A PERFECT HAZE
The Illustrated History Of the Monterey International Pop Festival
(Santa Monica Press)

 

Of all the “turning point” musical events of the 1960s, perhaps none stands out more than the fabled June, 1967 Monterey Pop festival. There’s 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 weekend—including The Mama’s And The Papa’s, 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 Ken’s, 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 enthusiasts—don’t miss A Perfect Haze. www.SantaMonicaPress.com


mwe3.com presents an interview with
HARVEY KUBERNIK
co-author of A Perfect Haze


interview written by Robert Silverstein for mwe3.com


mwe3: 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.


mwe3: 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 with him.

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 memorabilia displayed.

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 book?

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 Mama’s and the Papa’s 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.


mwe3: 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.

Thanks to Harvey Kubernik and Jeff Goldman @ www.SantaMonicaPress.com
All photos copyright © Henry Diltz

 

 
   
Attention Artists and Record Companies: Have your CD reviewed by mwe3.com.
Send to
: MWE3.com CD Reviews Editor Robert Silverstein, P.O. Box 630249, Little Neck, N.Y. 11363-0249
E-mail:
info@mwe3.com
 
 
CD Reviews Feature Reviews & Features Archive Photo Archive Contact MWE3 Home
Email: Info@mwe3.com 

 

Copyright 1999-2011
MWE3.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved