inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #26 of 143: Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Fri 2 Oct 09 05:02
    
There's politics, there's protest, there's protest politics. And then
there's the desire to, I don't know, just *do* something. Bruce, what
about the mainstreaming of music politics -- LiveAid, Farm Aid, Rock
the Vote, etc. etc.? These events don't really move with that 1969
old-time religion, but they do have a political component. 

And let us not forget rap and hip-hop. Much of it is overtly
political. 
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #27 of 143: Politics, as usual (robertflink) Fri 2 Oct 09 05:33
    
>Much of it is overtly political.<

A little help here.  By political do we include social and cultural
commentary?  This would seem overly broad to me unless it is asserted
that formal politics controls society and culture, an assertion that
some make but that could stand some supporting arguments.

Come to think of it, protest of any kind could be seen as political
for those that expect the political system to be the cure or the blame
for most every aspect of life.

  
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #28 of 143: Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Fri 2 Oct 09 05:35
    

I always thought hip hop was the pop version of rap, with the politics
and the profanity removed. I could be wrong. But definitely rap turned
60s protest upside down, although much of it was directed inward. It
was certainly angry music, and in many cases poetic. The seeds of it
were planted by artists like Gil Scott Heron and the Last Poets, who
started early in 1970, with songs like "The Revolution Will Not Be
Televised."
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #29 of 143: David Julian Gray (djg) Fri 2 Oct 09 09:26
    

Politics was heavy in the Zeitgest of 1969 ... but
... the great rock'n'roll revolution of 1969 (subtitle of Bruce's
book) was about a lot more than politics... there was plenty
of revolutionary music which wasn't overtly political.
That said - Pete townsend wacking Abbie Hoffman off the stage
was - in its own way - a political act - although I'm sure
Townsend's primary motivation was mostly about show business -
entertaining as Hoffman could be - he was not in Townsend's league
and it was The Who's stage.l

I'm sure an argument could be made that Miles Davis "Bitches Brew"
was as much a political statement as a musical statement - but
the revolution that recording advanced was musical.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #30 of 143: Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Fri 2 Oct 09 12:27
    
In some ways the book's subtitle is misleading, in that one of my main
themes is that the "great rock and roll revolution" that started
around 1965 (you might even say 1955) was all but over by the end of
1969.
Nevertheless, with Miles Davis inventing fusion, King Crimson, Yes and
Genesis debuting progressive rock, the emergence of country rock with
the Byrds, the Band, Poco and the Flying Burrito Brothers, the guitar
heroics of Hendrix, Clapton, Beck, Page, Lesley West, Johnny Winter and
Alvin Lee, the songwriting breakthroughs of Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro,
James Taylor, Neil Young and Leonard Cohen, the experimental forays of
Kaleidoscope, Pearls Before Swine, the Holy Modal Rounders and John
Fahey, the energy coming out of Detroit from Iggy Stooge to George
Clinton, and from Marvin Gaye to the Temptations to the Jackson 5,and
great voices like Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, Rod Stewart, Joan Baez,
Judy Collins, Richie Havens, Sandy Denny, CSN, Nina Simone and Dion,
wrapped around great songs--not to mention emblematic efforts by the
Beatles and the Stones--and you can see why the year in rock, 1969, was
not too shabby.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #31 of 143: Ed Ward (captward) Fri 2 Oct 09 12:43
    
So what you're saying, in effect (the Well doesn't send books
internationally, sad to say, or I'd have more to say here), is that
1969 is the year that rock became America's mainstream, default pop
music, that the "revolution" against the Patti Pages and Mitch Millers
of the world was over?
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #32 of 143: Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Fri 2 Oct 09 13:08
    
Joni Mitchell as Patti Page, hmmmm. Bob Dylan as Lawrence Welk?
But what you say may sum it up to a certain extent, at least until the
punk revolution of '76-81, which resulted in a lot of great music,
although not supported with the kind of numbers as the previous
revolution.
And then there was the rap revolution (now totally the mainstream).
One of the points of the book is that eras come and go and their
audiences with them, leaving a great wrenching sadness at what might
have been. But usually the era has more than outlived its welcome by
the time the next era supplants it.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #33 of 143: David Julian Gray (djg) Fri 2 Oct 09 14:35
    
BUt what's amazing about the 'revolution of 1969' - is that it encompassed
the the "Punk Revolution" and rap! (although, I think Gil Scott Heron's
"the revolution will not be televised" may have missed your window
of May '70 by a bit ... at least as a released record - but the
Last Poets were out by May)
Yes - the "revolution" was over - but its repercussions linger
still - not just linger, but continue to BE the mainstream musical
culture(s).

