Monday, January 16, 2017

What albums from my teenage years?

The latest silly meme that everyone seems to be indulging in is listing the top ten albums of your teenage years.

Albums from my teenage years? What albums? I didn't collect albums, I was way too poor (my horse's feed and vet bills got first babysitting money dibs—at 25 cents an hour), but Dobie Gray once gave me his 45 hit, "The In-Crowd." My mom shared a flat with him next to the SF Art Institute on Chestnut. I was pretty young. I didn't even own a record player.

When I was ten I liked The Purple People Eater, The Monster Mash. The mashed potatoes song, and that song about the rings of Saturn? Wait, malapropism: White on white, lace on satin... no wonder I was alternatively abled. 

What can I say? I was ten and I had to sneak listen to my grannie didn't approve of rock and roll music. My aunts, uncles, and parents' collections were mostly jazz and Big Band. Johnny Mathis too because one of them went to school with Johnny, and his brother, who was the toll taker on the Golden Gate Bridge. Chances are...

I did buy two albums when I was a teenager, The Monkees, it cost $3.50 at a record store next to Ali Akhbar College of Music in Fairfax (where Ravi Shankar used to visit).

Meanwhile, Peter Tork of The Monkees was often seen staggering down the streets of Fairfax, drunk out of his mind... Cheeky monkey.

And I did buy a KFRC collection with Van the Man Morrison's "G-L-O-R-I-A" recording and The Rolling Stones' "Can't Get No Satisfaction." Van Morrison's parents ran the Caledonia music store in Fairfax.

Otherwise, it was usually live music, listening to Jefferson Starship/Airplane, Grateful Dead, Quicksilver, Sons of Champlin, Janis Joplin, Big Brother and The Holding Company, etc., rehearsing.

I witnessed most live music in the San Geronimo Valley from the back of my horse, where I could escape... One time the Greatful Dead and co. played in a Creamery Creek gulch under the bridge across from the Papermill Creek Bar in Forest Knolls...

We had to hitchike home from Sir Francis Drake High School—so we got to know all the musicians. They were the only ones who'd stop and give us a lift. But Jesse Colin Young drove a VW van so it was often a crowded bus. Van the man drove a white van. And Carlos Santana drove a Mercedes with leather seats. Janis had a two-seater Porsche so she'd usually shrug and smile. Flash us a peace symbol.

Lots of live bands in high school too: Clover, Moby Grape, The Tubes.... Terry Bozzio (Frank Zappa) was a classmate. Why would I even want to buy albums? We were living in the epicenter of live music.

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