled against. We were the old ones claiming to know it all. After all of our searching, self inspection and reflections, I seriously doubt we will ever really know anything.

For the most part, in general, now-a-days we attempt to exercise and work out and eat healthy, try to "think-green" and save the planet. We've learned a bit about ESP, meditation and psychic energy, the YI-Ching, and Tai Chi. We learned we're all in this together, yet we still had disease, wars, conspiracies, hatred, murders and false prophets. We came to find we cant save the world from itself. Or, from ours-elves. It all must be done with small steps. And with such tiny movements, we cant change things very much overnight or maybe even in our lifetimes. It will take many of them, and even more of us to make things change.

When we marched in the streets in the 60's, and 'grooved to the music of our heros, we just rolled more 'doobies' with extra-wide banana papers, and never realized how long change itself would take. We wanted it right then, and didn’t want to wait. So. Did things change after all? They did. Did all the smoking and tripping in the "hippie-days" open up our minds any farther or deeper? Of course it did. We all really learned a lot during those sessions. I know I did. No regrets.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The '70's
Living the dream. Tripping at Disney World, Country Rock, Artist Colonies, Disco and 3's Company.


"1970. Remember what the door-mouse said. Feed your head!"

I personally have come a long way from that 1st 4-way Purple Micro-dot Acid Paul gave me 40 some years ago. And he didn’t tell me that it was for 4 people to split-up and take…so I took all of it.

It was 1972 and I spent the next 2 days pressing my nose against the window staring at the street below as it appeared to shimmer in the sun, and then glitter in the moonlight. I'd call Paul and he's say to go paint. I'd call him again in 30 minutes and he'd suggest listening to music. I kept calling him all day and into the night asking "How long does this stuff last?!" He'd just laugh and tell me to go watch cartoons or something for awhile. I would, and then I'd call him back over and over. "How long did you say this stuff will last?". I put on headphones to the Moody Blues, the Beatles and Acid-Rock bands of the day. And Ravi Shankar and Santana. My ears opened my mind and I was off on a journey to the center of it.

Paul had told me the best time he ever took LSD was in the Army when…at night no less, they were all "tripping" and jumping outta planes over Weisbaden Germany with parachutes in the dark. I guess I can relate. I had the distinct pleasurable mind-altering experience of 2 Orange Sunshine acid tabs dropped in orange juice at Florida's Disney World around 1973-74. Not to approve of or condone taking the drugs we have now-a-days, if anyone was ever to experience psychedelia under any circumstance, I always said it should be at Disney World or Disneyland. I will never forget being on the ride Space Mountain, a roller coaster in the dark while I was tripping-out, or Hall of the Presidents who seemed to come alive, and it was the same at the Haunted Mansion. It was hysterical when Mickey Mouse and Minnie both ran up to me with those giant ears. So, I have always stated that would be the one place if you ever wanted to experience a one time only acid 'trip'. After that, you would never need to take another one. It would explain everything.

Over the next 30 years or so, under different circumstances and in odd times, I was to take more "journeys to the center of the mind". I heard, saw and felt things that only existed in that world of crystal prism rainbows. And like many of my peers, we were just searching for something, somewhere, somehow, someway, someplaces both odd, historical and unusual, while trying to find ourselves, and where we were and where we were going to. The real life-changing secret revelation to it all was evident. We create our own reality. The psychedelics only opened the door. Reflecting now, we had searched under many conditions and in many ways and places in dark corners, loud concerts, bright rooms, on mountain tops, on College Campus's, in the Ocean, at the Circus, on islands, rivers, underground in caves, and cemeteries. We found ourselves everywhere, and sometimes nowhere.

After the death of the psychedelic 60's, our sojourns were still an eternal searching for the meaning of life itself. We saw wavy colors, demons and dragons, giant butterflies, talking dogs and musical notes turning into people and crayons. Words jumped off pages, dancing and swelling back and forth and up and down, and chanting voices reverberated inside our heads. Though it was mostly visual and auditory imagery, we all came to understand that everyone of us must search in our own ways for the truth we seek, for it was always, and is still…inside of each of us. The meaning of life is to live it.

Sadly there would be no real going back to those times. At least, not in the same ways. And there shouldn’t have been anyway. But, thats not to say some of us didnt continue the search for Shambala and Nirvana the rest of our lives. We did. For some, one trip was enough. For others, 200 acid trips was nowhere near enough. Still, our journeys always brought the same results. What lies within, is with-out. The answers are all the same for all of us. That we really are "Stardust". And, "we are golden". It was only how we perceived that realization that was the real difference. And how long it takes each of us in our own ways and methods to figure it out.

