February 27, 2013
Who Is Spanish Tony Sanchez?
A Review Of Up And Down With The Rolling Stones
Published In 1979 Spanish Tony Sanchez’ memoir is now thirty-four years old. Tony tanked it in the year 2000. Had he lived he might be surprised but gratified at the success his book is enjoying. According to reviews the book as been very well received by book buyers although there are dissident views by others finding the book unbelievable.
Part of the problem is that the book was co-written by a former journalist named John Blake who appears to detest Jagger, Richards and the whole scene they created. As a journalist he was privy to all the gossip about Jagger and Richards and so chips in with opinions of his own while also citing newspaper reports. Although written as a continuous narrative, with careful reading you can separate Blake from Sanchez.
After his journalistic career blew up Blake went on to publishing at which he has been successful. His collaboration with Sanchez was fruitful. The book is a great read anyway you look at it. The question is not what Sanchez tells us but what he doesn’t tell us.
Tony says that he was under he protection of a gang boss by the name of Albert Dimes who ran the West End apparently sharing Soho with the notorious Kray twins, Reggie and Ronnie and their brother Charlie. Sanchez then can be classed as a hoodlum. As Charlie Kray says his gang ran a bodyguard company it seems probable that Tony was employed by Keith in that function.
One of his chief functions for the Stones was as a drug supplier. Opening the book he says apropos of Brian Jones:
I’m not a pusher, but as a boy I’d worked in Soho, first as a night club bouncer, then as a croupier, so I know exactly where to go for anything from a lid of grass to a Thompson submachine gun. Consequently people in the rock world had come to me as a reluctant go-between in their flirtations with the London underworld.
That short paragraph says an awful lot. We know, according to Tony, that he was sufficiently well known in gangland to come under the protection of Albert Dimes, a gangster dating back to the early fifties. Tony says that he worked as a bouncer in gambling joints and that would require the attitude and the temper to use violence whether necessary or not.
And then he says he was a croupier. He later tells us that the games were rigged so that he was knowingly bilking his customers, a form of theft. He then tells us that he could get anything from a bag of grass to submachines guns. This would mean that he was very knowledgeable in criminal matters.
He repeatedly professes that he didn’t sell drugs for profit but apparently had access to commercial amounts. At the same time he is married with two children, dresses like a dandy and hangs out in pricey bars. At no time does he appear to be gainfully employed until for some reason Keith Richards puts him on the payroll at 16,000 pounds a year. Well in excess of the pay for a working stiff. Plus, as Tony never seems to visit the wife and kids, room and board. Kind of a dream deal, you might say. What’s up? We’ll have to guess because Tony and John kept it quiet.
So, how did Tony get so close to Keith? Well, this is fairly interesting stuff. The stuff Swinging London was made of. The story’s real beginning is on page 39 when Tony meets Groovy Bob Fraser who was his entrance to the rock world. Tony tells it like this:
Into this world of intrigue, sudden violence, and bitter feuds dropped Robert Fraser. We met as I sipped a solitary espresso at the Bar Italian in Soho’s Frith Street. It was afternoon and I was killing time before going to work at the club.
Robert sat next to me, and we fell into conversation. Robert mentioned that he had gone to college in Spain…I speak Spanish as fluently as I speak English. This excited Robert and he jumped at the chance to talk to me in his very erudite Spanish…
From there a friendship developed around Tony’s ability to score drugs. Fraser was a gambler who had lost 20K pounds to the Kray Twins and couldn’t pay. He asked and Tony offered to deal with the Krays. Tony approached Dimes who wasn’t willing to jeopardize his wicket for an impecunious gambler. Tony decided to approach the Krays on his own. Bold move. Now, two versions exist; the improbable one of the book and another version in what purports to be a chapter of the book deleted by the publishers that might be more accurate.
The story involves criminal attempts to take over the music business. Sanchez was in a criminal occupation within the underworld while he confesses to wanting to be a criminal. p. 37:
As a teenager my great passions were rock music and big-time villainy- roughly in that order. I had a cousin who had gone way, way off the rails and who had become deeply immersed in organized crime. While my parents complained about the shame he was bringing to our family, I could only look at his big car and beautiful women and pray to God he would show me how it was done.
So, his cousin got Tony a job as a croupier and Tony began to meet big time crooks like Albert Dimes.
Rock and Roll bands at that time played in clubs and clubs are almost universally under the control of the underworld. Thus band members of the Beatles and Rolling Stones are in much closer contact with the underworld than one might assume while that is very carefully obscured by their biographers.
The Beatles played for months in the red light district of Hamburg one of the toughest criminal areas in the world. They witnessed much crime and mayhem. They were no angels. Albert Grossman in his biography gives examples while Andrew Oldham in his latest effort, Stone Free, tells of the time John and Paul dressed as priests and while so posing anointed communicants with their own piss, for which Oldham says they were arrested. At any rate they were under the protection of the crime lord of all Europe. The Krays of England would have been old hat to them.
Tony’s relationship with Keith then is suspicious.
The Kray Twins, who were England’s most prominent villains, as the English say, had taken over a prominent West End gambling spot called Esmeralda’s Barn. Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein gambled here, losing heavily so that the enormous amounts of money the Beatles were generating came to the attention of the Krays. They also knew that Epstein was gay. As they had made the previous owner of the Barn the irrefusable offer they believed they could do the same with Epstein. This aspect of the story is detailed in Colin Fry’s book, The Krays: A Violent Business so the account is not dependent on the missing chapter.
The Krays arranged a meeting with Epstein in a homosexual bar. That it was a homosexual bar indicates nothing to me as gay bars aren’t in the habit of hanging signs out saying: Gay Bar. I have been in several gay venues without knowing where I was until I was being served. The question is, would one go back?
Epstein patiently explained that managing bands was not as easy and effortless as it looked. The Krays then consulted the alleged godfather of British crime Arthur Thompson of Glasgow who as Epstein pointed out indicated to the Krays that managing the Beatles would require sustained effort and concentration to which criminals are not accustomed. Fry says the Krays thought it over, deciding to blackmail Epstein instead which they did collecting a sum every month for years.
