KPPC / Warner Brothers
Captain Beefheart & his Magic Band
3-20-1971 Pasadena Civic Auditorium, Pasadena, CA (Capacity: 3,000)
Definition of a Classic Hippie:
#1 Live with your working girlfriend.
#2 Bulk deliver the L.A. Times from 2 AM to 6 AM at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport).
#3 During the day, make candles to supply to local retailers.
#4 Get high and listen to KPPC while doing #1, #2 and #3.
Yeah, that was me, once again gifted to be traveling through an incredible space in time – for about a year that was my schedule and for eighteen months L.A. was treated to a once in a lifetime true radio phenomenon; KPPC.
We didn’t know how good we had it. Every day brought forth something new and exciting in a time when the social environment almost demanded these events to manifest! And so they did!
Originally broadcast from a Pasadena church basement, KPPC was one of the Nation’s first rock underground radio stations and the very first in Southern California.
It was a station for us, the counter-culture, it was totally hip, fun, intelligent and laid-back plus they played all the music we wanted – program director Tom Donohue’s vision made sure of that with right-on DJs in a righteous groove with their audience and the times.
We were treated daily to high-larious satirical improvisational newscasts by the comedy group the Credibility Gap (Michael McKean, David L. Lander, Richard Beebe, and Harry Shearer – all future icons), a capella radio spots by the Persuasions, early Dr. Demento, and all the relevant music we needed to hear.
I “lived” via the airwaves with the KPPC family of DJs while I made candles and “got to know” them as they were with me all day and all night! The vibe of the station fit my life-style perfectly. Magic!
I had a “candle factory” set up on the back patio of a duplex my girlfriend and I rented. My buddy would come over early and we’d get high while prepping and pouring candles, all the while KPPC was our constant companion.
I had it down – the whole process – I was in a once-in-a-lifetime position to sell “Hippie Culture Paraphernalia”; as the straights were seeing the money to be made off of our culture. That was fine with me, as this wasn’t mass-production it was quality hand-made useful (scented/provides light) and decorative (Hippy Trippy) items that we supplied for the current demand and made a decent profit.
We’d take our finished products (we even gave them model numbers (QR4: with driftwood and QR5 :without or with QR3: some sand still attached or QR2: torched-off to a high sheen, and so on) and cruise into the local Broadway department store to the Notions department and the woman clerk would pay us cash out of the register – no paperwork, no vendor clearances, no background checks, no I.D. disclosures and no haggling – they just paid the amount we requested (per each; totaled) and marked ’em up and put ‘em on the shelves as we were walking out the door.
We’d be back the next week and they’d be sold out! Right on!
We’d invest our candle profits into a kilo (2.2 lbs.) of marijuana and then sell lids at $10.00 each and make our candle money back plus a profit off the key plus a decent amount of free stash of weed.
We were mini-entrepreneurs and didn’t even realize it – as it was a lifestyle, an alternative lifestyle that kept us high, happy and self-sustainable, for the most part. Necessity really is the mother of invention.
This went on for quite a while until we were buying slabs of different melting point wax from the petroleum companies, yeah, we were able to do that too. Soon the question arose; do we go big time or move to Mammoth Mountain? My girlfriend and I and our three dogs moved to Mammoth and left the World of Wax behind.
Today the Home Décor Aromatherapy Candle business is a billion dollar industry – just remember who started all this commerce.
Us Hippies … you’re welcome.
The KPPC Peoples’ Concert was a great promotion for the new WB acts. I’ve read where it was a $1.50 general admission concert, but I remember it as only 50 cents – either way, it wasn’t about the money it was about the times and the fact that these types of promotions were possible once.
The KPPC DJs came out on stage and it was a trip to finally see all the on-air personalities that I heard throughout the day: B. Mitchel Reed, Steven Segal (aka “The Obscene Steven Clean;”), Susan Carter (aka “Outrageous Nevada”), Jeff Gonzer, Tom Donahue and Les Carter.
The gathering of loyal KPPC listeners were treated to a day of great uplifting rock ‘n’ roll by new bands we had grown to love. And the artists were treated to a very enthusiastic audience of appreciative people. Everybody benefitted!
At the end of Summer, beginning of Fall of 1971, my girlfriend and I left L.A. and out of range of KPPC and moved to the rugged wilderness community of Mammoth Mountain and lived there for about six months.
Ironically, on a quick turnaround trip to L.A. while listening to KPPC at a friend’s on the evening of 10-24-71, I heard B. Mitchell Reed (the Fastest Tongue in the West) speak of the threatened mass-firing of the entire on-air staff that evening! I was shocked! He said he’d talk and play music until they pulled the plug, which later that evening they did; ending forever an incredible station, KPPC, and at the same time, ending an incredible era.
Line-up: Listed above.
Set list: Mostly cuts from the first LPs of these bands, possibly from the Capt.’s 2nd or 3rd LP.
CAPT. BEEFHEART – DIDDY WAH DIDDY – VIDEO’S A HOOT!
DOOBIE BROTHERS – FOR SOMEONE SPECIAL – Not from this era but had to include as it’s their best!
LITTLE FEAT – WILLIN’
RY COODER – BEST RY, BEST MICK, BEST MOVIE “PERFORMANCE” – DIG IT!