The Pressing Plant in the Country
During this period we’d make regular trips in Tommy’s Mercedes SE out to a rented field in the countryside with a greenhouse in the centre. Inside the greenhouse, with its broken panels of glass, were marijuana plants, resin covered hash pressing tools, boxes of tape and oozing packages of the dope Tom had brought in from Afghanistan.
Looking back now it seemed like the whole of London, or at least our entire circle of friends, had been taken over by some new wild endeavour or business venture and it wasn’t all just about contraband either. There were the musicians, like Hendrix, Traffic and the Beatles; there were the film people, like David Putnam and Charlotte with her blossoming career. There was radio Caroline, the brain child of a friend, Ronan O’Rahilly. He was more part of the Chelsea set which gathered at the Casserole restaurant on the Kings Road – slightly more wealthy and upscale but not much. The real makers and shakers seemed slightly less wild and not quite as heavily into experimenting with drugs, although from what I could tell, everyone seemed to indulge at the time. Ronan also occasionally dabbled in film and had produced ‘The Girl on a Motorcycle’ which, while it featured Alain Delon, seems to have consisted almost entirely of pouting shots of Marianne Faithful … on a bike. There were other friends, like the producer Denny Cordell and his kids, Barney and Tarka, who we’d have play dates with before they ended up plastered over the record cover and film of the ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’ project.
A friend of mine, Peter, who came from that exact same slightly wilder set within hippy culture, was someone I later would become very close to and looked forward to seeing whenever Tom went round to see Malcolm to score or sell, which I usually hated. On those occasions Peter regaled me with tales of how his father had developed a million pound business importing real hair wigs from the east, although his father had no idea about accounting and when the taxman called Malcolm laid out all his receipts for the year on a giant floor and tried to get on top of his newfound responsibilities. It seems that was how fast businesses developed back then and for some, conversely, also how fast a number of them folded.
One fine day after we arrived in the field, knowing how much I loved cars, dad asked me if I would like to have a go driving the Mercedes. I of course jumped at the chance and, although me ‘driving’ really meant just steering the car around the field for ten minutes sitting on dad’s lap while he controlled the pedals, it was about as much fun as a kid like me could have imagined. There is also a famous instance where Tom strapped a tree sized bunch of marijuana to the roof of the Mercedes, to transport to London. He then drove it through town, saying ‘No one will notice. They’ll think it’s a Christmas tree!’.
Dave Barry. The Other Side of the Law. London 1969
As chaotic as it was, my childhood was fascinating and there were certain characters I wanted my son Beau to meet, to know about that strange world, particularly Dave Barry, an underworld leader known as the Lord of the Manor of Queensway who, although likeable, was a fairly serious guy and the head man who fronted the money and organised the distribution of the hash our father smuggled from Afghanistan to the UK. My father had a system for this, which was to return via various circuitous connecting airports to cover his tracks. The worst airport for smugglers was apparently Frankfurt.
On this trip I visited Dave’s old neighbourhood and went to his mews house in Queensway and rang the doorbell to see if he might be in. I was surprised to get no answer. Not a good sign. Dave was always in, because it was from there that he ruled the roost. However, I gathered from one of the neighbours, washing his car, that he was in hospital for an operation, although nothing too serious. I explained I was the son of Tommy and an old friend of Dave’s. He said Dave would probably really appreciate a visit from me and told me the name of the hospital. I parked the car at the horrendously expensive London rates and my son and I made our way into the seething mass of people and floors which make up Charing Cross Hospital. Exiting the lift several floors up, we asked an attendant where we could find Dave Barry, a family friend recuperating from an operation. The attendant directed us to a ward on our right and as we entered the ward we located Dave in the bed by the window. We approached him – he was sleeping upright, with his thick farsight glasses, his hair tightly cropped. His mouth was slightly open and as I spoke his name to wake him, a little bit like he’d been expecting us, Dave said ‘Hello Charley’ and smiled.
The gangster scene was thriving in London in the mid sixties, when I was born. Although the old man wasn’t mixed up with the Krays we did grow up knowing Dave Barry. Dave was a great guy and we used to visit him and his two kids often in his little mews house. However, he was the real deal, an ex-boxer from the East End, who mixed with actual villains with a proper code of conduct. Tom was never exactly one for following the rule book, which on several occasions got him into trouble with Dave.
Dave Barry was a charming friend of the family and at the time we kids had not even a hint of his prominence or his somewhat fearsome reputation amongst a disappearing generation of old school London villains.
