Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Remembering the Summer of Love

It didn't smell like Belmont.

The Launch Party for the Summer of Love's 40th Anniversary at 2B1 Records in the Mission in San Francisco seemed more like the last Lynyrd Skynyrd concert I attended.


Before I could even enter the statium I got a contact high even though the band was playing "That Smell."

No stadium here but a large two story rocking warehouse with a stage, a light show, myriads of hippies of all ages, movers, shakers, also rans and more than a few folks checking out the surroundings.

Was I one of the artists purveying posters for the Sept. 2 Free Concert in Golden Gate Park? No, I'm a writer I replied causing them to quickly lose interest.

But the food was good; I hadn't had supper and I knew Mike Wilhelm was gonna show.

So I sat down, parked my cane, took notes and listed the many wonders before me:

There was a dog, a definite sign of intelligence; a cowgirl in a cowgirl hat; lots of bearded men; strobe lights and a guy in a Fillmore jacket. At least it didn't also say: "Clear Channel."

My doctor, the former soundman for Blue Cheer, who retired last year, wasn't there. Al Kooper, who just spent a week in SF being driven around by Roy Blumenfeld (of the Blues Project and Sea Train) when he wasn't attending MacFest, was back in Boston. Roy and his cohorts in the new Hot Club of Sackatomatoes (my title) – with David LaFlamme of It's A Beautiful Day and Nick Gravenites of The Electric Flag and Chicago Blues Reunion, were working musicians that night doing a gig, which is what working musicians do. Roy does that a lot too with the (Here Come Da Judge) Barry "The Fish" Melton Band.

I recalled that Harvey Brooks - bassist for The Electric Flag, Dylan on "Highway 61" and on "Super Session," is currently playing in a band at a retirement home in Arizona.

Do say.

I had trekked to the Launch Party myself from the place where I now lived, Bonnie Brae, the senior center in Belmont that put the Norovirus in the news last December.

The band on stage sang "Summertime." The Doc Craft Band wasn't Janis Joplin. She's in rock 'n' roll heaven with the pieces of her heart. But they got better and better as the evening wore on and they finally stopped announcing how awed they were to be playing for this crowd.

Hey guys, Famous Long Ago, like Raymond Mungo; we put our pants on one leg at a time too.

Pictures of St. George Harrison and Layla on Haight Street danced in my head as a little girl in a Moby Grape "Hey Grandma" dress took to the floor to dance with her parents. She slipped and slided and minded her own business, it being 40 years later and the song now tranmogrified to "Hey Grandkid!"

She was the star of the night.

There were women there who looked like they might have actually been at the original Summer of Love but how could that be? More likely, as one wag commented on the knockout ladies at 2005's Chet Helms Memorial Concert, also held in Golden Gate Park: "The women in the woods were as beautiful as they were at Woodstock; but they had cell phones."

Didn't see any cell phones. A few afros here and there and my fave rave of the night, a sort of gangsta hippie with what had to be the biggest, heaviest, metal peace sign I ever saw cradled around his neck like a burden he just couldn't lay down.

I thought he was going to lay down instead but somehow the dude could still sorta walk.

Me, I came with a matching ensemble - the traditional peace sign button and another now rusty one from February of 2003. It just said: "No War On Iraq!"

It still says that as I write this.

And listen to three incredible CDs Mike Wilhelm, the greatest unsung guitarist of his generation, gave me. He was there in his Charlatans hat, the same one he left in a restaurant I went to once with him and his lovely wife, Ana Marie.

Her name is etched on his guitar for some reason. I think I know why.

Diamond Dave, the real Diamond Dave, Dylan's friend from the old days in the City of the Purple One "way up nort" worked the crowd. (Not that idiot who used to be lead singer for Van Halen.) The authentic Diamond Dave always makes me want to smile and maybe read another poem on his Enemy Combatant Radio show. I read one at his Poems Under The Dome Event at SF's City Hall last April and was physically pulled offstage by a group of my fellow poets. It's on video tape, or, at least, was.

Herman Privette, still the photog for Marinscope Newspapers where I once edited The Mill Valley Herald, was there, taking pictures, of all things.

He looked great. Photographers are always cool. He even took my picture so I re-introduced myself.

There were lots of people I didn't know, some I wish I did and the usual meaningless faces in the crowd. A few like Wilhelm still had that 1967 glow in their eyes. Mike always does.

But, like those old Johnny Cash songs, usually the B-sides of the JC hits, he loves to perform, "I Still Missed Someone."

So I sat there and thought about her, dancing in Riverside Park in Milwaukee the first night we took acid.

"My" Brown Eyed Girl.


Upcoming Calendar

06.18.2024 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Lakeport City Council
06.19.2024 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Free veterans dinner
06.22.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
06.22.2024 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Love of the Land Dinner
06.25.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
06.29.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.02.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park

Mini Calendar



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