August 21, 2012
Larry Hosford’s New Release
Larry Hosford has been singing and playing for the last fifty years giving him longevity to match that of the Rolling Stones and while he has a tremendous reputation on the Central Coast of California he’s not as well known outside his home territory. I hope to introduce him to a wider audience such as he deserves.
Larry was a war baby born in ‘43 in what was then the lettuce capitol of the United States- Salinas, California. Those unfamiliar with Larry’s extensive body of work will probably be unfamiliar with the Central Coast of California. The CC is a fairly extraordinary area not only of California but the world. Let me give my impression of the CC in the sixties when I was there as well as of Larry.
Salinas is the seat of Monterey County home to the fabled Monterey Rock Festival of ‘67 that Larry may have attended. Monterey lies due West of the better known central valley city of Fresno but on the West side of the very arid Coast Range of mountains. Wild, wild mountains. Today Salinas is a city of 150,000. Back in ‘60 when Larry began his career it was much smaller. The city lies athwart fabled Highway 101 with California Highway 1 a few more miles to the West.
You want to stay off Highway 1 unless you have time on your hands, a lot of patience and a full tank of gas. 1 is perhaps the dreariest and most isolated highway I have ever driven. I have absolutely no desire to drive it again. Forget The Graduate.
A few more miles down the road from Salinas is the town of Carmel that Clint Eastwood put on the map when he went political and became its mayor. Hi Clint.
In those days, 1964, I had a job with a mortgage banking firm for whom I covered the entire Northern half of California from Fresno/Salinas to the Oregon border. While the majority of the mortgages were in my home base of the San Francisco Bay Area I made the trip to what I called Monterey once a quarter.
At the time I lived in Larkspur in Marin County so it was a three hour drive, maybe four, down through San Jose and the town the Hell’s Angels trashed, Hollister, into Monterey. I was listening to Country at the time so my radio was tuned to an SF jock whose moniker was Black Jack Wayne. He was an odd duck Country announcer I could never get to used to but he was what was.
In addition to DJing Black Jack aspired to be a country singer. He had his own label which ensured that he was recorded, and a number of singles all of which, apparently, can be heard on the internet. Black Jack wasn’t deterred by a lack of success. At the time, just after the Beatles had landed, Larry would at one time be signed to George Harrison’s Dark Horse Records, Black Jack was pushing a young Buck Owens who he styled the Bouncing Beatle from Bakersfield.
After the Okie invasion of the thirties Bakersfield/Fresno became the West Coast center for hillbilly music. Nashville in the East, Bakersfield in the West. The area produced the great Ferlin Husky, Tommy Collins, Merle and Buck as well as the wonderful Rosie Maddox and her brothers. Rosie and Cal backed Black Jack up on a couple of his efforts- to no avail.
Black Jack and his brother Chuck used to have a Country place down in Niles, one of the five burgs that later formed Fremont, called The Garden Of Allah. Perhaps Larry played there. Rough place, good place to leave a few teeth in the parking lot.
Black Jack was a big hero down in Niles. I saw him leading the parade for the annual Essanay Days back in ‘59. Niles Canyon was the location they made the Bronco Billy western movies back in the silent era. Bronco’s company was Essanay.
So with Black Jack on the radio I planed down 101 at 85 per to Monterey. It was always fascinating country. Real wild west, just like Bronco Billy’s movies. You could imagine yourself coming up behind John Wayne’s Stagecoach trundling down the highway. It was a two laner at the time, probably four today, and almost empty on a week day. I was almost all alone out there. Sometimes my mind would plane along at 85 plus.
The mountains were just stunning. Following the Salinas River upstream on an exploratory venture the road stood a hundred feet or more above the stream, head watered down by the mission of San Luis Obispo. As it was Spring the river was flowing nicely above ground. Later in the year the river becomes what is called an intermittent stream, even if you can’t see the water it’s still flowing underground.
I got out to admire the scene when looking down I saw a man coming out of his house carrying a shot gun which he proceeded to point at me. The range wasn’t very good for a shot gun but the attitude was telling so I sauntered back to my car and returned to the valley. Discretion being the better part etc.
How very hostile I thought to myself.
Given my job the scene down in the valley was hardly less hostile, in fact, one might say threatening- bodily harm and all that sort of thing. With the imagined sound of a shot gun blast resonating in my ears I took these All American types more seriously.
I was walking a little lighter in my loafers but not for the reason you might imagine. Still, I found time to wander down to where the river braided through the sands. A beautiful sight that was. I hope Larry enjoyed it as he passed his childhood hours down on the South Coast among the refugees from civilization.
Things weren’t much better down in Clint’s future bailiwick. I was driving a white ‘63 Chevy that was a famous car among the deadbeats of the territory. I seemed to be recognized everywhere; when they saw the car coming the alert was sounded. Someone must have phoned down there to tell them I was on the way. While they wanted to beat me up in Salinas and even Monterey, another tough town, all the Carmelites, being more affluent, wanted to do was call the cops on me. A strange solution I thought when all they had to do was send the mortgage payment in. But I was in high learning mode; it was sort of like Poe’s story of Tarr and Fether in which the inmates had taken control of the asylum. Their’s was a different line of logic.
Larry was in good literary company in the area though. Henry Miller, the famous pornographer, lived around there; Jack Kerouac spent some time around the area bounding down the hillsides to the sea, even Joan Baez had a place there where she was entertaining her brother-in-law Richard Farina and Bob Dylan, even at that very time. Farina went off the road on his bike there ending his sojourn in the basement of life.
Oh yeah, and a few years back John Steinbeck had made his fame in the area. Pulling weeds out there in the lettuce patch he undoubtedly looked at all that lettuce, thought of the lettuce the lettuce growers were making from all that lettuce and wondered how he could turn that lettuce into lettuce for himself. Then as the unforgiving sun beat down on head he had a flash of inspiration, or perhaps sunstroke, and wrote East Of Eden about all that lettuce. When he wrote it up he had a best seller that did make him a lot of lettuce. Later East Of Eden became a very successful movie starring James Dean that kept the lettuce flowing in.
Larry, of course wasn’t too interested in working the lettuce fields so he became a musician. That was somewhen about 1960 when he was seventeen. He didn’t have to study the situation and agonize over it; he just picked up his guitar and began to yodel. A great folk music scene was going on in Monterey as well as the rest of the country. It was a folk singing time folks, Harry Belafonte, Chad Mitchell Trio, Lonnie Donegan, Bud and Travis and let’s not forget the immortal Kingstons among a folk singing host. New Christy Minstrels, Jesus, let me tell ya’, all lustily singing This Land Is My Land, This Land Is Your Land. God bless that old folky Woody Guthrie, hey?
The Kingston Trio. Boy, there was a blow that would getcha. Who that was there wasn’t knocked silly by the great Kingston Trio In Concert disc? No wonder Larry wanted to try his hand at folk singing. Steinbeck’s Cannery Row had given up canning fish as that bank was overdrawn. Now it was trying to be a tourist attraction offering folk music. Very dismal looking place. Lotta heavy overcast on the coast at Monterey, most days the sun didn’t even come out. You have to cross that first ridge of hills to find the sunshine.
Folk music wasn’t that rewarding for Larry so passing through musical phases he found himself where he belonged, deep in Country music. That was where I first came across him in my own record store owner incarnation. The yo-yos at Shelter signed him and released his very fine record titled Larry Hosford aka Lorenzo. His mother must have called him that. Great songs- Long Line To Chicago, Everything’s Broken Down, memorable stuff. Never could figure out why a good lookin’ guy like Larry didn’t put his picture on the cover, a sine qua non for a first record. Everyone wants to know what the artist looks like. How else can you tell how good they are?
I tried hard to sell the record but with minimal success. And then in the hurry and rush of daily affairs I lost track of Larry until just this July when Adam Zerbe of Carmel’s 4th Avenue Records asked me to write review of Larry’s new record. I don’t know why me but, there you have it, Adam did. That’s it. Gosh, you know, when a guy’s first record tanks, as a record buyer you think the artist went back to house painting or something, like Arthur Brown did. But, no, fifty years later here’s Larry still strumming’ and singin’ with a new release. I couldn’t hardly believe he was still alive let alone myself. It’s not that the years aren’t stacking up. Both of us have a huge pile, I’m five ahead of Larry. I’ll give ‘em to him if he wants them.
