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Monday, September 13, 2010

Monterey Pop Festival #2

      We must have arrived the day before because I remember lots of stuff from the next day. Country Joe and The Fish played at the "free stage" sometime during our stay there. A few years ago while on tour with Bruce Barthol (bass player for CJF) David Cohen (keyboard and guitar player for CJF) and Gary "Chicken" Hirsh (drummer for CJF, we got into an argument about if we played at the "free stage". At a gig in Portsmouth, England on the pier a fan brought a photo of us on stage on the "free stage". So much for memory.
      I remember walking around and looking at all the booths in the fair grounds selling hippie stuff. It was a beautiful day. I saw Brian Jones, guitar player with the Rolling Stones, walking around looking very, very hippie and enjoying himself. I sat in the audience and watched quite a bit of the show. One of the perks of being part of the show is getting a good seat. I never did enjoy the back stage scene and that is probably why I missed jamming with Jimi Hendricks and the rest. Those jam sessions were always about lead guitar players and I was of course a singer/songwriter and rhythm guitar player. So it was never fun for me. I always enjoyed watching the show especially when there were lots of acts many whom I had never seen before.
      I was out there watching when Jimi set his guitar on fire. I was very amused watching him pretend to have sex with his amplifier. This was a new kind of show business. He had a hard time breaking his guitar. It just would not break. Then he took out this small can of lighter fluid and set it on fire. It was not much of a big deal from the audience. But it looked great in the movie. This was of course years before the group KISS and big time stage effects we are now use to. I remember one time in Los Angeles we (CJF) went to a magic shop before the show and bought some flash paper and some powder that "exploded". We had a budget of about 20 dollars so we could not buy much. We were playing the Shrine Auditorium I think. At a certain point in the show we lit the flash paper and powder we had put in front of us and it went like poof. You really could not see much and I am sure that the audience never even noticed what we did.
       I saw the Troggs play and they were very strange to me. I saw Ravi Shankar and he was cool. I loved Michael Bloomfields' new band with all those blues guys in it. Super! I could not understand what David Crosby was on about talking about JFK and seeming to try to be political. He had on a strange fur hat. But I should not say anything about costumes as I sure was dressed strange. I don't know where I got that civil defense helmet I had on. I was wearing beads that Janis Joplin had made for me and a leather bag on my belt she had made for me when we were boyfriend and girlfriend. Her and Nick Gravinites wife Linda Gavinites were making lots of beaded stuff together. Of course watching the Who destroy their equipment was funny. We had worked very hard to buy our guitars and destroying them seemed odd.
      Country Joe and The Fish never got a sound check and went on stage using someone else's equipment. I remember when we started playing Section 43 Bruce's bass was making a weird fuzzy sound because someone had not taken off the fuzz tone effect from the amp he was using. It was one of the strange things that happened during that song. I always played a harmonica solo in Section 43 but in the Monterey Pop movie there is no harmonica. Go figure! But I was so stoned I maybe just forgot to play it. We did a thing I wrote called The Acid Commercial
      If your tired and bit run down. Can't seem to get your feet off the ground. Maybe you ought to try a little bit of LSD. Only if you want to. It will shake you head and rattle your brain. Make you act just a bit insane. Give you all the physic energy you need. To eat flowers and kiss babies. LSD. For you and me.
    During the song David Cohen took LSD! Like I mentioned before I took the opportunity to tell the audience about my experience with the porpoises that morning. 


  1. Joe, great bit of history, from one who made it! Maybe the best part, you lived! So many of those are gone...so here's to you!

  2. There was no need for hesitation…you are writing very nicely and what we read is for most people new and still exiting…keep writing, it's great.

    Well Kurt they may have gone but somehow they are still around… in our heads.

  3. Are you sure the Troggs played at Monterey??

  4. Maybe you are thinking of Hendrix playing Wild Thing? Anyway, I thought Country Joe and the Fish were one of the highlights of the film of Monterey.
    In case you are interested, here is link to my blog on songs and places