Monthly Archives: August 2011

SPRUNG!

Standard

SPRUNG!

Spring had sprung and so had I. I was back at Manor Lane, playing with the Toad on the weekend. I started teaching at the Southeastern Guitar Academy which was started by my professor  Rene Gonzalez, who was head of the U.M. classical guitar program. His former pupil and close friend, Steve Morse would stop in. The Mavericks rehearsed there. It was a happening place to be. Life was good. I had pushed my luck and wasn’t about to blow it. This was the period that I started immersing myself in yoga. My teacher June Blank turned out to be a disciple of the swami that owned Manor Lane. She had to be in her 60’s then. ( and still going strong! ) I couldn’t keep up with her. It was around that time that I also got a gig playing acoustic on campus at an outdoor café by the L.C. The “ pizza stand, “ no real name just the“ pizza stand “ People even recognize me sometimes and say hey you’re the guy that played outside the “ pizza stand.” and I know what they mean. They served coffee and muffins in the morning and pizza and salads for lunch to the University students and employees that streamed by. I sat in a  chair and played acoustic guitar and sang, no amplification required, 3 days a week for a couple of hours. I got paid $75 plus food and tips. It was a great gig. I got to work on my repertoire in front of an appreciative audience. All the tables would fill up with women. I’d be lying if I said they were all there for me.The guys that worked there were chick magnets! ( and the food was pretty good too. ) There was lots of pretty girls, whole sororities full, their heart throb was the former lead singer from local punk superstars the unlikely named CORAL GABLES who worked there. He had them lining up! All kinds of people walked by Hurricane players, Bob Marley’s kids, members of Day By The River, singer/songwriter Gabe Dixon would walk by playing a flute. I played there for years and became a fixture on campus, playing there and on the patio with Smoking Toad or at the frats. All this years after I graduated! Another thing that brought me around campus was the newly formed University of Miami Hemp Awareness Council ( U.M.H.A.C.) a student organization formed to educate people about Cannabis Hemp. FOOD, FUEL, FIBER, and MEDICINE was our mantra. Of course I wasn’t a student member, all the credit goes to them. I was “ alumni advisor. “ I’m really proud of the stuff we did. Our Hemp Awareness Council bake sales on the Breezeway blew everyone’s minds. One time we served hemp cheese burgers, both the “burger” and the “cheese were made from cannabis hemp seed and damn tasty too! You can buy them at the natural food grocery store, all kinds of hemp food products. Did you know the hemp seed is second only to the soybean in protein?  A handful of hemp seed is a full daily requirement of protein, that is a U.S.D.A. figure. Hemp seed oil contains all the essential fatty acids & amino acids like omegas 3’s. And now that studies have shown that too much soy consumption can be unhealthy to the human body, hemp food products are considered a better alternative. I think it’s the vegan solution to replacing all animal products, meat and dairy in our diet…and it makes great brownies! Personally, I would like to see cannabis hemp rescheduled from a class 1 controlled dangerous substance to one of the basic 4 food groups.

( parts of that spiel were excerpted from a radio interview
I did on WDNA. Here it is in it’s
entirety,… )

tommorrow Friday Feb. 3rd on WDNA
88.9

( or online @ seriousjazz.org  )

at 11am on the Bohemian
Manifesto
with the gracious Grace
Cabeza
,

we will will be talking about medical marijuana as well as other
things with…

SPACE
HIPPIE

MAGICIAN,
MUSICIAN,

ACTIVIST,
YOGI ( author’s note: FOOL )

here’s some of what you’ll hear…

Q. your card says magician, musician was does that mean?

A. well I think of myself as a mus/gician,  music and magick being the tools of the trade, and not the stage magic of tricks and illusion but real Magick ( capital M with a k ) which is not only about making the external world conform to one’s will but also making one’s will,  be an expression of the true will, what a Taoist might describe as the ” will of heaven “, the Greater Will…

I’m trying to change the world from the inside out!

Q. indeed, how did you get the name Space Hippie?

A. as nickname back in college, I hated it but it stuck and I couldn’t live in down so I decided to make a career out of it…

Q. weren’t you on People’s Court?

A. yeah that was ridiculous, Club M in Hollywoodstiffed the band so we sued them on the show. Judge Milian ( who’s from Miami by the way ) would address me as Space Hippie and the audience would burst out laughing. I was wearing my Space Hippie tye dye t-shirt,when they went to commercial and said “will Space Man get his money tune after these messages “. It was a real Cheech and Chong episode.

Q. you won though, right?

A. oh yeah the guy who owns Club M really stuck his foot in his mouth and the judge let him have it. He ripped us off and he rips bands off all the time.All the local musicians know it and avoid the place. That’s why we all call it Club M. T. it’s always empty!

Q. well let’s talk about your hemp activism…

A. ok well when I was at U.M. I helped form the University of Miami‘s Hemp Awareness Council. We we’re a
student organization dedicated to educating the public about the use of the plant Marijuana/ Cannabis/Hemp as a natural resource for FOOD, FUEL, FIBER, and MEDICINE

The flowering tops maybe been commonly used recreationally but it’s true importance is it’s use as FOOD,
FUEL, FIBER, and MEDICINE

Q. Food?

A. yes the hemp seed protein content is second only to the soybean, a handful of hemp seeds contains a full daily requirement of protein, that is a USDA figure. I’m not just talking about eating the raw seeds, anything that is made from soy can be made from hemp seed. The Hemp Council used to have bake sales. We used to make hemp burgers with hemp cheese. Hemp is can replace meat and dairy in one’s diet. It is the true vegan alternative. Also hemp seeds contain all the essential fatty acids and amino acids like Omega 3’s the people need. It’s also great for the hair, the skin, the digestion…

Q. but what does it taste like?

A. well the oil has a nutty flavor but it’s more neutral like tofu in that it needs to be flavored.

Q. does it get you stoned?

A. no the seed contains miniscule amounts of THC the active ingredient in marijuana that gets you high, that’s why hemp food products are available in the U.S. They usually import them from Canada after the seeds are irradiated by the DEA so they won’t grow!.

Q. isn’t the irradiation harmful?

A. that’s a whole another story, of course ideally hemp food products shouldn’t be irradiated.    Canada is utilizing hemp as a natural resource in a big way not just food products, in construction, hair products. It was on the cover of Forbes magazine how Canada’s economy is soaring because of pot! Canadian pot, ounce for ounce is worth more than gold!? We need to start utilizing this natural resource and taxing the revenue! Most people don’t even know it’s FUEL.

Q. it’s fuel?

A. YES! Henry Ford ran a car on biomass hemp fuel in the 30’s and that was the reason it was made illegal in 1937 because of pressure from the petrochemical industries. They didn’t want the competition. Is it coincidence the highest offices in our government are held by former CEO’s of oil companies? Our president just spoke about getting the American people free from their addiction to foreign oil in his state of the union address. ( authors note: that would be G.W. )

Well people this is Space Hippie’s state of the union address. The answer is 100% U.S. homegrown hemp. Did you know this country was founded on hemp?

George Washington was a hemp farmer. So was Thomas Jefferson.The flags Betsy Ross sewed WERE MADE FROM HEMP! The U.S. Constitution was drafted on hemp paper.

There was a time you could pay your taxes with hemp!?

Q. that’s the fiber…

A. Sure, now everybody knows it’s paper and that has real advantages too, less chemicals, longer lasting, plus you can yield 3 times as much paper bi-annually from an acre of hemp as you can from an acre of forest. Bi-annually, twice a year, every year. That forest of old growth trees is gone for years and years and years.

Q. ok let’s talk about medicine

A. everyone knows the people of state of California voted to legalize medical marijuana, Proposition 215 in 1996. Since then 10 other states have passed similar legislation. ( authors note: now it’s 16 states ) In 1997 as Associate Director of the Coalition Advocating Medical Marijuana, CAMM, I worked on a FL referendum campaign. Floridais the only southern state that’s state constitution allows the voters to petition to put referendums on the ballot. I traveled the entire state with Elvy Mussika who is one of seven people grandfathered in the federal govt’s Compassionate Use Act ( which was ended during the Bush administration.)  ( author’s note: Bush senior ) She gets 300 joints a month from the  federal govt. to treat her glaucoma.I am not making this up! She get’s 300 joints in this big tin, the most horrible schwag dirt weed.The joke on tour was well Elvy you still got that govt. shit to smoke don’t bogart my joint my friend! It’s just cruel and inhuman punishment. Canadian patients have proved that with high grade marijuana like B.C. bud they only have to smoke a few puffs a day to get relief. Under the U.S.’s Compassionate Use Act, Elvy was prescribed 10 joints a day of schwag!? Also Keep in mind that we’re talking about a schedule one narcotic under fedederal law which means that it has no medical usage EVEN THOUGH THE FEDERAL GOVT. STILL PRESCRIBES IT TO SEVEN PEOPLE!Where are the rest? They are dead. ( author’s note: now there’s only living 4 federal patients )

I think they would be happy if the rest all died too. That was my experience traveling the state, dying AIDS patients being kicked in the head by the cops telling them “die faggot”, little old ladies about to lose their family farm for growing a few scrawny plants on their property for their arthritis, Cancer patients too brainwashed by propaganda to use cannabis when they’re already prescribed things far worse! We saw one county lending another county their helicopter so they could make a bunch of seizures and the afford their own. Particularly in Northern Florida,
it’s still a big growing region. Anyone remember Gainesville Green? We traveled all through the panhandle, you know the redneck Riviera?The Bible belt of FL and guess what? people came out to support us, to sign the petition.

Getting signatures was never hard to do. People want to sign we just don’t have the deep pocket that the other Lobbyists do to pay people to collect signatures, we need volunteers! We’re a grass roots campaign pardon the pun.

( authors note: this interview and CAMM is ancient history now, the deadline to collect the required number of signatures came and went so we had to start all over again AND that rat bastard Jeb Bush passed state laws upping the number of signatures to 700, 000.  ( it was 450,000 then ) so let’s talk about now…

So YES, there is a current FL referendum petiton to get it on the 2012 ballot.

We can do it with your help. You can find the current petition @ www.pufmm.org

PUFMM, People United For Medical Marijuana is a PAC, a political action committee based in Orlando. Look them up, volunteer to collect signatures of all your family and friends, it’s your right to ask people to sign in public places, at the post office, at the library, at the courthouse ( that’s a good place! ) If you are a registered FL voter you can sign. We have until August of 2012 to get the required signatures, so
get to it!

