NEW YEARS DAY 1970 LIVE JIMI HENDRIX AND THE BAND OF GYPSIES
BUDDY MILES ON DRUMS
Jimi's Best solo !
The solo is from "Stone Free" Jan 1, 1970 Filmore East with Billy Cox on Bass and Buddy Miles on Drums/backing Vocals. There is no video of it so I dubbed it into the 1969 New Port Jazz Festival. Came out pretty good. I think this is Jimi's Best solo....your thoughts??
POWER TO LOVE
MAY 8, 1970 MACHINE GUN NORMAN OK SHOWS BILL AND A SCHEDULE
FOUNTAIN OF TEARS
by Michael Fairchild
[NOTE: The story below is an excerpt from the 1988 historical novel, A Touch Of Hendrix. For a quick background about the story, see the accompanying page: Trajectory of Intersections = Crossrown Traffic.]
Beginning in April 1970 an amazing chain of events transpired to imprint Jimi's legacy into history. While the song Woodstock by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young was climbing up the record charts, the three hour movie of that three day festival opened in packed theaters around the country. The marketing of Woodstock produced shockwaves in the straight world as back-to-nature, altered consciousness, hippie lifestyles became the height of youth fashion. None of this was promoted on television. The establishment appeared to have lost all control as the "underground" surfaced towards the mainstream.
1970 Earth Day in New York
The Student Mobilization Committee sponsored a week of demonstrations from April 13th through the 18th. A nationwide student strike on April 15th targeted Internal Revenue Service offices around the country. Reenactments of the Boston Tea Party were staged in Chicago, Des Moines, and Boston. In New York 30,000 people gathered in Bryant Park. A band of 100 militants interrupted the reading of the names of the war-dead and then prevented speakers from appearing. Eventually they took over the podium and led the crowd in chants of "Revolution Now!" In Berkeley the University was closed and declared to be in a state of emergency after two days of rioting following police attacks on students who tried to close down the campus ROTC building. The largest turnout occurred in Boston where more than 75,000 people assembled on the Common. Several thousand marched over to Cambridge where they smashed windows, set fires in Harvard Yard and chanted, "How're the nation's elite?" More than 200 people were injured as police battled with demonstrators through the night and arrested 35.
One week later Let It Be by The Beatles topped the charts on the first Earth Day.
After he observed the massive turnout for the November 1969 Moratorium protests in Washington, Sen. Gaylord Nelson (D-Wis.) proposed a nationwide teach-in on environmental problems. For the next four months a volunteer group coordinated the effort and on Wednesday, April 22nd, Earth Day was observed in more than 2000 American communities. Focusing attention on pollution, it was a middle-of-the-road demonstration designed for the family. So many politicians took part in Earth Day that Congress shut down on April 22nd. Senators and Congressmen fanned out across the country as all bands of the political spectrum jumped on the anti-pollution bandwagon (in words, at least). Fifth Ave. was blocked off in New York while 100,000 people gathered to demonstrate their concern for the environment and listen to radio broadcasts of John Lennon's new tune, Instant Karma:
Well we all shine on,
like the Moon and the Stars and the Sun...
In Washington, 1700 students marched to the Interior Department and poured quarts of oil on the sidewalk to protest oil spills in the ocean. Universities sponsored lectures on the fragility of the eco-system and hundreds of thousands of school children roamed through parks and city streets to collect tons of litter cast off by the consumer culture.
At dinnertime this night, Clyde Kinney complains to his parents, "They made us walk around and pick up garbage at school today."
"If they wanna beautify America they should make them hippie fags git a haircut," snarls Jack.
Mick curls his lip. "Hippies aren't ugly, the M.A.N. is"
"What man?" asks Cheryl.
"The Mean And Nasty!" answers Mick.
Henry tosses his chicken wing back on his plate. "Jumpin' Jesus Christ! Do we hafta hear this crap night after night?"
Claudia reproaches Mick, "We told you not to talk crazy around here!"
"Jack said America would be beautiful if hippies cut their hair. He's the one who's nuts."
Claudia drops her fork and slaps his mouth. "Don't you call us names!"
"You don't hafta hit me!"
"Don't talk back!" she yells as she swings at him again. He catches her hand and pushes it away. Claudia springs from her seat and grabs his collar. "HOW DARE YOU RAISE YOUR HAND TO ME! YOU UNGRATEFUL RAT!" she screams, yanking him off his chair and onto the floor. SLAP! SLAP! SLAP! "GET OUT OF MY SIGHT!"
Mick runs up to the attic. Straightening the collar of his shirt he turns on Clyde's radio. Almost Cut My Hair from the new CSNY album is fading out on WCFM. DJ Spacey Daisy reports in a tranquil voice, "There's been a lot of protest against pollution today, here's a little air freshener from Woodstock to help clean up the establishment." Like a breath of revolution Jimi's Star Spangled Banner sighed from the little transistor, followed by the cyclonic fury of Purple Haze. When the music ends Spacey Daisy announces, "Jimi begins a three month tour of the country this week. He'll be playing in more than thirty cities and at least three outdoor festivals." The news helps take Mick's mind off his savage family. He spends the remainder of Earth Day doing homework. Turning a page of his history book he listens to radio news about Viet Cong supply dumps in Cambodia and wonders what life is like in a place with such an exotic name. Credence Clearwater's Bad Moon Rising begins to play on CFM and chases away his thoughts of foreign lands.
On the last day of April a heat wave hits western New York and greenery begins sprouting on bushes and trees around the Kinney house. After dinner Henry and Claudia drive over to the grade school for an Open House meeting between parents and teachers. Cheryl stays home with the boys and Mick is quick to sneak next door to visit Lane. "Your 'rents go to Open House?" he asks at the back door.
Band Of Gypsys album cover
Top-5 on charts, Spring/Summer 1970
"Yeah, they already split." Lane says. "C'mon, I'll show ya Jimi's new album." He leads Mick into the front room and lowers the TV volume, pointing to the coffee table, "There's the cover." The disc is already on the turntable. Lane walks over and applies the tone arm while Mick examins the jacket. Jimi looks almost dejected, he thinks, hunched over his Strat in the cover photo. The weird colors make his face appear to be covered with bruises. For a moment the notion that someone had roughed up Jimi crosses Mick's mind, but he quickly dismisses it. Who could threaten a superstar? he naively asks himself. While the boys listen to Jimi's Band Of Gypsys, Malcolm and Cliff stroll into the house and flop onto the front room sofa.
"Did you see the Woodstock movie yet?" Mick asks them.
"Yeah, but they left a lot of the best parts out," replies Cliff.
"They really butchered Jimi's set and the camera angles suck," adds Malcolm, glancing at the soundless TV. He sees the president pointing at a map of Southeast Asia. "What's Pig Nixon squealin' about?" Reaching over to the set he raises the volume as Lane lowers the stereo. They listen with rising anxiety as Nixon announces that 48,000 South Vietnamese troops and American aircraft had crossed Vietnam's boarder and invaded the neighboring country of Cambodia. Another 30,000 U.S. troops are following. As the president speaks, the skies over North Vietnam are raining bombs from stepped up B-52 raids. Malcolm and Cliff feel sick. Mick and Lane feel sick. Millions of Americans despair for the thousands of teenage boys who are being sacrificed to the capitalist god-of-greed. Pig Nixon calls for national unity against the enemy and the counterculture units against him, his brain-trained supporter's and their leeching war industries.
Malcolm tunes out the news and turns off the TV. Cliff stares out the window. Lane breaks the tension by raising the volume on Jimi's new album:
evil man make me kill ya
evil man make you kill me
evil man make me kill you
even though we're only families apart…
Malcolm reachs for the dial and turns the volume up all the way.
same way you shoot me down, baby
you'll be goin' just the same
three times the pain
and your own self to blame,
yeah machine gun…
Draft age teens nationwide ride Jimi's guitar-weapon alarm-siren like a twisting aural surf. This deafening channel from another world drains their aggression and soothes their despair.
after while your cheap talk don't even cause me pain
so let your bullets fly like rain…
Machine Gun color video from Fillmore East, NY - Jan. 1, 1970 -
version released on Hendrix Band Of Gypsys album April 1970:
The album release of Machine Gun couldn't be more timely. Violence over greed, that's the disease; the war in Vietnam, and now Cambodia, is just a symptom. Capitalist laws are tailored to profit-making and the laws make "free" greed driven men who reign terror over underprivileged victims. "Private possession" of part of the landscape is an arbitrary proclamation from armed and greedy men, chest-beating bullies who draw lines in the sand and dare others to cross. They rely on brute force to "defend" what they've confiscated. But it's the right of everyone to have equal access to all distributable resources on Earth. The wealth of p.i.g.s. has been stolen from us all.
