Tuesday, 15 September 2009

October 15-16, 1965: A Busy Time For Country Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald, Mark Spoelstra, Ken Kesey, Lou Gottleib, Malvina Reynolds, Paul Krassner, Jon Hendricks, Tom Paxton, Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti and many, many others who spoke, sang and marched at the VDC organised International Days of Protest.

15 October 1965: Lower Sproul Hall Plaza, University of Berkeley Campus, Berkeley, CA [Morning - 09:00 to 11:30] Joe McDonald with Malvina Reynolds, Carvel Bass, and others [International Day of Protest and Vietnam Day Committee Teach-In]. The Teach-In took place in the grass field that is now Zellerbach Hall. Anecdote from Joe: It was there that I sold the first EP and was put in charge of a small stage in "Lower Sproul Plaza" It had a microphone and I sang songs to the crowd that passed by going to the field where the speakers spoke, among them I. F. Stone and Ken Kesey. Malvina Reynolds came by with her guitar and asked if she could sing and I said yes and she sang a bit. My memory is that no one paid much attention to either of us. The "Random Notes" in Issue 3 of Rag Baby reported that Folk Music on the Peace March was Omnipresent. Spontaneous choruses of the well known Freedom songs and older gospel ("We Shall Overcome", "This Little Light of Mine", "Down by the Riverside"") seemed to break out along the mile plus length of the demonstration. From the sound truck folksingers tried with varying degrees of success to get the crowd singing, but only the first thousand or so could hear. Attempts at singing Phil Ochs' "I'm Not Marching Anymore" (sic) (odd thing to sing while marching) and the liberal song were more or less soli, but the whole crowd knew "Help". In the morning the early demonstrators heard Malvina Reynolds, Joe McDonald, Carvel Bass and other folksingers and that night after the tear gas, the Instant Action Jug Band featuring Paul Armstrong on the jazz kazoo, did world favorites like "Bring It With You When You Come" and songs from the RAG BABY TALKING ISSUE, which was having its world premier at the International Days of Protest. Joe was credited in the Final Program for the International Days of Protest as organizing the folk singers.

15 October 1965: Lower Sproul Hall Plaza, University of Berkeley Campus, Berkeley, CA [Afternoon - 11:30 to 12:00] Joe McDonald with Lou Gottlieb.

15 October 1965: Peace March, Berkeley, CA [Night - Lower Sproul Plaza] Instant Action Jug Band and Malvina Reynolds. The line up of the Jug Band at this event most closely resembled what was to become "Country Joe and the Fish" - the band. In attendance were Joe McDonald, Barry Melton, Bruce Barthol, Paul Armstrong and Carvel Bass amongst others. It is unclear if John Francis Gunning was present. At UC Berkeley, a Teach-In on campus is followed by a march on the Oakland Army induction center. "That evening, some 15,000 demonstrators left the campus marching toward Oakland. Marchers include children, grandmothers, and a busload of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters along with college and high school students. The Oakland and Berkeley authorities had refused a parade permit. As the marchers approached the Oakland city limit they could see about 400 Oakland police wearing riot helmets, brandishing special riot weapons, blocking the way. The march stopped less than a hundred yards from the police line. As spectators and a group of about 100 right-wing counterdemonstrators filled the gap between the march and the police, a previously agreed-to subcommittee held a swirling, confused discussion on what to do." ... [After negotiation, the march proceeded to Oakland Civic Center Park , where the teach-in was continued and another march called for the next day." [Halstead, p. 87; Rorabaugh, pp. 96-97]

15 October 1965: Army Terminal, Oakland, CA [Night 11:00 to 11:45] Joe McDonald.

The following day (October 16), the marchers return. (About 100 had remained in the park overnight). When the two to five thousand protesters reach the Oakland City line, they are stopped by police. The police ask the protestors to sit down in the street to avoid violent confrontations. Poet Allen Ginsberg chants "Hare Krishna" at the front of the march. The Hell's Angels motorcycle gang appears, rips down banners, and attacks protestors, yelling, "Go back to Russia you fucking communists!" The police attack the Angels. When the Angels threaten to attack the next peace march, Ginsberg, Kesey, and Pranksters subsequently visit the home of Angels president Sonny Barger to discuss the situation and share some LSD with Barger and his friends. By dawn the two groups had chanted together. [Barlow. Intrepid Trips: "Allen"; LAT, 10/17/65]

16 October 1965: Lower Sproul Hall Plaza, University of Berkeley Campus, Berkeley, CA [Morning - 08:30 to 09:00] Joe McDonald

16 October 1965: Lower Sproul Hall Plaza, University of Berkeley Campus, Berkeley, CA [Afternoon - 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm] Joe McDonald, Tom Paxton, Mark Spoelstra

No comments:

Post a Comment