1969. Woodstock. Mama’s whole commune had picked up and went east. The Woodstock Music and Art Fair, known simply as the Woodstock Festival, was happening on Yasgur’s farm. It had gained enough interest among those who’d gone to the Monterey Pop Festival that they simply picked up and headed east. It was billed as three days of peace and music. It became legendary for its outward peace and music context, but there was always the sex and drugs. It was part of the counterculture.
Woodstock would also become synonymous with free love, free sex, and free drugs. And the hippie movement. But It should have been seen as much more. And much less.
Besides. The Grateful Dead was going to play there. And mama loved The Grateful Dead. Daddy had become someone new, the old one long gone. Possibly due to a bad trip on acid or an overdose on some other drug.
Of course, mama had given birth to Rainbow and Starshine-his new sisters-and now had less time for Matt…not that she’d had all that much to begin with. But he didn’t care. He had a second family in the studio and on stage.
he was twelve. He’d become a studio legend in two years. He could be heard on nearly every record put out. He was a written condition in contracts.
He had to laugh. Even the Jacksons had crossed his path briefly. He felt privileged to know everyone in the business. It made his resume look incredible.
He knew that many would never believe. But, then, they would be the ones who’d not grown up during the sixties. Or had the luck he’d had. But he’d answered when opportunity had knocked.
And he had never looked back. He hadn’t wanted to. Or needed to. Life was too short.
He was wise beyond his years. And well read. Worldly. The streets and the studio were his classrooms.
He made himself a promise to teach what he could to his sisters. Mama sure as hell wouldn’t. And the long line of ‘dads’ that were sure to come would only see them as possible sex objects like mama. And he would not allow that. Not while he had the means to prevent it.
But they were babies at the present. He could only watch over them as a protective big brother. With every passing day, he became more of a parent to them than their own mother.
During the festival, he would be called up numerous times to play with bands and artists he’d recorded with back in L.A. and San Francisco. He would have the time of his life, earning the jealousy of mama and her man. But they knew better than to touch him. He had too many friends. Too many protectors.
So mama sought to stop him from making money. But it didn’t work. Every studio in the east had heard that he was at the festival, And they had heard him play. Guitar. Bass. Piano. Drums. Whatever was needed.
Moreover, most had seen him perform. They were now hooked. He would be in even higher demand than before. He could possibly pull in a six digit income. Easy.
But all this work left little time for him to be a child. And no time to acquire friends his own age. No one to identify with. No one to just hang with.
His friends were all in their twenties and thirties. Some even older. They were no longer children. They had long since left childhood behind.
But he had trouble associating or identifying with other children. Especially those in the hippie communes. They had no direction. No discipline. No parental example.
At least that was his own experience. He had to look to others for the fatherly and motherly aspects of his upbringing. Mama was too busy sleeping around and he had no clue what a real dad was. And he was tired of it all. He only wanted to escape.
He was afraid for the country when his contemporaries grew into adulthood. The country would be screwed. Twisted. All their parents had attempted to get done would be undone. He shook his head.
At least he would still have his music. And his solitude. Forget the rest of the world. They could destroy themselves for all he cared. He would go on playing the music he loved.
He would continue to go from studio to studio, playing whatever instrument was needed and co-writing songs. He would make himself a legacy worthy of greatness. Soon, he would move on to singing as well. But for now, he remained an instrumentalist.
He would always remain where he was happiest. The most needed. Wanted. Loved.
To hell with mama. To hell with the men she had him call daddy. When he had a chance, he would go out on his own. And he would take his sisters with him. Just to keep them safe from harm.
Hell. He wished he could save the whole world. But he knew that he couldn’t. He was only one boy. And a lonely one at that.
Musicians had the power to influence change, not make it. He knew that. Just as Hollywood could influence one’s personal view of what was beautiful and what was ugly. And then there was television. Always telling the idyllic family life. Leave It To Beaver. Ozzy And Harriet. And whatever else could be dreamed up.
Why couldn’t life be like that? Why couldn’t there be a mom and dad who really cared? And loved? And kept their child safe?
Why was it that they were always too busy? Or too blind? Or too distracted? Too uninterested?
What had the children done to deserve such abandonment? They hadn’t asked to be born. They’d had no choice in the matter. Hell. He’d had no choice.
Mama could have been chaste. She could have waited. And married. But no.
Perhaps, her first had promised to marry her. Perhaps he’d promised to always be there for her. But war had seen to it that he had not. On either account.
Now, mama saw men as just a temporary fix for the hole in her heart. A drug to be passed around and shared. Someday, that would catch up to her. And he was resolved not to be there when it did. He couldn’t bear to pick up the pieces.