Saturday, August 15, 2009
By The Time I Got To Woodstock...my Zip Drive Died
I think this will be one of the most posted YouTube videos this week end. Jimi Hendrix' grand coda for the Woodstock Festival. 40 years later still it remains an iconic statement about America at that time. The aftermath of racial riots, political assasinations of our leaders, the ever escalating War in Vietnam and the chasms of chaotic divisions in American society.
One man in total control of the expressive possibilities of music was able to somehow express the horror and the grandeur of it all.
I apologize because I was intending to post a few pictures of my own here, but they are stuck on a zip disk and I have a dead zip drive. I discovered the zip drive was kaput last night aftrer 11 years of faithful service and I actually have a bid for a new one as I write on ebay....
Many people who went to Woodstock remember it as if it was the ultimate spring break. I suppose it was and it was a watermark as far as defining the reality that Amnerica really did have a counter culture thatr was now officially main stream.
It became a defining experience for so many. Perhaps it was a glimpse of a reality denied. A collective conciousness able to control itself and harness the power of dreams.
I was a teen who had a very complicated life. I had been in trouble with the law and as a result of my attendance at Woodstock, I ended up in the Lucas County Jail for a week for a probation violation. I had told my Probation Officer that I was going camping in upstate New York. Too bad a little incident with the New York State Police made the evening news in Ohio.....
That's another story....
I think I had a real crash from Woodstock. There was very little rock music in the aftermath that I felt was interesting. I felt the sentiments of "hippiedom" were facile, trite and did not deal with the real world and how to really effect change.
Of course, it was all about change, but much of that change was based on fantasy and escape.
In the mid 70's I became involved in rock music again. I started to listen to Punk and started to play. I became very interested in experimental music and naturally the world of New Wave and No Wave. I moved to New York and played in rock bands for 20 years. Sometimes I believed that what I was doing could somehow be successful, but mostly, it was a personal journey into the world of expression and performance.
I never mentioned to anyone that I had been to Woodstock because to me, that was the old world and I was of the new world, I was not a peace and love drug addled relic, I was above all, a modern nihilistic punk boy.
It wasn't until 1994, the 25th anniversary of Woodstock, when I bought the New York Times as I did every morning that the historical evidence of my attendance began to sink in. There was an editorial and a picture of the crowd. Smack dab in the middle of the crowd picture was me.
So this 40th Anniversary is sort of a coming out party for me. I contributed to the best selling book, Woodstock Peace, Music, Memories by Joanne Hague and Brad Littleproud. I was happy to see how much of my narrative they wove into the book.
They also used a few of my photos and there is are pictures of me, then and now.
Yes, I am happy to have been there and I am happier to be around today feeling in so many ways that though I was young then, I'm younger than that now....