1927 was another amazing year in American music - Show Boat opened,
setting the stage for a new symbiosis of theatre and sophisticated
dance music/platform for improvisation.
Ralph Peer showed up in Bristol, TN and made the Carter Family
and Jimmy Rogers starts and the genesis of commercial "Country"
Ellington wrote "Black & Tan Fantasy" and Louis Armstrongs Hot
5's and 7's were re-educating two generations of musicians to
a new concept of swing ...
But 40 years on, the revolutions of 1927 were distant echoes
and the new things - Hendrix, Dylan, Joni, Motown, were well
on the way to the critical mass that drove them super-nova
by '69 ...
and ... 40 years on that explotion is not a distant echo -
but still the stuff of daily life ...
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #34 of 143: Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Fri 2 Oct 09 15:24
    
 http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:0xfuxqu5ldfe

Small Talk at 125th and Lennox was released on Flying Dutchman in
1970. I'll see if I can nail down the date.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #35 of 143: Hugh Watkins (hughw1936uk) Fri 2 Oct 09 22:32
    
1927 - 1930

improved microphones allowed the transition from tuba to double bass
on 78 rpm records

and the transition began from 2 beat "marching"  tonic dominant  bass
lines to 4 beats in a bar of the swing era
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #36 of 143: Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Sat 3 Oct 09 06:57
    
Other than the advent of FM radio, I'm wondering what the big
technological and/or instrumental breakthroughs were in the 60s. I know
the Farfisa organ sound was pretty big for a while. The Airplane
recorded Volunteers at Wally Heider's new studio in SF. 
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #37 of 143: Every Acid Dealer Gets Busted Eventually (rik) Sat 3 Oct 09 07:17
    
Multitrack recording, and stereophonic phonograph records.   Overdubbing
goes back to the 30s, when Sidney Bechet made a record on which he played
all the parts, and Les Paul was messing with it in the late 40s - early
50s, first with sound-on-sound, and later with his development of a
recorder with discrete tracks.   But it was in the 60s that you could buy
commercial machines that were made for the purpose.   Remember everybody's
amazement that "Sgt. Pepper" was made on a 4-track.  And the studio
experimentation of George Martin and the Beatles popularized the idea that
a recording could more than simply the documentation of a live
performance.

Stereophonic phonograph records were available in the late 50s, but really
took off in the 60s, making it possible to place instruments and voices in
specific places in the stereo field, and even allowing them to move about.
Just add drugs, et voila, psychedelia.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #38 of 143: Gary Lambert (almanac) Sat 3 Oct 09 07:55
    

Hi, Bruce. Good to see you here again. I had the pleasure of conducting
the inkwell.vue interview on your 2003 book "Working Musicians" (which I
strongly recommend to anyone who missed it first time around -- it's a
kind of rock 'n' roll counterpart to Studs Terkel's "Working," with
Bruce eliciting wonderfully insightful observations from a wide variety
of musicians about their jobs).

As rik says, the great leaps made in recording technology (and the
eagerness of musicians and their producers to turn the studio into a
laboratory for the development of previously unimaginable and/or
unattainable sounds) would have to be counted among the big 60s
breakthroughs. Another would be the emergence of distortion as a
desirable component of rock rather than something to be shunned.
Guitarists in particular started realizing the musical benefit of
overdriving their amps, exploiting the particular characteristics of
their instrument's body types, pickups, etc, in ways that transformed
the music significantly (and paved the way for metal, punk and other
joyously noisy subgenres). The use of outboard effects as part of the
aesthetic also came to the fore in the 60s, for good and ill. The Wah-
wah pedal was popularized by Hendrix and Clapton (and quickly became a
pretty tiresome gimmick, save for its use by a handful of funk
innovators); the technique known as "flanging" (given its name by John
Lennon to describe something that purportedly happened by accident
during a Beatles session) would soon become available in a pedal
emulating that sound; pioneering geeks started developing boxes that
could add distortion, overdrive, echo and other effects with a tap of
the foot.

