Pete Fornatale Writes About Woodstock
July 20, 2009 at 4:59 AM (PT)
Of all the aspects of WOODSTOCK, the masses and the mud, the love and the sex, hardly anyone talks about the reason for the bash in BETHEL: the music. The TIMES HERALD-RECORD writes "the man who introduced much of that music to NEW YORKERS on the radio, disc jockey PETE FORNATALE -- then on WNEW-F, now on FORDHAM UNIVERSITY AAA WFUV/NEW YORK and XM SATELLITE RADIO -- breaks the mold in his new book, "Back to the Garden." Through old and new interviews with everyone from JERRY GARCIA and ARLO GUTHRIE to ROGER DALTREY and JOE COCKER, FORNATALE uses music to illuminate the concert that was so big.
"The myth of it is now more important than the reality," sid FORNATALE, who gives a multimedia presentation of that music at 6p TUESDAY at the MUSEUM AT BETHEL WOODS, the site of the festival.
"It's the music of WOODSTOCK that reflects both the heady freedom of the era that produced WOODSTOCK and FORNATALE's professional radio career, which began one JULY night in 1969 with three songs (THE BEATLES' "All Together Now," THE STONES' "Let's Sing This All Together" and TRAFFIC's "You Can All Join In") and a commercial for WOODSTOCK.
"Some of the most exciting festival music was from SANTANA, a band that hadn't even released an album before WOODSTOCK. Fact is, SANTANA was only able to electrify the crowd of 450,000 because its manager, rock impresario BILL GRAHAM of THE FILLMORE EAST and WEST, got them the gig with what FORNATALE calls 'horse-trading.'
"He said to the promoters, 'You can have THE DEAD (managed by GRAHAM) if you book SANTANA,'" says FORNATALE.
"But FORNATALE's favorite performance was JIMI HENDRIX's festival-closing, feedback-laden, genre-bending 'Star-Spangled Banner.' 'It captured the spirit of the festival; it was like ZELIG,' he says, referring to the WOODY ALLEN movie character who was many things to many people, from a white NEW YORK Yankee to a black CHICAGO jazz musician. 'Anyone who heard HENDRIX brought their own experiences to it, If you were a World War II vet, what HENDRIX did was offensive. If you were a kid on his way to VIETNAM, you were looking at a gun. When you measure what he meant musically, culturally and politically, that was WOODSTOCK."