First class entertainers who give second rate performances or don’t appear for personal appearances are bad-mouthed by critics and concert goers alike. That’s showbiz but it ain’t justice. Even when they are blameless they get the blame for a lame show.
Ticket buyers, bugged by the Strawberry Alarm Clock’s tinny stage sound, didn’t know the group’s baggage was put aboard the wrong plane and the boys were playing with cheap equipment and instruments borrowed from a local high school amateur band. In Philly, Pa., an overzealous electrician scrambled the circuits moments before their turn on stage so that Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band couldn’t hear themselves or each other, with what weird results you can imagine. A Cream performance was shut down and the audience ordered out when the heat got a hot tip (from a practical joker) that a time bomb had been hid in the packed pavilion.
A Jefferson Airplane show was ruined by a lighting technician, in the auditorium rafters, who was operating a spotlight with one hand and a bottle of wine with the other, and finally fell asleep with the spot aimed at third row center balcony. A teller ran off with all the box-office bread as the Turtles were tuning up, leaving them with a full house and an empty money bag.
On a Chicago stage Paul Revere began unraveling a thread from a knee-hole in Mark Lindsay’s pants which were torn by female frenzies waiting by the stage door. Paul pulled and pulled, and it was a big ha-ha to the audience until Mark’s trousers “totally disintegrated,” as Paul described it. This stopped the show, as Mark told it.
Hopping from city to city on over-nighters, buses break down, jets are socked in by fog far from destinations, trains tip over and cars flunk road tests. Security guards order curtains down in mid-shows when kids rush the stage. Any punctual and unflawed concert is a musical miracle.
What’s new, exciting, original and creative in motion pictures today is the three to five minute all-color mini-movies designed to promote and dramatize potential hit records by pop artists.
These junior-size gems, made in Hollywood, financed by the record companies, are loaned absolutely free of charge to TV networks or local stations anywhere in the U.S. or U.K.
TV’s jillion audiences are ripe for pop films plugging platters radio DJ’s won’t spin. There isn’t enough radio airtime to play all the new singles releases, especially by unknowns, and most radio outlets won’t take chances on known artists experimenting with unfamiliar and different sounds. Record promoters often prefer to introduce singles on the telley with no radio airplay.
One of the first was a mini-movie of a lovely lonely girl walking in the parking [sic] asking herself Who Am I? as Petula Clark warbled that sweetsong on the sound track. Another first was Eric Burdon singing Monterey as the camera caught the good vibrations of the Pop Festival scene. After these, the deluge. Best to date, we think, were done by Spanky and Our Gang, Cowsills, Jimi Hendrix, American Breed, Young Rascals and Aretha Franklin.
The idea for the pop films busted loose from the free-wheeling brain of Peter Gardiner, doctor’s son, Amherst pre-med grad and Establishment drop-out who joined the hippie tribes of creative artists. He formed Charlatan Productions with a pair of bread-loaded backers. If your local teevee doesn’t show these groovy goodies, pester the program director to write Pete at Charlatan, 6926 Melrose Ave., Hollywood, Calif. 90038.
“During the ten years I spent as a proper, prim young man in TV documentaries as somebody’s assistant or an associate producer, my heart was in the underground,” he said. “Here I am now where I belong.”
More than 15 full-length flickies about hopped-up hippies will soon color or off-color the big silver screens in your local hard-top theaters and sky-lit drive-ins. Plots in most films are heavy on lurid LSD trips, psick psychedelic space-outs, paranoid pot parties and sensationalized sex scenes, as if that’s all that happens in today’s World of Hip. This is getting ridiculous.
These Coming Attractions are not reflections of real hippie life in 1968. What they are are plastic imitations of fake scenes in the original movies based loosely on the San Francisco Haight-Ashbury era, 1965 to 1967. The action has changed everywhere, even there, but the fast buck movie-makers don’t know where it’s at.
Having said all this, we pitch you one hilarious hippie movie, Peter Seller’s “I Love You, Alice B. Toklas,” which will blow your mind.
