Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Ramrod died this morning at 6:30 AM

I just talked to steve parish and he said in the past week it was obvious it was coming. steve and ramrod shook hands, steve said it was the strongest handshake he'd ever had, a little while later Ramrod eased on out.
Here's what Robert Hunter wrote:
Elegy for Ramrod
Most never knew his given name.They called him Ramrod.Lawrence didn't fit him.He came down from Oregon,Prankster sidekick of Cassady,Kesey and the merry crew,a silent stoic in a vocable milieuhis heart was stolen by the Grateful Dead.
A country boy, not given to complexity,his crowning gift was loyaltyfor which he was loved more thanthe common run of men by friends.This is not to say more than was so,the common fault of eulogieswhich shine the silver of modest virtueinto the gold of rareness.
Every soul owes life a death.Between each heartbeat is a momentwithin which the pulse is still.In the longer beat between life and deatha man was here we called a friend,a father, a husband and a son.He is us and we are him,his death is ours, our lives are his.
Some see Heaven as dying's recompense,some acknowledge only nothingnessin a space we know not of,in a place we know not where.But this we know, as a poet said:"To have been here but the onceNever can be undone."
Some will pray, some just remember.Those who pray, having prayed,will go on to pray for others.Those who remember,having remembered for awhile,will in the course of time forget,more so as the years dissolve.This is as it should belest death overstep its boundsand impinge too much on life.Life, being what is, cannotimpinge too much on death.
The circumstance we most desirein grief which shakes our brancheslike some holy hurricane ragingthrough this barren world of little light,is that our brother be gathered in glory.If so, rejoice! If wishful thinking,give thanks insteadthat he was here among us.Delivered from the testing fire of pain,a truer heart was never broken.
-- rh

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Sent :
Monday, May 15, 2006 11:51 PM
To :
Subject :
Enjoy your site

Certainly have enjoyed this site.Brings back a lot of old memories.I was raised in Birmingham.Was around in the days of The James Gang.......Candy Men.....Great times. I have a life long friend from Dothan...Sid White,musican by trade.He and Bill Hanke have played on and off together for many years.I spent a few nights at Studio One with Sid in the 70's watching ARS do their magic in the studio.When they would come to Bham J.R. always made sure we got in to their shows.He was and is a great guy.
Well just wanted to say thanks for what you have done here.

Ray Lofton

Monday, May 15, 2006

Another hipster anniversary is coming up at the end of this week!

Friday, May 19, 2006 will mark the 40th anniversary of Prankster Ron Boise's nude sculptures going up on the roof of Anchor Steam Brewery making them visible from the freeway.

May 19, 1966 (Thursday)
Ron Boise nude sculpture installed.


Profile: Fritz Maytag

In the June 30, 1985, issue of the San Francisco Examiner is Jim Wood's fascinating interview with Fritz Maytag. We have excerpted, with the newspaper's kind permission, Maytag’s philosophy and strategies regarding marketing.

"Like so many liberal art students, young people interested in philosophy and ideas and religion and all that stuff, I had thought that business was dumb and ugly and dishonest and just a lot of money-grubbing people running around fooling each other and talking people into buying their dumb products. That may be one reason I've never advertised very much. I always felt that if they came and bought it on its own right that I would feel better.

"I just sort of had a natural instinct for a way to market the beer, which was first to make a wonderful beer that we were sure was just superb and well made, with a true story. I used to say I wanted a beer that would please people here (pointing) on the taste buds, but also up here in the head, you know. I felt instinctively that the way to market it was slowly and gently, and let it trickle around to get some word of mouth going, tell our story to as many people as we possibly could, show them the brewery. Not to advertise .... I felt that we would stand out by not doing that ....

"What we did was we opened the brewery night and day to anyone who would come and look. We had art exhibits. We had sculpture exhibits, where we turned the whole brewery over to a remarkable man, Ron Boise, who was notorious, well, infamous, for having done a little thing called a 'Kama Sutra' series in copper. (Lawrence) Ferlinghetti exhibited it, and the police came down.

"Anyway, we weren't dumb. We turned the whole brewery over to him and we put this huge sculpture of a naked man and woman up on the roof where you could see it from the freeway. We made the front page of the Chronicle and the Examiner. The district attorney, or whoever it was, called up and said 'Hello, is this the Anchor Brewery?' 'Yes,' I said. They said, 'We want to know about that sculpture on the roof.' I said, 'What do you want to know about it?' 'We want to know whether it is obscene or not.' I said 'No, it's not obscene.' He said, 'Oh. Thank you.' And he hung up.
"We had a balloon ascension on Fisherman's Wharf …, before hot air balloons had even been heard of, and we made the paper again. The point being -- Anchor Steam Beer was here. We were local, we were continuing and we did our packaging, labels and things, trucks, all those things, we did with as much care and sort of flair for expressing our attitude toward the beer as we possibly could. We purposely (made) them sort of naive and sincere. We put a long story on the neck label. I always said, even if people don't read it, they'll get the message there is a long story here and someday they will read it."

Remember him? Cool Breeze, I mean, of the Pranksters. He was fun. Liked to be a Neal Cassady protege. He'd go movin' around the dance floor of the "Barn" where I worked doing light shows with Paul Curtis and Saul Mitig of "Magic Theatre." "The price of admission is your mind" is what I remember. The Pranksters all stayed there after Ken had disappeared, leaving the bus parked with a note saying "Ocean, Ocean, you have won" and his shoes left by the water's edge. My partner in sculpture, Ron Boise, drove him down to * in the potato chip truck and rolled him up in a rug across the border to avoid going to jail for smoking' a joint with Mountain Girl. Ken had a fun house up in La Honda, "Sky Londa," where people used to like to inhale nitrous oxide, "laughing gas," up in the redwood grove outside. They talked real funny and would fall down having such a good time. Oh

For January 8 they planned a bigger Test than ever before. They had the Fillmore Auditorium, with more electronic equipment than ever, since Owsley Stanley had turned his perfectionist attentions to the sound equipment being used by the Dead. He'd bought cratefuls of amplifiers and speakers and monitors and even an oscilloscope. This time the Pranksters had closed-circuit TV portapaks to add to the instantaneity. Ron Boise brought a lot of Thunder Sculptures for this event, including one shaped like a vulture, another shaped like a seashell that you could crawl into and get lost in, and the Tuned Woman.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sun, 14 May 2006 00:49:34 EDT
Re: Doug Bond & His James Gang Reminiscences Get Top Billing From The Spammer...

To: Doug Bond---
Hey Doug, glad to hear your memories of our playing at Ozark during the summer of 65! It's really nice and very interesting after all these years to hear what members of our audiences thought about us back then. We played every Thursday night in Ozark, Friday nights in Dothan, and Saturday nights in Birmingham that summer. The crowds at all three places were always huge and enthusiastic. You Ozark folks always treated us great, and it's nice to have an opportunity to thank one of you. We went on from there to play around the country and had a good run at being a southern rock and roll band during that era. I have some of our tunes now from back then (including Georgia Pines) on CD, thanks to James Lathem, our piano player. Robert knows how to get up with me, so if you'll send him your address, I'll burn a copy and send it to you. Thanks for sharing your memories---
Jimmy Dean
The James Gang