"Hey, little mama, the world done gone away!"
I just remembered another of Vleetheart's roadie's undeniable evidence of "acquisitiveness": When we went to see the Rolling Stones on their first U.S. tour at Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino .... where I met Mick for the first time (that was a funny encounter, you should go back and try to find that .... I'm trying to lighten my feelings about the Beefheart guy) ..... as we had our tickets torn at the gate, he asked me if I was going to keep my ticket stub. I was surprised by this question and asked "Should I?" He wanted it. He had paid $5 for my ticket. So I gave him my ticket stub, and I'm sure now he was collecting this with the idea of selling it somewhere down the road, or perhaps (I hope) would keep it as a memento forever.
The Beatles were supposed to be the headliners on that show, I was reminded of that recently. "Oh, yes," I said to myself. That's why I laughed so much seeing an older guy in tan raincoat and a Beatles wig waiting to go in the door to the Bob Dylan concert we fools put on ... I laughed when I saw him. This concert was after Victor gave us the shaft and raised Bob's price at the last minute! Which meant finding a larger venue at the last minute and try for a bigger publicity push to fill that house. That wouldn't happen, as Bob was nearly unknown! Victor screwed us and he didn't care, as long as he got more money for Bob (and more 10% for himself! And never you mind that the Student Body funds took a serious bath, our credibility was trashed, our enemies laughed in scorn, and we would be hard pressed to put on future concerts with the Freedom Singers and stuff like that attached to Civil Rights meetings and such on campus .... oh, never you worry you little graspy head about THAT! and all those ramifications of grabbing the money and running).
I'd even answered the phone at the guy who was going to co-script "Captain Milkshake's" house when Victor called. (Kenny Edwards had introduced me to Victor and his sister Zezil in Los Angeles at a Civil Rights gathering, and they were active in all that ... I thought we would have a "rapport". Not when scheckels are involved .... )
Bob sang "Walk and Talk with Jesus" (he later told me that was from the Barrett Sisters
). The Kweskin Jug Band were in the audience, and so was Mike Cooney!
Victor became "Viktor" after that ... like "Viktor" in Frankenshtein .... "Food. Good. Eat."
June 1964, somewhere in the desert.
The milkshake guy talked me in to inviting Bob and his entourage to a party after the show on Kansas Street. Bob looked like Nathan, one of the guys who lived there. That was funny.
One of the entourage turned an antique Spanish Cross that was on the wall upside down. He had evil vibes and he came from the East Coast.
Maria Muldaur sat in the living room and sang a song of Memphis Minnie's. Geoff loved her terribly, that was obvious, he thought she was the best in the world. I'd see them onstage later places, and she was mean to Geoff. He'd do his big showcase number, "Goin' Downtown
" and she'd be playing behind him making a sarcastic face and mouth the words, "Goin' downtown, goin' downtown" to sink him with the audience and get them to pay more attention to her for her songs.
"What a bitch," I thought when I saw her doing that.
At the post concert party, Geoff sang "High Heeled Sneakers" (and I learned the passes almost on the spot, though I had to relisten to the record a bunch to get the words in the right sequence)
(Boy, Maria! She was even rude that way to me, years later, when was working for a concert promoter who wanted her for a show, and I told him her price was too high and none of us dickered. Then, again, years later, when I encountered her in a bathroom in Hawaii long about 1993 or so when she was performing there with Dan Hicks. She hasn't changed a whit, I thought. But I snapped back at her and sunk her royally that time. I really did. I have it in me, you know, to try to straighten people out by throwing it straight back in their faces. )
Maria .... one of her entourage was in Lowell's living room back in 1974, and Lowell had been working very hard on an arrangement to "Play somethin' sweet, play somethin' mellow
" and had it on tape he'd play for special people. One of the record company shits stole that right out from under him and gave it to the record company as an idea for Maria to do on her first album that was in studio production at that very moment .... Lowell was devastated at a time he didn't need to be.
