Friday, March 27, 2015

Take Another Little Piece Of My Heart-With Blues Queen Janis Joplin In Mind  


It was never stated in so many words, perhaps we being young could not articulate it that that, maybe too afraid to speak of it out loud fearing to unleash some demons that we could not control lived under a certain sign. Those of us who had been washed clean by the fresh new breeze that came through the country in the early 1960s lived under the sign of “live fast, die young and make a good run at it.” To be old, old being over thirty, reflecting the phrase of the time taking direct aim at parents “don’t trust anybody over thirty,”  meant “square,” a residue expression for the tail end of the “beat” generation which whether we knew it or not was our launching pad as we came of age in that 1960s red scare Cold War night. Meant too that if one did not imbibe in whatever one desired by the time we did get to thirty it would be too late, way too late.     

So we pursued our outrageous appetites, from the traditional fashion dress and hair statements and liquor addictions to the new ones of the era (new at least to young mostly white eyes not familiar with old-time Billie Holiday jazz needles and “Beat” high tea time) with the emerging hip “drugstore” of every imaginable medication to salve the soul. Tried every kind of living arrangement as long as it drifted toward the communal and every kind of love, including the love that could not speak its name (this well before GLBTQ times). Tried every way to take dead aim at old bourgeois society and turn it upside down. Wanted to, desperately wanted to, listen to new music that reflected the new drug-induced karma that matched the chemicals spinning in our brains. No more rock and roll music, or any music, that our parents might like, might even tolerate. Everything had be acid etched.          

If we sought to “live free,” to break from convention we expected out musical heroes (actually all heroes) to partake of our newly established ethos, to lead the way. Expected like our slightly older brothers and sisters who went wild over brooding Marlon Brando, sulky James Dean, and moody Elvis them to live high off the edge. And so they did, so anyway did what became our holy trinity come concert night, come party time, Jim (Morrison), Jimi (Hendricks), and Janis (Joplin). They lived hard, lived out there on the edge subject to their own doubts, subject like us to those rat ass things that formed our childhoods and would not let go and they needed release just like us. So Jim twirled the whirling dervish shamanic dance, Jimi fired up his grinding guitar and Janis, little Janis with the big raspy voice sang like some old-time barrelhouse blues mama reincarnate. Yeah, and they, she lived fast, and died, died way too young not matter what out ethos stated.       

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