From the Village Voice, 11/2/1999, byline: Robin Rothman
Was a time when a chick in a slampit was a rarity. One badass bitch. It was cool that she'd get into the thick of things. Guys dug that; they respected it. They'd surf her from front to back and back again, hands passing her quickly along with an occasional grab, but usually a boost. It's the kind of crowd Kid Rock envisions when he urges you to "get in the pit and try to love someone."
But then there was Woodstock '99 (Boobstock, Tittystock, Rapestock), where moshing wasn't just a release of aggression or a reaction to the music, and the pit sure as hell wasn't any place to love someone. It was a breeding ground for a male-dominated mob mentality, where girls with women's bodies riding the crowd weren't equals who could hold their own, but fresh meat to be poked, prodded, and sometimes penetrated. Eight cases of rape and sexual assault, allegedly occurring both in and out of the pit, have been reported to the New York State Police; countless more haven't. Rome City Police indicted a 26-year-old state prison guard for assaulting a 15-year-old in the concert's final hours; however, the violation occurred not on concert grounds but in a nearby gas station, where the girl, a Woodstock attendee, had gone to use the restroom.
State police have made no arrests to date, the Voice confirmed last week, and one case has been dropped due to lack of adequate information. Despite optimism expressed by Lieutenant Jamie Mills of the State Police Public Information Office, the outcome doesn't seem promising.
"No perpetrator has been identified, and we have no suspects," says Senior Investigator Dennis Dougherty, who heads one of two departments handling the seven remaining cases. "We haven't received any tips from anyone. We encourage anyone with any information at all to contact us. We'll continue to work any lead until the cases can no longer be prosecuted." That would be a five-year statute of limitations, just long enough for the bastards to come back for more felonious fun at Woodstock 2004.To read the rest, here ya go: www.villagevoice.com/1999-11-02/news/politics-of-the-pit/
I can't imagine Robin resting in peace. The last time I saw her, way back in those "meatball" days, she'd just been hit by a bus over by CBGB's--she was on crutches--she was over by my pal the rocker Matty Quick's apartment--getting some chill pills--I mean, she had plenty of pain killers--we all always had plenty of pain killers--and brown acid, too, like was served at the 1969 Woodstock (which I was headed for with my copy chief boss--it was raining so hard and the traffic was backed up from Yasgar's Farm all the way back to the Turnpike exit in Harrison, New York, so the copy chief and I saw a motel in Harrison and we went up and, yes, they had a room, and we took it and spent the rest of the day making love not war--eventually we both called our spouses, she her husband and me my wife, to explain how we'd been delayed in getting home--each of us lying, not about going to Woodstock, but about who we were going with! Ah deceit!)--we also had Captain Marvel tabs of pharmaceutical LSD, schrooms, TCP (Angel Dust)--and speaking of Angel Dust, a friend of a girlfriend of mine, and a friend of mine, too, told us one strange night while we were all stretched out on her floor doing doobs and drinking brandy how the night before she had smoked some Angel Dust--she lived on the 30th floor of a huge apartment complex on the West Side--she said a dude had left the stuff with her, had dared her to try it, so she lay down in her bed with the lights off and her curtains opened onto her balcony and the moonlighty night--then she laced a cigarette with the Dust, fired it up, and casually and dreamily smoked it. She said after entering the Dust dream state she began to feel like she was floating on air--and then she got a paranoid thought that somebody was controlling her, causing her to float on air--you know, floating her in mid-air like she was a puppet being manipulated by an evil puppetmaster! She said out of nowhere came the thought that her only escape from this compelling person or thing that had control of her was to run and jump off her balcony into the safety of the darkness beyond--she said it was opaquely eerie, you know, scary yet she was able see through the veil at what she thought was Jesus X Christ himself--and she was propelled by Jesus X's strong voice that she said she felt was coming from deep inside her and not from the foggy JC see imagined she saw through the veil--it was as if her body, the bed, the view, the room, the outside was pushing her to jump off her balcony and be saved; yet she kept her senses, too, she said--like when you're dreaming and know you're dreaming--as if you are standing outside the dream and watching like you watch a movie--and she stated arguing with herself about jumping, agreeing with her paranoid feelings and the offer of her imaginary Jesus Christ that if she jumped off her balcony, yes, she would be free from the puppet strings, but her conscious senses told her though she might be saved from the puppetmaster's strings if she did that, but at the same time, SHE would also be stone dead, splattered on the pavement thirty stories below--she said just as her paranoid side had convinced her to jump off her balcony to the point she was up, throwing off her clothes, standing on her bed, trying to fly toward the balcony edge just beyond the sliding glass doors between her and the jump when the phone rang! It was a guy, she said, wanting to come over and bang her--she kept him on the phone long enough to come down enough off the Angel Dust to gain her complete senses back. Well, you may ask with panting anticipation, did she let the guy come over? Damn right she did; she said she gave him the best piece of ass he'd ever had that night she was so thankful he had called when he did.