I hate the record and music business, I said, I should have known better than to even skate around the edges of it. Betrayals. Thievery. Bad vibes. Whoever that thief was that stole that idea from Lowell at that low point in his life, something bad will happen to you, you have built lousy karma for yourself. I believe in that, even if you don't. We'll see how your life works out for you since then .... )
Jim Kweskin wasn't along for the ride when they came out to the show in the desert in 1964. Bob Dylan invited me to come back to Los Angeles with everyone, and I said no.
A guy at that school had a brother who was in the Turtles. He would boast about this. He was "Hollywood". He could play "Camptown Racetrack" with his knuckles on his teeth.
I told Frank about some of this when I next saw him, and my sister had filled him in on the remainder, I guess, as she liked show biz stories. That was when Frank got his first recording contract, and I walked in the living room of our house and told him how proud I was of him for getting that contract. Whew .... whew .... whew .... he gonna rock us all, now, and forever and for all times, and I knew it! (oh, I so hoped I knew it!) I knew he had it in him, no matter what he was going to do.
Next time, I'll tell you what song I sang for the Mexican policeman who arrested me and threw me in jail in Tijuana when I was trying to get a good price for Emmet Sargent. That's a long story, all the way around, but the song was "High Heeled Sneakers". That song won my freedom that day! And the commandante did the twist as I played it on a borrowed guitarra in his office while my friends were in holding cells.
A friend of my said later, when she heard the story, "Wow! Just like Leadbelly!"
This is a true story. The world of Hollywood entertainment can be fraught with real danger, even if you're an incidental character. I still tell everyone, "Avoid Hollywood!"
The very presence of the Dylan entourage and their weird attitudes encouraged bad behavior on the part of people we knew, our own folks, and I was disgusted. It's like bad behavior multiplied, and every one strove to outdo the other in some bent bad vibe competition. The milkshake guy came out of the bedroom after obviously a brief encounter with a total stranger (one of the entourage), and I was shocked enough by that! I said, "What the hell's the matter with you? Don't you have any respect for your friends?"
He retorted with, "I'll tell everyone I saw you sucking off Bob Dylan in the kitchen" (and even though he was under the influence, I felt like punching him in the face and just walked into the kitchen, where amazingly Bob was standing with two friends against the counter. I talked with him a bit just a bit and told Bob he shouldn't be a part of such bad behavior, we all looked up to him and he should set a shining example (or something similarly naïve). I told him what the milkshake guy had done and what he had just said to me, as a proof that things were flying apart here. I told him he ought to say something to that guy. Bob said to me, "If he says that, I'd just have all my friends say you did the same to them" (or something like that.)
(And Bob at that very time would go "davining" (or however you spell it) in the Valley because we knew someone there who had seen him singing at such services. Gads!)
And after which, later, he starts flirting a bit with me and asked me to take a ride with them all to Los Angeles for more of the same? You've got to be kidding! Frank later got an earful with that story, that I was even somewhat ashamed to recount.
I should have known there was gonna be trouble at that party because of the events leading up to it. I pointed out some friends and Mike Cooney to the milkshake guy, and Mike ("There's Mike Cooney!" I said, he was seated with a dear friend of mine .... Mike was a hero to real folk music people (The Grateful Dead really did steal a bunch of his material when he headed up to Palo Alto after this show and performed on the circuit there, as I do recall some of Mike's songs and banjo stylings of that time) ... Mike was wearing a black and white herringbone Alaska wool shirt, a blue navy watch cap, and moccasins .... and this sighting occurred after my amused amazement of the guy wearing the Beatles wig .... and the milkshake guy insulted Mike's choice of clothing and said: "Don't you think that's a bit too much". He was already in a bad mood. After turning around to scan a near empty and very expensive hall, about one third filled, then the milkshake guy and I settled into our seats to try to enjoy ourselves at the concert.
Bob Dylan wore a light red shirt, black levis, and black cowboy boots. He sat in a chair and played guitar and sang, a solo act.
I had been kind to the milkshake guy, too. I'd even given him my large edition of Pound's Cantos as a birthday present.
I have a very good memory sometimes, you see. I really really do.