There’s a saying, (probably) wrongly attributed to Robin Williams, “If you can remember the 60s, you probably weren’t there.” To tell the truth, I do have a bit of trouble remembering some of the last half of the 60’s, as well as a bit of the 70s, and this is why finding this document in a file in the garage today is important to me.
I was a disc jockey on a very underground radio station in Berzerkely, but I couldn’t quite remember when it was. I knew approximately when, but not with the “precision” this document provides.
My memories – from about 1967, when I made it up to the Haight-Ashbury district of San Franciso at the tail-end of the “Summer of Love,” to the mid-seventies – are a bit jumbled and confused. I knew I was up there around this time, because I remember the walls of my no-water flat weeping from the moisture in the winter air, and the almost deadly asthma attack I had after being up all night doing a show.
Our radio station probably reached about an area six or seven blocks square. That was it. I think we had one-tenth of a watt of transmission power, and a transmitter that our engineer had managed to sneak onto the top of the Engineering building that was on the north campus of UC Berzerkeley.
It was great fun, dangerous for my health (though here I am,) and I learned quite a bit from it. Turned out I was a horrible reporter. I went to the Marin County Courthouse to cover the arraignment of Angela Davis, after Jonathon Jackson attempted to free his brother George, and ended up killing the judge in the case and dying along with his brother. When Angela’s attorney came out to speak with her supporters, she was surrounded by the media and nobody could hear what she was saying, so I turned my recorder into a PA and let her use it to address the crowd. I ended up with nothing for my story. I have no regrets.
In January of 1971 I was living in Berkeley (aka Berzerkeley), California. I was “working” at an underground radio station run out of the living room of one of the guys who lived in my building. The address of our building was serendipitously easy to remember; it was 1776 Leroy, just north of the UC campus. I had a one-room, no-water flat though, during that winter there were times when moisture dripped from the walls. I had to go down the hallway to get water, relieve myself, or take a shower. I had a hotplate in my room and, truth to tell, I don’t recall if I had a small refrigerator or we shared one in a common area.
Our studio put out 500 watts of power, but we only had a 1/10 watt transmitter our engineer had managed to sneak up and secure at the top of the Engineering Building on campus. We had dual turntables, a reel-to-reel tape recorder, and various other recording devices, microphones, etc. With that little of a transmitter we only reached about 5 blocks square, which was a substantial portion of the north campus community.
In addition to playing music, I thought it was important for us to report on local news, as well as national political news if it happened nearby. On January 5 of that year, the trial of Angela Davis began in the Marin County Courthouse, a little over 20 miles away. One of the devices we had was a boom box that had a cassette tape recorder and I decided to haul my ass over to the courthouse and cover the trial.
When Angela Davis’s attorneys came out to speak to the crowd, they were inundated by reporters, journalists, and photographers. There were so many of them (in case you aren’t familiar with this case, it drew international attention) her supporters could not hear a word that was being said. I knew that my boom box could be used as a megaphone, and I knew how to make it happen. I offered her attorneys the use of what I had turned into a way to amplify their voices and reach her supporters. They gladly accepted.
So … everyone got to hear the update Angela’s attorneys provided. Unfortunately, it meant I didn’t get to record anything. I returned to Berkeley empty-handed, save for the memory I had of the event. I had nothing to report other than that. No audio at all. Though I later published the Los Angeles version of The War Bulletin, which was produced in Berkeley, and I’ve written and published several newsletter over the years, that was really the end of whatever career I might have had as a journalist. I wasn’t capable of detaching myself from the story (at least not THAT story) and recognized I didn’t have what it takes to “get” the story.
PS – Today is Angela’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Comrade. Wishing you many more.
My first memory of The Eagles is from 1972, the year they released their debut album, Eagles. I can remember the first time I actually listened to the words of “Peaceful, Easy Feeling.” I was living with my brother, my best friend, two close family friends, and the brother of one of those friends in two small, suburban houses in North Hollywood, California.
