Interviewing a legend, and one of my heroes, tends to make the night before the interview a bit restless. I prepared a boat load of questions, and due to time issues, I didn't get to so many things that I wanted to know about. Well, next time, right?
I've had a big crush on Stephen Stills since I first heard Buffalo Springfield's "Sit Down I Think I Love You" and "Bluebird." I was hooked on that voice. Then came Crosby Stills Nash...and Young, and all the combinations thereof, the Supersessions album with Bloomfield and Kooper, and Manassas! Whew! All great stuff, and all in my collection.
Now if you don't have all that in your music library, then you will want to get yourself the 4 CD set, "Carry On." There's the songs you know, rarities, previously unreleased stuff, and a huge book of liner notes for geeks like me!
I'm looking forward to a chance to talk to this amazing man again, becuase I have a whole page of questions that never got asked. But just having a conversation with him was pure bliss. I hope you enjoy the conversation.
My first love affair with a record store was with Odyssey Records on Cannery Row in Monterey. It was right next door to Doc Ricketts place, the man made famous by the John Steinbeck novel about the legendary Row. I’ve always been a big Steinbeck fan, and I loved hanging out around Cannery Row. I had dancing classes at a studio that’s now an expensive fish house called The Sardine Factory in the area for most of grade school. As a result, I knew Cannery Row pretty well. I also knew the studios of KMBY were in the Bear Flag Building where Flora’s whorehouse really was. That’s where my first love of radio started, but that’s another story.
In my little hometown, you could walk from my house to Cannery Row in less than an hour, so that was a common destination for me. It was rich in history and smells. There was a coffee roaster sort of near Doc’s place, a candy store, a tea house, an import place, and the Outrigger which was a fancy place that my folks would take me as a kid. The smell of the working canneries, which my mother described to me when Monterey Bay was full of sardines, was no longer there. There was just the smell of the ocean and the things that lived in it. Odyssey Records had a smell that I loved wafting out the door…incense.
I remember that I first noticed Odyssey when John and Yoko’s “Two Virgins” album was released. The reason I remember it clearly was because they were both naked on the cover, and Odyssey had the poster with all their parts proudly displayed in the store window. I stepped into a world that I loved. The smell of incense, really great music on the big speakers, racks and racks of dreamy vinyl, and the walls covered with posters. There was a black light room for the special posters painted in Day-Glo and I bought The Endless Summer poster there. I wish I still had that poster because when I met the artist, Jon Van Hamersveld, he told me that the original run of those were worth pretty good money. Plus, he could have signed it for me.
So, I spent many hours wrapped in the womb of Odyssey, discovering music, and buying what I could with my babysitting money.
When I moved to Portland in 1976, I found Music Millennium. The store had the same vibe as my beloved Odyssey, and the smell was pretty much the same. Incense, candles, paraphernalia, posters, t-shirts, stickers and lots of lovely vinyl. Odyssey is no longer on Cannery Row. The old location is now part of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but Music Millennium is still around at the original location of SE 32nd and Burnside. Thank God for Terry Currier for keeping the banner flying high! Thank God Portland is weird and proud of it. Thank God we can actually celebrate National Record Store Day this Saturday, April 20th, at an actual independent record store that has been around since 1969 serving the needs of Portland’s music fanatics.
Plan on making a visit to the store this week. You don’t have to wait until Saturday, but if you do, you’ll get in on some freebies, and coffee and muffins if you wait in line before the store opens at 8am. While you’re there, register for the KGON prize pack: Doors CD’s, John Densmore’s new book, and a secured place at the front of the line to get the book signed in May when he visits the store!
In fact, I think I’ll head there now. Just because I enjoy being there, and I know I’ll find something I can’t possibly live without.
I think we humans are all sort of nerds about something. There's at least one thing in our lives that others would probably consider uncool. I'm a garden nerd. Also a Monty Python nerd. There's other things, but I just basically wanted to set up a reason to read this cool blog.
Portland came in at #2 in the "10 Nerdiest Cities in America" and I think that's so cool. Not only has Portlandia put us on the map for being weird/nerdy/cool, but now this.
Well, what do you know, it wasn't a dream at all. Joe Bonamassa is one of the coolest guitar slingers in the world, and he's coming to Portland on Saturday April 13th! The show is almost sold out, so if you were waiting for the day of the show, in typical Portland behavior, don't wait!! Here's our conversation.