Monday, December 21, 2009
In the fall of 1969 I was a freshman at Penn State University at State College Pa. Long known accurately as Happy Valley, and was probably never before or afterwards as happy as it was at that time. It was a wonderful place and time in the world. I bought this print on cardboard in town at a hippie store called People's Nation. Most of my stuff has gone by the wayside due to various moves around the country, thieves, two failed marriages and another lady who really took me to the cleaners during her slow slide into the abyss. Somehow this print has always been around, forty years now.
My friend Gary was a grad student at PSU having graduated from Rutgers. We used to make trips back to Jersey to visit his friends and conduct his business. His business was trading 1000 capsule jars of " black beauty " meth-amphetamines for pot and opium which were taken back to our school for Gary to sell at retail. The speed was provided by a guy called Altoona Mack who broke into pharmacies ( I suppose ) to obtain these pharmaceutical treats so coveted by the sleepy scholars on the banks of the old Raritan. Since it was so close we would go into New York City and do the Fillmore East shows. We saw the Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Ten Years After, Pink Floyd ( in Quad with speakers around the theater), Santana, and some others I have never heard of since, like Ballin Jack, Great Jones, Illinois Speed Press ( two brothers played harmonizing lead guitars) and others. I don't remember all, it's a bit hazy now. I do remember that one time we had to turn around on the turnpike and return due to a big snow. The concerts we planned on seeing on that aborted trip were the Who and the Mothers of Invention. I've always regretted missing both of those shows. My old head friends here in southwestern Pennsylvania speak in awed and reverent tones of a concert Frank and the Mothers gave at nearby California State Teachers College in 1972. I think it was 1972, as I said, it's all a little hazy.
Happy Birthday Frank and thanks again for everything you gave us.