Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Whoa. Altamont @ 40


"Bringing a lot of people together used to be cool," said the Berkeley Tribe back then, "But at Altamont. . .the locust generation came to consume crumbs from the hands of an entertainment industry we helped to create. . . .Everybody grooved on fear." The underground journalists grooved on the fear and helped create the infamy of Altamont. In an article titled "Rock & Roll's Worst Day," Rolling Stone magazine would lend demonic overtones to the incident by reporting (erroneously) that Hunter was killed during the performance of "Sympathy for the Devil." The magazine's description of the scene rendered it into something out of the Dark Ages: "Flickering silhouettes of people trying to find warmth around the blazing track reminded one of the medieval paintings of tortured souls in the Dance of Death." In Ramparts, Lydon concluded, "We all seemed beyond the law at Altamont, out there willingly, all 300,000 of us, Stones and Angels included, and on our own."

The locust generation, eh. The Berkeley Tribe scribe did not quite get it: it's one locust generation after another--and what's a rock rumble compared to a napalm run, anyway? A McCaint smoked mo' people in one day of bombing villages than all the casualties of rock; a supercarrier's far more terrifying than a Harley gang cruising down the 101. Altamont is the ordinary--that's......its enduring entropic beauty. Talkin' bout the Midnight Rambler.....


Ed Baker said...

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

on the '72 Campaign Trail

and his Hell s Angels book
and and and

that bit where the gal newspaper woman comes to interview him and he
throws here into the cess-pool or pit and keps her captive for many months (I forget the tale)

Hunter is the sub-glassed character in Doonesbury...

I net him once... on Kesey's bus

just outside of Eugene a party of soryz..

didn't then know who he was this was 1971 or 2..

that whole scene and him scarred the shit out of me! so I left...

me and Dorrie went up to
Duval and
got in our bag
did our thing


J said...

Cool. Yes, HS Thompson sort of an unmentioned source here. His book Hells' Angels quite inspiring--and scary (and doesn't he get stomped by them at the end). And F. and L. in Vegass another fave.

I don't recall HST's thoughts on Altamont, but sort of supreme gonzo moment--the rock journalists take it to be end of 60s, but I read it as sort of a summation of the counterculture--good bad ugly mo' or less.

I saw HST in Boulder 80s--he was about four hours late, very f-ed up as was everyone. He's ready to hit stage, like 11 pm or so . I seem to remember him shouting something about Belushi, coke, Nixon etc.

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