Adam sent me a copy of the new release and I was surprised to find that Larry sounded as good as ever, maybe better. The years had added a mellow richness to his voice and a couple hard bounces after the first kick have given him a certain understanding of the true nature of life. I was, am, impressed.
It’s like the whole history of country music has been assimilated by Larry’s mind. It is like listening to everything that was ever good about Country rolled up into sixteen little pills. Pretty extraordinary.
I would have liked a little more of the Maddox Brothers and Rose in evidence but Larry leans more heavily to Texas music
and especially the Western Swing of the great Bob Wills and Texas Cowboys. You can hear a lot of Ernest Tubb and some of them other good old boys too. Larry’s voice encompasses them all while having its own distinct Country twang. A great country voice. If he keeps it up for another few years he’ll be the real Voice of America. I like the record, or CD. Used to be records but time moves on and you have to keep your canoe midstream to keep up. I’m tryin’ but I sure like the sound of Larry’s new record, er, CD. Buy a copy and make yourself feel good.
Mick Jagger, The Rolling Stones And The Yobbo Revolution
Mick And Keith Come Face To Face With Nemesis
The sixties were very critical years for the various revolutions that made up The Revolution. Yet their activities were very disguised to prevent detection. At no time could they admit who they were or what they were doing. For Instance the takeover of the university system of the US that began at UC Berkeley in 1964 was disguised as some sort of ‘student protest’ over some supposed lack of or suppression of free speech, hence its name, The Free Speech Movement. While it appeared spontaneous it must have been a planned maneuver. I was at Cal State Hayward a couple of miles down the road. We had library privileges at UC that had one of the spectacular libraries of the world that I used so I was on campus when this noise was going down. It was quite professional, extremely well organized and no student revolt per se. The leaders were well instructed in the psychology of crowds. Something the ordinary person would never recognize. From UC it spread throughout the US intensifying in the years 1968-72.
Nineteen sixty-eight, of course, kicked off the worldwide Cultural Revolution orchestrated by Chairman Mao’s China. It was all organized from China. The Paris fiasco, everything even into remote corners such as the University of Oregon in Eugene was run from China. By 1968 I was a grad student at UOregon and in the poster and record business. Some crazed Chinese styled Communists from out on the rural route opened this Communist book store right next to my store. Needless to say police surveillance increased drastically as I was already under suspicion for selling posters and rock and roll music, literally the devil’s music in fundamentalist Eugene. As the whole world knew anyone in the record business was also dealing drugs whether they were or not and I wasn’t. And then the nutty SDS Jews from New York City flooded into town in their hip denims and abetted the Maoists. This increased the fun.
Wait a minute now, there’s more. Eldridge Cleaver and the loony revolutionaries in the Bay Area were conducting open
warfare, guns and bombs you know, with the Feds and local police that naturally enough led to the arrest of such Negro revolutionists. But then, quite naturally, Eldridge escaped from maximum custody or something just like it and disappeared. No one knew where he was and they really wanted to. He didn’t surface for a few weeks so in the interim where did they look for him?
I hesitate to say this because I know you’re not going to believe it. They asked me if I had him hidden in my four hundred square foot record store. You see the logical progression, revolution= rock and roll= dope, Marxist store next door- where else is Eldridge going to hide, right? The store was an open square with a two by four enclosure for a toilet in the right corner. I pointed out to the cop that he was already looking at the entire store and he could see that there was no Eldridge Cleaver. But he wanted to check the 2×4 enclosure. I knew better than to laugh but I could barely contain myself. The cop opened the door to find himself staring into a toilet bowl. Eldridge cabled from Algeria shortly after.
I certainly was not aware of revolutionary activity per se or else I couldn’t take their stuff seriously but looking back things remained on red alert until at least ‘72. For the election of the second Nixon term, which I now see as serious potential danger, I saw them move several truckloads of Army troops out beyond Spencer’s Butte. One might say Mick Jagger and John Lennon, and I say this modestly in a local way, myself, had them worried.