Since the Experience broke up at the end of June 1969, Jimi had been gigging sporadically: the Tonight Show, Woodstock, a Harlem benefit, the Dick Cavett Show, the Salvation Club, and five concerts in New York with his new band. Now, with his Band of Gypsys album in the record shops, and the Woodstock album and movie craze in full bloom, Jimi begins a U.S. tour playing mostly Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in more than 30 cities. Musically, these are by far the greatest performances he ever gave and, ironically, they've received the least critical acclaim in retrospect. Almost every single recap and account of Jimi's career that has been fed to his fans has briefly glossed over the 1970 American tour as if it was a half dozen dull and poorly received shows. But recordings of more than two dozen of these shows have been collected and anyone who listens to them critically will conclude that 1970 was the most inspired concert period for Jimi as far as musical development is concerned.
In the spring of 1970 the new Woodstock and Band Of Gypsys albums were the first records of "live" concert music from Jimi and they contain his infamous version of the Star Spangled Banner and his anti-war masterpiece Machine Gun. These records transformed his public image by singling him out as the personification of creative non-violent protest. To appreciate the historical intersection of this politicized image with the anti-war movement, we must fathom the tragic urgency which consumes the counterculture in May of 1970.
The morning after Nixon appeared on television he goes to the Pentagon for a briefing on the Cambodia invasion from the Joint Chiefs. Leaving that meeting he speaks to reporters:
"You know, you see these bums blowin' up the campuses; listen, the boys that are on the college campuses today are the luckiest people in the world."
By nightfall Stanford University is undergoing the worst riots in its history. At Ohio State the National Guard is called out and a student is shot by a gun carrying Guardsman. At Kent State in Ohio students burn down the ROTC building. Student editors from eleven major universities meet in New York to issue a call for a nationwide student strike. The National Student Association and the Moratorium Committee also call for a nationwide university strike starting immediately; within hours more than a hundred colleges and universities announce participation.
All through the second weekend of Jimi's tour in early May, demonstrations flare across the country to protest the war's escalation. While bombs rain on Cambodia, the counterculture blares Machine Gun and the Star Spangled Banner from loudspeakers, "the way it really is," as Jimi said. In homes, in concerts, and in movie theaters he represents the resistance. The unprecedented power of his playing had made him the musical head of the anti-war culture and his politicized image is now fully exposed to mainstream culture. By 1970 rock music has assumed exaggerated and powerful influence on the thinking of the baby boom generation. Jimi's new records are more than a mere thorn in the side of parents who have to hear the music that their kids play. It's the war industries that take even closer note of rock music's effect on their ability to continue the war, and after Monday, May 4th, the establishment's concern increases dramatically.
Protests against the invasion of Cambodia are bitter and volatile on campuses. Students are completely fed up with the absurdity of old men ordering young guys to die for the paychecks of racist good-ole-boys. The government is an instrument of evil men. Draft age people are compelled to abandon their peace-and-love stance of recent years. A courageous resistance movement dedicates itself to the bombing of governmental/military/industrial targets. The Senate Subcommittee on Investigations cited 4,330 such bombings over the past year alone - an average of more than nine a day. The establishment turns turgid with paranoia and resentment; it is their "right" to wage war against poor Asians who seek collective equity. When draft age victims resist the p.i.g.s., the M.A.N. is ready with mercenaries. No one's gonna spoil their blood-money orgy without gettin' hurt. Those who were brutalized and killed in attempts to obstruct greed-drunk militarists are the unsung heros of the Vietnam War.
Burned ROTC Building Set the Stage
On Monday, May 4th almost all American campuses host some form of denouncement of the Cambodian invasion. But at Kent State University in Ohio, student assembly is banned after the ROTC building was burned on Saturday night. The M.A.N. had to suppress student outrage over draft laws that made profit-bait out of teenage boys. Students are expected to pay tuition to universities and have school officials - their employees! - dictate silence in response to an unfair draft (disproportionally black) that threatens the lives of all college age males. But at Kent State the administrators are not responsible for calling out the Dogs on Saturday. University President Robert White was in Iowa delivering a speech on Saturday. None of his administration is even consulted on the decision to move in six hundred M-1 rifle carrying troops. That decision is made by Ohio Governor James Rhodes for very political reasons; Rhodes is the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in a close primary election which is to take place on Tuesday. In a ploy to gain Ohio votes by cracking down on student protesters, Governor Rhodes essentially gives the Dogs a license to kill. On Sunday night Guardsmen herd Kent State students into their dormitories. This is not what these kids pay the University for. They fight back; 69 of them are busted and a girl is stabbed by an M-1 bayonet. Most of the Guardsmen are working class youths about the same age as the students, most of them have been called away from civilian jobs in the Akron and Canton areas. Many working class soldiers resent students from the privileged class. Their latent rage is easily aimed at any target the M.A.N. designates. Many of them are trained to hate what they subconsciously crave. They seek violence and destruction as sensory substitutes for hidden drives they can't satisfy. Envy and frustration stirs these pawns of capitalists; it's the M.A.N.'s game and it's a pattern that elitists have benefited from all along. Military "personalities" are prone to be conditioned; they need to be told what to think and feel. And the M.A.N. is there to tell them.
Ruins of the ROTC Building
Kent State students organize a demonstration for noon on Monday. Guardsmen are ordered to place their M-1 rifles in "lock and load" - ready to fire positions. A jeep carries three of them with fixed bayonets and a campus policeman with a bullhorn. They leave the ranks of the troops and drive onto the Commons - a large rectangular grassy plot surrounded by buildings. One side of the Commons slops up to a grove of trees atop a knoll. Four times the jeep circles the perimeter of the rectangle as the cop shouts through his bullhorn, "Attention all KSU students! You have five minutes to leave this area! Leave this area immediately!"
P.I.G.S. Pass Gas
"One, two, three, four - we don't want your bloody war!" chant the protesters, waving clenched fists. The jeep stops and troops with fixed bayonets move forward. Tear gas canisters are launched into the crowd. Students move back and reform at the top of the knoll overlooking the Commons. Several of them charge down and scoop up the gassing shells to fling back at the troops. Someone rings a tower-bell and the clarion sound rallies the students to run down the hill shouting, "The campus belongs to the people!" and "Sieg Heil!" More troops march into the area and students line the rooftops overlooking the Commons as the crowd of demonstrators below swells to 1000. The entire field is covered with grey haze that forces the teary eyed students to split up and run behind the administration building on the knoll. Troops pursue them as they run down to a practice football field. The crowd now numbers 1500. Thirty guardsmen form in regiment order with their backs to a fence along the football field. Students surround them on three sides. A freek in a green headband carries a green flag on a pole and leads a crowd of 100 towards the encircled troops; some in the crowd toss stones the size of golfballs. Most of the guardsmen are out of throwing range, but a few are struck. Their homicidal urges are unleashed. They retreat to the top of the hill and open fire. There were no warning shots nor any verbal notice given. Within 13 seconds 6l shots are fired at the unarmed students. The war comes home to America.
At first people assume that blanks are being fired. It's unthinkable that troops would discharge such a barrage of bullets at students pelting stones. But 15 victims fall to the ground, some of them mere spectators. The target closest to the guardsmen is 71 feet away, the farthest away is shot from a distance of 730 feet. Students look around in shock as the satiated trigger-criminals retreat from their orgy.
Sandy Scheuer was a 20 year old student from Youngstown, Ohio. She was a pretty girl with long dark hair who lived off campus and liked to cook. Her friends looked strangely at reporters who asked about her politics. "She was concerned about what happened, but like everybody else she didn't know what to do about it." said her roommate. Another friend said she was, "the little sister of the fraternity. I guess you could say she was the comic for all the kids." Sandy was on her way to speech therapy class with Sharon Swanson when they were caught in the swirl of disorder. They hid behind cars. "Sandy must have thought it was over and stood up." Sharon said, tears streaming down her cheeks. "I saw her lying there, hit in the neck." At her funeral service the rabbi said that her parents called her Gittel, which means "goodness."
