Jumat, 20 Maret 2015
After escaping Altamont and Scientology
After escaping Altamont and Scientology, he was born again in a trash dump
By Mark Ellis, Special to ASSIST News Service
SANGKHLABURI, Thailand (March 16, 2015) -- Rolling Stone magazine called the free concert at Altamont Speedway on December 6, 1969 rock and roll’s worst day. With the Hell’s Angels guarding the stage in exchange for $500 in beer, the ensuing violence-tainted quagmire resulted in four deaths, four births, scores injured, and a countercultural black eye to those hoping for another Woodstock.
The concert began with Santana, then featured Jefferson Airplane, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The Grateful Dead were scheduled to perform next, but refused to play due to the rising tide of discord and violence. The final act featured the Rolling Stones, who should not have gone on stage.
“The Rolling Stones came on, then the sun went down and they started singing ‘Sympathy for the devil’ and Lucifer descended to receive worship,” recalls Tom Ravensberg, who attended the event with his brother, along with 300,000 others.
The Hell’s Angels drank their allotment of beer most of the day in front of the stage and were highly inebriated. The crowd became hostile and unpredictable, attacking each other, the Hell’s Angels, and the performers. The Hell’s Angels armed themselves with sawed-off pool cues and motorcycle chains to drive the crowd further back from the stage.
“The Hell’s Angels pulled a bus in and were throwing full cans of beer, hitting people in the head with full cans of beer,” Ravensberg recounts. “All the bands came on and I wasn’t a Christian but I thought it was so wicked I told my brother, ‘We’re leaving.’ The Hell’s Angels stabbed a guy to death right after we left.”
Looking back, Ravensberg had a rough upbringing in Southern California. “I was clinically depressed from age eight,” he says. “I was so depressed. I was looking for love and couldn’t find it at home so at 17 I started smoking pot and dropping LSD and I was sure I would meet God in outer space.”
His father attempted to impose a measure of discipline and enforce boundaries for the young rebel. “My dad told me if I got a haircut, went to church with them on Sunday, do all the yard work, pay room and board, you can stay here or you can pack your bags.”
Ravensberg decided he couldn’t stomach these constraints, so he crammed his belongings into the back of a Volkswagen bug, where he lived for a year.
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