Tag Archives: Charles Manson

A Roof Over Their Heads

While in San Francisco I walked around and found places where certain people lived and loved and fried their brains and most certainly held excellent music jams and parties.

A big shout-out to Google for the addresses.

Keep in mind, Victorian houses in San Francisco are all historic landmarks now, so it’s up to the present owners to keep them nice. When the folks I’m talking about lived in these places, I’m sure they weren’t quite as lovely. With different smells that lingered.

I think these homes rented for only a few hundred bucks a month back then, so a gig or two at the Fillmore took care of the rent nicely.

Let’s get started. Welcome to the Haight-Ashbury 1960s rock stars (and one criminal) house tour.

Below, although there’s some debate about this, this crappy looking apartment, at 1524A Haight, only a few steps from the corner of Haight-Ashbury, is apparently where Jimi Hendrix lived at one time. Whether it was before or after the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, I’ve no idea.

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Next (below), just a few houses up Ashbury from Haight at 638 Ashbury (the perfect location), is where Country Joe and the Fish lived and learned licks they’d use at their future Woodstock gig.

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Next (below), a couple of houses up from Country Joe’s pad, is where the Grateful Dead held court (710 Ashbury). This is a big deal for Deadheads!

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Next, directly across the street from the Dead’s place is where the San Francisco Hell’s Angels lived (719 Ashbury). Imagine the parties.

Biker clubhouses aren’t usually this cool, that’s for sure.

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Below, and obviously fixed up over the years, is where Janis Joplin lived, at 122 Lyon. Janis’ place wasn’t as close to Haight-Ashbury as the others, and it probably took her more than 15 minutes to walk.

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About a twenty minute walk away is this incredible place at 2400 Fulton, where Jefferson Airplane burned their incense and had Timothy Leary over for tea and crumpets. I don’t know if they had the run of the entire place, or maybe just a floor or two.

I’m pretty sure that most San Francisco rock stars weren’t filthy rich at that time, although this place looks like the Airplane might have been.

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And finally……in 1966 and ’67, a greasy ex-con found his way to the Haight and began to charm young and batshit crazy runaways, mostly female. Soon after, he and his handful of youngsters made their way to Los Angeles and created their evil carnage.

Yes, this place, at 616 Page, about a 25 minute walk from the corner of Haight-Ashbury, is where Charles Manson and his new friends lived. Nice place, but I’ll bet it wasn’t so great back then.

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Busted For Being Too Young

public enemy

This month marks 48 years since I was busted for breaking curfew on the Sunset Strip and had to spend a week in a Hollywood juvenile hall before getting kicked out of the country.

The Summer of Love, 1967, and I was 16. I’ve written about this before but had said I was 17, which was wrong. Although I suppose it doesn’t make much difference.

I’d taken a train from Orillia to Vancouver, sitting in a seat for 3 1/2 days, not old enough for the bar car, and from Vancouver found my way to the border where officials phoned my mom back home to make sure I wasn’t running away. From there I hitchhiked to Los Angeles.

I kind of remember the trip south. I didn’t have much money, and I slept in my sleeping bag in fields near the highway. I’m sure I also cursed my two buddies in Orillia several times for backing out at the last minute.

Eventually a potato farmer in an old truck picked me up, in Oregon I think, and we drove all the way to Watsonville, CA, saying almost nothing to each other as we sailed on down the highway. He didn’t care about my story, and I didn’t care about potatoes.

I guess it was just a day or two later that I made it to L.A., and the first thing I did was take a city bus to West Hollywood and the Sunset Strip, because that was where it was all happening.

It was where the infamous riots on Sunset Strip had begun the previous fall, and where clubs that lined the colourful street regularly hired bands who would some day find themselves in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The riots arose after people who lived and worked in the area didn’t like the idea of so many long-haired kids hanging around. Police got involved, there were arrests and lots of commotion, and kids got clubbed in the head and banged around. I feel mighty confident in saying that the world “pig” flew around quite a bit.

Not long after, after things had calmed down, I showed up.

Buffalo Springfield’s ‘For What It’s Worth’ describes a bit of the situation, which you can see and hear below.

