at www.RARWRITER.com      

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Volume 1-2016




What happened to the list?

As the CCJ transitions to a model better geared to leverage social networks, we are moving away from our past use of email notification services. If you would like to be added to our internal email distribution, please send your request to Rick@RARWRITER.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter, which we will use to keep you notified of new features and news articles.


ABOUT RAR: For those of you new to this site, "RAR" is Rick Alan Rice, the publisher of the RARWRITER Publishing Group websites. Use this link to visit the RAR music page, which features original music compositions and other.

Use this link to visit Rick Alan Rice's publications page, which features excerpts from novels and other.



Use the RARADIO link to go to our radio page, where you will hear songs you are not likely to hear elsewhere.



"Music Hot Spots"




























Rick Alan Rice (RAR) Literature Page


CCJ Publisher Rick Alan Rice dissects the building of America in a trilogy of novels collectively called ATWOOD. Book One explores the development of the American West through the lens of public policy, land planning, municipal development, and governance as it played out in one of the new counties of Kansas in the latter half of the 19th Century. The novel focuses on the religious and cultural traditions that imbued the American Midwest with a special character that continues to have a profound effect on American politics to this day. Book One creates an understanding about America's cultural foundations that is further explored in books two and three that further trace the historical-cultural-spiritual development of one isolated county on the Great Plains that stands as an icon in the development of a certain brand of American character. That's the serious stuff viewed from high altitude. The story itself gets down and dirty with the supernatural, which in ATWOOD - A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliverance is the outfall of misfires in human interactions, from the monumental to the sublime. The book features the epic poem "The Toiler" as well as artwork by New Mexico artist Richard Padilla.

Elmore Leonard Meets Larry McMurtry

Western Crime Novel











I am offering another novel through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing service. Cooksin is the story of a criminal syndicate that sets its sights on a ranching/farming community in Weld County, Colorado, 1950. The perpetrators of the criminal enterprise steal farm equipment, slaughter cattle, and rob the personal property of individuals whose assets have been inventoried in advance and distributed through a vast system of illegal commerce.

It is a ripping good yarn, filled with suspense and intrigue. This was designed intentionally to pay homage to the type of creative works being produced in 1950, when the story is set. Richard Padilla has done his usually brilliant work in capturing the look and feel of a certain type of crime fiction being produced in that era. The whole thing has the feel of those black & white films you see on Turner Movie Classics, and the writing will remind you a little of Elmore Leonard, whose earliest works were westerns. Use this link.



If you have not explored the books available from Amazon.com's Kindle Publishing division you would do yourself a favor to do so. You will find classic literature there, as well as tons of privately published books of every kind. A lot of it is awful, like a lot of traditionally published books are awful, but some are truly classics. You can get the entire collection of Shakespeare's works for two bucks.

You do not need to buy a Kindle to take advantage of this low-cost library. Use this link to go to an Amazon.com page from which you can download for free a Kindle App for your computer, tablet, or phone.

Amazon is the largest, but far from the only digital publisher. You can find similar treasure troves at NOOK Press (the Barnes & Noble site), Lulu, and others.




Manipulating Culture

It has been four years since alternative media journalist Dave McGowan published Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon: Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & the Dark Heart of the Hippie Dream. It didn't exactly set the publishing world on fire when it came out, and it isn't exactly doing that now, but it hangs around and slowly gains ground with conspiracy buffs.

McGowan is an amateur investigator, and a writer without formal education, whose previous interest in weird stories had been mostly around UFOs. But then he came upon this odd statistical anomaly.

He started looking into the development of the 1960s music scene, with many venues centered in West Hollywood, as described in the story on the right (Nancy's Great Hangover), and he started looking into the family backgrounds of the people involved. Laurel Canyon was populated with young creative types, who played the clubs along the Sunset Strip and moved still-new Rock'n Roll into a rapidly developing swirl of musical styles, from the jangle rock of The Byrds, through the surreal brooding of The Doors, the progressive rock of Frank Zappa, and the country rock of Buffalo Springfield. Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, The Mamas and the Papas, and many other legends-in-the-making came out of that single musical scene. Many resided in the rugged and leafy Laurel Canyon, just minutes from what in the late 1960s was America's cultural center.

McGowan determined that many of those young people, who became enormously successful and influential in American musical culture, were the children of CIA and military families. And he further determined that may have been influenced to be in Laurel Canyon in the first place because there was a Top Secret CIA research facility there. (That property was recently purchased by musician and Oscar-winning actor Jared Leto.)

