the Peppermint Trolley Company – ‘It’s a Lazy Summer Day’ in the Summer of Love

August 31, 2016 in Events

During the winter of 1967 my brother Jimmy and I continued to drive into Holly wood

Three weeks later...

Casey Cunningham, Jimmy Faragher, And Danny Farsagher

on the week-ends to record with Producer Dan Dalton. In addition to cutting three sides
as the Peppermint Trolley Company, we sang and played background for other artists.
A 45 single of ‘She’s the Kind of Girl’/’Little Miss Sunshine’ was released on Dalton’s
Kelly label before being picked up by Acta Records.

In the meantime the world around us seemed to accelerate. Along with our drummer
friend, Casey Cunningham, and new found buddy, Patrick McClure, we became active
in the Peace Movement and, dare I say it, slightly psychedelicized.  We were listening to
a wide range of artists, including the Doors, the Jefferson Airplane, the Paul Butterfield
Blues Band, Phil Ochs, and Laura Nyro.  We understood that Acta had signed us with the
expectation that we would deliver light pop fare (a genre that is now refered to as sunshine pop).
Although we were confident we could provide that kind of sound, we were filled with creative
energy and chaffing at the leash. Our dream was to form a real band with Casey on the drums
and to come up with an original sound.

In May Jimmy wrote a song that seemed to encapsulate the moment. It was called ‘It’s a Lazy
Summer Day’.  Melodic, dreamy and innocent, it was like a flower-child anthem. The three
of us played it for  Dan and his wife, Lois Fletcher, and they both loved it. Within the week
we were in Moonglow Studio to lay it down before summer. It was the first PTC record on
which we cut our own basic track, which was recorded live with Jimmy on bass, Casey on
drums, and me on the Hammond B3. Danish singer/songwriter James Fleming Rasmussen
played the acoustic guitar. The vocal arrangement was done on the spot as we stood in frontLazy summer Day(2)
of the mic.

As we listened to the rough mix, the excitement in the room was palpable. By God, we had
our own sound! The harmonies and counter points were sophisticated and psychedelic, while
the organ intro and outro gave it a baroque flavor.Yes, it was light and breezy but it was also
organic and honest. Amidst  the song’s carefree innocence a darker reality was implied – ‘No
one wants to start a fight/ So let’s take a walk tonight.’   It was like a blossom in
the barrel of an M16. We’d managed to stay in the ballpark while pouring a little magic
mushroom powder into the soda.

Acta president, Kenny Meyers, was crazy about it and decided to do a rush release. By July,
‘It’s a Lazy Summer Day’  was pressed and ready to be shipped (Listen here.) One
morning, three weeks later I received a phone call  on my folk’s phone. On the line was Bob
McCormack, the program director for radio station KMEN 129 in San Bernardino. He had
just read the rave reviews of our record  in Billboard, Cashbox , and Record World. Man, was
he pumped.  ‘Danny, we’re going to bring this one home for you guys!’ he told me. That
day we heard ‘A Lazy Summer Day’  on the radio. The Summer of Love was in full swing.

PTC with T. Michael Jordan

Peppermint Trolley Company with KMEN DJ, T. Michael Jordan


One Last Time in Harmony

May 1, 2014 in Events, Happenings


In 2008 we five members of the bands- the Peppermint Trolley Company, and Bones – Jimmy Faragher, Greg Tornquist, Casey Cunningham, Patrick McClure, and myself, Danny Faragher (We affectionately refer to ourselves as Bones Brothers) were reunited. It was the first time in thirty-five years. Though the decades had passed, our friendship bond, based on a unique shared experience was as strong as ever.  Oh what a joyous occasion It was! We played and sang Jimmy’s beautiful tune – Harmony from the album – Waitin’ Here. Little did we know that it would  be the last time we would stand together. In March of this year we lost Patrick.  Here are some moments from that day caught on tape combined with some rare photographs compiled and edited by Bryan Faragher into this touching video, a moving tribute to Bones Brother Patrick McClure. Our thanks to Michael McClure for supplying many of the superb photographs.

‘Broken Hearts and Hopeful Dreams’ – Remembering Patrick McClure

April 18, 2014 in Events, Happenings, Thoughts


I Remember Long Ago

It was the spring of 1967. A whirlwind of change was in there air. The art scene, music  in particular, was exploding with creativity. Conversely, the war in Vietnam continued its steady escalation, and the draft hung over young males’ heads like a sword of Damocles. Having become increasingly distressed by the conflict, and  committed in my opposition, I planned and carried out a one-man anti-war protest at the school  I was attending. San Bernardino Valley College was a very conservative campus, and as I stood on the walkway with homemade placard in hand, very few students offered any words of encouragement. Most were apathetic, and an angry few met my demonstration with outright contempt and hostility. Some were even confrontational, yelling point blank in my face – the spittle flying. I was feeling truly alone in my forlorn folly when I was approached by a guy with an easy going manner. The eyes behind the wire rimmed glasses were intelligent, inquisitive, and friendly. He introduced himself. His name was Patrick McClure. Right away he let me know that he was in solidarity with what I was doing. As we became engrossed in conversation, the act of chatting served to break the tension.

“Fuckin’ commie lover!” a passerby shouted, extending a middle finger.

The insult was like water off a duck’s back. I was otherwise engaged – thank-you much!

