Because of the copyright issues involved, I am only allowed to print the text that did not go into the book. So, there are some huge sections missing and some rough transitions, but you'll get the gist.
"We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place…to friend and foe alike…that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans born in this century. Tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed and to which we are committed today…at home and around the world. Let every nation know…whether it wishes us well or ill…that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty. This much we pledge…and more."
A Generation Finding a Voice
Something else was also brewing by the late '50s; Civil Rights protests were raging throughout the country and changes were effecting the Bay Area and the world.
The Beat Generation, headed by Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs, was making quite an impression on America's youth who were looking for something different. The youth of Average America was facing questions posed by their internal dialogue. These kids were on the edge of a new world and wanted to go deeper, to differentiate themselves from their square fathers building instruments of war at aerospace companies, and from their mothers who were doing the homemaking thing. These kids read, they listened to music created by black artists, the read poetry in front of complete strangers full of people in smoke-filled, dimly lighted rooms. They were looking to connect with other people who wanted to hear their messages, and they wanted to listen to other people. They wanted to bring about change and were looking to find something else…something that mattered.
The Beats smoked reefers and drank heavily, but LSD wasn't popular until the very end of the '50s and into the '60s. They wandered around a lot and Kerouac's book On the Road gave many young men and women the courage to hit the road and find themselves. One of the creative innovations coming out of the Valley the Beats integrated into their scene was hi-fi that they amplified jazz and bebop in the background of their shows as they read poetry. The Beats were straight-up people who said what was on their minds, but their candor was brief as their freedoms were squelched by the conservatism and suspicions of the political war machine of the 1960s.
1950 also marked the year that Stephen Wozniak was born to a Lockheed engineer named Jerry and his mother Margaret, who had worked as a journeyman electrician at the Kaiser shipyards in Vancouver, Washington one summer during WWII. Wozniak grew up in an Eichler home in suburban Sunnyvale, and attended Homestead High School, but he had actually lived in other parts of the country until his family's return to the area in 1958. At the time of Wozniak's return, Sunnyvale was your typical middle-American city where nearly everyone's dad worked in the electronics industry.
"In the '50s there was an article in Life magazine called The Silent Generation, in essence giving that name to the generation that came of age after World War II," says Aram Saroyan, author of Genesis Angels: The Saga of Lew Welch and the Beat Generation, and son of William Saroyan. "America had emerged as the big free-world super-power and had the most powerful economy - there was this period of unselfconscious American empire, an economic and psychological boom period. The joke was that couples got married to make a home for major appliances. Within that silent generation, though, was this tiny little group of two dozen or so people who had no particular interest in power or domestic conveniences, per se. Rather, they were interested in each other, in friendship, in music, in discovering the deeper resources of experience in the world, a kind of spirituality that had nothing to do with institutionalized religion.
"Kerouac and Ginsberg and Burroughs were hanging out with Herbert Hunke, a small time hustler and junkie, on Times Square, rather than inside the perennially sunny America that was just up and running on television," says Saroyan about the America the Beats turned their backs on. "Kerouac learned to write, in very large part, from Charlie Parker and the others who were pioneering bebop after the swing era. This was improvisatory music and that meant that the physical-mental-psychological state that a musician or a writer brought to the act of playing or writing was going to have a determining effect on what the sound was, music or words. These were young but highly sophisticated artists of the same generation as Capote, Vidal and Mailer, but not into the hierarchical power structure of post-war America. In essence they were breaking that paradigm in their own relationships, trading the hierarchical for the communal, which of course had a tremendous impact on the next generation, which in fact really was a generation, the one that came out of age in the sixties.
"San Francisco was where Ginsberg, after spending most of his youth on the East Coast, wrote Howl," says Saroyan. "I think the West Coast allowed him to release a lot of energy that was pent up inside him for years battling in the Manhattan literary trenches, which Allen-of all of them-was the most willing to do, and the most able at doing. San Francisco, with its Bohemian pacifist-anarchist tradition, must have been a big relief, not to mention the milder weather, and the next thing he knew this big poem exploded out of him that changed everything for a lot of people."