Exhibit 1, in McGowan's conspiracy framework, is Jim Morrison, the front man of The Doors, who named his band after LSD pioneer Aldous Huxley's book The Doors of Perception. Morrison was the son of the admiral who had been in charge of the fleet patrolling the Gulf of Tonkin. An incident there, which conspiracy buffs believe to have been a false flag operation, was the trigger that dragged the U.S into the quagmire of the Viet Nam War. It is ironic that the Lizard King, an avatar of anti-establishment convention, was the progeny of a man complicit in sending his son's generation to war.

It only begins there. Laurel Canyon had influential salon keepers, most notably Frank Zappa and David Crosby. Frank Zappa grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, near Edgewood Arsenal, where his father, who had top security clearance, was a chemical warfare specialist. Zappa somehow got unusual attention early on, even showing up on Steve Allen's Tonight Show playing the bicycle as a musical instrument. He represented counter-culture, but listen to any Zappa interview and you'll see his inclinations were not what one might expect. He was a pro-military arch conservative.

Zappa took over a commune known at the time as "The Tree House" that served as a crash pad where the famous bedded down with runaways and others from the area's active street life. According to McGowan, attendees over time included Mick Jagger Marianne Faithfull, members of the Animals, Mark Lindsay from Paul Revere and the Raiders, Alice Cooper who joined Zappa’s Mothers of Invention, Janis Joplin, and Roger McGuinn and Mike Clarke from the Byrds. LSD guru Timothy Leary was there, according to reports, as were George Harrison and Ravi Shankar.

David Crosby's soirees are legendary - the kind that only a trust fund kid could host.

David Van Cortlandt Crosby is the progeny of American aristocrats from the Van Cortlandt and Van Rensselaer families. Van Ressselaers founded the Dutch West Indies Company, and since the 1600s have held positions of prominence in all aspects of American governance and military leadership. Ditto the Van Cortlandts. That means that Crosby's ancestors were closely associated with the African slave trade.

In McGowan's thesis, Laurel Canyon in the late 1960s was a place of avant garde salons, charismatic charlatans (including Charles Manson) with secretive agendas, and LSD. Central to the premise was the savant Owsley Stanley, who is notable as the largest private producer of LSD in history. Stanley had become involved in LSD research being done at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington DC. He wasn't a researcher, but rather a 15-year old test subject in the CIA's MK-Ultra program.

Stanley was something of a genius, who eventually came to California to work at Jack Parson's Jet Propulsion Labs (JPL). That cutting edge research facility was led by a founder with connections to Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, Church of Satan founder Anton Lavay, and the infamous occultist Aleister Crowley. Crowley allegedly documented the first encounter with a Grey alien, if that's what the entity Lam was, which was conjured up through Crowley's Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) rituals. Parson's was allegedly the first to encounter the Nordic alien race.

Owsley Stanley became the soundman for the Grateful Dead, which in the conspiracy world was a band whose reason for being was to encourage the creation of a "Hippie Movement" to protest the War in Viet Nam. The idea was that the CIA used all of the well-placed, well-resourced Laurel Canyon people to create a Hippie icon, a type of straw man so ineffectual and ridiculous that they would undermine the anti-war movement.

If that was the goal, it may not have worked. Timothy Leary inveighed for the troops to "turn on, tune in, drop out" for the purpose of creating an army of "Dead Heads". Many historians would argue that anti-war demonstrations eventually made continuance of the War in Viet Nam impossible.

That only touches upon McGowan's treatise, which presents a raft of other Laurel County celebrities with connections to military intelligence and defense industry groups. My guess is that there is probably some truth to all of it, no absolute truth to any. As a child of that era, I know that messages were sent and received that stayed with segments of the Baby Boomer population for decades, and resonate to this day.

Here is an interview with McGowan that won't convince you that anything he says is real, but at least gives him the opportunity to use his words.-RAR




Nancy's Great Hangover

One of my favorite websites is The Great Hollywood Hangover (click here), which was launched way back in the year 2000. It is truly great for all kinds of reasons, including that it is a beautiful dinosaur from an early age of personal websites. The primitive level of its design and technology seems perfectly aligned with the authenticity of its purpose, which is to commemorate a wonderful time from long ago - West Hollywood in the late 1960s.

The Hollywood that is being remembered is that which existed along that section of Sunset Boulevard sandwiched between between Beverly Hills and Hollywood proper. The area initially lay outside the corporate boundary of Hollywood, which exempted it from certain legal restrictions, and so it became a hotbed of sub-culture activity. In the 1920s, it was a place where prohibition was violated, and organized crime moved in. They opened night clubs and gambling casinos, and later high profile clubs (Ciro's, the Mocambo, the Trocadero). It was an area where movie people hung out. The storied Chateau Marmont is at its eastern border. Movie people started to avoid the place as it became a tourist destination, but in the '60s it also became a counter-culture magnet, with venues like the Whiskey A-GoGo and The Roxy hosting The Doors, The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and every other L.A. band you can think of from that era. And it was special, at least through the eyes of Nancy Deedrick, who was witness and participant to American cultural history.

Deedrick (pictured above, center-right, with her sister Dixie) was an exotic dancer who arrived in West Hollywood, with a sister, about the time The Doors broke into stardom. They were playing at a dive called London Fog on the Strip, but were about to hit the big time. Nancy, who went by the stage name Nancy Seaman, was on her way to becoming the Strip's first dancer to go fully nude. It made her somewhat famous, though she drew plenty of attention since arriving in town with a Groupies nameplate in the back window of her car. Even as an exotic dancer, she entered topless contests and won amateur titles. The Tonight Show became interested in her, but Nancy was conflicted. Her parents back home would not have understood that her life in L.A. was all good fun and good spirits.

Nancy knew everyone, dating the legends of rock. It all left her a little shell-shocked, according to her own extraordinarily honest site. She gave up stripping in the 1970s and moved to Nashville to become a singer-songwriter, surviving for two decades on dreams that didn't work out. She spiraled into emotional and mental problems, all part of what she eventually called "the Great Hollywood Hangover". And then somehow she exorcised her demons and committed to letting others know that they could do it, too.

I was not around to know Nancy Deedrick, though I would come to know people who knew her in those West Hollywood days. She eventually had three children and emerged out of the back end of her long, dark, post-Hollywood period, but with her website she contributed greatly to the documentation of an important time and place in time. And she reaffirmed the notion that young people can be wild and crazy, and leave wonderful memories, which will help when the bills for living a life finally come due.- RAR

Travis Fullerton Pays Tribute

That is Travis Fullerton, pictured center in this clipped photograph of Sylvester and the Hot Band, from back in the day. Starting in San Francisco, from 1966 to 1980, Fullerton played drums for bands ranging from Sam the Sham to Graham Nash. He was around during the heyday of West Hollywood Rock, as described by Nancy Deedrick, and we had a mutual friend, the late Buddy Zoloth, who was known to many readers of this site. One of the joys of the late Nancy Deedrick's The Great Hollywood Hangover is using her home page search tool to find people you know. I found Buddy Zoloth, and I found the excerpt below from Fullerton, which is the finest summary I have ever read of our late friend's life.

Some comments about our good friend Buddy Zoloth......I met him when he came out to LA from Florida with Blues Image. I think it was 1970 and after playing around town, they quickly became the house band for Marshall Brevitz's club, Thee Experience, on Sunset. Buddy earned Marshall's trust, managed the bar, then the entire club. By that time, BI had a big hit on their hands with "Ride Captain Ride". I played with various bands at Thee Experience when I met Buddy. His intelligence was one of the first things I noticed about him. His mind worked at a higher "clockrate" than folks around him....he was always three steps ahead in those days. He loved people, he was a great communicator, and boy, did he had fun doing it! So, in the days of English roadies (being the cream of the crop), Buddy was one of the handful of American roadies, that were also experts at their craft. He went on to manage Marshall's new club, Thee Club, but by that time the call of the road was summoning Buddy. After a short stint with Rita Coolidge & Graham Nash's fine band (sorry, I couldn't resist), he joined Stephen Stills with his best friend, Joe Lala. Along with the great keyboardist, Jerry Aiello.......Joe, Buddy, and Jerry became an inseparable trio for years in Hollywood. Buddy and Joe went on to work with Stephen and then Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young in their various forms. Years later he was captain of a sloop, based out of Amsterdam, and worked and lived in the Virgin Islands for a while. One year ago, Buddy came to see me and take a little trip on our boat in the Seattle area. We hadn't seen each other for over 20 years, so we had a lot of catching up to do. It was great fun to reminisce although he was greatly weakened by the growing tumor in his kidney. His spirit, curiosity, humor, and intelligence was still evident. A month before he passed away on June 10th, I sent him a mail about some opportunity and he responded with "what have I not done in my life? I've done it all." It's true, Buddy lived the life folks dream about! Those of us lucky enough to have shared the "dream life" with him, will remember him fondly.

Kind Regards, Travis Fullerton

Learn more about Travis Fullerton by clicking here.

Missing Jimmy Geisler

Jimmy Geisler passed away recently - in fact, there was a memorial service for him just this week in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he lived with his family. He was 68.

I hadn't talked with him in years, but did reconnect with him not long ago through Facebook. And I read his daughter's touching announcement of his passing, apparently in his sleep. And I found this photograph, snipped apparently from his wedding album. That is the Jimmy I remember.