On one occasion Tom was caught out taking too much of the imported goods for his personal use and was beaten up quite badly by Dave on the street outside our house in Pimlico. Fortunately I was then still a baby and too young to realise. It seemed the beating was necessary, because being outside the law, the villains’ code of conduct has to be stricter than those operating inside the law. Otherwise an operation might collapse, or that’s the theory. Rightly or wrongly, that seems to be the rationale behind the strict enforcement of punishments.
The London to Sydney Car Race
Around this time, while my brother and I were away with mum, Charlotte and my father travelled to the East to pick up a damaged London to Sydney Mercedes works rally car and drive it back to Europe along the hippy trail. Of course my father filled the car with hash and even though they had papers from Mercedes they made it through the border crossings and past highly suspicious customs officers by the skin of their teeth.
The journey was epic and started out in November of 1968 with us on a motorway outside London seeing off Mike Taylor – an old racing friend of Tom’s – in the red works Mercedes 280 SE at the start of the London to Sydney Ralley. He was racing with an accomplished driver, Ireland Innis, and they got as far as Australia, but most of the Mercedes team was forced to retire due to mechanical problems or accidents. One of the cars was ditched in Kabul.
For motor racing fans, the details of who started and finished the race and where are below: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1968_London%E2%80%93Sydney_Marathon
Mike Taylor asked Tom if he’d be interested in driving the famous red beast back to Europe. Our father, seeing an interesting opportunity to use the Mercedes and its label for smuggling, jumped at the chance and Tom and Charlotte flew out to retrieve the car from Kabul. Tom’s connections in Afghanistan were quite developed by then, although I sense many of them came through his edgier partner in crime, Taffy, who ran a darker kind of operation involving female couriers who slept with guards. Tom’s style was a bit different and seemed to bring the two into conflict, which at some point culminated in Taffy pulling a gun on Tom and Tom laughing at him and calling his bluff.
Tom’s Afghan contacts supposedly were tribal chieftains and members of the royal family. He took his goods out there in trade, a lounge of suitcases full of rolling papers, and exchanged them for as much hash as he could pack into the works Mercedes rally car. His logic was that no customs officer would question, much less strip down, a works rally car made by the most important auto manufacturer of all time.
Initially the theory seemed to work, especially at the borders in the east, but as they got further west the customs officials became more and more suspicious. Until, after several 24-hour nail-biting and excruciatingly close customs inspections, although nothing was found, Tom decided to take the majestic red Mercedes out to the woods and with a gargantuan effort managed to burn out the engine so that it would have to be shipped the rest of the way back to the UK, with all the contents still inside. Tom and Charlotte must have been exhausted by the time they got back to Hugh street. By that time Mum, Jake and I, I think, were on the road back from India, via Greece, Patmos and the Princess Islands near Istanbul.
Gaucín, Spain 2006
I made my way up the winding road into the mountains towards Gaucín to meet with Susie Fenton, an old family friend who’d met her husband, John Fenton, on the couch of our old house in Pimlico. They’d long since divorced and John had been a music producer among a group of friends and cousins connected to Neil Aspinal, who began as the road manager for the Beatles and ended up running Apple, their record and merchandising company.
A lot of things were on my mind. Dad had just passed away and on the surface what I was looking for were any details about mum and dad’s early life before my brother and I were born. The specific brief for the project was to demystify mum, to learn about her and gather stories. In my brother’s words, maybe we’d mythologised her because we’d lost her so early. All of this was to go towards a documentary that my brother and I would make, although in fact it went towards research for the book ‘A Day in the Life’, which a famous rock historian and music journalist has written about our family. In the back of my mind was also something else: the question of paternity my father had brought up when I visited him on a trip back from Turkey where I was living and working, mostly as a commercials editor, around 2002.
Before driving to Gaucín I spent the night with Baba, Tom’s half sister. There, catching up over dinner, I was interested to learn more about mum’s and our father’s early years, dad’s fascination with gambling while growing up and a period when he was running a gambling den in London, before he met mum. Also the time he spent in Jamaica, Nassau and Cuba, where I gather he did some racing and where he was on the roof of a casino when Castro’s forces took the city. I told Baba about the question of paternity which had come up a few years before between my father and me.
