A video of one of the most practiced and played songs by my childhood basement band, "The People's First Hand Band". The song itself is considered by many to be an "underground" song, which, lacking substantial commercial radio play, did not gain mass appeal. However, there were many core fans of John Lennon and his subsequent solo projects that garnernerd success and play. I know my partners and I had a blast playing it.

Background

According to Peter Brown in his book The Love You Make, the song was written in a "creative outburst" following Lennon and Yoko Ono going "cold turkey" from their brief heroin addictions.[1][2].  However Lennon's personal assistant in the late 1970s, Fred Seaman, claimed otherwise, stating that Lennon confided in him that the song was actually about a severe case of food poisoning suffered by John and Yoko after eating Christmas leftovers "cold turkey". Lennon thought people would laugh at him if they knew the truth about the song's origin, so he said it was inspired by his recent heroin withdrawal.[3]. "Cold Turkey" was the first song Lennon wrote for which he took sole credit The song is included in a "concept" by John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, that resulted in the formation of the "Plastic Ono Band".

John Lennon and The Beatles

There are numerous personal connections for this song, for me, personally, and our band collectively. First of all, I became a Beatles fan from the very beginning of the group's entry into the musical world. Their early music was fun to listen to, but what I enjoyed more was the evolution of the Beatle's creativity and evolution. Each album, song, etc., became more interesting and poignant. As a teen, growing up was focused on so many of the issues contained within this music. The poetry was real, be it love, politics, etc. Each band member was fantastic, to me, but John Lennon always seemed to exude something special that touched me. Why is this? John Lennon always seemed to have an "axe to grind". A word to say about something higher than simple love songs. His visions were far beyond commercial values, and his lyrics were beyond radio play. I was, and still am, enamoured by the rawness of both the lyrics that he wrote and the music he applied it to.

The People's First Hand Band

Circa 1973, 3 schoolmate/personal friends and myself formed a garage band we named "The People's First Hand Band". We were typical of most garage bands. None of us had any real "formal" training as musicians or singers. However, that did not deter us from persuing a "musical career". Having grown up in the 1960's, The Beatles had a major influence on us. Also, loving to "jam" as a form of musical expression, we sought to play songs that fit our style.

The great part about this whole experience is that we had no clue as to what we were doing. We knew how to play chords, beat drums, sing songs, but NOT in any organized fashion. Most of the time the band spent on "tuning" our intruments, listening to songs repeatedly, and then...messing them up in fantastic fashion!

So, let us pick a song to play. 3 of 4 members were Beatle fans (a majority) and "Cold Turkey" by John Lennon was chosen. So, we went for it. What a ride it was. 100 different plays with 100 different versions. We played the "long" version. A lot of improvisation, different chords and ultimate yelling.

My goodness, they were all fun!

Why I Created The Video

I ususally have a purpose in the things I do, including my writings. So, why did I "create" this video? It's fairly simple. I wanted to draw attention to some REAL things. We can believe the original story behind the song, which is much less dramatic than the INTERPRETATIONS of the song. Anything created is from the creator's mind, soul and heart, and is from the creator's point of view. However, a creator WANTS others to view, search and interpret the content in their own way.

Having said the above, I chose the "theme" of drug addiction. "Cold Turkey" is a powerful term. It designates a point when one is addicted to a particular drug, be it alchol, nicotine, illegal and/or legal substances that, have taken control of one's mind and body. The withdrawal of this substance, whether voluntary or involutary, becomes and is a truly "hellish" experience. The physical and mental pain is difficult to explain unless one has experienced it. For those "outside" this world, It is almost foreign.

My goal is to relay the suffering of so many people and make it a real concern.

Perhaps your help, in any capacity, can make a difference.

The Real Story

A "personal" view is really what I'm trying to convey to my audience. It's easy to degrade or downgrade those that have addiction problems. At times it may appear disgusting or, even laughable. Those "bums" that pander, those hookers looking for a trick, or even that rich guy that spends all his/her money on "stuff". I have been, for many years, addicted to nicotine and alcohol, both quite legal, but with many consequences. The battle is very difficult. There are so many that say "Just Quit"; but, without the knowledge of how this all works, physically and mentally, simple words do not suffice. The pain of "quitting" can, and is, so excruciating, that the process of continuance "seems" much easier than solving the issue by discontinue. Get it? The stigma of addiction can, at times, be worse than the addiction itself.

Moving Forward

Moving forward is the goal. How to achive this goal is quite difficult. Rarely does one resolve addiction issues without some type of outside help. This is not to eliminate those with the physical and mind power to do it "alone". The times I have beat addictions were those when I had some type of support. Most of the support has come from former addicts. Yes, this is a powerful tool. Listening, talking and relating is much more successful than "cookie cut" support programs that "TELL" one what needs to be done. I have litterally cried after support sessions from having listened to other's stories.

It's important to understand that I was mandated by the court system to participate in these sessions. Frankly, keeping my mouth shut and "faking" a few things would have sufficed quite nicely. But, I found myself enamoured by the PEOPLE surrounding me. I found myself connecting with people I would hardly have met in real "life", but I understood, this WAS real life. In the end, it made a powerful impression on me.

After the experience, I met a few of the people in the outside world that participated in our classes. Some of them did well, some not so well.

The constant Battle.

References

[1] Brown, Peter. The Love You Make: An Insider's Story of The Beatles. McGraw-Hill, 1983. New American Library, 2002. 331

[2] Noyer, Paul Du (2010). "John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band". John Lennon: The Stories Behind Every Song 1970–1980 (Rev. ed.). London: Carlton Books Ltd. pp. 25–26. ISBN 978-1-84732-665-2.

[3] Seaman, Frederic. (1991). The Last Days of John Lennon: A Personal Memoir.

Note: Research was conducted in an attempt to be consistent with the content of this article. There is no intent to use Copyright material for any other purpose, either to sell information or sway opinions.

 

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