After historic times at the beach pad, an era had ended and two of us (the Driver from Mind-Blower #1) moved into a nice, but unfurnished stand-alone place isolated on top of our garage and several other units’ garages. This gave us tremendous freedom to play loud music, both from our stereo and from us – the Driver was a guitarist and I had a drum kit and friends would drop by and jam. We could cut loose and party every day and night with outrageous behavior and no one complained.
Our apartment was situated mid-way down the back-alley that served as the main exit of the most popular McDonald’s in the area. So our convenient location became a place to “drop by” and the apartment soon became known as the “Topside Room”.
We never furnished it other than our bedrooms – there were some Hippie pillows and a mattress in the front room along with my drum kit in the corner and an amp and speaker – the kitchen literally turned into a workshop where my buddy built his components for his future step van mobile home. The fumes from the resin-lacquered propane-burnt wood boards could get you high just entering the place. I don’t ever remember even using the kitchen to make a meal – we knew waitresses at several local restaurants that we frequented and they’d get us free meals – sometimes breakfast and dinner on the same day. We were livin’ like total Bohemians back then.
I was still working at the art department (saving-up money so I could quit and go have Hippie Adventures, which I did), when one night a good friend upon arrival back from Hawai’i treated us to some bowls of Primo Abdoolie #1 Hash. I knew it was Primo Hash; as I could taste it in my brain, really. Then for a few nights straight a small circle of friends came by the Topside Room and we got pretty hallucinogenic from this Primo Hash. I remember vividly, we were all sitting on the floor of my buddy’s bedroom and after several tokes I felt the whole room tip and slant to the point I thought we would all slide out through his doorway.
After a couple nights of this ritualistic mind-bending Hashish I became such a drugged numbed artist at work that it was only when the Exacto blade that had jammed into my leg through my jeans (when I got up from my drawing table to go use the darkroom) and the handle hit the doorway as I was walking through did I say, OW! And looked down at the blood-soaked area around my stabbed leg and realized that just maybe I should stop, or at least slow down on the Hashish consumption, and I did for one night – what was I thinking? This was Primo Abdoolie #1 Hash! I haven’t had any since! I was an unenlightened dope to skip a night.
A few days after the Abdoolie Primo #1 Hash rituals ceased and we were ready for some psychedelic fun, we decided to drop acid and go for a motorcycle ride – now that’s not strange for us, we’d done that before, but this time it was a very blustery and windy early evening and the sights of the trees swaying in the wind and the sounds of the howling winds created an atmosphere that made the evening already psychedelic.
I remember feeling the anticipation of fun to be had as I was on my bike giddily revving the engine at the people who came down our alley while my buddy did the same– it was so windy and blustery that we were just adding to the cacophony of the leaves flying and the wind howling.
Our metal horses were screaming, chomping at the bit, wanting us to let them loose and ride. Once we settled them down we took off and headed for the beach towns for some psychedelic sight-seeing and cruisin’ fun.
As we rode past our old beach pad at 338 Pershing in Playa Del Rey, we curved onto PCH and headed for the beach cities Hermosa and Redondo. It was getting dark and the winds had died down so we could enjoy the ambient setting sun.
Although my buddy had been known to do the “Coffin” (a lethally dangerous move) on his bike – tonight we both had a lethally dangerous experience – and while tripping on LSD.
Fortunately, we were slowing to enter the first beach town proper, slowing meaning about 50 mph, when my buddy pulled his bike up next to mine and we immediately got our handlebars entangled – for real!
My right throttle grip and his left grip and clutch were stuck – all I thought of was the next second we would dovetail together into end-over-end human and metal pretzels.
At the last second before we miraculously got “unhooked” I looked over at him and his face was this psychedelic grinning skull – as if he did it on purpose and with a look of, “Wasn’t that fun!?”
His Triumph 650 could catch my Honda 350, but I still got way out ahead of him and lost him in Hermosa Beach. (I later upgraded to a classic ’69 900cc Harley-Davidson Sportster! Cool!) He didn’t try and catch me – he may have been as terrified of me!
We later ran into each other on the main boulevard, not literally, and cruised the rest of the psychedelic night by taking in the fresh, crisp, night sea air, the sparkling, vibrant yet soothing lights, the incredible unhelmeted joy that you get from becoming one with a powerful machine between your legs that responds to your every move and the total freedom of mind, spirit and body of living right then.
Now the question is; what was real, and what was a hallucination?
Everything was real, however, even though my friend had moments of evil-tinted mischievous deeds, manifesting into a skeletal demon was beyond his capabilities – but I could see his grin in there, so, that’s one of the fun things about hallucinogenics; the real and the unreal blend and you experience what you see and hear as real, but very rarely is it life-threatening – our ride with Near Death was.
Hey, as long as you live to tell the tale …
Here’s a truly amazing look at what we were listening to in the Spring of 1970 –
all of these albums were released within the previous seven months!!!
TEN YEARS AFTER – SSSSH – August 1969
FLEETWOOD MAC – THEN PLAY ON – September 9, 1969
the BEATLES – ABBEY ROAD – September 26, 1969
KING CRIMSON – IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING –October 10, 1969
FRANK ZAPPA – HOT RATS – October 10, 1969
LED ZEPPELIN – LED ZEPPELIN II – October 22, 1969
the ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND – THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND – November 4, 1969
PINK FLOYD – UMMAGUMMA – November 10, 1969
the MOODY BLUES – TO OUR CHILDRENS’ CHILDRENS’ CHILDREN – November 21, 1969
ROD STEWART – the ROD STEWART ALBUM – November 1969
the ROLLING STONES – LET IT BLEED – December 5, 1969
GRAND FUNK RAILROAD – GRAND FUNK – December 29, 1969
ZEPHYR – ZEPHYR – 1969
FRIJID PINK – FRIJID PINK – January 1970
VAN MORRISON – MOONDANCE – February 28, 1970
CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG – DEJA VU – March 11, 1970
JIMI HENDRIX – BAND OF GYPSYS – March 25, 1970
TRULY HISTORIC TIMES!