As I drove into Gaucín I was impressed by the scenery. I passed a huge gated entrance to an estate on my right, which I noted. Although I couldn’t say why exactly. Running a few minutes late, I bustled into the café which was perched on the cliffside and from where you had a view of Gibraltar, mountain tops and the valleys which spread out beneath.
‘Susie, how are you?’ She looked well and, sipping a latte coffee, she was the only person there, at a table overlooking the view.
‘I’m sorry to hear about your father. How was the funeral?’
I explained we were trying to connect some of the dots in our parents’ history and would appreciate it if she could tell us anything she remembered about their younger days. The running gag being that anyone who really lived through the sixties properly was unlikely to remember much of anything.
Susie recounted the story of how she met John Fenton and another of her running down the road holding on to my brother’s and my hands as she sang ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds’ to us. I told her about the odd development that had come up regarding my paternity. She said that John had long suspected that their older son, Julian, was Tommy’s, because he looked like him. Susie said it was a ludicrous idea and it wasn’t true at all. But this line of chat interested me on a deeper level. We talked about Camilla Van Gerbig, who was the connecting point between Susie and me. She was the daughter of the American godfather Jake went out to live with after Summerhill, around the time Tommy hit the skids. Camilla was a huge reconnection for me when I came back to England from the States. We had connected through Mo, our old nanny from Aberdeen, who looked after Camilla and her brother, Christian, for a while. After Camilla and I spoke on the phone, I received a long letter from her saying how interesting our short conversation had been and that while I was looking for information on who exactly our mother was – her mother Sarah had also been great friends with mum, although part of a slightly less wild and experimental set, more into booze and a bit of weed than anything too far out, like our crowd was – she was looking for any information about who her father Peter Van Gerbig had been. So it was decided we would try to help each other out.
Susie continued ‘It was such a great time and we were all so happy and free. Not like your generation which seems a bit lost’.
‘What do you mean?’ I said.
‘Well, there’s Christian Van Gerbig, sort of wandering around the world. I mean, I’m not sure if your generation knows what it’s looking for?’
I bit my tongue to stop myself from saying : …. Because you lot were all so busy hopping in and out of each other’s beds we don’t really know who our parents are …. Instead I said ‘I know what I’m looking for. I’m looking for the Irish guy Donald Newman, who Tom said I look like and who lives somewhere in Spain’.
She choked on her coffee, lowered her cup into the saucer and pulled her expensive sunglasses back and over her perfectly highlighted hair, ‘Newman? You don’t mean the property developer Donald Newman, do you?’.
‘Yes, Newman, Don Newman‘, I said, ‘Why, do you know him?’
She gestured broadly with her arm, sweeping across the valleys below. ‘He owns half the property around here. Some developments, couple of golf courses. I think he’s trying to make an airport up here’.
‘That’s the guy’.
‘You are kidding me’.
‘No I’m not. You wouldn’t happen to have a contact for him would you?’
‘I have a number for his assistant, an architect’.
Unbelievable. I took the assistant’s number as the ‘out of tape’ sign flashed up on the little Sony handy-cam I had been using to record my research interviews.
‘He owns the large gated villa on the approach to Gaucín, you can’t miss it’.
Small world, this guy sounded like the last of the Freddie Lakers. Armed with this startling new information – we’d been trying to track him down for four years – I thanked Susie and drove back to the airport to catch the evening flight to London. During the flight I remembered a telephone conversation I’d had with Dave Barry, around 2004. I was living in in L.A. and although I was busy, the paternity issue obviously had been bothering me – after all, that sort of thing is about identity. To that end I’d called Dave, who Tom said was in contact with the Irishman and asked him if he could tell me more about the guy. All I knew was that he was an old boyfriend of my mother’s and a business partner of my dad’s in a property venture called Jamaica Homelands.
When I put the question to Dave on that day, he said the following:
‘Are you happy, Charley, I mean are you well?’
‘Fairly well, Dave’, I said. ‘I’m working, editing and recording music out in L.A.’.
‘Well then,’ said Dave, in his thick gangster cockney accent, ‘Don’t rock the boat!’.
A little background on our editor, Petra Schmidt.