San Francisco was again becoming the Mecca it had been in the 1840s, the place people would travel across the world to find their fortunes, except now it was the riches of the soul that could only be found in communication and forming friendships. Many would leave the East Coast with one goal in mind, reaching the City Lights bookstore, founded in 1953 by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin. The store, now including its own publishing division, is still a destination for young people hitting the road on their first cross-country journey to the West Coast.
"I was in high school in the late '50s and early '60s and finding Howl and reading it was like being baptized into my own deeper life," says Saroyan. "That poem and Kerouac's On the Road set off a lot of sparks in people. And it led to a different kind of community that in certain ways got stalled behind Vietnam and drugs. Allen once chided me for a poem I'd written that implied an us and them idea of society. He didn't believe this was correct - he didn't believe in labeling, he was open and non-judgmental and against the polarities set up by hierarchical structures that incorporate paranoia. One of his great slogans was 'candor ends paranoia.'"
This open candor spread to America's youth and they learned to rise up and question authority. The San Francisco Beats were becoming famous; people came from all over the world to be part of what was happening.
A War that Never Ended
By '56, France was forced to leave Vietnam and Ngo Dinh Diem, an anti-Communist, triumphed in a controversial election lifting him to the seat of president of South Vietnam. Claiming North Vietnam wanted to take over the country, he sought the help of the CIA to protect him from communists. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and President Dwight Eisenhower encouraged the counter-revolutionary activity and the CIA gave Diem clandestine support. Diem incarcerated as many communists as he could find. The world heard rumors of massive human rights violations taking place at the hands of Diem. Intellectuals, students and Buddhists protested Diem's systematic arrests and his imprisonment of his enemies without trials.
John F. Kennedy took office and sent a team of investigators to Vietnam to make a report of the situation. In '61 the Kennedy team came back and wrote The December 1961 White Paper, walking the line about Diem's techniques by saying that his social and economic reforms left much to be desired, while others claimed he was the better of two evils. Although the paper kept a balance, it strongly suggested sending in military advisors and increased technical and economic aid. In true Kennedy style, he sought, instead, to learn to understand Diem and work with him to improve his country and solve the issues of the human rights violations. North Vietnam increased its strength in the outlying rural areas and soon Saigon and Washington jointly worked a plan dubbed the Strategic Hamlet Program. Military units swept all from their farms where their families had worked for many generations and placed them in hamlets, an act somewhat like what America did to the Japanese in America during WWII.
Back in Vietnam, karma kicked in when Diem and his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu raided a group of Buddhist pagodas in South Vietnam. They claimed the Buddhists were hiding communists. In '63, a chaotic protest took place in the streets of Saigon, and a Buddhist monk lit himself on fire in a last act protest against the Diem regime. His flaming body made the front pages of the American news. Finally, Diem's bad behavior, and Kennedy's unwillingness to shut it down up to that point, was foisted onto Americans' front doors in the form of their morning paper. With the guidance of Washington's heavy hand, Diem and his brother were captured and later assassinated.
Three weeks after Diem's assassination, Kennedy was murdered in Dallas. Vietnam was briefly forgotten as the nation was thrown into deep mourning for the man who had taken the country to the moon. Lyndon Johnson, stepped into the presidential position and removed the kid gloves as he prepared for an old fashion military brawl. Two US ships were allegedly attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin. Johnson took off his kid gloves and threw himself into the fray.
A highlight in technology occurred in 1964 when John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz created BASIC (Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) programming language at Dartmouth College. 1964 also marked the year the Beatles kicked off their first North American Tour at the Cow Palace and the assassination of Malcom X as he addressed his followers at Harlem's Audubon Ballroom. During that same period, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale were forming the controversial Black Panthers in Oakland. The '60s were coming to a violent end at home as Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed in Memphis while rallying for black sanitation workers who were striking for a ten cent an hour raise.
'66 will also be remembered by Beatles fans as the year they shelled out a mere $4-6.50 at Candlestick Park to watch what would be their last concert.