I had returned to SoCal from a year or so living mostly in the Bay Area; Berzerkeley to be exact . . . for most of the time, and I had been healing from the damage a licentious lifestyle can do to one’s body. I had a used VW Bug and, at the time, my brakes were shot and I had to drive slowly and with a great deal of forethought to what was occurring ahead of me (my parking brake worked OK, so a combination of paying close attention, down-shifting, and parking brake application did the trick for a couple of weeks, until I could afford to get the brakes fixed.
I had already become a committed Feminist and was deep into educating myself and the five young men I was living with of the righteousness of supporting women’s equality (along with other forms of combating injustice.)
I was driving my VDub when the song came on the air. Given my precarious brake situation, I always attempted to drive down streets I knew were quiet and seldom had much traffic, so I was driving lazily down a mostly empty street and enjoying the music on my radio. It was the second verse that caught my attention:
“I found out a long time ago, what a woman can do to your soul. Aw, but she can’t take you any way you don’t already know how to go.”
Peaceful Easy Feeling – Eagles 1972
When I heard the first sentence I remember thinking, “Shit! Here we go again. Men blaming women for their troubles. Crap!” Then I heard the second sentence and was relieved to learn they had inserted a bit of honesty into the observation. I felt much better about how much I enjoyed their music.
One of those friend/roommates of mine went on to become the road accountant for the Eagles for a few of their world tours. He and I were living together in Van Nuys and I recall him being out on the road quite a bit with them. He also toured with Boz Scaggs, Toto, and later on became part of Billy Joel’s entourage for perhaps a decade. He did well, retired young. He also ended up getting sued by Billy at the behest of (as I was told) Christie Brinkley, who believe he had been taken advantage of by his management company, of which my friend was a member.
He was very hurt by the accusations and, fortunately, the case never went anywhere because if was based on the same kind of evidence we’ve lately seen being used by Rudy Giuliani in his epoch attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 General Election.
I’ve long been a fan of the Eagles’ music, but I’m not a “fan” of anyone. I’ve been around fame a bit. Growing up near Hollywood has that effect on most of us; we run into celebrities just going about our lives. I learned early to leave them alone and to respect their privacy.
I have friends who follow the careers of several people they admire and whose work they enjoy . . . closely. I don’t do that with anyone. However, music is something I enjoy and I found the music and lyrics of The Eagles deeply compelling. Since I’ve not paid much attention to their lives, other than listening to their music, I was completely unaware that Glen Frey’s son, Deacon, as well as Vince Gill, had joined the band. Below is a link to a video of a show they did in Atlanta.
It’s a little over two hours and I haven’t listened to all of it yet, but I’m familiar with every one of the songs with the possible exception of “Those Shoes” and “Walk Away.” This is kind of a way for me to save the video for any time I feel like listening to one or more of my fave tunes.
I have to add that seeing Glen’s son, Deke, perform in his place brought a tear or three to my eyes. I’ve always been somewhat of a softie (even wrote about it here, and here) and, it seems, as I am getting older and contemplating the end (which I’ve also written somewhat extensively about) I find myself feeling the loss of people who have entertained and/or enlightened me—especially if they’re younger than me—more painfully than I used to experience such things.
The video also has links below which will take you directly to whatever song you wish to watch/listen to. Keep in mind, as well, this was clearly recorded by a fan and the quality is not what you would expect from a well-produced, high quality production. It’s quite serviceable, however. Enjoy! I sure do/did.
The following is from a post I published in LinkedIn, in response to an emailed request from Dan Roth, Executive Editor. They implied I’m an “influencer”. How could I resist?
Giving advice to young people beginning their professional careers is not something I’m generally asked to do. How does someone whose background and experience is as unconventional as mine even relate to others who have already gone a different route? You just finished earning a Bachelor’s Degree. I never attended undergraduate school. What can I say to you that will make any sense? Nevertheless, LinkedIn has suggested I give it a shot and even ensure my thoughts stand out by tagging them with #IfIWere22, so here goes.