Now to the Antiphoney’s missing chapter. Tony says, if the chapter is authentic, that Robert Fraser owed the Krays 20K in unpaid gambling debts. Tony says in Up And Down he tried to arrange a deal in which Fraser paid 30% or less thus freeing him and making him grateful to Tony.
According to the missing chapter the Krays showed him a sheaf of bounced checks and suggested that perhaps Fraser could clear the debt by delivering the Beatles into their hands, apparently not having given up their desire for the Beatles. When Tony told Fraser the idea he says Fraser embraced it setting about to woo the group. Fraser was fairly tight with McCartney to whom he sold a lot of artwork but not so much with Lennon.
In order then to co-opt Lennon, this sounds like a stretcher, he enlisted the aid of Yoko Ono who had arrived from NYC. As an avant-garde personality cum artist she would have looked Fraser up on her arrival so it is at least probable that she knew him. Yoko according to this account had been hanging around Paul who was the Beatle she wanted. Whatever the intent she did besiege John relentlessly until she got her entry and then she seduced him baffling his mind with all that avant garde BS and heroin.
If Fraser had his agenda Yoko had her own. Having conquered John she used his fame to pull off the Performance Art project of the century when he and she staged the Bed-In For Peace.
While all this was going on the Guiness heir Tara Browne entered this scene when he and his friend, , opened a night club called Sybilla’s. George Harrison of the Beatles was a significant investor. You can’t operate a club without dealing with some Mob. Perhaps the Krays saw Sybilla’s as a chance to co-opt the Beatles. Although the story is not yet clear I imagine that the Krays put pressure on Kevin MacDonald and Browne to sell their interest thus giving them direct access to Harrison as a partner. The two apparently refused so MacDonald was thrown off a roof to his death which left Tara Browne to deal with.
Bearing in mind that Paul had been under the protection of the European crime lord and one doesn’t receive favors without returning them, for that or some other reason Paul was probably compelled to lure Browne to his death. It is said, perhaps conjectured, that on that night Paul challenged Tara to a high speed auto race through London. The object being to draw Tara to a certain intersection where he could be caused to crash his car, a little flimsy Lotus. The crash ruse succeeded and Browne was killed although his supposed passenger, Suzy Poitier survived in a demolished car without a scratch sans seat belt or air bag. Doesn’t seem likely.
Browne’s death left Harrison as the sole surviving investor. I have no information as to his reaction but the club was closed and Harrison went his way. Harrison and Browne had been enough of an attraction to make Sybilla’s a hot spot with the In Crowd. That kind of lightning can strike many times.
Subsequently then, Tony, so he says, conceived the notion of opening his own club that he called Vesuvio. As he seemed to be very tight with the Stones and the Beatles he was able to feature them as attractions for his grand opening that was attended by them and the Rock establishment including Eric Clapton who was also a habitué at the Krays’ gambling club, The Barn. According to Tony the club was a stellar success but then he discovered he wasn’t the type to enjoy sustained business activity so his partner, the one who fronted the money took over management putting him on a stipend. Sanchez doesn’t say who his partner was but it surely must have been either Albert Dimes, or…the Krays.
Whatever, but Fraser was still not delivering and the Krays were getting pushy. Here comes a real leap of belief. Fraser could deliver neither the Beatles nor the money owed so, says Tony, he conceived the notion of going to prison to escape the Krays. An odd choice as the Krays had as many men on the inside as on the outside. But if you’ve snorted, puffed dropped and shot enough stuff I’m sure anything can seem like a reasonable plan.
Thus Tony says in the deleted chapter it was he, Fraser, who tipped the News Of The World to the Redlands bust which sent him to prison for six months. During that time the Krays murdered Jack McVitie, for which crime they were finally nailed. They went in as Fraser came out thus freeing him of the threat although Tony says prison was a life changing experience for Bob who became a less groovy Bob.
Alright. That makes a good story, doesn’t it?
Nor was the above the only contact of the Krays with show biz and Rock
It may be time to give a little perspective to the arch-criminals, The Krays, for those who may be unfamiliar with them, at least in the US, the English underworld reformed after WWII, a whole new cast of characters emerged formed by the wartime experience. The Kray twins were born in 1933 while their brother Charlie was a few years older. Ronnie and Reggie, the twins, began to emerge after 1954 becoming powers as the sixties began.
Perhaps their main racket was Protection of which providing bodyguards was a sub-division.
As the sixties progressed and their fame grew the Sicilian Mafia of the US began to take notice of them. The Mafia had always had a stable of singers, actors and performers they controlled for their nightclubs, such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Judy Garland et al. They suggested the Krays do the same.
In that manner the Krays provided bodyguards for visiting Mafia acts in England. When gambling became legal in England during the early sixties the US Mafia opened casinos installing such as the ex-actor George Raft as front men. The Krays were flattered by the attention showered on them by Raft.
Thus the Krays moved in on the Beatles, the Stones, the Kinks and others. While the Beatles Brian Epstein was paying large monthly there was probably a connection to group members also. If McCartney was used to lure Tara Browne to his death, and maybe it was only intended as a scare and a few bruises, then there was mob influence at the personal level.
As I have implied if not stated, Spanish Tony was foisted on Keith as a bodyguard and minder.
The Krays also made a move to co-opt the Kinks but that deal is said to have fallen through. Ronnie Kray as part of the deal wanted to date Kink drummer, Mick Avery. Very flattering to Mick, I’m sure.
Later, when the Sicilian US Mafia wanted to launder money they offered the Krays 2,000,000 dollars to set up a label. The Krays went about it signing a few acts including Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas. Kramer was spared further indignities when the money was withdrawn and the deal fell through.
And then in Prison after 1968 Reggie Kray decided he wanted to be a songwriter so his songs were foisted on groups who were required to record them.
Much has been made of the homosexual Communist MP Tom Driberg trying to lure Mick into politics. In point of fact Driberg was well connected with Ronnie Kray and part of ring that borrowed boys from an orphanage for their sexual deviance.
This then is quite involved and while Mick was probably not lured into this pervert scene with the Krays it would seem that there was some attempt to draw him in thus co-opting him into the underworld. The scene and Redlands situation needs a little in depth investigation to clear up details of what might have been going on behind the scene of the Bust.
