Revisiting interviews with Vietnam War writers Karl Marlantes and David Maraniss

September 26th, 2017

 

 

In the midst of the Ken Burns’ film The Vietnam War (so far, sensational),  I am reminded of my own experience with the war, which, as an 18-year- old in 1972, left me, fortunately, untouched physically but engaged in other ways.  My big brother was in the very first draft lottery, and the image of our family sitting around our TV set, anxiously awaiting the results of the lottery and the impact it could have on my brother and so many of his friends, is burned in my memory.  (Miraculously, he drew #355!)

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay area meant I had a front row seat during Cal’s Free Speech Movement, San Francisco State (where my brother attended and provided our family with daily reports about the turmoil there), Haight-Ashbury, Berkeley’s People’s Park, and ongoing events associated with the civil rights movement.  It was a powder keg time with Vietnam at the centerpiece, and we all grew up pretty quickly.

Music, of course, was a key component of the Vietnam generation, and San Francisco was loaded with incredible, cutting edge rock bands whose art impacted the way we lived our lives, and whose soundtrack to the era was played on FM radio stations like KSAN (the “Jive 95!”), KJAZ and soul station — and home of the Oakland Raiders — KDIA.  Venues like the Fillmore, Winterland, Keystone Berkeley (a.k.a. The New Monk), Great American Music Hall, and jazz clubs of North Beach (sprinkled among the topless joints of Broadway) presented some of the world’s greatest bands ever, their music — so much of it driven by the politics of the war — still a revered staple to many of us, now 50 years later.

It was during this time that I became more aware of jazz music.  In record stores like Tower and Berkeley’s Leopold’s Records, where I shopped, among the stacks of new releases by the Beatles, Dylan, the Stones, Jefferson Airplane, Zeppelin, and Clapton were albums by McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Weather Report, Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman, (and countless others), many suggesting an exuberant, emotional, and political experience for those of us with curious ears.  The records of the free jazz movement — inspired, in part, by the social upheaval of the time — were often easily distinguished in the orange borders of Impulse record jackets, the likes of John Coltrane, Archie Shepp, Pharaoh Sanders and Don Cherry challenging listeners to reach beyond their safest stars.

It was in this environment and during this time that jazz grabbed me and fed my enthusiasm for discovering the world of the counter-culture, and my love for music (ultimately leading to a career in the entertainment business).

The spirit for this important era and the meaning it held for me led me to reach out to two authors whose books on Vietnam are two of the best you will ever read — David Maraniss’ They  Marched Into Sunlight, and Karl Marlantes’ Matterhorn.  (Marlantes is a frequent voice of the Burns film, and consulted on the film).  Both writers saw the connection their work had with the political and cultural spirit of Jerry Jazz Musician, and were kind enough to allow me the opportunity to interview them when their books were released.  Their reporting (in the case of Maraniss) and novelization (Marlantes) of the experience of fighting in and protesting of this ever-controversial war is worth a revisit.

You can read the interview with David Maraniss by clicking here, and the Marlantes interview by clicking here.

I have interviewed over 150 people during the publication of this website, and these remain among the ones I remember the most…

 

 

__________

 

David Maraniss

 

 

*

 

 

Karl Marlantes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this:

One comments on “Revisiting interviews with Vietnam War writers Karl Marlantes and David Maraniss”

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In This Issue

Jeffrey Stewart, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, is interviewed about Locke (pictured), the father of the Harlem Renaissance.

Also in this issue…A new collection of jazz poetry; "On the Turntable," a new playlist of 19 recommended recordings by five jazz artists; three new podcasts by Bob Hecht; a new “Great Encounters”; several short stories; the photography of Veryl Oakland and Charles Ingham; a new Jazz History Quiz; and lots more…

On the Turntable

This month, a playlist of 19 recently released jazz recordings, including those by Branford Marsalis, Joe Martin, Scott Robinson, Allison Au and Warren Vache

Poetry

In a special collection of poetry, eight poets contribute seventeen poems focused on stories about family, and honoring mothers and fathers

The Joys of Jazz

In this new volume of his podcasts, Bob Hecht presents three very different stories; on Harlem Stride piano, Billy Strayhorn's end-of-life composition "Blood Count," and "Lester-ese," Lester Young’s creative verbal wit and wordplay.

Short Fiction

We had many excellent entrants in our recently concluded 50th Short Fiction Contest. In addition to publishing the winning story on March 11, with the consent of the authors, we have published several of the short-listed stories...

“What are some of your all-time favorite record album covers?”

Gary Giddins, Jimmy Heath, Fred Hersch, Joe Hagan, Maxine Gordon, Neil Tesser, Tim Page, Veronica Swift and Marcus Strickland are among the 25 writers, musicians, poets, educators, and photographers who write about their favorite album cover art

Art

“Thinking about Homer Plessy” — a photo narrative by Charles Ingham

Jazz History Quiz #127

Before his tragic early death, this trumpeter played with Max Roach, Abbey Lincoln, and John Coltrane, and most famously during a 1961 Five Spot gig with Eric Dolphy (pictured). Who is he?

Great Encounters

In this edition, Bob Dylan recalls what Thelonious Monk told him about music at New York’s Blue Note club in c. 1961.

Art

Jerry Jazz Musician regularly publishes a series of posts featuring excerpts of the photography and stories/captions found in Jazz in Available Light by Veryl Oakland. In this edition, Mr. Oakland's photographs and stories feature Stan Getz, Sun Ra, and Carla Bley.

Interviews

Romare Bearden biographer Mary Schmidt Campbell discusses the life of the important 20th century American artist

Cover Stories with Paul Morris

In this edition, Paul writes about jazz album covers that offer glimpses into intriguing corners of the culture of the 1950’s

Coming Soon

Michael Cuscuna, the legendary record producer and founder of Mosaic Records, is interviewed about his life in jazz...Award-winning photographer Carol Friedman, on her career in the world of New York jazz photography

In the previous issue

Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, talks about her book, and the complex life of her late husband.

Also in this issue…A new collection of jazz poetry; "On the Turntable," a new playlist of 22 recommended recordings by seven jazz artists; three new podcasts by Bob Hecht; a new “Great Encounters”; several short stories; the photography of Veryl Oakland and Charles Ingham; a new Jazz History Quiz; and lots more…

Contributing writers

Site Archive