Photos from the March 14 Unity North Atlanta Church Concert by Chuck Holloway
“The Golden Road” – John Sebastian
Interview with John Sebastian by Don Aters
In general, I never do phone interviews because they are informal and often distant. For John Sebastian, however, I made an immediate exception. This storied icon and The Lovin Spoonful were one of the noted bands who rivaled The British Invasion of the sixties with tunes such as “Didn’t have To Be So Nice,” “Nashville Cats,” “Summer in the City” and Sebastian’s rock n’ roll lullaby, “Darling Be Home Soon.”
A product of Greenwich Village and the jug band craze of embryonic folk venues of early ’60s, Sebastian became well known for his proficiency as a writer with The Mugwumps (Cass Elliott) as well as his exceptional prowess as a noted harmonica player (200 or more guest appearances on other albums inclusive of The Doors). Sebastian was marked for success from the very beginning. His fleeting moment as leader of The Spoonful was fleeting, a granule of sand in the hourglass of “musical time.”
Joe Butler, Steve Boone, Zal Yanovsky and John Sebastian were on the fast track for musical immortality and the songs that eased the pain and broadened the smiles of an entire culture continue to this day. During the decade of decadence and internal strife, John and The Lovin Spoonful were “the source for musical anarchy.” The royalty of rock n’ roll that would breathe fire in the decaying embers of political mayhem and the youth of an entire culture that were lost in the proverbial shuffle of “mainstream.” There were few questions for Sebastian, mostly we conversed about his current exploration of jug band.
We briefly alluded to his historic appearance at Woodstock, when he was pushed on the stage by Artie Kornfeld to appease the crowd during one of the many moments of torrential downpours on Yasgur’s farm. Although Sebastian was not contractually obligated, his brief set would forever be remembered by the 500,000 fans who endured the four days of inclement weather.
His call came directly from home in Woodstock, an appropriate place for a storied musician of given magnitude. Sebastian candidly spoke of his achievements, a cache of written songs that have transcended the decades. A scion in birth, this fabled musician and respected survivor of The Woodstock Nation continues to roll on the musical railroad, a credit to the genre and to society in general.
His tour brings him to Atlanta and to Fur Peace Ranch in Ohio. It’s a chance to digress to those euphoric days when “Summer in the City” resonated across the land, pain and progress were measured by the chosen bands of a weary nation of youthful malcontents. Psycho babbling of the majority in today music is at an end and so it continues with music that matters so, “Stomp your hands” and “Clap your feet,” Sebastian is on the way like the saying, “The likes of him may never travel this way again.”