I never did anything but pot--of, come on, sure, I've tried them all, almost killed myself doing a rock of pure coke after a fan of my band singing days gave it to me wrapped in a twenty as a tip but then forced me to do the whole O. Z. of the god-damn pure shit and it almost wiped me out! That did it for me and coke; I never liked it; it did nothing for me; except I did always have a package on me because the women I craved loved their coke--this is the generation right after the valium and lithium craze women went through--this generation of women was a generation of free and upwardly mobile women--women you met in your office or at happy hours in the big midtown places to go after work--and we went out every night after work and then partied hearty and escapaded heartily Friday night and Saturday all day and all Saturday night (dead or alive), to finish your fun about 4 am Sunday morning to then be knocked out until late afternoon when you showered together and you lit up a calming doob while she did the last of the coke and you parted and the rest of Sunday was for resting and accumulating enough strength to start the next week in fresh and eager energies.
Robin was on crutches. About gettting hit by a bus? Robin said, hell, she got hit by a city bus down near CBGB's. You suing? "God-damn, you dumb goy, of course I'm suing, I'm Jewish, a meatball, without a pot to piss in right now, so what'da'ya think, Wolfie?" That's the last time I remember seeing Robin.
Robin booked my band the Fabulous Swilltones for at least one whole summer, a summer of discontent and therefore great creative accomplishments, and Robin booked us into several venues--yes, we did play CBGB's, a great gig, we came out, nothing worked, the mics were dead, we couldn't get the amps to working, something was wrong with the wiring, or the plug ins--and the CBGB gopher, a dumbass pogo-dancing rocker, finally using electrical tape and cheap extension cords got us up and running, the amps were perky and solid sending and the mics lit up like X-mas trees and we came out on stage, the chicken wire was up--in case we sucked the audience would throw beer bottles at you--or eggs, or get up and try to piss on you--so we came out, got ready, and started our lead-off song, "Chicken Shack," and we were cookin' like mad, had the CBGB nutjobs digging us--we were a Chaotic band plus we were all smashed to the gills on a variety of uppers and lowers, psychedelics, and 100-proof Old Grandad Sour Mash Bourbon--when suddenly I smelled smoke and thought my piano was on fire--but no, suddenly there was a horrible buzz that was louder-than-hell and sent people to putting their fingers in their ears, even dogs started howling loudly out in the street this buzz was so maniacally demanding--it ended when the guitar player's amp exploded, literally exploded, and then caught fire, a blazing fire that looked like it might recreate the coming hells we'd all have to face--and there we were trapped behind the chicken wire--and we ran like hell back to the green room--holy shit, that was just behind the stage down a narrow dark hall and in the green room we were doomed if the place caught on fire. Finally we heard a lot of commotion going on and then we started hearing clapping in unison and shouts of "Encore!" and our body guard, Johnny U-Think-It'z-EZ, came and said, "Fellows, they love youse guys out there, c'mon, they wants an encore!" We went back out on stage--nothing worked--the sax section started playing "The Stars-Spangled Banner" and I started singing, "Silent Night, Holy Night" and soon the audience was hooting at us, getting ready to heave the beer bottles, so we packed up our smoke- and dirt-smeared instruments and mics and shit and hit the road running....
[I had written a lot more on this but my modem went bonkers and disconnected me and I lost it--once lost, let it stay lost. It was a wonderful tribute, too. Just think of how much brilliant writing and music and art have been lost over the centuries do to disconnections.]
for The Daily Growler