Advertisements

V.O.P.

Standard

I told you my blog was more chronic-logical than chrono – logical. I’m getting ahead of myself. Early 90’s, ’91, maybe ’92…All I know is things were going swimmingly then I effed up big time. To make a long story short, I failed my piss test. The test they do in the probation office is fallable ( malleable even ) but if they send your shit ( your piss actually ) to the lab…YOU CAN NOT BEAT THE SPECTRUM  ANALYZER!!! You can drink your pregnant sister’s pee, you can shave your body from head to toe, resort to voodoo, BUT I REPEAT YOU CANNOT BEAT THE SPECTRUM ANALYZER!!!

Since a warrant for my arrest for violation of probation ( V.O.P. ) was immanent, I went on the lam. Being an outlaw on the run sure looks romantic in the movies, but believe me it sucks. My fleeing was for more practical reasons. Instead of turning myself in locally and then sitting for weeks or months in jail waiting to be shipped back to Volusia County,( the original jurisdiction of my probation ) I decided to cut out the middle man and save some time and go up there and turn myself in. That’s how I ended up knocking on the front door of Volusia County Correctional Facility on Easter Sunday no less and saying “ um, I think you guys are looking for me…”

So I was back and no guarantees of leaving anytime soon. Also I was in a stricter security level which was cell blocks inside the facility. We were always on lockdown. They never let us out except in the day room. A t.v. some metal tables with uncomfortable round circles to sit on.  A few books but nothing much else but cards and a chess board if you were lucky. It was a depressing, uncertain time. A guy I had worked with doing laundry hung himself in his cell one night. He was supposed to get out but every time he got close they would slap more time on him for stupid infractions. This went on forever and finally he lost it. I can still remember walking past the cell block after they discovered his body. He was up there still hanging. I couldn’t see it but you could feel it. Spooky.

Jail’s like anyplace there’s people, you make friends. I hung out with a couple of goofballs like me that didn’t fit in with the gangster wanna be’s in general population. We’d get all jacked up on coffee and get goofy, trying to laugh and forget our present circumstances. Once in an effort to frame my cell mate, I ripped off a bunch of those tags that say “ Do not remove under penalty of law “ from a bunch of pillows and stashed them under his pillow. He retaliated by making a realistic looking shank from a plastic spoon which actually could have got me in trouble, that thing could’ve put somebody’s eye out! One night we actually convinced the guys in our cellblock to watch “ Pee Wee’s Big Adventure “ which was on t.v. that night. It was hard to wrestle control for the t.v. In jail they watch sports of course, C.O.P.s religiously which I found ironic and any sit com that has predominantly black people in it. So there we were watching Pee Wee with a bunch of hardened criminals. What a hoot! The movie had everyone in stitches. “ ha ha aw hell naw that bitch is shot out “ It mellowed everyone out and there was an actual good mood for a few days. To quell disturbance in Correctional Facilities I recommend the Pee Wee Herman films or even a couple episodes of his television show. That should do it. So finally my day in court came and they reinstated me. They escorted me out the door leaving me without so much as a bus ticket home. Luckily, I got Commie Dave to come pick me up and give me a ride back to Miami.

 

still smoking…

Standard

Post Andrew, Slowly Miami returned to business as usual, ( not South Dade though that took longer. ) The rainbow picnics moved to Peacock Park. Smoking Toad finally did play on the U.M. patio ( and continued to do so for years. ) The Toad became a really good little band. The hurricane had brought us together. We got along and liked alot of the same music. Our audience was definitely the deadheads and we played a lot of that but also we had a bunch of originals. Me and the other guitarist became a decent songwriting team and I’m proud of those tunes. ( Now, if I could only remember how any of them went…) We scored a big gig ( for us anyway! ) across the street from campus at this sports bar  called Coaches. They could hold a good 300 people and we packed the place every Thursday for their Dead night. I remember this ridiculous radio promo on the Dead Hour that aired every Sunday night. You know those guys that do the monster truck shows? ( imitates a deep growly voice) COME SEE SMOK-ING TOOOOADDDDD!!!  AT COACHES!!!!! CCCCCCCCOOOOAAAAACCCCCHHHHHHESSSSSS!!!!!

SMOKINedit

STEAL YOUR FRAT

The music of the Grateful Dead was pretty popular with the frats and we played a whole bunch of their parties too. Old timers fondly remember the influx of frat boys at Dead shows after they played “ Touch of Gray “ on MTV, I say in jest. Yes, they were loud and obnoxious and from New Jersey but their love and devotion was just as real as any macrobiotic flower child of the 60’s. When the Dead played the Hollywood Sportatorium back in 1986, Sigma Chi chartered a bus with a keg. You were either on the bus or off the bus. I was definitely off! I drove with some guys from my dorm that had never been to a show and didn’t know what to expect. What they got was a really weird show. We pull up in the parking lot next to a van of federal agents ( tye dyes, short hair, BROWN SHOES ) I guess they were doing Dead tour too. The whole lot was sweaty, scruffy heads who were looking rough after making the long trek from the previous show. This was the end of the line, last show of the tour. Something sketchy was in the air.The carnival atmosphere had a tinge of the macabre. This one mime clown was freaking me out. Shakedown Street looked like Desolation Row. Just as I thought I was going to lose it, my friends who had walked around the lot looking for mushrooms, came back with a baggie full of grocery store bought mushrooms, big white caps, the kind you put on your pizza! I laughed my ass off.

