Friday, September 20, 2013

Dinosaurs Don't 'Tweet'

Psychedelic Geezerdom Dispatch #4 RE: The Spoiled Under 30 Crowd. A Procrutean Response from an Acerbic Dinosaur. While I may agree that you can't help when you were born, you can help your insipid slackerism. So to my dear coy Yuppie,Gen-X or ‘or i-twittering Millennials attempting to mark your territory- vagitus and ignorance is no excuse. I was born in 1954. (Yeah. Go ahead and snort. A BOOMER.) Let’s get this missive of generational remonstration started, shall we? Our Cable was that steel wound stuff we used to hold the chariot together.(just kidding.) We used other Cable to hang a transistor radio from our belts, or on the handle bar of our bikes. I actually remember 8-track tape being a wonder of scientific ingenuity. I bought 45 records. Lots of them...and rode my bike with Angel wing handle bars and a Banana seat to the record store to buy them. The L.P. (that stands for Long Player phonograph record-a round black thing made out of black vinyl. Google it for a picture) was an extravagance few could afford on 35 cents allowance per week. We could afford, however to go to the Saturday Matinee and get a BIG ASS Milky Way candy bar and fountain drink for under a buck. Easy. We got change back. In my case I grew up in the deep south – Miami, Florida –Red State then, Red State now. There they shot and beat the shit out of people for having long hair.Tattoos were found in the circus or the jailhouse. Earrings were usually of the clunky clip-on variety. They were worn by women or movie Pirates.(Sandals –because it was Florida –were A.O.K.)The hoop-type were worn by Carmen Miranda or dancing Latinas in Desi Arnaz movies.(Google him too.) Gay meant happy at Christmas or the church dance (preferably White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.) After Lent. (Yeah non-Catholics celebrated this religious trope too.) We rarely fasted and self-flagellated. We were taught sex was dirty, but we strongly doubted it. Bikinis sold soap.Sister was hot for Moon-Doggie.( read: Life guard surfer dude with a Woody. Both kinds.) Listening to Rock N' Roll was a subversive act. It took actual guts to be different. It took guts to have Black(a.k.a. African-American) Friends. It took guts to refuse to say the pledge of allegiance in school because you had questions for an AUTHORITY who forced you to do so in what was supposed to be a free country. They tried to tell us to "Duck and Cover" under our desks at school because that would protect us from Nuclear Attack. We saw riots in the streets daily. They assassinated anyone who tried to tell the truth. They expelled you from school for being a non-conformist. They beat you with belts, and paddles for not wearing socks, talking back, not tucking your shirt tail in, citing the poetry of Bob Dylan, or falling asleep in Civics class. The Space Race kept us awake. Space travel was miraculous. God help you if you questioned the Vietnam War. They told us "Potted Meat Food Product" was healthy for lunch. If we wanted to know what was happening, we turned on Ed Sullivan, or Dick Clark, for new music. We had 3 channels. Maybe. AM Radio was the shit.(meaning cool as). Disc Jockeys were sought-after personalities with mystique. They gave you cool free stuff if you used your rotary-dial telephone to call in requests. Gidget was the epitome of beach babe. Pat Boone was used as a cultural shill to clean up "race music". We kids knew better. He sucked then and he sucks now. We knew that if we wanted change we would have to take the initiative --we got off our asses into the street and protested to stop Racism, War, the Draft, and the use of wax paper to wrap potted meat food product festering in our un-refrigerated lunchboxes. Which, by the way, were truly cool because we had cool bands on them and of course- Mr. Ed the Horse, My Favorite Martian, Gidget and The Beatles. These things are worth a CRAPLOAD of money today. Radio pushed vinyl which pushed us onto the dance floor to pantomime sex-acts we didn’t really understand. It was good practice. Sweat mixed with lust and the din of a garage band IS the elixir of life. Being caught with POT would get you a life sentence in a Federal penal colony in the Aleutian Islands. So would nudity in public.Or sewing the American flag on the ass of those fruity-ass bell-bottom pants. We did our best to change this. You pesky little twerps can thank us later for tits and balls on T.V. Go ahead and smoke a little weed. Just NEVER wear idiot egregious Nehru jackets OR bell-bottoms(with or without Old Glory on the ass) –those things looked ridiculous. We lived for the next new song to make us dance and be happy. None of you under 45 year olds would have survived the 60's OR 70's, because we would have beat your ass and took your lunch money then bought Rolling Stones records with it. Kiss the glove. Now go Twitter. P.S. That bit about ending War and Racism? We got off to a good start, but admittedly, we need your help on that --so get crackin’ newbies and show us what you can do. While you’re at it get rid of that= Corporations are People thing, willya?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Psychedelic Geezerdom-Dispatch # 3-Meeting ALICE COOPER

