Tag Archive: Altamont


“A hippie is someone who looks like Tarzan, walks like Jane, and smells like Cheetah.” – Ronald Reagan

The author of Almost DailyBrett was asked recently whether he ever contemplated becoming … (gasp) a hippie.

Looking like Tarzan? Walking like Jane? Smelling like Cheetah?

Yours truly? Are you serious?

That interrogative took about two nanoseconds of personal processing capability to respond. The answer was negative: Never ever thought of this unpleasant prospect.

Which brings up the next question: Why is anyone an aging hippie today?

The glories of 1968, which ironically ended with the election of Richard Milhous Nixon, were 50 years ago.

Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones and Jim Morrison were still alive.

The Vietnam War was raging … Mercifully, it ended 42 years ago.

It’s time to let go. No, it’s way past time to let go.

To some their greatest days were sitting naked in the rain and mud a mile from the amplifiers at Woodstock even though they couldn’t hear Alvin Lee and Ten Years After, let alone see the stage. Woodstock was a “celebration” in 1969, Altamont, less so.

Maybe there are some who still wax nostalgic about being arrested for attempting to burn down the administration building? Or maybe they thought they were incarcerated? Details, details.

Volkswagen is trying to resurrect those magical days with its Joe Cocker ad (“With a Little Help from My Friends”) in order to remind the aging hippies about love vans with wood paneling and cramped VW bugs. These vehicles had no guts then, and who would really buy one now?

Isn’t it time to grow up, wake up and smell the Geritol?

Celebrating Communal Misery?

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries” – Winston Churchill

Your author winces when he hears accounts of those who excitedly scan for throwaways on the other side of the street … in 21st Century America.

… Or those who don’t have two shekels to rub together, based on their own bad decisions. They choose and cherish the hippy lifestyle, and for some reason want others to join them in … poverty.

They still hold grudges against America for the Vietnam misadventure. They are jealous of entrepreneurs and all of those who overachieve in life, even though they themselves have the mental horse power/ talent to build their own personal success stories.

There is always an excuse for not going to college, for not attaining a degree, for not pursuing that five-figure position … not just a job … with full benefits, for not saving anything for retirement.

Instead of sirloin, chicken, pork and fish, there are beans, sprouts, kale and tofu followed by more beans, sprouts, kale and tofu. Doesn’t the same old, same old … get old?

They worship at the altar of Darwinism and rail against Climate Change, but vaccinating their kids to combat diseases of the ages …? Guess there are sciences that find favor and those that don’t.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Isn’t there a need to finally acknowledge the hippie era is dead and buried? Some are attempting to resurrect the tie-dyed nostalgia, which wasn’t that good in reality.

Almost DailyBrett is unafraid to embrace the desire for the good things of life: a wonderful spouse, a comfy house, a decent paying intellectually challenging job with full benefits, a Wall Street portfolio and his health … at least for now.

When it comes to Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll, two out of three ain’t bad. To an aging hippie getting stoned was a ticket to Nirvana way back then and apparently now as well. Isn’t it time to move on?

For some odd reason, Almost DailyBrett was instead celebrating Neil Armstrong walking on the Moon and implanting the red, white and blue on the lunar surface. Some things change, some things don’t.

Ronald Reagan has been described as “The Counterculture to the Counterculture.” Taking a few moments to move past the era of The Gipper … As we contemplate the opioid epidemic, one-third of all American working age males voluntarily not working, and way too many still detesting the last great hope for the world (e.g., America).

… Is it any wonder … the dishes are still piled up in the sink?

https://brians.wsu.edu/2016/05/19/hippie-hippy/

http://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/volkswagen-takes-a-trip-back-to-the-1960s-in-nostalgic-ad-saluting-its-free-spirited-owners/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/wildfires-scorched-marijuana-crops-possibly-complicating-californias-rollout-of-legal-sales/2017/10/20/037d36a4-b41b-11e7-be94-fabb0f1e9ffb_story.html?undefined=&utm_term=.e4621d716d1f&wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/the-permanency-of-altamont/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/07/06/the-worst-generation/

 

 

 

“We all know what’s wrong with each other, and what is right with each other.” – Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts on his three four-decade-plus colleagues

“Love is patient, love is kind … It keeps no record of wrongs … It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” — 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Almost DailyBrett is not suggesting the Rolling Stones – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood — love each other.

