The Blacklisted Journalist Picture The Blacklisted Journalistsm

(Copyright 1997 Al Aronowitz)


From: (donbook)
To: "Al Aronowitz"
Subject: Hey Al!
Date: Fri, 24 Jan 1997 15:18:24 -0600

Dear Al,
This is just a short note to say thanks for the phone call last Saturday. It made my whole week-end. This is one of the many things I love about the net, not only do you get to learn things, you get to meet people, and communicate! I thoroughly enjoy meeting and knowing people who live on the edge, who dance to a different beat,.. people who read MAD magazine... , eat raw oysters, look up girl's skirts, masturbate and are not ashamed of admitting it....People who can see the real BullShit and the real BullShitters, and devote their life to fucking them up!...(I won't bore you with my current projects and successes). Just take care, and keep doing what you're doing......

Don C. "Dirty Don" Booker

P.S. Have You Read".."Art of Warfare" Sun Tzu (Know yourself and you will know your enemy) "More Unkept Thoughts" Stanislaw Lec (When the gods are hungry, feed the priests)" Mad Strikes Back" Alfred E. (What Me Worry?) Neuman, Newman, Nueman, Whatever.." ##

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Date: Sat, 22 Mar 1997 22:43:34 -0500
From: (Patrick Gregory)
Subject: from Scott Gregory, London, Ontario

Dear Blacklisted Journalist:

This evening, I have read with great appreciation, your writings on the internet.

Your insight to the era you are talking about is appreciated. Freedom of speech, if there is such a thing anymore, demands that your stories be told and interested listeners such as myself who are interested in the time you speak of, have the right to hear what has been silenced for 23 years.

Have you ever had the opportunity to meet with Jim Marshall the documentary photographer from the time which you write about? I would be interested in hearing your comments as his situation reminds me of yours, in that people just would not deal with him, yet his body of work is amazing and I believe just now is getting his due.

I truly hope that you are treated with the respect you deserve, sooner than later.


Scott Gregory,
London, Ontario,

email to ##

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Date: Sat, 15 Mar 1997 19:44:41 -0800
From: junebug
Organization: Society of Junebug Admirers
Subject: truth or fiction?

dear "??,

i enjoyed your column very much, and it seems as though you knew most every body that i consider an influence on me and my lifestyle. but how can i be sure you really knew all these people. i mean all it would take to write such a column would be an extensive bit of research and a good imagination. is there any published works of yours i could read to reaffirm your existence? how about archives of your articles? or you could give me a name so i could ask Allen Ginsberg if he knows you.

thank you,

ian macbride ( but you can call me junebug) ##

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Date: Fri, 14 Mar 1997 14:43:06 -0500 (EST)
From: Jonathan Lim
Subject: Dylan hero-in blues etc.

Dear Sir, Blacklisted J., Mr. Aronowitz,

Love those Beatles, Dylan, Kerouac articles et al. Can't believe you can't get into paper-print with, perhaps, a big fat tome for each of the more interesting decades of this epoch.

In speculative/factual matters: according to the Dylan biographer Mike Spitz, in his Dylan bio of '88; D.A. Pennebaker relates the scenario surrounding the London '66 limo ride containing Lennon/Dylan: apparently they've been up all night, and according to D.A., Dylan is on el smack, in addition to whatever drink, doesn't say what Lennon is on, but he's not as sick as Dylan, so it could be anything; you'll have to read the toto description yourself (i don't have it on hand).

Also, in an early seventies book on independent film, Pennebaker explains that there were two movies made from the Dylan '66 footage with the Hawks -- one film edited by Dylan, the other by Pennebaker. Dylan's is Eat the Document -- which Pennebaker says is Dylan's cynical attempt to make a tour or fun film using the very worst parts of the footage shot, or just a long gag of shenanigans, with the focus not so much on music, but on the nether vibe or whatever. Pennebaker's film, on the other hand, says D.A. himself, is "the best concert footage you've never seen"; the film apparently titled, Something's Happening, and concentrates on the stage performances of Dylan and the Hawks, and Dylan doing his solo set on acoustic. Chronologically, Pennebaker cut his film first, and Dylan made his film next, using whatever footage Pennebaker did not. So apparently they're two completely different films (which put together would be three very entertaining hours; hopefully one day both will come out, cause, as great as Eat the Document is, I have a feeling Pennebaker's film is the meatier of the two, certainly musicwise). Pennebaker's cut is locked in his personal vault; Dylan probably still owns the footage tho, so it's his light switch.

