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Interview with Mike Marino - Part 2




Question: (Jeri Maier)
Who are the DhamaBums and Roadies?

ANSWER: (Mike Marino)
Dharmabums of course comes from the Jack Kerouac novel of the same name.
Matter of fact I have a ratty old copy I travel with all the time that my son got for me for .50 cents at a flea market. I usually buy him books and sign the flyleaf, this time he signed it, wise beyond his years and it's now a treasure.

Roadheads began when a group of were talking about Deadheads and Parrotheads and other Heads of all stripes. Because of my penchant for travel, insatiable and incurable they started calling me "a roadhead" and it stuck. Roadhead is a state of mind, not just to denote travels, but also inner travails. The constant search for whats around us and what lies deep inside of us, all. So I just put the two together and thats what came out of the oven. Hence the title of my book THE ROADHEAD CHRONICLES. Part history, part humour, part pop culture, part roadhead, part dharmabum, part Marino.

Question: (Jeri Maier)
In 1969, I saw a lot of backpackers travelling through Europe and there were many that were selling the silverwire jewelries, beads and paintings at the open air markets when I was in Dusseldorf, Germany. When I was in Athens, Greece in 1971 there was a place where all the young Americans hung out.
I imagine you doing similar kind of journey. Did you connect with any of them at that time?

ANSWER: (Mike Marino)
The Haight had it's fair share of "disenchanted" young people, along with some not so young people but the influx of visitors for other countries was prevelant and educational. Different cultures, different societal influences based on those cultures, but one thing was a common thread. A unity of thought. Met many from France and England as well as Germany and the thing that struck me most is that most people from other countries can speak our language and we're for the most part pretty mono-linguistic in that arena. Almost embarrasing.

Artisans of all stripes inhabited the streets. Painters, bead artists of course composed a large segment and grafitti artists. Grafitti as art is a wondrous guerilla form of expression and is what I call "asphalt art". It can conjur up feelings and emotions and present a political view at the same time, much as reggae music does in the musical venue.

Musicians are the muses of our society, and the Haight certainly had it's fair share. Not just the established groups such as the Dead, Airplane, Grape, Quicksilver, the Fish and others, but the steet musicians. One kid I remember was a young Japanese guitar player, 17 maybe, and he could make that guitar sing plaintiffly and paint portraits of heartfelt sorrow. Another girl from Germany, challenged the senses with the jewellry she created and gave away on the street!

It didn't matter the country one came from or the background in that country, the times were considered a divisive age in the politics of the United States, Vietnam, drug use and all, but they were also a uniting factor for youth. Few generations have been united as strongly as that group of Big Old Boomers. Now, I never did learn how to say "hippie" in German or Norwiegian but in any language we were united through art, music and through a counter culture.

Question: (Jeri Maier)
Do you think that your experiences in Hawaii was very common in the 60s. Tell me how your experiences of living in Hawaii had an impact upon you?


ANSWER: (Mike Marino)
My days in Honolulu were probably the most formative I experienced. I was a young kid, much on my own, living on an island some 4,000 miles away from my middleclass, midwestern roots.

When I flew over on standby from LA which you could do in those days I got to sit in first class next to Morey Amsterdam from the Dick Van Dyke Show! It was Vegas schtick all the way over the Pacific.

Once I landed I took a cab to town, had enough money for a small studio apartment run by a sweet Hawaiian women who sort of became a surrogate Mom. She knew I was underage and contacted my parents to let them know where I was and was ok. Needless to say the spun out of orbit at first and settled down after I spoke with them..whew!

Soon I ran out of money and tried sleeping on the beach in various areas such as a construction zones, got rousted and wandered aimlessly about. Hell, this is Hawaii I thought, how could you not survive outdoors. The next day some Hawaiians I knew who lived on the beach and kind of took this underage Haoli under their wings told me to stay with them. Where, I asked and one, Sam, said "Up there"..I looked up and it was a large tree infront of the Reef Hotel. Needless to say I couldnt figure it out until that night. Used straw mats in the tree so you could make a near nest and not fall out. The ocean sounds, the night air and the drums at midnight coming from Duke Kahanamoku's bar made it a true beachbums dream.

Made your living posing with borrowed surfboards for the tourists and life was good until about a year later. Got drunk with the gang, slept under a catamaran on the beach and the beach patrol busted us all. Sam and the others were over 21, me? Well, got picked up and sent to the Honolulu Home for Wayward Boys. I felt like the movie "Escape from Alcatraz" and once my parents were notified they said, "keep him there for about a month and then we'll send a ticket to get him home"

Naturally I was enraged but later in life, you know, that growing up thing would have done the same thing and never, ever held it against them.

I eventually flew off the island, landed in LA and at the time you could cash in a ticket which I did. Headed for the Sunset Strip for awhile and then made my way North to San Franisco and North Beach and eventually, Haight Ashbury.

Also did you know it's illegal to climb the trees in Honolulu and pick coconuts? Yep, got a warning for that one. Even today though, pineapple and coconut tempts me like nothing else. I still dream about the islands and someday will return to it to visit. I'll go see if that tree is still there but will probably stay in a hotel this time..with room service!

Question: (Jeri Maier)
Can you give me some examples of your most memorable experiences of all the trips that you've made that made the most impact of your life, in these last 30 years?


ANSWER: (Mike Marino)
Probably have to be living in Hawaii and in Haight Ashbury. Learned to survive with or without, learned tolerance when it comes to differences, be that race, religion, nationality, creed, didn't matter. We're part of the human family, part of creation, intertwined and inter mixed, like being tossed into a societal cuisineart and blended to perfection, with a touch of imperfection, but that only makes life interesting.

Hawaii taught me self reliance and also probably where I got my passion to collect Hawaiiana and Hula Dashboard Ornaments (50 so far including one attached to the top of my favorite hiking stick, but then again it also has some powder blue fuzzy dice hanging just below hand level!) The Haight taught me involvement. In my society and my culture. It taught me to give and that somehow that is more important than taking. It has to be a two way street.

Question: (Jeri Maier)
If there is one thing in your life that you could wish for, what would it be?

ANSWER: (Mike Marino)
Tough call. I guess it's meeting a never ending line of people from all walks of life and cultures. It's a growth experience everyday and I try to capture that with my writings. I look at things seriously, but with a whimsical wink and don't quite take myself seriously, and that I think shows in my writing. Life is short, and so am I at 5'6" so I have something in common with it.

I want my children and others to pursue dreams, no matter how unobtainable they may appear..carve a path and head on out the road and get as close to the dream as possible. May not make the distance but any ground covered is acceptable. You know my favorite line is from Cuckoo's Nest, the movie, Jack is trying to pry a large sink from the floor and toss it out the window. It's too much for him and he admits he cant do it. The inmates laugh at him..he looks at them, in the Jack way and says..."Well, at least I tried" and thats all anyone can ask of anyone, especially of themselves.

Jeri Maier: Mike, Thank you very much for sharing part of your life with us. I really enjoy connecting with you and am sure many other boomers can identify with you as well.
We at Boomers International want to wish you all the best for your book, your writing and your journeys. Peace & Love,
Jeri & Friends

Read some of Mike's articles

The Roadhead Chronicles
Where Pop Culture and Chrome Meet Asphalt and Art! - Order Page




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