Class Action Park

HBO Max trailer: https://bit.ly/373tWUQ

This is the second documentary on Action Park. I didn’t think I needed to see it, but waiting for Felice to come home I dove in.

Warning… This thing is made on the cheap, with commentary by comedians. But the truth is it’s a real life Jackass, where you don’t have “stars” like Johnny Knoxville doing it for the money, but regular people doing it for fun. You remember fun, don’t you?

Ever been to a water park? I guess at this point it’s like vaccination, either you’ve jumped right in or never will. But the truth is they’re damn fun. They started in the eighties. I remember driving into the heat to go to Raging Waters one night. The best time for amusement parks is always near closing time, the lines evaporate and you can go down your favorite ride ad infinitum. That’s how I got over my fear of inverted roller coasters, riding Magic Mountain’s Revolution three times in a row, it would have been more, but they threw us off to close the park.

Not that I’m into amusement parks these days. I can’t remember the last time I went to one. And today they’re mostly vomit wheels. Whether you get scared or not, your body is gonna take punishment.

But you can be scared by nature, kind of like how little kids like to play with cardboard boxes more than the toys they contain. Kind of like the twenty foot cliff at Action Park. Doesn’t look that high from below. But near the end of the show, they give the diver’s perspective, and unless you’re an Acapulco cliff diver, you’d think twice.

And the truth is at Action Park there was no supervision. No one to make sure you didn’t jump onto someone else in the water, and that always bugs me, water safety is paramount, but the attractions themselves? FASCINATING!

So the bottom line is the creator of Action Park, Gene Mulvihill, was a crook. Through and through. I’ve worked for one, a sociopath. They’re big dreamers, they don’t believe the rules apply to them and they run through employees because it’s hard to be loyal to someone who is insane.

The best part of the story is how Mulvihill deals with the law. He creates his own fake insurance company. He fights every lawsuit. And if he loses, good luck collecting. He was almost judgment proof in his own twisted way. And since the community was making so much money off of him, since he brought tourists to the area, they were loath to crack down.

So…

I don’t know what it was like growing up elsewhere, but in the sixties New York radio stations would blast ads for amusement parks. They were never close. You’d have to get your parents to drive you, and my parents never would. Then again, when I was in grade school the day classes ended my mother and Ted the obstetrician took us all to Rye Beach, aka Playland Park. They had this circular ride, you stood against the wall, and then the floor dropped out, you were held up by centrifugal force. I was too scared to go on that, and the Wild Mouse…you know, where the car is attached to the track in the middle, so you think you’re going over the edge and at the very last minute you don’t.

I came to love the Wild Mouse at Lake Quassapaug, now called “Quassy,” when I went with the school summer playground group, you had to earn enough points, but I was much older then. Eleven and twelve.

So, there’s so much b.s. in the commentary, about this being the last time kids roamed free, but the truth is prior to the baby boomers’ kids, kids did run free. As long as you were home for dinner, it didn’t matter where you went. And it’s not like your parents quizzed you when you got home. And you always got injured, stitches were a regular feature of the summer. If you didn’t get stitches or break a bone you got no respect, you just weren’t putting it on the line enough, you weren’t engaged, and we all wanted to be engaged. Back when all the action was outside as opposed to inside, like it is today.

And if you have any money today, the summer is about enrichment. Your kids go to sleepaway camp at first, but when old enough they go save the whales in some faraway place or take computer classes at universities, it’s all about looking good on your college applications. But then there are those who work, or laze around, and those are the kids who populated Action Park. There wasn’t a single adult in evidence!

So it comes down to the rides. Ever been on an alpine slide? They’re very cool. The first one in America was at Bromley Mountain, in Vermont. They held distribution rights. And the game is to ride the whole thing without pulling on the brake. If you’re going fast enough you fly through the air. It’s quite a sensation.

But that paradigm has been killed, maybe because too many people were killed, or at least maimed. Flying off the track was a real possibility. Now they’ve got “mountain coasters.” Same concept, except now the sled is attached to the track and you can never break free. You can go fast, but your life is never in danger.

There were three alpine slides at Action Park.

And then they had the Colorado Rapids ride. When you grow up you always want to ride the rapids, especially if you live in the metropolis, far from any raging water. But instead of making it a float trip, Mulvihill made it an actual rapids ride, with all the attendant risks. In addition it was crowded, and you could be bumped off your raft or get into fights… Put a bunch of teenagers together and you’re always gonna have fights.

A water tube that shoots you out ten feet in the air? I’m ready to go on that right now!

Jumping into the water from a swinging rope? We dreamed of living that rural life!

But it wasn’t only water. There were also autos. But unlike at Disneyland, there was no rail keeping you from driving off course. That was a thing back then, they had a Grand Prix track in the Valley, then again it was never cheap and I never went, but I wish I had.