Petra tells me we met at Summerhill years ago when, standing behind her while we were watching a school play, I complimented her on her rose scented perfume, which apparently I said reminded me of something my mum used. More recently Petra Schmidt appeared on my radar about ten years ago, shortly after the publication of Robert Greenfield’s book about our family, A Day in The Life (2009). At the time Petra commented on a FB post I’d made about a period I spent in a rural part of Ibiza in the 90s. The gist of the post was about a place where I lived for several months, San Juan, in the north of the island, which was very relaxed in contrast to the huge clubs and wealthy party life going on in Ibiza town. This isn’t to say the travellers and locals didn’t enjoy that side of life on occasions, mostly at the weekends. In San Juan we were surrounded by artists, freaks, drug dealers, and even a Panorama documentary producer and other film makers.
A seeker and a traveller, Petra herself came from society – her Dutch father co-wrote the Declaration of Human Rights at the United Nations in New York, where Petra was born. When she was five her father died of a heart attack and she was taken back to Holland by her mother. Whatever the reason Petra became a rebel, later she would experience a wilder side of life, of edgy boyfriends, possibly like Tom, my father, or in her case her husband Michael who was also a smuggler.
Petra responded to my FB post, saying that she thought we had similar backgrounds, although the island she’d spent a great deal of time on and really considers her home, was Formentera, which I believe is a little more natural and quieter, but perhaps not unlike north Ibiza in the 90s.
It turned out she was right, we do have a great deal in common. Her daughter Ruthie and I had gone to A.S. Neill’s Summerhill School together, but in different years, Ruthie being a year or two younger. Petra definitely seemed to be a part of that truly alternative hippy tribe. She’d travelled out to Turkey and Afghanistan around the time my father was smuggling from there and was in India with Ruthie in 1969, around the time my brother and I travelled there to meet mum and her Lord friend, who – as far as I could tell – always seemed to have other women around.
More than that, Petra had read Robert Greenfield’s book and related to the people, particularly some of the more spirited women of that time, like mum. She shared my reservations about the way in which mum was depicted, and more generally of how women of that period are treated and often marginalised or written about in books. Petra, who has a whole story herself, some of which I hope we’ll get into in this book, is also very much one of those rebellious and free spirited women from that period of radical social change.
Specifically Petra related stories of how friends of hers from that period would be labeled psychotic and then institutionalised for the explicit purpose of their children’s father’s family gaining custody of the children.
Hugh Street Studio and Charlotte Rampling
A genuinely talented actress and a stepmother figure from childhood, we lived together in a bustling little commercial studio in Pimlico at the end of the sixties, after mum and dad had separated. Apparently one day mum returned from Glastonbury, where she had been tripping on acid, convinced that she should try and repair her relationship with Tom, only to find him in bed with an American girl in the master bedroom of the house in Pimlico.
The memories of Hugh Street and Charlotte are mostly all positive. On the 20th of June, 1969, the night of the moon landings, I stayed up late and watched the coverage on TV, occasionally peaking up at the moon through the large studio bay window and on the same evening watched Charlotte being interviewed by a late night talk show host. It was a changing world.
We travelled together with Charlotte to Italy and while she shot a film we hung around the set, which I loved. The director of the film put me on his knees and played hand games like: here’s the church, here’s the steeple, open the doors and see all the people.
The Italian landscape whistling by while we were in the backseat, the film director playing with me on his knee and the taste of cantaloupes, for some reason I remember well. Looking at Charlotte’s filmography I would guess the film to have been The Damned and the director to have been Visconti.
According to Charlotte’s film agent at the time, Maggie Abbot – a sort of super agent with ICM and someone I met in the mid-noughties in L.A. – the real reason for her increasing number of bookings on French and Italian films was the result of a specific attempt by Maggie to steer her away from her increasing involvement with Tommy and his smuggling which her agent saw as a potential threat to Charlotte’s burgeoning film career.
One final memory of Hugh Street is of my brother and me playing upstairs together on the mezzanine. Tom and Charlotte were out somewhere, but there was a knock at the door and mum peaked her head around it and said hello. We lit up to see her, but in retrospect it was strange that she didn’t ask us to come down or hug us, as she must have missed us. ‘I don’t want to disturb you, I just wanted to leave this for your father’, she said and left the red Gibson ES. She presumably must have wanted to see us all together. It was more than a little strange.
After Tom’s funeral in 2006
My brother flew back to the States for work commitments and we agreed that, for the purposes of gathering material for what we then thought would become a documentary about mum, dad or both, I’d stay in Europe a few weeks longer and snoop around old childhood haunts in London, like the former site of the Flying Dragon, mum’s old health food café in Worlds End on the King’s Road. I’d then fly to Spain to interview a few people who were relatives or friends of the family, particularly Susie Fenton, the ex-wife of John Fenton, a music producer who had worked with Procul Harem. It was turning into an interview fest with platinum blondes on the Costa del Sol.