Sometime down the road and a bit later in life, I would learn one infallible massively simple truth. We don’t need the artificial stimuli to search for oneself. There are other ways to get to and go inside and find that world we hippies found in the 60's. But, it wasn’t exactly around the corner. Dues needed to be paid 1st, and life lived. The 1970's were beginning, and the war wasnt dwindling down. There were still boys coming home in boxes. It was still along way off to ending for real. A lot of suitcases were packed and ready to cross the border into Canada. Mine too.

"I was so much older then. Im younger than that now"

We were all trying to go forward with our lives, by somehow looking into our past to see where we had been. Once found, once learned. That which is revealed…you know? Then again, maybe you don't. In reality, it was a journey we never completed and many of us are still on, and will be taking forever in that quest for Utopia. Its the road less traveled, perhaps an impossible dream. But, for the bohemians, beatniks, and hippies of 1960's, it was our Holy Grail. And at the start of the 70's, I was still well into the midst of my own personal search. And that search led me to people, and cicumstances that need to be accurately represented here.

I had recently gotten married, began teaching guitar lessons, joined a famous rock n roll band, and recorded by own solo record at Motown Records. Shortly thereafter, I traveled to Florida and had my Disneyworld experience, and eventually settled in the Miami suburb of Coral Gables. The Bohemian Hippie enclave of Coconut Grove was within walking distance of my home. Being an artist-hippie community which it still is to this day, it was like being back home in Ann Arbor with all the head-shops, paraphernalia, freaks and hairys. Only with palm trees. Key West, another 'land of the hippies community' was a 4 hour drive south across the dotted line of islands and freeway called the Florida Keys. One long, lone strip of concrete with nothing but the blue-green waters of The Gulf of Mexico on your right, and the Atlantic Ocean on your left. There I continued my search-for-self.

I would visit the Coconut Grove, Key West and Ft. Lauderdale head shops and bookstores frequently. I got into Oriental Philosophies, Transcendental Meditation, different Religions and Ideologies, meta-physical and paranormal pursuits. And music itself was about to change. From the folk-rock groups to the Arena rock bands, to the Southern Rockers like Marshall Tucker, The Allman Brothers, Charlie Daniels and other country rock and pop sounds, on the immediate musical horizon, stood something both new and different.

It had been a literal explosion of contrasting styles for every taste. That was another great influence the 60's had on us. Music. And, lots and lots of every color and kind. But, the dominant music at the onset of the 70's, would change everyones perceptions, including mine, about everything in our world we had been trying so hard to understand. It was called: DISCO.

"W.M.C.A. Turn the beat around. Celebrate good times. C'mon!"

Looking back, it was a gradual thing. I can say that because as a musician in a bar band, we rolled through the changes in music as they happened. We could be doing a Crosby, Still and Nash song, then would go into a Bee Gees tune. One rock, than 1 dance song. One guy in the band might have afro hair leftover from the 60's, and the other guy might dress in platform shoes (that was me). Everything we did, we learned and played from growing up the 60's, mish-mashed together. The bar and club scene wanted both kinds of music, and we played both. What tipped the scales was the desire to dance.

Dancing became a predominant pleasure at the clubs. Especially after "Saturday Night Fever". The 50's had their line-dancing, to be revived in future 80's as 'country-line' dancing, and the hippies and rockers had their 'freak-out' and trippy kind of dancing. You would see it all in the clubs and Soul Train. Somewhere between Dobie Gray's "The In-Crowd" and the Temptations "Psychedelic Shack" and "Cloud Nine" and perhaps Marvin Gaye's "Whats goin' on?", black and white, soul brothers and hippies blended together into the 'common man'. All was acceptable, whether it was rock or soul, greaser or frat, freak, Hindu or hillbilly. And it made everyone want to dance. And all that dancing brought out more of it BECAUSE of it.

The music scene began to change to reflect the times. Even I myself had gone on to 1st my solo Motown recording, then to a 50's Show Band, and on to relocating in Florida where the #1 Group was Henry Casey's band. A studio producer of dance tunes, he is best known by his other name: K.C. & The Sunshine Band. While he was recording disco music, across town the Allmans and Eric Clapton were recording their thing. It was all possible. But, lines in the sand were being drawn in music. Stupid me tried using an eraser, and I learned a valuable lesson. Stay true to your roots. Humph! Easy to say when you’ve come out of the musical soup potpourri that was 60's music.

