There Could Only be Two Hundred People at the Party
One summer day in northern California, I don’t remember which month or which year, but Sweet William was there on a 3 wheeler the club had just made for him (so if you really wanna know you can ask him, he might remember) … Peter Marino and Jerilyn had sweet-talked Mickey into throwing a promotional party at the ranch for the Tower of Power, who’d traded this party for the horn parts on Rolling Thunder. In addition to the Dead, there were a couple of Hell’s Angels, a couple of Black Panthers, Hog Farmers, a couple of Weathermen and two hundred record executives from Los Angeles and New York wearing metal jumpsuits, Iike the astronauts. The cooks prepared turkeys, salmon, salads and fresh bread. Johnny Pine had brought a large wild boar he’d wrestled out of a tree and killed with a buck knife after it was bayed by his dogs. Mickey, and a guy who looked like him, turned the pig on a spit, both wearing beards, mirrored shades, levis and t-shirts-stone bookends except for the joints they kept passing. Hours went by, they turned the spit…various chemicals took hold…fat dripped from the carcass to the coals, crackling as it vaporized into fragrant smoke. Some crazy person dropped 40,000 mics cf LSD into the coffee without telling anyone … and the ranch began to vibrate. Some folks rode horses, some Harley’s. The softball game went on its surreal way down by the garden and Mickey continued turning the spit. Turkey buzzards warmed their wings, motionless over the hills bees buzzed and hours passed. The pig looked crisp. No one said it was done. We’d all heard of trichonosis, but none of us had ever cooked an animal this size before. After awhile, Johnny Pine came over and using the same knife he’d killed the pig with, cut a deep gash into its flank, then another still deeper. “No man, it’s still raw two inches down. Lookit (holding some flesh on the tip of his knife), ya can’t eat bloody pig.” So Mickey, hearing Tower of Power tuning up, left the carcass to fend for itself and ambled over to the barn. The band played fast for an hour and then even faster for an encore…a blazing response to the summer heat. After the set the cooks returned to the barbeque pit. As they came over the shallow rise between the barn and the house they saw two women and a man in metallic jumpsuits, carving the last piece of meat from the pig’s skeleton. “Probably thought it was a cow,” said someone charitably. -Peter
By 1972, the first wave of the family had mostly moved out, except for Mickey, dog Glups, and horse Snorty. At the time, I was working for my Uncle Pete Marino of Warner Brothers Records. He wanted me to throw a party for Tower of Power’s second record and I remembered The Ranch, where I’d been a few times. Mickey and I made a deal- he’d let me use the ranch if I cleaned it up first; there could only be two hundred people at the party; I had to bring these people out in buses and get them drunk along the way, so they could never find their way back to the ranch alone. After the party, Mickey and I became friends.
Ramrod and Frances
Rhonda and Stacey Kreutzmann
Mickey and Pete Marino