Telling-a-Vision Circa ’67 Part 4 of the Summer of Love

Telling-a-Vision circa ’67—Summer of Love Part 4

by Jon Kanis

Feature article for the August 2017 issue of San Diego Troubadour magazine

The medium is the message.Marshall McLuhan (1911–1980)

Watching television is like taking black spray paint to your third eye.Bill Hicks (1961–1994)

If there is still one hellish, truly accursed thing in our time, it is our artistic dallying with forms… We are all like victims, tied to the stake, signaling through the flames.Antonin Artaud (1896–1948)

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.Jimi Hendrix (1942–1970)

As the Bard once noted four hundred years ago, the past is prologue to the present—with history often repeating itself. So, 50 years on from the summer of ’67, is there any wisdom to be gleaned from that glorified season in the Sun? Was 1967 merely an outrageously garish fashion show for all of the beautiful people, or has the nature of what it means to be human evolved over the last half-century?

Without filtering our collective memories through the rose-tinted spectacles of nostalgia, a trawl through the old archives suggests the more things change, the more they stay the same. Perhaps we were a lot more naïve (and much less cynical) than we are now. But thanks to the antiquated messages of the media, we still appear to be hung up, hypnotized, and brainwashed by the divide-and-conquer, bread-and-circus, shuck-and-jive of creating separation among ourselves—based upon the tried-and-true tribal prejudices of class, race, gender, sexual preference, and competing mythological belief systems. And yet, 1967 (including the years leading up to it), was a portal into extreme novelty—the peak of an epoch where the imagined possibilities of the human race expanded at a rate that was revolutionary and mind-blowing. It wasn’t just the drugs talking, but rather a spiritual renaissance of imagination, innovation, and optimism—in other words, the dawning of a new age.

That optimism was established at the beginning of the decade by the charismatic John Fitzgerald Kennedy, in a series of progressive social programs dubbed the “New Frontier,” where he implored the nation, and the world at large, to live out its fullest potential as a rational, intelligent, and compassionate species. Kennedy was a savvy politician, and he understood the power, and potential dangers, of the media in the Age of Information. He was the first U.S. president to fully exploit the visual medium of television as a soapbox to charm his way into the hearts and minds of his constituency. When his inaugural address was broadcast to millions of Americans in January of 1961, he used it as an opportunity to promote his philosophy of inclusion, compassion, and activism: “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country. [And to] my fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”

The Freedom of Man. Not since the Sixties have we heard a political figure speak in such an evocative manner. Clearly, President Kennedy was not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill politician: i.e. committed to bowing down to the altar of hegemony through bloodshed. But what forms of oppression was JFK referring to that compromises the freedom of humanity? Based upon a speech that he delivered to the American Newspaper Publishers Association on April 27, 1961, it appeared that he was speaking out against fascism and social engineering through the use of propaganda in the media. “The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and secret proceedings.

“No official of my Administration…should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.

“For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence—on infiltration instead of invasion. On subversion, instead of elections. On intimidation, instead of free choice.

“The Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press is protected by the First Amendment—the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution. Not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and sentimental, not to simply ‘give the public what it wants’—but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate, and sometimes even anger public opinion.

“This means greater coverage and analysis of international news—for it is no longer far away and foreign, but close at hand, and local. It means greater attention to improved understanding of the news, as well as improved transmission. And it means, finally, that government at all levels, must meet its obligation to provide you with the fullest possible information outside the narrowest limits of national security.

“And so it is to the printing press—to the recorder of man’s deeds, the keeper of his conscience, the courier of his news—that we look for strength and assistance, confident that with your help, man will be what he was born to be: free and independent.”


Of course, John Kennedy would not live to see how ironic and prophetic those pronouncements would be. Full disclosure and transparency in governmental policy were antithetical to the agenda of Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon Johnson, who certainly wasn’t going to encourage the general population to demand truth from its government or to have “an improved understanding of the news.” But if we have learned anything over the last 50 years, it is to logically dismiss the Warren Commission’s hypotheses regarding Kennedy’s assassination as a smokescreen of willful deception upon the public, in order to protect the identities of those who masterminded this gruesome coup d’état.