Back in England – Gathering Research Material
When mum and dad divorced in 1969 the house on Cambridge Street had been sold and Tom and Charlotte moved into the studio on Hugh Street, around the corner. After Tom’s passing, I swung by Hugh Street and rang the doorbell. To my surprise it opened and from behind the door emerged the familiar face and figure of a well known British stage and screen actor. A little taken aback by how surreal it felt, I said: ‘Hi, you don’t know me but my name is Charley Weber, I used to live in this place when I was a boy’.
‘Oh you must be Tom Weber’s son. I met him a couple of years ago. I’ve heard a bit about you all’. I explained I was researching a documentary and that Tom had just passed. He kindly asked me in and let me view the upstairs studio where we lived with Charlotte Rampling. The place was a lot smaller than I remembered. I told him about an early birthday party Tom and Charlotte had thrown for me there, they’d obviously put a lot of thought into it, at the age of four I had been given a drum kit, of all things. Not any old drum kit, but one of Ringo Starr’s, which Tommy had been offered as payment in kind for a drug debt. At the party we’d projected Laurel and Hardy films in the spot where we sat down and chatted now.
I walked down to our old terraced house on Cambridge street in Pimlico and located the familiar pub at one end, but because all the houses looked identical couldn’t for the life of me from my memory place the exact door of where we had lived and what had been our two tone mod little house, with the owl in the fenced off garden. Looking up at the first floor window, I could recall the sound of the scrap metal guy on his horse and cart passing by and calling out for old metal and furniture, which for some reason had frightened me.
I stopped by Chester Square, but it looked like our old house was now the consulate for some third world country. This was the square Tara Browne drove me around in his famous Lotus. No mileage in knocking on that door, heavy cameras and security everywhere. Looking at the house, I wondered how we got it, I think Tom pulled a fast one on a property developer friend, John Green. I know that after owning that house Tom never owned a house again. And that his getting rid of it, Tom said, was something to do with a lot of taxes he owed the state. He had taken the advice of Taffy to sell up and go travelling.
From then on we were sleeping on couches at friend’s places. The beautiful Vogue model Roe in Battersea Rise, we stayed with her for a bit. I still remember Roe, my father, brother and me visiting Zeppelin offices and picking up Roe’s stuff. Jimmy Page and the retinue at their offices looked a bit shocked at the reality and suddenness of it all. It was like a changing of the guard. In retrospect I’m not sure if it was a totally fair trade. The Weber boys in exchange for Bonham, Plant and Page or at least the one she was dating. I’m guessing that it was Jimmy.
A Passage to India
My mother was institutionalised for a few months, around 1969. This was after her sanity slipped on a trip back from India, where we had flown as unaccompanied minors on Air India to meet her, an Irish man (the one who couldn’t be named for legal reasons in Greenfield’s book, A Day in the Life) and an amazing guru called Dr. Bindu.
Dr. Bindu was a well known local holy man in the mountains north of New Delhi. He was a school teacher and was in charge of an orphanage. The kids ran around happily in the playground of his school where we met him. When I was introduced to him, he smiled, shook my hand for what seemed like a beat and asked ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?‘ Without much hesitation, a confident four year old, I said ‘I want to be a racing car driver like my dad’. He looked at me thoughtfully for a moment and said ‘You will not be a racing driver, you will be a writer’. Knowing that people respected this man as holy, I was more than a little crushed by this news.
Since the day mum and us two boys had joined dad on a grandstand after he won a GT race in some lethal contraption, smiling from ear to ear, with a wreath around his neck and spraying us with champagne, I’d never seriously entertained becoming anything else.
Mum started behaving erratically on the trip back from India. She’d become disillusioned again, this time with her Irish lord boyfriend – I don’t know, but suspect he might be in the running as another who could be my biological father. The trip home to England took us via Istanbul and an extended stay on Büyükada in the Princess Islands. An island I remember from many years ago as having only horse drawn carriages for transport . Curiously it is also where I had my last flat in Istanbul in 2016, around the time the coup took place and I decided it was time to return to the UK.
Mum’s mental health took a particularly bad turn for the worse after she fell and hit her head on a rock at the cave of St. John the Baptist on the island of Patmos. She started having visions and once, seemingly on a whim, swam stark naked out to another island in the middle of the night. The authorities brought her back to us. This was when we were very young kids, asleep back at the hotel room.
