all the turning point musical events of the 1960s, perhaps
none stands out more than the fabled June, 1967 Monterey Pop festival.
Theres so many great bands, songs and stories to recall from
that zenith in American pop culture history, the best of which is
finally put into a "retrospective" print form by authors
Harvey Kubernik and his brother Kenneth Kubernik in
a beautifully laid out and designed book entitled A Perfect
Haze - The Illustrated History Of the Monterey International Pop Festival.
Released in late 2011, as a fantastic, prominent coffee table
edition by Santa Monica Press, the 256 page book is perhaps the ultimate
exposé on the Monterey Pop event. With this first ever officially
endorsed illustrated history of the Monterey Pop festival, the Kubernik
brothers put the event into context through a myriad of color pictures
of the festival as well as keen editorial insights and detailed interviews
with some of the key surviving artists who appeared at the festival.
For example, the part of the book chronicling the set by The Byrds
is quite graphic in its remembrances, including discussing the
rift that was ironically tearing the band apart at the time. Interviews
in the book with both Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman clearly
depict that rift between them and soon to be departing Byrd David
Crosby, who clearly had other things planned for his future outside
the Byrds. A shame and a real loss for music fans at the time, but
with Crosby Stills & Nash just a couple years off, and The Byrds
still releasing brilliant studio albums who, at the time, was going
to complain? It's just that cool with the book exquisitely laid out
in print form, featuring a myriad of key pictures detailing the great
and extensive list of bands and artists who brought their now fabled
music to the Monterey Pop stage that weekendincluding The
Mamas And The Papas, The Who, The Association,
Jimi Hendrix, Buffalo Springfield, The Grateful Dead,
Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane and much, much more.
Harvey Kubernik is one of the key music history authors in America
today and his, and his brother Kens, insights into this amazing,
once in a lifetime event is brought into sharp focus within A Perfect
Haze, which also features a foreword by festival organizer Lou
Adler and an afterword by the Mama's And Papa's Michelle Phillips.
Pop culture enthusiastsdont miss A Perfect Haze. www.SantaMonicaPress.com
mwe3.com presents an interview with
co-author of A Perfect Haze
interview written by Robert
Silverstein for mwe3.com
Why Monterey Pop and why now?
HARVEY KUBERNIK: Why not? It is a landmark event that changed
the world we inhabit. I've always felt it was somewhat neglected for
all the acts and concepts introduced that then enabled musical pop
culture to advance in so many directions.
There is a distinct line that can be drawn from this Monterey festival
to Coachella. Let alone the music and subsequent recording artists
first exposed in a national showcase that have invaded your LP and
CD collection for 44 years.
As for why now? As Dennis Dragon says, "we don't define it. We
just do it." I'm a writer.
The producer of the Coachella festival emailed me and told me that
when he started producing his first shows they were done at Lou Adler's
Roxy Theater years ago.
He also volunteered that he really learned and appreciated from producers
Lou Adler and John Phillips at the time of Monterey, was the idea
of a multi-stacked lineup of rock bands for three days and nights.
mwe3: What inspired the title A Perfect Haze and what
were the key factors involved in the book coming together in 2011?
HK: The title emerged after a discussion with my younger brother
Kenneth, the co-author.
It's a nod to "Purple Haze," the Jim Hendrix tune. And,
the festival went off perfectly. So the title is a variation on this
and the publisher dug it.
mwe3: How challenging was it to assemble all the new interviews
with the key surviving artists from the Monterey festival?
HK: It is always a challenge. However, there were enough characters
still around who wanted to participate. I had interviewed Ravi Shankar
in 1997 for "HITS" Magazine about that Monterey event. And,
in 2004, I conducted the first in a series of interviews with filmmaker
D.A. Pennebaker, who directed Monterey Pop, the festival film,
after he shot Don't Look Back, his black and white celluloid
portrait of Bob Dylan's 1965 UK tour.
In 2007 I then interviewed a lot of musicians who performed at Monterey,
and producer Lou Adler for a couple of UK and US music magazines.
Al Kooper is really a yenta and had tremendous recall on every aspect.
He was the assistant stage manager and also played a short set. It's
now on the DVD. I had some potent archive and never published or unedited
catalog material waiting for a larger print home.
I then added many new voices for the book who were on the bill, the
never included or overlooked acts with a plethora of concertgoers,
booking agents, photographers and technical people. Everyone I asked
was happy to go down memory lane, except for a couple of people whose
PR person could not deliver.
How did you become involved in the A Perfect Haze book and
how did you get involved with Santa Monica Press?