ALICE I Hardly Knew Ye- So What It seemed as if we had been walking for days in the stifling summer canyons of New York City. My brother, my sister-in-law –their six-month –old child (a Boy) in her arms, another friend John and my best buddy Roger had decided to visit the City and look up a pair of friends(a trendy gay pair) who had left Athens, Ga to live in the west village. It was 1971. We had all just moved up to the western Maryland mountains from south Georgia and my Mom –(a professor of remedial English)—agreed to allow us to borrow her Volkswagen van and visit our hip buddies in the hippest city in the world –or so the ‘Bruised Apple’ seemed to be to us. It was to be a long footsore weekend of no sleep , little spending money and culture shock. We all welcomed the adventure–like desert dwellers stumbling for the first time – into a great lake with a paper drinking straw. Ready to founder, drunk by entelechy -- drinking deeply from an ocean of gritty northeastern backwash. The possibilities were endless. We were in search of Andy Warhol and Lou Reeds’ New York, not Frank Sinatra’s Broadway fantasy – we were seduced by the outre’--the NYC of seedy Ratso Rizzo, transvestites with fake paste pearls, perched slutty rockers, dopers with fairy stories, mind-expanders, pre-vampire scenesters, sexy leather doused in cheap libation and Jewish delis with miles of pastrami we could weave tall tales around. Attitude and accents we could marvel and mimic with our customary young humor—we were southern kids after all. The razor-sharp finality of clipped Yankee consonants and magnified vowels both fascinated and repelled us all –especially Roger, who had never been much out of Oglethorpe County Georgia—and this trip was a signified cherry buster for him. He was quiet most of the time, prepared with a carton of Winston cigarettes to smoke and share, the perfect prop to remain an enigma in a fast talking city full of premier hustlers and urchin street gimees, always prowling for subway change ,or skin-tomb robbery from a gaggle of wide-eyed southern fish—near fresh kids really, as the eldest amongst us was 19. Eyes wide, ready to be entertained by the real reality-series played out on the streets of Greenwich Village. We dove in, sure we could swim well enough to survive a night. NYC in the year 1971 was a different place. The words frowsy decline seem appropriate; the sharp-dressed lady Manhattan was emaciated, unwashed and scandalized after two centuries of parties - her black eye-shadow was running like a off-Broadway raccoon, and the make-up was blistering off the hot paved surface…but it was still New York City, a cultural clitoris, and her loins vibrated like no other place on earth. Yesterday is never Now until you re-live it. Nostalgia is a Christmas tree decorated with reechy thrift-shop bijou. Memory plays tricks on us like drunken pedophilic mime-uncles. After enough time you forget the smell of vomit. We were over-tired kids sharing the baby-carrying chore, in need of a pack of immediate naps; and like all petulant children the world over – we were having none of that shut-eye talk. We were young –capable of tertiary circadian marathons –and we lived by the mantra ‘we’ll sleep when we’re dead’. And this city was more alive at midnight than mid-day at a Georgia 4th of July parade. This concrete island levitated. Parallel continuity for the culture-vultures, and the innocent who hunger—this was fucking paradise, man. My obsession with Alice Cooper in 1971 was multi-facetted—something more than just hard music, it was an elective fusing of shock into my character that at the age of 59 I have not entirely abandoned –though these days I would have to be far more sensitive to my 12 year old daughter’s sense of propriety and epic mortification if , at my ripe state of Psychedelic Geezerdom, I went to the grocery store in horror-show drag. At 17 I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. None of us would have–it was a new frontier of multiple Freak-storms on polite society. It was so easy to shock, frighten, and disgust the down-homey folks –it was our hobby, you might say. Boredom was death, and normal was the enemy. Anything goes. (Nearly) None of us had lived long enough to watch our jocular mocking turn to stone-cold cynicism –that happened in the 80’s. Many among us still had some Aleister Crowley/Velvet Underground induced romantic notion that heroin and mystical awareness was a common-law marriage worthy of exploration. (This nuptial killed my brother eventually, and many more whom I have loved since then…but that is another set of horror tales). It had crept into our music like tattooed carnival parolees at a psychedelic free-love concert, or like bikers at Altamont, or a crime novelist at a Bible study…and it all came from arty, seductive concrete canyons on the isle of Manhattan. Ol’ Blue –Eyes sang it –If I can make it here I can make it anywhere…" He left out a line: "...from cradle to grave, it’s the knowledge of poets turned into ghosts that we crave…"( a little improvised Anne Rice lyric there..) To adequately describe the flavor of the counter-culture in the ‘70’s I invite you to Imagine a sepia-toned snap-shot of Oscar Wilde holding hands with Aleister Crowley in the front row of an Easter re-enactment at St. Paul’s cathedral. Drinking the blood of a microchiroptera bat. Piquant. #Worth a thousand words. { ‘The pious pretense that evil does not exist only makes it vague, enormous and menacing.’ ~ Aleister Crowley. } { ‘I’m frightened of the devil but I’m drawn to those who ain’t afraid’… Joni Mitchell/A Case Of You } Alice Cooper was my vampire story escape from the effects of Protestant Sunday school. Vincent Fernier and his band of ex-high school track stars from Arizona were as frightening to most parents in 1971 as Marilyn Manson(who stole the act) would be if he magically appeared at the Rev. Billy Graham’s dinner table French-kissing Anton La Vey. Wrong=Right. It was easier to shock society then. In fact it was our sworn duty as a generation of affected degenerates to keep up the good work. How great is that? Alice Cooper gave us the sharp kitchen utensils with which to cook, carve and eat Ozzie and Harriet. Yummy. Father Knows Best My Ass. But it was still play-acting to us. We were still clinging a bit to the Peace n’ Love Alice Cooper swears he hated and claims he was trying to rub out. Hell, honestly? I just loved the absurdity and theatrical nature of the societal goof. Other than gasps, wide-eyed gaffs, and neck-craning I really didn’t want to hurt anyone. I wasn’t joining the Satanic Army. I was just a disaffected ex-altar boy Episcopalian with authority issues…who liked my rock-stars cutting the heads off thrift-store baby dolls. At high volume. With a resonant high camp sensibility. Dystopian Oscar Wilde –on- acid charisma. Charmingly harmless.(There was and is nothing charismatic or enchanting about Charlie Manson’s dystopian vision.) From genocide to horror to comedy -- Timing is everything. Nothing says fun like crazed hippie boys with drag and scary eye-shadow sauntering down the streets of Athens, Georgia(or any southern town) knowing full well you were welcoming (at best) a thorough southern style deep fried gang of ass beating at any given moment by followers of Jesus and worshippers of FOOTBALL. It all seemed worth it then. I would far from welcome it now. I have the scars to prove it. Evolution (or de-evolution) is not painless. But it can be amusing. We all stumbled into Max’ Kansas City at 1 a.m.—tired, funky but totally electrified. There in the corner, talking to Mitch Miller (of ‘Sing Along With Mitch’) was Dennis Dunaway the bass player of Alice Cooper’s band. I’d have recognized him anywhere. I bought the album ‘Love It To Death’ when I was stuck on a de-consecrated hog farm in the middle of a peanut field while living in Ty-Ty Ga. And there beyond him was The Alice himself. Drinking beer. It took me twenty minutes to work up the nerve to speak to him. When I did it went like this. “ Um…uh…hi I just wanted to tell you that I’m really a big fan of your music.” Alice’s answer? “ SO WHAT.” He did smirk while saying it. I smiled back—embarrassed. After all, how could Alice know the death-defying gauntlet I –and uncounted many small town kids-- had gone through just to order and pick up an album with a bunch of men in drag displayed on the cover? Especially in my case. Had Alice ever even set sparkle-boot in by-gawd-killya-hippie Tifton JO-JAH? SO WHAT. Didn’t he and his band know a few thousand southern small hamlet kids considered Alice Cooper a harbinger of shock and freedom? So What. Sing Along With Mitch shrugged and repeated, “ Hey kid…SO WHAT.” I skulked away –deflated. The story doesn’t end here. It wasn’t until I read Mile Davis autobiography that I realized that SO WHAT was a NYC celebrity’s way of saying –who cares? Drink a beer. Go start a band. SO WHAT. Because that’s exactly what Miles Davis said to people who tried to worship him on the street. SO WHAT. You can do it too. But not without the motivation. SO WHAT. It’s even the title track on the great ‘Kind Of Blue’ recording I am listening to right now as I type this…from the subtle intro of Bill Evans piano, to Paul Chambers bass laying down the first conversation—and Miles and Adderley’s horns answering So What. So-ooo Whhhhat. And onward through the remarkable fluidity of call and response—the ultimate being SO WHAT in bursts of sharp modulating SO WHAHHHHT. SO WHAT. It never hit me until years later what Vincent Furnier was actually saying to me. Vincent Damon Furnier. I didn’t even know that was his true name. SO WHAT. I didn’t know he started his band in Arizona, by way of L.A. and BACK to freezing-ass Detroit. Detroit? Not Detroit. Really? You went back there? SO WHAT. He didn’t kill that chicken in Canada…people in wheelchairs killed that chicken. Alice wasn’t no farm feller SO WHAT. Alice Vincent Cooper Fernier was not particularly menacing…he was simply addressing yet another wide-eyed kid that bumped into his personal space when he was trying to (keep) drinking a beer. With Mitch Miller. So they could ‘Sing Along’ those drunken obscene Pirate shanty songs and musical limericks that begin and end in uck. Vince never gave it a second thought—but I was so mesmerized I’m writing about it 42 years later. I can still smell the Budweiser on his breath…not a hint of mascara on his squinting lids. The years went by like a blink of a Rock God’s eye. I carry Alice’s ‘SO WHAT’ with me ever mindful that it was never really Alice’s SO WHAT to begin with…it was Mile Davis’ SO WHAT…and it’s my guess that it was someone else’s SO WHAT before that. Like from the mythical beginning of time, when Miles Davis might have been impressionable enough to dig his toe in the ground in the presence of some historically under-mentioned originator of Jazz and utter something akin to : “Gawlee yer good”. So What- aren’t you that little horn playing wannabe son of a middle-class dentist trying to play Jazz music? Really? Stop being a wannabe TWERP…Piss off Miles. So What. Don’t stand there with your finger on that horn and a thumb upyerass…start playing, man! And furthermore, So What --Go learn to be yourself. So What. You are wasting time kissing my ass. So What…whatter you doing standing on the floor staring at the ceiling? Go outside and taste the Dog Star and sail into the future accordingly. Twinkie Bitch. Whelp. Asshat. Groupie. Yer crowding my air. So What. Fuck Off, kid and go and BE great. Or Not. What-the-fuck-ever. So What. Goodbye. You’re interrupting my beer.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Psychedelic Geezerdom Dispatch # 2

