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California Jam special on WPMD.org

Don Branker, the co-producer and stage announcer for 1974 California Jam and 1978 California Jam II, was a guest on the March 15, 2008 edition of WPMD.org’s “Rock 50” radio show with Mike Stark. According to Mike, Don told “some great stories about both events including Deep Purple’s trashing of a television camera and a backstage story about Aerosmith that brings ‘rock ‘n roll arrogance’ to a new level.”

http://youtube.com/watch?v=-iZtx8kFk7g

You can hear it at WPMD.org as part of the “on-demand” player that is on the homepage or directly at this location (160MB MP3 file).

Thanks to Daniel Bengtsson and Blabbermouth.net for the info.



31 Comments to “California Jam special on WPMD.org”:

  1. 1
    Mark Bee says:

    Ah. The ‘Deep Purple Sucks Years.’

    It’s Gillan or nothing.

  2. 2
    Sami says:

    No no, The Great Mk III – years…DC & Hughes were awesome, gave the band a (then)much needed kick in the ass and a new(ish) direction.
    Heaven & Hell are doing it, so could Coverdale, Hughes, Blackmore & Lord…it would be huge, and they would easily wipe the floor with the current Morse-Purple 🙂

    Cheers, Sami

  3. 3
    stoffer says:

    If (and that is a big if) they could “wipe the floor” with the current Morse-Purple, then why don’t they do it? Do you really think that Jon Lord or any of the others are interested in “wiping the floor” with the current DP? I think they are pretty much above things like that as everyone should be, just enjoy each MK for what they were. If (there is that big word again) there would ever be any MKIII reunion it would be great, extra music not a “wiping” competion, and if you don’t like the Morse-Purple era don’t buy or don’t listen. Cheers?

  4. 4
    Sami says:

    Dear Stoffer…’wiping the floor’ was meant tongue in cheek, don’t get so upset.
    Any possible(or not possible)re-unions are not a rival thing of course, they would add nicely to the great legacy of DP!
    Luckily we have Mr. Glenn Hughes who is doing a fantastic job in keeping the Mk III/-IV repertoire alive, which it truly deserves!!
    I have listened and bought Morse era-Purple, even though they’re not my favourite line-up’s…Purpendicular & ROTD are fine albums, that’s for sure.
    Have a good weekend everybody, Cheers?

  5. 5
    stoffer says:

    Dear Sami thanks for clearing that up, have a great weekend yourself.

  6. 6
    Scott Glover says:

    Ah yes, the California Jam at the Ontario Motor Speedway in SoCal. I was at that show and I was 15 years old, and I clearly remember Deep Purple tearing it up on You Fool Know One 😉 Performances by all the bands were aired on ABC In Concert series a couple of weeks after the show. One of the best Blackmore shows I ever witnessed was at the Peppermint Beach Club located in Virginia Beach. It was a warm-up show for the Difficult to Cure tour and we had a little round table right in front of Ritchie. I remember I made a fool of myself taking photos of Ritchie and Rainbow and I even ran my index finder across his guitar strings behind the nut. I would like to thank the club for not throwing me out because I got to see an electrifying show that included a Jimi Hendrix version of Fire with Joe Lynn singing, “Move over Rover, and let Ritchie take over”. 🙂

  7. 7
    T says:

    A Blackmore/Coverdale/Hughes collaboration would be interesting indeed. Lord wouldn’t do it, but dueling Purples with different approaches…the competition could make it very, very, interesting.

  8. 8
    Mark Davis says:

    These hypotheticals are always ridiculous, however I think Coverdale has lost it and isn’t good enough these days to get on stage with Blackmore and Hughes. Better idea for a Quasi Mark III line-up would be:
    Blackmore Hughes Lord Rondinelli Turner.

  9. 9
    Nemanja says:

    Rondinelli?!?!?!? Turner!?!?!?!?
    Are you serious, Mark? No, you’re not, of course…
    Ian Paice is one and only, irreplaceable member of all DP lineups!! You just can’t put Rondinelli and DP in the same sentence!
    And Turner is biggest mistake in DP history, just waste of time.