My friendship with Patrick appeared like an oasis in a vast wasteland, and In the weeks that followed, we became fast buddies. I learned that he and his family had moved to Redlands from Santa Cruz, and that they lived just several blocks from my folks. In addition to similar political views, we also shared a passion for music. Being from the Bay Area, he was much more exposed to the San Francisco scene. He had a copy of the Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow.  I remember lying on the floor in his room, listening to the record, marveling at the sound which seemed to encapsulate the spirit of the time. He’d figured out and could play Embryonic Journey on acoustic guitar. I could see that he liked to tinker with music: Take it apart, analyze it, understand it. I admired this immensely. We also hung out at my little pad in Riverside where I introduced him to my brothers and friends. We jammed, talked,  and, I’m embarrassed to say, even tried smoking banana peels, getting nothing but headaches and charred throats for our trouble.

I discovered that Patrick not only talked the talk – he walked the walk. In June, he was with us to share the beautiful  experience that was the  Monterey Pop Festival, and one week later stood alongside my brothers and me as the police mounted their vicious attack at Century Plaza. These seminal events served to strengthen the bonds. We developed a strong sense of knowing we had each other’s backs.

A Lazy Summer Day


Rehearsing for first concert. From left to right, Patrick, Danny, Casey and Jimmy.

My brother Jimmy and I had a recording contract as the Peppermint Trolley Company, and had brought our friend Casey Cunningham into our group to play drums. In July, our single, A Lazy Summer Day, was getting some airplay locally and our manager booked us on a concert as the opening act for Big Brother and the Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin at the Kaiser Dome in San Bernardino. We needed a guitarist, quick, fast, and in a hurry, and asked Patrick to join the band. To our delight, he agreed. Pat’s parents and siblings were out of town so we holed up in his house and woodshed like crazy for a week straight, managing to put together a set of perhaps eight or nine songs. Try as we may, there was just no hiding the fact that we were green. I know that it was difficult for me, so I can’t imagine how daunting a task it must have been for Pat. To have never even played in a band before, and to be suddenly thrust on stage in front of five thousand kids is a scary proposition. That takes balls – or naiveté… or both! (read more at the Peppermint Trolley Company bio)

On the night of the concert, we managed to complete a very jittery performance that was largely held together by Casey’s solid drumming.  I’m sure we were dreadful, but at least we’d gotten through it and survived. To top off an absurd night, Big Brother was a no show. The promoter, a program director of a local radio station, pleaded with us to get back on stage.  We replied that we had no more material worked up, that we’d shot our wad, and weren’t eager to repeat the experience. By serendipity, some musician buddies of ours, a band, were in the audience at the time and took the stage to perform some covers. This appeased the crowd somewhat, but then our friends began cracking smart ass jokes about the incompetence of the radio station. As a result, the promoter, who was livid, dropped our record from the play list.

A few weeks later we opened for the Buffalo Springfield at the Swing Auditorium. This time the headliner showed up! I felt a little better about our performance, but knew we were no great shakes as an act. Shortly after this we made the move to Los Angeles. There is a photo of the four of us posing in front of Casey’s Chevy van. The picture was taken in Redlands just minutes before we took off. We look like babes in the wood.

Sadness Within Your Eyes

In front of Buster. Redlands boys L.A. bound

In front of Buster. Redlands boys L.A. bound

No sooner had we settled into the Silver Lake rental house, when our manager landed us a featured spot as a hippie band on the Beverly Hillbillies. There we were on the tube all decked out in whatever silly wigs and mismatched apparel the Paramount costume department could find. It was a kick, and we made a little cash, but there was always that nagging feeling that we needed to get to work and  come up with some new material to keep it all rolling. Patrick was pretty disciplined about sticking with a musical idea and developing it until it was a completed song.  Jimmy has spoken about how much he was influenced as a songwriter by Pat’s dogged example. I recall our trying to work up a couple of his tunes, but deciding they weren’t quite right for the band.

In October, Patrick shocked us all by announcing he was leaving the group to get married. Shortly after this Greg Tornquist joined to take over the guitar slot. Sounds like the end of the story, doesn’t it? The irony is that Pat would have much more creative input to the PTC after he left than before. He continued to be a frequent presence at the band house, and both he and Jimmy began what was to be a creative surge. The first collaborative effort was Pat’s Song – a beautiful and deceptively simple melody. Jimmy, after being frustrated with his first attempts to put words to it, decided to write the lyric about Pat’s leaving. It was a perfect match. The result was both sophisticated and poignant.

You don’t have to tell me. I already know.
Sadness within your eyes says it’s time to go.

Many more tunes were to follow. I still carry the image in my head of Patrick and Jimmy sitting in the living room , guitars in hand,  facing each other as a new song came to life. Patrick would be involved in the writing of seven of the band’s nine original songs on the1968 Peppermint Trolley Company album.

Pat wasn’t one to come up with a chord progression first and write a melody over it.He would start with a fragment of a melocic idea, and let everything ripple out from that center, exploring different chord progressions and key modulations along the way It was a process that seemed to be driven equally by emotion and intellect. The result was something interesting, but always honest, and straight from the heart.

Sunrise was  penned solely by Pat.  It is a song that spoke to me, and which I had the good fortune to sing lead on. Years later he provided the back story of its creation. He’d been up north dealing with the draft, and had driven back through the night. Just before dawn he pulled off to the side of the road, grabbed his guitar, opened the back door of his bread truck, and sat there strumming as the sun rose. The words and music came simultaneously, and the song was completed within minutes.