However, by the middle of the Sixties, many people were developing an improved understanding of current events through the power of television. What television did on a nightly basis in 1967 was bring into the living rooms of middle-America a view of how horrendously visceral the war in Vietnam was, and in turn, that view mirrored and inspired even greater violence at home. This was a new development in the delicate song-and-dance between the government, the media, and the populace—providing a painful lesson in understanding that controlling the media is paramount to controlling the narrative that goes out to the public. The Johnson administration discovered through gross trial-and-error that the pictures being broadcast on the NBC, CBS, and ABC nightly news were galvanizing dissent and polarizing the population. Adding to the general frustration were the foot-dragging antics of the government regarding civil rights in America, resulting in the “Long, Hot Summer of ’67,” which produced over 150 race riots across the U.S., with disturbances in Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Tampa, Birmingham, Chicago, New York, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Rochester, Newark, Detroit, and many other municipalities. Burn, baby, burn…

At the same time, the Middle East was exploding with conflicts over the Suez Canal, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank, with Israel deploying a first-strike offensive against the neighboring states of Egypt (the United Arab Republic), Jordan, and Syria in what would be called the Six-Day War (June 5–10, 1967). As people were flocking to California to attend the Monterey International Pop Festival, and listening to the latest LP by the Beatles [Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band] as if it had been hand-delivered by Moses himself, the United States Navy technical research ship, the USS Liberty, was being deliberately fired upon by Israeli Air Force jet fighter aircraft and Israeli Navy motor torpedo boats, resulting in 34 American casualties and 171 wounded. In 1967, it was nearly impossible to determine who were your enemies and who were your allies.

Perhaps much of the civil unrest throughout America could have been reduced if President Johnson had taken greater notice of the Machiavellian teachings of Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud, and one of the most significant figures of the 20th century for his insights into public relations and propaganda. Bernays advised dozens of major American corporations, as well as government agencies, politicians, and non-profit organizations. Two of his books, Crystallizing Public Opinion (1923) and Propaganda (1928), deserve special attention, if only for Bernays’ description of the masses as irrational and subject to herd instincts, and he outlined how skilled practitioners could use crowd psychology and psychoanalysis to control them in desirable ways. What a boon for the social engineering agenda of Madison Avenue!

With the current generation receiving its cultural clues from such revisionist Hollywood pap as Mad Men, a closer reading of the events of 1967 require tapping into a multitude of sources, and understanding who is in control of what we see and hear in the mass media. Most of us still get our information and “news” from a very controlled syndicate, and when six multi-national conglomerates set the agenda for what passes as “current events” in the world, that is a very dangerous thing, as Paddy Chayefsky made painfully clear in his 1976 satire of television Network. Mr. Howard Beale: “Right now there is an entire generation that never knew anything that didn’t come out of this tube. This tube is the gospel, the ultimate revelation. This tube can make or break presidents, popes, prime ministers—this tube is the most awesome goddamn force in the whole godless world and woe is us if it ever falls into the hands of the wrong people…

“When the twelfth largest company in the world controls the most awesome goddamn propaganda force in the whole godless world, who knows what shit will be peddled for truth on this network. So, you listen to me: television is not the truth. Television is a goddamn amusement park. Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, sideshow freaks, lion tamers, and football players. We’re in the boredom-killing business. So, if you want the truth…go to yourselves, ‘cause that’s the only place you’re ever going to find any real truth.

“We deal in illusions man, none of it is true. But you people sit there day after day, night after night, all ages, colors, creeds—we’re all you know. You’re beginning to believe the illusions we’re spinning here, you’re beginning to think that the tube is reality and that your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you. You dress like the tube, you eat like a tube, you raise your children like a tube, you even think like a tube. This is mass madness, you maniacs. In God’s name, you people are the real thing—we are the illusion. So, turn off your television sets, turn them off now, turn them off right now, turn them off and leave them off, turn them off right in the middle of the sentence I am speaking. Turn them off!”

With all the conjecture regarding what constitutes “fake news” these days, understanding the media and our sense of history is as important today as it was in the Sixties, perhaps even more so, because what is portrayed in the media as “news” shapes our paradigm, and acts as a precursor to what our individual and collective psyches project into the world.


An extraterrestrial being, newly arrived on Earth—scrutinizing what we mainly present to our children in television, radio, movies, newspapers, magazines, the comics, and many books—might easily conclude that we are intent on teaching them murder, rape, cruelty, superstition, credulity, and consumerism. We keep at it, and through constant repetition many of them finally get it. What kind of society could we create if, instead, we drummed into them science and a sense of hope? – Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Entrainment or entertainment, the choice is up to you. What’s it going to be?

