EXPERIENCE ROCK HISTORY
STEVE MILLER BAND
Olympic Auditorium, L.A. (Capacity: 15,300)
Steve Miller had a colorful history before gravitating to the San Francisco scene and becoming an accepted part of it. His style allowed him to capitalize on Rock, Pop, Psychedelic, Country and Blues – and all successfully.
All of his albums had great tunes but my favorite was Steve Miller # 5. This LP was cookin’ on my turntable and contained a song that would become the theme song for a drug (pretty cool pot) our group was experiencing around the time of this concert . The concert featured my faves from the #5 LP; so to see our theme song along with all of Miller’s “hits” performed live was a thrill! (All of his commercial hits came in the mid-to-late ‘70s)
“Jackson-Kent Blues” is an epic classic and was so good that you almost forgot it was a protest song about the killing of four students by the United States National Guard during student demonstrations against the war at Kent State University in Ohio. After laying down the hard-rockin’ rant, Miller takes off on a classic hard rock space jam showing his Space Cowboy roots; complete with LSD-laced watery echoplex and trailing, surging guitar wrangling and Wah-Wah wizardry throughout. It quickly became our fave background/foreground music for pretty cool pot shenanigans any day of the week, and for us was the crowning moment of this concert.
This track is usually pulled from the internet, but it’s up now so go for it! Jackson-Kent Blues
Sequences 2:22 thru 4:30 and 5:20 thru 7:18 are very Elecric Ladyland and solidly psychedelic PLUS the whole song ROCKS and the lyrics are righteous – easily in my Top 100 singles list!
Lineup: Steve Miller (synthesizer, bass, guitar, harmonica, vocals), Nicky Hopkins (piano), Tim Davis (drums, vocals), Ben Sidran (keyboards), Lonnie Turner (bass).
Set List: The Story of BB Leary (The Blues), Can’t You Hear You’re Daddy’s Heartbeat, Gangster of Love, Industrial Military Complex Blues / Jackson Kent Blues, Living In The USA, Space Cowboy
Encore: Going To Mexico
The fact that we had “groups” of people that we interacted with that converged around music and songs with lyrics that really defined our thoughts had a far-reaching effect that extended the already tribal brotherly love we were enjoying.
It was the birth of the REAL SOCIAL NETWORK
Much has been written about analog versus digital music and I’m not going to debate the issue here, I know from obvious personal experience that there is no comparison – I want to hear what the artist recorded.
But back when analog was the preferred method of listening, Long Playing (LP) 33 1/3 RPM records offered much more than a platter of vinyl encased in thin cardboard that contained full, rich, warm, sound – LPs were portals to the Real Social Network.
The shared experience of record listening was a great cultural and social networking thunderhead that literally gets overlooked. Mainly because it became a life-style for many of us – human interaction was normal.
In the fifties when Rock ‘n’ Roll took off, it was a hard flight at first as it was considered “race” music by the white majority. Rock ‘n’ Roll showed its undefeatable power when the archetypal “American Teenager” bought those records and played them anyway.
Surely many battles were won and lost over Rock back then BUT the Real Social Networking began. Teens would get together anywhere they could to listen to the latest LPs and 45s and even 78s in some cases. Real connections were made with real people.
By the late fifties and early sixties most homes had Hi-Fis and “easy listening” turned into Rock ‘n’ Roll when the parents were not around.
By the mid-sixties pre-teens, teens and young adults would have music going on all the time and the introduction of stereo as opposed to monaural improved our listening pleasure (that’s debatable to some listening cults) BUT it wasn’t until the Counter Culture Hippies of the mid-to-late sixties that the shared record listening experience became a cultural phenomenon – and when the Real Social Network took off.
Daily and nightly tribal gatherings in Hippie pads, dorm rooms, and houses were always accompanied by music. Either host’s choice, group agreement or someone would bring a new LP to listen to.
The whole vinyl record listening culture really took their time to appreciate and absorb not only the music, but the information on the instruments the band members used and played, about the band members, where it was recorded and so on..
After listening to an LP, another would take its place or if impressed or a favorite, we’d play it again.
Plus the 12” LP size allowed us to actually see who the artists were and provided some amazing groovy far out art to enjoy while listening. Additionally the covers were sacredly used as the plateaus to collect weed residue for the rolling of a joint – and – if adept; the separating of weed from seed. And lastly, sometimes there would be posters to unfold that were included inside, plus stickers, booklets and anything that the record company promotion department thought fit.
Most times, conversations would brew and the LPs then turned into hip background soundtracks to “heavy” discussions.
You could tell where someone was at by their interests and could find kindred spirits through the mutual appreciation of a particular artist or sound. Or debate any and all of the truly amazing music we were blessed with. All the while joints and bowls of hash would be inhaled deeply.
Music was so central to our lives that when we weren’t going to concerts or clubs while listening to the radio or 8 tracks and cassettes in our cars or portable players, we would be discussing the bands, band members, their styles and songs. How could we not? All of the major Rock Icons came to be in the sixties; and we were magically caught up in the whole scene.
Now transfer the image of the tribal gathering of music lovers at a Hippie pad, then throughout a neighborhood, then a town, then a city, and out across America, reflecting the origin of all of this with the British Invasion and you see how the shared album experience connected us all.
Eric Clapton commented on the shared album experience scene too in a recent Rolling Stone article and after sharing pretty much the same info as I just described, he then went on to ask a similar hypothetical question as I (he was much more tactful): In today’s Self-Centered Society, does anyone even share a new or classic CD or DVD with a friend – or anyone?
With personal downloaded music and ear buds, an entire generation has entered into an encapsulated world of solitude – replacing human interaction with Facebook, texting and all forms of digital interaction that removes the fear and possibility of actual human contact on a personal level.
Hey, I’m entrenched in the digital world too, it’s fucking magic! And that’s why I can speak from experience. And because of that, I sincerely feel for all those who will never experience the many joys surrounding analog music and the very real human “social network” it provided – and at a perfect time in history.
1965 – 1975 RULES FOREVER!