ZOSO Played Wheaton ! ( Not).
by MYSTR Treefrog- geezer skeptic.
Date night –The A.F.I. Silver Spring—5 bucks, hell…why not?

Jeff Krulik’s new independent film “Led Zeppelin Played Here” is undeniably funny, exhaustively researched, and at times hilarious. But I remain unconvinced.

The premise: Led Zeppelin, at the behest of local D.J. and promoter legend Barry Richards, was booked into the Wheaton Community Center for an impromptu fill-in gig on a cold January 20th, the same night the spanking new Nixon presidency was being inaugurated, and no one came. No one except those who swear they came. By some accounts there were 12 people, which –by the magic of confabulatory mathematical hallucination –becomes 20 people, and by collective hysteria multiplies rapidly to… oh, a brazen 32 people who , by all reports, stood out in the cold as the band played and never saw them…(exactly).

Not even the tour manager remembers the gig. Neither did the surviving members of the band. (The latter is to be expected. They were under the influence of The Hobbit and Aleister Crowley at the time.)

It appears nowhere (exactly) on a tour schedule. There were multiple sightings in the area surrounding Wheaton –The Laurel Pop Festival, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Bawlmer someweers—but no one remembers Jimmie Page blowing the left side of their brains out (exactly) with the opening to “ Good Times, Bad Times”. Not one groupie stepped up to admit that they offered to blow Robert Plant. Hell, I’m completely hetero –but I’d have offered to blow Robert at this stage of nascent rock greatness. I saw him in ’69 in Macon , Georgia. It was –in fact—transcendent rock buggery of the tallest order. NO ONE who ever saw this band live would EVER forget it. Impossible.

It was as if Genghis Khan and his buds had slipped into the receiving line at Nixon’s Inaugural Dance and French kissed Pat Nixon and squeezed her pert butt cheeks without anyone noticing (exactly). Not the Secret Service. Not Checkers, the dog. Not even Henry Kissinger.

Wheaton still holds many mysteries, some culinary, others cosmological, Some mysteries involve artificially intelligent thieving parking meters, and there’s the mystery involving the plethora of unrequited local musical genius ducking in and out of Chuck Levins’ Washington Music Center. There is the mystery involving inscrutable hair styles which multiply like culturally inseminated amoeba and converge at the intersection of University Blvd. and Georgia Avenue. A Wheaton bus stop is, without a doubt, a true illustration of the American dream.