The most impoverished aspect about society, both then and now, is our lack of innovative ideas, and to embrace the values of collectively balancing ourselves. And clearly, as Chayefsky and Sagan state above, if we’re looking to the media for any form of guidance, we’re hitching our wagon to the wrong outhouse.

Regarding his time as a student at Bard College in upstate New York (1966–69), Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen has this to say about the cultural climate of the late Sixties: “It always seemed to me that the class of ’68 was the last bunch of kids not seriously despoiled in their youth by television (with its insidious brainworm commercials) and drugs. Chances were they’d spent their first years of life without a TV and had to use their imagination to entertain themselves. Perhaps they even played with some non-corporate-developed toys and read a few books. Sans malls, they hung out at candy stores and had milk delivered by the milkman and the doctor came to their bedrooms when they were ill. Since then, TV and the malls and the drugs have compounded the Big Stupid we live with now.”

When television personality Tom Snyder interviewed Marshall McLuhan in 1976, he asked “What would happen if you shut off television for 30 days in the entire United States of America?” McLuhan: “There would be a kind of hangover effect, because it’s a very addictive medium. You take it away and people develop all of the symptoms of a hangover—it’s very uncomfortable. It was tried two or three years ago in Germany and in Great Britain, they actually paid people to not watch TV for a couple of months. And they discovered that they had all the withdrawal symptoms of drug addicts. TV is a very, very involving medium and it is a form of ‘inner trip.’ And so, people do miss it.” Snyder: “The thought just occurred to me that if you turned off television there would be a lot of people who would say, at the end of the 30-day period, we will not permit you to turn it back on. Do you think that could happen?” McLuhan: “A great many of the teenagers have stopped watching television—they’re saturated— saturation is a possibility. As for the possibility of reneging on any future TV, I doubt it. Except through saturation. But TV is so demanding, and therefore so soporific that it requires an enormous amount of energy to participate in. You don’t have that freedom of detachment. One of the effects of television is removing people’s private identity. They become corporate peer group people just by watching it. They lose interest in being private individuals. This is one of the hidden, and perhaps, most insidious aspects of television.” Or: television as an absurd theater of cruelty.

Speaking of insidious, to peruse the TV Guide in 1967 is to understand that for every show as brilliant as The Prisoner or potentially thought-provoking as Star Trek, there are 20 times as many programs that are the epitome of banality: Gilligan’s Island, The Flying Nun, Mothers-In-Law, Petticoat Junction, Please Don’t Eat the Daises, et al. ad nauseam. Even programs that might have been considered innovative or edgy at the time—say, The Monkees or the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour—in retrospect just demonstrate how innocent the times were in comparison to today’s more sophisticated mores.

Parallel to McLuhan’s observations, on March 29, ­a 13-day TV strike began, with the employees of all three television networks walking off the job. News continued to be broadcast daily with substitute anchors and pre-recorded shows until an agreement was reached on April 10—just in time to broadcast the annual Academy Awards program live from the Santa Monica Auditorium.

Regarding the state of literature and the dominance of television and film in our culture, the iconoclastic author Terry Southern [Candy, The Magic Christian] had this to say: “It used to be that books were to be more highly regarded than plays, and that plays, in turn, were better than movies. It was not the advent of television itself that rattled this hierarchy, but the fact that all the major film studios, to improve poor balance sheets, began unloading their entire back catalogs of films onto the TV networks. It was then possible to see, free and in the comfort of home, the exact type of film which was being shown outside; and people in the millions started kicking the movie habit—lending breakneck acceleration to the decline in movie attendance—until, in 1959, it was 50 percent of what it had been before TV, and still dropping. It was recognized that a ‘different’ type of general film than was being seen at home would have to be created to bring people back into the theatres…Now, when Film gets good, Book is in trouble. Theoretically, it is not possible for a book to compete, aesthetically, psychologically, or in any other way, with a film. Of sensory perceptions it is well established that the most empathetic are sight and sound. It is for this reason that to see someone badly hurt, for example, hit by a car, bleeding, crying with pain, is a totally different experience from reading about it in the paper. In short, next to having been the victim oneself, the most meaningful thing would be to have witnessed it firsthand. ‘Seeing,’ as they say, ‘is believing.’ Film, by its very nature, more closely approximates firsthand experience than does print. And there, of course, the advantage only begins.”