Today let me down but I know that the sun will shine.

These lyrics bear the imprint of a McClure song: Sad, but always hopeful. In my opinion these tunes are timeless. In a just world they would be recognized as the musical gems they are.


Pat also became a good guitar player. I think his strongest suit was acoustic finger picking, and a lot of his songs were based around this style. He was floored by Mason Williams’ Classical Gas when he heard it on the radio, and after figuring the song out, he went on to compose his own piece in the same style (I wish I had a recording of it). A finger picker, yes, but he also grew as an electric player and became proficient in the blues slide style.  In 1972 he became the fifth member of Bones (Same band, different name).  The Waitin’ Here album features some great guitar licks by both Greg and Pat.  The cut, Harmony, features the duo of Greg on acoustic, and Pat on electric slide backing Jimmy’s haunting lead. It is a beautiful example of Bones’ ballad sound. (Read more at the Bones Bio)

Patrick also played electric guitar on several tracks of the Faragher Brothers first album – the ‘Yellow Album’ This was a completely different style –  R&B and soul – but he’s right in the pocket, scratching out solid and exciting rhythm on tunes like Best Years of My Life.   (Read more at the Faragher Brothers Bio).

I deeply regret that after the mid Seventies we fell out of touch. One thinks – “Oh there’ll always be time to reconnect.” –  but time melts away. Thanks to his brother Michael we got in touch with each other about seven years ago and began corresponding via email.Patrick mailed me a CD of original songs. I loved it!  As a songwriter he still had the goods.  In 2008 the five of us Bones brothers were reunited for Greg’s wedding where we performed Harmony. Sadly, it was to be the last time we would all  be together.

He fought valiantly for years to beat the odds in his battle with cancer.  I believe he fought so hard because he loved life so dearly. It was inspiring to hear family and friends testify to his loving and unique character at the event celebrating his life. He was a wonderful brother, father, friend and colleague.  He possessed an artistic soul, a keen intellect, and a generous spirit. He was also a man of action, a man who loved biking, playing baseball and soccer, and traveling the world. In short, he was a renaissance man.

I look at a photo of Pat and  I see a person who engages the camera, just as he engaged the world – with confidence, energy, and curiosity. Someone who is comfortable in his own skin. Someone who is able to reconcile the yin and yang of being both a realist and an optimist.

I thank my lucky stars that he approached me that spring day so many years ago. He was a friend, band mate, and fellow activist. Oh how we sang the good song and fought the good fight.  We were young artists driven by the creative urge, and the world was our oyster.  How  I cherish those memories. How I will miss him. He was a brother, and I loved the man.


On the Waitin’ Here LP there is a song written and sung by Pat. It’s called More or Less. It has become my favorite cut from the record. The tune hearkens back to that Northern California sound of the mid to late sixties. It begins with a fingered guitar weaving a woodsy spell  followed by Greg’s mystical flute part answering the call before Patrick enters to sing the simple and direct words that say so much.

Love in life is all I want
Not a car or a restaurant
And so I love you more each day
You help me find my way

 The rain will fall upon the land
No matter where you chose to stand
The sun will come again one day
To help us find our way

And it’s more or less as it seems
The broken hearts and the hopeful dreams
My question is – Will our dreams come true?
Come true

 We are all stardust.




A Blur of White Helmets – The 1967 Century Plaza Police Riot & Brutality in the Summer of Love

August 4, 2013 in Happenings, Thoughts, Uncategorized


On Friday,  June 23rd, 1967, in the beginning of what came to be termed ‘The Summer of Love’, I, alongside my brothers, my friends,  and tens of thousands of other citizens marched in Century City to protest the war in Vietnam. What ensued was a shocking and horrifying example of law enforcement going berserk.  In the immediate aftermath, the media  shamelessly turned the riot on its head, blaming the demonstrators. Sadly, this historic and tragic event is seldom mentioned today.  I was at ground zero, however, and remember it as if it were yesterday. Here is my story…


We Are But a Moment’s Sunlight


President Lyndon Johnson arrives by helicopter.

Jimmy, Patrick, and I rode to the event in my best friend Mike’s coffee-colored VW, the one with the peace symbol white washed on the side. Jimmy’s and my older brother, Johnny, and his fiancé, Judi, followed in his black ’55 Bug with the small rear window. As we rolled west on Interstate 10, I imagined we were a humble Beetle motorcade for peace. President Lyndon B. Johnson was being honored with a thousand dollar-a-plate fete at the Century Plaza Hotel, and we were traveling the eighty miles from Redlands to West Los Angeles to voice our opposition to his war in Vietnam.

When we arrived at Cheviot Hills Park that Friday afternoon, we were surprised by how festive the gathering was. Vendors were selling hot dogs and lemonade. Giggling children romped and played on the grass as kites bobbed overhead in a summer breeze.The good vibes reminded me of the Monterey Pop Festival which Jimmy and I had been to exactly one week before. But whereas that happening reflected a burgeoning counter culture, this one had a distinctly middle class face. The crowd, mostly white, was multigeneralization. It included people of all ages, from little tots to grandparents. I remember thinking,“This could be a Fourth of July Picnic. Hell, it could be a Norman Rockwell painting!”