And then a speedboat ride, where you piloted your own vessel! I mean they’re really cooking, with only the banks keeping you in place.

In other words, Action Park was a THRILL PARK! It was far beyond amusement. It required judgment, because you could get hurt, and many people did!

That’s the big story. As well as the loop which you see and want to ride, but are too scared to. It’s a deal you make with yourself, you go to the theme park and if a ride is scary, you convince yourself it was designed by engineers, licensed by the state, there’s no way it could fail. But not at Action Park…

So the amazing thing is all this happened thirty five years ago. Seems like yesterday to me, but it’s not. Pre-cellphone, pre-internet was truly a different generation. There was so much less SUPERVISION! You can’t even commit petty crime anymore, there are cameras EVERYWHERE! That was a big thing as a youth, stealing and breaking minor things. I’d like to tell you otherwise, but I’d be lying.

And not only is Rikki Rachtman representing MTV at the park, on either side of him are members of Alice In Chains. Jerry Cantrell is still around, Layne Staley O.D.’ed over two decades ago! But here Layne just looks like a suburban doofus out for fun in the sun.

I knew the story, from the previous documentary, I’d seen the rides, but I still kept watching. Because of the freedom, of the rides. And the truth is the older you get, the more prone to injury you become, and it takes longer than ever to recover. But if you’re young, bruises are a fact of life. You get banged up and get up. The hurt lasts a couple of days at most.

So the truth is Action Park wasn’t much wilder than so much of America’s entertainment facilities, it’s just that the rides were dangerous and it was close to New York City, millions of people, so many went there and experienced it.

And the truth is Gene Mulvihill was ahead of his time. He bought the Great Gorge and Vernon Valley ski areas and created Action Park for summer revenue. Ergo those mountain coasters now populating ever more ski areas. And they all have zip lines. And none of this is cheap. And some mountains make more in the summer than they do in the winter!

But this is not a business story so much as an emotional story. You know the commentary is overblown, but you’re taken back to a different time, which is so appealing. When risk was part of life. And I’m talking physical, not viruses on your devices. Your parents insisted you leave the house during the summer, you couldn’t stay inside. And you had an endless tan and were like a fish in water and you lived for envelope-pushing activities.

Hell, maybe that’s why I’m a skier. The thrill, the excitement, the riding of the edge, knowing that you could get hurt at any time.

But really it’s the freedom. No one is in control but you.

By time Action Park opened I’d already moved out west. So I never went. And I never went to Lion Country Safari before that, another advertised “mecca.” Why they were all in New Jersey… Bon Jovi legitimized the state but you’ve got to know, if you live in New England, New York, you look down on New Jersey. Don’t shoot the messenger, but it’s true.

So if you’re still a child at heart, if you still like to be exhilarated, feel alive, you’ll be titillated by Class Action Park. I wouldn’t quite say engrossed, but it’s hard to turn off. Doesn’t matter if you ever went there. It’s evidence of a bygone time.

Something is lost in every great leap forward. And with technology it’s a sense of freedom, privacy. Not only were your parents clueless, you could move across the country and no one had any idea what you were up to, everybody you ever knew was not just a click away. The world was bigger, there were more holes to fall in. And in truth I like the new world better, but I’m fully aware of what has been sacrificed. And a lot of it is evidenced in “Class Action Park.”

The Brandi Carlile Book

https://amzn.to/3x9ytj8

I didn’t grow up like that. I don’t know ANYBODY WHO GREW UP LIKE THAT!

Brandi’s parents had her when they were barely out of their teens. Not that she was planned. It was a shotgun wedding. At least that’s what we used to call them, before having babies out of wedlock was de rigueur, when it became almost a badge of honor for unmarried educated women.

Not that her parents were world-beaters. They met at the Red Lion Hotel, where her father was a prep cook and her mother a hostess. Yes, a twenty and twenty one year old on a fast trip to nowhere.

Not that this was ancient times. Actually, Brandi’s parents are younger than I am. HOW DID THEY PLAN TO SURVIVE!

The eighties were a time of huge transition. That’s when income inequality began. The educated boomers paid lower taxes and climbed the economic ladder and everybody else was left behind. Then Clinton came along and eviscerated welfare and now we’ve got a permanent underclass. How do they get by?

Not well. Living in trailers. Alcoholic. It’s brutal. The kids may know nothing else, but they suffer, greatly.

Brandi’s family moves so many times that she falls behind in school and eventually she and her brother drop out. I didn’t know ANYBODY who dropped out of high school, at least when I was growing up. Oh, there was this one guy, who thought school was b.s. And they accepted him at Kenyon College without a high school degree, and after less than a year he dropped out of there and got a gig at the library. Obviously this guy had mental issues. But the rest of us?

