Everywhere in the older Chinese writers he encountered praise of music as one of the primal sources of all order, morality, beauty and health. -- Hermann Hesse
Those of you who’ve read previous pieces in this “In Praise of ...” series may note that the other musicians I've written about were, in order of appearance - Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Velvet Underground, and Led Zeppelin. Next, in slot number six, I’ve chosen to write about Touch.
That people will say Huh? and Who? boggles my mind, but I’ve come to accept such things in this upside down, looking-glass world we live in.
The sixties were an unusual time. Expansion of the mind was the watchword of the day. ‘Living large’ meant that your mental and spiritual horizons were limitless, not how much bling and Cristal you could buy. Not that anybody actually said ‘living large’ back then, but you get what I mean. The exploration of possibilities was what it was about.
People had dreams back then, not of the biggest crib but of a better world, of understanding your true self, of people getting along, of a time in some distant future all of us would be free to live as we were, when people of all genders and races could rise to whatever levels their abilities were capable of taking them, like, say... President of the United States. It was good to live through a time when people had dreams. It still is.
We used to go down to my friend Bruce’s basement bedroom and get stoned. He had this crazy, massive speaker system for his record player, which was powered by a guitar amplifier head going through an EQ and two speaker columns that were about four feet long and had four speakers in each. It made for a complete listening experience. We’d light up the incense to mask the smell, (though wasn’t the smell of incense enough of a clue to negate the purpose? Somehow Bruce’s mom never caught on, though.) pass a joint or two, get righteously stoned, and listen to music. We were all in the same band at the time, in Reading, Mass, called Rabbit. Me, Steve, Bruce and Gary. Gary had played in another band with one Brad Whitford, later of Aerosmith fame, but I begin to digress...