We shared a place in Boulder, Colorado for a while in the early 1980s. He had some successes as a manager of Willis Alan Ramsey ("Muskrat Love") and the Boulder band Firefall. Also with us in those days was Buddy Zoloth (see the story above).

Like Buddy, who I believe introduced us, Jimmy was a great deal of fun. Both were wicked smart and experienced way beyond what I was and it was an education being around them - often an exasperating one. Jimmy did work for the Gary Hart presidential campaign of 1984, and stuck me with a giant phone bill. One night, while my parents happened to be visiting, Jimmy, who always walked with a cane, cracked some guy over the head who tried to mug him in the alley behind the Blue Note night club, and arrived back at our apartment in a lather over the deal. I think he broke the head off his cane, which seem to upset him while also making him inordinately proud of himself. He had really whacked that guy. Over dinner one night, he talked my dad into footing the cost of recording three of my original tunes, which we did at a relocated version of Mountain Ears Recording Studio. Sam Broussard arranged the songs (co-wrote them, really), played guitar and produced the sessions, which were engineered by Steve Strassman. Steve Conn played piano, Greg Overton played bass, and Andy Peake was on drums. Nothing ever came of the whole affair, but I credit Jimmy for making it all happen - another valuable learning experience.

Jimmy had hidden talents, including abilities in the fine arts. He stiffed me on the rent, in the end, and tried to pay up even by giving me a metal sculpture he had made called "King Rat". It was fantastic, and I really loved that rat, but I needed the rent money more and Jimmy and I had some problems.

He disappeared for a few weeks and then called me up and said he wanted to talk. We went for a long car ride in the mountains above Boulder and he told me how sorry he was, and I could tell he meant it. I feel sad to learn that he is gone now. I will miss Jimmy, and I for darn sure wish I had that King Rat back. - RAR

Documentary: Capital Radio 604

Musical Defense Against Apartheid

WDIA in Memphis is typically cited as the first radio station in the United States to target its playlist to the "African American" market, though in 1949, when a young B.B. King got an on-air talent job there, it was likely not referenced that way. There was a time when music, via the radio, pushed societal change in the way that GitHub pushes code and technological change today. It is hard to imagine, in our present-day age of media fracture, but there was once a time when a pirate radio voice could move mountains and make history. It happened with WDIA, and on another cultural front it happened across America through XERF-AM, which was broadcast from Ciudad Acuña in Mexico in covered the entire United States. It introduced most of America to Wolfman Jack, and in many ways created a Rock'n Roll radio culture that shaped subsequent generations of people around the world. Radio was once something really special.

Such is the story of Capital Radio 604, a pirate radio station in South Africa that has become the subject of a documentary looking for development and distribution help. Check out the trailer below, which does an excellent job of setting up the story. Until 1991, South Africa was a country in which majority Black populations were restricted to autonomously ruled ghetto regions that kept them apart from one another, and out of the daily lives of the ruling White population. Then an enterprising group of rebels, with the help of the U.K.'s Capital Radio network, and charity sponsor Richard Attenborough CBE, used Apartheid's own restrictions against it, mounting a powerful radio transmitter on land the government couldn't touch. They played the music the government had banned: The Police, Dire Straits, and other stuff that was mainstream fare in most of the world but outlaw thought in South Africa. And they broadcast the political truth of South Africa to the world via short wave radio transmissions.

Capital Radio 604 worked, and it is inspiring to watch this trailer and learn of their story. - RAR

Painter, Lithographer, Musician, Magician, Actor, Champion Golfer


By Elizabeth A. Kay

News content
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Stephen Swenson Discusses His Life in Music, Dusty Drapes and the Dusters, and Cocktail Stevie

News Content  

The Musical Revolution that Gave us the world today






Going Back, and back, and back...

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Arts & Entertainment News Feed

The CCJ at RARWRITER provides a steady stream of news feeds from a variety of sources. Use this link to visit the Music News page.


Looking for something in the RARWRITER.com archives? Type the item you wish to find in the custom search field below, then click on the magnifying glass to see a list of previously published articles relevant to your query.




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The Science of Choosing Your Keys


Rob Beck, a writer for Beginner Guitar HQ, put together this insightful guide on selecting a digital piano or keyboard. Use this link or click on the photo above to go to

How to Choose a Digital Piano – 10 Factors to Consider According to Science



Interested in Filmmaking?

Use this link to gain insights into the ins-and-outs of preparing your script, producing your film, and getting it into distribution.





Copyright © July, 2018 Rick Alan Rice (RARWRITER)