Aerial_photo_of_the_Hollywood_Sportatorium

The show was awesome even if the venue was a cauldron, a corrugated tin roofed hangar in the Everglades, the Hollywood Sportatorium. No seating.We sat right on the concrete floor. Well not for long but incredibly we walked right up to the stage and sat down. First set they did the Cowboy Bob show which was absolutely what I wanted to hear. I had been playing a lot of bluegrass and country. I think it was the only time they did El Paso into Mexicali Blues. The Snortatorium. Yeah the Dead came to Miami pretty regularly. After that they were at the Miami Arena. ( Look up this show: Miami Jai Lai Fronton  6- 22- 1974)

tix

One year, my buddy flew into town for the Miami Arena shows and we went to Woody’s on the Beach the night before. Woody’s was a club on South Beach owned by Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones. The house band was led by sax man Bobby Keyes, the man who played on all those Stones classic ( and still tours with them today. ) In walks Brent Mydland and Bill Kreutzman ( the Dead’s keyboardist and drummer ) they sit in and tear the roof off the place. We got to meet them afterward my buddy’s giving them his card telling them if the ever need lawn service…( weeks later I got a chance to play with Bobby Keys and the band at Ron Wood’s club no less, with my creamed colored ’58 reissue tele…I was walking on cloud #9 for a week! ) When the Dead were in town, Smoking Toad would play an aftershow at Churchill’s. When we played Churchill’s we always packed the place too. Dave let the bands run the door and keep 100% of it, he got the bar of course, an incredibly fair deal. We actually made some money. One memorable gig was with another U.M. band ( and jam band legends look them up! ) DAY BY THE RIVER. Our home base was at a place that’s not there anymore Brickell Tavern. It was a cosy bar with a stage right around the corner from Tobacco Road. That place was great for us because all the rainbow hippies would show up and take over. We had insane gigs there. I remember one night it was  $5 at the door which included  helping yourself to a handful from a huge bowl of freshly  picked Psycilocibin Cubensis,  ( which is a really good deal, I wish more places would do that! ) The décor inside featured melting paintings that dripped down the wall. My amp would pick up these radio signals there, static and bits of talking in Spanish, that somehow would really fit in to the jams we were doing!

DBR

A lot of good stuff happened at that place. We played outside on the sidewalk one year at Brickell Tavern for Calle Ocho, the big latin music fest. ( it was on the corner of s.w. 8th street  and Miami Ave. ) That was the year Gloria Esteban was playing on a stage all the way down the other end of the street ( 27 blocks or so ) They broke the Guiness World record for longest conga line which ran all those blocks overlapping our gig! Also Brickell Tavern was also where I met August Campbell, the writer of the I – 95 Asshole Song (  “ You piss me off you fucking jerk… “ ) which had been a jukebox smash. He soon was to have a big influence on my new musical direction.

The Calm Before the Storm, Hurricane Andrew ’92

Standard

It was summer of ’92 just before Hurricane Andrew. The Rainbow Picnics in Peacock Park continued every Sunday. The Cosmic Connection closed down but  I was still playing at places around the Grove, The Hungry Sailor, The Bread Station, Zanzibar. This was still the pre-Cocowalk Coconut Grove era. Things were way different then. I remember no matter where I was playing, Peter Betan was always playing at the place across the street ( and still is! how does he do that? )  Solo acoustic was cool but I needed to put another band together.

I met this young guy at one of the Rainbow picnics that was a Deadhead and played guitar. Talking to him awhile I found out he had got busted for acid at a show. He went to court and got probation. He was just about to report that week for the first time. Pretty much the same thing had happened to me and I had been on probation for awhile now. I was an old hand by this time so I gave him some advice. “ They’re going to piss test you and make you pay $30 a month “ ( ah the good ol’ days I think it’s $50 now ) “ Yes, of course they’re going to piss test you for pot. Sure you can beat the test. how? here’s a book by Abbie Hoffman “, ( that I got signed by Abbie Hoffman when he spoke at U.M. ) “ Steal This Urine Test “ read it…you’ll be o.k. ” Poor little greenie. That was how we met. We became good friends and later started a band together. The funny thing was he ended up having the same probation officer as me, Donna Ellis. On the top of the her monthly forms it said: Ellis, D. ha ha