Anyhows, I'm looking forward to your story of the Brian Jones visit with Dylan and Robertson; the first things of yours I read was the "Stones break up over Brian's dead body (Or "Ya better start swimmin' or you'll sink like Brian Jones...."), an obit piece I believe -- read by myself much later than the occurrence itself in a Stones book. Have you been interviewed lately? -- not necessarily for publication (or publication this century) -- but has anyone helped pick Your brain? I'd like to ask you a multitude of questions, via email or however, on all the stuff, the psychic generations and legacies etc. surrounding the emanations and attractions of the height of New York and transatlantic Bohemia (which is the meeting point of Dylan and the Beatles anyways, that thin isthmus of the partially effable mind from the symbolists to the dada surrealist, slapstick Beatnik Elvis Montmarte bull of the soul that also leads to the Velvets and all that jazz ---- all of which, in a phenomenal sense and essence, of course, is just as ridiculous as it sounds...), the Ab Ex fifties and forties and whatnot, blah blah; you could use your own answers for your own notes or stimulus, from questions you mightn't think of asking yourself (or you could run the interview yourself-- unless you can't be bothered at all and prefer the way you've been interviewing yourself already!))).

Yeah, anyway, I haven't been a New Yorker long; I certainly missed the Stuyvesant purchase and the Seneca village.., I even missed the Village circa '61 and '86; but it's interesting when they redo storefronts and they tear off the layers of the fronts from where they've been pasted over one another decade after decade, bearing unpredictable descriptions, old wooden signs and stainless deco letters just as soon discarded by bored construction workers, like layers of paint and mass wallpaper. I'm an acquaintance of the celebrated Mr. K. (upferberger), if that's any consolation!

If you're too busy or out-of-it, I understand. Write on regardless.

Best wishes.

Jonathan. ##

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Date: Mon, 24 Mar 1997 09:49:10 -0330 (NST)
From: Jeff Burton
To: Al Aronowitz
Subject: Beatles trip to Mexico (fwd)


I received this message several days ago, and I am unable to reply because I don't know the answer to the question. Maybe you can help.

---Jeff Burton
BComm. Class of '98
Memorial University of Newfoundland ##

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 22 Mar 1997 01:44:34 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Beatles trip to Mexico

I am 48 years old and was in high school when the Beatles took off. I have been a constant listener and fan since. Have walked through Strawberry Fields in Central Park, and read several books.

I have a question. For 20 years I have been an integral part of a group exploring Sistema Huautla, one of the world's greatest caves, the deepest cave in the Western Hemisphere. It is near the southern Mexico town of Huautla de Jimenez. Do a web search on Huautla de Jimenez and you will find that it is the home of the magic mushroom. The elite of rock supposedly visited there in the mid to late 60s and ate mushrooms with the curendera Maria Sabina. Her family members have told me that all four Beatles came once, then John and Ringo returned. They pointed to a tree and told me John had sat beneath it and composed a song. I bought deceased Maria's guitar from the family, and they said John had played it. I donated it to a museum there in Huautla they are trying to establish.

Know anything about the Beatles going to a remote Mexican mountain village and eating the magic mushroom in an Indian ceremony? If not, who might? I am a student of the place having been there so many times and all.

Bill Steele ##

Date: Mon, 24 Mar 1997 09:40:05 -0500
From: Al Aronowitz
To: Jeff Burton
Subject: Re: Beatles trip to Mexico (fwd)

Sorry, Bill don't know a thing about it. --Al Aronowitz ##

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Date: Wed, 26 Mar 1997 12:52:44 -0330 (NST)
From: Jeff Burton
To: Al Aronowitz
Subject: Beatles trip to Mexico cont.