  10. 10
    mark davis says:

    Nemanja, if you read the above part of the discussion, you’d see they were talking about two line-ups of Purple existing at the same time. Ian Paice is the best rock drummer of all time – no doubt about that.

    Rondinelli is extremely good – a perfect mix of Bonham and Paice, therefore the perfect choice for this hypothetical parallel DP. Fortune Teller and Breakfast in Bed are the best songs since Perfect Strangers and The Unwritten Law. Turner does panzy around too much, but that doesn’t take away from his good voice.

  11. 11
    George Fotis says:

    How about Black Sabbath, they were there to ? But you can only see one or two songs on you tube . As a Sabbath fan as well it’s dissapointing there concert hasn’t been released . As well as some other footage from the other acts playing that day! It would be interesting to see more . But Deep Purple were red hot that night , hard sounding , blues , improvising Ritchie played one of best show ‘s that night.
    The only drummer that could have replaced Ian would have been Cozy Powell . He was a super drummer a madman behind the kit , he gave those drums a real hard hit.
    I’m sure had Ian left at any stage when Blackmore was in he would have called him.

  12. 12
    purplepriest1965 says:

    Rondinelli is wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy above Morse, so stop saying crap.

    I d prefer DTC/Straight between the eyes line up above any line up with Morse/
    DP can,t be without Ritchie………

    DP can be without Ian Gillan, my hero,MIND YOU!!!, Mark 3 has proven that. Hell, even Mk 1 has proven that.

    What DP also can do without is the APPROACH TO SOUND FASHIONABLE, LIKE THEY DID WITH hobl, RUINING AN OTHER WISE EXCELLENT ALBUM……….

    Only Tommy made an impact which was acceptable, pity he fucked up live………..

    STYLE WISE, Morse is terrible for the DP sound.

    It’s boring, annoying, disrespectful, ……..

    CUT THAT CRAP!

    It’s an insult to DP and everone who KNOWS what a DP sound should be………

    It’s not enough Don makes an great effort to replace Lordy……….

    I just can.t stand Morse and his monotonous solo’s, his wanking and doodling..

    NO MAGIC!

    NO EXCITEMENT, only boredom……..

    Whatever……….

    It’s late………

    I drink some more wine and go to sleep………..

    Hopefully not be “BORN AGAIN” TOMORROW……….

    IAN THOUGHT HE DID WHILE drinking all those gallons of alcohol, smoking(I hate smoking! Go away , you filthy egotistic junkies!)) and pretending he ‘s better singer than before…………

    I hate it when people I really admire lose their credibility……………

    What’s left after that?

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  13. 13
    Matt Sullivan says:

    Having listened to the broadcast and Mark III’s version of “Smoke on the Water” – I’m shaking my head in disbelief that anyone would believe this lineup is superior.

    “Might Just Take Your Life” and “Sail Away from Burn still sound good after all these years, BUT, listening to Glenn Hughes at the end of SOTW – talk about embarrassing! Talk about self indulgent!

    Glenn Hughes is a really talented guy and a great singer, don’t get me wrong. It must have been the times.

  14. 14
    purplepriest1965 says:

    There is much more to Mark 3 than those 2 tracks and Glenn Hughes misplaced screamings…..

    And that comes from some one who hated this kinda outings in DP after he first fell in love with Mark 2……….

    You forgot Mistreated, BURN, You fool no one, a great live rendition of Space truckin’….., Soldier of fortune, Stormbringer, and much more……….

    Talking about being very selective………

  15. 15
    George Fotis says:

    Steve Morse has saved the band from a earley retirement! It’s over a decade since he joined & they are still around. If he wasn’t the right man they wouldn’t be playing tours as we speak . He is playing better music than Ritchie at the moment who is lost in playing his Robin Hood medieval music!
    Ritchie was a great hard rock guitarist with Dio but now his lost it. Steve gives the band a modern edge to it, Steve can play heavy if he wants but the whole band are older now & want lighter music. They could have got John Sykes or Yngwie Malmsteen but Morse was the man they were after.

