WEIRDLAND: The Summer of Love, LSD, Jim Morrison and police brutality in New Haven (1967)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Summer of Love, LSD, Jim Morrison and police brutality in New Haven (1967)


Young people using LSD during the Summer of Love experienced "cosmic oneness" with those around them. Fifty years later, the hippies’ rebellion against the national security state is more important than ever. Summer of Love airs on July 25 at 8/7c on PBS.


Stephen Malkmus: "Cinnamon And Lesbians (from Wig Out at Jagbags) was seemingly inspired by this West Coast, '60s jam band-style thing, but it’s lyrically this psychedelic idea of the Pacific Northwest, the kind of funny absurdities of liberal thought. Real Emotional Trash was like making an album in the 60s. You might be The Doors, or some other band that didn't make it. The Doors had the magic that day. So we were trying to be professional, in a weird way. I loved The Doors' first album. I still think it was amazing. And even other albums like L.A. Woman. I thought The Doors were the greatest band for a while. Certain pure archetypes, like Velvet Underground, Lou Reed, Jim Morrison... It would be nice to wear leather pants. But it's too tiring to be wasted. I know it's not what you want to hear from a rock band, but you need to keep it together. When you're younger you experiment but getting wasted all the time is sort of desperate." On September 18, 2006, Lou Reed told journalist Anthony DeCurtis that Pavement had been his favorite group in the 1990s. 

“Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behavior and information processing. They open you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong.” ―Terence McKenna

Researchers from the University of Zurich have uncovered more about how the psychedelic drug LSD produces a dreamlike state of consciousness in healthy humans when awake. LSD produces vivid hallucinatory imagery along with alterations in thought processes related to space, time, causality, and selfhood. The new study suggests that LSD induces these dreamlike states of consciousness by stimulating the serotonin 2A receptor, one of the 14 serotonin receptors in the brain. “Given that psychedelics have a unique mode of action and given that they may have antidepressant and anxiolytic properties, it is important to better understand their therapeutic effects,” Kraehenmann told PsyPost. “One crucial element of their therapeutic potential may be the alteration in state of consciousness and subjective experience. However, the subjective experience during psychedelic action is highly variable and difficult to understand. An intriguing similarity between night dreaming and psychedelic imagery led to my interest to investigate psychedelic imagery and its therapeutic implications.” Source: psypost.org


The origins of hippies are traced back to a 19th-century German sect of wandering naturalists called Lebensreform who brought their freethinking ideas about nature to California after the Second World War. There they merged with a growing interest in Eastern mystical concepts of human nature imported to America by maverick British thinkers like Aleister Crowley and Aldous Huxley. Add to this mix a wonder drug first developed by the CIA called LSD and a wave of student activists and anti-war protestors agitating for revolution and you have the astonishing story how these forces came together to give birth to the Summer of Love in San Francisco, 1967. Source: www.bbc.co.uk

On December 9, 1967, Jim Morrison was arrested in New Haven, Connecticut, earning him the dubious distinction of being the first rock star ever arrested onstage during a performance. Vince Treanor, road manager, remembers the incident: "It seems that some girl got to Jim's dressing room. A young black cop ordered Jim and the girl to get out. Jim protested telling this aggressive cop that he was the lead singer for the group and this was his dressing room. The cop decided to exercise the power of his badge and responded, “I don’t care who you are, get out of here.” The cop pulled his mace can from his utility belt, extended his arm and sprayed Jim in the face. Jim cried out in immediate pain and shock.  No one could say that Jim was physically aggressive. The cop had no excuse to say that Jim had attacked him. Surprisingly, the show went fairly well considering that the skin on Jim’s face was still red and quite painful. There is no doubt that he was suffering: “Hey, you want to hear a story? It’s a true story. It happened right here…” With this statement, the police standing near us immediately became agitated. The crowd was stunned into silence for a moment. Then, all hell broke loose. As we watched, an older sergeant came rushing up the stairs and came up to Jim. He put his hand over the mike, “Mr. Morrison, you are under arrest. The show is over.”  As he said this, the two cops grabbed Jim, one by each arm, and took him across the stage and down the stairs. We got to the rear of the stage. The two cops that had taken Jim from the stage were holding him between them. Standing in front of him, one big cop was punching him in the face. Another, standing behind him, was pounding his back with the full force of his fist and forearm. Jim, held by the other two goons, was bobbing back and forth as the blows fell on him. They took him outside, across the crowded parking lot to a police car. There, in the struggle to get him inside, Jim fell on the ground and at least two of the cops kicked him more than once. That left us all standing in disbelief at what we had just seen. Everyone heard rumors of “police brutality,” but police beating people was just a rumor spread by Communists or other people trying to undermine the American Way Of Life. I do not believe that at that moment any of us realized the importance and the effect of what we had seen. All we knew was, we had seen it."             

I noticed subtle changes in Jim’s personality as he became more famous. I am not so sure he was ready for the pressure of stardom. Jim, Babe Hill and I took some acid that January Jansen had supplied. It was like Jim was testing Babe and I to see how much we could handle. Sometimes he could act like a little kid. Once in a moment of downtime, the three of us were at the Woodrow Wilson house. We took some acid and proceeded to cook some steaks while we were waiting to trip. Babe and I both took our steaks off the grill. After a while we realized Jim wasn’t with us. We walked outside and Jim was stoned, staring at the burnt steak on the barbecue. He was a million miles away. What was wrong with Jim? Once, Jim and Babe and a couple of girls crashed into the Beverly Hills Police Station. They had spun out of control, jumped the curb and slid up onto the lawn next to the main entrance. Between Jim and Babe-who could party with the best of them-and now Tom Baker... I kind of got left behind. Jim was spontaneous and generous. I saw him give people clothes off his back, money to strangers. Acting was easy for him, he was a natural. It is only the self-consciousness that was a problem. Jim was burnt out. He had never been in the scene for the money and fame. He didn’t feel healthy. Pam had encouraged Jim to join her in Paris. He missed his wife and little mama. ―"Flash of Eden" (2007) by Paul Ferrara

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