Oh, as for that "Farfisa" organ sound you mention. Somehow Farfisa
became the default brand name for that sound, but I always like to note
that a lot of the greatest keyboard-dominated records of that era were
made with the underappreciated Vox Continental - ? and the Mysterians'
"96 Tears," the Sir Douglas Quintet's "She's About A Mover" and
"Mendocino," Alan Price's solo on The Animals' "House of the Rising Sun"
- all played on the Vox.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #39 of 143: Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Sat 3 Oct 09 09:24
    
So the "revolution" of which we speak probably had as much to do with
what was happening in the studio as what was happening in the street.
Very fitting. Like the quote I got from Roger McGuinn. "People
imagined all these great things going on. This guy's a spokeman, a
leader. To me it was usually just punks trying to make music."
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #40 of 143: Ed Ward (captward) Sat 3 Oct 09 09:30
    
>>So the "revolution" of which we speak probably had as much to do
with
what was happening in the studio as what was happening in the street.

Except that all the tech that Gary notes made the stage more like the
studio than ever before. And, of course, there was the rise of the
monitor speaker, so people playing amplified music could hear what the
hell was going on. Shows became more professional, for better or worse.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #41 of 143: Every Acid Dealer Gets Busted Eventually (rik) Sat 3 Oct 09 10:19
    
"People imagined all these great things going on. This guy's a spokeman, a
 leader. To me it was usually just punks trying to make music."

That came home to me on a regular basis.   We'd have people rolling up to
the autograph line in wheelchairs telling us that we'd given them a reason
to live.   And, as much as I appreciated being appreciated, the truth is,
we were just a bunch of pothead musicians who were having a good time in
CBS's studio.

The high point of 1971, for us, was finding out that we could sync up two
eight track recorders, giving us 16 TRACKS!!!    We wondered, for about
five minutes, what we were going to do with all those tracks.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #42 of 143: Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Sat 3 Oct 09 16:14
    
All of this paving the way for the D.I.Y. revolution of the 80s & 90s,
music stripped bare again.
And so the beat goes on.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #43 of 143: David Julian Gray (djg) Mon 5 Oct 09 17:25
    
I don't think technology had much to do with changes in music itself -
and it has very litle to do with the theme of Bruce's book...
Music was so central to the Zeitgeist of the mid to late 1960's -
and beyond the surging creativity in the music itself was that message of
endless possibility and endless love - as expressed in this great quote
from Essra Mohawk in the book:
=
        We were all just adolescents forever. We were allowed to
        remain children longer than any other generation...
        We didn't know responsibility. We didn't know
        caution.

We were living and promiting a Grand Illusion ...
then the Manson murders happened, then Altamont ...
The illusion shattered ... maybe not for everyone,
at once ...

A key organizational aspect you use in the book, Bruce
is a focus on regional music scenes:
"The LA Trip"  "If your Leaving San Francisco"
"East is East"  "Don't Forget the Motor City" ..
in each one celebrate the explosions of creativity
each of these cities saw - tracing it through
that same trajectory as each city had its own
rude awakening at the end of "1969"

Was that your key motif from the start - or were
you focused on the music first and the bursting
of the Zeitgeist emerged as the dominant theme?
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #44 of 143: Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Mon 5 Oct 09 18:30
    
Actually, I was focused on the bursting of the Zeitgeist; the balloon
may have burst in 1968, but all the air went out of it through 1969,
when things turned very sour. What surprised me was how much incredible
and enduring music came out in 1969 nevertheless.
In my opinion, an era ended, with the breakup of the Beatles, the
defection of Dylan (again), the death at Altamont, and another began
with Led Zeppelin, the Stooges, Funkadelic and James Taylor, paving the
way for 70s genres like heavy metal, punk, funk and singer/songwriter
reveries. Lots of good music came in the 70s but I think many of the
original baby boomers retired at the end of the 60s to the oldies
revival. Woodstock was like their commencement day ceremony.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #45 of 143: Gail Williams (gail) Tue 6 Oct 09 11:46
    
Bruce, this conversation keeps reminding me of another book by another
author... I'm thinking of  "1968: The Year That Rocked the World" by
Mark Kurlansky for a companion or a preamble that is more about the
international youth revolt and less about music, but also traces the
counterculture.  