The 1980s feud between Mick and Keith almost tore the band apart.

Mild-mannered Charlie once decked Mick after the latter signed a solo recording contract, and started touring without his fellow Rolling Stones.

Regardless, your author notes the four members of the widely proclaimed and regarded “Greatest Rock ‘n Roll Band in the World” have been together for 42 years, and three-of-the-original five (i.e., Jagger, Richards and Watts) have prevailed for an amazing 55 years as a still-relevant force in music, culture and at times, international relations.

Are the Rolling Stones a net plus or a net minus for humanity? This hopelessly biased blog takes the “over.”

As Keith Richards is fond of saying, his job is to touch as many people as he can.

Mission accomplished. The Stones have touched and made happy literally millions around the world from London to Perth and from Shanghai (e.g., March 2014) to Havana (March 2016). The latter two reflected a marked relaxation of political/societal norms in Marxist China and Cuba, and provided a glimmer of hope for greater freedoms in these countries.

Of course, not everything in the career of the Rolling Stones has been rosy. Almost DailyBrett commented on the organizational and humanitarian disaster at Altamont in 1969 when someone – anyone – needed to say ‘no’ to a free, totally disorganized free concert for 400,000 people with the Hell’s Angels serving as the Praetorian Guards.

There is the good. There is the bad. The band members do not love each other. How do they stay together?

“Closest of Brothers”?

“Mick’s album was called ‘She’s the Boss,’ which said it all. I’ve never listened to the entire thing al the way through. Who has? It’s like ‘Mein Kampf. Everybody had a copy, but nobody listened to it.” – Guitarist Keith Richards in his memoirs, “Life”

“Mick and I may not be friends – too much wear and tear for that – but we’re the closest of brothers, and that can’t be severed … Nobody else can say anything against Mick that I can hear. I’ll slit their throat.” – Keith Richards on Mick Jagger

Almost DailyBrett must interject for a nanosecond and ask: How many relationships of highly accomplished, high ego lads (or ladies) can stay together for five-plus decades?

As Charlie said there are definitely things wrong with each member of the Rolling Stones, but more importantly there are more things that are right. Human nature unfortunately gravitates toward the negative, but it is the positive that keeps people together and on track.

In organizations, sometimes the best candidate is the internal candidate. But isn’t that same person undermined by the fact that he or she did something wrong during the course of performing the job?

Some critic must point out this transgression or that failing. The internal candidate may be the best person for the job. And yet someone remembers the fault, and the organization subsequently hires someone outside and maybe prompting the internal candidate to leave.

Who are the most apt violators of “Love is Patient, Love is Kind”? You guessed it: Families.

For some reason, diplomacy goes right out the window as family members contend they are obligated to point out another family member’s transgression without any attempt to utilize tact and diplomacy.

As Almost DailyBrett has repeatedly asked: “If they were not your relatives, would they be your friends?”

The Rolling Stones are not related to each other, but as Keith has suggested they are the closest of brothers. Charlie has added that they are so close that they know each other’s faults, but more importantly their positives.

How much longer the Stones will tour, record, exhibit and break down barriers? Only Father Time will tell. Charlie is 75. Mick and Keith are 73. Ronnie is the “youngster” at 69.

Almost DailyBrett can only surmise that as long as their collective health is decent; they still have the fire in their bellies, and they do not keep a record of wrongs: Time Very Well Will Be On Their Side.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+13:4-8

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/event/article-2345279/Mick-Jagger-Keith-Richards-feud-nearly-broke-Rolling-Stones.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/the-permanency-of-altamont/

“Sure, we’ll do a free concert, why not?” – Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards.

“I mean, like people, who’s fighting and what for? Why are we fighting? Why are we fighting? Every other scene has been cool…” – Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger at Altamont.

altamont

As the Rolling Stones take the stage this evening in London’s O2 Arena to mark the 50th year as the greatest rock n’ roll in the world (if not the greatest of all time), there is no way in all this celebration to erase easily the darkest day in the band’s history.