Back on American soil, on August 11 of '65, six days of rioting began in the Watts section of Los Angeles. During the chaos 34 people were killed, hundreds seriously injured and hundreds arrested. The National Guardsmen were called in and violence ruled the streets. The racially motivated event triggered protests all over America.
Meanwhile, those who would become rock icons were writing it all down in songs that yesterday's generations found enlightening and today's teenagers are finding for the first time. The songs were filled with candor, and, for the most part, uncensored. The generation of musicians who would leave a legacy still unrivaled, seemed to really have a bead on the situations going on around them. You don't find their stories in history books, those young musicians hanging out in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district captured an era and stuffed it into a hermetically sealed time capsule to be freshly opened and reopened again and again until it was finally digitized into the next generation's history. The events of the Vietnam experience were finally captured brilliantly by Francis Ford Coppola in his 1979 blockbuster Apocalypse Now; Coppola, who fought on the frontlines of that war, used that generation's music to perfectly illustrate everything about that moment in time.
"There's always been a journalistic aspect in my work even from the first album," said the late Frank Zappa in an interview conducted by Bob Marshall and Dr. Carolyn Dean in a 1988 interview. "If a person writes a song about a current event that's a journalistic technique. I would say certainly a song about the Watts Riot, which was on the FREAK OUT! album, qualified as some form of journalism because a lot of people don't even remember what the Watts Riot was, and so, at the point where you make the song, the Watts Riot was a recent journalistic event, it was recently in the news, but over a period of years, people forget what the news was and now it just becomes folklore.
"The fact is that Channel 5 in Los Angeles, which showed the pictures of the riot, did have a story about a woman sawed in half by 50-caliber machine gun bullets from the National Guard that was down there taking care of the riot," said Zappa of the Watts riots. "And that may be the only lasting monument to the woman who got sawed in half. There's a lot of things like that in songs that go from journalism into folklore with people and the events that they are involved in. The songs were news at the time that they happened but over a period of time, who cares about the news anymore and then it's just folklore."
December 10, '66, Bill Graham held his first concert at the Fillmore Auditorium; he leased the auditorium from owner Charles Sullivan, an African American known as one of the largest promoter of black musicians. That same year, Sullivan was found murdered, the case remains unsolved to this day.
Later in '66, race riots were sparked in San Francisco's Hunters Point neighborhood after a black teen, suspected of robbery, was shot by a member of the SFPD. The riots quickly spread to the Fillmore in San Francisco where forced urban renewal of ghetto areas had entire communities raging. Mayor Shelley brought in the National Guard and the riots ended in a few days. 1967 saw the opening of the movie Guess Who's Coming to Dinner starring Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn and Sydney Portier, a blockbuster movie dealing with the issues facing a racially mixed couple. The movie was banned in several states.
Nixon gained public confidence by saying he had a secret plan. His secret plan was no less violent or wasteful of human lives that all of Johnson's secret plans put together. Perhaps Nixon could have used a lesson or two in candor from Ginsberg.
Back in the Bay Area, in '69, The Grateful Dead, who most of the time called San Francisco home, were on constant tour and people all over America were following them. LSD, created in 1943 by Albert Hoffman a scientist in Zurich, was the drug de jour. There was also a happening brewing on the East Coast, as word spread of a concert being billed as the party of the century. What was supposed to be a much smaller gathering, turned into an event of 500,000 - young and old people armed with a lot of drugs and not much clothes. Jimi Herdrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Richie Havens and many others who would become part of rock history were scheduled to play the venue. The first concert of its type, Woodstock would be the prototype for those that would follow.
Jefferson Airplane was the first band to sign with the promoter, a group of guys with a trust fund funneled from a toothpaste empire; the concert's promoter had never done anything like this before. Jefferson Airplane's name leant Woodstock the credibility it would take to sign on the rest of the bands. Arnold Skolnick, the artist who designed Woodstock's legendary dove-and-guitar symbol, was overwhelmed by the success of the numbers of people who had flocked to the New York farm. "Something was tapped, a nerve, in this country. And everybody just came," Skolnick said.
