Being a music major at San Jose State in the 1960s meant that you were automatically in the San Jose Sate Marching Band.
Music majors had to be available for all the football games, school parades, and any memorial and civic commitments that the school administration deemed to be worth the effort of having the Marching Band getting suited up for.
Besides the actual events, there were the two rehearsals each week. Chuck hated Marching Band. He used to complain that it wasn’t so much about music and band as it was about marching and learning how to do “quarter-step turns.”
The avant-garde, a-tonal music intellectual despised the fact that he nearly always had to have his saxophone case with him nearly every time he set foot on the campus, ever ready for the call to the Marching Band’s demands.
His great disdain for Marching Band was a great source of our sarcastic humor and we would taunt and tease Chuck at every opportunity to bring up his hated Marching Band.
But, using the Marching Band commitment as an excuse, Chuck started taking a lot of acid (LSD). He called his acid trips his escape from the Marching Band. It was a ridiculous justification but we let him have it. None of us had any such big time commitments like the Marching Band and, as much as he hated it, he pretty much did everything they wanted, complaining only to us. He really wanted to get straight As on his report card.
On the other side of the coin, however, Chuck did have his other “extra-curricular” activities that did give him a whole lot of challenge and satisfaction. One of these non-school labors got me real involved as I had my very reliable Volkswagen bug and Chuck had the need to travel to the City (San Francisco), or Marin, or up into the Santa Cruz Mountains to promote his latest and most ambitious endeavour, song writing.
I have mentioned previously, Chuck didn’t drive, let alone have a car. At first it was just on the weekends, but as he got more successful and popular, I’d be requested to haul Chuck to all sorts of odd and hidden locations where the bands were hiding, up in the woods, all along the Central California Coast.
For the most part, I had no problems trucking the modest music guru all over our half of the state. We were always meeting the most interesting people and we were constantly touching the very heart of the hip culture, the music makers of the Fillmore Ballroom and the Winterland Concert Hall.
We came to know, as well, the poster makers, the overly payed seamstresses who made the extravagant garments so common in those days, and the guys who put on the amazing light shows that danced and swirled behind the musicians at every show. You could just not get any more hip than this.
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