WABX, for eight years the warmest, realist spot on the Detroit FM dial, has finally and irrevocably banished the free-form programming that made it so. The station, which has been in a state of slow artistic and economic decline for the past two years, has instituted a relatively strict format that constrains the dj's to play a one-to-one mix of mild rock - James Taylor, Jim Croce, Elton John - and Black hits, past and present.
Ann Christ, all night jock at "the X" and the last free-from holdout, recently quit. The status of current staffers from the old regime is unclear. An in-depth report on WABX, once proudly touted as "the radio station of your wildest dreams", will appear in an upcoming SUN.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono were so impressed by the Free John Sinclair Freedom Rally in 1971 , at which they were headliners, that they began to make plans with Sinclair, his wife Leni, brother David, and other local and outside rabblerousers to set up a whole nation-wide series of festivals, the proceeds of which would go to finance various leftist/social causes.
Well, it turns out, according to a recent story in Rolling Stone, that the United Snakes government found out about these plans and, in the finest tradition of Watergate, decided to make political work impossible for Lennon by harassing him with deportation proceedings. In early 1972 the staff of the Senate Internal Security subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee prepared and submitted to Senator Strom Thurmond a remarkable memorandum about Lennon. There were two memoranda in the INS file, one of which noted that Lennon had appeared at the Rally and then added that Rennie Davis, Jerry Rubin, Leslie Bacon, Stu Albert, and "others" had recently gone to New York City.
'This group," said the memo, "has been strong advocates of the program to 'dump Nixon.' They have devised a plan to hold rock concerts in various primary election states for the following purposes: to obtain access to college campuses; to stimulate 18 year-old registration; to press for legislation legalizing marijuana; to finance their activities; and to recruit persons to come to San Diego during the Republican National Convention in August 1972. According to a confidential source, whose information has proved reliable in the past, the activities of Davis and his group will follow the pattern of the rally mentioned above with reference to John Sinclair. Davis and his cohorts intend to use John Lennon as a drawing card to promote the success of the rock festivals and rallies. The source feels that this will pour tremendous amounts of money into the coffers of the New Left and can only inevitably lead to a clash between a controlled mob organized by this group and law enforcement officials in San Diego. The source felt that if Lennon's visa is terminated it would be a strategy counter-measure. The source also noted the caution which must be taken with regard to the possible alienation if the so-called 18-year-old vote if Lennon is expelled from the country."
This "strategy counter-measure" has kept Lennon wriggling and ineffective ever since March of 1972. However, the discovery of the INS files have apparently swung things in John's favor. The INS "without conceding that its previous action was incorrect or irregular, has determined to undertake a review of the question of possible nonpriority status for the plantiff" (Lennon). This status, commonly granted even to felons, would enable him to stay in the U.S. as long as he wants.
Things are getting so bad in New York that Bob Dylan is being summoned in an attempt to save the city. Phil Ochs is putting together a series of "Save New York City: concerts at Madison Square Garden, and says that Dylan is now "almost definite" to perform. The concert, tentatively set for between August 28th and September 3rd, may also feature Liza Minnelli and Frank Sinatra. (ZNS)
Speaking of Dylan, the famous, much-bootlegged "basement tapes", recorded with the Band at Big Pink in 1967 after Dylan's motorcycle accident, are now available in a two-record set from Columbia.
The Los Angeles district attorney's office has charged a man, Richard Keeling, with second degree murder as a result of the death last month of singer Tim Buckley. Keeling supplied the heroin on which Buckley is alleged to have overdosed.
Buckley died at his Santa Monica home on June 29th as he was climbing a flight of stairs. His death was originally reported as being caused by a heart attack. (ZNS)
- Bill Adler