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Monday, November 28, 2011
Gillian's Found Photo #67
Today's found photo from the Fang bears the date, printed on the right side of the border, of December '69, as if we couldn't have figured that out our self. Yes, this was taken at Altamont, the all time rock festival bummer and setting for still the greatest of all rock snuff flicks Gimme Shelter. Too bad it's not a picture of the Stones, but since they went on after dark they probably wouldn't have shown up on a snap shot. Onstage is Sam Cutler trying to restore order, and the Jefferson Airplane, whose Marty Balin (far left) would soon be knocked unconscious, a few Hells Angels, and a whole bunch of folks who just wandered onstage. Whose idea was it to make the stage two inches off the ground?
Well, I was never much of a Jefferson Airplane fan but I do remember working security at one of their concerts as a teen and being quite impressed that the band and crew called Paul Kanter "Das Fuhrer", a title he happily responded to. The best thing I ever read about Altamont was in the (now quite rare) Avon paperback original-- The Forgotten Festival- Altamont: Death Of Innocence In The Woodstock Nation, edited by Jonathan Eisen (Avon, 1970) which contains a first hand essay by one Lars Tush, aka Richard Meltzer titled "The Terror Beyond Death", from which I quote--"Some people are going to say it was just a matter of alcohol in the wrong hands. That's all well and good and true, but whose wrong hands do they mean? Can they mean the Angels? They might mean them and in so doing forget about incidents of violence that were going on all afternoon, all morning and the night before, even in spots where a Hells Angels never showed his face during the entire festival if you can call it that." He later proceeds to describe watching a bunch of college jocks pummel some poor kid into "a pile of his own blood and bones". As Keith Richards said "Altamont, it could only happen to the Stones man...."