August 13, 1968 – B. Mitchel Reed – KMET-FM, Los Angeles – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
1968 was a complicated year – you’ll be the first to admit. There was a war going on. There were assassinations going on. There were demonstrations going on. There were riots going on. There was the Blacklight room at The Infinite Mind going on. The urge to watch Walter and the urge to listen to Maharishi talk about “the heart tickling at the thought of love” were in heavy competition. Those were serious choices.
You decided getting in touch with your higher self was probably a better thing than dodging teargas that Summer, and Patchouli smelled so much better. Besides, the world was going to go insane whether you were there or not, so The Maharishi won that summer.
And for the entire month of July and August your world was Fairfax in Hollywood; The Free Clinic across from Farket on 3rd Street, The Infinite Mind – The Free Press Bookstore (and Kazoo). Working your way through Siddhartha every day while pretending you were going to buy it. Hogging the headphones, turntable and 25 cent records at Aron’s on Melrose. Hitching to the Strip. Panhandling in front of Bullwinkle. Hitching back down Fairfax. Scarfing Felafel and hanging out in front of Canter’s, listening to stories from Sire Bob until curfew even though you had fake i.d.. Concerts at the Palladium sometimes. Love-ins at the Merry-go-round at Griffith Park on Sundays – back to The Infinite Mind. More out-of-body experiences from whatever your friends were sharing with you. More headphones and 25 cent records. That was your Summer – that was your life, that was your average day. That was your Summer: 1968.
You met people – you hung out with people – you got bells and beads and joints and cigarettes from people. You got a lot of weird looks and “you goddam kids” from the old fart people who shuffled up and down Fairfax. Your world, your Summer.
And in every store you went to, somebody had a stereo on behind the counter. And they were all playing KMET because it was new and BMR was playing amazing music and everybody nodded their heads and swayed in time.
Maybe the rest of the world was awful, but being 17 in that place, in that time, was wonderful. And you still smile when you think about it, ’cause it didn’t happen again – not that way and not on those nights.
And for proof – here’s a little over an hour’s worth of B. Mitchel Reed from August 13, 1968 – it really happened.
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