ROCK’S IN MY HEAD- CHAPTER 31: BACK TO SCHOOL: SENIOR YEAR (Part1)
With only one full day of my senior year of high school under my belt I needed a rest so I took the afternoon off from work and travelled back to The Pavilion grabbing tickets at the door to see The MC-5, The Stooges with David Peel and The Lower East Side. These bands, two from Detroit, and Peel from NYC,were not my usual fare of British blues bands or San Franciscan hippies. These guys were what has been called “radical chic”. After seeing a TV news segment about The Stooges I knew that this band intrigued me and I should make an attempt to see them LIVE whenever they hit town. This particular show was enlightening to say the very least. It started late, finished later, and the crowd, not as dense in population as the Led Zeppelin show a week earlier, can best be described as “crazy”, made up of mostly drunken guys,who were also very high and a bit dirty, so my outfit for the evening did NOT fit in. But, did I fit in either? That was the question.
The Stooges had a nice droning sound with a lead singer with….ah, charisma? Eventually he had no shirt and pants that barely stayed on his hips while shaking his skinny ass toward the crowd. His performance had every one’s attention…I WANNA BE YOUR DOG, 1969 OKAY, What were they doing? What were they saying? I didn’t exactly know what was happening musically but I knew this was different, very, very different.
The stars of the evening,The MC5 were awesome, almost in the way The Who did it for me a few months previously. These guys were loud, fast, riotous, revolutionary, all with a coordinated choreography. The dance steps were just as amazing as the music was loud. I took something away from this show… on the car ride home I heard a new Creedence song on the FM radio and thought to myself, “What is that shit?”, yeah, The 5 and Stooges helped steer me in new direction; guitars, bass and drums…loud and louder if possible, and the lead singer doesn’t necessarily need to know how to sing. Who needs love songs anyway? And I needed to skip school the next day.
It was about this time that I thought I should buckle down for my last year of high school. I survived so far with a B+ average which should have been higher but I didn’t care. I had all the necessary credits to graduate already chalked up except English 12. Religion and PE were required but didn’t count as full credit courses. To fill my schedule I continued taking art classes and two history electives. My schedule had a study hall every other day first period which would be a problem for my brother as I would like to hit the diner those morning. If he rode with me in the car, it was the diner for him too. I didn’t mind paying the 25 cents school fines for being late, and an additional 25 cents for signing in while being out of uniform as my tie and jacket would remain in my locker.
At this time a bunch of us planned on attending TEN YEARS AFTER at FILLMORE EAST. I grabbed some good Orchestra tickets for the Saturday night early show fully anticipating another great night of scorching TEN YEARS AFTER blues/rock. The show was as advertised, great. The Flock, a horn ensemble with a violin player to boot opened the festivities for the evening and closed their set with a KinKs tune, TIRED OF WAITING. Very cool. Mother Earth was next up. “Boring as boring can be”is the way I described that act to my friends. Still to this day one of my all time LEAST FAVORITE ACTS is Tracy Nelson fronting MOTHER EARTH.
TYA, that’s what was printed on the buttons we were handed as we entered the venue, rocked the house (Spoonful,Good Morning Little School Girl, I Can’t Keep From Crying, Hobbit,Help Me and of course I’m Going Home, the same exact set as played a few weeks ago in Freeport (and I bet same set they played at Woodstock) with a few Chuck Berry encores thrown in. TYA did Chuck Berry better than Chuck Berry. Alvin Lee was tearing it up, Leo Lyons’ head bouncing along to his bounding bass, Chick Churchill standing, clapping, leading the audience from atop his Leslie, and Ric Lee pounding out the back beat. Sold, they were my new FAVORITE live band, a sentiment which could change nightly. Sweating we hit the night air totally satisfied and spent. The gang walked slowly through the Village proudly wearing our TYA buttons.
A few days later I took the program from the show to school. A (attractive) female classmate who paid no attention to me the last three years noticed the program, perused it, and we, she and I, became instant music buddies, opening a whole conversation with a whole new sphere of friends for me. Ah, senior year was not going to be a drag after all. Not only did I feel differently, the way I was seeing things or being seen was different.
The following weekend we two, my girl and I, were back at the same hall, almost the same orchestra seats as the TYA show, middle section a few rows back from the stage to see Crosby Stills Nash who now added Neil Young.This show was originally schedule as CROSBY,STILLS and NASH for August but was postponed. Now, a month after Woodstock here they were as CSN&YOUNG. Ahhhhh… The opening act, Lonnie Mack playing his Flying V Gibson was very tasty, and of course he did his version of Memphis.
The week of the Led Zeppelin show in May I had purchased a new pair of boots from a shoe shoppe on West 8th Street, a few doors down from Orange Julius and ElectricLady Studio. The night of CSN&Y I was wearing these boots and my girlfriend noticed Graham Nash had on the same identical boots. At seventeen years of age, sitting at a Fillmore show with a slight glow on, listening to Graham’s Nash playing his acoustic guitar, while wearing the same boots as me,yes, life was great.
CSN played Suite:Judy followed by a few tunes before Neil joined in as did a bass player and drummer. The highlights were Broken Arrow, Wooden Ships and the closer, Down By The River. Again I brought the program to school, and met some more like minded classmates. My new music buddy (female) from last week invited me to smoke a joint behind the school at lunch. Somehow, I should have sensed that this might not be a good thing. Not that smoking a joint behind the school was a new thing to me but with this girl…
NEWS: What the hell is going on? Chicago is at it again, this time it’s the WEATHER UNDERGROUND- a radical group known as The Weatherman- who are demonstrating in protest of the CHICAGO EIGHT TRIAL. The National Guard is called in.
Hundreds of THOUSANDS of people are demonstrating against the WAR and in baseball world the NY METS win the WORLD SERIES, 4 games to 1, over the Baltimore Orioles.YOU GOTTA BELIEVE.