And then there was Tony’s ongoing relationship with Marianne Faithfull. No one associated with the Stones has anything positive to say about Tony. But, listen to Marianne, autobiography, p. 162:
…(Tony) was a dreadful person. You only had to see him eat to know how loathsome he was. He was a lowlife, a small-time spiv, but a weakling at the same time. He was as enchained as anyone else, completely hung up on his particular sickness.
…I was getting deeper and deeper into drugs…I was also getting involved in a long affair with Tony Sanchez, dealer by appointment to the Stones. I can’t believe I did that! I didn’t get enough pocket money fom Mick and I didn’t have any money of my own, so how else would I have been able to get my own drugs?
There’s a problem. And then:
It’s odd to realize that the person you’re sleeping with is there only because you’re Mick Jagger’s girl friend. Or were.
This was as Marianne moved into her lost years during the seventies. During this period she makes it sound as though she were sitting on her wall over the bomb site beyond the ken of the world. It makes a good story and it drew me in. But, she says she never resorted to prostitution. Well, maybe.
While in France with Keith Tony met a woman named Madeleine D’Arcy for whom he fell hard, ditching the wife and kids. Love of his life, he said. She returned to England with Tony where Marianne apparently fell for her as hard as Tony. Sanchez came home one day to find Madeleine and Marianne getting it on. He blamed Marianne.
As all three were heroin addicts with pretty good habits; one wonders where Tony got the money if he wasn’t dealing. He was not closely associated with Keith after Keith fled the Riviera a step or to ahead of the cops so Tony may then have been off the payroll.
He would have had to be hustling something.
Madeleine was hooking. Marianne pp.225-26:
I hadn’t heard from Madeleine for several days. Her phone was off the hook and I suspected the worst. I had a feeling she’d OD’d, and I might have to smash down her door, so when I went over to the flat in Maida Vale I took with me as muscle a burly Maltese drug dealer and a lowlife friend…Eventually the boys broke down the door and in the bedroom we found Madeleine lying fully clothed in a long gown on the bed. She was obviously dead and looked bruised and bloody…By the time of her death, she had gone back to turning tricks at Brighton for fifteen pounds a night.
The Maltese gangs in London were known both for drug dealing and running prostitution. That Marianne contacted a Maltese and ‘a lowlife friend’ might point to prostitution. I saw a clip on the internet in which the photographer was hidden in a sort of alcove shooting through an opening. Marianne walked in front of the camera obviously dressed as a hooker but very classy in her mini skirt and jacket. She spotted the camera, looked alarmed, and quickly ducked around a corner looking back to ascertain what was going on.
There are numerous pictures of her during her lost years so that when the record producers went looking for her she wouldn’t have been as hard to find as she says.
And then, this: p.221:
I was constantly reminded during these years of my parasitic status in the pop world. I remember once going out dancing to a club and Rod Stewart came home with me. He thought I was just one of those girls that sort of floated around pop stars and tried to put the whole thing across like that… (Pop stars) are looking for their particular type, a girly sort of woman with pretty underwear and frocks and the whole female fantasy….I laughed and threw him out.
Sort of a hard Marianne. The other side of the Faerie Queen.
In 1976 Tony was cut loose by Jagger and Richards for good. I presume he passed out of Marianne’s life at that time. In any event she met her second husband, Ben Brierly, in 1976 and began a different, if not a new, life.
Tony’s primary job after securing drugs was to look after Keith. Keith needed some serious looking after. As Keith says Tony’s facts are straight then the only disagreement would be that Tony mentioned things Keith preferred not be mentioned. Indeed, when a London newspaper was going to publish an excerpt concerning Marianne she got an injunction to prevent it.
If the incidents are true as Keith attests then the evidence is that Keith was, at the very least, off the rails, carefree and reckless. He seemed to be conducting a vendetta against society attempting to see how many rules and laws he could break with impunity not unlike the Droogs of A Clockwork Orange.
Unable to pass the driver’s license test Keith had someone else take the test for him. Although, test or no test, practice should have made perfect. Keith was a slow learner cracking up car after car. As he was usually carrying, he grabbed the dope then ran off leaving Tony to deal with the police. Rather annoying from Tony’s point of view who must have been on the police radar himself.
I’m sure that Tony considered himself more than a minder or drug procurer, thinking of himself as more of a member of the group, especially as he was a friend of Robert Fraser’s before linking up with Keith.
The Redlands drug bust is far from cleared up. There is no certainty as to who alerted the News Of The World paper that drugs would be at the party and where the party was. The drug dealer Schneiderman may have been the one. His presence is certainly suspicious. I am going to suggest another possibility, admittedly a conjecture, that Tony himself might be the culprit. Sanchez ran a lot of risks for Jagger and Keith while being included in most things. Then, he wasn’t invited to the Redlands party at which he knew the regulars well. To be excluded is often considered an insult for hangers on for which vengeance is due. It is possible, then, that to wipe the perceived insult Tony himself alerted the News Of The World. It would certainly have avenged a number of indignities he had suffered at the hands of Keith.
It might have been Fraser who alerted the News as the missing chapter asserts, it might have been Schneiderman or, perhaps, it was Tony himself.
At any rate it appears that Tony was tolerated by Keith but not really welcome. As he was linked to London’s underworld it is possible if not probable that there was some link between it and Keith and Mick. When the Krays were sent up for thirty years in 1968, probably freeing Mick and Keith from their influence Tony’s days were probably numbered.
He was still useful in France but when Keith overplayed his hand finding it necessary to leave France and unable to return to England, he became a man without a country of sorts, the connection with Tony was broken, it being only necessary to sever the relationship.
Tony tells it in the brief epilogue to his book:
I had been running from death too long, knew that I could not live this life much longer. But I wasn’t ready to draw completely away. Keith still called me occasionally asking me to get drugs for him, and usually I would cooperate. It had become my way of life. It was on August 21, 1976, that the Stones were playing an outdoor concert at Knebworth House in Hertfordshire, and Keith and Mick asked me to bring some cocaine to the dressing room for them. I was given the wrong type pass, however, and in the midst of a wrangle with a security man I suddenly realized it was all over. I turned on my heel, walked away and the next day reserved a room at Bowden House for a cure.