I’ve always respected the intelligence agencies but placing me in the same category with Mick and John makes me have some doubts. I had no revolutionary or drug connections. It wasn’t that they couldn’t find them, as they thought, they didn’t exist.
There you have it, ‘68 was the crucial year. The authorities in both Europe and America were aware that something was going down. They were not taken by surprise. The Stones were.
They might have asked why are they busting us in ‘67 when they had plenty of cause for at least three years. Undoubtedly in an attempt to defuse the ‘68 show as much as possible. The direct action of the revolution failed so whatever counter revolutionary action the authorities took voided that while the revolutionaries themselves misgauged their popular support by a little more than somewhat. There were only a few fanatics backing them. The ‘kids’ were just not that dissatisfied. We were getting plenty of satisfaction.
According to Tony Sanchez/John Blake in their Up And Down With The Rolling Stones Mick fumed thusly after the ‘67 bust, p. 62:
I see a great deal of danger in the air. Teenagers are not screaming over pop music anymore, they’re screaming for much
deeper reasons. Pop music is just the superficial issue….When I’m on that stage I sense that the teenagers are trying to communicate with me, like by telepathy, a message of some urgency. Not about me or our music, but about the world and the way they live. I interpret it as their demonstration against society and its sick attitude. Teenagers the world over are weary of being pushed around by half-assed politicians who attempt to dominate their way of thinking and set a code for their living…..This is a protest against the system. And I see a lot of trouble coming in the dawn.
I don’t know about Mick’s mental telecommunications but the message he was getting was maybe being scrambled by some alien force. Apart from some experts at crowd control and excitation there wasn’t that much interest in fighting in the streets.
Mick remained pugnacious personally, according to Sanchez/Blake:
They think they can break us, man, but no way. We’ll take everything that they can throw at us, and we’ll still win. We’re in a position to tell the kids about all the shit that’s going down, and that’s just what we’re going to do.
Mick was smoking some powerful stuff while taking the teaching of the London School Of Economics a little too seriously. He should have said ‘some kids’, by no means all the kids were concerned with the Stones while as the events in Chicago during the worldwide insurrection of ‘68 showed that concentrating on sex and drugs was not conducive to direct political action. ‘The kids’ made a poor showing. Besides which teenagers were only a part of the rock audience; most of us were at least over twenty.
Nor in ‘72 in Miami after much hoopla and the expenditure of large sums of John and Yoko’s money was there much of an insurrection. Keith in his auto of 2010 speaking of 1985 and 1972 had this to say about that on page one no less.
Every copper wanted to bust us by any means available, to get promoted and potentially rid America of these little fairy Englishmen. It was 1975, a time of brutality and confrontation. Open season on the Stones had been declared on our last tour [that of the inflatable penis], the tour of ‘72, known as the STP. The Department had noted riots (true), civil disobedience (also true), illicit sex, (whatever that is) and violence across the United States. All the fault of us, mere minstrels. We had been inciting youth to rebellion, we were corrupting America, and they ruled never to let us travel in the United States again. It had become, in the time of Nixon, a serious political matter. He had personally deployed his dogs and dirty tricks against John Lennon, who he thought might cost him an election. We…they told our lawyer officially, where the most dangerous rock-and-roll band in the world.
Kind of tells it like it was. I was in the record business, considered an arch liberal, and I thought the Stones were attempting to corrupt the US if not succeeding. I mean, you have only to look at the original picture inside their Black And Blue album to confirm that. The Stones, Lennon-Ono, Dylan, the outlaw groups like the Baader-Meinhoff gang, the Weathermen, the Red Brigades and their ilk saw the world through some drug induced mental haze in which the finest, most just, most democratic and widest opportunity society the world had ever seen and will see was just the opposite of repressive and undemocratic.
I mean, I had been pushed down hard in life, I come from the orphanage, and I still made a major success in the record business and that was against the wishes, not of the system, but the people, the shitheads, I had to deal with. Good god, you have to bully the bullies, elude their repression. It will never be any other way.