This was the sixties. Life was a boiling cauldron of excitement. Opportunities were on the horizon. We knew we were going to college from the moment we entered kindergarten, and everybody I knew did…go to college that is. There’s a college for everybody, don’t you know? If your parents can afford it, they can send you to a school where you’re helped through the classes. And parents do this because they know without a college degree you’re nowhere today. You can’t even work as a receptionist. A college degree is the new high school degree. Do I approve of this? Do I think those without college degrees can’t perform? Absolutely not. However I do remember Daniel Glass’s words, that he hires college graduates not for what they’ve learned, but because the degree demonstrates they can complete something, which too many people cannot.

So we read about kids who drop out and then enter the workforce. They see it coming. And they want that bread to live better than a student. But Brandi lounges at home and then eventually gets some low-level work and starts playing live.

Oh, did I mention Brandi’s gay?

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but when you’re growing up off the beaten path in Washington there are no role models, you’re on your own.

I just can’t imagine it. Hell, Brandi is of the generation of my contemporaries’ kids. They invested in PRE-SCHOOL admissions! They had their kids on the path of economic success from day one, literally, but not Brandi.

So…

Her love of music keeps her alive.

Her mother performed, and then Brandi did too. Entered competitions. Brandi was game. But she never ever won. That didn’t happen until she became a professional. That’s the way it always is. Those who make it are rarely recognized on the way up, they’re too different, unique. Competitions are about criteria established by the group, rules. Whereas the greats are originals who break the rules, if they’re even aware of them.

So, Brandi knows she can sing. She networks and gets an act together and is hooked up with Chip Hooper who laughs, tells her he can’t do anything for her because they’re a BAR BAND!

Chip. It’s funny how once Brandi gains traction, there’s commonality, but before that… As for Chip, he’s no longer with us. And she says how his favorite songwriter was Shawn Colvin. I’m the one who told her manager, Ron Fierstein, to go with Chip. But unlike Brandi I’m not invited to the singalongs at Joni Mitchell’s house today. I mean I’ve met Joni multiple times, and she’s not the woman in the songs, she’s not soft and mellow, anything but, if you connect with her have your wits about you! I mean I know Elton and Bonnie Raitt, but I’m not part of their everyday social circle. If you’re in the business and you read this book there comes a point where you feel inadequate, at least I did.

So, Brandi and the twins, i.e. “Brandi Carlile,” get a deal with Columbia and make a record with T-Bone Burnett and there’s friction. Brandi is not about to be steamrolled by anybody. Even though she regrets some of her actions in hindsight. But the bottom line here is that first LP (well, in reality the second, but the first was a glorified demo) done by T-Bone is her most successful and then she ultimately gets dropped from Columbia and has to go independent. This used to be the kiss of death, once you lost your major label deal you were on the downhill slide. But speaking of those aforementioned rules, they no longer apply, everything’s up for grabs. Brandi continues to make music, goes on the road, appeals to her fans and the rest of the world ignores here. Until…

“The Joke.”

One cannot overstate the skill of Dave Cobb. He’s the new Don Was. Squared. Acts that have been kicking around forever work with Dave and ultimately break through. Can you say “Chris Stapleton”? Brandi works with Cobb and he needs another track, one as good as “The Story,” from ten years before. That’s the last thing an act wants to hear, to replicate what they’ve done far in the past. They like to believe what they’ve done since is every bit as good, even though many times it is not. And then almost instantly Brandi writes “The Joke,” inspired by her interaction with a friend’s son, and the rest is history.

Yup, one song. That’s all it took. And suddenly Brandi Carlile becomes a household name. Nominated for a slew of Grammys, appearing everywhere! It’s not like she didn’t have it, she just needed seasoning and someone to push her in the right direction. And unlike too many wannabes, Brandi has that voice, it was her secret weapon, it’s still her secret weapon. Too many of today’s acts plot their success on paper, whereas it’s the fundamentals that ultimately serve your career, without underpinnings, you won’t last.

Not that Brandi seems to change.

Oh, well, she changes along the way. She tries being a boy. That doesn’t work. She embraces her feminine identity and has a relationship with a woman seventeen years older, who is still part of her life. She meets a woman who works for McCartney and gets married and has kids and you’ve got a great illustration how gay people are just like straight people, they want the same things, even though their partners are of the same sex. Yes, Brandi can’t stop talking about her kids.

And fishing. And…

Despite all the trappings, the advantages of stardom, on so many levels Brandi is still the same. Living in a log cabin in the woods. Embracing the outdoors. And then she gets on a plane to play the starmaking game.

Oh, that’s another thing. Making it requires constant work. You’ve got to hop on a plane on a moment’s notice, fly for a one hour meeting, turn around, go home, and then maybe come back the very next day. You’re so fried you wouldn’t be able to enjoy the money, even if you had it. Lifestyle only happens when you’re not working. Because first and foremost you’re a musician, not a star.

So Brandi is pinching herself when she gets to meet her heroes. She and Elton are connecting constantly. Then again, they’re both outsiders, both gay, they’ve got a lot in common in a world that thinks it understands them but does not.