Jeffery Miller was from Plainview, Long Island. He too was 20 years old and for a while he dated Sandy Scheuer. Jeffery was a transfer student from Michigan State who enjoyed tennis and sports. "He didn't really want to go to school," said a friend, "he did, but he didn't." Another friend described him as "concerned, but he wasn't an activist." He was learning to play the drums. On May 4th Jeffery Miller was on his way to class when his skull was split open by a National Guard bullet. He lay in a pool of blood on the sidewalk, his eyes were crossed and blood poured from his nose and mouth. In his wallet was a railroad ticket for Long Island and on his notebook he had printed "Rocky for President in '72" (Nelson Rockefeller - conservative mogul Governor of New York).
Allison Krause was a freshman from Pittsburgh who had just celebrated her 19th birthday. She was most frequently described as "beautiful". She was of medium height with dark curly hair and a proud, Indian-like face. Her main concern was her boyfriend, Barry. She planned to transfer to a college in Buffalo because Barry was going to do so. Allison and Barry were on their way to class when they heard shots ring out. Barry dropped to the ground but Allison hesitated to look around. Her books tumbled out of her arms when she was hit in the left shoulder and bled to death in her boyfriends arms before anything could be done. By all accounts she had no interest in politics, she only believed in peace.
William Schroeder of Lorain, Ohio was a handsome, husky 19 year old who wore his light brown hair cut short. He was an Eagle Scout at age 13, was good at basketball and was second in his ROTC class at Kent State. At Lorain High School he played varsity basketball, was captain of the cross country team and graduated with an A-minus average. "This kid was not a radical," said a Loraine police inspector who had known him for 15 years. In 1968 William won a scholarship to the Colorado School of Mines. He transferred to Kent State in 1970 so he could major in psychology. His parents described him as an "extra special son" who never got into trouble. They said he hoped for peace but wasn't the type to take part in a demonstration. William was merely watching the disorder when a National Guard bullet struck him in the left chest. Friends called him an "all-American type" who was quiet and enjoyed playing the trumpet.
Dean Kahler of East Canton, Ohio was permanently paralyzed from the waist down by a bullet. Ten other students were wounded, three of them critically. People shout for ambulances. Hysterical students scream, "Kill the pigs!" A professor weeps. In ten minutes the dead and wounded are taken away. Crying onlookers are incoherent with rage. A despairing kid jumps up and down in the roadside pool of Jeffrey Miller's blood. The crowd disperses from a nightmare and the university shuts down.
National Guard riot training regulations require that all guardsmen on duty be given written rules that stipulate when they can open fire. Riot troops are instructed to "aim low to disable rather than kill." Troops are instructed to use only the minimum force necessary and the rules say specifically to "avoid bloodshed." The criminal Ohio guardsmen quickly concoct a story alleging that a sniper had fired a shot at them from a rooftop. They claim that a sniper was spotted by a police helicopter before they opened fire. But the following day Highway Patrol official Major D.E. Manly said, "There is nothing in the log on the sighting." Manly stated that if patrolmen in the helicopter circling the campus had seen a gunman it would have been recorded. No evidence was ever produced to suggest a sniper had fired at the guardsmen. In addition, Gen. S.T. Delcorso stated, "No one gave an order to fire." (Years later a recording is found of the incident and it contains a voice clearly ordering the troops to open fire.) Even if a sniper had been present, National Guard regulations specifically require that, "Snipers should be engaged only on order and by a single selected marksmen or firing team. Laying down a barrage accomplishes nothing constructive and endangers the lives of innocent bystanders...Full fire power by small arms is employed only on command of the senior commander."
A presidential commission later found the guards' action unwarranted and in 1974 eighteen of the Kent State killers were indicted, but all of them were acquitted. Nixon's pawns wanted to sympathize with the guarddogs. Protesters are nothing but a thorn in the side of a gluttonous monster that prospers from the war. After eight years of litigation the U.S. government pays the families of the four dead students $675,000 to split among themselves and a note of regret.
Within hours of the killings the news spreads across the country by radio and TV bulletins. Eighty percent of American colleges and universities experience student strikes. Over 500 campuses cancel classes, 51 of them shut down for the remainder of the semester. More than four-million students take part in demonstrations against the murders and the Cambodian invasion. These demonstrations are unprecedented in scope and the resulting violence is unparalleled by any previous crisis in the history of American education. Arson and bombings flare on dozens of campuses and 30 ROTC buildings are burned to the ground. The National Guard is called out at 21 universities and thousands of enraged students are busted during battles with police.
Jam at Village Gate Club NYC on Night of Massacre
At 4:30 on Monday afternoon Malcolm Tent emerges from his history class at the University of Rochester. He and his classmates hear angry declarations echoing from a loudspeaker and walk quickly towards the crowd noise. Over a thousand students are gathered in front of the Fredrick Douglas Building to hear accusations delivered by a protester with a black armband. "We mourn the murders at Kent State. Responsibility for the deaths lies with our national leaders. They plunged the country deeper into the morass of the war and then when students gathered to call for peace, they responded with soldiers carrying loaded weapons," said the speaker. A chill runs through Malcolm as he realizes the killings can happen here. He joins the chants of "Peace Now!" but notices as many clenched fists as peace signs waving over their heads.
Thirty-seven college and university presidents draft a telegram to Nixon which reads, "The American invasion of Cambodia and the renewed bombing of North Vietnam have caused extraordinarily severe and widespread apprehension on our campuses. We share this apprehension. We implore you to consider the incalculable dangers of an unprecedented alienation of America's youth." Five-hundred National Guard troops are called to the University of Maryland where 2000 rioting students are dispersed by repeated barrages of tear gas. Maryland's governor imposes a curfew and declares a state of emergency after four persons are hospitalized and 107 arrested. Three-thousand students roam through Syracuse University, breaking windows and setting up blockades to prevent faculty members from coming on campus. Police remove a firebomb from the campus bookstore before it explodes. At the University of Wisconsin the Guard is put on alert when hundreds of rioting students smash windows and set fires. A supermarket is destroyed by flames as students cheer. In San Francisco 1500 demonstrators storm into City Hell and demand that the Board of Supervisors call for the impeachment of Nixon.
Jimi in St. Paul on Eve of National Guard Attacks in Ohio -
and Film of His Memorial Jam for the Kent State Slain
Played Just Hours After the Massacre:
At Berkeley students overturn and burn ROTC trucks and then march to the chancellor's office to haul down the American and California flags and burn them. The flaming banners are raised to half-staff while the crowd chants, "Burn, Nixon, Burn!" At Washington University in St. Louis 2000 students celebrate the burning of the Air Force ROTC building. They block firemen who try to reach the fire and shout "Let it burn!" ROTC buildings are occupied by students at the U. of Nebraska, U. of Virginia, Central Michigan University and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. At the University of California at San Diego 200 demonstrators shut down the space research lab for nine hours.
At midnight Malcolm and Cliff join 200 other U of R students in front of the administration building. Cliff smashes through the windows and opens the doors to let everyone in. The crowd seats themselves in the main hallway and begins an informal discussion without anyone acting as the leader.
"I think we should decide why we're here." says a soft spoken girl with wire-rim glasses and short black hair. Others begin to vent their feelings.
"To shut down the university!"
"To burn down the university!"
"But the violence at Kent State shows us how the war has spread inside this country," the girl with the glasses counters, "the American people have to demand an end to it."
"Burning their universities will convince them," points out a black militant.
"Washington would love to see the campuses burn and disperse student protest," she counters again. "We can accomplish more by shutting down the school and forcing administrators to pressure Washington for a change in policy." The majority present agrees with her and decide to occupy the building through the next day.
A rap session continues for an hour before Malcolm and Cliff slip into one of the offices where students are huddled around a radio. A joint is passed around as they listen to CFM reports of other unfolding demonstrations. After the news the station airs Machine Gun. "Shit. Man, I forgot to tell you in all this drag," Cliff exclaims to Malcolm. "Marty called last night and said there's a festival in Philly on May sixteenth and Hendrix is headlining with the Grateful Dead and Steve Miller."