The problem with the riot is that a 10 o’clock curfew for those under 18 was ordered. I knew about this curfew, but it wasn’t something that seemed to matter. I didn’t have a lot of places to go anyway, and walking the streets was what I did, regardless of what time it was.

I almost know the exact date when I got busted, after searching the internet for  “Paupers and Youngbloods at Whisky a Go Go”, which was the night it happened.

The Paupers played at the iconic club from July 14 to 19 of 1967, opening for different bands on different nights. I saw them with the Youngbloods on one of those nights, and was promptly busted while walking down the street afterward, which was probably around the midnight hour.

The cop handcuffed me and took me to the local station where I stayed the night behind bars, and the next morning they moved me to a juvenile hall with big walls, where I wore inmate clothing, had to get up way too early, took classes in U.S. history, played cards in the dormitory, and I had no idea how long I’d be there for. It truly sucked, and I was such a lousy card player.

One morning, while eating breakfast with my new buddies, somebody called my name out and took me to get my street clothes because I was going back to Canada. My parents had sent money for a ticket, and an employee from the prison drove me to the airport and saw me right to my seat on the plane.

Several hour later the plane touched down in Toronto and I made my way up to Orillia. My parents told me they weren’t mad at me and that was that…..

….until the fall of 1968 when I went to England for much of the winter, to the Atlantic City Pop Festival in the summer of ’69, hitchhiked across Canada three different times, and did all sorts of things, legal and illegal. I probably worried my parents sick. At least I like to think they were worried.

And one last thing to mention about my time on the Sunset Strip. I’d been staying wherever I could, and it was around this time that Charles Manson and his girls were beginning to set up shop in the L.A. area, including hanging around the Strip. All it would’ve taken were a couple of friendly young Manson ladies offering me a place to stay and lots of loving, and I easily could’ve ended up in some seriously wrong company.

I guess getting busted for breaking curfew might have been a good thing. Although it didn’t seem so at the time.

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Sunset Strip in Hollywood, at corner of Clark street in Los Angeles on Oct. 4, 1966. At right is Whisky a Go Go, well-known night club. (AP Photo/HF)
Sunset Strip in Hollywood, at corner of Clark street in Los Angeles on Oct. 4, 1966. At right is Whisky a Go Go, well-known night club. (AP Photo/HF)

Whisky

 

 

Nothing To Add

There’s nothing I can say or add to what’s already been said everywhere regarding the Habs-Bruins game tonight. We know it’s a big game for both, we know the Bruins will be degenerate sloths, and we know Carey Price needs to be sharp.

And I don’t wish serious injury to any of the Bruins. Just several days in a hospital, maybe the odd puck to the teeth and a few skate blades to the nether regions.

All I’ll say is that I despise the Bruins as much as anyone on the planet and it’s been that way for a long, long time.

Their fanbase leaves much to be desired too, and in racking my brain, I can come up with just three Bruins fans I consider decent people, – Diane in Boston, Roger in Ottawa, and my next door neighbour in Orillia when I was a kid. The rest look and act like the general population at San Quentin.

Charles Manson is probably a Bruins fan.

There was that guy last week behind the Jets bench in Winnipeg shown on the news, wearing a Bruins jersey and hurling obscenities at Jets coach Claude Noel, and the Bruins weren’t even playing. There was the crowd of Bruins fans surrounding a young Montreal fan in the washroom in Boston a few years ago while he was trying to pee. And on and on and on.

All one has to do is type “Bruins fans” on YouTube” and you get a clear picture that many of these folks are missing key genes.

Sunset

Luci and I have our feet planted firmly on the ground. On the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood.

There was a movie named after it – Sunset Boulevard (1950), starring Gloria Swanson and William Holden. Humphrey Bogart had the shit beat out of him on the sidewalk outside a club here, by his drunken ex-wife. At the Chateau Marmont, which we were in last night, John Bleushi overdosed and died. And when I was sixteen I came here and was thrown in jail for a week after breaking curfew, which was set after hippies and cops tangled in the streets. Buffalo Springfield recorded a song about the Sunset riots called “For What It’s Worth.”

