Daryl Gates on the mike at KFI-AM
There was a note of delight in arch-psychonaut Terence McKenna’s voice as he read out this question from the audience after a 1993 talk at UC Santa Cruz:
Well, let’s see here… “Recently you appeared on talk radio with L.A. police chief Daryl Gates. What was the inside story, and do you feel you were heard by him?”
Well, yes—I won’t give this too much time—I did appear with Daryl Gates on his radio show. Clearly, they’re desperate to raise ratings—they’ll do almost anything at this point—and Daryl Gates was a pussycat. Very easily intimidated by… I mean, I make no great claims in this area, but intelligence. He completely folded in the presence of, you know, academic calm, big words, citation, that sort of thing.
If you don’t remember Daryl Gates, he was a real nice guy. At a 1990 Senate hearing, the LAPD chief announced that casual drug users—not traffickers, not dealers, but those “who blast some pot on a regular basis”—were guilty of “treason” in the war on drugs and “ought to be taken out and shot.” A few years later, when the program director from KFI, the right-wing talk station that broadcast The Daryl Gates Show, told the ex-chief over breakfast that the station wouldn’t be renewing his contract, Gates “leaned on the table and with his fingers made a gun. He put them in my face and said, ‘I’m going to get you.’” Super nice guy. If you like Ethan Couch, George Zimmerman, Martin Shkreli and Jason Van Dyke, you’ll love Daryl Gates.
Not a big Germs fan, Daryl Gates. Around 1980, the police chief sent The Decline Of Western Civilization director Penelope Spheeris a letter “requesting that [she] not show the film ever again in Los Angeles.” Nor was music a fan of Daryl. At one end of Gates’ tenure as chief, which extended, roughly, from the punk era to the L.A. riots, Black Flag lampooned him in their local radio ads; at the other, Ice-T gave him a personal shout out in Body Count’s “Cop Killer,” just to say “hi.” (And I always suspected that “hit the gates” in Ice-T’s “Escape from the Killing Fields” had a double meaning.) Race relations? Not Gates’ bag. When he died in 2010, the opinion pages of the Los Angeles Times remembered him as “a tough-talking spokesman for fearful, tradition-bound white Americans” who “found himself locked in bitter combat with the city’s African American community.”
And if some aging hippie tape trader out there would just do the right thing, you could be listening to this fucker discuss Timewave Zero with the apostle of the DMT elves right now.
Continues after the jump…