Remember the message that I forwarded to you a couple of days ago--from the chap who's exploring caves in Mexico. Well, he wrote back, and here's what he has to say...
Jeff Burton
BComm. Class of '98
Memorial University of Newfoundland

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 1997 07:52:06 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Beatles trip to Mexico


The mushroom lady (curendera) the Beatles were have said to have visited, and Dylan too, perhaps, was Maria Sabina. You can find really information on her on the WWW with a search for her name or the place - Huautla de Jimenez - and also the WWW address of teonanacatl - which was the Aztec name for the magic mushroom.

It is documented in his biography that the discoverer of LSD, Dr. Albert Hoffman, went there. I have spoken with Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas, and though she didn't go there, she said she knew people who had. Canned Heat put an instrumental song on one of their albums named Huautla.

I have been told that The Fool on the Hill and Yellow Submarine were written while the Beatles were there tripping on mushrooms.

I have spoken with a reliable fellow who lives there who saw them there, in fact they stopped over in his house on the way up to see Maria.

Thanks for your help.

Bill Steele ##

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Date: Mon May 12 22:57:29 1997
Subject: The Band

Dear Al,
How've you been. Haven't spoken to you in a while. I went to see the Band, you know Big Pink---Dylan's Band. They were playing at a skating rink in Montclair, N.J. It was a strange venue considering they had just sold out two nights in Carnegie Hall only about a month ago. Not only that, but they didn't fill the rink with chairs, instead they left open a wooden dance floor in front of the stage and set up little tables all around it night club style and were serving mixed drinks and pasta. Janet and I and two other couples we were with got a table for six out to the left of the stage. They even had a backup group, the Memphis Soul Review, that got everybody up dancing. The majority of the crowd ranged in age from 35-60, with some younger and some older. The event was put on by the Chamber of Commerce. Somebody must have been connected to the Band. They didn't sell that many tickets. The tickets were $25, and I doubt if they sold a thousand. They were selling 50/50 raffle tickets, I think the winner got $2200.00. I have no idea what they paid the Band. Let me tell you, they were great. Rag Mama Rag, Up on Crippled Creek, the best Weight I ever heard them do, some great musical work especially some blues numbers. They were so professional! They played their hearts out to this small appreciative crowd! They seemed to have had a good time and got a ovation and call for an encore that made me feel like there were 50,000 in the crowd. It was a real high. Anyway as you can tell, I enjoyed it. And since I'm unofficially a kind of rock correspondent for your column I thought I'd report on it. I saw a great Allman Brothers concert at the Beacon Theatre in Manhattan also but I'll tell you about that another time. Be well. Write. Reach out. --Jerry Geldzahler ##

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Date: Wed Jul 2 21:54:17 1997
Subject: Furthur Prelude

Dear Al,
Here it is the night before the Furthur Festival plays New York. I'm excited to see old friends like Dennis McNally and others in the crowd, but I don't have the excitement of a Dead Concert. If the vibes were then I'd be excited, but I'm not sure. The regular Dead Heads I know would be there if they were in town, but they aren't changing their plans to make the concert if it's any kind of hassle at all. I expect the real die hards to be there. You know my position on the Dead phenomenon thing is that it was like a movement, bigger than just the music. So that could potentially be there, that phenomenon thing that I talk about. If it was there full force than everybody who was into it would be there. Maybe the music was more important than I thought. If it was all thought up by a record company it was a great idea, the whole phenomenon, that is. I don't think so. We need the group back even without Garcia. Just to keep it up. It wasn't all Jer.

I always figured the Dead had to stop sooner or later. No one goes on forever. I figured they'd phase out, bring in a new generation, come back as old men and made guest appearances. I never thought it would end so abruptly. We were still having a great time. The yin and the yang. So now we're down but looking to rise again. The group doesn't want to play; we'll take what we can get for now. The Dead Heads should cut the mourning already and get back out and have some fun. --Jerry Geldzahler

P.S. I'll write you after the concert. ##

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Date: Fri Jul 4 19:35:04 1997
Subject: Furthur Festival Report July 3, 1997 Forrest Hills, Queens, N.Y.