The truth is when you break through you get inundated with offers, and in 2018 Brandi decides to take each and every one of them, including the offer to write this book. And if you’re not in the business you may not know that these offers rarely come around again, you’ve got to make hay when the sun shines, you’ve got to work even harder when you’ve worked so hard to get where you are.

And it’s clear that she wrote every word. No cowriter is credited and it sounds like her voice.

And it’s written from the perspective of a performer. Unlike the male rock star books, Brandi’s is more intimate, she reveals more of her feelings without sensationalism. It’s truly her story.

But, once again, it’s not my story.

But when you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose.

And Brandi needed this, there was no safety net in sight. And she was a fan of the music, not of stardom, being a brand never occurred to her.

And that I can certainly relate to, the music. Which takes second place in all discussions these days. It’s always about the money. Chart positions. But Brandi Carlile has a CAREER! She can play music profitably for the rest of her days. As for the acts on the hit parade?

So during lockdown Brandi cut a new album. And although it’s not scheduled for release until fall, she’s now out on the road. I came across a story in “Rolling Stone,” there was a video, an audience recording by a fan. And these are almost always a waste of time. You get the feeling, yet little more. But if you watch this clip you’ll instantly get it. Brandi’s voice is loud and clear, the twins’ harmonies enrich the sound and there are no machines involved, it’s just the basics, human beings, their voices, the essence.

“Brandi Carlile Performs ‘In These Silent Days’ Songs at Forest Hills Stadium Show – ‘They don’t make nights more gorgeous than this,” singer-songwriter proclaimed while belting her hits and covers to New York audience'”: https://bit.ly/3BFV0HT

Woodstock 99 On HBO

Trailer: https://bit.ly/2UPJqtd

The original Woodstock would have been forgotten if it weren’t for the album and the movie. Suddenly, those who were not there, those who had no clue, got the message and they wanted in.

But you couldn’t do it anymore. Remember Powder Ridge? Because no town wanted to be subjected to that. The great unwashed arriving in their burg, probably without tickets, to camp out and cause trouble. Then again, conventional wisdom was they were so stoned that nothing untoward would happen other than petty crime, theft, and that’s very different from Woodstock 99.

Finally, in 1973, there was another festival, Watkins Glen. It had even more attendees, 600,000. People still got in free. But unless you were there, you don’t remember it. There were superstar acts, and rain, but in four years the culture had changed, the touring industry had matured, now the acts got the lion’s share of the cash, credit Peter Grant and Led Zeppelin. If the show was gonna sell out anyway, why not take all the money?

But the eighties were different. There was Live Aid, but that was a television event. Sure, you could brag about being there, but like a football game, it was a better experience on TV.

And the eighties had MTV. And CDs. And suddenly, these acts were making so much money… Then again, Michael Milken and his ilk were making more, and they were making it every year, year after year, no musician could compete. But greed got the thumbs-up. It was a free-for-all. Ronald Reagan got the government out of our pockets and it’s never been the same since. Most people had never heard of Goldman Sachs before his term. Everybody wasn’t a business major. Ivy League graduates weren’t titillated by offers from McKinsey and BlackRock. Your goal was to be a doctor or a lawyer.

And then everything changed.

The next big disruption in the live sphere was when the Eagles regrouped and went on tour in 1994. It was all set up by a concert on MTV and for the first time a rock act charged what the tickets were worth. The Eagles broke the $100 barrier, and the only people who were complaining were members of the press. Because those who went were thrilled to experience the music.

But the press always has its own agenda.

The press was caught flat-footed by the original Woodstock. But the wheels started to turn thereafter. “Rolling Stone” was taken seriously after the Patty Hearst exposé. The baby boomers gained a foothold, and they’re still in control.

But none of them were interviewed for this documentary.

Serendipity can only happen once. The excitement of innovation cannot be repeated. Therefore, there could never be another Woodstock, which lost money and only got into the black years later as a result of the film.

We see this again and again. With Radiohead’s “In Rainbows.” How long did name your own price last? And Kickstarter institutionalized pay for perks, but when was the last time you even heard about that platform, never mind a band using it? PledgeMusic went under. Financial shenanigans. Because it’s always about the money.

Like Woodstock 99.

Once every show started to sell out, it looked like easy money. But concert promotion decades later is a formula business run by very experienced companies. Which is why Woodstock 2019 failed. You can’t start from zero, you can’t build it in a day and take all the money. Talk to Michael Rapino or Jay Marciano, you have to plan on losing money at festivals before you make it. You have to build the brand, demonstrate a good experience. And then, if you have the right lineup, you have a cash machine.

Coachella was such a financial disaster it was sold to AEG.

But now it’s a cash cow.