I continued headlining my own group playing mostly my own original tunes. Sometimes it was as a solo folk type singer, and sometimes as a piano man, working the hotels in Miami Beach and up and down the coast for Holiday Inns of America. All that led me to little money. But, being a 'star-child' of the hippie-movement, I was convinced that I would make it in music. Funny how dreams have a way of waking you up when you'd rather keep dreaming.

"Three's company too"

It was after all the 'Swingin' 70's'. I swear Jack Tripper had nothing on me. In fact, he stole my life completely. Except on the show, Jack, Janet and Chrissey never had sex together. Well, I got that one on him. My wife worked for a major insurance firm in Coral Gables while I worked fairly steadily performing at the Miami Beach Hotels. "Miss Sunshine" was a hot little blonde beach-chick. She picked me up in the bar at the Holiday Inn. She sat in that Holiday Inn every night for 2 weeks while I performed. I guess you can perhaps tell where this is going?

Whenever this part of my past has come up, Ive stated that given the chance, I would not do it over again. But, I wasn’t sorry either that I did it. The short ending to a long story is that 'free-love' still existed, right or wrong, well into the 70's and 80's. We ended up in a performing Sonny and Cher type duo, and she, my wife and myself, shared a one bedroom apartment. We all lived together (descriptions and details un-mentioned to protect the guilty), and as a trio, we lived the life expressed in the 60's. "Love one another right now" and "Love the one youre with" were mantras all three of us practiced and believed in. That’s not to say it worked out in the end.

Ive often remarked that I learned from that experience was "what does sex have to do with marriage?" Nothing and everything, and I experienced it both ways. This is important to mention because that lifestyle is the end result of all we learned about being brothers and sisters and sharing our homes and our beds. Looking for something? Sure. Find it? More than I wanted. Was it good? That depends on what you mean, and about what part of it. But was it worth it? I'd have to say both yes and no. For the experience of it, it was invaluable as a lesson in giving and sharing and supporting. On the downside, it produced jealousy and betrayal. The sexual part of trying to live the life us hippies promoted in the 60's, was obviously what it was. I will not delve into any particulars for the sake of us all involved.

So, how did it end? It started with a business agent partner taking all of our performing money, stranding us up in North Carolina, and (unbeknownst to us) with him ripping off Florida cocaine dealers. I found that out when I opened the blinds to my 3rd floor office and there were bullet holes in the 3rd floor glass parallel to the freeway ramp. Pretty good aim I suspect. Within 3 days, the wife, myself and the blonde packed it up and headed North to Michigan were we moved for good. At least, for the foreseeable future. I went back to teaching guitar lessons and playing in bands, my wife transferred back to her old company, and my father gave "Miss Sunshine" a job in his Drugstore where she ripped him off on hundreds of dollars of make-up. I last saw her when she ran off with a Karate Instructor. My wife and I divorced, and it is there that our "3's Company" story ended.

Regarding communal living and sharing love and life, of course there is still much more to tell about the adventures the 3 of us had. Some were sad, and some were really amazing. Some of them were really funny, and some of course were sexual in nature. More were bitter and resentful. There were a few more joint acid trips in that part of the 70's we took together as well before the end. How it all ended would make another kind of story. Suffice to say, it did end, and not very well. By that time, it was 1979 and 10 years had passed since Woodstock. In my future I would repeat some of my mistakes, some more than once. Sometimes, we just never learn. But all in all, I have learned a lot about life, love and happiness. Karma is real. I am living proof of that.

The 80's, 90's & Beyond. Beginning of the end, end of the beginning

I would continue searching for meanings in life, and trying to find why I am still even here. And to this day, I still am on that quest. Free love and drug journeys were still practiced by those hippies turning 30, and their little brothers and sisters trying to follow them by example. I had a few more psychedelic experiences in the 80's and again in the 90's. But it was never the same. The 90's found me experimenting with life and death on the night shift in Ann Arbor at University Hospital. That was a trip itself. And by then, the acid wasn’t that great, and psilocybin mushrooms were taking its place.

I found that I had come full circle back to Ann Arbor and the my days in the 60's and 70's on the Diag and State Street. Once, I thought we could change the world on the outside, by changing ourselves on the inside. In the end, I did begin to see things in a different light. Just not with so many colors.

And for all my "trips", demonstrations, protests and searching, and with all of the chanting "Ohm, Ohm!" and "Hare Krisna, Hare Krishna!" the world really didn’t change all that much. I guess in the end, it was me that changed. And it was for the better. Looking back after nearly 60 years of living, I suppose what they say still holds true. Old hippies never die. They just fade away. Either that, or open a candle booth or 'smoothie'-shop at the local Art Fair.

Peace, Love n Light to you all my Brothers and Sisters. It is not the destination...but the Journey....

12-15-10