I can’t see John Bonham and Peter Grant stopping at the Dunkin Donuts to ask directions to the Wheaton Community Center in 1969. And I love cartoons. A lot. Zep would not have escaped un-noticed. Peter Grant was an ex-wrestler and played a munitions expert in "The Guns Of Navarrone." He kicked a lot of ass back then. He was not the 'forgettable' sort.

Let me speak frankly. A lot of people spent 24 hours a day high outta their freakin minds in 1969 –especially (subjective and anecdotally) the motley and lovable characters who packed the house to watch “Led Zeppelin Played Here” at the A.F.I. in Silver Spring on Friday night.

I’m not sure, but I think I’ve met most of them…but I might have been stoned outta my freakin’ mind at the time. But that was then (exactly). The most endearing thing about our boomer generation is: They all still believe The Hobbit exists. The most annoying thing: They still think The Hobbit exists. Guys. Led Zeppelin NEVER played the Wheaton Community Center.(and Clapton IS NOT God.) But the movie by Jeff Krulik was great stuff. As for the 'eye-witnesses-especially Barry Richards--If it were left up to me I'd have water-boarded the lot of them...then we'd get to the truth in a big hurry. There is simply no time for dithering on important matters such as these. And, I might add, water-boarding is not without precedent in the new America. It's a matter of national security.

Further addendum: The Psychedelic Geezerdom on display in the audience would further underscore the need to resolve this mystery quickly. I have a deep bemused love for my brother and sister boomers…but kids, some of you aren’t aging that gracefully. Myself included. A replay of our present selves re-living the soft-focus nude bathing scene at Woodstock makes me start to claw my own eyes out. (And I only have one eye left, and one knee I was actually born with.)

They sell fresh Cadillac to Led Zeppelin songs. “Been A Long Time Since I Rock N’Rool-eyed ”… yeah, dude…right on! In a shiny new Cadillac.Far Fuc’n out. Livin' the dream...

It may be a longer time in my case…such as when WHEN HELL FREEZES OVER.

Please, again, underscore the fact that Jeff Krulik’s film was entertaining, great, funny and highly recommended, (see what I did there?);

Stoned or Fresh outta Re-Hab: I remain unconvinced.

Even if I were marginally convinced by the movie, the rambling dithering of a formerly influential disc-jockey at the end of the question and answer period after the picture --held by the affable, witty director Jeff Krulik -- served to illustrate that the same people who claim to have been present when Led Zeppelin played the Wheaton Community Center are the same people who were present at Christ’s little church picnic when he gave the Sermon On The Mount. In the latter’s case it was less objectionable to have sucked all the air out of the room with mystical nostalgia.

Fascinating. All history is written by the victor…and the subjective collusion of hippie pranksterism. What’s not to love?

( I think I’m having a ‘Linkletter flashback’ as I write this…) Only my fellow Psychedelic Geezers will understand that reference. It’s a generational thang…
Personally? I disbelieve. Led Zeppelin never actually played the Wheaton Community Center –but I guarantee Jesus worked at El Pollo Rico in Wheaton (before it burned down). He was a cool guy. He always gave me an extra serving of plantain with my brazed chicken quarter. He told me to stay away from the picante sauce.

            In his words,” It is unbelievably hot, muchacho.”

Once and For all: Until I see EMPIRICAL evidence, (i.e, pictures with,locks of hair, Jimmie Page's multi-colored autographed Jock Strap,) I will NEVER believe that Led Zeppelin actually played a gig at the Wheaton Maryland Community Center.
Nope. Robert Plant’s rutting feral horny dog howl would STILL be reverberating down Georgia Avenue if this gig truly ever happened. And he would not have escaped the National Capitol area un-blown.

I think, if they actually came to fair Wheaton, the band took one look, shook their head and drove away. I think this is one of those collective cultural hallucinations..(i.e Joan Of Arc, Virgin Birth, Tax refunds,Justifiable Homicide) we boomers are famous for.

                   This is Psychedelic Geezerdom at it’s finest.
On the other hand I'm pretty sure Elvis works at The Booeymonger on Wisconsin Ave.
He told me to help myself to extra mayo. I think he's learned to speak pretty decent Spanish.

On second thought maybe I should’ve titled this review:
Go see the film and make up your own mind. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.
                                          (or Not).
P.S. UPDATE: Now Wal-Mart wants me to LIKE them selling Bob Marley. Because their business model is directly in line with Bob's message and philosophy.

The nice old guy in the red jacket- The Greeter? His name tag reads: Jesus Iscariot.