It’s 1969 – You’re A Teenager – You Live In The Bay Area – Lately, You Have Taken To Hugging Trees.
Think about it – 50 years ago: If you were a teenager, chances were pretty good that you became a strict vegetarian, burned incense just about everywhere, reeked of patchouli, read Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha backwards and forwards – you or one of your friends had a dog named Damien and you carried a copy of either The Thoughts Of Chairman Mao or The Bhagavad Gita with you at all times. You tell people that you meditate and all your chakras are open. You eat sunflower seeds by the pound and everywhere you’ve been is covered in a blanket of spit-out husks. You’ve been barefoot since 11th grade, even though you carry sandals in your backpack when the Boys vice-Principal is around. You have a tambourine that you take with you everywhere – and hanging out on the front lawn at school with your friends you start playing the second you hear somebody’s recorder or harmonica. Every so often you drop everything and hug trees.
Or, on the other hand: you haven’t been to school all year. You haven’t technically dropped out, but you seem to spend most days at Golden Gate Park. You’ve been trying to get a job as a roadie, so you’ve been hanging around the backstage entrance at The Fillmore on the weekends. You have a friend who’s a friend of a friend of a friend who knows somebody on Quicksilver’s road crew and he thinks he might put in a good word for you “when the time’s right”. Every so often someone turns you on to a very good hit of acid and you spend the day wandering around the park, hugging trees because “they’re very good friends”.
Fifty years later, one of those people is on the board of Directors of a Fortune 500 company and grimaces when you bring up “the old days” and shakes his head. While the other is a Pilates instructor, living in Teluride, Colorado. Neither one cops to ever having hugged trees.
And you went to school with both of them – and since 1969 marks the 50th anniversary of Moon Landings, Woodstock and “the class of ’69” – you’ve been spending a goodly amount of this year basking in an insane overload of nostalgia during your class reunion – while somebody is playing an old tape of KFRC on the dancefloor.
And strangely, you still know all the words to the Monkee’s Listen To The Band.
Here’s 45 minutes worth of Chuck Browning from KFRC as it was heard on November 7, 1969. Special thanks to Rob Frankel.