In cinematic terms, a “different type of general film” was beginning to be made in America and abroad: it was called “independent production.” What is it about the cinema that allows us to reflect upon our shadow side, but only in the relative safety of a darkened theater? 1967 was the time of the anti-hero—a character that the audience can identify with because they too wish to stick it to the Man, and beat the system at its own game. After JFK’s assassination and the worldwide escalation of violence, films such as Bonnie and Clyde and Cool Hand Luke caught the mood of the times, lodged within the generation gap where outlaws became romanticized (“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.”). Issues of self-identity and racial prejudice were brought to the fore by Stanley Kramer’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?, where Sidney Poitier’s character says to his father “You think of yourself as a colored man—I think of myself as a man.”

But the most significant mainstream film of the year was certainly Mike Nichols’ The Graduate. This was the very stuff that Frank Zappa was heaping scorn upon in 1967’s Absolutely Free with the song “Plastic People,” and it is easy to see why audiences were identifying with the recently matriculated Benjamin Braddock, portrayed brilliantly by Dustin Hoffman. Adrift and confused about what to do with himself now that he has graduated from college, he receives this bit of advise from a friend of his father: get into the plastics business—it’s the wave of the future. As the antithesis of authenticity, for everyone who had become hip to how the game of life and commerce are played, the notion of a plastic society became the symbolic byword of what bohemians throughout the land rebelled against en masse.


Here’s a query: How might events from the past be healed, in order to move forward from the psychic shackles that linger in the unconscious shadows? Until we can truly answer that question for ourselves, we will continue to perpetuate the divisions and misconceptions that have left us wanting.

What is important to note about the summer of ’67 is what it eventually begat, with the flower power and optimism of ’67 yielding to a militant impatience for worldwide change NOW! The escalation of the Vietnam War by Lyndon Johnson and his cadre of war hawks also managed to successfully eliminate those whose voices were powerful enough to oppose the Satanism of the military industrial complex: i.e. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy. Popular music was shifting as well—you can hear it in the songs of The Beatles as they continued to mirror the times, with John Lennon’s “Revolution” being a primary example of how much had changed between the end of ’67 and the end of ’68. “If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow” was a tremendous departure from “newspaper taxis” and “Semolina Pilchard climbing up the Eiffel Tower.” Like it or not, the psychedelic explosion of 1966 was peaking in ’67, and by 1968, the soft optimism of the era was turning dark and ugly—the equivalent of trading in your face paint and rubbing dirt all over your cheeks; like a crouching solider in a rice field, so that no one can see the glare of your soft pink flesh as you prepare for battle on the ideological field of racist, globalist exploitation.

While the media-at-large continues to drone on nostalgically about the “Summer of Love,” the innovative ideas that emerged from this time are still waiting to be fully explored—when the radical youth of the day managed to see a multiverse of possibilities that had scarcely been hinted at before. The collective imagination was loosened to the breaking point, and everybody who was turned-on beyond the constrictions of dogmatic impotence tried their damndest to share those dreams and visions with their fellow brethren. The true secret for collective ascension is for enough people to experientially understand how to expand the morphogenetic field of human capabilities, and for all of us to pull the oars in the same direction—viola! Paradise found, baby…

We are still emerging out of the Dark Ages into a world not yet born that holds the promise of being a true spiritual revolution. In 1967 a significant amount of people began to visualize a world where the vibration of love is predominant. And not just the adolescent dream love eros myth of Romeo and Juliet, but a grander form of agape that puts compassion and empathy above all other forms of selfish aggrandizement. You can get it if you really want it. Peace and love to you and yours. Now: let’s make it happen, Captain!