When we returned to the UK her mother picked us up in her little Morris and reprimanded mum for being so much trouble. After some time we think the family resolved that she needed to be sectioned. All of which was extremely complicated emotionally, as I think her elder sister – who was far straighter than mum and also somewhat jealous of her – was the one who drove her to the clinic in Oxford and left her there.
Visiting mum in the institution it was a terrifying environment to see her in. When we entered her private room a woman we’d never met before leapt up and yelled ‘Marlon, Marlon!’ and tried to grab Jake. It freaked us out, my father, brother and me. It was Anita Pallenberg, mum’s room mate who, because of his blonde hair and her not having seen her son Marlon for a while, had mistaken Jake for her boy.
In retrospect we learned some lighter stories about the partners – Tommy and Keith – climbing up the drainpipe and into the window to visit the girls in their room, seemingly with all kinds of illicit substances, although that was one of the reasons the ladies were in there in the first place, to kick pretty serious habits. On one occasion, Keith was reported to have climbed in the window with a first pressing of ‘Sticky Fingers’, to the sounds of which which they all partied.
But how out of it exactly one has to be to not to recognise your own kid, I can only imagine. It must have been a combination of heavy medication and the young mother, Anita, obviously missing her baby.
I do know that while in there mum received electroshock therapy. I don’t know if Anita did – I doubt it. Meeting in the clinic is how Anita and mum struck up their friendship, which we suspect also developed into a romance. Knowing Anita’s naughty nature, one can’t help but imagine what might have happened in that room. This was also where Mum and Anita came up with the idea for Tom, our father, to smuggle cocaine out to the Stones in the South of France, where they would record ‘Exile on Main Street’ as tax exiles and where we joined them a year or two later.
The Isle of Wight, 1970 – Donovan
Julian Leitch (son of Brian Jones) was adopted by Donavan when he partnered with Brian’s ex-wife. At the Isle of Wight festival my brother and I spent most of our time away from the adults, playing with Julian. We’d generally run around and get up to a bit of mischief. Not too much, just nicking pancakes from often slightly stoned traders, usually by sneaking under the canvas awnings of the food tents and, while their backs were turned, making our move towards a newly or nearly prepared crêpe.
We’d arrived at the Isle of Wight in a convoy of cars and bikes. Our aunt Lulu, Tommy’s half sister, was there and a bunch of people from the Cornish band of gypsies. Mark Palmer came on his Triumph and his best friend, I think his name was Nick, on a Norton.
Once there our crowd, which included Roe – a top model for Vogue and my father’s date at the time – all seemed to convene inside Taffy’s huge truck, which was the size of a house and opened to the side. A proper festival vehicle. This was the truck Taffy traded the GT40 for. Sitting on her lap, at some point I became completely absorbed in the beauty of Roe and for some reason tried to kiss her on the lips. The room laughed and Roe smiled and said, ‘Not that kind of kiss, Charley’.
At some point, while hanging around with him backstage, Julian pulled us out in front of the crowd. It was a shock, there were around two hundred thousand people and they seemed pleased to see us. This for his step-dad, Donovan’s, performance of a song he’d written for Julian, called ‘How Much Can You Pee When You’re Only Three’. The crowd cheered and the roadies brought microphones and stands. To be honest, as Jake and I had pointed out several times when Julian had brought up the idea, we didn’t know any of the words. Although much more exciting, it felt a bit like visiting church when you have to pretend you know the words to some hymns and you sort of wing it and try your best to sing along. I presume Julian did know the words and just didn’t want to be the only kid out there while his father sang a song to him about peeing in front of huge crowd of hundreds of thousands of strangers.
One of the best performers in the festival, to my mind, was John Sebastian from The Loving Spoonful, whom I really liked. Somehow I spontaneously wandered off from Jake and Julian and sought this singer out in his dressing caravan after the show. He was gracious and we chatted briefly. I said I liked his music a lot. Then he showed me his guitar case, which was full of hundreds of different kinds of rolling papers that he’d gathered from all around the world: liquorice ones, dollar bill ones, peace sign ones – to me it was a bit of a treasure trove.
Hendrix was also there and played, but it was just so so, his performance. People said the sound was really bad and that was the reason. Although I was just a kid, I’m not sure if Jimi was becoming depressed on a deeper level, for some reason.