Promoting sellout acts is not so profitable. But if you create a successful festival, you can make a ton of bread, even if you pay the acts seven figures. I could do the math for you but this is an opaque business that punters do not understand, they’re still mad at Ticketmaster, as if the company pocketed all those fees.

But people are still lining up to buy tickets. And price seems to be no object.

As for the number of festivals? We’re past the peak. And what has survived, at least in the U.S., is those based on the modern paradigm: you party all day and then retreat to your hotel room at night. Quality of life is everything. People want more than popcorn and pizza, and they’ll pay for it.

ACL and Lollapalooza are the paradigm. JazzFest too. Put the festival in a metropolis, with infrastructure. You want to be close to the population. Because most people don’t want to camp.

Woodstock 99 was built on the old paradigm. Tents. Being locked into a space. But despite being over twenty years ago, the upscale revolution had already started, most people had no desire to be treated like animals, today even kids want amenities, and college campuses are glorified country clubs.

So what you’ve got with Woodstock 99 is a dash for cash. Forget the b.s. about peace and love. There’s a brand name, why not capitalize on it? Hell, that’s what they did with Pabst Blue Ribbon! Second-rate beer goes out of business and then someone buys the brand and lays down the bro marketing.

And the truth is seemingly everything went wrong at Woodstock 99, but it was foreseeable.

Phish did festivals on decommissioned military bases, but their audience was of one mind, looking out for each other, the band itself was philanthropic, then again one mud-filled event killed not only their festivals, but the band itself for a while.

So, the number one criterion for the organizers of Woodstock 99 was security. They didn’t want anyone to get in for free. And if they laid down a good enough lineup, whose costs were fixed, and the festival sold out…it was all math. That’s why you got $4 bottles of water. This was a financial venture through and through.

But not doing a festival every year, not being in touch with the public, the promoters blew it.

Today security is technology. Wristbands with chips.

Woodstock 99 was the last mass gathering before cellphone mass adoption, before high speed internet, as for the angst of the attendees being based on fear of Y2K…that’s a joke.

There’s a lot of good stuff uttered by the talking heads, but a lot of inaccurate stuff too.

Because they lack perspective. They were not at the original Woodstock. They were not concert promoters. Hell, the documentary would have benefited from including experts in security and food and beverage from today, but instead all we got was journalists, especially those who worked for MTV.

Now how many of those people have careers today?

None in music television. And music television doesn’t mean anything. So, they have contempt for everybody involved. From Michael Lang to John Scher to the attendees. It’s not radically different from reading about youth issues in establishment media, it’s laughable, they don’t get it right.

Bottom line… IT WAS THE LINEUP!! All that talent for one price. As for it being Woodstock… Who was gonna be excited by that when it was on an Air Force base! And the truth is, the lineup was damn good. But the bookers didn’t realize this wasn’t their fathers’ Woodstock.

The acts appealed to males and had a hard edge. Who did you think was going to attend?

As for complaints they didn’t book more women… This was a for profit venture, and money goes for guarantees, and maximum revenue. Did three hundred thousand women want to camp on the tarmac? What other names would draw people in quantity? Who else was happening? It’s sad that there weren’t more female acts, but look how the three that were there went over, not well.

But it’s hard to speak the truth. Because the politically correct police will attack you in hindsight.

Young boys went to the Woodstock movie to see boobs! That was one of the attractions of going to a festival, maybe you’d see some private parts! Meanwhile, today all you have to do is go on Google!

And then there’s crowd psychology, which the promoters didn’t seem aware of. Get six figures of horny young boys egged on by each other and you’ve got no idea what will happen. And it was no longer 1969, where there were still people south of the Mason-Dixon line out of the loop. MTV was everywhere, everybody got the memo, people who never would have gone to the original Woodstock.

So, there wasn’t enough infrastructure. Not enough inside security. The site was good for keeping gatecrashers out, but bad for people and greed was rampant. And crowds turn on a dime, you’d think concert promoters would at least know this.

So really, there’s no link to the original Woodstock. Only the name. And Michael Lang, of course.

And really, there’s no link to today. Where’s Fred Durst now?

As for aggression…it’s only gotten worse. Can you say “Charlottesville”? Can you say “January 6th”? And they had a country festival in Vegas and a gunman shot the place up from a hotel window. Then again, seemingly every week there’s a new mass shooting.

So really, Woodstock 99 was the dividing line, between old and new.

And it was not an anomaly. If anything, things have gotten worse. Certainly income inequality. Hell, think of all the people who can’t even afford to go, forget whether they want to! What does John Scher say, you’ve got to bring money?

So, do you need to watch this doc?

No, but you’ll find it interesting. Especially the commenters saying Kurt Cobain and grunge were peace and love and already passé. And the truth is by this time, Alanis Morissette was almost an oldies act. Jewel too. Their heyday was behind them.

But Metallica remains.

