Growing up, I'd already decided I wanted to be a beatnik. A Bohemian poet, I thought. Or a musician. Maybe an artist. I'd dress in black turtlenecks and smoke Gitanes. I'd listen to cool jazz in clubs, getting up to read devastating truths from my notebook, leaning against the microphone, cigarette dangling from my hand.
I got interested in Zen when I was a teenage beatnik on the streets of San Francisco. And it was my interest in Zen, in part, that got me into the Marine Corps, because that was a ticket to Asia. So I spent a couple of years on Okinawa and began reading and thinking about how I wanted to go about conducting my life.
When LOVE played the still hipper Whisky A Go-Go, further west along Sunset, Arthur Lee claims they 'started the whole hippy thing' in tandem with an in-crowd of freaks led by aging beatnik sculptor Vito Paulekas. It was Vito, Carl Franzoni, Sue, Beatle Bob, Bryan Maclean and me...people would come to Ben Frank's to hang out with us after we played shows.
But yet, but yet, woe, woe unto those who think that the Beat Generation means crime, delinquency, immorality, amorality ... woe unto those who attack it on the grounds that they simply don't understand history and the yearning of human souls ... woe in fact unto those who make evil movies about the Beat Generation where innocent housewives are raped by beatniks! ... woe unto those who spit on the Beat Generation, the wind'll blow it back.
My dad was a big fan of comedy. He wanted to be a stand-up. He loved Lenny [Bruce]. He also loved Lord Buckley and jazz and stuff. He was a hipster. My parents were kind of beatnik-y, you know, for Salt Lake City. But my humor, I think, came from wanting to disarm people before they hit me.
the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.
It has to be acknowledged that in capitalist society, with its herds of hippies, originality has become a sort of fringe benefit, a mere convention, accepted obsolescence, the Beatnik model being turned in for the Hippie model, as though strangely obedient to capitalist laws of marketing.