And so Tony was eased out. I have found nothing that mentions his last twenty-five years. However he died in the year 2000 short after Charlie, Ronnie and Reggie Kray had all passed away. It may have been coincidence or as some suggest…
February 17, 2013
The Sixties: A Comic Book Heaven
Of course, everyone is, and always has been, slightly mad. Still, repressing the unreasonable side of his nature man in the Western world has, since the eighteenth century, built a civilization based on scientific reason and classic Aristotelian logic- the heritage of the Enlightenment. And the result, especially in this country [US] during the past fifty years [article dated 1970], has been a rational society that has made one technological break through after another, from the invention of the pop-up toaster to the ability to land men on the moon. Here, until recently, two plus two had inevitably equaled four, not five, as Eastern mystics suggest, and no one other than J.D. Salinger had been able to imagine the sound of one hand clapping.
–Thomas Meehan- Horizon Magazine, Spring 1970.
Comic books were first sold in 1933-34. Thus the first two comic book generations coincide with those too young to serve in WWII while many of the first generation was obliged to serve in the Korean war while the second generation missed both.
How deeply the mind of the first generation of comic book readers was formed is problematical. Comic books didn’t take their classic form until 1938 when the character of Superman was formed. The number of comic characters proliferated during WWII but as these, i.e. Capt. America, were war specific they fell out of favor after WWII.
The first generation of potential comic book readers, those born from 1933-34 formed the substratum for the sixties when they created rock and roll and the base for 60s pop culture during the 50s. That was Presley, Sanford Clark, Cash, Vincent, Nelson et al.
Following the war those born in 1937-38 and subsequently through about 1943-44 had their minds formed by comic books although not all to the same degree. A significant percentage of them were forbidden to read comics by their parents, perhaps wisely. There were some who indulged themselves indiscriminately. I was one of those. I read them all, avidly. The question is how were we affected?
There was a terrific reaction against comic books. Angry parents fought to have them banned. In perhaps the only, certainly of a very few, successful efforts of censorship, comics were banned in 1954. The survivor, of course, was Mad Magazine published by the worst offender, William C. Gaines. All of the comic book readers plus many of those formerly excluded shifted to Mad thus further polluting our brains. While I never gave up reading the comic books till their banning I did abandon Mad for political reasons after a year or so.
Now, with the exception of Capt. Marvel, and that may only be partial, the comics were exclusively of Jewish origins. Thus we in the US, Britain was excluded, were shown the Jewish point of view without our knowing.
One of the key themes was the all male group of do-gooders. These were some of my favorites. The tops, perhaps, was the very influential Blackhawks comics. The Blackhawks were a group of five ex-WWII pilots who each owned his P-38 fighter and flew around the world, Third World mainly, if I remember correctly, righting wrongs they recognized more quickly and efficiently, that is vigilante style, than organized government could or would. I remember the Blackhawks as terrific, I loved them. The fellowship of the pilots, each with a different character, each loyal to the others was something that I and I suppose every reader wished to emulate, especially the notion of a bonded group of five like minded guys.
Another was called the Daredevil. He had a red and blue set of body tights upper right and lower left red and vice versa for the blue. Weird but that’s the way he was. Daredevil was a surrogate father figure to five orphan boys, same character makeup as the Blackhawks, who righted wrongs in their neighborhood and lived in the same clubhouse. The later musical group The Monkees was probably based on them. The Monkees were short one, being four, which lessened their impact. If they’d had that fifth member I would have been an avid fan although older by then.
Thus in 1954 the origins of Top 40 began on radio. Twenty four hours round the clock seven days a week full time music. An innovation created by the arrival of television. The first generation of rockers were solo artists. Some came attached with a band such as Bill Haley And The Comets or Gene Vincent And The Blue Caps who were proto-Blackhawk type groups but mainly they were solo artists with a band not a group. Presley, Sanford Clark and that curious mixture of both, Ricky Nelson.
The societal maturation process was continuing and then in the mid-sixties the Charlatans came down from the hills of Virginia City dressed in movie style cowboy outfits to home base San Francisco and the first group of costumed crusaders a la the Blackhawks burst forth in full flower.
In Britain the situation was somewhat different although coeval with the US. While the US escaped devastation in WWII the South of England was bombarded mercilessly destroying millions of buildings. A good representation of the situation may be found in John Boorman’s I suppose accurate, I wasn’t there, movie, The Hope And The Glory. As Boorman, who was there, portrays it, acres and acres of rubble stretched in every direction. The kids who scavenged and roamed the area are portrayed as little savages. An interesting education for the age cohort that came of age in the fifties.
Those born in the early forties, the core of the second generation of rockers, themselves played in this same although shrinking devastation. But rations were short in hard hit Britain, restrictions were not lifted until 1954. How their psychology was impaired isn’t so clear, although in the mid-sixties a wild party time called Swinging London appeared. Gay abandon one might say.
The group situation there may have been the result of the generation’s discovery of American slave music- Rhythm And Blues. R&B as a new entry to the British music scene met with resistance so that the devotees were possibly forced to form small groups who recognized each other, many wanting to play the music so they naturally formed groups, two guitars, drums, bass and a singer.
At any rate the British invasion of the US consisted of these four and five man groups coinciding with the comic book groups of the US.
Other formative influences other than comics and radio were films and TV. Those all involved a specific point of view repeated ad nauseum or lessons from a know-it-all crusader cum super hero.
Of course we all grew up with Hopalong Cassidy and Gene Autry among others during the forties but with the fifties came the fantastic science fiction movies. One of the most important was The Day The Earth Stood Still with its famous characters Klaatu and Gort. The premise was preposterous but no one got it. Klaatu is an alien landing a saucer in the US. He is here to vet Earthlings to see if the they are ready to enter the intergalactic community in which peace reigns. Alas, Earthlings, you and me, are hopelessly primitively addicted to violence. Klaatu boards his saucer with a sign of benediction delivering a long sermon about shaping up and saying he’ll be back if we ever sort things out. Alright.
Movie after movie repeated the same message until today people actually believe that extra-terrestrials are all peaceful and Earth is the only rogue planet in the universe. Ask anyone. Flying Saucers were portrayed as hovering out there where the communications satellites would soon be. There they carefully studied mankind for any sign of the diminution of violence. Boy, I bet they think they’ve been wasting their time. Imagine circling Earth for seventy years waiting for indications of peacefulness. Obviously they’ve been sadly disappointed while being joined by the Negro Mother Wheel that appeared some time in the seventies to keep them company Hello, Earth calling Mother Wheel.