Twenty-two! Whew. That was 45 years ago. I have a hard time even being certain what I remember from back then actually happened. By that age I had already been in the US Navy (medically discharged after a short stint), owned a small business, lived on the streets of the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco during the waning days of the Summer of Love, and the North Campus district above the University of California at Berkeley after that.
By all measures of the time, I was a failure. I had nothing to show for those years save a hell of a lot of street smarts. How does one put that on a résumé? I did manage to get a job at a jewelry manufactory, where I learned to melt . . . er . . . solder gold and silver, making some very high quality jewelry, but it surely wasn’t a career I was interested in pursuing. In the next few years I had lots of jobs, but no career to speak of.
Don’t take life too seriously.
At 26, despite having no undergraduate education and never having taken the SAT, I was able to attend an accredited Law School, largely because I scored very high on the LSAT and after my first year easily passed the First Year Law Student’s Exam. It was not required of those who had their Baccalaureates. I received my Juris Doctorate in 1976.
I was lucky. I had some resources at my disposal and I had always been an avid reader and a self-learner – an autodidact. After graduating Law School I realized I didn’t much care for the legal profession and, coupled with my father having a major heart attack, I felt I had no choice but to join my family’s wholesale food distribution business. For the next 12 years I worked with my family and in several different jobs and businesses. You can see my profile for yourself. This is LinkedIn, after all. 🙂
Now . . . the question remains, what did I learn and what can I pass on to you as you begin your career? One thing, probably, is you don’t want to do what I did. However, there are at least two very important things I think brought me to where I am today (btw – check out my last job before retirement. It was a doozy), which isn’t wildly successful, but has given me a considerable amount of satisfaction.
First, don’t ever stop learning. Read, experience, experiment, test, and share. Learn so you can share what you know with others. It is the best way, IMO, to move forward. Too many people try and create a persona for themselves they hope will be perceived as irreplaceable. Don’t be one of them. Your value is in sharing knowledge, not hoarding it. You will be much happier because you won’t be constantly looking over your shoulder, wondering who’s sneaking up to replace you. You’ll be too busy concentrating on the steps above you.
Second. Perseverance. In the words of Coach Jimmy Valvano, “Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up.” No matter how bad things are, they will improve if you just don’t give up. This doesn’t mean you won’t experience failures and setbacks. They’re inevitable. What it means is, despite your losses, despite those failures and setbacks, you need to pull yourself up and get on with your business. And when these things happen, refer to the previous paragraph; learn. Turn that sow’s ear into your very own silk purse; defeat into victory. You can do it.
I hope some of what I’ve written here will be of use to you. If you are in the intended audience for these “If I were 22” posts, you’ve got your entire career ahead of you. Keep your eyes and ears open. You don’t need to plan every step; serendipity is a wonderful thing. As you can see from the picture of my Law School graduation in 1976, above, I also think it’s important to not take oneself too seriously. Enjoy your lives and make others happy. Good luck out there.
Since my retirement from Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne in 2010, I have spent quite a bit of energy on developing work as a social media marketer for small business, a business manager for an AI software development firm, and as an editor/proofreader for a number of business books and a couple of novels, as well as a two-year return engagement at Rocketdyne from 2015 to 2017.
I have decided to stop actively pursuing business in these fields and am now positioning myself to be a writer. I have done quite a bit of writing over the years, but I’ve never really attempted to make any money at it; at least not specifically. I’m starting out with a couple of memoirs and, currently, I’m studying the craft, creating a detailed outline and timeline, and honing my skills as a storyteller. Pretty sure I’ll be writing some fiction as well.
The views expressed herein are those of the author. Any opinions regarding the value or worth of particular business processes, tools, or procedures, whether at his former place of employment, at a current client's enterprise, or in general, are his responsibility alone.