This is a “reprint” of a fun little article I wrote on the 40th anniversary of Woodstock in August of 2009. I thought I might share this with you all again…….Don’t forget to click on the photos to see enlarged versions.
They say if you remember the 60’s you weren’t there. Well…… I graduated from high school in 1965 and I remember part of the 60’s……
I was watching a special on TV last week about Woodstock which was held 40 years ago this weekend. My granddaughter, Autumn, asked me if I knew anything about it and I told her I would tell her a “little bedtime” story. It went like this….. Remember…. this is a bedtime story……
……..This is kind of how I remember that summer in August of 1969 ………
It was the summer of 1969 and my band, The Fabulous Fowl, was on tour on the East Coast. We were just a bunch of long haired guys who had taken my old VW bus on the road. Boy, those things hate mountains. With an air cooled engine we had to slow to 20 miles per hour on hills. The bus finally gave out in Missouri (we had to tuck our hair in our hats!). We traded it for an old school bus and we decided to paint it along the way. It took us six days to go from Phoenix to New York to play our first gig on the tour.
When we got to New York we kept hearing about this festival called Woodstock so naturally we had to go. We had a bus full of gear and headed towards Bethel, NY.
We actually had bought tickets along the way but when we got there no one cared. You could get in for free as long as you had the courage to wait in long lines on the road. What a mess. But hey, we were long haired musicians who were use to sleeping in the bus.
Once we got there we simply pushed and shoved our way to be close to the stage. In fact, we got so close that I was able to get on stage for the now famous Jimi Hendrix 90 minute set. You can see me sitting right behind Jimi in this photo.
BUT….. during the set the bass player got sick and started to puke. He must have had some bad acid. Jimi looked around and I yelled out “I can play bass.” He gave me a wink and there I was playing bass for the rest of the set. Purple Haze, The Star Spangled Banner and more. WOW! I never made the album cover but that is me slapping away on some of the tunes.
The best part of the entire event was when I discovered the love of my life. I had left the stage and was walking by the fence put up to keep people from the stage. I heard someone yell out “I love bass players” so of course I had to see who it was. It was a beautiful long haired girl right by the fence. She looked at me and I looked at her and it was love at first sight. That was my future wife,
Pat, who just happened to be living near Pittsburgh, PA and drove all night with friends to see the concert.
Now here is the ironic part of the story. After “my gig” we headed back to the bus. It has been raining hard and everything was muddy. Pat and I were standing together trying to keep warm when a photographer snapped the famous photo that graced the Woodstock album cover. Actually he snapped a bunch of them and the one where you can see it is Pat never got used. We were never given credit for it. Someone else claimed it was them and the world never knew.
On the second day there, we were so friggin hungry and there was very little food. We stumbled across a small vending booth where they were selling shirts. I saw this guy with a wooden frame printing a simple print using an ironing board to hold the shirts and hand holding the screen. The design was so loose you could be off register an inch and it would not matter. I had never done screen printing before. That is where I learned how to screen print!
This hippie guy, I think his name was Spider…..yeah…. that was his name…..told me how to hold the squeegee and for the next two days I printed thousands of Woodstock shirts. I think we sold them for $15. What an experience. I was hooked! You can see the shirt we printed.
So……. as my granddaughter fell asleep I started to ponder how accurate my story was. Well…. it was “close.” The truth is that I met my wife while I was playing in a HOT college band called the Fabulous Foul. We wore old tuxedos and played at the popular Pitcher House in Tempe, Arizona. We packed them in! We moved on to play the #1 teen club at that time, The Fifth Estate. And, we did open for Van Morrison with Them, The Lovin Spoonful, The Doors and others. And, Alice Cooper (Vince) came to hear us on a regular basis. The year was 1966 and I was fresh out of high school. Pat and I got married in 1967.
But hey……. it was a great story. Any use of Woodstock photos was for fun and pleasure only.
I do have a few more photos from my collection of that great time. I hope you enjoyed my bedtime story. If you have any of your own Woodstock stories or photos, we would all love to read them here. Comments welcome!