"Far out! My last exam is on the fifteenth."
"Mine too, we can leave right after."
The two of them stay with the sit-in all through Tuesday and prevent school officials from entering their offices. There hadn't been any violence at the U of R and to keep it that way the administrators decide against calling the cops. Local news reporters show up to cover the incident and a student spokesman made a statement before the occupiers disperse. The past 24 hours have been the bleakest day of the peace movement.
The days that follow are frustrating for Mick as he repeatedly hears the Kinneys praise the National Guard. This is the p.i.g.s.' brightest hour as Nixon's braintrained pawns see Kent State as their cue to intimidate protesters. Mick senses danger and dares not interfere with the crazed celebration. He listens to the family with unexpressed horror, while silently cheering reports of rampaging students. From this deeply divided America he comes to understand how civil war can happen.
By the end of the week record breaking heat succumbs to record breaking cold in Rochester as temperatures plunge into the mid 20s. On Friday Malcolm, Cliff and a van full of their friends leave town to join a mass march on Washington. Tensions have reached fever pitch all over the country. At noon in New York hundreds of students gather on the steps of Federal Hall National Memorial near Wall Street - the heart of corporate America. A mob of flag-carrying construction workers from a nearby site push aside the few cops present and attack the student protesters. The rampaging construction workers use their orange and yellow hard- hats to strike demonstrators as well as bystanders; 75 people are injured and 11 of the demonstrators are hospitalized. The "hard-hats" then invade City Hall where Mayor Lindsay had ordered flags flown at half staff on this "day of reflection" for the Kent State dead. The hard-hats demand that the flag be raised to full staff and one of them climbs up the building and hoists the City Hall flag to full staff. The man is seized by police but then released when a city councilman comes to his defense. A mayoral assistant lowers the flag back to half staff and the construction workers start chanting "Lindsay is a red!" When the flag is then raised a second time they sing the Star Spangled Banner, out of key. Whipped into a patri-neurotic frenzy, one of the hard-heads notices a peace-banner hanging from a window at nearby Pace College. The crazed gang storms the college, smashing windows, attacking students and burning the banner.
The Kinneys watch the Evening News and hear New York's Police Commissioner say that no arrests had been made during the hard-hat riot because police were "outnumbered".
"Why didn't they call out the National Guard?" asks Mick.
"For what?" quips Jack. "Those guys did what any patriotic American would do." That's what any idiotic American would do, Mick mutters to himself. He listens to more reports of right wing violence.
"At the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque today at least nine people were hospitalized with bayonet wounds after a confrontation between students and National Guard troops. New Mexico State Police moved onto the campus this afternoon and arrested one-hundred-and-forty protesters who had been occupying the Student Union Building since Wednesday. After the students were removed from the campus, two-hundred National Guardsmen advanced on several hundred more students outside the building. The stabbings occurred when troops ringed the building to keep demonstrators away. Among those stabbed was a TV news cameraman. A University doctor said that the cameraman 'probably would have died if the chest wound had been an eighth inch deeper.'"
"See, they only call out the guard on protesters," notes Mick.
Claudia orders him to shut up. "Those rabble rousers deserve what they get," she sneers.
He turns to the TV and lets the next report answer for him:
"A throng of protesters swarmed into a tense and apprehensive Washington today for tomorrow's demonstration that may top one-hundred-thousand persons. White House officials and rally organizers worked out a compromise whereby the demonstration will be held on the Ellipse, a huge elm-lined circular park just south of the White House. On Capitol Hill solemn students lobbied in conference rooms, auditoriums, corridors and in Senator's offices and urged an end to the war through legislative action. Others set up camp in Lafayette Park directly across from the White House. Organizers promised to carry their protest to 'the doorsteps of Mister Nixon's house', but the White House has been cordoned off so no one can get closer than a block's distance. Mrs. Nixon and other members of the family who could hear chants of 'Seig Heil!' outside the White House left for Camp David until the demonstration is over."
Mister Nixon's Out House, Mick thought to himself. He prays that demonstrators can reach the Out House pole and raise the Viet Cong flag. Later that night he lays in bed listening to CFM: "Hendrix continues his tour in the mid-west this weekend with concerts tonight at the University of Oklahoma. Tomorrow he'll play the Auditorium in Fort Worth and on Sunday the Arena in San Antonio." Mick thinks of Jill at the University of Oklahoma just before falling to sleep. He dreams of a huge rock festival on the Out House lawn with the white-columned veranda used for a stage. He sees the VC flag wave overhead with Pig Nixon and his piglets held captive inside as Jimi blasts their little brains with the Scar Mangled Banner.
What did happen at the Out House the next day is not too far removed from Mick's dream, in spirit anyway. Nixon, unable to sleep as thousands of protesters surround his pen, flees to the Lincoln Memorial at 5 a.m. Secret Service agents are alarmed to see their Pig wander out of his limo-cage and start rapping to eight disgusted demonstrators. A crowd gathers to hear the King of Babylon babble on incoherently about surfing and sports. "It was unreal," said Ronnie Kempler after she listened to him. "He wasn't really concerned with why we are here."
"I hope it's because he's tired, but most of what he's saying is absurd," said Joan Pelletier. "Here we had come from a university that's completely uptight, on strike, and when we tell him where we're from he talks about football!"
"He didn't make sense," said a Syracuse student named Lynn Shatekin. "People would ask him questions and he would talk about something else."
Nixon returns to the barricaded Out House and watchs televised football while the week of mounting demonstrations comes to a climax. By mid-day 130,000 protesters are amassed on the Ellipse across the street. As temperatures break into the mid-8Os the throng begins to look like a rock festival. Dozens of people are busted for swimming nude in the reflecting pool. Cops use tear gas to disperse bands of militants who try to tip over buses parked bumper-to-bumper around the Out House. Five-thousand uniformed troops are placed on alert in the city. Some of them pass gas at the Justice Department when pelted with bottles and rocks. The powerful loudspeakers set up on the Ellipse are easily heard inside the Out House. Jane Fonda appears onstage to welcome the crowd by shouting, "Greetings fellow bums!" In front of the platform a black man is roped to a 13-foot cross. One of the perspiring freex who holds up the cross tells reporters, "He's up there to show that Nixon is crucifying the American people."
Students from Columbia, Pratt and New York University carry blood drenched animal organs in a circle around the Washington Monument and chant, "End the Agony! End the Pain! End the Murders!" The west end of the Ellipse roars with cheers when hundreds of people march into the crowd with banners reading, "Federal Employees for Peace" and "Federal Bums Against the War". More than 300 draft cards are collected and brought to the platform to be burned.
At 4 p.m. marchers carrying rows of coffins lead the procession up 15th Street towards the Out House. The crowd has their best chance to stage a sit-down when they reach H Street. But because this demonstration has been organized in just 10 days (six times faster than any previous march on Washington), the organizers didn't have time to agree on a plan to direct a sit-down. Fearing a massacre by federal troops, the street marshals discourage people from entering H Street where the sit-down would have been most effective. Marshals also discourage small groups from staging separate sit-downs and, instead, lead the procession to Arlington Cemetery. Several thousand people follow the coffins to the Out House where one coffin is pushed over the bus barricade. Cops pass gas and militants trash the streets; 300 busts result. Most of the people are waiting to join in a mass sit-down but the lack of direction leaves them unclear about where or when it will happen. As things turn out, the crowd simply disperses at Arlington Cemetery. Despite the atmosphere of tension and anger, the overall demonstration is ironically peaceful.
At dusk Malcolm and Cliff join hundreds of militants at George Washington University. Under rows of Viet Cong "enemy" flags, they march to DuPont Circle chanting "Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh - NLF Is Going To Win!" (NFL = National Liberation Front of "enemy" North Vietnam, headed by Marxist leader Ho Chi Minh). Along the way they hurl bricks and rocks through plate glass windows of banks and savings and loan associations. D.C. cops attack them with their familiar magic wands and Cliff gets clubbed on the head. Malcolm grabs his arm and leads him stumbling down a side street. They'd received their share of abuse. It's time to go home and heal until the next round.