Whence came such a bizarre interpretation of reality. As the German politician in the movie, The Baader Meinhoff Complex thought, the insurrectionists were motivated by a myth. The Robin Hood Complex.
Yes, by a sense of materialistic frustration which they justified by the myth of Robin Hood. The problem was the same as the Negro insurrectionists in Watts. The range and quality of material goods increased on a daily basis continually out of reach. Yobbos like the Stones with no discernible abilities other than to write trite lines of lyrics and play hashed over music taken from nearly musically illiterate street corner Negro bands were realizing their material fantasies. What did they do in their rebellion in Watts? Break into stores and steal Tvs and stuff. Mere economic frustration. The Beatles were buying Rollers then desecrating them with psychedelic mockery. Richards himself driving without a legitimate license bought Rollers and smashed them up with glee laughing as he skipped away to avoid arrest. Keith was living the Yobbos dream. Baader-Meinhoff tried to replicate the dream by stealing Mercedes to go joy riding through the night. Same thing the Negroes were doing. That was what the revolution was about. To revel in cash money as the Stones, Beatles and other rockers did they robbed banks to ease their frustration. A leading hatred of the revolutionists was Consumerism. In other words there were more goods than they could come up with money to buy.
Then, as that would garner no sympathy from hardworking people who looked on the cynosure of their eye- the Mercedes and Rolls Royces being destroyed- with horror the gang claimed to be expropriating the expropriators a la Robin Hood and many another criminal but they bought no Thanksgiving dinner for the starving a la Pretty Boy Floyd.
Did the Stones believe the authorities so stupid that they didn’t know what was going on? Apparently so. Didn’t the Stones realize that they were merely taking advantage of the system the claimed to despise? Apparently not. The intelligence agencies infiltrated even the one man organizations of a nincompoop without a chance of success. I was invited to join one by agents in which the ‘mastermind’ was the only non-agency member. What are you supposed to think?
Who was this cocaine supplier to Keith, Freddie Sessler, if not a government agent? I’ll go into him later. Ask yourself, who can obtain unlimited quantities of sealed Merck cocaine containers if not government agents. Some believe that during the sixties the availability of LSD was provided by the CIA/FBI. There was so much LSD coming out of UC/Berkeley and Stanford programs that the whole Bay Area could have been supplied. Who was Owsley? Ask yourself.
The Agencies were funding programs by importing Indo-Chinese heroin also plentiful at that time. What was the result of plentiful Acid, Cocaine and Heroin? Incompetent malcontents. Work it over in your mind. Think about it. Electro-shock therapy? There’s a good one; scrambles your brain forever. Then add Acid and Heroin. Whoo-ee baby.
Anyway, the authorities knew what the Stones, Warhol, Lennon-Ono and the revolutionary crowd were up to. If the West had been the Soviet Union the whole lot would have been shivering the winter through out in the gulag instead of making millions riding giant inflated penises. Hello Mick, are you listening?
But, back to 1967 and the Redlands bust.
It is difficult to know exactly when Oldham and the Stones appeared on the authorities radar. A reasonable assumption would be perhaps sometime in late ‘64 or early ‘65. On the other hand Mick associated himself with David Bailey who probably was politically active since the late fifties who then drew Mick into a revolutionary circle including Andy Warhol in New York. Perhaps some sort of notice was taken at that time but probably of a cursory sort.
Why the Stones would have gotten a shot on the Ed Sullivan show isn’t all that clear to me; they had no reputation in the States at all. Or, for that matter why the Beatles got a shot. Nor why Dave Clark and all the early Invasion groups were hooplaed and accepted so readily as the next big thing by the Sullivan show. Obviously something was going on behind the scenes that we aren’t aware of.
At any rate the Stones got their shot making a not overly favorable impression; definitely inferior to the Beatles although, as we were informed, top competitors of the Beatles over in England. Well, bully. Somebody must have figured out a money angle and it wasn’t in records. In ‘64 a top selling record was 250,000 copies or a million dollars retail. That was the definition of a million seller. And there weren’t a lot of those.