At the beginning of the Protest

At the park before the march. From left: Patrick, Jimmy, unknown, Danny, unknown, Johnny, Mike. Judi is behind the camera.

The rock band that was set up on a stake bed truck was putting out some solid sounds. The lead singer, an African American, had a soulful voice which reminded me of Stevie Winwood. I noticed they were performing a lot of songs that featured the word ‘Love’, like the Deon Jackson tune, Love Makes the World Go ‘Round, and the Beatles’ The Word. It seemed ‘Love’ most definitely was the word on people’s lips.

I was digging on the music, when Jimmy tapped me on the shoulder. “Look, there’s that couple we saw at the Peace March in San Francisco!”

I turned and recognized the middle-aged hippie couple who were dancing at the edge of the crowd.The man’s dark eyes and eyebrows matched his long black hair and mustache. He was wearing black tights and pantaloons, a black shirt, and high heel shoes with silver buckles. A bright red cape which he swung theatrically was draped over his shoulders. The image brought to mind Captain Hook, or perhaps Salvador Dali. His partner was dressed in a mid-calf cotton skirt and peasant blouse, and wore a feather headband around her long, graying blond hair. The silver bangles around her wrists glistened in the sun. While the man’s wild and jerky movements were decidedly unfunky, the tall, willowy woman seemed to float like a hanging sheet in the breeze.

A TV camera crew was soon Johnny-on-the-spot to catch the action.

“Guess who’s going to be the public face of this demonstration,” Jimmy predicted.

“WILD HIPPIE PROTEST!” I pronounced in quasi news anchor tones. “Film at eleven.”

“Yes,” remarked Mike. “We can always count on the establishment media to keep us informed.”

“The medium is the message,” Patrick added, with air quotes.


Men of Words

As the sun began its plunge to the horizon, the speeches commenced. First on the roster was Dr. Benjamin Spock, the famed pediatrician and peace activist. He was my grandmother’s age, yet here he was taking a stand against the war.

PG_03165“We do not consider the Vietnamese people, North or South, to be the enemy,” the dignified, bespectacled Spock said. “They wish no harm to the United States. The enemy, we believe in all sincerity, is Lyndon Johnson.” Oh, did this ever get the crowd fired up.

When the next speaker was introduced, he was immediately met with roaring acclamation. The Champ jumped on to the stage waving and smiling to the crowd. Muhammad Ali was the country’s most famous conscientious objector. His words that evening — off the cuff and from the heart —were a plea for peace and for justice.

Before saying good-bye, he added,”I hope there’s no trouble, but if there is, I know it won’t be coming from you.”

Muhammad ali at rally(1)

Muhammad Ali inspired the crowd with his message of nonviolence.

The Champ’s affirmation of nonviolence reflected perfectly the spirit of the crowd, which responded with wild applause. He smiled and extended his arms as if to embrace us all. To feel wrapped in his brotherly hug gave one courage,and we all yelled and cheered at the top of our lungs.

“Damn!” Johnny said. “Isn’t he somethin’?”

After Ali, H. Rap Brown addressed the audience. His was a very different message.There were nods of agreement as he made the correlation between the fight against racial discrimination and the struggle against the war. But when, further into his speech, he said, “If the pigs meet us with violence they can expect us to respond with violence.” the audience reacted with an audible “No!” Brown, taken a bit by surprise, paused to look out at the sea of faces, shaking his head and smiling, as if to say, You poor saps!

“Y’all may have some hard lessons in store for you,” he declared.


C’mon People, Now!

When evening began to fall we marchers prepared to take off. Our group of five was positioned fairly close to the head of the procession. As I stood waiting, a young woman approached me. “Weren’t you at the Monterey Festival?” she asked.

I returned her smile. “Yes, I was.”

protest-sitShe said she had seen me doing my crazy-legged dance in the middle of a drum circle.

“My friend and I thought that was really cool,” she said.

I had actually felt a little embarrassed about that impulsive raving moment, but was flattered by the compliment.

Her name was Lauren, and with her medium-length, sandy blond hair and sparkling blue eyes, she was an attractive girl. She was wearing a sleeveless top, with a long skirt, and a flower in her hair. I learned she was from West L.A. This was her turf. I felt a bit like a small town boy beside her aura of calm self-assurance.

“I love this,” she said, pointing to the bright yellow sunshine button pinned to my shirt. “Where’d you get it?”

I told her that my thirteen-year-old sister, Patsy, had crafted it out of paper mache. “It’s become a kind of talisman for me, a reminder to tap into the flow of positive energy.”

Suddenly Johnny, who with his cavalry hat and moustache looked very much the leader, called out “Let’s go, Danny! Time to march.”

“Do you mind if I walk with your group?” Lauren asked me.

“Of course not. The more the merrier!” I responded.Century Plaza

The plan was simple: We were to walk from the park to the hotel where we would respectfully file past its opulent facade on Avenue of the Stars, and return by way of Santa Monica Boulevard. The organizer’s had gotten a city permit, so no one expected any trouble. After all, this was Southern California, not Selma, Alabama.

