Lou Adler, promoter and producer
In 1967, there was a meeting at home of Mama Cass, including Paul McCartney. The general conversation is “Why rock and roll is not considered an art form in the way of jazz and folk?” A few weeks later, promoters Alan Pariser and Ben Shapiro contacted Mamas and Papas overnight at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in California. We said that we think about it. Around 3 am I received a call from John Phillips of Mamas and Papas. He said, “Why don't we do a festival, spend a few more days and do nothing that doesn't have to do anything?” This was an opportunity to raise the idea of rock and roll.
We had six weeks. Chip Monck was able to build a stage, put all the lights and sounds, and turn on and off 35 smokes. It never happened before. We wanted to show all the genres of rock 'n' roll: the blues, the San Francisco group, the British band. We wanted Stones but couldn't get into America. Beach Boys stepped down We have tried all Motown acts [label founder] Barry Goddie understood what we do. If your act was not paid, you had to actually buy it.
Pretty amazing Otis Reading was more than I saw. It was the largest white crowd he did. Hendricks of course. The two girls in the festival movie look as if they can watch a horror movie. What They are watching
Perhaps you will see too many performers in the audience. Most of these acts were heard about other boxers, but they were as curious as others, so they never saw them. Look at Mama Cass's face during Janis Joplin. They were fans. Woodstock is about the weather and the number of people-Monterrey is about music. That's the difference.
John and I contracted with ABC to make a movie for TV. We tell DA Pennebaker [his Bob Dylan tour documentary] Do not look back he really understood music and personality. As we watch the video, Pennebaker said, “This is not a television show. We met Tom Moore, the head of ABC and a very conservative southern gentleman, to show Hendrix. [humping] His amp. “I'm not on my network.”
But we knew exactly what we were doing. With the advent of FM radio, Rolling Stone magazines and festivals, rock'n'roll has truly risen. The promoter realized that he could have a festival and eventually led to a coachella. Unfortunately, the people who performed in Monterey are no longer with us, but they are with us because of Pennebaker. I wouldn't talk about Monterrey without a movie today. I applaud Hendricks, Otis and Joplin after college. These people there.
DA Pennebaker, Movie Director
John Phillips asked if he was interested in music festival movies in California. I was still influenced by The Endless Summer, a movie about Bruce Brown's surfer. California was where everyone wanted to go when they graduated from school or college. In general, the Los Angeles people and the San Francisco people were a kind of hostile with conflicting musical tastes. Monterey never joined California. The success was the decision to dump the big money idea out of the window. People really came to play and played with each other. They were not there to make a lot of money.
I did not look back alone, but Monterey Pop was created by people who worked with me like Albert Maysles. I did not direct it. I edited it and made a story from it, but they all looked different and filmed how they saw it. They came with us to find a way to make this kind of film. They are not made in the same way as commercial films. Go out and find something or someone and shoot it the way you want. They were learning right in front of me.
We thought that because of the limited amount of films, we had to decide on a particular song for each group, but in reality people shot what they were interested in. So we had to go down to Los Angeles twice to get more stocks. Hesitant to say, "Don't do it." The music was amazing. I wanted to film everything that happened. I liked the idea of seeing music expand its possibilities. The film began with a simple country song on Canned Heat and ended with Ravi Shankar playing complex music.
The music was moving so fast and no one knew what would come next. Jazz grew up in Chicago in the new 1930s. In Monterrey I could see that my young people's music was no longer loud. I think there were too many people like Hendrix for TV viewers who are used to certain kinds of music.
We returned to New York with many videos to help people. We went straight 3-4 days 24 hours a day and checked all the rushes and everyone came to see them, including Ravi Shankar. I woke up and woke up so it felt like a wonderful dream when I sat down to edit it.
People sold documentaries by narrating by someone like Henry Fonda. It was like a celebrity watching a movie. We tried to get out of it. I saw this as a kind of filmmaking where you found people in charge of something and, if possible, doing it from scratch. Such a movie led me to war thread [about Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign]. No script needed. We just had a sense of what would happen and we followed it.
• The Complete Monterey Pop Festival is on Blu-ray in The Criterion Collection.