These movies established the idea that the whole universe except for Earth is highly developed and pacific along with the idea that Earthlings are worthless, hence most people accepted as fact we were being watched by superior beings and found wanting. We were inferior.
The movies established the notion that there were millions of inhabited worlds out there inhabited by superior beings who could travel billions of light years and get to home base in time for dinner. ‘Honey, I’m home.’
Now, at the same time, pulp magazines existed. Monthly editions of Amazing Stories, Astounding Tales and others poured out endless reams of the most astonishing stuff imaginable. Thus, all three, comics, pulps and movies, sci-fi and movies were rushing through our minds, forming expectations. Of course, the number of us who read sci-fi, almost as despised by parents as the comics, was small, but then as TV developed, Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone and Star Trek came along both of which mined the sci-fi stories of the fifties while spreading the notions throughout the entire population. This reduced the intellectual discrimination of the people whose minds were prepared to accept anything.
These years of the fifties were very crowded with the most exciting new developments. TV was perhaps at the top of the list. Bear in mind that cable didn’t exist. There weren’t even three channels in most places including a major market like the San Francisco Bay Area. People didn’t think TV would be profitable. The channels didn’t even broadcast until noon and shut down at ten o’clock prime time. There was no 24/7 TV.
There wasn’t even enough original programming to fill a ten hour day so they ran old movies and almost anything anyone could think up. Arthur Godfrey’s show ran for hours every day.
One of those odd things they chose to fill time was a character called Crusader Rabbit. I don’t know how well remembered the Rabbit is today but he had a profound effect in forming the minds of the 60s generation. Crusader Rabbit was a distant relative of the Blackhawks. While they flew around the world able to determine who were the good guys and who the bad, Crusader Rabbit was a self-righteous little bastard of a vigilante squad who instilled certain little minds with his self-righteousness and made them think they should impose their vision of reality on the world by mounting ‘crusades.’ Hawkeye of the later TV series Mash combined Crusader Rabbit with the Blackhawks.
Now, all this was happening in a short six years from 1950 to 1956. In many ways this was a major intellectual/psychological revolution preceding those revolutions of the sixties.
Equally, if not more important, was what was happening in the classrooms of our schools.
If an astonishing variety of educations was going on outside the classrooms what was going on inside was no less astonishing. I don’t know if everyone saw it the way I did but I had a tough time assimilating what I heard. Of course American superiority and the inferiority of Europeans was standard staple. At the same time we were warned to be humble as bearers of these great gifts and to share them with our inferiors who after all couldn’t help it that they weren’t born Americans. True enough I suppose.
And, because of the success of our own American revolution, barring any negative thoughts caused by the French and Bolshevik revolutions, we were taught, indeed, indoctrinated and conditioned to believe that revolution per se was good, indeed, a blessing. Ignoring whatever may have been going on in the world we were taught to revere the South American George Washington, Simon Bolivar, who flitted from country to country on the whole continent until he came to end of it in Venezuela tossing the Spanish aside like so much chaff. Viva Bolivar, hey? Well, Viva Zapata next.
Well, I came from the orphanage and I had a different idea of right and wrong. Heroes were much scarcer for me than for the kids from normal homes.
By the time we got to high school, 1953-56, teachers were preaching revolution, revolution, revolution full bore. Revolution was everywhere. Minute changes in processed breakfast cereals were described as revolutions. Crusader Rabbit was a revo. Who wasn’t?
The reverence for revolution continued in college too. Another four years of revo, rah, rah, rah followed in college which ended for my class in 1960. Portentous year, what? That was the year our limp President, John F. Kennedy created the Peace Corps. We were eager to share our wonderful achievement so recent college graduates with absolutely no knowledge of the world and inadequate educations sallied forth to tell the world how to do it right. OK? How’s that for arrogance?
Now, there were plenty of revolutions in progress in 1960 and all those graduates from say, 1954 to 1959, were primed for revo. Lived for it, breathed it. They didn’t even have to be recruited; they went searching for it. Give us revolution, they screamed.
These were years of the magnificent march of progress too. Years of change and hope, revolutions one might say, in all areas of endeavor. The people born from 1938 to 1945 leaped in with both feet and arms flailing. The sixties belonged to us, it was a world that we would make ourselves.
The next age cohort born from ‘46-’53 would be instrumental in forming the seventies, the eighties going to the next age cohort. Of course these cohorts created nothing merely extending the ethic of the 60s’ cohort. The interesting thing is that there was a fairly complete break between us and The Greatest Generation as our fathers have been styled.
Those revolutionary minded teachers of ours were mostly born c. 1890 so they were at the tail end of the post-Civil War corps, lived through two world wars and the Great Depression. Our fathers born somewhere around 1918 caught the Depression and WWII while witnessing the Korean War. We younger ones, in the US, avoided that while TV, Top 40 and other assorted wonders made us rather distinct, nothing alike in outlook. Our fathers didn’t really like, couldn’t trust us, and certainly were not going to accord us the dignity of adulthood and the authority that goes with it. So we grew distant from them not really thinking an awful lot of them or giving them our trust. Fuck, they couldn’t even deal with the Mafia.
Politically they kept control during the sixties while culturally and socially we managed affairs. As it was a new beginning of sorts the succeeding age cohorts respected us and what may be called our achievements, sex, drugs and rock and roll, but still maintaining that sense of breakfast cereal revo.
To make the break even sharper, in 1960 the real old guard headed by Eisenhower checked out and an Irish upstart son of a bootlegger, Jack Kennedy, leader of the Celtish Camelot and a guy who could twist the night away even with a bad back, attempted to lead the way.
His best wasn’t very good and he caught a piece of flying lead allowing that pale Texan reincarnation of FDR to see how badly he could muff it. He did a good job of muffing it too.
So, there we were on the brink of 1960 raring to show the world what we could do. Really revo the whole machine? We’ll see.
