The Beatles released their landmark Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album in 1967’s Summer of Love. But really, that was just the tip of that era’s musical iceberg.
It was one of the greatest times, ever, for popular music, with many artists, inspired by The Beatles and Bob Dylan, pushing rock forward in all kinds of ways. The Grateful Dead had released their first album that spring, as had The Jimi Hendrix Experience. The Doors, The Jefferson Airplane and Aretha Franklin were having their first big hits. Marvin Gaye was making some of his greatest music with duet partner Tammi Terrell. The Beach Boys, Stevie Wonder, Van Morrison, The Rascals, Procol Harum … You could go on and on. (For a look at my 67 favorite songs from the summer of ’67, click here).
The band Dead Dog’s Eye and guest artist Miguel Rodriguez will perform Sgt. Pepper in its entirety, as well as other songs from the summer of ’67, at Tierney’s Tavern in Montclair, June 16 at 9:30 p.m. Some of the proceeds will be donated to NJArts.net.
Dead Dog’s Eye is the house band of the 100th Monkey Foundation, which is modeled on the Grateful Dead-affiliated Rex Foundation and has donated money from various concerts it has presented since 2014 to local causes.
Guitarist and vocalist Doug Gillespie, formerly of the band Baked Fresh Daily, put together a show in 2014 celebrating the 50th anniversary of Beatlemania, and about 15 musicians performed. When it came time to split the money afterwards, he says, “Most of them were like, ‘Ah, just keep it.’ So it got me wondering, maybe we could do fundraisers: Put together shows or whatever, and raise money for local stuff.”
Gillespie became the founder and president of the 100th Monkey Foundation, whose name is derived from the idea (not universally regarded as fact) that if enough members of a species change their thinking or behavior, at some point a tipping point will be reached, and that change will have an effect on members of that species with whom they are not even in direct contact. The 100th monkey to change represents that tipping point.
Gillespie first came across the idea in an ’80s Jerry Garcia interview (you can hear Garcia talk about the idea in the YouTube clip below).
“Basically, we’re just trying to help people out, trying to create awareness about local issues, mainly having to do with music and art,” says Gillespie, whose bandmates include harmonica player and singer Jimmy Cowan (who is also the vice president of the 100th Monkey Foundation), bassist Jack Bashwiner, drummer Chris Brennan and guitarist and singer Matt Sullivan.
And in case you were wondering … the band takes its name from a line in The Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus” (“Yellow matter custard/Dripping from a dead dog’s eye”).
To hear Garcia and writer-activist Paul Krassner discuss the idea of the 100th monkey, go to the 2:15 mark of this video: