Roaring Down Thunder Road: Darlin’, You Know Just What I’m Here For

Aug 25, 2016 | 8657 Views | 2 Comments

I took a road trip with "Born to Run" yesterday. It's the 41st anniversary of Bruce's groundbreaking album, and there's no better way to experience it than by blasting it in your car, with the windows open and the wind blowing back your hair. Cars and tunnels and backstreets and highways are just as central to the LP's cast of characters as the losers and loners and tramps. My trip to the South Hills of Pittsburgh lasted the entire length of the album. From Rt. 22 East and the harmonica opening of "Thunder Road," right down to... Read More »

David Peel: The Dope-Smokin’ Pope of the New York City Hippies

Jul 25, 2016 | 8600 Views | 7 Comments

Hello, ma'am. I'm working to clean up the neighborhood from parasites. Do you mind if I take a quick look around your house? I'm afraid you may have hippies. If you're familiar with the darkly funny animated series "South Park," you know there's nothing that tubby 9-year-old Eric Cartman hates more than hippies. In the 2005 episode "Die Hippie, Die," he gallantly waddles from house to house with an exterminator tank, hell-bent on ridding the neighborhood of the bad-smelling, peace-preaching stoners. Well, in my small hometown in the late 1960s, we had but one authentic hippie, and we intended... Read More »

The Fireworks are Hailin’ Over Little Eden Tonight: Bruce’s Boardwalk Lullaby

Jul 4, 2016 | 8210 Views | 2 Comments

When the cops finally busted Madam Marie, the young ne'er-do-well knew it was time to leave the seaside carnival life forever. Riding Tilt-a-Whirls and chasing factory girls underneath the boardwalk…cruising the circuit with switchblade lovers and open-shirt casino boys…it was all kid's stuff. Someday he'd look back on those barefoot slacker days and sex-seeking nights, and rage against the dying of the pier lights that once cast a protective cover, like a soft beach blanket, over his body and hers. But now, as the fireworks hailed over his Little Eden on that 4th of July, he determined it... Read More »

Love Amid the Rubble: Ronnie Lane’s Tender Ode to His Dad, Saint Stan

Jun 19, 2016 | 7620 Views | 1 Comment

I heard your footsteps at the front door, and that old familiar love song. ‘Cause you knew you'd find me waiting there, at the top of the stairs. Those lyrics weren’t written by a heartsick bloke waiting for his lover to come home. They were composed by an artist recalling his boyhood days in a working-class London neighborhood, waiting for his tireless dad to return from his Sunday morning trudge to the local junk market. You were sorting through the odds and ends, You was looking for a bargain. Ronnie Lane, the artist once described by Mojo writer Wayne Pernu... Read More »

You Score an Ounce, Olé — Paul, Pot, and the Petition of ’67

Jun 18, 2016 | 8585 Views | 3 Comments

Even if Bob Dylan hadn't introduced The Beatles to marijuana at New York's Delmonico Hotel, the boys would have lit up soon enough. From that August 1964 night onward, "let's have a laugh" quickly became their code phrase for "let's have a toke." And laugh they did. At least until the infamous Sgt. Norman Pilcher and his drug-sniffing dogs Yogi and BooBoo came snooping around their London abodes. The cop and his canines found 12 grams of cannabis in a binocular case in John and Yoko's apartment in October 1968, and a few months later discovered a... Read More »