The Whitehaus is a three-story mansion near Centre Street in Jamaica Plain, and it’s almost like a college dorm, with the cozy bedrooms for the boys, the living spaces stark and dusty, except for the nights of music, when they come alive. I feel like its diplomat, its Secretary of State, even its Supreme-Court justice. It was the nexus, where I moved from one generation of musicians to the next, and started a good social life.
The first night there, when I crossed the network of streets coming out of Green Street Station, directed by my iPhone map, up Seaverns Ave, was so peaceful, bright, and serene, I felt the summer feeling would never end. Some of the abstract, lower-case musicians I knew from before were playing there, and the shining of the hardwood floors seemed to partake of the music.
The blast of the coming time: triple-deckers in Allston, Smokey the Bear’s Cave, and Gay Gardens. The rough and tumble mess. Sex appeal, intensity, and excitement, the shows lasting sometimes until 4 A.M., me crashing on a couch. Cool-looking kids in trippy, mod mufti, smile when they see me. “Hey Gordon!” “Let me see… How do I know you?” “You wrote a poem about me!”
The girls; enticing, alluring, persuading me to be their friend, affectionate and romantic, usually overwhelmed by me in the beginning; and then, later, charmed, enamored, and endeared. So many.
The online journal where I wrote: the months hanging out with the chap who was to be my editor, as “a chiller”. And then my column, “Inside the Mind”, heavy capsule write-ups on my favorite musicians who were friends, making us feel like superstars.
The fights, the clash of art and business, friends gathering around me to get coverage of their bold efforts, and the reality of the business.
The seductive identification with youth…
The house shows, confrontations with cops, sometimes coming up the drive with six cars, to a peaceful crowd.
The hatred and distrust of the police, the “good rebel/bad rebel” routines; “They’re only concerned about noise and underage drinking.” “I think they’re just picking on the fat kid.”
Lucy, with her fantastic art, kewpie dolls and stuffed animals stuffed together and hanging on the walls like 3-D bearskin rugs. And her Smarty, creative music act, different every time.
And Smokey the Bear’s again, and the abandoned bear cages at Franklin Park Zoo.
Frank Hurricaine, with his heroism, on top of the rock in the cage, singing about “chugging” with an old friend out West; coming back, crossing the country, the surreal stories he had to tell, the holy prophets, the hanging trees in the bayous, the mountains of West Virginia.
And his hip-hop samples. “This stuff is so good… You’ll be high all day; for a year—hell, this stuff will keep you high for six years…”