Tonight: The War in Vietnam – The Sixties

DON”T MISS IT. Tonight The Sixties on CNN, 9 pm (EST), 6 pm (PDT), plus there are usually several re-runs. Covers the war from its beginnings through 1968. The face of war changed forever with this escalation.  Combined with the pictures that brought the brutality of the war to the home front, a new sense of power and disenfranchisement from the country’s youth, and the hangover from the loss of a young and popular president, the support for this war faded as the commitment to it by the government went up. Up until this war, as Bill Murray exhorts his army buddies it in Stripes, “We’re 10 and 1!”

For me, it was trying to find a way to stay with my band when the army was bound and determined to induct me. I had no political viewpoint in the beginning, and to the degree I did, I tended to trust the government implicitly then.  That all began to change when it started to impact my life and I had to figure things out.

My most personal experience was when Stark Naked and the Car Thieves performed for a couple of months at a nightclub in Honolulu in April of 1968, as the buildup of American forces followed the Tet Offensive during the height of the Vietnam War. 80% of the guys in the club were either on R&R coming from the war or going home. The emotional power of the songs we played to remind these warriors of home, girlfriends and wives, high school, families, and buddies, some of them lost by their side, came through to all of us there. As the messengers through our music we became instant friends, somehow passed into the intimacy of one solder to another, and it was all we could do to hold onto our own feelings sometimes. We heard many stories from the battlefield, reminisces from home and witnessed soldiers at the outer  limits of their ability to endure. But as humans do, they found humor and understanding and love in their experiences. While they thought we were enriching their lives, it was they who were enriching ours.

Over the last few years I have received a surprising number of messages from soldiers who saw us at the Lemon Tree on the beach in Waikiki. To a man they remember us for the music and how it helped connect them to the things most important to them. God love them all.

Here’s a little quiz about the 60s you might enjoy – What 60s personality are you?

Larry J Dunlap, Things We Lost in the Night, a memoir of love and rock n roll music

Cartoon showing Stark Naked and the Car Thieves opening at the Lemon Tree

The Lemon Tree – Honolulu HI 1968

Cartoon showing Stark Naked and the Car Thieves opening at the Lemon TreeI’ve been doing a lot of research for the Hawaiian chapters that’s now starting to pay off, even though I’ve finished writing these chapters. It mainly will help me go back to the chapters and enrich them.

I’ve had excellent help from a researcher named Alexis who has dug around at the state library for a lot of stuff, including this cool little cartoon that was in the April 1, 1968 Honolulu Advertiser, on the front page of the Perspective section, Hawaii’s Week In Review, Section D.

Another outcome is a chance to contact one of the surviving owners of the Lemon Tree who is also helping me add detail.

These nine weeks in Hawaii are among the most important in the book. An amazing number of highs and lows are compressed into this engagement.

Stark Naked In Waikiki (1968)

Mon 2/14/2011 5:06 PM

Hi Guys:

My name is Steve and I live in Honolulu, Hawaii.

I recall reading in our local newspaper in 1968 that “Stark Naked And The Car Thieves” opend at a nightclub called “The Lemon Tree” in Waikiki on March 26, 1968. The group members at that time were Larry Dunlap on organ, Dave Dunn on vocals, Les Silvey on guitar, Mac Brown on vocals, Leonard Souza on drums and Mickey Borden on bass.

The main rock and roll radio station in Hawaii at that time was K-POI. I was wondering if the guys were ever interviewed on that station while they were in town. I was quite young at that time so I did not get to go to the nightclub to see them. Did the group have any singles out during the time that they were performing in Hawaii?

Best Wishes,