Resume/Curriculum Vitae

Jon Kanis

P.O. Box 84653, San Diego, CA 92138
619.794.6469 [mobile]

Jon Kanis is an award-winning author and Grammy-nominated musician and producer who has traveled the world over entertaining folks from San Diego to Amsterdam — from Cusco to Tibet. With 30+ years of experience as a musician and mobile DJ, Jon can masterfully spin any tune out of the Top 40 from 1955 through 2017 (and beyond) from his 150,000+ song library. He is also an expert musicologist; a journalist whose work has been featured in MOJO, UGLY THINGS, The San Diego Troubadour and The San Diego Reader (to name but a few publications). Born and raised in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Jon has spent the last 34 years calling San Diego, California his home. He loves to travel, meet new people and relishes a good creative challenge. If you require the highest level of professional service then you have come to the right place…

Credits and Employment History

Musician / Artist / Writer / Disc Jockey 1983–present
State Controlled Radio [Producer, Host] 2006–2011
Reelin’ in the Years Productions [Producer, Director, Vice President, Archivist] 1999–2005
Tarot Readings / Counseling 1995–present
Thompsonian Empire Advertising [Production Manager] 1996–1997

Industry Qualifications

Author of Encyclopedia Walking: Pop Culture & the Alchemy of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Producer & Host of 240 weekly three-hour radio programs [State Controlled Radio].
Producer & Director of The American Folk Blues Festival Volumes 1-3 DVD/CDs.
Producer of Soul To Soul DVD/CD.
Producer & Director of five short films on the history of American Rhythm & Blues that are on permanent exhibition at The Stax Museum Of American Soul Music in Memphis, Tennessee.
As a Musician has performed over 650 gigs in the past twenty years.
Musician, Composer & Producer for dozens of commercially released recordings.
Participant in several group exhibitions with multi-media visual artwork.

Industry Awards

Winner of Best Published Non-Fiction—History and Biography Award from the San Diego Book Awards for Encyclopedia Walking: Pop Culture & the Alchemy of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Winner of the Keeping The Blues Alive Achievement In Film Award from The Blues Foundation for The American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1966 Volumes One & Two [2004].
Grammy nomination from The Recording Academy (R.I.A.A.) for Best Long Form Music Video for The American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1966 Volume One [2004].
Honorable Mention from MOJO Magazine Music Awards for The American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1966 Volume One [2004].
Winner of Best Music Anthology DVD Award from DVD Entertainment Awards for The American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1969 Volume Three [2005].
Winner of Best Compilation/Collection Of Clips Award from the Home Media Retailing Awards for The American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1969 Volume Three [2005].


University of California, Berkeley, CA

Technical Equipment

Proficient in GarageBand with a working knowledge of all non-linear audio and video digital platforms [Pro Tools, Final Cut Pro]. Microsoft Word, Excel, Quick Books Pro.

Other Skills and Additional Information

As a musician, artist and professional representative Jon Kanis has traveled extensively throughout the world with a dozen excursions abroad including ten trips to Europe, thirty treks across the continental United States as well as spending a month in Tibet and a fortnight in Peru & Bolivia. To appreciate the full range of his life experiences you are encouraged to peruse The Gig List, a comprehensive chronological listing of every significant public performance that Jon has either witnessed as an audience member or has performed as a musician, artist, actor or production crew member.


Liz Abbott, Publisher, The San Diego Troubadour
Grant Brickner, Owner, Complete Music
Henry Diltz, Photographer
Jeff Severson, Producer, JSP Productions



Licenses & Permits

Basic Driving (PLG), Motorcycle


And…if you are seeking evidence of who to hire as your mobile disc jockey for your next celebratory function then you are invited to download these PDF play lists containing 13,000 titles of the most classic PARTY music ever made from the past 80 years. Music for any mood to satisfy everyone at your party regardless of their generation. The secret to hosting a successful party is to have the right DJ/MC to unite everyone around classic sounds that creates an intimate vibe. With more than than twenty years as a mobile DJ Jon Kanis is an absolute master in the art of celebration. Allow him to design the soundtrack that guarantees a splendid time for everyone.

You are invited to look Jon up on Facebook or to explore his art work and other ideas on his tumblr page. If you would care to sample some of his original music there are over a dozen tracks that are currently available for FREE download at SoundCloud. Jon is listed on the Gig Salad website.


San Diego Troubadour review of Fundamentalism Is the Only Way LP

Check out Terry Roland’s superb review of FUNDAMENTALISM IS THE ONLY WAY HERE!



Visit the new Jon Kanis On-Line Store!



Fundamentalism Is the Only Way performed live this Friday, December 2nd at Grassroots Oasis!