The psychological background of the sixties as exhibited by the second rock generation from 1938 to 1945 is a major manifestation of an effort begun back in the WWII days. It is the realization of the theologico-metaphysical notion of what Sigmund Freud dubbed the Unconscious. As the quote opening this essay indicates the sixties was the undoing of the several hundred year effort to realize the conscious. We thought we’d seen enough of the unconscious to last much more than a millennium. As the effort was begun before the awareness of the nature of the Un or subconscious the effort was achieved as Mr. Meehan states by the repression of sub-conscious motives not their elimination.
Freud quickly discerned this and he understood the function of dreams that he called the ‘royal road to the unconscious.’ Thus the motto he appended to his volume The Interpretation Of Dreams published appropriately in 1900 is ‘Flectare si nequeo, Superos, Acheronta movebo.” which translated means ‘If I cannot deflect the will of heaven I shall move hell.’
Freud interpreting the conscious mind as heaven chose to deemphasize consciousness in favor of his vision of the unconscious that he interpreted as Hell. Thus, you will find almost nothing in Freudian psychology referring to the conscious mind while he enthrones his Unconscious as the moderator of the human mind. He actually believed that the Unconscious was an agency separate from the body. In theological terms it had a supernatural existence. Thus, he has negated consciousness, or Science, in favor of Religion. As he has rejected God or Heaven then it follows that he embraced Satan and Hell.
As the sixties progressed the generation abandoned consciousness embracing unconsciousness. Time Magazine proclaimed in 1966 ‘God Is Dead’ while Satanism came alive, indeed according to Ira Levin in his novel, Rosemary’s Baby, Satan’s son, Andy, was born in 1966 just as God died. Levin continued his story in 1999’s Son Of Rosemary. Interesting.
It is no coincidence that Freud was both a druggie and a homosexual. Now, the royal road to free the mind of consciousness or Heaven is an obsession with sex and the free indulgence of drugs especially Freud’s favorite, cocaine backed with a pounding jungle beat. Eh voila- the sixties.
Sex, drugs and the hypnotic jungle beat of Rock and Roll. The sex was facilitated by the introduction of the birth control pill and anti-biotics; the amusing Shel Silverstein sang of Penicillin Penny who always had VD. If the girls took the pill both they and their boys were freed from the fear of pregnancies while the ga-ga types had no fear of Venereal disease because the cure was quick and easy by a regimen of anti-biotic pills. Almost paradise here and now and on Earth. For less than a buck you could get a nice big piece of pie too.
Freud had achieved his goal; he had overturned Aryan society.
Freud essentially by fraud allowed us to indulge forbidden appetites and responsibility from forbidden acts, for after all as the conscious mind had no authority and the will of the unconscious was unresistible we had no responsibility for our acts- If it felt good, we did it, as the mantra was. Hence by 1966 we had Richard Speck killing all those nurses in Chicago and Charlie Whitman up his clock tower at UT blowing away his fellow students. Guns aren’t the problem; Freud is the problem.
Hell, Dick and Charlie just wanted to be free. Indeed, freedom in the freest of all societies became a problem to the generation.
Sally Banks in her Greenwich Village 1963, Chapter 5, appropriately titled, Dreaming Freedom, explains her views on what being free actually meant to her and a very large part of the age cohort. She is writing from New York City.
In 1963 freedom was a vital political issue charged with artistic consequences for both the mainstream and avant-garde. Part of the avant-garde’s utopian vision was that liberty could be found within community. But, in fact, the very concept of freedom sets autonomy and the notion of individualism in conflict with the bondedness of community. For social life is a potent source of restraint [suppression of freedom], yet, paradoxically, total freedom would mean the humanly unrealizable (and unbearable) state of complete isolation. Thus there is a deep ambivalence in Western culture toward freedom and social life. The dream of community, itself, may be incompatible with the dream of freedom, a contradiction the avant-garde sought to discover.
The Sixties artists constructed an art that re-imagined daily life in terms of achieving both liberation and community. If such a situation proved illusory, in 1963 it seemed necessary- and it still seemed possible given the booming economic infrastructure- to find a model that would make these imaginings concrete.
Yes, people wanted total freedom- that is a disconnect from the reality of having to deal with unpleasant facts- free from all restraints including gravity and mostly free from themselves. The drugs seemed to serve as those releases. Under the influence people could imagine themselves as someone else who ‘really had their shit together‘, miracle men and women able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, move mountains with the wave of a hand, fly through the air like a host of angels but they inevitably came back down where if they were anywhere near a mirror they could watch their bodies disintegrate.
Freedom from reality has its price.
So, the sixties that began with such ‘High Hopes’ to realize ‘The Impossible Dream’ of Camelot began to crash in 1966 just as like a flash of lightning in the sky the realization of those dreams seemed to dawn. As Lewis Carroll said, be careful that your Snark is not a boojum, for you see….
The Truth Is No Defense
The sixties, then, was when the impasse between the Scientific Method came into its latter day conflict with the Theologico-Metaphysical mindset. The T-M system is merely a mental state that not only does not require objective validation but positively rejects it in favor of subjectiveness; what Freud called inner wishful thinking.
While the sciences of sociology and anthropology and biology produced irrefutable, by logical methods, results that ran counter to the inner wishful T-M thinking, as there were no means to refute the scientific results the T-M people merely denied them and forced scientists to suppress their accurate but uncongenial truths.
To ensure that the truths were suppressed and remained suppressed the T-M partisans passed laws making it criminal to express these truths. These laws called ‘hate’ laws were then applied to any who spoke these truths. As the truths were undeniable T-M partisans corrupted the law, common sense, and, one might say, the will of God to declare in a court of law by the judges that ‘the truth is not a defense.’
The truth is not a defense! Think about it. Such a rule of law is the triumph of absolute criminality and ignorance. And this happened during the watch of an age cohort that claimed to love freedom and revolution. Well, it was a revolution, one that enslaves the mind.
Now, in a position to punish those who disagreed with them the beneficiaries of the T-M mentality were able to enshrine their will as the law of the land. As the law was no longer concerned with the judgment of facts as evidence but the religious beliefs of the T-Ms the US at that point turned into a theocracy. The religious left became an established religion running counter to the old dispensation of the Constitution in favor of something not yet codified and something not approved by the former electorate that now became passive and an ineffective annoyance to the new slave masters.
