Turn on, tune in, happy birthday! Dr. Timothy Francis Leary, the revolutionary philosopher, “most dangerous man in America” (as per Richard Nixon) and High Priest of LSD was born on this day, October 22, in 1920.
Ten for Two: The John Sinclair Freedom Rally, directed by Steve Gebhardt is a filmed document of the John Sinclair benefit concert held in 1971.
John Sinclair managed the MC5 and was the founder of The White Panther Party. His uncompromising radical political stance made him a target of the U.S. government. He was busted in a sting operation for selling two joints to undercover cops. He was sentenced to 10 years in jail. Musicians, politicians, artists and friends organized a rally to bring attention to Sinclair’s unjust sentence. It worked. Three days after the rally, Sinclair was released from prison when the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the state’s marijuana statutes were unconstitutional.
Ten For Two was produced by John and Yoko, who also perform in it, and features Allen Ginsberg, Phil Ochs, Leni Sinclair, David Peel, Jerry Rubin, Ed Sanders, Bob Seger, Archie Shepp, Bobby Seale, The Steve Miller Band, Commander Cody, Stevie Wonder and more.
The rally was held in Ann Arbor, Michigan. John and Yoko came on at 3 a.m.
Why hasn’t this been released on DVD? Rumor has it that Yoko owns the rights to the film and won’t release it. In the meantime, this funky video is all I’ve been able to get access to.
My friend Wm. Ferguson and I met the Arch Drude at the Island Records offices near Tower Records in lower Manhattan. During the interview Cope told us about the mystical experience he had that led to his vision of the earth dying that inspired Peggy Suicide’s somewhat bleak environmentalist message. I recall that we discussed a certain book about Helena Blavatsky which he and I had both read and he compared the physical sensation of his mystic moment to the first time a pubescent boy masturbates, not quite pleasurable and very confusing, a sort of mental orgasm felt in the brain. I asked him if he felt conflicted about bringing a child into a world—his wife Dorian was then pregnant with their first daughter—that he so obviously thought was terminal. He paused and said, “Well, yeah the world is fucked, but it’s not THAT fucked that it can’t be saved, certainly. We’ve got to try.” I then voiced my own skepticism about bring new life into the world—I was 25 at the time—and he said something that I will never forget and have repeated to friends expecting children several times: “If people like you and I stop having children, we’ve ceded our world to the idiots. All intelligent people should have as many babies as possible to prevent all the thick, ungroovy Christians from taking over.”
When we were leaving, I mentioned in passing that I’d seen the infamous Hammersmith Palais show of his first UK solo tour in 1984, a concert that saw Cope performing a bloody act of self-mutilation. During the encore of “Reynard the Fox,” Cope snapped his mike-stand in half and proceeded to rake the jagged edge across his chest, back and stomach drawing lots of blood and generally freaking out the entire audience! Up until the very end it had been a slick, professional rock show. A girl standing near me puked when she saw what he had done. It cemented Cope’s reputation as a Syd Barrett-like acid casualty.
Cope laughed sheepishly and pulled out his wallet. “Well, you’ll appreciate this: Whenever I’m feeling like I am fucked in the head, I pull out this picture—” it was of a bloodied Cope from the concert I’d seen “—and I remind myself that however fucked up I think I am I am still not THAT fucked!”
Me and Guccione had the same dentist in Manhattan. I’d see him gliding thru the waiting room glittering with bling bling like King Tut. Bob’s testosterone fogged my Italian wraparounds. The cat had presence.
Bob Guccione, who founded Penthouse magazine in the 1960s and built a pornographic media empire that broke taboos, outraged the guardians of taste and made billions before drowning in a slough of bad investments and Internet competition, died Wednesday in Plano, Tex., The Associated Press reported. He was 79.
Here’s a very nicely done and highly marvy little innerweb commercial for the spankin’ new Bob Dylan box: The Original Mono Recordings. I don’t think I’ll be shelling out for it but it’s an awfully cool idea.
Writer, critic and translator, Fernanda Pivano interviews Jack Kerouac on Italian television, 1966. Kerouac is more than a wee bit shitfaced.
Pivano was known for her insightful and freewheeling interviews of American beat writers, including Ginsberg, Corso, Bukowski and Burroughs. She had a knack for getting on the wavelength of writers being one herself. And she enjoyed drinking with them. Her published interviews with Bukowski are worth seeking out. Her longstanding friendship with Hemingway certainly prepared her for dealing with a bunch of drunk poets.