The Strip, which runs for several miles from Hollywood into Beverly Hills, oozes music and movie star history. From Marilyn Monroe to Sinatra, to the Doors, Janis Joplin, and all the young actors and musicans who frequent it today, bar-hopping and trading husbands and wives and all the other mayhem they find themselves in, it’s simply a happening place.

We’re staying at the Sunset Plaza Best Western, next door to The House of Blues, across the street from The Comedy Store, and absolutely in the heart of all the action. I mention where we’re staying in case Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorsese feel they want to get ahold of me about an action flick, or maybe a romantic comedy, with some nudity, starring me and Charlize Theron.

Last night I went to the bathroom in the middle of the night, and when I turned around, there was a man right in front of me, which I bumped into as my heart stopped. He was attacking me, until I realized it was my reflection in a full-length mirror.

At The House of Blues last night, one of the emplyees showed us around and told us, after I’d asked, where the maniac and genius record producer Phil Spector met one of the servers, took her home, blew her brains out, and is now serving a life sentence at some maximum penitentiary in northern California. I have a bit of a morbid fascination with this sort of thing. A few years ago we went to the neighbourhood where Charles Manson’s followers parked their car, jumped the fence, and wiped out Sharon Tate and her friends at Tate’s house, which is just above the Strip.

Some people love to go a cabin on a lake and fish and swat mosquitos. My idea of a good time is being here. And to everyone who congratulated me on the five-year mark, I say a heartfelt cheers!!!!!

 

It Seems There’s No Road Hockey Played In Beverly Hills

 

One of the many streets in Beverly Hills where there is no road hockey being played

I dunno, maybe it’s the time of year, but I saw no road hockey games on any of the streets of Beverly Hills and Bel Air as we drove around for a couple of hours listening to the GPS lady tell us to go right and left and turn at 400 yards.

She took us to the house the Beverly Hillbillies were supposed to live in but of course didn’t really, this being Hollywood and such, but we couldn’t see a thing, and after googling it later, it turns out that the present owners just aren’t excited about folks stopping outside and gawking, so a big gate and high hedges hide the place.

Anyway, Ellie Mae Clampett is 77 now so things just wouldn’t be the same.

On an extremely sombre note, we also drove to Cielo Drive to see the site where Charles Manson’s evil family murdered Sharon Tate and her friends in 1969 in one of the true crimes of the 20th century, a crime that had two nations fascinated for more than a year. The house has been torn down (who would want to live there?), and the address numbers on the small street have been moved around to confuse the curious. Even now, back at the hotel, weird black vibes stay with me. I followed closely the news of the murders and the trial of those involved when it was happening, and have always had a morbid curiosity. I know I should be ashamed of myself for treating this like a tourist spot, but it’s something I wanted to do.

Our hotel, the Best Western Sunset Plaza, is right in the heart of the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, across the street from The Comedy Club, and right beside The House of Blues, which was the setting of the strange Phil Spector saga. Spector, legendary rock producer who worked on the Beatles Let It Be album and created the Wall of Sound in the early sixties with bands like the Ronettes and the Righteous Brothers, was in this House of Blues a few years back, picked up a waitress, brought her back to his mansion, and proceeded to shoot and kill her, although he says the gun went off accidently. Regardless, the eccentric genius is now serving a life sentence.

Luciena and I, before our big Beverly Hills tour, decided to eat, which we do sometimes, and so, in the name of music history, pulled into the Sunset Grill and ate cheeseburgers. The Sunset Grill had a lovely song written about it, named “Sunset Grill” of all things, written and recorded by Don Henley of the Eagles. (cheeseburgers – five bucks).

I also noticed, especially as we sat on the balcony of the Sunset Grill, that like Beverly Hills, there is absolutely no road hockey being played on the Sunset Strip. And I’ve yet to see a Habs jersey.

The capper of the day was a visit to the legendary Troubadour club, a place where John Lennon was given the boot for heckling the Smothers Brothers, where Glen Frey and Don Henley were introduced to each other and formed a group that became the Eagles, and where Bob Dylan and Elton John and practically every famous act from the last five decades played. Three bands rocked on this night, with the headliners being J. Roddy Walston and the Business, who absolutely wowed the packed room with their hard driving, ear rattling, guitar/piano-based sound.

We were also probably twice the age of everybody in there, which in a peculiar kind of way was just great.