The ruling social ethos in the US when the sixties dawned was the theory of the Melting Pot formulated by the Jewish writer Israel Zangwill c. 1900. According to that theory that had nearly the effect of a law all the disparate social elements forming the population of the US would fuse into one people of uniform American belief.
In 1960 or thereabouts the new theory of multi-culturalism was introduced which stated that each culture should have an autonomous existence. This was the dream, wishful thinking, of the wannabe Jewish Autonomous people. Nothing new, it was their age old dream. Thus the body politic of the US as a matter of principle was fractured into many warring cultures.
While the Melting Pot had always been a fantasy having no real existence in fact multi-culturalism was alive and real and exacerbated in 1965 when the immigration act was reformed allowing unlimited immigration to all the peoples of the world. And if they didn’t come willingly members of the T-M mentality went into the actual jungles of Africa, dragged the natives out, put them on a plane, free fare, and flew them to the US.
What can one say to such zaniness.
The whole notion of freedom advocated by the age cohort was thus negated. Dozens of laws were passed giving these ‘immigrants’ precedence over the rights of the native population, depriving the natives of equal rights. This is a true story. Incredible but true.
And lastly, for this essay we come to the complete overturn of reason in favor of a comic book utopia and the installation of an age of inner wishful thinking caused by the introduction of drugs as a mass phenomenon.
Drugs in the sixties were nothing new. Drugs begin to show up in literature during the nineteenth century Romantic period. Thomas de Quincey’s Confessions Of An English Opium Eater is the first famous confession or novel on the topic. Opium was much used in Victorian England as an ingredient in Laudanum which was given to infants to make them stop crying.
Opium was further reduced to morphine and then heroin. Freud is famous as the promoter of the joys of cocaine, synthesized from the coca plant. As chemistry developed, synthetic chemical drugs such as amphetamine began making their appearance at the end of the century.
Drug labs were busy and soon creating drugs that attacked any area of the brain. LSD was discovered in 1938 and popularized after 1943. Drugs like Miltown and other tranquilizers began filling women’s purses after 1950. Pot and hash had been simmering below the Hot 100 for some time but moved up the charts after 1960. So the whole pharmacopeia was available as the decade began. New formulas would be discovered in the following decades as drugs became part of the entertainment industry.
Drugs of course suppress the conscious mind exposing the raw wiring of the user. They also lower resistance to hypnotic influence. Hypnosis is merely a heightened sensitivity to suggestion. A drugged out population can be swayed by propaganda as no other, which is merely suggestion by another name, in any direction. They can be swayed but you mist control the means to do so. The mass media was the means, namely TV, Movies and records, and it was in the control of Jews with their special agenda.
Thus Movies, TV and Records propagandized a pro Jewish revolution agenda along with its subordinate Negro revolution agenda.
It is strange how all trends worked to favor the Negro/Jewish agenda. Of course, Jews had been instrumental in breaking down Aryan resistance to Negro music. Jewish DJs such as Alan Freed and Cousin Brucie along with Jewish song writers such as the hugely influential Leiber and Stoller and Goffin-King led the assault.
The songs they wrote were performed by Negro artists. While the Jewish song writers were not so familiar with Aryan culture as is supposed it was enough to bridge the Aryan-Negro gap making the Negro performances potable while paving the way for Barry Gordy’s Motown label.
As of 1960 there was virtually no one who listened to or was familiar with Negro Blues. The Blues was
brought forward by the British Invasion who apparently listened to that crap. I am always astonished by White Blues artists citing Robert Johnson as a source. There was nothing available by Robert Johnson until 1960 when CBS released its first collection that virtually no one bought. The second collection was released in ‘62 with the same result.
I first heard of Robert Johnson in 1968 when I owned a record store. Many people talked about the Blues but when I started a first rate Blues section the records remained untouched and unsold. I doubt that I ever had a Robert Johnson sale.
I was in a university town and when such Blues artists as Lightning Hopkins were brought to town the ‘séances’ were held in someone’s living room with maybe fifteen people attending, ten of which were girls worshipping blackness. Nevertheless White Blues was popularized by the British, spreading to American performers.
I should point out that White performers of the forties and early fifties such as the Singing Cowboy Gene Autry sang many Blues based songs. Autry’s song The Yellow Rose Of Texas is of course about a Negro woman, high yellow.
By decades end the cohort’s fascination with exaggerated notions of freedom and revolution had turned into drug addiction and violence. By the late sixties looney tunes like Bomber Billy Ayers and his female side kick Bernardine Dohrn with their Weatherman organization and the Jewish Defense League and its offshoot the Jewish Defense Organization were killing and bombing at will and furthermore they would get away with it. ‘Free as a bird and guilty as Hell.’ as Bomber Billy Ayers would put it.
So by the end of decade ending with the Caped Crusader, Mick Jagger, at Altamont a comic book vision of reality had triumphed over the real thing. Who can forget Mick Jagger mounted on a giant inflatable cock on stage before sixty thousand people. Now, there was a comic book fantasy. Two and two added up to any number you wanted.
February 1, 2013
Who Is Groovy Bob Fraser?
While writing my biographies of Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull it has become apparent that some persons seemingly peripheral are more central to the story than one may at first have thought. One of these is the art dealer, Robert Fraser or Groovy Bob as he was known.
However, behind the scenes underlying all the action are the two Kray Twins, Ronnie and Reggie. As with underworld figures in the US little is going to happen in which their presence is completely absent. Ronnie and Reggie were two Jewish homosexuals. They thus had as much protection as Jews can provide for their own. On the homosexual front the Krays were procurers of young boys for members of the above ground establishment, men prominent not only in government but in the music business.
At the same time the brothers owned, or possibly fronted, prominent gambling establishments, thus people like Fraser and Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein who gambled heavily losing large sums came under their influence or control. Robert Fraser and the Krays thus became intimately connected.
Now, what about Robert Fraser? Fraser is the link between many participants in the 60’s drama. He befriended Richards, Jagger and Faithfull. He was close to Paul McCartney of the Beatles, who is somewhat of a mysterious figure in the drama, as well as being familiar with their manager Brian Epstein among many others of the rock musicians. And then he was linked with artist/film maker, David Cammell as well as arch Satanist, Kenneth Anger, and the main American link to these people, Andy Warhol. He brought Tony Sanchez to the Stones as well as the rock community while Sanchez was his link to the Kray brothers. Fraser’s friend Chris Gibbs is a shadowy eminence grise of this situation. So far, I’ve gotten little other than he was and is an antiques dealer who helped establish the Bohemian tastes a la Oscar Wilde of the rockers.