Soon after we started gigging around town as a duo, Dos Amigos playing originals and Dead covers.  Then we found some other players from U.M. and soon we had a band. We just needed a name. I had been working for L.E.R. ( LEGENDARY ETHNOBOTANICAL RESOURCES ) They were one of the first companies to import Salvia Divinorum. The owner, Brother Lou was going through a toad licking phase. One day he told me he found out you could smoke it, thus Smoking Toad was born. We started practicing in my living room at my haunted cottage on Manor Lane. Our first gig was supposed to be on the U.M. patio the first week of classes but that was the year Hurricane Andrew paid an unexpected visit on August 24th, 1992. That weekend Lollapalooza was on Saturday night. I didn’t go but my band mates all did and came back high on mushrooms. The next day everyone’s was at Home Depot and Publix buying supplies while were stocking up on dope and tequila. All our neighbors are boarding up there houses and heading out of town and we were playing in the living room having a party. By nightfall, when they knew it was going to hit us, we piled the couches up against the front windows, and whatever else we could find. We were kind of left to fend for ourselves. We were still playing when the power went out about 2 am. It was all still fun and games ‘til the huge tree in the front yard came crashing down, smacking against the front of the house. That scared the shit out of us. Then we hunkered down in the hallway and kept partying as we rode out the storm. And what a hell of a storm it was, a Category 5. That old house took a beating. When the eye of the storm passed over us at dawn, we walked out in the yard. It was eerily still. Some of my neighbors had lost their roof. All the streets were blocked by down trees and powerlines. We took a look around and then went back inside, there was still some more storm to go. That morning when it finally passed, we went in to the backyard and found a huge parrot ( I think a mackaw ) with a broken wing. We figure he came from Parrot Jungle just down the road. We took him in and nursed him back to health. Later me and a buddy biked all the way to Mattheson Hammock Park. There’s a marina there. The first thing we see at the front gate of the park is the ice machine from the marina a mile down the road just sitting there. On the road we saw boats in the middle of the forest, no trees down around them. They came flying straight down. When we got to the marina, there would be demolished boats on top each other next to a boat with not a scratch. Never seen anything like it.

When we biked back, U.S. 1 was utter chaos. ( yeah even more than usual! ) It was full of cars but all the traffic lights were out. No power anywhere. People were standing in line in the dark at the Tom Thumb to buy whatever they could, cash only of course. It was chaos. The National Guard was called and there was curfew at dusk. This went on for months.  What was supposed to be Smoking Toad’s first gig was cancelled but we ended debuting at Tent City in Homestead playing on a wooden stage, all the equipment running by generator. That was only a few days after Andrew. When we drove down there it was quite a sight. South Dade had been really devastated. We were playing to people who had lost everything and were standing in line for something to eat.  I thought I’d try to cheer them up by playing an old blues classic “ They call it Stormy Monday…” The crowd erupted “ Boo! “ It was good to make them smile. We ended playing 3 different tent cities One weird experience is we had finished playing and it started to rain so we all got in the truck stacked with equipment. We sat in the truck smoking smoking a joint. We had played in a Christian Missonary Group’s tent and they were all gathered around us boasting about how many souls they saved that day. People had signed some piece of paper saying they were going to turn their life over to the Lord. It was like a fricking Amway meeting. These people had just lost their house and they were exploiting their vulnerability. I don’t know it just seemed so phony.  We sat in the truck  smoking a joint watching the whole thing. Our windows were fogged and they never knew we were there.

Andrew had whacked Miami hard but we carried on in style. The neighbors would come over our house at night for a backyard barbeque and we’d play acoustic guitars. I was out of power at Manor Lane for three months. They had power in North Miami so we would drive up there to buy food and take showers. One of the guys parents lived up there. We knew this guy Jose who would score some bud for us on Calle Ocho. One day when he stopped by our parrot was missing. I guess he took it to sell it. It was such a beautiful bird. You know years later my Mom showed me a picture of my Dad and my sisters posing with parrots.

” Where was that taken? ” I asked.

” Parrot Jungle ” she said.

” …in South Miami? When were you guys in South Miami? ”

” Oh that was the year before you were born…”

Woah, seeing that picture I had that feeling of Deja Vu. Now I remember. Oh yeah that was the first time I saw these people, seems like a nice family to incarnate in…

cosmic connection

Standard

10599126_10153494251649064_8440603614942517490_nWhen I finally got released from jail and made it back to Miami, it was January 1990. Not only did I get not get my job at Filmworks back, it was hard to get any film work because Herr Director McFuckface had blackballed me. I did find a place to live though in South Miami on Manor Lane. One night, I was riding my bike when I heard a voice out of the darkness call my name. A guy I knew stepped out of the bushes  “Long time bro…wanna smoke a bowl? ” When I told him I was looking for a place to rent. He told me his room was available because he was leaving to bike across Australia. He showed me the place that night and I moved in soon after. That’s how I came to reside in what one of the infamous Swami Palaces.They were a bunch of rundown properties that were owned by a Swami, a real one from India. They rented them out to mostly U.M. music students. Swami Palace parties were legendary. I would know I threw more than a few!

I started playing at a place in the Grove that just opened up on Commodore Street, Cosmic Connection. It was a vegetarian café / metaphysical bookstore with live music. It was the shit. I would play solo acoustic out front on the sidewalk, people would read poetry, smoke and drink and get into long convoluted, all night philosophical discussions. Definitely my kind of place. One night someone told me my friend Skylore was looking for me. We had worked together at Potpourri / Athene, a headshop and occult bookstore two summers previously. Her and her friend Ana, ended up quitting and driving to the Rainbow Gathering in Texas with me. That was summer of ’88, and was the last time I had saw her. So we finally hooked up and we talked about organizing a picnic in the park to bring together. At first it was in Alice Wainwright Park off of Bayshore Drive, right next to Viscaya ( later after Hurricane Andrew and the park closed we moved it to Peacock Park. ) This is what  became the Rainbow Picnics that happened every Sunday for years. We called ourselves the Miami Circle. ( coincidence or not? “ The Miami Circle “ a 2,000 year old Tequesta Indian site was discovered a stones throw away from there in 200??? hmmm… )