Because it’s Metallica that represents the ethos of so many of the Woodstock 99 attendees. The underrepresented. A commenter in the documentary says the attendees were all upper middle class denizens. I don’t buy that, never underestimate the need of metalheads to see their favorite acts.

But now metal angst is its own private backwater, with little mainstream penetration. There’s no MTV to promote it.

You get the angst in hip-hop.

As for pop? In this film Dexter Holland beats up inflatable Backstreet Boys. But in many ways he and those who cheered were right. Because this was the last hurrah of rock credibility. It was all money, all the time thereafter. Brands, merchandise… Meanwhile, this same audience is not buying it.

So if you want to see a lot of boobs, watch this documentary.

Then again, there are boobs everywhere these days. And Woodstock 99 didn’t start it. I remember seeing Guns N’ Roses at the Forum back in 1991 and they were flashing boobs on the big screen and I was shocked, I’d never seen this before.

Nothing rationalizes the abuse and rape at Woodstock 99.

Then again, we can’t have a discussion about hormones and attire, it’s all black and white. But it isn’t. Kind of like romance at work… That’s where you meet your significant other!

But today we’re completely polarized. One group wants to be free to walk over fire without getting burned and the other wants to put out the fire so no one can get across. And there’s no discussion.

Then again, I’d be fearful if I was a woman walking alone at night. That was one of Elayne Boosler’s best jokes. She’s on a date in Manhattan and the guy asks if she wants to walk by the river. And she says she would have but she brought her vagina along, if she’d known she would have left it at home!

But there was no humor in this documentary. Just judgment.

Did a bunch of people have a good time? Absolutely, John Scher is right about that.

Was there very little rioting and abuse, were security systems in place, was infrastructure adequate, was food and water adequately priced? NO WAY! You only have to look at the images. You can bitch about MTV’s skew all day long, but when you see the pictures of the fires…

Then again, I experienced the same thing back in 2000, at Glen Helen, the worst amphitheatre in creation, when I went to see AC/DC. The infrastructure resembled a war outpost, concrete blocks, with no greenery. Going to the bathroom/concessions during the break was like “Day of the Locusts,” I was getting squished and there was no security, it was a free-for-all. And during the band’s set, bonfires were lit on the lawn. As for exiting the unpaved parking lot? It took over an hour and there wasn’t an employee in sight.

So, people are greedy. They want theirs. And when they don’t get it, they feel entitled to agitate, fight back, now more than ever, especially online.

As for physical revolt/fires/abuse… Woodstock 99 might have been the first time we saw it on a mass scale, but it was rampant before that and rampant thereafter. And, unfortunately, you get young, inexperienced people sexualized by media who flaunt their assets and people are turned on and abuse them because that’s what the culture tells them. Ever listen to the lyrics of these songs?

This is not an excuse. No one should be raped. No one should feel unsafe. But when it’s all about the money, corners will be cut. Money might be wasted when the government is involved, although money is wasted in every business, but the profit motive isn’t paramount. Which is why for-profit prisons need prisoners and are so bad.

In reality, Woodstock 99 was a prison, it’s just that those in charge didn’t think so, they were too busy patting themselves on the back and counting their money.

Concert promotion, festivals, are a mature business, not for amateurs.

The sixties and early seventies were the wild west of the music business. But those days are through.

Same deal with tech. It was all over by 2010, now the powers are institutionalized and you can’t compete with them.

All we’re left with is the consequences.

At Woodstock 99 it was rape, abuse and hyperthermia.

On Facebook it’s disinformation.

But the money is so good, no one wants to deal with the consequences. They just deny them and hope that you forget as they plow on.

Like Mark Zuckerberg.

Like Michael Lang.

Like John Scher.

Hell, MTV literally is no longer “Music Television,” they struck “”Music” from the moniker. And the big hit show on network today is not “In Concert,” but “Shark Tank.” Woodstock 99 should not be dismissed as a one-off, forgotten, the truth is it was a harbinger and we’re all to blame.

But we’re not doing much about it.

Eric Clapton

“Eric Clapton refuses to play venues that require proof of vaccination – Clapton says he won’t perform for a ‘discriminated audience’ after vaccination passports made mandatory for clubs and venues this autumn”: https://bit.ly/3hVvgiY

Telegram post delivery Clapton’s announcement: https://bit.ly/3i45IAp

Eric Clapton is doubling-down.

This week’s must-read article is Paul Krugman’s in the “New York Times”: https://nyti.ms/2V9i3tG

Now I know you hate the “Times,” and dismiss whatever Krugman has to say, but this article is really about the paper of New Zealand social scientist Xavier Márquez entitled “The Mechanisms of Cult Production.” Bottom line, it’s all about “loyalty signaling.” Doesn’t matter If what is being said is insane, it is uttered to show loyalty to the cause, the fearless leader, to be a member of the group. Which is why it’s impossible to get the anti-vaxxers to get vaxed. Forget science, forget the truth, IT’S A CAUSE!

