Steve: singer, drums, harmonica, Dan: bass, guitar
HISTORY OF GLADDEN FIELDS
Part I: Roll Right Stones
Part II: The Dream Begins
Part III: The Dream is Realized
The History of Gladden Fields: Part I “Roll Right Stones”
In the winter of 1977, I was an 18 year old on the road in Northern California. I had bought my International Harvester 4 wheel drive Scout II with my Bar Mitzvah money. It had become my home and was very often parked at 4 Mile Beach in Santa Cruz. I was working on and off for my buddy Mel Jorgensen who lived in the Los Gatos hills cutting down dead trees and selling cords of wood. He lived at the top of a hill with his lovely wife, wonderful daughter, 9 cats, 4 dogs, 2 goats, assorted chickens, turkeys and other creatures. It was the cool hippie life I had dreamed about while growing up in Tenafly, NJ. One day as a reward for working a particularly grueling and productive 6-day week he took me on a hike at Castle Rock State Park where he used to go with his friends in the 60’s and showed me the waterfall on moss they called “The Transitive Nightfall of Diamonds” aptly named after a Robert Hunter lyric in the Grateful Dead song Dark Star.
On my way up to San Francisco, I picked up a hitchhiker from Antwerp, Belgium. It was my first time ever in the city where it all began. We went to Golden Gate Park and ended up at the aquarium where we met a nice Jewish couple who invited us to stay at their hippie commune in Mendocino county. When we arrived, it was nighttime and when we woke up we were in a barn. After breakfast we were entertained by a band singing the infamous hippie anthem by Dino Valenti “Get Together .” The song was made famous by the Youngbloods but was recorded and played by everybody including the Jefferson Airplane. “Come on people now, Smile on your brother Everybody get together, Try and love one another right now...”
My traveling buddy left the commune right after we broke into groups and they gave us this multicultural lecture about how all religions are interconnected and therefore Jews and Christians are all the same. He was a very religious Jew and argued so much with them on that point that they eventually gave up and let him go. I stayed on looking for free meals, enjoying the beautiful rolling hills of Mendocino and cutting my performance teeth playing everyday in front of an overly adoring audience.
|One day about a week later I received a candy bar as a gift from “The House” in San Francisco. Inside the candy bar was a note from my Antwerp friend and it said “Get out of Booneville, you are being drugged, do not talk to anybody.” That evening I volunteered to put away the tools near my truck and told my assigned “spiritual friend” I was leaving. He said “You can’t leave! There’s a guard at the gate with a gun. You can only leave with approval from the camp leader.” I told him to please keep quiet which was easy because now it was meditation hour and no one was allowed to talk. |
So during meditation hour I forced a confrontation with the camp leader Noah in his office. He said to me “Son how old are you? You’re not old enough to leave yet!” I looked over at his books and noticed one called Unification Church. I freaked out and tried to not look into his glowing eyes. I asked him what his original religion was and he said “I used to be Jewish.” I said “Well this is one Jew who’s not going to walk into your gas chamber without a fight.” He said “Calm down son, you can leave, but please meditate before you go and I know you’ll make the right decision”. I ran out of there. I felt as though there were ghosts all around me.
I ran over a bridge, got into my truck, put on “Roll Right Stones” by Traffic, took a swig of Blackberry Brandy and roared out of there. The guitar player I played my songs with every night was still working on the road to the gate and started running after the truck. I gunned it some more. The guy at the gate had a shot gun and stopped me and asked “Where are you going?” I told him “I’m going to get more people” and like a zombie he opened the gate and I was free. I went to a gas station nearby feeling spooked. I first asked the attendant about oil just to get comfortable and then asked about that place up the road. He said “Things ain’t been the same since them Moonies moved in. ” I drove through the dense fog all the way down to Sonoma State University. My childhood friend from New Jersey, Matt Fassberg, had given me the numbers of three of his Encino buddies who went there in case I needed a contact.