1995 Interview

Page 14: Monterey Pop Festival

JOHNSON: One more question about the Monterey Pop Festival, because the song was inspired by that and it was one of the first major festivals, I think, that had a social consciousness to it, because it was basically done as a benefit.

PHILLIPS: Yes. It was a non-profit organization . It still is and still has - well, there had been very good revenues from the movie. See, what we did, we called acts all over the world that we thought were the right acts for the first pop festival in history. We told them that no one was getting paid. All they would get would be the expenses from where they were, expenses while they were in Monterey, and plane tickets to their next job. And for that they signed away all their recording rights and movie rights, and every right to any income from it, and it all went to the Monterey Pop Festival fund, which still exists and still gives out scholarships and supports old rock and rollers and sick people in the music industry and things like that.

McKENZIE: Earthquake relief, the Free Clinic.

PHILLIPS: Earthquake relief and we built the Free Clinic in L.A. The one in San Francisco, also. Lou’s mostly responsible, Lou Adler, for really handling all the ins-and-outs of getting these things together. After the concert itself, I was so exhausted. Michelle was a great part of that concert also. Should have been a co-producer, actually. She worked night and day for months. The only real down side of Monterey Pop Festival is that we were the closing act of the whole festival. It took us three months to put it together and we had no rehearsals or sang at any time during that three-month period. Denny was in the islands and he showed up ten minutes before we were supposed to go on stage. We thought he wouldn’t show up at all. I thought we sounded really bad that night, which was a letdown for me, because after all the work we put into it, I wanted it to sound wonderful and it didn’t.