  16. 16
    Bo says:

    I think most Purple fans has their own favorites, but to me it changes all the time. If I see Purple today they are great, then I listen to Made in Japan and then Mrk II is THE Purple line up. Next comes Mrk III and I just miss them so much. What I’m trying to say is that all the MRKs of DP are great in their own way.
    I would love to see MrkII or III back for a tour or so, but I’m sure that the way they are having fun these day, makes it difficult – also with the sad fact that nothing (I’m sad to say) seems to get RB back with the Fender.
    My only problem these days are that DP of today are to “safe”. No surprises at all. What is wrong with playing Mrk. III songs? They played “The boys are back in Town” some years ago and they still play Hush, which is NOT a DP song. It’s the same and the same and same every times they hit the road, but still it’s great to see them. They can just do it so much better!

  17. 17
    Tracy Heyder says:

    Ho Hummmm….

    Always the S.O.S. “I like Steve”…..”no, I like Ritchie”……..”No, I like Glenn”…….”No, I like David”……No, I like Joe”…..”No, I like Ian”…….

    For God’s Sake…….Does Deep Purple realize that their present fan base has evolved into “Teen Magazine” Boppers whom cut out pictures of their favorite player and paste them on their notebooks for school? I’ve read the interviews from Mr. Gillan, whereby he states that their audiences are much younger now at this time. I now believe it. Proof is in the Blogs…….

    Me personally? I like all things Purple, and each line-up hs it’s “Place In Line”, but again as usual, I’ll save that for a blog asking that. I could have sworn this one was regarding a particular subject…..Cal Jam. Everyone here has A.D.D. Can’t stay on the proper subject for more than 3 entries. Time to take your medicine now…….

    Cheers.

  18. 18
    Matt Sullivan says:

    In response to purple priest: Yes, “Burn” is a standout track, (though lyrically it’s a bit Spinal Tap-ish). High energy, great playing and stand out solos from Blackmore and Lord. “You Fool No One” and “Mistreated” don’t hold up so well for me. To each his own of course. I think that “In Rock”, “Fireball” and “Machine Head” are vastly superior to Mark III’s output.

    As for the Steve Morse debate: He’s been a brilliant contributor to DP. Those people pining for the days of Blackmore should take a reality check. He lost interest in rock n roll quite awhile ago. And as good as he was as someone who could write cool riffs and shape songs – he was not what you’d call a “team player”. The people who play with him are quickly relegated to sideman status.

    “Rapture”, “Bananas” and “Purpendicular” are fantastic albums!

  19. 19
    Tracy Heyder says:

    I remember seeing the event on Television “Live” as it happened. By this time, I was already a Purple fan, having all of their records prior to MK-3. I played “Live in Japan” all day…..every day. What a great Live show MK-2 did. When “Burn” came out and I found that the line-up had changed I was devistated. I bought the album and it was so different from the previous, that I was truly unhappy. Then came “Cal Jam” on national Television. Even though I was disapointed with the current line-up, I had to watch this concert. Well I was even further disapointed. Blackmore, Lord and Paicey were astonishing in themselves. David was David and sang his songs well. Glenn made me want to do to my TV, what Ritchie did to the Camera during Space Truckin’. His off timed high pitched squeals were annoying to say the least (he still has a problem in that area to this day). The Machine Head tunes were diplorable from this line-up.

    After the show, I cranked up “Live in Japan” and washed “Cal Jam” out of my memory. As time and years went by, I have grown to like and appreciate those years and now 35 years later I listen to all things Purple and all of it has it’s place. Most of all, the present line-up. I guest I can understand Gillan ignoring the MK-3 material when playing live, because the way Coverdale and Hughes sounded on the MK-2 stuff was like fingernails on a chalkboard and he probably doesn’t want to take that chance. Can you imagine the criticizm?Each MK is GREAT in it’s time, and the musicians can do a great job covering and crossing over, but the Singers performance is what is most criticised and the ego would be hit pretty hard if it was poorly done. So, that is why you go out and buy the records. Listen to each MK and enjoy the difference, but revel in whichever is the present line-up. They are all Great and all important.

