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Hair Salon

Robin and Herbal, May 2004

Check out Robin McNamara's official site!
No more updates will be made to the Hair Salon here on Oldies Connection - going forward, changes/additions to the interview and news will be put on Robin's site.  Be sure to bookmark it and check back often!
Pull up a chair and read some of Robin McNamara's "rememories" of the music, the Tribe, and his rocking and rolling days at the dawning of the age of Aquarius.
"Got to Believe in Love: The Robin McNamara Interview" was placed on Oldies Connection on 08 May 2004.  All material on this page was contributed by Robin after the interview was completed and the article published.  This page will be used for updates and additions to the original essay.

More memories by Robin - 13 May 2004:
"I remember doing the Upbeat TV show in Cleveland with Davy Jones and Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees. (Jeff produced the Monkees and was one of the original brains behind the whole concept.)  After the taping we all rode back to the airport together in (a) limo convertible, Mickey was playing guitar and we were singing songs and making some wonderful harmony - they were two of the funniest people I ever met.
"I also will never forget  the night the cast of Hair did a concert at Madison Square Garden for the National Urburn Coalition.  There were numerous big-name artists on the bill, i.e. Jimi Hendrix & the Band Of Gypsies (Billy Cox on bass, Buddy Miles on drums)  Johnny Winter, Blood Sweat & Tears, etc.  Peter, Paul & Mary were the hosts for the night. The cast of Hair was to perform last and close the show with 'The Flesh Failures' (the song that breaks into 'Let The Sunshine In'). It was my job that evening to sing lead in that song.  The evening was supposed to end approximately at midnight, but with all the encores, Hendrix, who was second to last, didn't start until approximately 3:00 a.m. The show had crescendoed nicely up to that point, and when Hendrix came on stage, he electrified the crowd; but then after about 10 minutes he went over to the front of his stack of amps, and was lying down in almost an embryo position but still playing.  The place was going nuts; we all thought it was part of the show ... but then he got up, never missing a note, until he then took his guitar by the neck and threw at least twenty feet in the air and ran offstage.  When the guitar (fell) back down on the stage it sounded like thunder!  The place was in shock; no one really knew what do for a couple of minutes. Then the crowd started a slow chant: 'We want music!'  I remember Buddy Miles still behind the drums trying to calm the crowd, by saying that he was sorry and that Jimi 'has gone to get it together and he will be right back' ...  but after about a minute [went by] with him not reappering  the chant started up again.  Peter Yarrow (from Peter, Paul & Mary), who was onstage, ran to the host mike and yelled [into it]: 'And now we have the cast of Hair!'
"Well, we were all scattered throughout the buliding because we thought he [Jimi] was going to play a lot longer ... I was pretty close to the front and when I heard [Peter] introduce us, I ran to get on the stage.  When I got there it was chaos!  The Gypsies were departing and the Hair musicians arriving slowly, one by one by one, as were the cast members .The bass player finally got plugged in right and started to do the vamp intro to 'The Flesh Failures.'  I went to the front of the stage and began singing; by the end of the song [everyone] was on stage and rockin'!  The place went wild ... I will never forget [the sound of] 22,000 people singing, balls to the wall, 'Let The Sunshine In' at 3:30 in the morning!"
Still more - 23 May 2004 (we're on a roll now!):
"I also remember doing another concert with the cast of Hair at The Cathedral of St. John of the Divine, in New York City;  I have been told it is the 2nd largest church in the world.  It was billed as 'Divine Hair.'  It was an actual Mass and all denominations of clergy were invited to give sermons.  Injected throughout the Mass were religious songs and songs from Hair.   I got to sing 'Where Do I Go' with the boys' choir as my background voices. There were over 100 boys in the choir - it gave me chills.  The Mass ended with 'Let The Sunshine In.' There were thousands of people in the church and thousands more outside who couldn't get in because it was packed. I will never forget over 50 priests, rabbis, ministers, etc. along with the cast all dancing and singing together 'Let The Sunshine In' on the altar along with the thousands of people who attended who were also dancing and singing in and outside of the pews.  We recorded an album that day; it is titled: Divine Hair Mass In F, on RCA Records.

Divine Hair Mass in F album

"I also went to Madrid, Spain in 1975 to do Hair - it was right after Franco died.  What I remember the most was the military in the doorways of shops and all over the streets with tanks, etc. to protect from any type of coup or unrest that could happen.  When we did the show, at least 80% of the audience did not speak English so they did not understand the dialogue, but they were familiar with every song and we got a standing ovation every night - music really and truly is a universal language.  Also, I had left for Spain a few days after Christmas, and did not know their tradition was to celebrate Christmas around Epiphany in early January.  What a strange trip it was to leave the United States after already celebrating Christmas and then just two or three weeks later celebrating it all over again with some wonderful black hash while sipping on cervasa.
More memories will be added as Robin remembers 'em!
Here's some trivia on two of Robin's 1970 recordings:
"Beer Drinkin' Man": While taking a commercial flight in 1970, Robin asked the stewardess (remember, they were called "stewardesses" then, not flight attendants!) for a beer.  His request was refused, as the plane was currently flying over a "dry" state (!), which Robin believes may have been Tennessee.  After the plane had cleared the alcohol-free airspace and liquor was once again being served, Robin again requested his beer; this time he was told they were out of beer and was offered a Bloody Mary instead, which he reluctantly accepted.  After one sip, Robin looked down at the glass in his hand and muttered to himself, "This is not what I want - I'm a beer drinkin' man!"  And thus the idea for a song was born!  Robin spent the remainder of the flight writing out the lyrics on a napkin, and the rest is musical history!
"Lay a Little Lovin' On Me":  Robin wrote this song along with Jim Cretecos and Jeff Barry.  Jeff was leery of the song's title at first, even after Robin pointed out the success Bob Dylan was having with "Lay Lady Lay," which was currently in the Top Ten.  "Yeah, but that's Dylan," Jeff responded.  After a few moments of wondering whether the new song would make it past the era's vigilant censors, he relented: "OK, if we're going to go in that direction."  Banging on his desk, searching for a rhythm, Jeff came up with the entire 'hook' seemingly out of nowhere.  When he wrote the first line he sang, "'Can't you see that I am hung ...'" and then paused and all three men looked at each other and started laughing.  He continued, "...on your love."  They then proceeded to finish the song together.  "Lay a Little Lovin' On Me" peaked at number eleven on the Billboard charts.
Now for a brief message from our sponsor ... er, that is, now for some random thoughts from Robin.  My Convictions is Robin's platform, his soap box, his take on such controversial subjects as the war in Iraq, drugs, sex, and more.  Are you ready?  Fasten your seat belts and turn the page!

Questions?  Comments?  Leave a message for Robin on the Robin McNamara Message Board!

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