Dear Al, I made it. Got there late. Got to another tennis stadium near the Forrest Hills one along with a car convoy of other Dead Heads, everyone tried to follow everyone else, we all got separated, but we probably all got there one way or another. It was an old stadium in a residential area of Queens. Rickety stands but a solid concrete structure in the middle of a neighborhood. Some Dead Heads were sitting on porches, but the real activity was inside the gates. Loose venue security but plenty of NYPD Blue so no one was getting out of line (no one usually had, too often, at past Dead Shows.) And this venue was closer to a Dead show reunion than last year's at Liberty State Park (where this one was originally scheduled). Last year the park provided more of a festival atmosphere, but no complaints because this one was more of a concert and a good one. I missed some of it (I already told you part of the reason) like Sherry Jackson who I did get to see play a great violin solo on Friend of the Devil (a Jerry song) where she was so good that I nearly cried. Bruce Hornsby also joined Bob Weir, Robert Wasserman, Jorma Kaukonen and others for a nine piece jam that also included another Jerry song, Bird Song. I enjoyed singing with them and having them not feel that they had to bury old songs that were Jerry Garcia's leads just because he was dead. It took Paul McCartney almost 20+ years to be able to come out and sing "some of these tunes an old friend of mine wrote."

Weir did a great set with his group Rat Dog which included Dead songs he lead on like Going to Hell in a Bucket, Playing in the Band, and Corrina, which was newer, or historically one of the Dead numbers of the later years (they only stopped playing two years ago). He also did a Dylan and a Stones cover, both of which the Dead used to do, It's All Over Now Baby Blue and I Used To Love Her But It's All Over Now.

Dennis McNally, our mutual friend, was busy managing the public relations and the press and all the other things that he has done so well for the Dead. The Backstage passes Dennis gave us (two of my children Josh and Lauren joined Janet and myself along with one of Janet's brothers, Jerry) were key. Dennis always treats us like Kings and Queens anyway, but these passes due to the makeshift arrangement of the show gave us access to everywhere but the stage itself. Guards let us in and out onto the field in front of the stage and there was a separate guarded off area of seats which was like VIP seating which was to the left of the stage, there was even an area of tables where we picnicked behind the stage and where we could look out at the crowd with the same kind of view the performers got because it was at about the level of the stage, which was elevated above the crowd.

Mickey Hart with his internationally assembled percussion group. Planet Drum, was also fantastic. What a great sound, it moved the stadium. They also did a unique rendition of the Dead number, Fire on the Mountain. Mickey was keeping the crowd into it and leading the Festival atmosphere.

I did manage to catch part of Bruce Hornsby's act, Bruce is always good, he's a very talented musician. I even stood in front of the stage for the Black Crows who delighted the younger members of the crowd and myself as well.

We were ready to leave after the Crows, we were exhausted and still had a long drive home. We said goodbye to Dennis who was now busy again closing down and already thinking about tonight's show in Springfield Mass. for the 4th of July.

I wasn't sure what to expect the night before last. I will tell you it was not a disappointment. We bumped in to one of my son's old friends who said that he was on the road and that this was his fourth Furthur show of this tour. I'll be passing it along---the show goes on.

Yours truly,

Jerry Geldzahler reporting ##

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Date: Mon, 23 Jun 1997 15:09:39 -0400 (EDT)

Intregrity is such a tough thing...regards, Ralph.

Sender: Larry or Lynn Tunstall
Subject: Bob Dylan's political health

The following item appears in the "No Comment" column in the July 1997 issue of The Progressive magazine:

Tangled Up in Green

From an article in _The_Wall_Street_Journal_ about alternative rock bands playing private corporate shows for big fees: "At the standing-room-only performance, sixties-generation protest singer Bob Dylan wowed the audience, knocking out such classic hits as All Along the Watchtower and Like a Rolling Stone. . . . He was the evening's entertainment for a bunch of bankers and developers attending a real-estate conference hosted by Nomura Asset Capital Corp. His paycheck for the evening: reportedly $300,000, or about four times what he earns at a real rock concert. . . . Mr. Dylan autographed his play list for the company's president [Ethan] Penner. The concert featured several of Mr. Penner's special requests. 'I am not paying someone a lot of money to amuse themselves---they are there to amuse me,' says Mr. Penner.

No comment, indeed!

Beedle Um Bum Larry, KPFA-FM, Berkeley CA For news of recent Pacifica Radio strangeness, see ##

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