We walked north on Motor Avenue. To the west the last vestiges of sunlight had all but disappeared. The bells around Lauren’s ankle jingled with every other step of her sandaled feet, producing a cheerful, uplifting sound. As we marched, we were cheered on by scores of normal-looking folks hanging out of their doors and windows. Many of these people spontaneously joined our ranks. I was struck by the empowering thought that we were fifty-thousand strong, united in a common purpose, and on a mission to deliver our message of peace. Who could ignore such a throng? Oh, what a glorious summer evening it was! We made a right onto Pico Boulevard.

There was such exhilaration among the marchers. Folks carrying signs or American flags proudly held them high and pumped them to the cadence of our tramping feet. Jimmy began singing the title song from the Beatles’ new album. “We’re Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” he sang; “We hope you will enjoy the show.” Patrick and I joined in and soon our whole group was singing at the top of our lungs. Our spirits were sky high. After a short distance we swung left onto Avenue of the Stars.

centuryplazahotel1967ebAs the 20th-century Modern structure of the hotel appeared on the hill up ahead, butterflies began dancing in my stomach. Drawing nearer, I could see that there was a strong police presence. White helmets were everywhere. I tried to calm my nerves by reminding myself how cool the Monterey police had been.


The Hard Lesson

Everything went without a hitch until we got to the bridge which extends over the Olympic Boulevard underpass. There, the police had closed off three of the lanes, and were funneling everyone into a single lane on the right. The pace slowed to a crawl. We were about three-quarters of the way over the bridge when the march came to an abrupt halt. We waited. I truly believed that it was probably a traffic snafu of some kind. “Be patient,” I told myself; “they’ll soon sort it out, and we’ll be on our way.”  We were just short of the hotel. We could have filed past and been done in ten minutes.We continued to wait.The elegant fountains that bisected the avenue up ahead filled the summer air with a fine misty spray. Meanwhile, more and more marchers streamed in, swelling the ranks.

“They’ve completely blocked the street,” I heard someone say.

An eerie murmur rolled through the crowd for about half a minute before we started to sway. The motion grew with violent crescendo until we were rocking like a turbulent sea. The sound of a thousand gasps and cries was overwhelming. People were packed so tightly that at times both my feet were off the ground and I felt as if I was caught in an undertow. Lauren fell. I reached out my hand. She grabbed it and I pulled her back to her feet.

Century_PlazaThen came a sudden, violent surge from the left side as if we’d been slammed into. High pitched shrieks of terror and screams of pain pierced the air. I could hear what sounded like dozens of baseball bats bouncing on a field, and my stomach turned at the realization that each ‘clunk’ was a nightstick whacking a human skull or shoulder. I got on my toes and stretched my neck . A phalanx of white helmets was just a few yards away, and alongside each helmet was a swinging baton. We were under attack! The cops were stepping over the wounded to penetrate the next layer of humanity.  Clubbed heads splashed a fine bloody spray. For a moment I was frozen with disbelief at what was happening.

“They’re going to kill us!” a woman shouted.

A voice within my primitive brain cried out, Run! Run for your life! But there was nowhere to run to. We were flanked by cops on our left and in the front. To the right was the bridge railing and a precipitous drop, and to the rear more marchers kept coming. We were boxed in! Trapped!

Relentlessly, the L.A.P.D. carried out their vicious attack, prodding and pushing us back against the railing. As we gradually inched forward beyond the bridge they channeled us down a steep dirt embankment on the right to a vacant bean field that lay at the foot of the hill. Scores of folks, including seniors, and mothers with children, were pushed or slipped and tumbled down the slope. How the seven of us managed to descend unscathed will always be a mystery to me.

lapl_century_marchThe bean field offered no respite from the onslaught. In fact, the situation there was even worse than above. Cops, high on the adrenalin of the chase, were running people down and beating them mercilessly. I thought I saw a figure fall from the bridge. We watched in horror as three motorcycled officers riding in ‘V’ formation intentionally plowed into a group of people. It was a surrealistic, nightmarish scene beyond my wildest fears.  People lay bleeding on the ground, as traumatized children bawled. The seven of us huddled close to one another and kept moving forward. It sounds strange to say, but It almost felt as if we were invisible as we made our way through the pandemonium and horror.

We passed a middle-aged housewife with a badly skinned knee and elbow. She’d gotten back up and was brushing the dirt off her torn and blood soaked dress when she suddenly sank her face in her hands and began weeping uncontrollably. It was all just too much — the pain, the terror, the humiliation. Her husband wrapped a consoling arm around her.

The police had formed a continuous line that snaked down the hill, around the bean field, and far out along the underpass. They stood with billy clubs in hand, sneering and making mean comments to the passing protesters who were forced to walk this gauntlet. On angry impulse, Johnny aggressively approached the line of white helmets.

“Johnny, no!” Judi screamed.

My brother, seething with rage, got up close to a cop and, pointing an accusing finger, shouted, “Fascist!”

Clash of Police and Protesters at Century Plaza HotelBeneath the helmet, the young face flinched and his bottom lip quivered. I could see that he was frightened, just like the rest of us. In an instant, Jimmy grabbed Johnny by the shirt and whisked him away before something terrible happened.


The Angels Cry

The return trip was a solemn one — the slow retreat of the defeated.People moved as if in a sleep-walk, and the sibilant sound of whispers and sobs washed through groups of marchers.  Lauren and I walked with arms around each other’s waist. The bells at her ankle now rang a sad knell.