Fundamentalism Is the Only Way San Diego Album Release Party 12.02.16

Regardless of the cultural climate, it is always a supreme delight when you encounter an artist, or a piece of work, that has the ability to simultaneously grab you by the throat, pull on your heart strings, stimulate your third eye, and stoke your imagination—all the while compelling, and insisting that you pay attention to the sonic splendor being cast into your ears and brain.

And so it is with the multi-faceted, 21st century Renaissance man Jon Kanis—a visionary artist who is clearly in a zone of his own. Eluding all attempts at musical categorization (particularly by the standards employed by today’s hype-saturated media), Kanis exists outside the box and off the charts as the perfect antidote to mainstream mediocrity. And (just in time for the holidays!) he’s back to infuse his multi-faceted brilliance into his latest long-player Fundamentalism Is the Only Way: a 14-song, old school conceptual romp, providing ample evidence within that here is a unique point of view to reckon with. Fundamentalism Is the Only Way offers a true musical alternative, and it ups the vibrational ante in extreme contrast to the syndicated pay-to-players glutting the stagnant airwaves of contemporary terrestrial radio.

Fundamentalism Is the Only Way picks up where 2014’s career-retrospective All-American Mongrel Boy leaves off. Executed over a period of two years, Kanis co-produced the album with Christopher Hoffee (Atom Orr, Truckee Brothers, The White Buffalo) at his CHAOS Recorders studio in Escondido, California. The record was conceived of by Kanis to be experienced “like a classic British Beatles LP: with seven songs per side on a slab of 180-gram vinyl. It really has a deliberate flow and arc to the songs, with one track building upon the next, so that by the end of the record you really feel like you’ve taken a journey—that the music transported you to a place that doesn’t exist anywhere else. Because, if a piece of music doesn’t transform your experience in some significant fashion, why would you waste 40 minutes of your precious time?”

Reviewing the LP for the San Diego Troubadour, Terry Roland writes: “[Kanis is] a clear-eyed example of an artist with a vision, who builds on his own rock heritage… Fundamentalism Is the Only Way is a masterfully conceived slice of rock ‘n’ roll psychedelia, fused with power-pop rock that is dedicated to present-day consciousness. It is a signature work, and if this album is given the chance to shine into the dark world of current rock music, it will bring a very bright light as one of the best rock albums of 2016.”

Fundamentalism Is the Only Way will be performed live in its entirety by a five-piece band that includes the aforementioned Hoffee on guitar, keyboards and vocals; Jamie Shadowlight on violin; Roger Morrison on bass, guitar, and vocals; Brad Smith on drums; and Kanis on acoustic guitar, bass, keyboards, and vocals. Kanis says “there will also be a couple of surprise guests, but I can’t say more than that at the moment.” The release party/performance takes place on December 2nd, 2016, at the Grass Roots Oasis, 3130 Moore Street, San Diego, CA 92110. Doors open at 7:30 pm with music from 8 to 10 pm. Donation/cover charge is $10.00.

Kanis’ resume reads like a graduate thesis for a pop culture professorship: his initial stabs at pop music stardom found him collaborating with such distinguished stalwarts as Mike Keneally (Frank Zappa, Andy Partridge, Joe Satriani, Dethklok, the Assumptions), and Darian Sahanaja and Nick Walusko (Wondermints, Brian Wilson). As a radio host and DJ he produced hundreds of weekly radio programs between 2006 and 2011 titled State Controlled Radio, which serve as a timeless primer to the history of 20th century music. Between 1999 and 2005 he co-created the world’s largest music film archive with Reelin’ in the Years Productions. It was at RITY that Kanis won the Achievement in Film award from the Blues Foundation, as well as a Grammy nomination for his production work on The American Folk Blues Festival DVDs and CDs.

In 2014, Kanis’ first book Encyclopedia Walking: Pop Culture & the Alchemy of Rock ‘n’ Roll earned the honor of Best Published Nonfiction—History and Biography from the San Diego Book Awards. Kanis is an expert musicologist and journalist, whose work has been featured in Ugly Things, the San Diego Troubadour and the San Diego Reader. Born and raised in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Kanis has spent the last 34 years calling San Diego, California his home.

Kanis has created three different art installations with his singular style of pop culture collage, with his latest piece Keeping Your Eyes on the Pies currently on display at Sicilian Thing Pizza, 4046 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104.