    There now…….

  20. 20
    purplepriest1965 says:

    I never ask for Ian singing Mark 3 songs…………

    Afraid that he does not do them justice?
    Well, I just think those are not written for his voice……….
    I might be wrong on a few of them?
    He even could improve some?

    Hell, I always say that they should redo badly produced albums which were in it self great albums.
    Example : The House Of Blue Light

    Ian might redo some Slaves and Masters tracks? Put on his own lyrics……..a proper martin Birch kinda production……….and a very well known banjo player……
    RB could do it if he WANTED to.
    It’s not that he can’t……….

    Sob sob

    hehehe

    The(his , I suppose?)ego would be hurt if
    he sang Mk 3 songs poorly?

    He has gave a lot of poor singing over the years………
    Throught it all the old majestic voice always did shine on……..Just to PAIN you and remember how excellent he could sing……….

  21. 21
    Mike and Charlotte says:

    To Tracy,
    You have a very intelligent view and an impartial approach .Yet, we see already that your brave effort to get certain more open minded and understanding ,is changing in a lost attempt.Some don’t catch (or don’t want to ) the point of your reply. Still,while reading those other empty, boring’ repeated reply’s’ of certain are a complete waste of time , it feels so good to enjoy your wise thoughts! Thanks a lot for the pure air!!!
    Cheers!

    Tracy, do you know perhaps on the youtube ‘vocal range of IG’ what the last icy high melody is called? We also had put also a little question for you in blog ‘ Someone stole my guitare’. Be sure, we cross the fingers for all luck for the LOzT COAz performances’

  22. 22
    allen pamplin says:

    http://www.myspace.com/californiajam74

  23. 23
    Sami says:

    ????????!!!!???????

  24. 24
    Tracy Heyder says:

    Hello again Mike and Charlotte….

    Thanks for the kind words……don’t get that too often from the pinpointed narrowheads. Most folks just don’t get it.

    Sorry, can’t help you with the “Icy High” name per say. I call it “Yeowwwwwwww!” Those were the days when he could hit those. Luckily he still does a great job with all the rest. I’ll check out the other Blog for your comments. “LOzT CAUz” is on hold right now. Looking for new Guitarist and Bass. Starting new in a new state.

    Cheers

    Sami, does that clear things up?

  25. 25
    Sami says:

    Hello Tracy. Don’t need no clearance here, mate…
    good luck with your band,

    Cheers from ‘the pinpointed narrowheads’ 🙂

    p.s. Keep those posts coming, Priest…
    you’re a breath of fresh air!

  26. 26
    RICK says:

    Yes, CAL JAM was amazing , but only because of RITCHIE , IAN , & JON … they made it great , and the mark 2 version of DP totally obliterates mark 3, mark 4 , etc….. c’mon , people , you just gotta realize …. DEEP PURPLE IN ROCK, FIREBALL, MACHINE HEAD, MADE IN JAPAN , WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE……. LEGENDARY PERFORMANCES THAT WILL FOREVER REMAIN SO……. ‘NUFF SAID….

  27. 27
    RICK says:

    oh yeah , almost forgot, PERFECT STRANGERS also another excellent album from the CLASSIC DP line-up…. and for me , the last great one …… sigh……..why do bands have to change because of ego or musical differences ?? why can’t the song remain the same ??

  28. 28
    Tracy Heyder says:

    Cal jam has it’s place in Purple History.
    I remember seeing it happen on TV and even though I wasn’t happy with the change in line-up, I was exillerated beyond belief.

    That being said, if you must remain a MK-2 fan and totally discredit the rest of Purpldom, then by all means, crank up the old records and live your little boxed in life to the fullest. That is your right.

