Donna, in her words—
I have this theory that we imbibe the era we were born into. But, maybe it’s just an ad-hoc conjecture, or just wishful thinking, since I happened to be born into the celebrated Summer of Love, in 1967. Although it was anchored by the growing opposition to Vietnam, the phenomenon was driven by an overall desire for change and newness. New rules. New politics. New drugs. New hair dos. New art. New Gods. The result was an eruption of fantastic music that reflected the fervor and energy of the times. This was the climate that paved the way for Woodstock, the starting point of this blogging venture.
Yeah, my mom was a hippy and one of my earliest memories was being danced around our earth-toned living room, in her arms, while “Free Ride” played (on the turntable, of course). Growing up, I would feign a fever, just to stay home from school and listen to all my favorite albums. I remember, in particular, Elton John’s Yellow Brick Road LP, which opened up into three panels and had colorful pictures, with all the lyrics. Albums were an experience.
I ended up writing music reviews for a local paper during my college years and got to know the guys from Stone Temple Pilots, long before Weiland’s untimely, but not unpredictable death. I also did a brief stint on radio, where I was able to play what I wanted. I have a pretty good ear for music and have been told that if they brought back Name That Tune, I might win me a new car.
My path took me into eastern spiritual philosophy, which led to a teaching position at a popular community college as well as the honor to sit on the teacher’s bench in a seminal L.A. studio, teaching Kundalini Yoga. I have also written a book on Zen wisdom. But music will always be my first true love, and so, for me, this blog project is like coming home!
Donnie, in his words—
I remember when DJs were like Gods of the radio waves. I would stay up late into the night, listening to 93 KHJ. Legendary guys like Robert W Morgan, Humble Harve and The Real Don Steele were cultural icons…stars in their own right. These were the days when they could determine their own set lists. Notwithstanding payola, these guys could make or break an artist.
I spent every penny on the latest vinyl LPs and 8 tracks. I had loads of 45s and 33s, growing in stacks on my butterscotch shag carpeting…hard-earned with an allowance that would enable me to keep up with the changing top-ten releases, announced on Casey Kasem’s, weekly countdown. I had everything from the progressive and sonically innovative Yes, to the folky harmonies of Crosby, Stills and Nash.
My sister had a 67 GTO and on Sunday mornings, we would race the muscle car down the Santa Monica freeway, with “Vehicle” or “I’d Love to Change World,” blasting from the 8 track deck. This would be the same “goat” (slang for GTO), whose AM radio broke the disturbing news that Jimi Hendrix passed away.
Legendary concerts I have witnessed include Led Zeppelin, The Beach Boys, The Allman Brothers, Chicago, Rod Stewart, and Frank Zappa. Later, my professional career would bring me behind the scenes at Universal Amphitheater, where I served as the driver for many of these artists. Sadly, the magic of Harry Potter has destroyed this once famed Rock venue.
I still go to the famed LA Forum to see shows…it’s as if time has stood still. I’m a music guy at heart. Donna once called me a “pretty good music-listening buddy.” I’m a fan of muscle beaches, muscle cars and muscle music.