As Ted went off to get his 50-foot amp cord in preparation for the night’s show, Steve began to recount the story of Nugent on Acid.
‟I think it’s time to set the record straight about one of Ted’s LSD adventures.... Yes, com’on, we were all there! We saw it happen—and let me tell you, it may have been funny...but it wasn’t pretty! Ted’s far-out night of psychedelia began like this....” And with a slight pause, Steve began to recount the story.
‟We were all hangin’ out at the Pursuit’s band house [Wilson Mower Pursuit]. Everyone was droppin’ tabs—and I mean everyone—partying, listening and jammin’ to music, ya’ know, having a really groovy time. Well, deep into the trip, no telling how many hours or tabs later, ha!....someone in the room expressed some concern or other and posed the question: ‛Where’s Ted?’ This seemed to jolt a few of us into a search party of sorts and well, ya’ know how that can be, especially on acid. Nonetheless, in time we discovered Ted’s location.
‟Let me tell you, quite the crowd gathered ‛round when it was announced that he had been found. There he was, in the upstairs bathroom, sitting on the toilet with his pants dropped down past his knees. He was holding a roll of toilet tissue up high over his head in one hand, and—get this—his face, hair, and dick were smeared with peanut butter, scooped out of a jar that he was holding in his other hand! I don’t know—something about the way he was holding that tissue roll up high in one hand and the jar in the other—it was as if he had some sort of absurb, derisory Statue of Liberty vibe going.
‟Well, he looked incredibly ridiculous. It wasn’t ‛til days later, when we had come down from this high, that Ted related to us band members how he had gotten an inspiration during his acid trip on how to dodge the draft and avoid going to Vietnam. Naturally, Ted’s role as lead guitarist was very important to the band, so we did not want him drafted. We were all keen on hearing his mysterious draft-dodging plan.”
A girl a bit older than myself blurted out: ‟Is this when he became known as Ted poopy-pants?”
‟Exactly!” a few people uttered in unison, causing boisterous laughter to ensue....
It was no Detroit secret that Ted had reported to the draft board as he was legally obligated to do. As he stood there before his reporting officer, verbally extolling the virtues of America, he took a dump right then and there in his pants.
Naturally, Ted was declared to be unfit for military service.
In my mind, I thought that perhaps this was the underlining reason Ted had become so demonstrative in his passion for hunting. Perhaps he was overcompensating to assuage a fear of being seen as a cowardly lion of sorts.
And maybe, just maybe, this contributed to the reasons he felt a need to gregariously vocalize his opinions regarding current political issues and the country’s state of affairs. Perhaps it was his way, albeit a poor one, to offer a redemption of sorts for his cockamamie method in skirting his duty.
‟Hey Steve, tell ‛em about your future projects; ya’ know, the ones that we’ll be workin’ on together with Victor!” expressed Rick excitedly. I knew him to be referring to Victor Peraino, the synth wizard of Arthur Brown fame.
‟Oh yeah, this is certainly relevant!” I could see nearly everyone nodding in approval. ‟Well, after I leave the Amboy Dukes...”
‟You’re going to quit the band?” came some startled and puzzled inquires.
‟Well, yes,” replied Steve. ‟I have said at this point nearly everything that I need to say. I mean, com’on, I started The Gang with Greg Arama, Donnie Henderson, Dave O’brien, and Jim Butler. I then formed The Dukes with Ted here.... I’ve played in and around the Motor-City for years, with both of these bands; and each has the distinction of rockin’ the Grande Ballroom and performing with just about everyone who was anyone. The Dukes is, was, and will always be one of the premier psychedelic bands of all time.”
‟Not to mention that ‛Journey to the Center of the Mind’ is the ultimate psychedelic anthem of all time!” came a voice from the crowd.
‟I’m certain that in the future I’ll have more to say, and definitely more to record.... I’ll be jammin’ with some bands throughout the upcoming years, and I can’t see myself livin’ anywhere else. However, at the very turn of the century, I’ll be working on a new project, a sort of followup to Journey.
The album’s gonna feature new material, photos by Leni Sinclair, and cover art by Gary Grimshaw. The label’s gonna book me a photo session with the legendary L.A. rock music photographer, Ed Culver. Let me tell ya, Culver’s studio is an unbelievable warehouse full of truly bizarre museum artifacts. It will definitely be an amazing time hanging out with him and my L.A. friends, as the photo shoot is gonna be...well, let me say...incredible!