Back at the park, the band on the truck was playing a song which I hadn’t heard before nor heard since. Perhaps it was an original. Its refrain repeated the word ‘Love’ every two bars. People in the crowd began chanting along. Lauren and I clung to each other and swayed to the beat as I closed my eyes and joined in the chorus. ‘Love’ – I sang with heavy heart -‘Love’.  The word echoed back to me like a forlorn plea.

“Hey, look who’s here!” Jimmy exclaimed. It was Kathy, a good friend from Redlands who was a student at UCLA. What a welcome sight! We all gave her a hug. She and her boyfriend invited us over to his apartment in Westwood after the rally wound down.

Just then, dozens of black-and-whites with sirens screaming and red lights flashing, began converging on the scene, intent on adding insult to injury.

protest-hit“Fucking pigs!” I heard myself say.

“We’ve got to split, you guys!” Johnny shouted.

Lauren and I looked into each other’s eyes for a moment, then hugged and kissed. This had been an extraordinary way to meet someone, and we both wanted to see each other again under happier circumstances. She offered her phone number but there was nothing to write with. The cops were already rousting people, and we needed to fly. I told her I’d commit it to memory.

She recited the number and I repeated it back to her twice. My friends were waving me to come.

“Good-bye,” I said.

“Good-bye,” she whispered back.

I was sprinting away when she called out to me. I turned and repeated the number one last time.

Century_Plaza_Protest_LA_TimesWe got in our cars and beat it. Just in the nick of time, too, for the police were corralling everyone in the park. We soon put distance between ourselves and the barbarians and headed for Westwood.

“God! I thought we were going to be killed!” Mike said, gripping the wheel with hands trembling.

“Yea, so did I, “Jimmy responded. “I now know what they mean by ‘police brutality.'”

Mike paused for a moment in thought, then continued. “Most of those people at the rally were just citizens, just regular middle-class people. And the cops tore into them with absolute savagery. Can you imagine what they would have done had we all been black?”


We Were Talking

Kathy and her boyfriend, Rod, welcomed us at the small apartment. Everyone gathered around the kitchen table to look at photos they’d taken at Monterey, while in the distance, sirens wailed through city streets. Someone switched on the eleven o’clock news, and suddenly there was footage from the afternoon in the park. Captain Hook appeared on the tube, rocking back on his heels as the missus willowed in his wake.

CenturyPlazaprotest-blur“Shit! I knew it!” Jimmy exclaimed.”What’d I tell you?”

Everyone laughed, but when the reporters went on to describe the event as a riot by protesters, the mood turned to anger.

“What march were they at?” Mike shouted.

Judi’s jaw dropped. “It was the police who did the rioting!”

“Don’t you know?” Johnny quipped. ” If it’s not on the TV, it didn’t happen.”

Suddenly there was a clip of Police Chief Tom Reddin congratulating his men on a job well done. “Thanks, Chief.” replied the men-in-blue with pride.

“It’s just a fucking football game to them!” said Patrick.

“Yea,” I added “and they just won one for the Gipper!”

One of us noticed a copy of the Sgt. Pepper’s album lying on the coffee table.  Kathy picked it up and passed it around. The cover held the sweet, pungent smell of marijuana.”Have you heard this tracked all the way through on a great stereo system?” she asked.

None of us had.

“Prepare to have your minds blown!” she exclaimed.

We smoked a couple of joints and lay on the floor as Kathy put the disc on the turntable. For the next thirty-seven minutes or so, I was in a different world, and not for a second did the terror of the police riot enter my mind. It was amazing! Just a short time before we had been in fear for our lives, and now here we were mentally waltzing with Henry the Horse. No one but the Beatles could have carried us away like that.

LATimes_Headline_Century_PlazaAnd the time will come when you see we’re all one,” George Harrison sang as I entered a mild hallucination. I was peering out through the window of a space capsule. The Earth below was achingly vibrant in swirls of blue and white. I saw a world with no boundaries, no divisions.  We were all connected —my family, my friends, all of humanity. At the close of the last track,  A Day in the Life, as the E chord on the piano slowly faded away, I felt the urge to call out, Please don’t leave. Don’t let this end. I longed to stay in this musical universe. The needle entered the looping inside groove, and the speakers hummed with a warm, scratchy sound.

So much had happened that day. My mind was overwhelmed. The rally in the park now seemed like a distant memory, an idyllic moment fading in the waning summer light. I remembered fondly how that light had sparkled in Lauren’s eyes.

On the turntable the needle continued its loop.

A replay of the attack suddenly flashed through my brain like a blur of white helmets. I clenched a fist in anger as I recalled the brutality and stupidity of the act. Why did they have to do it?

Kathy made her way to the stereo and lifted the hinged acrylic top.

“Hey, Kathy,” I said. “Play it again!”



Additional Editing by:  Kathryn Albrecht
Special Thanks to: John Mack Faragher, Jimmy Faragher, Mike Fouch, Patrick McClure, Kathryn Albrecht
Graphic Design by: Bryan Faragher



A Sprint Through Paradise – Monterey in the Summer of Love, 1967

May 10, 2013 in Happenings, Thoughts



A Memory of June 16th, 1967, Monterey, California

It was a mellow summer night. Orange colored pennants fluttered in the benevolent breeze as I walked down the midway. I breathed in the cool Pacific air, and released a sigh of satisfaction. In the middle of the grassy lane a short, chubby policeman stood like a smiling Buddha, nodding  amiably at passers-by. It was Friday, and the Monterey Pop Festival had just kicked off its opening night concert. I was still high from performances by the Association, Lou Rawls, Eric Burden, Simon and Garfunkel, and others. It had been a happening only slightly marred by a group of  hippies in the bleachers who chose to accompany the ultra cool Rawls with some very uncool tambourine playing. I’d squirmed with embarrassment at each jangling accent on the one and three. The square moment had soon been forgotten, though, as I let myself flow with the evening’s good vibes.