Same deal with Eric Clapton.

So he had a reaction to the Astra/Zeneca vaccine. Boofuckinghoo. What’s worse, having side effects for a limited time or taking the risk of DYING?? Come on, I got the Moderna shot and I felt the side effects of the first shot for a week and then sweated through the night after the second. Am I busy complaining, saying I’m a wuss and I just can’t handle a little physical disorder, that evaporates, all in the name of protecting me? OF COURSE NOT! Come on, Clapton is 76 years old. You don’t make it that far without a whole bunch of medical intervention. It’s not like Eric has never had a jab before. As a matter of fact, Clapton pulled out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert in 2009 because he had to have his gallstones removed. I wonder, did they do it without anesthesia? Did Clapton jump off the operating table and say I’M CURED! And play a gig the very next day? NO WAY!

You can’t be too scared to get better. I’ve had a slew of operations and someone once said this to me. I had a friend who recently had a brain tumor, the size of a croquet ball, benign, thank god, and he was hesitant to get the surgery. But he did and how is he now? FINE! Was he fine right thereafter? No, he was in the hospital for a week and then a rehab facility. Is he still feeling the pain now? NO!

But somehow western medicine is seen as inferior. The health industry is looking to rip you off, never mind in England they have the NHS, where the profit incentive is eliminated, not that Clapton would use it, he probably has his own high class private doctors, but why all this anti-vaccine crap?

BECAUSE HIS BUDDY ROBIN MONOTTI IS ANTI-VAX! So who is this mystery man with such power over Eric C… An Italian architect and film producer! Eric, let’s say you’re on vacation and you have a mishap, do you want Mr. Monotti to stitch you up, perform surgery, or do you want to go to the hospital and use the services of a professional? There’s no doubt in my mind you’d use the pro. But too many people in the world today believe they’re medical experts, even though they never went near a medical school. Come on, if you’re educated and have a health problem the first those in your circle say is…YOU NEED TO TAKE VITAMINS! CHANGE YOUR DIET! Steve Jobs tried that, what happened to him? HE DIED!

As for vaccines causing autism… One guy writes a discredited paper and you’ve got all these people refusing to believe he was wrong. Do these people still believe the earth is flat? That was the belief before explorers proved it to be round. Why this investment in crackpot theories? Because they need answers, they just can’t believe the luck of the draw harmed them. But that’s the reality folks. My father was dedicated to the doctor but died of multiple myeloma at 70. Meanwhile his buddy Harry was sloughing off, but somehow lived past 90. Am I asking somebody to pay me for the early death of my father? No, I ACCEPT IT! But no one can accept misfortune anymore, someone has to pay. If not a corporation then the same government they want to put in the bathtub and drown.

As for negative opinions… Go on Amazon, I dare you to find any product without a one star review. I just looked up Apple’s 13″ MacBook Pro, a great leap forward with the M1 chip. Are there one star reviews? OF COURSE! 3% of the reviews are one star. But do I put my faith in them or the 2,660 five star reviews representing 90% of all responders?

You can find support for any cockamamie theory online.

I remember when my back went nuclear, everybody surrounding me said not to have physical therapy. Online they told me not to have injections. So I went for months of acupuncture… Did it work? NO! I’d had a good experience with the needles twice previously, but now that I was in excruciating pain with a herniated disk and could barely walk, they did not help, not a whit. So at loose ends I went to the dreaded physical therapist. Granted, the best guy in the city that the best doctor in the city recommended. End result? I WAS CURED! Meanwhile, both of those professionals take insurance, it’s just a matter of doing the research, making the phone calls, putting in the effort to find these people. As for the shot? Wouldn’t get one. But suddenly, literally two decades later, when my back went insane again, I decided to take the plunge…ONE SHOT CURED ME! I felt like an idiot for not getting the shot before, enduring a year of insane pain. The same way these people feel like idiots when they’re unvaccinated and get Covid and nearly die. But do we have to experience everything personally, can we learn nothing from those with expertise?

So Clapton plays on a Van Morrison anti-lockdown tune, “Stand and Deliver,” it’s linked in the Telegram post, but to make it easier, check it out here: https://bit.ly/3wZrGJ1 It’s got 386,265 views on YouTube in six months. It’s doing a bit better on Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3rAKKfp where it’s got a whopping 776,332 listens. If you were a newbie you’d still be a barista, you can’t live on that number of streams. As for Morrison’s post insanity double album “Three Chords and the Truth,” most people aren’t believing, they think it’s all false, because of the fourteen tracks therein only three break into seven digits, which is single-digit millions for the math-challenged. VERY LOW SINGLE DIGIT MILLIONS, one three plus, one barely two and another bubbling under two. As for the rest of the tracks, one has only 360,164 streams. This guy is an international icon, with Clapton on guitar, AND NO ONE CARES! BECAUSE HE’S OUT OF HIS MIND! The crowd may not be getting vaxed, but they do know Van Morrison’s off his rocker.

