ROCK’S IN MY HEAD:CHAPTER 34-VOLUNTEERS OF AMERICA
After taking my siblings to see The Stones and it being Thanksgiving Weekend I think Mom forgave me for my indiscretion(s) because the day after seeing The Stones I was back on the train to enjoy Jefferson Airplane, again. Man, I loved that band. Tonight they were sharing the bill with another San Franciscan band, The Youngbloods. I only bought two tickets so I had no problems with “other” friends expecting seats. This show was for ME, seeing one of my favorite live bands, except my girlfriend was suspiciously catching on to me leaving my seat just before the main act. Joseph Eger was a classical horn player trying to infuse rock and jazz into what he did, hence CROSSOVER, which was strange even for a Fillmore opening act. Crossover was followed by The Youngbloods who played a nice, truly enjoyable, laid back set. Jesse Colin Young had a great voice, smooth as silk. Then, THE AIRPLANE landed even hotter than the last time. Happy Thanksgiving weekend, I couldn’t believe it, with The Airplane and The Rolling Stones. It would be back to reality as we had school on Monday.
It’s almost 1970, actually December 69, but we are near enough to start the celebration of a “New Decade”. Closing out 1969, America had experienced the festival known as WOODSTOCK, cheered for the soon to be nicknamed “Amazing” NY Mets who won the World Series, while on television Americans watch our astronauts plant a flag on the moon. Then, The Stones played Altamont. 1969 in a nutshell: The good, the great, the bad and the ugly.
At one of the notorious weekend house parties at a friend’s house with TIME WAS being played in the background someone suggests we, the group, get tickets to see JETHRO TULL. Subliminal? I think not. Stoned, definitely . Who ever was in was in, as was said ,and if you were in then you needed to toss in your money ASAP.This was going to be a large group outing. My heart said NO, as I wanted to see HENDRIX on NewYears Eve and was saving my money it being Christmas and all. But the group won, actually my girlfriend won as she wanted to go with the group. Many tickets for TULL with FAT MATTRESS and GRAND FUNK RAILROAD opening were purchased… Grand WHAT? WHO? Never heard of them but I threw in my 11 bucks for two seats.
Tickets arrive and away we go. A few bottles of wine for the train ride and some Marlboro Reds, orchestra seats far back on the right side. Grand Funk Railroad opened and were loud, very loud, fast and so loud, with a hair flowing lead guitarist running about on the stage. Geez, they got an encore and then another encore…WHAT? An opening act at Fillmore East getting multiple encores? Grand What? It was unusual even with my limited concert experience to see an opening band called back more than once. I was not too impressed saying so later to the group. Oh, not too cool on my part as most everyone in our little group loved them.
Then, FAT MATTRESS hit the stage, a band which was basically Noel Redding the ex-bassist for Hendrix’s Experience, now on his own playing lead guitar and singing. Seems like he hooked up with a bunch of his drinking buddies to form this band. Fat Mattress was not particularly good, terrible actually. They did a tune called ALL NIGHT DRINKER to which I think Noel wrote because he was a drunk and proud of it. Then JETHRO TULL hits the stage opening with NOTHING IS EASY. Pretty cool but something was amiss, somewhere the natural order of this my small circle of “friends” appeared to be changing as 1969 morphs into THE SEVENTIES. Different drugs, different likes, different reactions.
1969: Records In My Rotation included the debut album from Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, THE BEATLES Abbey Road, which is a hard listen for me, THE WHO Tommy another difficult record to listen to all the way through, KING CRIMSON’S In The Court Of The Crimson King a great record, one that for its time was truly unique, THE ROLLING STONES Beggar’s Banquet which never left my turntable and the follow-up release Let It Bleed, NEIL YOUNG’s masterpiece Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, ZAPPA’s Hot Rats which help change my musical perspective, FLEETWOOD MAC’s Then Play On, CSN debut, Blind Faith’s one and only official release which is a strange record, Nashville Skyline by BOB DYLAN, The MC5’s Kick Out The Jams, Isaac Hayes’ Hot Buttered Soul which came when I did not respond in time to a record company selection deadline and glad I got this gem,Chicago Transit Authority double set before they shortened their name to CHICAGO, Jethro Tull’s Stand Up, Live Dead, The DOORS Soft Parade, PINK FLOYD’s Ummagumma, Jefferson Airplane’s Volunteers, and PROCOL HARUM’s A Salty Dog which was actually my brothers record.