Fraser himself came from a moneyed family who financed his ventures. He was a public school boy, Eton. He served in the African Rifles in Uganda. There, as a homosexual he says he buggered a young Idi Amin. I have no doubts. Returning from the African happy hunting grounds he promptly left for the even happier hunting grounds of New York City, the sybaritic capitol of the world. There he soaked up the art scene where he learned the ins and outs of being a gallery director. He was in New York during the seminal years from 1960-62 just as the pop art scene was taking off. There he met Andy Warhol who would be the outstanding pop artist. As they were both homosexuals and revolutionaries they bonded.
Fraser, Warhol, Epstein, Gibbs, the Kray Twins and most of the cast were all homosexuals. Jagger was at least ambiguous so sexual lines blurred and those who may not have been homosexual by nature may have found it convenient to act like one. Certainly after Stonewall in 1969 the music scene became predominantly gay.
There are pictures and videos of Fraser on the internet so that we can gauge his appearance and manner. His manner was very engaging and while fey, not exceptionally so. He wasn’t camp, at least not in public.
What exactly his role in the scene was is less than clear. While apparently an excellent pop art gallerist his role among rock musicians while prominent is not clear. He frequently had large parties in his apartment attended by the cream of the rock community. Of course he sold them art work but perhaps through his drug connection Tony Sanchez he also dealt on the side to augment his income. Drugs were always prominent at his parties. Paul McCartney bought many artworks from Fraser which all appreciated significantly although Fraser is accused of overcharging. But then, why not, a collector always thinks he’s being overcharged as he buys one of a kind items.
Perhaps also Fraser was indoctrinating the musicians in tolerance for gays and other political matters. Perhaps he was seeking homosexual alliances from among these yobbos. Certainly after Stonewall it seemed that everyone in rock was fruity. It was then that Rock and Roll began to lose its appeal. When the homosexuality became so obvious rock declined in interest to non-gays leading it further into a gay audience that augmented by the evolution into all-gay Disco. YMCA and all that, and then the end.
Whatever his political intent the goals were subverted by personal defects. Of course drugs will reduce your effectiveness by a little more than somewhat, but gambling and its resultant debts were much more deleterious of personal autonomy. While gambling has never been mentioned in connection with the rockers one wonders whether McCartney and others didn’t become involved.
Now, the record business in both the US and Britain was in the hands of homosexual Jews. The British groups, especially the Beatles and the Stones were god’s gift to his Chosen People. Between the Beatles and the Stones probably a billion dollars was generated in just four or five years including ongoing royalties and residuals. The entire billion was siphoned off by the Jews in both the US and Britain with only tip money going to the musicians.
Brian Epstein was the chief beneficiary. It was perhaps through his gambling debts, described as enormous, that the extent of the cash being generated by the Beatles came to the attention of the Kray brothers. Epstein apparently lost and owed a fortune to them. The only way he had to pay his debts was the Beatles which with his contract expiring in 1967 he was afraid he would be dismissed leaving him without that extraordinary income.
The Krays conceived the idea of taking over the Beatles from Epstein. At this time Robert Fraser had gambling debts with the Krays for which he had no available resources. The Krays put the squeeze on him. Fraser didn’t know what to do but he did know a man about the scene named Tony Sanchez, the Spaniard in the works, who did. Sanchez was nicknamed Spanish Tony. He would soon figure in as Keith Richards’ factotum and bodyguard. Spanish Tony is an interesting character meriting much more serious attention. As a connection between the underworld and the above world one would like to know more about his associates both under and above. He certainly used his underworld persona to threaten Marianne Faithfull into bed.
At any rate Sanchez told Fraser that he had underworld connections and might be able to resolve Fraser’s problem for him. As usual with Fraser he only fed Sanchez half-truths and when Tony contacted the Krays he got the other side of the story. Bear in mind that the Krays were crazy. They were pimping boys from the orphanage to social figures of the status of former Prime Minister Edward Heath. I mean, the moral state of the British upper class was beyond questionable. I would like to hear what the boys who were so used have to say now that they are men. Where are those memoirs anyway?
The Krays showed Sanchez a pile of Fraser’s bounced checks they had received which made Tony reconsider his position. Whatever bargaining chips he may have had were nullified. However the Krays had a proposition. Conversant with all the gambling characters they thought that Fraser might have some influence on Epstein so that if Fraser could arrange the transfer of the Beatles to themselves they would forgive Fraser’s debt. Who wouldn’t?
Negotiations and time dragged on and 1967 appeared at the top of the calendar with nothing accomplished, no debts settled. 1967. A big year in our story. That was the year that Brian Epstein supposedly committed suicide, the year his contract with the Beatles expired. We know for certain he left this sportin’ life. And 1967 was the year of the Redlands bust in which Fraser went to prison.
Sanchez gives conflicting stories of what took place. In his published memoir Up And Down With The Rolling Stones of 1979 he says the Krays amiably reduced the amount owed by Fraser and Groovy Bob gave them a good check for it. Problem solved. Tony says in his memoir.
Improbable as that seems, a missing chapter of Tony’s book has surfaced. Apparently many of his revelations were deemed too controversial and deleted. In this missing chapter Tony says that Fraser, unable to deliver the Beatles, set up the drug bust at Redlands in order to go to jail where for some strange reason he thought that he would be beyond the reach of the Krays.
In any event he didn’t seem to resent going to prison. Shortly after he was released from prison the Krays were arrested in May of 1968 while being sentenced to life on 3/5/69.
Presumably Robert Fraser escaped payment of the debt, however with the stigma of a jailbird his career as a gallery operator drew to a close after his release. He ended his life as a casualty of AIDs in 1986.
In his prime one wonders what he was doing. He seems to have been closely connected to Warhol and his crew. Andy himself seems to have been the center of what appears to be a political conspiracy. On their trip to Paris they made a Bee line to visit Fraser. So there is probably a strong political bent to Fraser’s activities.
Much more research is needed on Groovy Bob as well as his underworld connection Spanish Tony Sanchez.