Even drugs were not yet that prominent although the use of grass had been spreading since the fifties. An elite clique in my high school in Michigan was covertly smoking it in 1956 imitating the kids in Scarsdale New York who were apparently leading the curve.
Pharmaceuticals and psychedelics were in use while I was in the Navy ‘56-’59 but not that widespread. Then in the ‘60s psychedelics came into fairly widespread use. I had no idea that amphetamines were practically universal in NY during the early and mid-sixties. LSD became a phenomenon early in the sixties with Leary given the most attention at his post at Harvard becoming the spokesman for turning on, tuning in and dropping out. One way streets were becoming ubiquitous at the time too. That phrase may have sounded the alarm for the authorities as multitudes actually did drop out becoming rather a useless burden on society. I can tell you, Haight-Ashbury wasn’t all that cool.
That ought to have been about ‘65-’66 when the revolution itself was gathering steam.
Mick, of course, was a political revolutionary committed to the cause while his lyrics are a negative portrayal of society if not a put down. Richards was soured on society at age 13 or so when his voice changed. He had been a boy soprano at his school where he and two others were so excellent that they won many prizes. In the process they were excused from certain classes. Then their voices changed and naturally enough they were given their walking papers.
At this point their award winning efforts were thrown back in their faces as they were demoted in grade to make up the classes from which they had been excused. The trio might have tutored to bring them up to speed but Keith felt that had been discarded like so much refuse. Society made itself an enemy who as time would prove would be able to wreak his vengeance with effect.
Keith accepted adoption by the revolutionaries as one being shown the inner sanctum of the Red Brigades of Italy and other revolutionary groups. So he and Mick were more or less of one mind.
Actually by even playing rock music in the fifties and sixties would be to know that he was infuriating the teacher class that had wronged him. Rock was the devil’s music. The notion that rock was part of the Communist conspiracy to corrupt youth was fairly widely believed, speaking of the US. Folk Music was held to be subversive and there is a fair amount of truth in both assertions.
Certainly the Reds didn’t invent Rock but they quickly took advantage of it to inculcate their doctrines.
After the assault on youth in the late fifties when even Dion of the Belmonts was toned down by Mitch Miller and Columbia, the ‘sweet Jewish rock ‘n’ roll of Carole King and Bob Crewe’ and the promotion of a series of bland ballad singers rock seemed to have been contained by the reaction. In Britain the pop scene had been managed so that only bright, pretty faces and perky personas were universal.
The Stones in a very rebellious revolutionary manner broke that mold. On their entry to the United States they struck people as somehow dirty, compared to the Beatles I suppose. They were actually more repulsive, although that might have been Oldham’s hype, although not so much so as The Animals who absolutely horrified the old guard so that it seemed like the scruffy and scruffier were seizing the youth. And of course even on their first Sullivan appearance you could easily see that Brian Jones was under the influence of something. So the Stones may have come under suspicion by the authorities sometime in 1964.
Before 1965 pot and drugs were still somewhat clandestine among youth but by 1965 and after especially with the surfacing of Haight-Ashbury at least pot and LSD were endemic. In very early ‘64 I used to know a guy who kept a bowl of LSD tabs on his living room table. Of course that was Berkeley. In those days acid was considered a sacrament or some kind of transcendental experience. While not that common the experienced walked around like they had been transformed from ordinary mortals into demi-gods. They wouldn’t talk to anyone who hadn’t dropped. It was quite a sight to see although I never indulged myself.
There was one golden moment of, oh, perhaps a half a second in 1966 when the essence of the ‘60s came and went. It was short and quick and even if you got it it was gone before you could grasp it, little golden shimmers filtered through your fingers and that was that. Sic transit gloria and away we went to Altamont. But I anticipate myself.
You’ve heard of the Generation Gap and that was real. Nineteen thirty-eight when I was born was the year of the lowest number of recorded births in some time. We weren’t as rare as hens teeth but even the war babies out numbered us and when they were born half the male population was overseas, so you figure it. Somebody was having a good time. Then in 1946, of course, when the men who survived began to return the population really began to boom, hence baby boomers. So, there was this gap between a huge youth and an older population. The old folks didn’t like us and, well, the relationship was difficult, kind of like between Martians and Earthmen.