Grace Slick, lead singer for the Jefferson Airplane a band in the thick of what was happening, was, according to Slick, the only band to play all three of the events that defined the generation - Woodstock, the Monterey Pop Festival and Altamont. Slick grew up in a suburban neighborhood in Palo Alto, where, she says, the toughest guy in school was rumored to have stolen some hubcaps. She was living in suburbia. She was a young girl full of curiosity and questions when the Beats were in their heyday in San Francisco.
"I was a little too young for the North Beach scene," says Slick of her adventures sneaking out of her parent's house and trekking up to The City to see what it was all about. "They wore these black turtlenecks and played bongo drums when they read their poetry, talked about nihilism, I just didn't get it."
After high school Slick went off to college at the University of Florida, but was called by a friend one night in '58 telling her she had to come home because something was happening in San Francisco. She packed her bags and set off on the journey of a lifetime.
"I came from a real Leave it to Beaver home," says Slick, "except my dad wasn't goofy like Ozzie Nelson. But, things were going on, things were having an influence, I was reading Gertrude Stein, Aldous Huxley, Allen Ginsberg, we were listening to jazz and hearing Lenny Bruce tell it like it was.
"We were learning to think for ourselves, to improve things, to turn things over and over. We were looking at how to put our own mark on things. We could have the freedom to live with the freedom of Gertrude Stein, or go with the pack and live like our parents - which was really boring. I was lucky enough to have been born in an era when what was going on suited my personality, others were all pushed out of shape by what was happening. I was lucky enough to love what I did for a living."
It was also in '68 when Otis Redding, born September 9, '41, in Macon Georgia, captured the Bay Area's soul in a song he wrote and mixed in a studio before his death in a plane crash a year before the song's release. The song, Dock of the Bay, made him an instant success. Americans fell in love with San Francisco from afar, inspired by the words of a very talented dead musician.
Amidst the turmoil of race wars, assassinations and war, some Americans managed to have what is now referred to as the Summer of Love.
Grace Slick remembers that summer as well as the day that's been dubbed in rock 'n' roll history as the day the music died, Altamont '69, a concert held in Altamont, California just outside of Livermore. "I think in retrospect, for literary reasons, Altamont beautifully defines the end of an era. It was like a day when everything went wrong - everything from the moment you got up. Woodstock didn't go very smoothly either so we expected things to happen, but then everything went wrong. It was like one of those days when you get up and you brush your teeth and the toothbrush falls on the floor, and the toothpaste stains the new carpet you just got, and you have to rush out and you have a flat tire. It was like a bad concert day, and it was that way from the start. Then Mick Jagger started singing Sympathy for the Devil and that guy was killed. It didn't occur to us at the time that it was such a disaster until that guy got killed, in retrospect I'm surprised more people weren't killed."
By '70 Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix were dead, Jim Morrison was one year away from dropping from radar, Heavy metal and Punk would soon make their debut and soon thereafter, Disco was slowly rearing its permed head from the horizon's edge. America was at an awkward stage, kind of like that period when you want to start dating in junior high, and your parents tell you you're too young. With the summer of love over, and florescent, polyester clothes coming into style and intense venereal diseases rampant, where would this generation go?
People in Middle America, who would have normally never heard about the outbreaks of violence were watching it unfold from a box in their living room. The American people were fed up with the amount of energy and people they were putting into a never-ending war. The draft's heaviest casualties were college-aged men who were drafted, armed and sent to Vietnam to die in the warm, knee-deep mud. National Guardsmen killed four students at Kent State and others died at Jackson State in Mississippi. Blood wasn't just being spilled on foreign soil; kids were being killed at college.
Still, technology moved on in spite of the violence. Xerox, the New York-based company founded in 1903, had rescued the Halliod patent for dry ink plain paper copying technology and soon every business in America had to own one of its copy machines. The result of the company's wealth was the formation of Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) in 1970, a place where brilliant minds from all over the world created technology in a well-funded environment.
In '72 US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger finally brought a deal to the table that was rejected. Nixon punctuated his wishes for a signed peace pact by dropping bombs on North Veitnam's largest cities. Although condemned for his tactics, Nixon wasn't kicked out of office, not yet anyway.