Fundamentalism Is the Only Way is the fourth in a series of projects that Kanis has collaborated on with executive producer Ed Turner of Road Ahead Productions. This highly successful association began when Kanis provided narration and original music for the independent documentary A Box Full of Rocks: the El Cajon Years of Lester Bangs. The far more ambitious follow-up Ticket to Write: the Golden Age of Rock Music Journalism, provides historical context about why the early days of Crawdaddy!, CREEM, Circus, Rolling Stone, and the New Musical Express were so vital to the emerging rock culture of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Kanis contributed three original songs for the film’s soundtrack, provided cinematography, and interviewed seven of the film’s principles. Kanis recounts his entire adventure in Chapter 30 of Encyclopedia Walking (Mystery, Murder, Mayhem, and Magic: Ecstatic and Overstimulated at SXSW 2014). His 18-song anthology All-American Mongrel Boy (1989–2014) provides the perfect soundtrack to the musings and adventures of Encyclopedia Walking, described by Terry Roland as a “to-the-bone, walk-the-talk work of literature that informs and transforms…it is essential reading along with the works of Lester Bangs and Paul Williams.”

Fundamentalism Is the Only Way is available on December 2, 2016, through MJK Records/Road Ahead Productions.

Executive Producer: Edward Turner, Road Ahead Productions

Press inquiries: contact Jon Kanis at or 619.794.6469.






Track Listing For All-American Mongrel Boy + A Box Full Of Rocks

All-American Mongrel Boy (1989-2014)
Jon Kanis

1. Where Is Joe Strummer When You Need Him? (3:12)
2. Welcome Home (2:40)
3. Arlington (2:42)
4. Through These Eyes (with Liv Mueller) (2:12)
5. It Is & It Isn’t (with the Shambles) (4:05)
6. Walk Without Me (4:55)
7. That (5:49)
8. Follow Up (2:33)
9. Dweller On The Threshold (4:41)
10. Holiday Motel (2:17)
11. A.C. In Michigan (4:22)
12. The Sun (4:24)
13. The Colorist (4:37)
14. Make It (4:18)
15. Real Gone (4:05)
16. Think It Over (4:03)
17. The Past Is Not Made To Last (Who Loves Ya, Baby?) (2:39)
18. The Return Of The Edmund Fitzgerald (Albert Hofmann Mix) (3:21)

A Box Full of Rocks: The El Cajon Years of Lester Bangs Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Various Artists (2014)

1. Let It Blurt/Jon Kanis (3:46)
2. Where Is The Poet Christ?/Running/The Flying Sandolini (3:12)
3. Pain Of Being White/Thee Dark Ages (1:53)
4. Please Candle With Hair/Robert Williams (4:11)
5. LB, Stick To Your Guns/Thee Dark Ages (4:14)
6. It Is & It Isn’t/Jon Kanis & the Shambles (4:05)
7. Do You Ride The Bus Alone?/The Flying Sandolini (2:24)
8. A Box Full Of Rocks Part 1/Jon Kanis (6:46)
9. El Cajon Blues/Jack Gimble (3:48)
10. They Call Us The Goons/Thee Dark Ages (3:26)
11. Machine Gun/The Flying Sandolini (3:19)
12. Heaven’s Devils/Thee Dark Ages (2:44)
13. A Box Full Of Rocks Part 2/Jon Kanis & The Flying Sandolini (4:09)
14. I Can’t Turn Down/Thee Dark Ages (2:52)
15. Dark Ages Jam Tonight/Thee Dark Ages (3:18)

Cabalistic Dispatch (2005)
Jon Kanis

1. Invocation (1:18)
2. Don’t Stand There (3:36)
3. Forget (That I Even Mentioned It) (4:19)
4. The Colorist (4:33)
5. Think It Over (remake version) (3:53)
6. Fear (3:30)
7. A.C. In Michigan (4:20)
8. The Sun (4:54)
9. Everything Remains (6:11)
10. Butterfly (3:41)
11. Questions For A Swami (3:17)
12. Make It (4:13)
13. Real Gone (4:05)
14. Give (5:08)
15. That (6:08)
16. Shine On (3:02)
17. Lay Your Life On The Table (5:10)
18. The Return Of The Edmund Fitzgerald (8:32)



Order All-American Mongrel Boy CD NOW!

