Saturday, February 11, 2012

Things to Be Thankful For - Giving Up Gracefully the Treasures of Youth & Sixties & Seventies Rock'n'Roll

"Be alive while you are alive" ~ Unknown

"I was wise enough to see that one can't experience one's 
grandfather's revolution. Rip it up!" ~ Jp Valentine

There are a very many things that we need to be thankful for and I wanted to share just one of mine with you and hope that, after this, you'll take a few moment's time to close your eyes, relax and reflect on yours too. 

The one I want to tell you something that I have discovered the importance of nearly 35 years after it happened! All until this time, I was thankful that I was there and got to see it, but I never fully grasped how I was able to be a part of a bigger picture; a bigger "scene." Now that I have, I realize that God (Vishnu, Siva, Buddha, the Great Electrode, Bob, what-have-you) gave me such a wonderful present that I shall always cherish.

Usually, when you read these sorts of posts and articles about what we should be thankful for, you are given a litany of the usual things and those are things to be thankful for today: Family, a home, food, health... Of course, those are things to be greatly thankful for and to never forget. But, may I ask that you indulge yourself and take a time trip and be thankful for something you probably don't really think about all that much? And, perhaps, feel a little guilty about today if you stop, reflect and say, "Thank you for that wonderful time!"

I'm talking about being thankful for the past. The past that's never coming again. I'm talking about being thankful for the treasures of youth we received. And, I'm talking about giving up gracefully those treasures of youth so that we do not cling to to them like a drowning man clings to straw, but that we surrender them to the next generation with class befitting our age and experience. 

I'm talking about our youth. Those wonderful dates, places you visited, things you experienced that only young people can do. I want you to take this morning and reflect for a few moments on your favorite of those experiences; experiences that probably you, and only you, of all those around you know about.

This morning, when I woke up, I thought about my life and how lucky I am; how lucky I was. I enjoyed things that few people could have and, I'm sure, that you can say the same thing about yourself.  Everyone has enjoyed something special in their time in this cosmos that has happened especially for them that no one else can, or will, ever experience again.

For me, there are so many. But, like I said, I'd like for you today to think about and focus on one. 

Here's my "one" that I stumbled upon that I rediscovered yesterday and it was something that happened about 35 years ago! While I enjoyed it at the time, I didn't realize that it was so unique. Let me reminisce and tell you about it.

I wrote yesterday about a producer friend I have who lives in Hollywood. His name is Jp Valentine. Jp and I have become good friends, I like to think, yet we have never even met. We have corresponded greatly and he sent me a gift the other day that really has stopped me and made me pause and think.

The present he sent me was a book entitled, "Riot on Sunset Strip - Rock'n'Roll's Last Stand in Hollywood." It is a wonderful book filled with photos and accounts of the Golden Time between 1965 and 1966 for Rock'n'Roll music and the Sunset Strip that occurred for a few shorts months.

Here's a VERY short synopsis of the book:

For a brief period between 1965 and 1966, Rock’n’Roll music, heavily influenced by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones as well as American acts such as the Byrds, the Doors, Love, Buffalo Springfield, the Mamas & the Papas and more, displaced cinema as the center of action in Hollywood. The scene appeared out of nowhere, lasted a few exiting and incredible few months and then just vanished just as suddenly as it appeared. The mix of London and Los Angeles gave rise to an eruption of local music and culture at that time. From this cultural explosion, Rock’n’Roll combined and quickly permeated television, animation, cinema and popular culture around the western world.  

Here is a snippet of a review of the book that I took from Amazon:

I loved this book because of the way it put me right on the Sunset Strip in the mid 60s, making me feel like I was sitting at Canter's Deli with Gene Clark and then dancing to The Byrds at Ciro's later that same evening. I also love the argument it makes about San Francisco's elitist attitude about its own 60s bands, versus those of L.A. Ask me to choose between The Grateful Dead and Love, between Moby Grape and The Byrds, between any SF garage band and The Seeds or The Music Machine, and I'm going with the Hollywood "cream puff" act every time. The book also makes you feel the tragedy of the collapse of the Sunset Strip nightclub scene, after the police effectively shut it down because some influential people in town didn't like the idea of the Strip being a place for teenagers to hang out and dance to groovy music. You get to know what a magical time and place the Strip was in 65-66, and it makes you want to be there.  

Wow! That sounds like a cool place! I love that sort of thing. Jp tells me these sorts of cultural booms happened in London, Paris, Berlin and America in the 1920s, as well as a few other places and times that I was too dumb to take note of. He also tells me that, besides 1965 ~ 1966 on the Sunset Strip, that it happened again, albeit very briefly, on that very same Sunset Strip in 1977.

The weird thing is that I was there in 1977 and saw it and was a part of it! I never realized that that time had its roots in a sixties rock movement in Hollywood. 

I knew it was fun and have always been thankful for being there and seeing it and being a part of it, while it was going on, but never realized how it fit in with the evolution of pop music culture in America until I read page 25 of "Riot on Sunset Strip - Rock'n'Roll's Last Stand in Hollywood." On page 25, it talks about the sudden disappearance of the Hollywood Rock music scene in 1966. It says, 

"Not even the smallest portion of the (Sunset) Strip would seem vital again until the emergence of the punk rock scene in the late 1970s..." 

That really astounds me. I never realized how the seventies punk boom fit into the overall history of Hollywood and Los Angeles. The seventies punk boom in Los Angeles, also, seems to me was there one day and then gone the next.

The Deadboys were one of the best live acts I have ever seen

I wrote to Jp:

"In my youth, I lived all over the USA moving almost yearly and changing elementary and Jr. high schools annually. It always made me a sort of outcast with few friends. I stayed in Calif. through high school but still was considered sort of "backwards" by my peers (even the slang and lingo and how kids talked was different from the Mid West - where I just came from - to California)." 

"When the punk boom happened, I used to drive my car, by myself, to Los Angeles and go see punk bands. I saw the Deadboys play, I think it was 5 nights in a row and Sham 69 play 7 nights in a row at (I think it was the Whiskey - can't remember). I liked it so much that I drove all the way from Venture to Los Angeles (about 1.5 hours) every night to see these shows! I loved it. I loved Hollywood. Guess what? I thought that the night club scene was the way it always was and always has been... Now I read that part in the book, "Riot on Sunset Strip..." and it really surprises me that it is not. I got lucky... I stepped into a Time Warp! I honestly didn't know. I thought it was business as as usual... Thank you, Jp. for allowing me to know this and thank you God for allowing me to be there."

Wow! That was a wonderful time. That was my time....

But now, we're back to today... I'm back to this blog post. It's a Saturday morning here in Japan and my family is sleeping and I am sitting here reminiscing about the past, a past they know nothing about.

It is a guilty pleasure of mine to enjoy those memories that only I know about and only I can recall...

Thanks for listening to mine. Now, it's your turn. Whether you want to write it down or not, why don't you take some time today or in the morning tomorrow to sit down and think back? Think way back to something you haven't thought of in years... Maybe it was that time with friends? Or that time with mom and dad when you were a child? Or maybe it was that time on that date with that someone you'll never forget?

Think back. Remember it. It is a present. Enjoy it.

Enjoy the wonderful memories and, while still cherishing them, gracefully give up the treasures of youth... 

Be thankful for them. Enjoy them. You have many more wonderful memories coming.  

Thank you to Jp Valentine

1 comment:

RKGrace said...

Thank you for this :)