Taking Hippies to School

You’ve all seen the Who’s legendary version of “My Generation” at the Monterey Pop Festival; it was in both the official MPF movie release and The Kids are Alright.  Here’s a video of MPF outtakes with more songs from that set beginning at 1:12:52: “Substitute,” “Summertime Blues,” and “A Quick One.”  AQO doesn’t quite have the knockout power of the Rock and Roll Circus version, but it’s still far better than most of what transpired at that festival.  Scrolling through this and watching a little of each band reinforced what I already knew: San Francisco bands of that era could not play.  Their amateurism is pretty staggering.  The LA acts acquit themselves much better.  But it took the Who, a Seattle guitarist backed by Brits, and Otis Redding backed by Memphis boys to really show how things are done.

The intro by vocal harmony popsters The Association is surpsringly bizarre.

If you’re truly bored, sample the LA bands, The Associaion, Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and Mamas & Papas  Then sample the SF ones, Country Joe, Jefferson Airplane, and especially Big Brother and the Holding Company (Quicksilver Messenger Service actually sound OK).  The LA bands were products of an established and  highly competetive musical culture that thrived around a hit-making city.  The SF bands were products of a new scene that revolved around getting fucked up and jamming.  The difference shows.  And even if you like Janis Joplin as a singer (I don’t), you can’t deny that Big Brother was an execrable band.  Their incompetence is just jaw-dropping.  I think she ditched them pretty quickly as her star rose.  Good move.

Fun fact of the day: Country Joe was one of several bands unfortunate enough to get blown off the stage by an unkown opening band called Led Zeppelin on LZ’s first US tour.  By the end of that tour CJ and various other headliners such as Iron Butterfly and Vanilla Fudge weren’t even bothering to show up.


3 Replies to “Taking Hippies to School”

  1. Thanks for this.

    In terms of aggression and precision (which is hard as hell to do at the same time), no one could touch The Who. They just fucking destroyed everywhere they went. Those harmonies! Those licks! Those solos! Those nonstop drum fills!

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