The following day 200,000 people gather in a Paris park. A government official calls it "the largest expression ever seen of the French people's determination to bring an end to American aggression...against the odious massacres ordered by Nixon." Throughout the weekend West Berlin is wracked by protests against the Cambodian invasion. Outbursts on Saturday leave 261 cops injured; 24 of them are hospitalized along with 30 demonstrators. On Sunday a West Berlin firm called General Leasing is firebombed by militants who mistakenly think it's American because of its English name. Also on Sunday, 500 Canadian demonstrators stage a "symbolic invasion" by marching 21 miles across the boarder into the U.S. - the same distance American troops have penetrated into Cambodia.
During the coming week Manhattan becomes a battleground for protesters and counter-demonstraters. On Monday thousands of hard-hats and longshoremen rally on Wall Street in support of the war. On Tuesday students from six eastern universities gather to protest while police hold back construction workers trying to attack them. On May 20th the Building and Construction Trade Council of Greater New York sponsors a pro-Nixon rally at City Hell for 60,000 men. The next day 20,000 anti-war protesters demonstrate in front of City Hell and try to march to Bryant Park. Police intercept them and a battle breaks out; l6 persons are injured.
Divisiveness in America has reached its deepest level since the Civil War. Truong Nhu Tang, himself a victim of civil war, recognizes this when he writes in A Vietcong Memoir:
"The American bombing and invasion of Cambodia largely accomplished its immediate goals (I barely survived it myself). Nixon and Kissinger justified it then and later as an operation that gained an essential year of time. Yet this 'victory' arguably did more to undermine American unity than any other event of the war. The American leaders braced themselves to weather a storm of protest that would, they thought, eventually subside. But how does one judge the cumulative effects on one's own body politic of ingrained distrust and ill will? To achieve a year or so of dubious battlefield grace, Nixon and Kissinger incurred a propaganda defeat whose effects are still apparent (fifteen years later) and, to the extent that they have entered the American national psyche, may well be permanent. Whatever the facts of who infringed first on Cambodian neutrality, the significance of that engagement was that it helped separate the American leadership from its internal support and instilled among many Americans a lasting skepticism about their government's morality. It was - to Vietnam's revolution and to the revolution's that have followed Vietnam - an enduring gift."
One week after the Kent State shootings the Kinneys are still seeing Evening News reports of protest. Mick excuses himself from the dinner table and yells, "I'll be ridin' around the block!" as he runs out the side door. He jumps on his banana-seat bike and steers the butterfly-handlebars down the street.
Turning his head towards the Mason's house he sees Jill standing with a hose, watering the lawn in the front yard. He hadn't seen her since she left for college last fall and as he pedals toward her he notices that she'd let her red hair grow to her shoulders and is wearing it parted down the middle. "Hey Red Hed, where's your glasses?" he asks as he brakes alongside the wet grass.
"I wear contacts now."
She looks prettier without glasses he thinks. "When'd you get home?"
"I flew in this morning, my last exam was cancelled because of the strike. When she turns off the hose Mick hears Kosmic Blues by Janis playing faintly inside the house.
"Did they call out the guard-dogs at your school?" he asked.
"Hell no! We had Jimi on campus to drive out evil spirits."
"You saw Hendrix?!"
"He played OU last Friday, it was his first gig after Kent State on Monday and all week long the campus had demonstrations." Jill doesn't seem as reserved as she used to be. She winds the green hose in loops around her elbow and tells Mick, "I took my recorder to the concert and taped the heaviest music I've ever heard."
Mick jumps off his banana seat and pleads, "Can I hear it?"
"Sure, c'mon in." He follows her into the living room. The Mason's house is decorated with lots of antique furniture and artwork. The paintings and sculptures always made Mick feel as though he's walked into a museum. Jill switchs off the stereo and points to the coffee table. "There's a picture of Jimi at OU in the paper." she says, then walks upstairs to retrieve her recorder and cassette. Mick leafs through The Oklahoma Daily. On page 6 he sees the large photo of Jimi with a leopard skin guitar strap over his shoulder. Resembling a Cherokee warrior, the eyes beneath his headband looked as if tiny galaxies are swirling in their sockets. The review is headlined, "Hendrix Gives OU Rare Performance":
Jimi Hendrix and his Experience floated into Oklahoma last Friday for two concerts in the OU field house. It was the first time they had come to Oklahoma and they quickly made their presence known. Hendrix had reformed the Experience after his short stint with A Band Of Gypsys at the end of last year. The only difference was that Jimi's close friend Billy Cox was on bass instead of Noel Redding. Noel is resting himself in a home in England. Old Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell was still back on the drums.
Jimi arrived in all his glory thirty minutes late for the first show. He dressed, tuned and then walked on stage to be greeted by a crowd of around 3500. Being the first night of the tour [it was the 6th show], Jimi and the Experience was just a little stiff. This is understandable but they handled the show very well. It was an enjoyable set with Jimi throwing in his best known numbers as Foxy Lady and Purple Haze to please most of the audience. Jimi was very relaxed during this first show, not straining himself in any way but still giving the audience the seductive moves at which Jimi is the best.
Between shows Jimi and the Experience relaxed at a local apartment. He prepared himself for his second appearance - a show which proved to be the best in this part of the country in many a month.
He arrived back at the field house to be greeted by a crowd of well over its 5500 capacity. He walked on stage with the air of a little boy ready to do something naughty - which he proceeded to do. Singing his first song Fire, which sparked the audience right off the bat. Jimi and the Experience sounded much tighter than they had during the first show. What was impressive about the second show were their jams. Jimi and the Experience are one of a very few groups that have mastered this art. It is really a joy to hear Jimi take a single note on his guitar and glide all around it and then move up to a different note and then relate the entire sound. With Mitch and Billy giving a solid foundation and occasionally taking a little initiative themselves the sound they lay down is one of the best in rock music. Jimi certainly deserves to be included in the triad of rock guitarists (Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimi) who are considered to be the best in the business. But he has his own unique style that makes him stand out.
The show was highlighted by Jimi's rendition of The Star Spangled Banner which he does in the Woodstock film. He claims his interpretation "shows where America is at today." The audience seemed to agree. In view of the recent trouble on campus I feel it is notable that there was not one disturbance of any kind during the two shows. It was completely policed by the student peace marshals and not one uniformed policeman was in sight.
Jimi's last song was supposed to have been Purple Haze, but to the surprise of his manager he did an encore. According to his manager, Gerry Stickells, Jimi never does encores, so this was a rare exception. Jimi gave everything he had to the audience and he seemed very glad to do it. He left totally exhausted but pleased with the way the night had gone. One thing for sure, OU got more than it bargained for Friday night.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Just how much "more" he gave is revealed on the precious recording Jill carries downstairs from her room. "Which show did you tape?" asks Mick.
"The second one. I knew it was going to be supernatural because the university is built on land that was once the Comanche Indian Nation. Jimi tuned into the Indian spirit world of ancestral warriors who'd been massacred like the people at Kent State. He wore a black armband with the letter K in white." Mick's eyes widen with anticipation as she places a tape labeled "Norman, OK - Friday, May 8, 1970" into the player. He remembers that this was the Friday of the hard-hat attacks in New York, while thousands of protesters were on their way to Saturday's March on Washington to protest Monday's massacre at Kent State.
The concert begins with Mitch churning away on drums. Jimi plays the first two chords of Fire but then stops while Mitch goes on. A half minute later Billy and Jimi take it from the top and music reverberates in the hall. Mick notices a bit of hall echo on the recording but the sounds from the band are easily distinguishable. After his solo, Jimi abruptly stops playing and allows Mitch to solo for two minutes. Suddenly the guitar returns and Fire burns to conclusion. The crowd cheers loud and Jimi tells them, "Yeah. OK then, thank you very much. We have this other thing that we'd like to do right now, called Spanish Castle Magic." His amps blast Spanish Castle but when he reaches the solo he bends the low tones and lingers while making some adjustments. Regaining momentum, Jimi presses the wah-wah pedal and sparks this show into high gear with glistening wails. Mitch is heard from a distance like firecrackers in an avalanche, but Billy's thump resounds like the Abominable Snowman pounding his chest.
