Dreams and Sound

Monday night my daughter, Jessica, finally got to see Anton Newcombe’s Brian Jonestown Massacre at the Fillmore in SF. This a sacred passage for her, a teen dream come true, the satisfaction of a longing that spread fog-like over years.

Brian Jonestown Massacre  came into our lives via the blessed Napster, back in the day when Napster was gratis for all. I saw the name on someone’s lineup of tunes and just had to check it out.

Bang! What a beautiful sonic world. Yes you could hear the influences but they were absorbed and transformed into something special — a hypno trance delight. Oh, how well Anton and his boys can generate an ephemeral thread of sound that transports the listener to a warm, meaty, oft-melancholy space.

Jess, Frank and I went together to the big city to see the premiere of  Ondi Timoner’s Dig! That was very cool.

Monday night I was feeling so happy for Jess, knowing that she was realizing a real life dream, and she was not disappointed. She said the show was great. Anton had reteamed for the night (?) with Matt Hollywood and Joel Gion. Excellent. Excellent. Excellent.

When I was 15 I dreamed of getting up the road from Orange County to LA to see my favorite band. Where Jessica dreamed of San Francisco, I dreamed of Laurel Canyon.

The Buffalo Springfield were among many bands making good music in the mid 60s but they had managed to capture my undivided attention during a Sam Riddle( a Boss Jock on LA radio station KHJ) extravaganza of pop.

It was the first concert I’d ever attended. 1967. I was 14.

My friend Rita Blevins invited me this shindig. We were avid radio listeners, rock fans, suburban teens hungry for life. It would be the first of many shows. I couldn’t get enough.

“You want to go see the Buffalo Springfield?” asked Rita.

“Who?” said I.

“You know. They do that song For What It’s Worth.”

“Oh, okay.”

I had never though about going to a venue to see music. I watched it on TV, listened to the radio but I was intrigued –live music.

 Lots of bands played that night. I don’t remember many. I think a local band with the amazing Bob Gully opened that show but I could be mistaken. I can no longer remember their names. There was a soul act. I’m remembering them as Sam and Dave but wouldn’t I know for sure if it was? They were so good.

There was a band named Gordian Knot whose name I remember only because Sam Riddle introduced them thusly:

“Here’s a band with a name you will never forget, The Gordian Knot!” I have never forgotten. Not because the band was good or memorable just because Riddle cemented the name in my mind with his suggestion that I would always remember. Maybe I should say this to myself about things I don’t want to forget.

Also on stage that night were either Chad and Jeremy or Peter and Gordon. I think Chad and Jeremy but I can’t be certain. Both duos made nice music but nothing mind boggling.

More impressive were the Troggs. They were beefy young men full of footballish energy. Yes, they did seem to me quite like Bill Hicks would peg as soccer hooligans.They weren’t my kind of sexy, I was only 14, but they rocked the hell out of “Wild Thing.” Check them out here at Amandeep Gisa’s blog. Great Pix.

The acts pretty much did one number — their big hit– and then were off. The big summer show had to keep up the excitement.

Once the Buffalo Springfield started playing nothing else mattered. They looked great and the music was hypnotic. I was in the third row had no protection from the Taurus charm of  rhythm guitarist, Richie Furay. Sweet voiced and good-natured, Richie would be my first Taurus obsession. All the band members had charisma and heart. The band made unique and, mor importantly, passionate music. They weren’t playing at being Beatle imitators. They were the real thing.

Of course I noticed Neil Young, too. His leather fringe and intense demeanor could not go unnoticed.

 I bought their first album and played it till it wore out.  Eventually, I bought everything they recorded. I saw them as many times as I could before they broke apart. It was all good.

Live music.


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