JC: I was wondering about politics, then and now. Was the rhetoric the same back then, from both sides?
RM: Yeah. Of course. Do the Republicans want to do organic agriculture? No. Do they want to save the environment? No. Are they pro-war? Yes. The whole point of the Sixties was to create a new society. The new age society. The 21st Century Aquarian Age and the Aquarian Age will be a time when we were going to do things organically. We were going to find another way to propel automobiles other than oil. Do the republicans want that? No. That's what the hippies wanted.
The whole point of the Sixties was to create a new society. The new age society. The 21st Century Aquarian Age... Do the Republicans want that? No. That's what the hippies wanted.
JC: You guys were thinking about that in the Sixties—not using oil for cars?
RK: Well less oil, we didn’t have all the alternatives back then. We liked saving oil, although it wasn’t a big deal back then, like it is now y’know? What happened was everything was going in that direction when Kennedy was in and then Bobby was going to take over after Jack got shot, but then Nixon got in and everything went to shit.
JC: What did you guys think of more extreme people like Malcolm X. Did you guys talk about that?
RK: did we talk about Malcolm X?
RM: Well we certainly talked about Black liberation and equality and the Black Panthers and Malcom X, and who was the guy with the hat with the moons and stars on it?
RM: Elijah Muhammed… It was all in the air and everyone was trying to create the new society. And that’s what we were talking about: the new society, the new age. We were trying be Christians, you know, love your neighbor as you love yourself. And trying to live up to the words “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.” Black people hadn’t become equals. They were just jumping onto the road to freedom, where they could actually drink out of a water fountain that a white man was allowed to drink out of. In the south you couldn't sit at the counter in the lunch room and have a hamburger. [With all the civil rights sit-ins and protests and Rosa Parks etc...] It was an amazing time. People weren’t just into LSD.
JC: What did you guys think of the Velvet Underground? Were they kind of like your East-Coast-rivals-type-band?
RM: They were terrific. They were great.
RK: We didn’t really consider them as East Coast adversaries. Our adversaries were in San Francisco. We had to beat The Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead.
JC: They’re not really competition for you guys though. Did you ever meet John Lennon or any of those dudes?
We didn’t really consider [The Velvet Underground] as East Coast adversaries. Our adversaries were in San Francisco. We had to beat The Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead.
RK: Briefly. Did they come to our session?
RM: George Harrison did. Very nice guy. Couldn’t be nicer. George Harrison was great.
RK: We went to a couple of Stones sessions when they were recording Gimme Shelter.
RM: I met Charlie Watts in Barneys on 61st and Madison, in New York. He was dressed all in gray, and he was gray. He’s a clothes horse. He made somebody’s best dressed list—guy loves his clothes. Mick and the guys came to the show at The Hollywood Bowl.
RK: That’s right, Mick came to dinner with us the night of The Hollywood Bowl.
JC: That's nice.
RM: We met Mick Jagger!
JC: I guess you guys could finally say you made it now; you had dinner with Mick Jagger.
[I'm not sure he realized I was being sarcastic —JC]
JC: You guys were serious musicians already when Jim started fresh with you guys. Did he sing in tune right away, or did it take a little practice?
RK: He was a great singer, man. He was barely out of tune, unless he was totally drunk. But he was an amazing singer considering he never took lessons or anything. He had an amazing range too. He could sing high and loud. So many singers I’ve played with have said, “Can we do ‘Roadhouse Blues’ in E-flat because I just can’t reach those notes?”
RM: He had a great sense of timing and a great sense of pitch.
RK: He was a natural.
JC: By the way, nice job too on "Severed Garden." You guys sounded reeeaally hip on that track.
RK: Thanks. That’s one of my favorite albums actually. That shows you how Jim phrased stuff, and enabled us to put music to that poetry and make it work.
RM: That was straight-ahead reading. There was no music, no idea of anything. But he had such an innate sense of timing and rhythm and space that we were able to just jump in and put music underneath it and leave space for the playing. Robbie, American Prayer is my son’s favorite album!
JC: So you’ve got your Mom who loves “Universal Mind” and your son loves An American Prayer… I dig it. Two extremes of non-standard releases…
RM: And my dad of course was into “Light My Fire.”