The Rainbow Picnics were a true flowering of the local scene, full of beautiful people. Anarchists punks and hippies alike sharing food and music surrounded by tropical beauty on the shore of Biscayne Bay. I remember beautiful girls handing out flowers people passing big jugs of wine and joints, and kids running around. Me, Skylore, Vince and Ultra started a newsletter called  “ The Daily Blotter. “ People contributed artwork and poetry. Coconut Grove was a great place to be back then. I played at Cosmic Connection and a dozen other places up and down Commodore Plaza. It’s hard to describe now but the Grove was full of characters back then. Original generation hippies like Michael T-shirt and Peter Rabbit still on the scene. Sunhawk, who lived in a tree and made his money selling his beautiful carvings that he made from discarded wood to tourists. ( I proudly have one of his original works hanging in my living room, a flamingo on the back of an old drawer ) Then there was Chava, Sunshine and Shining Mike, Commie Dave, Rasta Rick, Buddha LouBuddha Lou back when he was still around you know? Me and Lou go way back.

12235005_1522177248073500_2935878884139074060_n

He was married then ( or should I say “ she was married when we first met soon to be divorced. “ ) I would be playing at the Cosmic Connection (  “ music in the cafes at night and revolution in the air…” ) and he and his old lady would stop by and request ” Tangled Up in Blue ” the lyrics of which we later lived through. His wife was a sexy curvaceous Cubanita who wrote poetry. They both were fucking crazy and fought constantly.  Later when they were going through a separation…I guess you can see where this is headed. Yes, that’s when  “Space Hippie had an affair with my wife “ ( his words ) but at the time they had been separated for a year and soon after did get divorced. She used to come by my gig and flirt with me but I told her I didn’t want to get involved ‘til the divorce was final…but I’m only a mortal man and she was mucho caliente. She had wrote me this long love poem and gave me this beaded necklace she made, then one night showed up at mydoor and ended up we making mad passionate love ‘til dawn. That first time was spontaneous and I didn’t use protection. Soo after she told me she thought she was pregnant. I bought one of those home pregnancy tests and it showed  positive. Must besomething wrong with the test, let’s try another brand. Positive. I got her knocked up in one shot!?

Guitaralso

I was young and stupid & naïvely in love and thought this all must be meant to be. Even so, I took her to South Miami Regional and got a sonargram. Yep, she was pregnant alright, but the kid was 2 months old, no way it could be mine. She made a tearful confession that she had slept with her not yet ex 2 months ago but it was over between them. “ You got to tell Lou “ I said but she never did. I did. I got all drunk one night and went down to the Cosmic Connection and just blurted it all out. “ Yeah, we slept together but she pregnant and it’s your kid. “ Soon after she supposedly had a miscarriage but we both suspect she had an abortion. I have a hard time believing she didn’t know she was pregnant when she showed up at my door and that she basically planned to trick me thinking I was the father. Unfortunately I got involved in some weird karmic love triangle that took me several years to get over.

*Guys my advice for you is that not only wear a condom at all times but also consult a lawyer before even asking them out for a  date!  ha ha

You know the funny part is me and Buddha Lou stayed friends. He likened it to George Harrison  and ol’ Slowhand Clapton, him being the George. I later ended up working for his company L.E.R. Legendary Ethnobotanical Resources that was the first to import rare shamanic plants from the Amazon like salvia divanorum. I was the company guinea pig. I’ve lost touch with him but I hear he still goes around telling people “ Space Hippie had an affair with my wife! “  And the Rainbow Picnics? They stopped happening in the late 90’s but if anybody’s up for a Rainbow Family Reunion just let me know. Bring your wife.

PEOPLES

graduation and (more) incarceration

Standard

Grad

An all American boy of Irish descent, a bright kid more interested in music and books than sports, constantly at loggerheads with authority especially his Dad, goes to college in Florida where he studies film and takes lots of acid, then later goes full bore into the drunken shaman routine…who knew I was on a full scholarship from the Jim Morrison finishing school?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     And finish I did. I got a B.F.A. a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Cinema with a minor in Drama. I had also studied everything from art to music, to Greek Mythology in the honors program and I did it in record time 3 years ( 7 regular semesters, 1 summer session ). It a warm day in Dec. when I received my degree from the University of Miami ( only to find it was only a rolled up blank piece of paper, they mail you the real one later ). My parents were in town to see me graduate. I remember they were staying at the ritzy Fountaine Blue on Miami Beach. The once haunt of the rat pack, Dino and Frank and the boys had seen better days by then. So as the new year started, I got an internship at Filmworks in Coral Gables, a company that made commercials for deep pocket clients like Coca Cola and Carnival Cruise lines. I was a lowly P.A. but I got to do fun stuff like scout out and video possible locations, rent props and equipment for shoots, and not so fun stuff like whatever the tyrant Director needed me to do, which in his mind included driving halfway across town in rush hour traffic to pick up some gourmet cat food for his spoiled cat. Fuck that, I didn’t go to film school for this I protested! I stood my ground, too. I didn’t lose my job over it but the workplace environment was becoming a real drag.

