GEO - George Williams - the guy they invented the seven-second delay for.
“There’s something happening here…”
August 1967 - I Pulled Into San Diego… …in my car of the day, a 1967 Austin-Healy 3000MkIII, naive and hopeful, believing that, yes, I could live in this sybaritic botanical garden, home to half the U. S. Navy, and twenty mere miles from Tijuana, (do ya wanna?). It was a magnificent car, even in that Imperial English red color that I detested. I wanted black, but this was all that was left on the eastern seaboard. I bought this one in Washington, D.C., It was the last of its clan, the feds having made new rules like bumper and tail light height. These new regulations caused several European car companies to discontinue sales in the U.S. for years. The engine was a dinosaur polished and perfected, six cylinders in-line, served by three SU carburetors that only need tweaking about once a week. Sitting in the cockpit, it was as if Gatsby himself was twisting a splif. It drove like a dream, if the dream was on steroids, with lightning-quick steering, superb shifting, mediocre braking and the personality of a racehorse. It was a British heart attack on wheels. My first day in San Diego was spent in Balboa Park and Zoo. I wound up being taken home by the beautiful college student who managed the baby elephant. Why she chose to shelter me, I have never known, but her decision to “adopt” me, eventually led to me working at KPRI.
November 1968. Moody Blues announce a concert at Grossmont College. KPRI staff decides that what’s needed is a house to have an after-show party, so my place was selected, a rambling California 50’s-style tract home on Mission Village Drive. Plenty of space, we all said. Plenty.
Moody’s show is kick ass, standing room only. Concert over, I race home to get the chip ‘n’ dip ready. Are two bags enough? And beer, how do you calculate BPP(Beers Per Person)?
Thirty minutes later, my house is people, wall to wall to wall. Still more people cramming themselves in, somehow fitting……How are they fitting? I can’t even walk one step. At last all those clowns in that stupid little car makes sense. I’m trapped in the middle of this madness when someone passes two drinks to me, so I hand the second one to a short guy next to me. “Thanks,” he says. “No problem,” I say. We pause; the conversation level of the crowd is volume-intense. “George,” I say, free hand extended. “Graeme,” he says, taking it.
Flirting at a concert with Shirley Watkins. Middag is amused.
November, 1968. I have just finished my most complex silk screen poster ever, seventeen separate colors, every one applied by hand and sweat and unshakeable optimism. The studio is overflowing with drying posters. Ron Middag has arrived; he’s been to my studio a lot lately. He tells me that everyone is eager to see it and I tell him how good it feels to be done with it. No, I probably didn’t say those words: a memory insertion of that kind would come years later, as my thoughts age like milk.
Days pass, he’s at my front door, two albums in hand. Nothing printed on the covers. There is a glow behind his eyes. He works full-time at KPRI these days and he fits right in to the ultra-hip 60s-cool scene that attends the station. “Got something,” he says.
We sit down in my den facing my fussy sound system. Ron puts one of the vinyls on the turntable. He’s turned up the volume. A click of the stylus and a jet fades in, assisted by frantic guitar chords… “Ohh, flew in from Miami Beach B.O.A.C. Didn't get to bed last night…"

George, Jim Morris, Ron Middag

By January 1968, KPRI had a strong listener following. I was one. The music from KPRI was a new language we were learning. A few of us of like mind found a place to live away from San Diego’s bustling center. We called it the Helix House. A little run down and slightly seedy, it nevertheless had a generous space for the five of us to live, listen to music, and work. I did my art projects away from my downtown ad agency, Concepts Unlimited. It was often tense in the office; the FBI watched us all the time, something about doing posters for the Black Panthers. The Helix House was a gas, party central. Early on we lost our first roommates and gained Ron Middag, which in-turn brought a certain panache to our tepee. We all went to all the concerts, whether sponsored by KPRI or not. That’s when the Great Punch Bowl Incident began. I suspect the women of the house, Cindy, Sharon, Krissy, those foxy little charmers. I’m halfway sure it was they who decided to lace the Sunday concert punch with a little sumpin’ sumpin’. There is no way they could have put in enough, I think, so I up the ante and mix in a healthy dollop of my own stash. That’s better, I think. We’ll be sailin’ but not too much, after all, some of us have responsibilities at the concert, right? I’m told it was a very good show. We must have enjoyed it, we couldn’t stop smiling. Wait, I say. Why was that punch so damn strong? Turns out that the other Helix House members had the same idea as I, and each had added their own little sumpin’.

There was a new band that day. We actually stopped sailing around the universe to listen to this rhythmic and innovative sound, a latino beat with a shredding guitarist whose sustain went on forever. What was that name again? They say they’re from San Francisco but we think they just flew in from Mexico. Cool. A few of us thought they might be real popular some day. Later that week, the guitarist was back at his regular job, washing dishes at a restaurant on the Pier. But not for long…


Me, at most concerts.

The awesomely tall, blond Krissy…and a bike…and woods…
The Helix House did not begin its journey as headquarters for KPRI’s crew, but it quickly became so. Early residents, Middag. Lucinda, Sharon, Jim, Ken, Krissy, David, Wendy and I were diverse and eclectic bunch, but we all liked KPRI and were a fine support team. We regularly held company brainstorm lunches to kick around ideas for making the station more popular. On one such lunch we invited the sales staff to join in on the creative planning, an uncommon move since the DJs more or less isolated themselves from the commercial aspects of broadcasting. It was that same lunch that Krissy (“Tall, blond Krissy”) and a couple of her buddies decided to serve the food al fresco, which is to say without benefit of shirts and such. Helix House tribe members were blasé about nudity in the house, but the salesmen found all those perfect breasts distracting. Such was the state of things in 1969. We were gonna change the world.
Fairbanks, Alaska 1972 - Snappin' with my Nikon inside the plastic pyramid.
Fairbanks, Alaska 1972 - Setting off in my Alaska surveyors' wagon.
Dinner with instant ice cream à la liquid nitrogen.
The computer that made this site and her pet human.