I have a pretty deep connection with hippies. Both of my parents were hippies from 60’s and although neither one of them went to Woodstock, they were in the thick of it in their own right. I really enjoy listening to their old stories of smoking weed, having sex, and sweet bands. I was in a rock band cover Cream before Cannibal Corpse had ever touched my ears. I have watched countless documentaries on Woodstock and Altamont. It seemed like the life. Everyday I wonder why I wasn’t born there. Instead I am stuck in a world corrupted with greed, war, and depression. It seems that everything that is this world is everything that was against the world “corrupted” by hippies. So, the first question I want to address is, “What happened?”
The Altamont Free Concert has been stapled as the end of the age of the hippies but one concert mishap can’t really be the end of social movement that could be labeled as great as the Renaissance. Can it? After much deliberation, I would have to say, yes. For many reasons: It was run and created by one of the leading bands of the hippy movement, The Rolling Stones; Many people became physically hurt by the guards of the event, The Hell’s Angels; A person died; The whole reason for security was to make sure people weren’t being raped; There wasn’t even security at Woodstock, a.k.a. the concert that Altamont was trying to copy. The biggest mishap at Woodstock was the rain and the spread of some bad acid and both of those problems were fixed creating a huge mud slide and playing music with cans and also having something called a “Trip Tent” where experienced acid users hugged people with bad trips for sometimes up to four hours. There are many reasons why you could say that Altamont failed but nobody can really but a definite reason. But did hippies fallout after this failure?
The 70’s are the next stage for the hippies which is where we can find a lot of 60’s influence, good and bad. Musically, the 70’s were very different from the 60’s. Tony Iommi has been quoted many times of saying that Sabbath’s darker tones grew out of being tired of the “feel good” attitude of the 60’s. So, one could say that the hippies’ reign was the birth of metal. Another thing that effected the music of the 70’s was the drug use and it’s intentions. In the 60’s, drugs were used to expand the mind and to love each other. In the 70’s, drugs were used to escape reality, not expand it. Also, the idea of major drug dealers and cartels of drugs being shipped across the world was really expanded on in the 70’s. Heavier drugs means weirder music: Rush. I’m not sure if Rush would have been as big as they are now without heavier drug use.
A few hippies survived and kept on truckin’ on in the 70’s, Black Sabbath parted ways with Ozzy, and with the death of one of rock’s best drummers, the world was thrown into another decade: the 80’s. And then the 90’s. And here we are. The reason I skipped all those years is because hippies can be seen doing pretty much the same thing they have been doing: drugs. The new millennium is what seems to be the darkest age for the hippy. Too many reunions to count have occurred and the resurgence of the old dirt bags that rocked our minds coming out of rehab and the books. Oh, the books! The memoirs! The autobiographies! It seems that every single band member of any band from the 60’s has a story to tell about doing drugs, how low they got, did heroin, went to rehab, got out, started treating their wife better, had a legitimate child, and started touring with the old band again. I’m not saying that these things are bad by any means and I’m glad that you got your life back on track and everything, but do you have to make a quick buck off of it?
And speaking of touring with the old band again, have you been to one of these “shows”? It’s horrible! A bunch of old guys that are 200 lbs over (or a 100 under if you’re Mick Mars, zing!) that are playing the same songs from 30 to 40 years ago. I think that the best bands that have made a comeback are Sabbath with Dio (a.k.a. Heaven and Hell) and Iron Maiden. Those two bands announce tours every summer and sell out each venue and, more importantly, release new music that doesn’t sound like crap.
“Get on with it!”
Hippies are dieing out of what they shouldn’t have done 40 years ago, as much acid that could fit in their mouths. You get what you deserve I guess.