UMDEAD EDIT Little did I know other sequence of events would soon take me away. I went on Dead tour! I got the time off from work but never did make it back. I went to some Florida shows, two Atlanta shows, Greensborough, North Carolina. That was the year the Dead had to play under an assumed name ( The Warlocks ) to get around them being banned from Hampton Colloseum  in Hampton,Virginia. The were playing two shows one being on my birthday and I wasn’t going to miss that! Those shows are legendary and I highly recommend you get your hands on some soundboards. I could write a whole book just about those shows. I was staying at the Holiday Inn with the Doctor and a bunch of Atlanta boys and things got pretty wild. That was also the last time I saw my high school buddy from Md., the drummer in my first band. I ran into him in the parking lot. He later got strung out on dope and seeing no way out ended up killing himself. Damn I miss that dude.

I had been trying to get him to come down to Florida to get away from that shit. So we saw a half a dozen prime shows. I think that was the Built to Last tour. What a long strange trip it’s been but now it’s time to go home. The car we we were traveling in had been sideswiped in Atlanta so we had one busted window covered over with plastic. That’s the supposed reason why we were pulled over on 95 in Volusia County, Florida. It should have been a simple matter of showing our license and registration proving without a doubt the “ car wasn’t stolen “, but these cops didn’t stop there. “ What do we have here? A bunch of deadheads? The sixties are over people…”

imagesCACCZTYL

They were real assholes. At the time I wasn’t aware that Sheriff Vogel and the Volusia County Police Dept.were notorious for profiling drivers on 95 and shaking them down. Later I watched an episode about it on 60 minutes about it. They wanted us to consent to a search which you need probable cause to do. “Probable cause? Lookee here we got us a law student. “ “ No but we do not consent to search. “ “ well then you all will have to wait for us to bring in the K-9 unit “ This roadside charade went on for about twenty minutes when one of the officers stuck his head inside the car window, sniffed the air and said “ I think I smell marijuana. “ We hadn’t broken any laws, traffic or otherwise and the whole reason they stopped us was because of the broken window. We should have been free to go but no, now they began searching the vehicle. First they found stems and roaches in the ashtray and then of particular interest was a backpack in the trunk full of quarter pound pot, a quarter pound of mushrooms, and a sheet of acid. At this point my fellow passengers, a young couple about to get married were in tears. When they asked who’s backpack it was, I told them it was mine and it was. No sense in everybody going to jail and them impounding the car. They cuffed me and put me in the back of the squad car as they continued to question the couple. Then they put them in the back too but not cuffed. I signaled a quick shhh to them as I said something to the effect of “ I’m sorry I should have told you I had that stuff on me. “ A few minutes later the cop sticks his headin the door and removes a tape recorder ( that all cop cars have as standard issue ). “ let’s see what y’all been talking about. “ As they listened outside the car we could see they were furious. “ Goddamn well now were going to have to let the other two go! “ I’ll never forget the sight of my friends driving away ( it was their car ) leaving me cuffed in the backseat of a police car on the side of 95 with a huge pile of drugs on it’s hood. That’s how I ended up doing my graduate studies at Volusia County  CorrectionalFacility.

Yeah I got a lawyer. I later found out that he and the judge were fishing buddies. He wasn’t going to make a big deal out of little illegal search and seizure. Profiling was routine shit. The Supreme Court has since deemed it illegal and cited Volusia County as being one of the worst offenders. They need a valid reason to pull you over, to detain you, and to make a search. Know your rights.
I ended up pleaing down to one count of possession of L.S.D. a felony. It could have been worse. They tried to charge with possession with intent to distribute but I told then it was only for personal use. “ were talking about a lot of drugs “ “ yeah, well I do a lot of drugs. “ I’m lucky and I know it because right after that all these states passed minimum mandatory laws and some poor souls ended up doing more time for pot or acid then rape and murder. It’s fucking ridiculous. As it is I got a felony on my record which precludes me from working for any county, state, or federal institution. ( Now you know why I work for a PRIVATE University. )

Volusia County Correctional Facility is right out of that movie “ Cool Hand Luke “. It’s a prison out in the swamps, rows of long wooden, unairconditioned barracks surrounded by barbed wire fences, big ugly women with shotguns in towers. If you do make it over the fence without them shooting you, the gators in the moat’ll get you. We used to be walking back from the mess hall and roll oranges under the fence and a gator would come up on the bank and snap his jaws around them and slink back into the moat. Me being “ college boy”, they gave me my own office and I ran the laundry facility. We worked at night while everybody slept so that was cool. We’d collect all the laundry from the various call blocks and wheel them over to the Women’s facility where they washed them. We never crossed over but we would hide notes in the laundry carts saying “ show us your tits “ which they would when the guards back was turned. Ah it’s the little things  in life, you know? We’d make the rounds at night and that made us the kings of contraband. We were getting some good shit in there. I can remember toking up in the yard watching the space shuttle take off from Cape Canaveral which wasn’t faraway. Surreal. One day they found one seed in my office and woke my
ass up and called me down to the officer’s station. It wasn’t mine! ( I didn’t smoke shit with seeds damn it! ) They then marched me back to my barrack to search my lock box. Everybody hushed as I was escorted to my bunk. They never found anything. Time went by slowly. I got letters but not too many visitors because I was so far away though one time the Doctor himself surprised me with a visit. “ I brought you a really good book I think you really like this one page, ha ha. “ I had a buddy that was trying to get me to work out with him in the yard but I was too lazy. All you did was eat and sleep and I put on more than a few pounds. I did become the pitcher for the softball team and we placed second in the Volusia County Correctional League. Also while I was in there I wrote a few songs with this guy, one being a parody of a Jimmy Buffet song which later ended up on a juke box in Key West. It basically sucked but when I got out I still had five years probation to do, the jailhouse term is “ paper, “5 years paper. And I soon found out how true that old saying is: come on Vacation, leave on Probation, return on Violation.

