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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Big Mama Thornton-Rock Me Baby

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When Liz and Julie first get to California and they start their summer at Venice Beach where they encounter true stoners for the first time, I wanted to talk about music because I always want to talk about music but I was like racking my brain over what the earliest hippie stoners in '64, those who came before bands like The Doors, The Airplane, and others that went so well with drugs, might have listened to. I chose the blues because The Blues was a style of music that, because it was "black" music, was somewhat rebellious to those white kids that knew about it. I am from Ohio as is my grandma and she has always loved black music. The blues, the Doo Whop bands of the '60's, the originial rock n' roll has always been her thing (another thing that might actually be genetic, I guess). When I started writing Castles I had a conversation with her about the music she listened to then and how people reacted to it. She told me that one night a week for a couple of hours if you could get a certain station in, you could hear artists like Otis Redding, people we see as legends now, but otherwise people who sang black music were largely ignored by radio stations. Then, when I was doing my research for Monterey Pop, they were talking about the fact that when Otis Redding came out on stage only a hand ful of kids knew who he was because the music just wasn't played. So to me it made sense that these kids who were still sort of riding in between the wave of the Beatnik and the hippie would get stoned to The Blues. I hope I pegged that right. Grandma might have been a blues lover but she knew nothing about pot in the '60's (go figure!) except what she heard on TV so she was no help with this particular question. :)

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