Hi there everybody! Hot off the press are copies of my latest CD ALL-AMERICAN MONGREL BOY (1989-2014). This anthology collects work from the past 25 years and presents a comprehensive overview to the recording history of yours truly. There are 18 songs on the disc with 6 BRAND NEW previously unreleased songs, as well as selections from the Walk Without Me EP (never before available on compact disc), the A Pair Of Opposites EP, and the double LP Cabalistic Dispatch. Three of the songs were written & recorded at the Holiday Music Motel in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

Order your copy right now by clicking on the PAYPAL links below. The cost is $16 US, with SHIPPING INCLUDED to anywhere in the United States. If you are overseas I can figure out the additional shipping costs. If you prefer to pay by personal check or cash you can request copies of the CD by sending your contact information and making checks out to Jon Kanis at PO Box 84653, San Diego, CA 92138. Please allow two-to-three weeks for delivery.

ALSO available are copies of the soundtrack to the original feature length documentary A Box Full Of Rocks: The El Cajon Years of Lester Bangs. I have four tracks on the CD including an inspired remake of Lester’s song “Let It Blurt.” The 15-song disc includes 6 original songs by Thee Dark Ages (the El Cajon band that Lester would frequently jam with), written by and featuring Jerry Raney (of Beat Farmers notoriety). Also included on the disc are contributions by Robert Williams (Captain Beefheart), Jack Gimble, and the Flying Sandolini.

ALSO I still have a limited amount of copies of my 2005 CD Cabalistic Dispatch, recorded and produced with Mike Keneally. This is an epic piece of work that is sequenced like a double LP, comes with deluxe packaging including a 20-page booklet, and over 79 minutes of music. Cabalistic Dispatch is available for $20 US post-paid while supplies last.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT and stay tuned for the publication of my first book in August. It is entitled ENCYCLOPEDIA WALKING: Pop Culture and the Alchemy of Rock ‘n’ Roll. I will keep you posted with the details.

As always if you have any questions you can reach me at my email: I am also available via cell phone at 619.794.6469.

I hope you are having a wonderful summer! See you down the road…









Jon Kanis @ Sidecar, San Diego, CA 07.03.15

Jon Kanis @ Sidecar, San Diego, CA 07.03.15 9:15 PM—12:40 AM

This was super fun…thanks to Jesse, Matt, Sarah, Trish & Ryan and everyone who came out: Trish, Rob, Nick, Roger, Wayne, & FF…


1) The Waiting/Tom Petty
2) The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades/Timbuk 3
4) Strange Days/The Doors
5) Five O’Clock World/The Vogues
6) Night Moves/Bob Seger
8) Will You Be Ready?
9) Never Gonna Let It Go
10) Perfect Woman
11) She’s A Caveman
12) Visions Of Johanna/Bob Dylan
14) Young Americans/David Bowie


16) Light My Fire/The Doors
17) Tangled Up In Blue/Bob Dylan
19) Captain Fantastic & the Brown Dirt Cowboy/Elton John
21) The Letter/Box Tops
24) White Rabbit/Jefferson Airplane
25) Squeeze Box/The Who
27) What A Wonderful World/Louis Armstrong
28) Beware of Darkness/George Harrison
30) Surrender/Cheap Trick


32) It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue/Bob Dylan
33) The Joker/Steve Miller
34) My Friend Jack/Brownsville Station
35) Melissa/Allman Brothers [broke & changed B string]
36) I Saw Her Standing There/The Beatles
37) Like A Rolling Stone/Bob Dylan
38) Lawyers, Guns & Money/Warren Zevon
39) Folsom Prison Blues/Johnny Cash
40) We Can Work It Out/The Beatles


Steel Bridge Songfest Performers CONFIRMED! June 11-14, 2015

For a list of all CONFIRMED artists performing in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin between June 11-14, 2015 go HERE…


The Bridge by Ty Helbach




Louise Goffin and Jon Kanis at Dizzy’s in San Diego TONIGHT!

Hey there friends and neighbors:

Come on out this evening for a fantastic night of music and story telling with the legendary Louise Goffin and Jon Kanis for one night only here in San Diego at Dizzy’s. The fun begins at 7:30 PM. Be sure to tell a friend…