Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Interview with Steppenwolf's Goldy McJohn

In 1968, Steppenwolf's "Born To Be Wild" signalled a shift in the counterculture from flower power to something, well, wilder.
And the wildest thing about Steppenwolf was probably the hair on keyboard player Goldy McJohn's head.

"I go into the shower one day," says Goldy. "And I come out and start shaking my head and let it dry in the sun and it's like "Wooooooooh"! And I'm like "Woah! Cool!"

Steppenwolf sealed its outlaw biker image on the soundtrack to Dennis Hopper's underground classic Easy Rider.

But as Steppenwolf found fame, Goldy found drugs.
Listen to the beginning of "Magic Carpet Ride". Goldy says the reason the organ comes in late is because he was THAT out of it.

"I was forced to take LSD." he told me. "I was forced to take a lot of stuff and then I found out 'Wow. This stuff is great.
'Can't get enough of it. Where's the next hit?'
I'm like paranoid. I can't wait. It's a buzz and then you smooth out and calm out and you're really cool and John (Kay) would be on top of me going 'Woah, yeah baby'.

Goldy says it was in one of those drugged out dazes that he signed away his legal rights to the songs as well as the name of the band.
When I met him, his house was unheated.
But at least Goldy McJohn has found a new addiction: golf.

"Each club is like a chord change." he says.
"That's what it does for me even if it's bad, it's good.
It's like 'Ok, try to hit the little white ball'.

Goldy now has his own website .

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