Sam Lowell comment September 2014:
Strangely when I first met him in San Francisco that summer you would have been hard-pressed to tell him, under the influence of dope, the new acid rock musical dispensation, and the flowering of new lifestyle that could not have been the case but after a few hits on the head by the coppers, a tour of duty in the military at the height of the Vietnam War, and what was happening to other political types trying to change the world for the better like the Black Panthers he got “religion,” or at least he got that music as the agency of social change idea out of his head. Me, well, I was (and am not now ) as political as Markin had been so that I never got drowned in the counter-culture where music was a central cementing act. Nor did I have anything that happened to me subsequently that would have given me Markin’s epiphany, particularly that Army stint that gave him “religion” on the questions of war and peace but which I think, given his later fate, left something hollow inside him since I had been declared 4-F (unfit for military service) due to a childhood physical injury that had left one arm withered. (Markin, is now buried in a nameless grave in a potter’s field down in Sonora, Mexico after he was found on a dusty back road with two slugs in him after what we had heard was some busted cocaine deal in either 1976 or 1977, probably the summer of the former from what a private detective hired by one of our friends to go down and find out what happened told him from the shaky information he had received down there from a guy, a doper, who claimed to know Markin.)
I would listen half-attentively (a condition aided by being “stoned,” all doped up or in thrall to some ephemeral woman a lot of the time) when such conversations erupted and Markin with go through his position for a candid world to hear (candid, his word). That position meaning, of course that contrary to the proponents, including many mutual friends of his, and ours, who acted out on that very idea and got burned by the flame, some dropping out, some going back to academia, some left by the wayside and who are maybe still wandering out in the Muir Woods, by some Big Sur tidal pool or, god forbid, out in rain-soaked Oregon that eight or ten Give Peace A Chance, Kumbaya, Woodstock or even acid-etched Someone To Love songs would not do the trick, would not change this nasty, brutish, old short-lived world into the garden, into some pre-lapsarian Eden. (We all called it “looking for the garden” in short-hand meaning the lost Garden of Eden which we were hung up on seeking, and not always only in our dope-flamed moments either.)
All those genres are easily classified as roots music but I recall one time driving Markin crazy, driving him to closet me with the “music is the revolution” heads he fretfully argued against when I mentioned in passing that The Doors, then in their high holy mantra shamanic phase with The End and When The Music’s Over epitomized roots music. That hurt me to the quick, a momentary hurt then, but thinking about it more recently Markin had been totally off base in his remarks.