The Stones had that jungle beat the old folks couldn’t tolerate. Shucks, the Stones hadn’t even heard real Negro music. All they knew was Motown and that Chicago shit blues music that no one in the US would even listen to. I owned a record store beginning in ‘67 and, let me tell ya, you couldn’t even give that stuff away and that includes Robert Johnson. Oh sure, some stumblebum blues aficionado would shuffle in to ask for Lightning Hopkins, Little Walter or something like that but when you stocked it they would only fondle it say something like I like knowing it’s here. To hell with those guys.
This was a university town and these fanatics would actually bring Lightning Hopkins, for instance, to town for a concert before twenty people in somebody’s living room. Those guys couldn’t play guitar and they couldn’t sing. Leadbelly! Spare me. Memorized Carl Sandburg’s American Song Bag. I never could figure it out.
Shoot! The Stones missed out on the real thing. They should have been in Oakland in ‘60 to ‘66 where I was. Boy, we had the real thing. The most godawful stuff you’d ever want to hear came blasting out of KDIA. White disc jockeys though. The Stones could have learned a lot.
The jungle beat might have garnered them some real attention.
But then, under Andrew’s urging the Stones began to write and compose their own songs. These were often cruel sexual songs expressing the desire to oppress and hurt women or else mocking the older generation. Very strange, unsettling stuff at the time. Now everyone has been unsettled, can’t move them now. As Jagger and Richards, who wrote the songs, found their way in songwriting, the songs became ever more revolutionary while they meshed with a slew of revolutionary movies released during the mid-sixties on. These were often coded plans of action that an agitator provided with the key could decode for other revolutionaries and direct action. Such a key movie that was very influential for the Baader-Meinhoff gang and among German revolutionaries in general was Louis Malle’s Viva Maria. While on the surface a nonsensical even stupid movie when one has the key the movie becomes coherent indeed. Part of the Matriarchal Revolution for starters, but watch it.
Jean Luc Godard, another Nouvelle Vaguer also filmed the very propagandistic film One + One (reissued as Sympathy For The Devil) built around the Stones song of the same title. There was also a slew of satanic movies such Roman
Polansky’s Rosemary’s Baby that aimed at undermining Christian Beliefs. I Am Curious: Yellow that aimed at destroying female chastity. But more of that in the appropriate place.
So, by ‘67 the time of the bust the Stones were building up a dangerous reputation. Always remember that all of these outfits were infiltrated by espionage agents. And those guys were the ones bringing in the dope so how couldn’t the authorities know what drugs the Stones were using and in what quantities. Nice calling card, isn’t it: an unopened ounce of Merck cocaine?
At any rate they decided in 1967 to rein the Stones in a little bit. Shoot the old warning shot across the bow. Also remember that as much as the authorities wanted to suppress the Stones there were just as many Communists or revolutionaries in just as high places to thwart their efforts and actually place the Stones above the law. Their credo: To revolutionaries all things are permitted. Now, you figure it out.
In point of fact the older generation just couldn’t understand the youthful attitude. Everything was going along swimmingly as far as they were concerned. The war recovery was proceeding nicely while the economy seemed stabilized, no return of the Depression. That’s what really scared them and now the little creeps benefiting from this wanted to destroy it. Go figure. That high point of Western Civilization has been subverted today.
As far as the bust at Redlands the authorities were just giving the Stones a good razzing, a taste of what could happen if they were serious. In all likelihood they probably had no intention of making Jagger and Richards serve their sentences. Robert Fraser, the art dealer, arrested with them, was a different situation. He was a member of the establishment having held high military responsibility in Kenya possibly during the Mau Mau insurrection. Therefore he had no excuse whatsoever.
The Stones are quite right that it was a setup. The supposed dope dealer, the American Jew Schneiderman was quite obviously a CIA plant, hence his unlimited supply of pharmaceutical Acid.