FloridaVacationProbationTShirt

yeah and all I got was this lousy t-shirt…

Pissing off the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame…

Standard

While I may never be inducted, I can truly say I pissed off the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame…literally! It’s a big glass pyramid, several stories tall on the banks of Lake Erie and I took a piss off the top of it. What inductee can make that claim?

How did this come to pass you ask? My tale begins in August of 1995. Jerry Garcia, the patron saint of the Deadhead hippies had just died. In Miami, all of the faithful gathered together spontaneously in Peacock Park in Coconut Grove for a candlelight vigil. Drummers drummed and guitarists strummed. The grief was palatable. Gatherings like these were happening all over the country. It’s fitting that Jerry’s kids should all come together in Peacock Park. Back then we gathered there every weekend for the informal Rainbow Picnics, which had been pretty much going on there since the late 60’s, a manifestation of the dream of a Woodstock Nation. It was at one of these gatherings where I met this young teenage runaway, Chastity Monigold. She said she was 19. She had ran away from her Grandmother in Ohio and was in Miami getting into some bad stuff. You know the song, “ living on reds, vitamin C, and cocaine.” I kept seeing her around. One night, I was playing a gig at an outdoor café on Main Highway and she stopped by all sunburnt and peeling. I hated to see her like this so like you would a scruffy stray kitten, I took her home with me. I admit I was no saint, no paragon of virtue, but I got her away from the bad stuff she was doing. We actually had a lot of fun together but after a few weeks of partying, we were fighting like cats and dogs. I had had enough. One night she became intolerable, and I took her to a party on the University of Miami campus and left her there. She found her way back to my cottage in the Gables several hours later and proceeded to break out all my windows. They had bars on them so I was safe from her rampage but now I had to deal with this situation ASAP. “ I’m taking you back to your grandmother’s in Ohio.” I told her. And I did. So that’s how I ended up in Ohio in Sept. 1995.

Rock

The Rock’n’Roll Hame of Fame had just opened and it was only a few hours away from where we were headed so I decided a slight detour was in order. Let me preface the scene by telling you she like me was part Irish, part Native American and we both liked to drink. So all the clichés of a drunken Indian apply and to celebrate our visit I had downed a half a bottle of Canadian V.O. As we drove into town, Cleveland, Ohio looked like a war zone. I guess pretty much like any other northern industrial town, bleak and gray, but then we arrived in front of the museum, and were greeted with a scene of breathtaking beauty. There it was a gleaming glass pyramid on the lake surrounded by avenues lined with blossoming cherry trees. The Gods of Rock’n’Roll were expecting us. It’s hard now to describe the mood of those days but keep in mind not only did Jerry just die but Kurt Cobain had blew his brains out just a year previously. Our rock’n’roll heroes were just laid to rest and already they were museum displays courtesy of  Time Life. The Corporate Behemoth had co-opted our movement. As I walked around what I saw got me more pissed off by the second. Me and Chastity were arguing and we split up. I was on a mission. The Hall of Fame is seven floors connected by long escalators. At the top level, is a display of famous autographs in the round. “ They could actually write? “ I exclaimed sarcastically. My once flesh and blood heroes now reduced to scribbled lines on a page. This couldn’t be it. Take me to the capstone! I had to be careful, the museum is patrolled by security, dressed in black berets and turtleneck sweaters,with walkie talkies on their belts. They look like something out of Man from U.N.C.L.E.

I spied a fire exit, maybe that’s the way to the top. I saw my chance and when no one was looking I pushed open the doors and found myself outdoors on the roof surrounded by huge air conditioning ducts. On one side there was a steel ladder with a safety ring around it that went up way up. Emboldened by strong scotch whiskey and a sense of destiny, me, someone usually scared of heights, I climbed up the ladder. I reached the very top and I was standing at the very pinnacle of the massive glass pyramid. I could see for miles in all directions. Lake Erie stretched out before me. I was so high up, I was amongst the very clouds as I raised my fists to the sky and proclaimed ( somewhat in jest mind you )  “ I am a Golden God!. “ I enjoyed my moment and before I descended back to the realm of mere mortals, I took a nice long piss off the side. When I made my way back the way I came, security had been alerted. Two black bereted spotted me and I took off running. The sound of walkie talkies filled my ears as I made it to the escalator, the up escalator. I can only imagine the sight the other museum goers saw as I ran down seven flights of up escalator with security in hot pursuit. I made it to the ground floor. At the main entrance is a velvet roped off triangle reserved only for inductees and like an Olympic hurdle champion, no like a gazelle, I scaled the velvet ropes and continued into the parking lot where a very pissed off Chastity was waiting for me. She punched me in the arm. “ You got us kicked out you asshole. “ We got in the car and peeled out of there and over the bridge to Canada.

imagesU8267AWF