Watching the two-hour HBO special last week, Crossfire Hurricane, and YouTube video clips, one is simply stunned by the brutal savagery of the 1969 free concert staged in a demolition derby track in a God-awful part of California’s East Bay at a horrible time of the year.

Every time I have driven along I-580 between Livermore in eastern Alameda County and Tracy in California’s Central Valley, I think about 300,000 people traipsing along the rolling hills of the Altamont Pass. I also think about how incredibly cold it becomes once the sun goes down in late fall.

Why Altamont?

And why in early December?

Obviously, one can Monday morning quarterback an event that occurred 44 years ago and say how you would do it differently (if at all). Still Altamont is a reminder of the compelling need at times to use the most important two-letter word in the English language: “no.”

Reflecting back to December 6, 1969: Nixon was in the White House. The napalm was defoliating jungles in Vietnam for no certain purpose. Woodstock was a recent “triumph.” The Rolling Stones were completing an incredibly successful U.S. tour (e.g., “Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out”).

Stonesya-yas

Why not give back to the fans with a free gig to compensate for charging a then outlandishly expensive $7.50 a ticket for all of the other Rolling Stones shows?

The more important questions that should have been asked were: where, when, why, what, who and how? Another question: Is no free concert better than a free concert that has the potential to turn disastrous and deadly? That particular question needed to be asked by organizers, law enforcement and in particular, the tour management and even the five-members of the Rolling Stones.

And why in hell were the Hells Angels hired for a truckload of beer to serve as the police force for 300,000? Who was in charge anyway? The simple answer: No one.

Reportedly, the free concert was going to be held on a practice field for San Jose State’s football team, but the City of San Jose was not keen on this idea. Then it was going to be staged at Golden Gate Park, but the proposed event coincided with a San Francisco 49ers home game at Kezar Stadium in Golden Gate Park (e.g., Stones and NFL football fans in the same weekend). No Tumbling Dice.

The next possible venue reportedly was Sears Point Raceway, but the owner wanted $300,000, plus the movie rights to the event that was going to include Carlos Santana, Flying Burrito Brothers, CS&N, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and the Stones.

Two days before the show, the Altamont Raceway was suggested. All that needed to be done was to build the stage (as it turns out: only four-feet off the ground in the bottom of a gully) and manage traffic, logistics, security, sanitation, first aid and provisions for 300,000 intimate friends.

No sweat.

What’s ironic was that Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead proposed the Hells Angels as the security force. When they heard that the violence-prone motorcycle gang had parked their Harleys in front of the stage as a “deliberate provocation” (the words of Keith Richards) and policed the crowd with sawed-off pool cues, they decided to skip the gig and went into hiding.

Four people were killed at Altamont; four were born and hundreds were stabbed and/or beaten up. The only recourse left to the Stones was to threaten to not play until the violence and ugliness stopped. Was that really an option? As they noted in Crossfire Hurricane, they were surrounded, frightened and had absolutely no control over neither the crowd nor their Praetorian Guards, The Hells Angels.

Stones Jagger And  Richards  Eye  Hells Angels At Altamont

According to Stephen Davis’ book, Old Gods Almost Dead, the national media ignored Altamont. “Time and Life, still rhapsodizing about Woodstock, didn’t mention it. The New York Times ran a small story in a late Sunday edition. Newsweek ran a piece three weeks later…”

Certainly, the Stones have not been immune to controversy and screaming headlines during the band’s history (e.g., the drug busts). They have survived it all and stayed together (at least three of the original five) and relevant for five decades and counting. Their brand and legacy is still tarnished by Altamont. Having acknowledged their unprecedented accomplishments one can conclude: Altamont was a chapter in their story that didn’t need to be written.

Somebody, anybody needed to simply say, “No.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dt0ipUCfdlU

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sns-rt-music-rollingstones-pix-tv-update-1l4n0950bn-20121125,0,633285.story

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altamont_Raceway_Park

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altamont_Free_Concert

http://www.squidoo.com/altamont-speedway-free-festival-1969

http://www.hells-angels.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Praetorian_Guard

%d bloggers like this: