googled06bb313055e587a.html Rock N Roll Rehab for the Control Of Rock and Roll Starring Greg Piper and The Tooners: The Haight And The Rock And Roll Dream

The Haight And The Rock And Roll Dream

I just watched a documentary on the History Channel about the Hippies and the Summer Of Love in San Francisco in 1967. It was narrated by actor Peter Coyote who is somewhat famous as having been a hippie. I’ve either seen this doc before, many times, or Peter Coyote narrates ALL of the films about Haight Ashbury.

After I wrote a novel about my late brother’s experiences in the Punk Rock world I went on to write about the people I grew up with and placed the story in the Haight - Ashbury section of San Francisco during the Summer of Love. The book is called The Haight and Skunk Magazine in their review called it “...gritty and real... “ they also said: “...he (meaning me, the author) was there, man...”

I was there, kind of. I actually was in San Francisco but it was in 1968, a year after the infamous Summer Of Love and I was there on vacation with my folks who were taking us to Canada so I could feel comfortable going there in the event I got drafted. I didn’t know that particular reason for that trip until years later and thankfully I never had to deal with the draft as my lottery number was 184 and the military was only drafting up to number fifty that year.

My experience with hippies was with the Southern Californian breed. Along with Haight Ashbury in San Francisco there were large Hippie communities in Hollywood, Venice Beach, Silverlake and the Valley and we caught the Hippie movement directly from the North before it spread across the country and then the world.

So my book, The Haight, is approximately one third actual experiences of either myself or my friends, one third based on stories I had heard or read about the Psychedelic Era over the years and about one third purely made up. It is a novel after all.

Keep in mind that during 1967 I actual was in a psychedelic rock band having been in bands since 1965 and still in grade school. I didn’t take drugs or smoke pot but I burned incense in my room (still do), wore flared blue jeans and Beatle boots, love beads and had long hair and sideburns. I had a Cossack shirt like the one John Lennon wears in Help! as part of my band costume and I wore a beaded Indian headband to keep my long hair out of my eyes during Junior High School gym class. I painted black light posters for my bedroom and made photo college book covers for my school textbooks. I was definitely aware of what was going on up in San Francisco as it was being televised down to us and totally into it. I even burned a strobe candle in my room which I could not stop smoking after I put it out. What a mess.

A mercifully brief sample of my junior high school psychedelic band 

I may have mentioned this before in a post but, hey, I can’t be expected to remember things at this point, but when my parents took me to San Francisco in 1968 I found an old copy of The Oracle, the local Hippie “underground” newspaper. Inside was an article where the author claims he “found a roach on the floor, stepped on it, put it in my pipe and smoked it.” I kept reading that over and over not being able to believe he was saying what he seemed to be saying which was that he actually smoked a cockroach. In the same issue there was an article on “legal highs” such as smoking a banana peel, corn silk or Lipton’s Tea so maybe these hippies really would smoke an insect. Of course I eventually learned the lingo and understood what he really meant. 

My junior high school era psychedelic poster

The whole era still holds quite a bit of fascination for me. I find it an extremely romantic time period and like most romances it didn’t end well but tragedy is an essential part of romance.

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