"…the wind is just right…don't worry about the bad things, float yer li'l mind around…" - Spanish Castle Magic
Black Armband with "K" for Kent State
Jimi next gives a timely rap; "Yeah, right, ah, while we're goin' on, for instance, this will be the song of the war. Forget about yesterday or tomorrow, we're gonna get it right in a few seconds. But then again we must get rid of all the hogwash and the waste, and all the bullshit. Like for instance a song dedicated to the (OU students raise their fists), ah, yeah, one of them scenes, and, ah, also dedicated to all the soldiers fightin' in Chicago, Berkeley, ah, (pause) Kent State, all four of them, yeah. Dig! Yeah, right, completely, always, right on. But dig, if the saddles ain't off, check this out and get it out of the way, this thing called Machine Gun." What follows is extraordinary and historic music. First Hendrix orchestrates the delicately pensive line; improvised on the vibe of this time. Multiple melodic chains intertwine, they accumulate in warped patterns like overlapping fragments of a Cherokee death chant. Cadences are accented to sound like they've asked questions. Harmonies resolve as answers. This dialogue evolves to an intersecting synapse. A six-chord salute rings with finality before plummeting to the lowest note. Students applaud the Machine Gun theme, but tonight their cries mean so much more. They're all caught in the terrible anguish of this most violent week in the history of American campuses. They're with Jimi at his first concert since the violence of four days past. The massacre is everyone's uppermost concern at this moment, as Jimi specifically addresses this issue. Crisis grips the nation while he soothes these Oklahoma students with an ode to Kent State.
Oklahoma - the word is Indian for "Red Man's Territory." This is where the U.S. government had confined the "Five Nations" of Indian tribes, including the Cherokees, to reservations throughout the 1800s. This is where, when oil was discovered on the reservations in the 1920s, Oklahoma courts conspired to declare the Indians "mentally incompetent" in order to confiscate their oil-rich land. This is where white politicians and businessmen became overnight oil tycoons after they condemned the swindled Indians to rot in mental institutions. This is where Jimi is at, he can feel it. Cautiously, he ponders the heartbreak and wails forth a fountain of tears. The students are passionately cued to his every move. He mourns his verse as if it were created for this moment.
…machine gun, tearing my families apart… - Jimi
It's the eternal swirl of collapsing sorrow, the definitive dirge of utmost pathos. A current of history extracts Jimi's full expressive power. Against overwhelming and urgent odds, he delivers the deepest grief; his purpose is integrated with unbelievably hypnotic sound. This is one of the most dramatically intense and sublimely inspired performances of his life. Of the 30 collected recordings of Machine Gun, this is the only version, other than the Band Of Gypsys album version, where Jimi sustains a steady, uninterrupted burst of siren feedback at the start of his solo (on all other versions he is heard either plucking the string to sustain the siren or the hallmark sustained wail is omitted altogether). His solo in Oklahoma is utterly stunning, literally breathtaking, arresting and incomprehensible. It gnaws at the limits of sensation and swells beyond the bounds of perception. The Experience never came near the profundity nor the intentions of this music. And this performance of Machine Gun contains the most elaborate introduction music of them all. Every section and feature of it is significant. Jimi rises to the occasion as only he can. Applause swells to a roar from the grateful students.
AUDIO: Machine Gun at Norman
(12:16 .mp3 file 11.2 MB)
Machine Gun at Norman
"Ah, somebody here informed us to put down your cigars," says Jimi. They shout a collective and defiant. "NOOOOO!" "Are they really gonna put them out?" he asks someone. "We did Machine Gun and all that, um, fallin' again, put-it-under-the-bed, see him bouncin' right up to ya, three-hundred pounds puts ya on the street. It's called Look Out Baby 'Cos Here Comes Your Lover Man, and I appreciate your patience, on with the tune." The R&B rhythms of Lover Man sound much more traditional after the spaciness of Machine Gun. Jimi plays festive leads for this standard rocker and jams to a flamenco climax.
"Yeah, this is dedicated to the girl who gave me head, ah, and, ah, this other thing. We call this one Foxy Lady." Whatever he did in the "local apartment" in between sets to "prepare" for this show helped put him in an apt mood for this crotch-rock. But Foxy is followed by a return-to-yearn, a heart wrenching blues, as he rambles into Hear My Train A' Comin'. Pointedly, he gathers his tangents and takes aim at the wailing wall. The leads fan out for fantastic climactic pockets; like knots in cut lumber the cadences are musical jewels. Tumbling out of altered-dream despair he sings, "I gotta leave this town" while the guitar sighs a great sob of pathos. Conjured up from Muse, this is a never-to-be-heard-again motif of mood; custom carved for this moment only. It is staggering to understand how continuously Jimi harnessed the chance aspects of electric feedback to orchestrate masterful melodies from amp signals that most other musicians instinctively avoid. It was his nature to gamble with his playing, but his rate of success defies the laws of probability. The sound of Hear My Train is miraculous.
He introduces a song from his new album; "We'll turn you on to a thing called Message To Love." The best version of this tune is heard on his current Band Of Gypsys album, where it is originally titled "Message To Love". Since Jimi's death the title has been changed on many album covers to erroneously read "Message of Love", or worse, "Power of Love". Jimi's title does not contain the preposition "of"; his title uses the verb "to" - as in "the message is TO love." This is one of his happiest songs and its danceable progression makes it perfect for concerts. Almost all of his two-dozen 1970 concert recordings contain a version of Message To Love. Buddy Miles' backing vocals were dropped from the song when Mitch took over on drums in April, and Mitch's rollicking percussions turn the tune into a much splashier affair. The Oklahoma version is looser than the album performance, but it lacks the tight polish that makes the Band Of Gypsys album rendition so special.
Without comment, Hendrix next picks the intro to Red House. Billy's buoyant bass helps make this blues darker and more direct than the spacier versions with Noel Redding on bass. Jimi's riffs orbit into piercing screams before he backs off with 12-bars of slick afterthoughts. The blues conclude masterfully and it is time for the National Anthem.
"Let's play America the way it really is today. This is some type of newness!" Jimi shouts through prehistoric feedback growls. Mercilessly, the sentiments are dissected and reconstructed with enough exaggeration to match the establishment's hypocrisy; land of the sleeze and home of the slaves.
AUDIO: Star Spangled Banner at Norman
(3:47 .mp3 file 1.73 MB)
As the last chord dissolves, Jimi says quickly, "America today! Keep thinkin'" and pounds into Purple Haze. The crowd's manic clap accompanies the break:
Whatever it is that kiss, put a spell on me… - Jimi
Treble squeals peel from his freaked out solo; his teeth savagely lash at the strings as he zips back into the theme. But it's too extreme, he breaks a string and must hold a note in sustain while a roadie quickly plugs in another guitar. "Thankyou for waitin'! Thankyou," he shouts as Purple surges on. Regaining authority, he finishes off with wild stringus-cunnilingus, licking and flicking his instrument as passionate approval explodes in the field house.
"Thankyou very much. We have Billy Cox on bass, Mitch on drums," Jimi and the band leave the stage amidst chants for more. They return for their "rare encore" and go right into Voodoo Child - which is normally their closing song anyway. Jill's tape runs out during the solo. This second show runs for approximately 70 minutes and contains monumental musical peaks.
Mick looks at Jill sitting on the sofa next to him. She's reading an oversized book by Edward S. Curtis titled Visions of a Vanishing Race. "Whatcha readin' about?" he asks.
"Indian legends." She closes the book and sets it beside her. "There's an American Indian prophecy that predicts one will come among them who will plead their case before the white man and all around him will be chaos."
"Is that Jimi?"
"He fits the bill, but Jimi really relates to all oppressed people."
Mick pauses briefly then asks, "Do you hafta go back to Oklahoma after the summer?"
"I have one more year before I get my degree." She looks down at her book and adds, "But I'd really like to do something to help stop the war if I can."
Mick stands and glances out the window just as the street lamps light up in the twilight, "I'd like to bomb the Pentagon! But if I'm not home before dark I'll get grounded."
Jill laughs and walks him to the door. "Tell Mary I'll stop by tomorrow." Mick thanks her for the music and hops on his bike. He's anxious to meet Lane at school tomorrow and tell him about Jimi's special concert in Oklahoma.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Malcolm and Cliff take their last exam of the semester on Friday afternoon. Gates open at 1 pm. tomorrow for the rock festival in Philadelphia so they plan to leave after dinner for a nearly 400 mile drive south. Cliff packs his father's movie camera and swings by to pick up Malcolm at half past six. Mrs. Tent opens the door and he hears Malcolm, Millie and Lane jeering Evening News reports of more deadly campus violence. This time state troopers and city police have gunned down 11 black students at Jackson State College in Mississippi.