‟Oh,” he continued, ‟I’ll be recording in L.A. and Detroit with some of the finest musicians. In fact, a real mind blower is that bassist Christen Ramses really nailed the sound of Greg Armana at the L.A. sessions, to the point that when I listened to the tracks it reminded me of our early Dukes sound. Here, in Detroit, I’ll be in the studio with some very well known Motor-City legends.”
‟What will the album be called?” someone among the group interjected.
‟Oh, yeah...Journey To The Darkside of The Mind.”
‟Darkside of the Mind???”
‟Yep, kinda’ like a ying-yang of the original, or a sorta part two if you’d like! It will be my view on the Detroit scene in the ‛80s and life in the Motor-City as we will then know it.”
‟What-cha’ mean, Steve?”
Steve replied, in a solemn tone, ‟Take, for instance, the Grande Ballroom. It may be hard to believe now, but it is headed to ruin.”
‟No freekin’ way!” expressed a few voices.
An older girl spoke assertively: ‟Doesn’t the city need venues like the Grande as tax revenue and entertainment centers?”
‟Get this, people,” Steve replied, ‟The city doesn’t care, and any revival to save any of these great music venues, from Eastown to the Palace, to the Birmingham Palladium, are just not goin’ to happen. But back to the record. I’ll be singing on most of it, which is pretty much what I do anyways, on most of the songs on the first Dukes albums. I mean, if ya really listen, it’s me, although when we play live, John Drake is the primary vocalist on stage....”
My mind trailed off at this point; perhaps it was the effects of the LSD. Steve Farmer’s introspective and surreal lyrics always had me thinking, and I really believe they will be written about and listened to long after ‟Wang Dang Sweet Putang” and ‟Yank Me Crank Me” have been forgotten, and thankfully so! However, to give Ted his due, I always thought that ‟Migration” was a masterpiece, and I really enjoy the power of ‟Stranglehold.”
‟You’re up.... Dukes, yer’ on!” came an interrupting shout with a loud hand clap from the stage. The band assembled and began to take their places...but to my chagrin my high was wearing thin and in moments, before I could again enjoy this magical evening of music as a time-traveler from the future, I began floating off into the land of ether....
Mary do you wanna come and sit with me and watch the sun go down? Mary wanna? Yes, I wanna sit with you and feel the touch of sound. Mary will you come with me and help me help others to see the the way? Mary will, Indeed I will, I’ll change their darkest night to brightest day!*
Oh yeah, this was where it’s at! Tonight I’ll prove I’m right....**
I awoke mid-night thinking to myself, What a weird dream! But was it? Nope; as I shrugged off my sleepiness, I knew that it had been by virtue of my acid trippin’ time-travel.
I had been experiencing my past as a ‛now’ happening; what could be better? But now I was back in the present.... I glanced at my nightstand. Yep, there was the White Panther Trans-Love Energies Unlimited card given to me by Satori Circus. My evening with the songwriter who tore time asunder had shown me that time—past, present and future—was in no manner an absolute, but a completeness achieved by living in the moment.
Looking out from my hotel window to the beauty of the stars and city lights that reflected upon the Detroit river, I fired up a joint. As the smoke bellowed from my lungs, I felt completely at one with the cosmos. There was no need to hit the radio. In a spacey harmonic manner, I began hearing the sounds of my recent trip coming in louder and clearer by the second, and on such a frequency that I swear, I was hearing Steve Farmer singing live....
Now my journey is ended, and I’m back where I began, but I’ve seen things beyond your wildest dreams.... I’m glad I found the time, to take the Journey...to the Center...to the Center...of my mind!***
*Missionary Mary (Steve Farmer) - 1968
**I’ll prove I’m Right (Steve Farmer) - 1968
*** Conclusion - Journey to the Center – (Farmer / Nugent) - 1968
I trust you enjoyed this final chapter of ‟The Songwriter Who Tore Time Asunder” from The Incredible Adventures of Mischa. Feel free to leave a comment on your thoughts, or better yet write me personally, as I am always eager to hear what you, the reader, have to say.
Pic: Amboy Dukes , Steve Farmer top center /
Steve Farmer acoustic 2000 summer /
Cover of Steve Farmer CD released 2000 artwork by Gary Grimshaw
Column made by Michele Dawn Saint Thomas/2015
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