HK: I was always planning and researching a book about Monterey
for this entire decade. It was something I first discussed with Ravi
Shankar in his home in Encinatas, California in my 1997 encounter
I had gone to the premiere of Monterey Pop in 1969 at a Beverly
Hills movie theater. I just heard from the girl Lesley I took as my
date that night. I saw another couple of showings as well. I've been
connected with the enduring and endearing 1967 world of Monterey for
over 40 years. My brother saw it as well at the same theater.
Anytime there was a CD or DVD, like the 2007 Jimi Hendrix DVD from
the event, I wrote about it and did deeper research and interviews.
As you know, I write for myself. Even when there's no book, magazine
or online assignment.
Then I joined forces with my brother Ken, who is an excellent writer,
who loves the lore and the lure of the ongoing Monterey legacy.
A book company I had worked with previously did offer a contract but
their requirements were just not acceptable. And I kept collecting
items and making connections 'cause I knew a book would happen.
Plus, I was always encouraged by record producer and author, Andrew
Loog Oldham, who was part of the production team that created the
Monterey festival in the first place. "Man, just keep going."
Then, the owner of Santa Monica Press called me up after the publication
of my Canyon of Dreams: The Magic And The Music Of Laurel Canyon
book, congratulating me on the work, the writing and the photos and
I had known him for over 25 years since he was a student at UCLA and
wrote for "The Daily Bruin." Fellow Pisces. He had politely
passed on my previous 4 books and manuscript ideas over the last 10
years. He said, "when you have something again bring it to me
with a proposal." So, I called him up and it developed from there.
mwe3: Also what's going on these days with Monterey Pop producer
Lou Adler and what part did Lou play in the A Perfect Haze
HK: The roles Lou Adler and Howard Frank from his office played
in the book were plentiful. Not just Lou making himself accessible
for my interviews and information, but way beyond by also providing
his own 'Monterey' archives for usage and exhibition.
In addition, suggesting some specific people to track down and interview
like lighting and stage designer Chip Monck and the initial contact
for Michelle Phillips, who assisted in the event planning in West
Hollywood around her Mamas and the Papas gig.
Both Ken and I learned a lot about how Lou has been shaping and guiding
the Monterey International Pop Festival Fund for the last 44 years.
Some of that specific charity work is acknowledged in our book.
Lou is still very active in the music business. He has a slew of CD
and DVD reissues out. From Carole King's Deluxe Edition of Tapestry,
an album he originally produced for his Ode Records label, to four
Spirit expanded rereleases. There's also a blu-ray DVD of his The
Rocky Horror Picture Show movie. A few years back he reissued
several Merry Clayton albums in Japan.
How would you compare festivals: Monterey to Woodstockl?
HK: There really should be no comparison. Monterey was a nonprofit
venture. Woodstock, by initial design, was produced for profit. But
the influence of Monterey on Woodstock is obvious. From some of the
bands that were introduced nationally in 1967 to their Woodstock booking
in 1969: Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Paul Butterfield,
Canned Heat, Country Joe & The Fish, Janis Joplin, though not
a member of Big Brother & The Holding Company at that time.
And, cats like Chip Monck, who initiated some of the technology of
lighting and sound at Monterey later did that same function at Woodstock
and handled the stage announcements. His technical acumen still benefits
contemporary arena and festival concert lighting and sound endeavors.
Monterey was some sort of model for the birth of the Woodstock festival.
Only in the sense that their outdoor festival was a direct result
of what John Phillips and Lou Adler accomplished at Monterey. In fact,
one of the producers of Woodstock saw the movie Monterey Pop
just before he became one of the major investors in Woodstock to put
it in motion.
I also think the girls were cuter at Monterey.
mwe3: How about your other favorite reflections / revelations
of Monterey Pop?
HK: In the Monterey Pop movie, the original print and
film, Ravi Shankar, Otis Redding and his band, Jefferson Airplane
and the seamless direction Pennebaker wove around the gathering. No
interviews in the documentary. The movie shows the crowd and the artists
who played as one in some sort of sonic and mind collaboration.
In the more recent The Complete Monterey Pop Festival, out
in DVD and blue-ray, a few new highlights have emerged with these
retail items. Just finally seeing some film of The Association that
afternoon. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Country Joe & The
Fish and The Electric Flag with Michael Bloomfield documented. Very
groovy. When pressed, my fave rave moment is the appearance of Laura
Nyro singing "Poverty Train." Just stunning.
to Harvey Kubernik and Jeff Goldman @ www.SantaMonicaPress.com
All photos copyright © Henry Diltz