If Altamont has anything to do with the demonic, then Meredith’s murder is actually the last place to look for it.
And if the Stones made some kind of “deal with the devil,” they should have asked for a refund; despite their fame and wealth, the group is reduced to trying to perform on a stage only one foot off the ground. They’re glared at by genuine toughs as they pretend to be “street fighting men.”
Powerless to control their fans, the “greatest band in the world” suddenly looks puny, impotent and very human.
You can almost hear Satan laughing at them, and at the spectacle of hundreds of thousands of life’s lottery winners voluntarily frying their brain cells, shoving their way to the front of the stage in the name of “peace” and “love.” It’s all very Screwtape.
In their own twisted way, the Hell’s Angels are the most honest, authentic people there — the only ones not pretending to be something they aren’t.
The truth about Altamont isn’t that it was “the end of the Sixties,” but that the hippie era was never that idyllic to begin with.
There were countless Age of Aquarius casualties.
At Altamont, one was caught on film, that’s all.
(And yes, that awesome t-shirt is still available. Free shipping, too!)
Of course, I had to name-check it in my recent pieces about the 1970s “Satan” fad, too.
If you’ve never heard KSAN’s remarkable time-capsule-worthy next-day broadcast/autopsy, and you’re “into” this era, this is a must-listen:
Also essential is this appropriately “trippy” conspiratorial segment from Weird Scenes Inside The Canyon:
Most accounts claim that Hunter was killed while the band performed Under My Thumb. All such claims are based on the mainstream snuff film Gimme Shelter, in which the killing was deliberately presented out of sequence. In the absence of any alternative filmic versions of Hunter’s death, the Maysles brothers’ film became the default official orthodoxy. Of course, someone went to great lengths to insure that there would be only one available version of events; as Rolling Stone also reported, shortly after the concert, “One weird Altamont story has to do with a young Berkeley filmmaker who claims to have gotten 8MM footage of the killing. He got home from the affair Saturday and began telling his friends about his amazing film. His house was knocked over the next night, completely rifled. The thief took only his film, nothing else.”
Contrary to the impression created by Gimme Shelter, Hunter was killed not long into the Stones’ set. But as the film’s editor, Charlotte Zwerin, explained to Salon some thirty years later, the climax of the movie always has to come at the end: “We’re talking about the structure of a film. And what kind of concert film are you going to be able to have after somebody has been murdered in front of the stage? Hanging around for another hour would have been really wrong in terms of the film.” What wasn’t wrong, apparently, was deliberately altering the sequence of events in what was ostensibly a documentary film.
One of the young cameramen working for the Maysles brothers that day, curiously enough, was a guy by the name of George Lucas (it is unclear whether it was Lucas who captured the conveniently unobstructed footage of the murder.) Not long after, Lucas began a meteoric rise to the very top of the Hollywood food chain.
UPDATE — Thanks to the loyal 5FF reader who sent this in: