Having already been involved in writing and recording music in Minneapolis, I reasoned that Los Angeles was the place to try and ‘make it’ as a songwriter. It was the 1970s, and I landed right in the center of the New Age, self-awareness scene. The feeling was hopeful, i.e. we can change the world. New age music was coming in, punk rock and hip-hop were experiencing their origins in downtown LA, there was reggae and jazz in the clubs, and most importantly, much of the popular music contained the message of spiritual revolution.
Side note comparison with today’s world: I smoked weed nearly every day for six years and never once worried about being arrested for it. In fact, the only ones who seemed to have any concern were the growers, who kept their locations a pretty tight secret. In the movies about that time period there are jokes about the police and paranoia, but as compared to what I see young people endure today, police worries were almost nonexistent in 1980.
Then the destructive hand moved in earnest. I actually saw the incoming of the crack cocaine epidemic. It was the new drug, a pleasant high, considered harmless, and people were trying it… until it became evident that it was a ‘hell of a thing’. I watched a young women, living a ‘normal’ life with a job and all, turn to prostitution within a month. There were so many of these girls that there was actually a name for them – strawberries. Today we know that the CIA was bringing the crack in, but we sure didn’t know it then. It was simply a new and inexpensive way of using cocaine.
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