From 1968 until about '72, there was an underground newspaper in Phoenix, Arizona, called "Rebirth." Those were days full of magic, and the powerful currents of cultural change, and having been a part of them, they'll always have a special
nostalgia for me personally. My memory's faded over the years, and I've forgotten many of the names and faces of the people who made up the Rebirth Tribe... we were a commune of visionaries, banded and bonded together in a common effort to bring a new level of consciousness to the planet. We were part of a network of community-based organizations and other communes, all working together in concert to try to build a better, freer, more peaceful world. I was an assistant editor and writer for the paper, and I still have copies of some of our original issues, which should be collectors items. As a matter of fact I uploaded pictures of them to a Picasa Web Album... click
here to view it. Joe Garneau was largely responsible for the art that appeared in our newspaper, and it was something to behold. Still is... I pull out the old issues every once in a while and I'm still amazed at his talent and creativity. The content was iconoclastic, revolutionary -- an attempt to spread the holistic message of the Aquarian age to all.
Bruce Frank and John Cahal were the publishers and managing editors, and there was a core group of a dozen or so people who did most of the work out of our huge old house at #9 S. 13th Ave., and a wider group that varied from fifty to maybe a hundred who chipped in and supported the effort. As I said, I've forgotten many of the names, but in addition to those I just mentioned, there were Gregg Frank, Mary (Bruce's girl in those days), Michelle Garneau, Larry Garneau, Kathy Grieger, Barry Geist, Fred Bell, Michael Kothrade, Linda Peterson, Duane Robinson, Mike and Nikki Johnson, Jerry Barnes, Loren Welch, Midge, Francine, Jamie & Tony, Big Mary, Lek, Wade and a bunch whose last names I can't remember. Of course, the staff did experience some fluctuation, so there were others not listed in that issue...
We worked in close cooperation with the staff from the local underground radio station, too. Originally it was KRUX, then KCAC. We were like a big extended family, working and playing together... we'd co-sponsor concerts in the desert, and many other community benefit events, then go camping up in the Mogollon Rim country for a week. Life was full of wonder, and hope for our future. They were golden years. I left Phoenix in '72, and though I've lost track of the people in my old family, the "Rebirth Tribe," I managed to stay connected through the years with a couple of people from KCAC, and through them have had some interaction with a circle of old underground radio station people, who were our brothers and sisters in arms -- after all, we were all underground media types! Chief among them, in many ways (not to demean any of the other great personalities, by any means) was Bill Compton. Little Willy Sunshine. He was indeed a ray of sunshine in our lives, and had such a tremendous personality and charisma that just about everyone fell instantly in love with the guy. He was brilliant, funny, creative, sensitive, compassionate, and will always remain one of the brightest lights and greatest inspirations in my life, as I'm sure he will in many other people's lives as well. I left Arizona in '72, as I said, but Bill went on to become the station manager for KDKB, Phoenix's greatest rock station of the 70s. He became such a widely admired figure that, when he was tragically killed in a car wreck in the seventies, they honored him by naming Compton Stadium, under construction at the time, after him. Two of his cronies, in both life and the radio business, Ron Wortham and Dan Covington, are friends of mine today, as well as Carole Compton, Bill's sister, and John Robertson, whom I ran into on Orcas Island and knew for six months or so before I even knew he was part of the same old family. There's a group of roughly twenty or thirty people from that old community of friends who stay in touch through the KCAC Lives! Blog. I've posted some pictures of Bill and the old radio crew in a Picasa Web Album.
minor editing by Bruce Frank