But then I think Gary and I at the same time were really moved by the Beatles when they started making hits. In fact, I don't know if Gary mentioned it, but he and I and a couple of other people, three or four other people, went to the Beatles' famous Shea Stadium concert —
OH WOW. Yeah I know, it's history, my God — I missed Woodstock, but I caught the Beatles at Shea Stadium — and we were really moved by the music that night and by the event itself, by the kind of cultural aspect of what was going on. It was the first time I had ever been in a public place where dope was openly smoked. There was a lot of stuff that was sort of ancillary to the music but important nevertheless. But right at the core of it was this band that was just playing great. And a couple of composers — or actually three composers out of the four of them — unless you count "Yellow Submarine," in which case all four of them were composers of note. But anyhow there was some really strong music being written by that band, and they were indisputably playing, throwing it down. It was a very, very exciting concert.
And that kind of set us off. That concert kind of galvanized my intentions to bring some of that into the music that I was playing. And by some of that I guess I mean several aspects of what they were doing. I was really impressed by the harmonic and the melodic content of it, and by the rhythmic idiom, and, beyond that I was just impressed by their posture toward their public; they were extending themselves to us in a way that I admired and wanted to emulate in that they were clearly, you know, addressing us, the people who were listening to them, but they were doing it with a lot of dignity and without any condescension on the one hand or, you know, they weren't groveling at our feet either. They were tremendously contained and dignified, I thought. I was impressed by them altogether, and so was Gary, and the two of us spent a lot of time listening to them together. And in the course of venturing into their world we heard a lot of music by the other bands that were rising to popularity at that time as well.
I also distinctly remember hearing Jimi Hendrix for the first time. It was riding in a classic Volkswagen bus in which we had driven across the country from New York to work in San Francisco, and it was like Paul on the road to Damascus in the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge, you know, Jimi Hendrix came on the radio and just blew me away.