Monday, November 28, 2011


The Monterey International Pop Festival has FINALLY made it full circle.
Originally conceived as a means to express rock music as an "art form", worthy of respect and recognition by those outside the rock community ... (there were, after all, already jazz and folk festivals!) ... the entire event has now been commemorated in a BEAUTIFUL coffee table book typically reserved and befitting of only the most serious expressions of art.

Impeccably put together by Harvey and Kenneth Kubernik, the book "A Perfect Haze: The Illustrated History of the Monterey International Pop Festival" is a testimonial (if not a permanent monument) to the keystone event of The Summer Of The Love ... and the artists who made it all happen.

Beautifully illustrated from cover to cover with photographs, artifacts, articles and interviews with all of the key participants, it is nothing short of a museum's worth of memories contained in its 256 pages.  That some of this material still exists is nothing short of amazing ... that it has been so gloriously presented is a true testament to the original vision of those who put this landmark event together in the first place.

If you happen to see this title on display at your favorite book store, your first reaction will be to pick up a copy and thumb through it, marveling at the sheer beauty of it all ... rare, high-quality photographs and memorabilia, much of which is being seen for the very first time.  Please know, however, that "A Perfect Haze" is far more than just a "picture book" ... it's a well-written, informative time capsule of a very special moment in our lives ... you'll go well beyond the music and learn all that encompassed The Monterey International Pop Festival of 1967.

Spear-headed by John Phillips (of The Mamas and the Papas) and Lou Adler (his producer / manager) ... with a Board of Directors that included the likes of Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Brian Wilson, Mick Jagger, Donovan, Johnny Rivers, Smokey Robinson, Jim (Roger) McGuinn, Terry Melcher, Andrew Loog Oldham, Derek Taylor, Alan Pariser and Abraham Somer, the goal was simple ... put on a concert featuring the world's biggest acts ... ALL of whom would perform for free ... and use the event as a fund-raiser for any number of good causes selected by the committee.  Incredibly, 44 years later, the organization is STILL giving, thanks to sales and residuals of the original film and recordings and their re-releases in various incarnations since, thanks to the evolution of records, tapes, CDs, VHS Tapes and DVD's.

Monterey was the grand-daddy of them all.  Without Monterey, there is no Woodstock ... no Concert For Bangla Desh ... no Band Aid or Live Aid.  The concept of throwing a rock concert of this magnitude ... spread out over three days for the sole purpose of music and love ... and giving all of the rewards back to music organizations and health clinics ... exists BECAUSE of Monterey Pop.  (Author Harvey Kubernik tells the story of visiting a Los Angeles Free Clinic in the early '80's at a time when he didn't have health insurance but was in need of some antibiotics for a really bad sore throat.  When he arrived at the clinic, he noticed a wing of the building that was "made possible by support from The Monterey International Pop Festival Foundation."  Kubernik says "This was never lost on me.  That place and the San Francisco Free Clinic in 1967 or early '68, right after the concerts, received some of the first grants from the proceeds" of the concert.")

And what a line-up it was:  History was made that weekend thanks to the legendary performances of Otis Redding, Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company and Jimi Hendrix.  All three acts catapulted to super-stardom literally overnight after news of their performances at Monterey hit the streets.  (Sadly, all of these new, brightly burning lights would burn out far too soon.)  

But there was a lot more to Monterey than Hendrix, Joplin and Redding.  Also on the bill that weekend were The Association, Johnny Rivers, Eric Burdon and the "new" Animals, Simon and Garfunkel, Canned Heat, Country Joe and the Fish, Al Kooper, Lou Rawls, The Butterfield Blues Band, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Steve Miller Band, Moby Grape, The Electric Flag, Laura Nyro, Jefferson Airplane, Booker T and the MG's with The Mark-Keys (who also backed up Redding), Ravi Shankar, The Blues Project, The Grateful Dead, The Who, Buffalo Springfield and The Mamas and the Papas.

Artists like The Beach Boys (originally scheduled to headline on Saturday Night) cancelled at the last minute, paving the way for Otis Redding to fill their spot (and take their spotlight) in ways no one could have ever dreamed imaginable at the time.  (The times they WERE a-changin'!!!  The world will never know in what direction The Beach Boys' career may have turned had they kept the gig and performed material from their "Pet Sounds" and "SMiLE" LP's that night!  Instead, they fell out of favor with the radio audience until their unexpected "surf revival" in the mid-'70's, which only served to permanently pigeon-hole them into this genre for the rest of their career!)  

Rumors that The Beatles would attend never materialized (but it was Paul McCartney who suggested hiring Jimi Hendrix for the gig ... and it was Beatles' Press Secretary Derek Taylor who was put in charge of monitoring the press for Monterey).  Of course, it was the performance of Jimi Hendrix at Monterey that prompted spectators Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork of The Monkees to hire Hendrix to join them on their next Monkees tour ... and we all know how well THAT turned out!!!  (lol)

Likewise, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones didn't make it (although Jagger made The Board Of Directors List ... and Stones Manager Andrew Loog Oldham was a HUGE presence in putting the event together.)  Word is that Dionne Warwick and The Impressions were also scheduled to appear (but couldn't get out of other performing contracts for that weekend.)  And, Eric Clapton has often commented that Cream wanted to make their live U.S. debut at Monterey (but manager Robert Stigwood had other plans ... like a headlining tour ... in mind for the band instead.)

All these tidbits ... and pages and pages and pages of beautiful photographs ... actual documents from the event ... and one-of-a-kind memories from both the participants and spectators in the audience ... make "A Perfect Haze: The Illustrated History of the Monterey International Pop Festival" a "must have" for ANYONE considering themselves a music fan or a student of this culture we call rock and roll. It all unfolds in near diary form, dissecting the events of each day's events with commentary from all of the key participants, giving the reader insight and behind-the-scenes perspective only available from one who was there to experience the events first hand.  It is a joy to discover, page after page ... and is so beautifully and lovingly put together, you'll marvel at each new unveiling.

Author Harvey Kubernik told me:  "One of the goals was to deliver the best book ever about Monterey.  For twenty years, NO ONE (publishers and literary agents) wanted these sort of books, never realizing the market existed.  I look at these books and there are times I even think, "If you don't own them, then you are not the rock 'n' roll fan or collector you think you are."  

And he's absolutely right.  This book belongs in your collection ... be it on your coffee table or on your book shelf ... but somewhere nearby so you can look at it again and again.  It is a standing testament to The Summer Of Love, The Monterey International Pop Festival and a frozen moment in time where the MUSIC mattered more than anything else.  ALL of these artists gave of themselves to put on the best music festival possible at that time.  Pop in the DVD ... listen to the soundtrack ... thumb through this incredible journal ... ALL will put you there AT THAT MOMENT.  This book belongs in your collection.

Kent Kotal
Forgotten Hits

Amazon is offering "A Perfect Haze: The Illustrated History of the Monterey International Pop Festival" for HALF OFF!!!  There has NEVER been a better time to buy a copy!  
Put it on your Christmas List ... or simply treat yourself to this book ...
You will NOT be disappointed! (kk)