    Before MK-3, yes there was MK-2. they were wonderful. Before MK-2 there was MK-1. Wonderful also. Each MK has it’s place. None as important as the one that is present. All great. All important. Now is who they are and I suggest you just get over it.

    Cheers.

  29. 29
    allen pamplin says:

    California Jam Videos from allen pamplin… http://www.myspace.com/_californiajam1974

  30. 30
    allen pamplin says:

    California Jam Videos from allen pamplin…
    http://www.youtube.com/user/californiajammer1974

  31. 31
    allen pamplin says:

    California Jam Story – PART ONE – by: allen pamplin

    Hello, my name is allen pamplin,

    The California Jam on April 6th, 1974 was a large concert event at the Ontario Motor Speedway in Ontario California. It was my first professional rock and roll concert I had ever been to. I was 15 years old at the time in ninth grade going to Nobel Junior High in Northridge California. Prior to this concert I didn’t know anything about it, or even knew I was going to this event until 3 pm Friday April 5th, 1974. That’s about 19 hours before the concert started. I don’t remember why I didn’t know anything about the concert. I found out later that all my friends knew about the event before it took place. Possibly one reason I didn’t know is I may have been too focused on my girlfriend at the time, a real beauty name Laura Roelke. Also, I was a real Pot-Head in those days too, and a slight recluse in my blacklight room. I listened to old beat-up eight track tapes of Black Sabbath, and painted with fluorescent enamel paints on my bedroom walls. Maybe these attributes had something to do with not knowing about the concert until the last moments.

    I remember walking home with Laura from school on that Friday. When we reached my house I see my brother Karey loading up the family Country Squire station wagon. He looks me and yells, “Come on Allen, we’re going to the California Jam!” I remember getting excited about it and my girlfriend saying, “You better not fuck around with anyone there”. Hell, she even knew about the California Jam. Laura continued to walk home (as if she had a stick up her ass) and said, “Have a good Time”. As I walked up the driveway I thought, “What the hell is the California Jam?”

    Karey and I made ourselves ready to go, and hooked-up with a couple of his friends; Bill Haymore and Dave “what’s-his-face”. I knew Bill, he was my brother’s friend. Bill was a tall black brother with one of those “Mod Squad” hairdos. His height and hairdo would later serve to help keep our group together at the concert. I just met Dave what’s-his-face, he’s Bill’s friend. I found out that night Dave is a concert pianist. Before we left for the show, I remember Bill had Dave play one of his compositions on his piano for us. I wish I could remember Dave’s last name, he was an outstanding piano player. Then just before we headed for the concert Bill made a comment I’ll never forget. He uttered something to the effect that someone is going to get killed at the show. I thought to myself, “People die at these things?” I remember all three of them discussing the size of the show with 200,000 people being there, and someone is going to get killed at the concert. As we headed out I remember thinking, “Why did I agree to go to this fuck’in show?” By the time we all hit the road, I thought of seeing Sabbath there at the concert. That’s when I concluded it was worth getting killed for.

    I don’t remember much about the drive. We drove to Ontario from San Fernando Valley in separate vehicles. My brother Karey and I drove in a Ford Country Squire, and Bill and Dave in a Van. I’m amazed we managed to stay together during the drive. We arrived at the speedway parking-lot (west end) at about 11 pm. I don’t remember it being that difficult to park, plenty of body traffic here and there at the time. Later I understand it was impossible to park in either lot because of inadequate parking-personnel. But at that time you could still get a parking spot even though there were thousands of cars and bodies already there. I would estimate about a quarter of the entire audience was there in the speedway parking-lots the night before. I wouldn’t say we were exactly an audience at that point. But I will say however, we appeared to be more like a mob of lost travelers that migrated to this remote party in the middle of nowhere.

    The parking-lot was indeed a scene to behold, people everywhere. I’ve been to a lot of the San Fernando Valley parties in those days, but nothing quite compared to this. I’m in the West end parking-lot and everything I’m seeing here is also going on at the East end of the speedway just one mile down the road. Essentially, each lot is about 175 acres of dirt-grass field with a potential of about 30,000 cars. I started to walk around the field and check the place out. It was a little overwhelming walking between poorly lit rows of cars, along with people in the thousands. It looked more like field-party with drugs everywhere. You could potentially buy anything from anyone, and use it right out in the open. I see drug exchanges going on all over the parking-lot, with people partying in and out of cars, trucks and in backs of vans. Some drug dealings with “drugs for sale” signs posted on their vehicles. Just imagine the biggest street party that you have ever been to in the 70’s and multiply that by 1000. No kidding, at least a thousand.

    When I reached the first bon fire… and I’m not talking about some small campfire. I mean this particular bon fire had at least a couple of trees in it. When I say bon fire, I mean BON FIRE. I became more relaxed when I joined the first circle of fifty or so people around the fire waiting for the speedway to open. Seemed like a bunch of friendly mellow people, excited and wanting to have a good time. A short time later you’re huffin and puffin and passin it along, and then you move-on to see what else is going on. I remember some guy who looked like a homeless Jesus coming up to me with his hand out. I thought to myself, “Shit… here we go, my first religious lecture of the night”. Instead, he asked me for a dime. I thought, “What the fuck? A dime?” Bill said, “Multiply a dime by 200,000”. Our homeless Jesus probably had more money than anyone there.

    At some time during our parking-lot field adventure, my brother scored a couple of hits of mescaline for two bucks a piece. They turned out to be some green spice in gel-caps, nothing happened. Good thing I’m sure, otherwise I probably wouldn’t be writing this little story. I remember thinking, “Wow man, we’re gonna be trippin”. Two hours go by and we keep checking with each other on the effects, “Anything?”, “Uh, I think so, not sure”. Nothing happened, and your wondering what the hell that green shit was in the capsules.

    The gates opened around 1am, and everyone started migrating toward the entrance. Hell, who knew were that was? It was dark and all you did was be a cow and follow the person in front of you; and god only knows what state-of-mind they’re in. Somehow we were in a tunnel and into the infield of the speedway. There was no line, a guy looked at my ticket, tore it, and in I go into this well-lit big open infield.

    From far away I could see the rainbow on the stage. That was the first thing I remember focusing on as I walked across the vast open field. I was amazed, in a dream-like state in all that space. My brother kept saying, “Come on, we got to catch up with those guys!” Dave and Bill were already about fifty feet ahead of us; they were in the mix of people who are sparsely laid out on blankets. We quicken or pace to catch-up, but this pace quickly slowed due to the thickening of the crowd as we got closer to the stage. Now I have to watch my step as we work our way toward Bill and Dave in-between thinner spaces. I’m constantly shifting my attention between looking down so I don’t step on anyone, and looking up for Bill and Dave. Karey and I had to stop from time to time and look to see where the hell they were. You could very easily lose someone in this crowd. Bill’s height and Mod Squad hairdo was our only beacon to find them at all. Bill and Dave were so far ahead of us there was no way for us to spot them except for Bill’s big black brother fro. This was the make-or-break point on how we were going to spend the rest of the day at the Jam, up front with our friends or back here separated. We just said, “Fuck it!” and started walking on blankets and over people. Sometimes stepped on people too, and headed straight for them.

    We finally caught up with them near the mixing tower that is slightly left of the stage. Now the decision from here is to go right or left of the tower. We went left, and around in front of the mixing tower up next to the fence at the press enclosure. The fence had brown canvas tied to it that obscured some of the view near the stage. We stood and looked around and said, “Yeah, this looks good”, and sat down. It’s now about 2:30 am with the stage in front, the camera crane to the right, and the mixing tower behind us with a shitload of people all around relaxing, partying and waiting for the show to begin. This is where I held my ground for the entire concert, twenty-one hours before my next piss break.

    It is still dark, but the stage and infield area are well lit. The stage rainbow stood bright from the ambient lights. As I looked around I noticed cameras with ABC logos on them. That’s when I learned the show might be recorded. Remember, I knew nothing about this concert before the last 12 hours. I was pretty excited to be there, and thought I could be in some of the shots during the concert. I started to feel more comfortable being there, everyone working on the show appeared to know what they were doing. I think it was at this point I had more confidence of not getting killed here at the speedway; they definitely had my support of that. As the night went on all you can really do is look around and “People Watch”, and talk with your friends. I think I was impressed with the speaker towers the most. They looked so tall to me standing there and being that close to them. I couldn’t just look at them; I had to look “up” at them. The stage rainbow was just as memorable, and beautiful to look at. All you can do is wait for the sunrise; people watch; listen to Don Branker talk to us at times in the night; and hope for a doobie to come your way during the next few hours.

    Still dark around 4:30 am, you could slightly feel some impatience start to swell. With all of us so closely standing around and looking at each other, we started to put our attention on what was going on behind the canvas covered fence in front of us. I watched at least a dozen people cut holes in the canvas, tearing around the links with their fingers to widen the opening. People wanted to see what was going on, some kind of visual update with the show. The canvas started to look like Swiss cheese in some areas. I remember looking through the holes from a distance, but I couldn’t see much. The cutting came to a stop for a moment when I saw four 18 inch wooden dowels thrown over the fence into the crowd. Still to this day I don’t know what the purpose of that was. I speculated it was to divert attention from the fence, or maybe to let people know they didn’t appreciate the hole cutting in the canvas. Shortly after, the hole cutting continued with a few retaliating kicks from the other side of the fence. The cutting stopped apparently after enough holes were cut, and the sky began to light up.

    At 5:00 am as the skies began to light, soundman Jim Gamble pumped the first musical sounds through the 54,000 watt Tycobrahe PA sound system. It was the original 2001 Space Odyssey track. The sound system was spectacular, the best I ever heard. You wouldn’t believe how loud it could get and remain so clean. It was nice to hear any music after the long wait through the night. From that point on it was recorded music until the first act, still over four hours away. I still remember the Steely Dan song; “Ricky Don’t Lose That Number”. They must have played that song a hundred times throughout the day. It sounded fantastic; you could hear every detail in the music.

    We would talk about the acts on the show, didn’t know which one would come on first. No one had a program that listed the activities of the day. It felt like one long pre-intermission before the first act. I think at this point all you could really do was make the best of it, and people did. I just “people watched” and smoked pot. Bill had all the pot, and real conservative about it too. Probably a good thing I guess, because that conservatism helped our “smoke” last throughout the day. If it was my bag of weed I probably would have smoked it all before the first act. That’s just how I was in those days. If I had some weed I wanted to smoke it all, and right fucking now; especially if it was someone else’s bag of shit. I couldn’t help it in those days; life for me was just too much fun in 1974.

    As I sat and watched, I remember pathways would form. People always seemed to be on the move throughout the day. You would have body traffic next to you for a while, then suddenly the path would change and form in other directions. Sometimes the body traffic would change because someone would stop dead in their tracks on the path. They either stopped and smoked pot with someone, or looked at something and began to space-out with that all too familiar distant stare. I remember this one guy who did that, he was moving along and then stopped to do his freak show. People in both directions changed the path-flow just to get around this guy. He just stood there in a crouched position, wearing a red faded bandana with dirty Levi pants and coat. He looked like a burned-out leftover from the sixties; you know, old and drug scared. His hands were clinched with nothing in them. His eyes glazed, with a bearded smile that seemed to be for no one in particular.

    Occasionally he panned his head left and right with no rhythm to it at all. He looked like he had been at a thousand of these shows, and in the same clothes. He stood slightly crouched, bobbing up and down with his hands clinched. He looked very much lost if you know what I mean, but never the less appeared to be very much at home. I told my brother to check this guy out. Karey with widen eyes said, “Whoa, what’s his problem?” He had what appeared to be at first glance a seizure. I replied, “I think he’s dancing”. You would see people like this all through the night and early morning. Then finally we heard the words from Don Branker, “We are ready”.

    (END OF PART ONE)… allen pamplin

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