“Stand and deliver

You let them put the fear on you

Stand and deliver

But not a word you heard was true”

Yup, those vaccines contain a microchip to track you! Meanwhile, the auto business is hobbled because it can’t get any chips. Where did Bill Gates get the hundreds of millions of chips? From Qualcomm? The ones used to make 5G cellular radios? I don’t see these same anti-vaxxers throwing away their smartphones, they need them to spread their falsehoods on social media!

So Clapton wakes up when his phone stops ringing. He posts a video online saying everybody is abandoning him but he’s gonna stay the course. Because god forbid he’s wrong. An educated man admits mistakes, it’s the only way you can get to the truth. But not the Republican party, and not Eric Clapton.

Did he ever wonder if everybody else was right and he was wrong?

As for delivering his messages via the architect/film producer… That’s like promoting your album via the social media site of a poet, or an auto parts manufacturer. What if someone told Clapton streaming was bad and he needed to take all his tracks down. Even Bob Seger, the Luddite, put his tracks on Spotify, although he still won’t put up those Warner LPs, despite the fact that “Back in ’72” is one of his best and contains the haunting original version of “Turn the Page.” Proving, if you’re taking guidance from musicians…let them not be your only source of information.

So Eric wants the unvaccinated to come to his shows. I’m sure the oldsters will bring the youngsters to experience Slowhand. Meanwhile, did you read today that thirty one kids at a summer camp in New York tested positive? https://nyti.ms/3BAnmU6 Hmm… So let’s say the kids get infected during the show, god forbid one even dies, because youngsters can get Covid and a five year old died in Georgia yesterday, not that Marjorie Taylor Greene will admit it: https://nbcnews.to/3ruFMkv I’d expect most people to know these stories, because they’re all over the news! But most people are not paying attention. Lewis Hamilton won the F1 race in England last weekend after Max Verstappen crashed after contact with Hamilton’s car. End result? Tons of racial hate on social media. But my friend, Mr. Formula1, said it was just online trolls, he didn’t see the story so it must be small. But if you Googled it was all over the big news sites, even NBC, which he professed to watch! As for regular F1 news, I’m constantly referencing stories from formula1.com, but he doesn’t check that site so he doesn’t know, even though it’s the main F1 site. So I ask you, what else do people not know? And to what degree are they invested in their positions? I had to send my friend four mainstream news articles re the racist Hamilton hate before he believed it was a major story. You see people are invested in their takes. So if you’re expecting them to back down and get vaxxed…

Meanwhile, my vaccination did not work, because I take Rituxan, which wipes out your B cells, I still don’t have any, the immunologist told me NOT TO LEAVE THE HOUSE! A month ago he told me I could meet people outside if we were both masked, but no longer, BECAUSE OF THE DELTA VARIANT!

Meanwhile, we’ve got Fox telling you not to get the jab, yet all these reporters have gotten it. But not the police and firemen, and those are the ones you might interact with.

But no, trust Eric Clapton and Van Morrison. Go out and take the risk of being infected. As for the odds of a bad vaccine result, they’re far outweighed by the risk of getting Covid-19. Then again, in America it all comes down to how you feel. Or you’ve got some bogus story how science doesn’t apply to you. Like my friend who said she once had a negative reaction to a vaccine and her mother told her she doesn’t need any more so she won’t get it. She says she’s playing it safe. Come on, how many people do you know who said they were playing it safe who got Covid? Never mind spread it to others.

As for Clapton, he’s got no power against Covid-19, against science. He can say what ever he wants, it makes no difference. Change a chord in a song, miss a note, the penalty is not DEATH! But art is fuzzy and science is not. As for the vaccines being new science…WRONG! They’ve been working on mRNA vaccines since SARS, it’s just that you weren’t aware of it. But no, they’re untested. Give me a break.

As for Clapton’s evisceration of his image, it’s similar to Solzhenitsyn, who made it to the west and great acclaim with “The Gulag Archipelago,” but ultimately went back to Russia and became a supporter of the government. Sure, the art remains. Then again, Jeff Beck is a superior guitarist to Clapton, it’s just that he doesn’t write or sing so all the attention has gone to Eric. You see popular image does not align with skill. Oh, you may think Clapton is superior, even Page, but it doesn’t matter, art is subjective, BUT NOT SCIENCE!

And the truth is Clapton is not in control of the gigs anyway, it’s the government and the promoters. And it’s the promoters who are paying Clapton, so they want to protect their investment. So Eric, if the shows don’t sell out because people are afraid to come are you willing to give back part of your guarantee? Are you willing to forgo a guarantee completely and get paid on percentage of box office? NO! You’ll talk about startup costs, you want PROTECTION! And the truth is, SO DOES EVERYBODY ELSE! (Well, at least reasonable people.)