The trouble began two nights earlier when a white activist passed out leaflets urging protest against Nixon's invasion of Cambodia. Many students at Jackson State were charging that too many blacks were being sent to Vietnam immediately after they graduated. On Thursday night police received complaints about rocks being thrown at cars passing along Lynch Street, which bisects the campus. Seventy-five cops and troopers, carrying loaded shotguns and rifles, were sent over to Lynch. Kent State had signaled open season on students and rednecks were ready for the hunt. They found a small pile of burning boards at the edge of the campus and called in a fire truck to extinguish it. The only gathering this posse encountered was a crowd of about 200 students clustered in front of a girls' dormitory. The group was under the control of campus security officers, none of the students bore any firearms. They watched the fire trucks parked two blocks away. When the trucks moved into the area, a police radio blared "sniper fire!"
The Dormitory on Lynch Street
Fire Captain George Selby, who was on the fire truck, later recalled, "We did have a few marks on the truck, but these may be from rocks that were thrown at it on the way out." The posse lined up execution style in front of the girls' dorm. No tear gas was used and no warnings were given. TV reporter Jack Hobbs said, "All of a sudden a bottle shattered at my feet." The trigger happy pigs immediately opened fire for 30 seconds and discharged several hundred rounds into the crowd of unarmed spectators. They fired .00 buckshot - enough to kill a deer at 100 yards. Seventeen year old James Green and 21 year old Phillip Gibb fell dead; nine others were critically wounded - all of them black.
Cops claimed that they'd taken a sniper shot from the dormitory before they fired. The students maintained that no shot was fired before the police attack. A group of Senators and Congressmen inspected the bullet riddled building several days later. "It looks like Normandy, the size of the weapons." said one of them.
"Like Normandy" - Bullet Riddled
Senator Walter Mondale stated, "It's a new national syndrome - the unfound sniper. Every time there's an overreaction, that unfound sniper always gets the blame." It was this "syndrome" that allowed radical cops to perform legal homicide; again, none of the murderers were ever brought to justice.
Many campuses had already shut down after Kent State. Those that were still open were at the tail end of their semesters on Friday, May 15th. The killings at Jackson State became a national issue, but reaction was less dramatic and headline grabbing than the reaction to Kent State eleven days earlier. Black Panthers had become infamous for sniping at cops in city ghettos. Much of the public regarded Jackson State as another shootout between black militants and cops. Violence among young blacks was commonplace, even expected. What made the Jackson State killings notorious was that they occurred in the wake of Kent State at another campus. It was the deadly encounter between middle class white students and troops in Ohio that was uncommon and focused widespread outrage. Cops killing protesters is like the spread of heroin; it becames a hot media issue only when it affects middle class whites, even though such violence has terrorized black ghettos for decades. For those who related the fight to stop the war with the fight against racism, the murders in Mississippi only inflamed already intense anger. The 1969-1970 school year saw a wave of 250 terrorist bombings, at least 9 student deaths, and 247 cases of arson. In New York City alone, during the first ten months of 1970, police investigated more than 8700 bombing cases; up from 3192 cases for the entire year of 1969.
Jack watchs TV reports about Jackson State from the dinner table and sneers, "All them radical niggers oughtta git the firing squad."
"This'll teach these college brats to stop making trouble for the government," hopes Mary.
"They'll never learn," adds Jack, "they're too dumb to get educated in high school, that's why they gotta keep goin' to college, heh-heh-heh."
Mick swallows a fish stick and pretends to ignore them. He thinks about how they never eat meat on Friday because Jesus supposedly died on a Friday. Then at Mass on Sunday they swallow make-believe "body of Christ" cookies and claim the snack drives away evil spirits. The whole klan is as crazy as cannibals who won't eat a killing on weekly anniversaries of its death. Mick flees upstairs and turns on Clyde's radio. He feels uplifted as he hears Melanie's new song, Lay Down (candles in the rain).
* * * * * * * * * * * *
The next day Malcolm and Cliff are among the first people to enter Temple Stadium in Philadelphia (exactly 15 years later Temple Stadium would be used to house the thousands of blacks made homeless after Philadelphia cops bombed a commune called "the Move" and caused several whole blocks of the ghetto to burn to the ground). Billed as the "Super Saturday Rock Festival", Temple Stadium has the distinction of being the first "rock festival" of 1970. With the Woodstock movie and album a current hit, festivals are now the rage of the counterculture more than ever before. Any outdoor concert with four or more bands is likely to be called a festival. Super Saturday may be a one day affair in a university football stadium, but it is outdoors and it does feature Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead - both of whom are veterans of Woodstock.
The sky is heavily overcast and temperatures hovere in the 60s. Malcolm and Cliff sit on their sleeping bags directly in front of the stage. Malcolm looks up at the threatening dark clouds and says, "I hope it doesn't rain."
"If it does it'll be like Woodstock," muses Cliff.
"At least we're not in a cow pasture."
Cactus opens the show at 3 pm. A couple of the band members used to be in Vanilla Fudge when they toured with the Experience in the summer and fall of 1968. Next came the Ides Of March to sing their current hit Vehicle. They sound like Chicago Transit Authority. When the Grateful Dead appear in the late afternoon, Cliff points his movie camera at a beardless Jerry Garcia and then turns it to film some tripping freex around the stage. Night has fallen by the time left-handed Steve Miller comes on stage with an upside-down Strat. Cliff catches a few seconds of Miller for the novelty of his Hendrix-style guitar.
Star Spangled Jimi
Finally Jimi strolls out onto the dark stage. The lights are dim and it's difficult for people to see him clearly from any distance. Cliff rolls his camera as a strobe of flashbulbs light up Jimi's shimmering gold sequin vest and star spangled shirt. Multi colored scarves droop beside his turquoise bellbottoms and a pink feather is tucked in his red and white polka-dot headband. He looks like a stoned Geronimo on the warpath. Yesterday's killings at Jackson State fill his voice with anger as he complains, "DRAG that America's guns have made the CRACK in the Liberty Bell their symbol (the Liberty Bell is nearby in Philadelphia). And we'd like to do a thing called Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." This tune is not mentioned in any of Jimi's concert reviews after March 1968 and only two recordings of Hendrix playing it in 1970 have been found. A drum roll from Mitch kicks off the set as Jimi sings just the first four verses before stretching out with 24 bars of soloing. The mammoth blast of the band comes to rest on a booming E-chord and Jimi slashes straight into Johnny B. Goode. After two bars he realizes he's in the wrong key and quickly jumps up a whole step from A to B and starts again. Only three versions of this Chuck Berry classic have turned up on the 120 known Hendrix concert recordings, although Johnny B. Goode is mentioned in a few reviews of other unrecorded shows. The song is a standard number at Grateful Dead concerts in 1970, but the intense energy with which Jimi pumps it up here bears little resemblance to the Dead's version. Demonic throb propels Billy's earthquake bass. Jimi's riffs sizzle from the amps as if his fingers were flame throwers slithering over the strings. Freeks scream under the onslaught; it's rock 'n roll in the grandest tradition and Jimi tops the bill.
"Crack in the Liberty Bell - their symbol" at 0:08
Johnny B. Goode at Temple Stadium
Now the crowd is primed for Hendrix to take to task the issue at hand. "And then we have the American Revolution," he blurts, "which is in the third and last phase, fake love for the, ah, LIE people who sold their faith, which will take care of that one (riffs). Like to do a thing in memory to all the cats that spilled a little bit of blood here and there in their lives and everything; the people who just didn't make it, but they did, really, because like they're makin' it for us and we're gonna make it for somebody else, for our children and so forth."
"Right on!" shouts Cliff.
