Friday, April 22, 2011

An encounter with Mr. Magoo

A must-read excerpt from the current installment of the always must-readable Binky Philips at the Huffington Post:

One of these locals [in Woodstock] was a guy who ran a dilapidated used bike and repair shop. He was disconcertingly frail and gaunt with a full white beard, greasy black hair, stooped shoulders, a weirdly intense stare, and a ferociously fast tilting-forward manner of walking through the town square. He always looked and seemed about $20 away from being homeless. Everyone called him Esposito. There was something about him that bugged me every time I saw him. Something oddly and mysteriously familiar, a feeling that didn't go away.

One early summer evening in 1989, about 15 minutes before dusk, I was sitting on the back steps of my rented cottage. I was alone and I'll admit it... I was "mellow", having just smoked some strong and dazzling reefer. As I was buzzing and enjoying the quietude and the flowers and trees, watching my two cats romp after insects, there suddenly appeared in the garden a frail and gaunt fellow in work pants and an old white t-shirt walking in a ferociously fast tilting-forward manner through my backyard heading towards Godwin's garage/living quarters. I realized it was that Used Bike Guy and... before I even knew what I was doing, on some weird cosmic auto-pilot, I blurted out...

"Are you Mike Esposito from the Blues Magoos?"

This haggard guy instantly stopped in his tracks, turned and strode up to me, stared intently down at me in an almost accusing and searching way from three feet away, and demanded...

"How did you know that!? How!"

"Oh My God, it is you... You are the lead guitarist of The Blues Magoos! Holy shit, Mike, your band INVENTED Psychedelic music. I was a total British Invasion freak. The Blues Magoos were the only American band I ever really loved back then."

Exposition-digression: In 1965 and '66, when the Blues Magoos were creating truly trippy jams like their legendary version of "Tobacco Road" in clubs in Greenwich Village, the Beatles were still "Rubber Soul"-ing, the Grateful Dead were a frickin' jug band! and, I even clearly remember an article in a British music magazine where Saint Syd Barrett said, "Pink Floyd was a blues band until we heard the Blues Magoos." Yes, the Yardbirds got there first when it came to extended improvs or "rave ups", but, the Magoos expanded the concept geometrically.

Anyway, after an awkward few moments, once he realized I was "okay", Mike lightened up considerably and got really chatty.

"Man, I can't believe you knew who I was... and I can't believe you know that it was us that started all that. I don't care what anyone thinks or says, I know the truth... There were nights at the old Night Owl [the legendary club in the center of Greenwich Village] where John Lennon and George Harrison would be sitting at one table and Mick Jagger and Brian Jones would be at another table and the fuckers would be practically taking notes! I lived it, I know it's the truth. You're right, we got there first."

Go and read the rest here--that's an order!

Pics most likely "borrowed" from fy60smen and hiptoad.

1 comment:

NYCDreamin said...

Cool. Binky definately knows how to write a great story...