Pop musicians and the happening people in the hip community who once turned on with drugs are now turning off, going clean and passing the word: Put down! Come back! Maintain! Acid trips go nowhere, man, but to the bummer bin with other mental vegetables.
Yeah, they’ve seen too many of their own kind of people get lost in a drug fog. The hauntingly beautiful but infinitely said “Blue Jay Way” by George Harrison is a Beatle plea to old L.A. friends who tripped too far out. It is, they say, an outright anti-drug song.
Once upon a time popular stars with large flappy ears would have operations or use chewing gum and other adhesives to keep their flappers back. Not so now. The long hair mode was a blessing to cats with beagle ears except for one hang-up: It does bar them from Disneyland which is what happened to long-maned Terence Stamp. When he tried to get in, they told him to get out.
The ruling junta of the Mickey Mouse Empire prefer male skinheads, flattops with ducktails, even high-rise bouffants, teased, sprayed and bleached with foaming cleanser. Baldness is also considered neat and acceptable.
Bobby Kennedy, were he to crash the D-Land gates, would doubtless feel the heel of a cop’s boot on the seat of his striped pants. Once neatly trimmed, Bobby “lately resembles a sheep dog—or maybe a sheep,” to quote Time Magazine. Everett Dirkson, the hairiest Senator of all, would also get the heave-ho, out you go, you so-and-so.
Raiderman Mark Lindsay who cuts his loverly locks once a month, hates that awkward period when his thatch is too short for a pony tail and too long to hang loose. Mark’s fan club saves the clipped hair which the members make into false eyelashes and sell for $2.50 per hair to pay the club’s expenses, so we hear.
The SuperMonkees aren’t hurtin’ just because NBC-TV dropped their weekly show without cause. Their TV ratings were still as high as an elephant’s eye. Movie-making, concertizing, recording and starring in three hour-long super-special TV spectaculars next season will keep them too busy for idle Monkeeshines and too rich for the breadlines. Don’t boo-hoo, baby, Mr. Magoo and Captain Kangaroo are still airborne.
Mono will soon be as extinct as the mahoohooha, whatever that is or was. Record companies are phasing out monaural singles and albums for compatible stereo playable on either mono or stereo music machines. Drastic drop in singles sales scared the diskeries and prodded the switch to all-stereo.
The white-faced Hello People tailor their tunes for advanced teens with B and B+ tastes. The debut album of this New York sextet on Chicago’s Philips label is one of the best listenables we’ve heard in moons. They play the full range of woodwinds and strange instruments we don’t know what they are. Wry One’s flute is an ear-popping rhythm ride. But will the gals accept the Hello People’s visual gimmick: the white-painted faces, traditional symbol of the mime a la Marcel Marceau? Who can drool over faces full of flour paste?
Dino, Desi and Billy will try to hit the comeback trail with new management and production staffs. Their pride was punctured and their egos went flat when a couple of their 45’s bombed last winter. Full school skeds left them not half enough time to rehearse and record. Through the upcoming summer vacation, the tuff trio will sweat and strain and expend staggering energy to regain their old spot on the pop tallies. So don’t write them off yet!
Music is the main interest of teenagers today, outside of personal problems, George Harrison told a British interviewer. Older people still complain, criticize and censor youth-slanted music and songs but, he added, “It doesn’t really matter about the older people now because they are finished anyhow.
“There’s still going to be years and years of having all these old fools on our backs. They are governing us and are bombing us and doin’ all that because, you know, they think they know everything.”
This is a glittering generality but there’s more truth than poetry in George’s harangue. There are some “oldies but goodies” among the older degeneration who still remember they were once young and foolish and can still flow with the New Tide. When you meet them, don’t be shy to tell them you dig them and appreciate their understanding.
We once wrote a funny paragraph about how Jim Morrison, when the Doors played the Cheetah, jumped up and down and got so carried away with excitement that he missed his footing and fell off the stage into the arms of his fans. Now we know we fell for his stunt which is part of the act he does at many Door performances.