Simon and Garfunkel at the Monterey Pop Festival, 1967

My brother, Jimmy and I, along with friend and band mate, Casey, had driven up the coast from L.A. the night before. After the concert we’d  temporarily parted company to stroll solo and take in the sights. I looked around. Canvass booths lined each side of the midway, but for such as important event, the concession stands were meager.  A few tents offered food or drink, while some hawked clothing, or crafts. Others simply passed out literature for left wing causes. The Beatles’ Sergeant  Pepper’s was blasting from one of the booths. I stopped to listen. “I’ve got to admit it’s getting better, just a little better all the time.” Paul sang. The music and the moment made me buzz with elation. I was moving among kindred spirits. No one here was going to hassle me for wearing my hair long, or for taking a stand against the war. I wondered – Were things only to get better from here on? Were we at the dawn of a new day? A new paradise?

Up ahead a circle had formed around two long-haired musicians. I approached to check it out. A shirtless man with sandy hair, headband, and painted face was playing a set of pan pipes. With eyes closed and lips puckered, he played a percussive pentatonic melody. Next to him, a dark-bearded man, wearing a long white robe, sat before a single conga drum, patting out a rhythmic accompaniment with his palms and fingers. Their lack of  technical skill was more than made up for by primitive passion, and the crowd was right there with them. When the music reached a climax, the two made eye contact and brought the improvised piece to a conclusion. The circle, me included, broke out in applause, and the tribe began to scatter.

tumblr_m8y0i2lS7j1rceea4o1_500Moving along, I suddenly  felt a brush of fingers on my forearm. Tingling at the touch, I turned and found myself looking into a pair of green eyes, deep and intelligent. The girl’s face, free of make-up, was lovely. Her brunette hair was wrapped in a multicolored scarf, and she was wearing a cream colored halter top with shorts. She literally took my breath away. The girl discreetly placed what I suspected was a joint in my right palm and folded my fingers back around it. Then,  grabbing my free hand, she gave a tug and we set off running. I could hear the bells around her ankles jingle as her bare feet touched the grass.

We ran down the lane to the end of the midway and into the darkness, laughing as we went. It felt as if we were the first couple, tripping through paradise. Ever the hopeless romantic, I willingly let myself get carried away, imagining that we would find a secluded spot to gaze into the starry sky and into each other’s eyes. Our hearts would race in anticipation as our lips drew nearer. We would kiss and talk for hours and spend the whole week-end together. I would never forget her. I would stay up until three in the morning to write her torrid love letters and poems and hitchhike for hundreds of miles in the pouring rain to see her.  I would…

We swung left into a field behind the fairgrounds where we were immediately hit by the sweet odor of cannabis, and scent of sandalwood. As my eyes adjusted to a darkness lit only by a crescent moon, I could make out perhaps a dozen groups of people sitting in circles. We approached one of the circles.

Summer_of_Love“Hey, Linda, who’s  your friend?” a girl asked.

Linda leaned in close to my face with questioning eyes.

“Danny.” I whispered.

“Everyone, this is Danny!”

“Hi, Danny!” the group hailed.

A friendly guy on the opposite side of the circle stretched an arm in invitation. “Hey, man, have a seat and join us!”

A guy and a girl sitting directly in front of me scooted apart to make room.


Linda made her way around the circle to sit beside the  young man who’d spoken. He turned his head her way.  “Hi there”

She smiled back. – “Hi.”

With a sagging feeling of disappointment, I recognized that these two were a couple. I was embarrassed at my having misread the situation, and felt a bit like a stray puppy someone might bring home. I was also surprised that her boyfriend seemed so straight. While his fellow travelers looked half hippie, his hair was short, and he was wearing an Ivy League shirt.

“I’m Todd.” he said. “This is Stuart and Meghan, and Bob and Susanne. ”

Just great. I thought. Three beautiful couples… and moi.

We all nodded and smiled.

“Danny’s come bearing gifts.”  Linda suddenly announced.

For an instant  I was confused , but then remembered the joint in my hand. I held it up between thumb and finger to everyone’s delight as long-haired  Stuart, on my left,  produced a lighter. I stuck the number in my mouth and leaned in to the flame. The Zig Zag paper crackled as I took a deep hit and exhaled. Wow! It was good shit. I passed it to Susanne on my right.

Across the circle Linda hugged her knees to her chest and looked over them at me. Oh, those eyes.  I said to myself, hoping my sigh was inaudible.

From their conversation, I learned they’d come down from San Jose. I gathered they’d all gone to school together.

“Where are you from?”  Todd asked.


I told them I was part of a band. We were up here together.

“Far out! What’s the name of the group?”  Bob asked.

I told him, and added that we’d just cut a single we were really excited about.

“Are you guys gonna play the Fillmore?” Stuart inquired as he passed the joint.