Rees-Mogg’s editorial ‘Who Breaks A Butterfly On The Wheel’ was obviously an inside joke as well as well as an insult to the effeminate Jagger. One doesn’t take butterflies seriously hence they were calling Mick a little twit. Why bother with someone so inconsequential? Mick and Keith don’t seem to have understood this. Indeed, Mick, according to Tony Sanchez blubbered:
They think they can break us, man but no way. We’ll take everything they can throw at us, and we’ll still win. We’re in a position to tell the kids about all the shit that’s going down, and that’s just what we are going to do.
Well, bravo, Mick. But you might have been speaking from jail, a rather poor pulpit, had they chosen to put you there while you were not speaking for ‘the kids’ just the yobbos who weren’t going to do anything.
Then according to Sanchez/Blake Mick launches into a clairvoyant séance:
I see a great of danger in the air. Teenagers are not screaming over pop music anymore. We’re only serving as a means of giving them an outlet. Pop music is just a superficial issue…When I’m on that stage I sense that the teenagers are trying to communicate to me, like by telepathy, a message of some urgency. Not about me or our music but about the world and the way they live. I interpret it as their demonstration against society and its sick attitude…This is a protest against the system. And I see a lot of trouble coming in the dawn.
So did the authorities and they were taking measures if not to avert it at least to minimize it. I fail to see how the Paris imbroglio of 1968 took anyone by surprise. I mean, there was no organization not infiltrated by the intelligence agencies. The Chinese Cultural Revolution of which Paris and the rest was part, was directed from Beijing so the West’s intelligence agencies had to be well informed. But as the enemy was their own children they had to be sparing in the use of force. Even Chicago that would have been a great excuse to eliminate the proven troublemakers wasn’t used. Instead we ended up with the farce of the Chicago Eight trial.
They should have just dumped on them. No one was going to riot; those creeps didn’t have that much sympathy.
And then just to show Mick how little they thought of him they sent a helicopter to bring him to them for a little mocking chat. A helicopter: give me a break. Keith does have this to say about that in his autobiography Life of 2010:
The same day we were released the strangest TV discussion ever took place between Mick- flown in by helicopter to some English lawn- and representatives of the ruling establishment. They were like figures from Alice, chessmen: a bishop, a Jesuit, an attorney general and Rees-Mogg. They’d been sent out as a scouting party, waving a white flag, to discuss whether the new youth culture was a threat to the established order. Trying to bridge the unbridgeable gap between the generations. They were earnest and awkward, and it was ludicrous. Their questions amounted to: what do you want?….They were trying to make peace with us, like Chamberlin. Little bit of paper…Yet you know they’re carrying weight, they can bring down some heavy duty shit, so there was this underlying aggressiveness. In a way they were begging Mick for answers. I thought Mick came off pretty well. He didn’t attempt to answer them; he just said, you’re living in the past.
They flew Mick in a helicopter. It was a mocking importance and it came off that way. I saw the bit at the time and came to some different conclusions than Keith. Mick staggered out of the chopper and had to walk across a broad expanse of lawn as though a suppliant to the haughty waiting establishment, sort of like going to see the school principal. They awaited on the patio of a huge house. It was the back door and Mick wasn’t even invited into the kitchen: he was treated like a servant or better yet, a beggar. Butterfly indeed.
They were condescending enough to make your bones ache, Rees-Mogg, one of the establishment, included. They asked the spokesperson of the generation: What do the kids want? Mick flopped. He just stuttered. Keith may have thought he came off well but at my end of the tube I burst out laughing. As far as I was concerned Mick humiliated himself, but then, it was planned that way. All the power was on their side; Mick could really only stand like some penitent school boy and that’s pretty much what he did. Mick wasn’t and couldn’t have been prepared. The deck was stacked against him. But then he, in his turn, shouldn’t have blustered in the aftermath. I wonder if he had to walk home as the heli lifted off without him. That would have been the usual part of the trick; to leave the victim stranded.
In their own way the establishment succeeded in that they knocked the Jagger-Richards writing team off center. Or possibly the duo had exhausted their first momentum, much as Dylan had done and had to regroup as Dylan did. Keith acknowledged that they were dry after the bust. As he says the duo was able to find a new center that was just as successful, perhaps moreso, than the first.
The revolutions were still on and about to reach their first climax.
Next: Leading to Altamont