I don't know if anybody reading this topic also read that book, but
one interesting conclusion to draw was that 1968 protests and cultural
celebrations terrified governments and police around the world. If that
is accurate, then part of the "bursting" in 1969 was very likely to be
planned, external repression, infiltration, dirty tricks and even drug
supply manipulation, on top of all the young egos and all the other
factors at work.  For me that resonates as one good way to see it in a
political framework.

On a more personal level -- and you did ask for personal stories of
that time -- I was a young teen in 1969, and I grew up in a California
backpacking family -- so I was in Mt. Rainier National Park while
Woodstock was happening, as part of a Sierra Club youth train crew
outing.  I was one of the youngest, and I was thrilled to be with
college age guys, for one thing.  We repaired hiking trails in the
morning, swam or climbed in the afternoon, sang around the fire with a
guitar or two, shared some cheap pot and wine and paired up with one
another in the evening.  It was stunningly lovely and uncrowded.  A few
people on the trip knew about Woodstock, and mentioned the bands
there, but we had our own back to the garden magic going on.  So there
was no sense of missing anything.  I started tenth grade a little
later.  

So in the trajectory of my life, it was not the end of anything.  It
was a summer of promise.  Much of the counterculture glories and
agonies in my life were lived out in the burgeoning and radical
anti-nuclear movement of the 70s and the sassy feminist anti-Reagan
culture of the early 80s.   There are generations, and they are not
finite but overlapped.  Zeitgeist does have to do with culture, and
culture has more and more to do with generations and subgroups. 
Woodstock -- where I didn't go -- and Altamont -- close to home, so I
was there -- were preambles for the years of young adulthood, not the
apex and the unraveling. The meanings are partly generation-dependent,
and the generational time slices are pretty thin...  being in tenth
grade hoping to go to college was not like having heeded Leary and
already dropped out of school, nor like playing in a band,  planning a
commune or the like.  A few years made a difference.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #46 of 143: Ed Ward (captward) Tue 6 Oct 09 11:57
    
You mention drug manipulation, <gail>, I think that's about the time
that the dirty tricks squad started flooding Detroit with heroin. 
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #47 of 143: Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Tue 6 Oct 09 14:42
    
The meaning of 1969 probably resonates most (if not exclusively) with
people born between 46 and 51--men who were old enough to be affected
by the draft lottery and the women who knew them, people who were old
enough to have turned on in college and dropped out to the tune of rock
music. This was the turning point in their soundtrack. Did rock lose
its idealism and turn to big business after that? Maybe it depends on
how old you were at the time.

Once the draft ended and the war ended and Nixon was re-elected, a
different generation had a whole different soundtrack, which included
Watergate, AIDS, Jimmy Carter and, eventually, Ronald Reagan.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #48 of 143: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Tue 6 Oct 09 15:02
    
I was in middle school, and if you were influenced by older siblings
(or in my case other people's older siblings), you could definitely
pick up on the music.  What was different for me, since 68/69 was the
year of my musical awakening, was having very little perspective of
what had gone before.  I thought every year produced a similar flood of
musical marvels, and was quite disappointed when this didn't turn out
to be the case.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #49 of 143: David Julian Gray (djg) Tue 6 Oct 09 19:23
    <scribbled by djg Tue 6 Oct 09 19:23>
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #50 of 143: David Julian Gray (djg) Tue 6 Oct 09 19:36
    
There are some of us born after 1951 who are still - perhaps as little teeny
boppers (in the old way the term was used) - went through a lot of the same
changes - paid keen attention to the same memes and tropes ...
By the time I was 10 (1963) rock and roll was the most important thing in my
life ... and by the time I was 14 I was seeking spiritual enlightenment -
and keen to get the help they said psychedelics offered - and keen to not
be sent to Viet Nam and die (or kill)
I wasn't at woodstock - but I did feel the turnout was more a sign of the
end of the generational rapture ... even if it was also its confirmation.
One week after the "Woodstock" festival, I was at the Philly Folk Festival
and some folks had set up a little site with a sign "Remember Woodstock"
"That was just last week!" I yell - a precocious curmudgeon ...
But there started to be large crowds at music festivals who were more there
to be there than there for the music...
"Crowd Festivals" I started calling them ...
Then came Manson, then a "Crowd Festival" in DC to try to end the war... I
was at that one - then Altamont ... then came the first Supplement to the
Whole Earth Catalogue which declared on its back cover ... The Dream is
Over....
"It is..." I sighed in agreement... and I'm barely 17 ...
  

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