“I wish”

Ah, the San Francisco scene – the Airplane, the Dead, Quicksilver – Lately it was on everyone’s lips.

Janis Joplin Performing at Monterey Pop Festival

Janice Joplin on stage.

“I can’t wait to see Janis sing tomorrow. ”  said Susanne, as she blew smoke, and fingered her long brown braids.

Todd saw the puzzled look on my face. “Joplin.”  he said…  “Janis Joplin, the singer for Big Brother and the Holding Company.”

“She’s so cool!” Red-haired Meghan chimed in. “We saw her in the ‘City’. That girl can sing the blues!”

“I’ll definitely watch for Janis, and the band.” I said.  “I’m also really looking forward to seeing Laura Nyro perform. Have you heard her?”

It was their turn to look puzzled.

“She’s a great songwriter and singer. Very soulful. I’ve really gotten in to her album.”

With eyes slightly glazed, all present nodded politely.

Was I high? I knew from experience that asking myself the question meant that  I probably was.  I could feel my center lowering, and my body being enveloped in a warm sensuality. I yearned to hear some good music. Todd must have read my mind. He turned on a transistor radio and, seconds later, the Jefferson Airplane’s song, Embryonic Journey, flowed from the tiny speaker, wafting through the air like wind chimes riding a gentle breeze. The  acoustic guitar work was gorgeous, and filled me with longing. I snuck a glance at Linda. For a second, our eyes met but, just as quickly, we both averted our gaze.

The Monterey International Pop Music Festival

After the song ended, there were a few seconds of silence before the DJ began playing a track by Country Joe and the Fish. It was very psychedelic and full of tonal color. I was digging on the Farfisa organ, when I abruptly heard what sounded like a monstrous washing machine running out of balance. With quick crescendo, the sound grew in strength until it was right on top of us. I looked up and saw an army helicopter pass in front of the moon. The chopper began circling the fairgrounds like an ominous bird of prey. Its light blinked as its blades sliced through the air. Stuart looked skyward, and with a sneer, flipped the bird, pronging his finger emphatically. You had to love the guy! The craft circled a few more times before making its way back to from where it had come. I suspected they were probably on a joy ride from nearby Fort Ord, out to rain on our parade. It was a jarring moment, a stabbing pierce through the veneer of a peaceful night.

Susanne shook her head – “God, I hate thinking about what’s going on in Vietnam.”

“Yea, me, too.” Everyone agreed.

The war. That damned evil war. It was tearing us apart. I remembered back to a few months earlier, when I had carried out a one man anti-war protest at my community college. Placard in hand, I had naively thought I could convince people of the war’s folly simply by laying out the facts. I was wrong. While some students were cool, others had wanted to confront me, corner me, and shout me down with the spittle flying. I was called a commie, a freak.  Most people, however, were just plain old apathetic. I now looked upon it as a brave, but forlorn act. Although it had meant something to me, had I made a difference? I doubted it.


Tent city at The Monterey Pop Festival

“Hey, guys.” Todd said. He paused, and took a deep breath before continuing… “This may sound crazy, but I’ve decided to join up. I don’t like this stupid war either, but… hey,  I’m 1-A, and it’s just a matter of time before they draft me. My uncle thinks I have a decent shot at getting in to the Coast Guard. If that doesn’t work out, I’ll take the Navy. I might as well get  it over with so I can get on with my life. Just wanted to let you know.”

Everyone was quiet. Linda placed a hand tenderly on his arm.

He added with a nervous laugh – “Right now, though, I just want to enjoy the mellow vibes and beautiful people.”

“Hey, man, I’ll always be your friend”  Stuart declared. Others joined in with words of support.

I was at first surprised by Todd’s declaration. I could never do that, I thought.  Although I, too, had received 1-A status from the draft board, I had vowed not to kill another human being on someone’s command, and I refused to become cannon fodder for a war I thought was immoral and unjust. I would go to jail first. But I realized that Todd was looking at the larger trajectory of his life, and making a pragmatic choice. I respected him for that. Was I making long term choices or just chasing my dreams?  I couldn’t really say.

Once again my ears tuned into the music on the radio. “Wouldn’t you love somebody to love? Don’t you need somebody to love?” Grace Slick was shouting.

I could feel it was time for me to make an exit. I got up, and  brushed the dust from my jeans.

Linda looked up to make eye contact – “Oh, you’re not leaving already?”

“Yea , I’ve got to meet up with my buddies. Thanks for being so welcoming.” Then, making it clear that I was addressing everyone, I said “You’re beautiful!!” even as I winced inwardly at the triteness of my own words.

The circle bid me good-bye.

“Peace and Love” Stuart said, showing the finger “V” peace sign.

“Peace and love” I responded, giving the peace sign back.

On my way out, the booth was still playing Sergeant Pepper’s as I passed by.  “With our love we could save the world .” George sang. “If they only knew.”

Three weeks later...

Three weeks later…

Yes, if they only knew. Although I was high, my mind could see clearly. No doubt, for some of us this event would be a life changing experience, but for most it would simply be an entertaining diversion. The warrior culture runs deep, and we were not going to transform the world with just a song and a magical moment. I sighed. I knew in my bones that this happening was ephemeral. Like my brief encounter with lovely, green-eyed Linda, it was a beautiful, but fleeting thing – A  sprint through Paradise.