"Dig him, dig him, all together, right on together! There's a whole lotta cats fightin' wars within themselves, so then we can relate it like any kind of way. A thing called Machine Gun." A collective "YEAH!" greets the anthem of the day. Jimi trills three notes faster and fast and tumbles through somber mood. He does not play with meditative pathos like he did in Oklahoma a week ago. Yesterday's student murders in Mississippi have the Temple University students riled. Jimi reflects their aggression and tears out turgid and scathing mayhem. He pushes his leads to insane extremes out of sheer indignation. The amps expel a torrent of hostile howls before he concludes with a bizarre cacophony of distortion. Abruptly, he shuts down the tumult. There is silence as the freaked-out crowd is caught unaware by the surprise ending; a full 10 seconds pass before their blown heads can muster a response. With their recovery, Jimi mercifully shifts back to rock 'n' roll. The shattered composure of Grateful Dead fans is regained during a danceable rendition of Lover Man. A swirling ending spews shockwaves as if an electrical storm had descended upon the stage. Then Foxy Lady swells from the black Strat. Just before he sings, Jimi stretches the strings for a freaky descent of feedback. Cliff films him nipping the instrument with his lips and balling the neck against the mike stand. The crowd is ecstatic, this concert is already legendary.
Machine Gun at Temple Stadium
Geronimo Warpath Feather
With a few mumbled words Jimi "pleads the case" amidst national chaos and boogies appropriately into Freedom. The band banters through a carnival of urgency. Red House comes next and Hendrix relaxes for the first time since the show began. He drawls his lyrics leisurely in between metallic clips of blues. Careening over the bended strings, he tilts and sways with the waves. It's not an epic version of Red House, it's just flawless and sufficient. Fire flares next and he extends his solo to include melodies from Outside Woman Blues mixed with snatches of Sunshine of Your Love. Stinging sweet leads extinguish this number.
"This cat's waitin' at the train station called Get My Heart Back Together," says Jimi. His mysterious blues attain enhanced sadness through the Univibe pedal's liquid pulse effect. Perhaps it's too sad because Jimi soon lapses into perfunctory riffing and Hear My Train fails to really roll in Temple Stadium. It runs an abbreviated course and prematurely lops into Purple Haze. Jimi begins with bloated guitar tones, but the band keeps the beat intact. He's lost the intensity and drive that propelled the first half of the show. Purple Haze unfolds seamlessly but struggles to gather the head of steam that usually bursts into dizzying climax. Instead, Jimi quietly winds down to doodle a delicate bridge leading into Voodoo Child (slight return). Suddenly a star spangled Hendrix returns to bubble with funk and blue notes. This show is driven out with determined vigor as a weird string of bitten tones brings down the house. Jimi waves goodbye to his adoring fans and the stadium lights come on.
Back in Rochester the next day, Malcolm draws the curtains in his attic bedroom so that just a sliver a sunlight seeps in around the edges. "There, now it's threaded," mutters Cliff as he fidgets with the 8mm projector. He flips the switch and a white square illuminates the bed sheet tacked to the wall. Scenes of the Grateful Dead at Temple Stadium appear. From the front row Cliff's camera pans the smiling band members before the angle turns to capture a freek in the crowd waving a sparkler against the clouds. Suddenly the screen goes dark and Steve Miller is seen briefly with his inverted Hendrix-style Strat. After Jimi died, Miller recalled this concert. "I played a show with Hendrix at Temple University in Philadelphia," he told a journalist, "and at that time the cat's scene was so far gone that he walked by me and smelled like he was dying. There were cats walking around with .38s in their pockets, his band was fucked up and couldn't play. I'm sorry that the cat died. I loved him as a musician and I'm sorry that the audience encourages people to burn themselves up, and I'm sorry that he didn't have anymore sense than he had, because he was dead a long time ago." Anyone who hears the Hendrix recording from Temple Stadium will understand why Miller's characterization of Jimi's set there is absurd. The collected Hendrix concert recordings reveal that Jimi, far from being "so far gone…couldn't play…dead a long time ago", was instead delivering his finest live music throughout the spring of 1970, including the show at Temple. Upon hearing the tape, one is left wondering who really was "fucked up" that night. Perhaps Steve Miller - with his upside-down Hendrix-style Strat - had some other compelling reason to dismiss what he witnessed that night.
Cliff's film shows popping flashbulbs strobe Jimi's image, revealing him sprinkled with stars and scarves, his sequin vest glitters like a Christmas tree. Pink, orange, red and blue outlines penetrate the dim dark as he straddles the black Strat. If there'd been a spotlight on him the scene would be spectacular. The camera zooms in for Jimi's rap to the crowd and then catches the ending of Foxy Lady; the guitar neck is slid across the mic stand as he exhales forward to expose his headband's pink feather sticking out over his right shoulder. Mick is awed by every frame of the three and a half minute film. Home movies of aliens from space couldn't have fascinated him more…
Walking home from school on a muggy afternoon in June, Mick passed the Mason's house and saw Jill reading on a porch chair. He plods up the driveway and asks, "Whatcha readin'?" She holds up the cover of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World for him to see. An envelope is inserted like a bookmarker between the pages. "My roommate at OU saw Jimi in her hometown. I got a letter from her today. She said it was a great show, but she lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma," Jill explains. "Tulsa used to be the oil capital of the world. But the oil was on Indian reservations so politicians had to get judges to declare the Indians crazy and take away their land. No one likes to talk about Indians in Tulsa." She pulled an article out of her envelop and gave it to Mick. He winced when he saw the headline, "Hendrix Loud Noise Not Very Appealing". This Tulsa Daily World article is written by Bob Beck:
The Jimi Hendrix Experience hit Tulsa Sunday night (June 7th), something the city could have done without. The best description of the show - Hendrix on guitar, Mitch Mitchell on drums, and Billy Cox on bass - is that it was a bad experience. That may sound like a pun, but it is the nicest thing to be said for the hour and a half of noise that blared from the Civic Assembly Center Arena and entranced 4700 teenagers. Not that the entire show was a waste. The lead-in group, Ball & Jack from Los Angeles, exhibited some real talent…About the only complaint with Ball & Jack's performance was that it was much too good to be given only 45 minutes to lead into the Hendrix group.
To say Hendrix & Co. do not have any talent is misleading. Cox and Mitchell are good backup men and probably could put out some good sounds, except that leader Hendrix distracts from them with his attempted playing and singing. His wild gyrations and contortive playing are the most obnoxious, but his singing, which unfortunately could be heard above the noise, is a close second. To make up for his lack of quality, he substitutes quantity and trick guitar playing. It may not have occurred to the average person, but the guitar can be played by mouth, between legs, behind the head and back, or by rubbing it against a microphone stand. The resulting sound didn't resemble good music, but it did get wild responses from the audience, none of whom would probably be able to vote if the voting age were 18.
The first few numbers were bad enough, but when Hendrix started into a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, complete with electronically produced sound effects such as bombs exploding and machine guns firing, the show reached a low point from which it never recovered. By this time the audience was on its feet, dancing in the aisles and chairs. The police gave up trying to seat the swaying, rocking crowd and formed a living fence to keep the stage cleared of everything but the performers. They had the wrong idea; things would have been better if the audience had been on stage - their dancing was more entertaining.
An advance publicity release said that "when people go to (a Hendrix) concert they begin to let their minds flow...they begin to feel the primitive sounds that Jimi produces from his guitar." One can only hope that the primitives had better taste in music.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Mick hands the article back to Jill. "Asking this guy to review Hendrix is like asking Hitler for his opinion of Jewish art," she notes.
"Malcolm says Jimi doesn't do tricks with his guitar unless he's really getting the music together," Mick tells her.
"It doesn't matter how together his concerts are," Jill replies with a sigh. "He's a symbol of the freex, that's all the establishment needs to know." She pulls out a cassette of the Tulsa gig that her roommate sent. Mick listens to Jimi and nearly gags, the music sounds so beautiful…
Norman Transcript Conceals Source for Their Hendrix/Kent State Report
The C.S. Murray Rip-Off
BOSTON GARDENS JUNE 27, 1970 RED HOUSE
July 30, 1970 RAINBOW BRIDGE Maui, HI
Rainbow Bridge Interview
AUGUST 31, 1970 ISLE OF WIGHT FRANCE
September 2, 1970 Vejlby Risskov Hallen, Arhus, Denmark FREEDOM
Sept 11, 1970 Last Interview (in Britian) Billy Cox has left him
supposed to be his last performance Isle of Fehmarn VooDoo Child
JIMI'S DEATH NOTICE ON TV
JIMI'S FUNERAL PICS