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8 Finger Eddie

8 Finger Eddie

In conversation with Fredo and Kamakshi

Kamakshi: How did you find Anjuna? Were you the first one that came here?

Eddie: I had a house before in ’63, ’64, ’65, at Colva beach. Anybody could stay, there was food there, you didn’t have to pay for the food, you didn’t have to work. If you wanted you could stay, if you didn’t want you didn’t have to… And then the house became Vince’s bar, it was right at the end of Colva beach. So I had to look for another place, there were no houses around there, so I couldn’t have a house like this where everybody could stay, you know. Jack and all these people said to me, “Eddie, Eddie, we have all stayed in your house last year, this year you can stay in all our houses.” We were then in Baga, I was staying at one house one day, another house the next day, and another next. That’s how I had met this Japanese girl who
 said, “I was in Anjuna beach, and it’s beautiful!” I said, “Are there any houses there?” “Oh yes, there’s houses,” she said. “Jack, I heard there are houses over there, go and see if you can find one,” I said. That night he came home with the key to a house near Jo Banana’s.

I was 40 already when I came here. I was born in ’24. All the freaks were 20 years old. laughs They thought I was enlightened because I was old. I thought, “Man, I’m just old. I’ve more experience than you, that’s all. I’m not enlightened.” I didn’t even know what enlightenment was. I said what the fuck is it anyhow… They tell me this and this and this; and I think some of it sounds like me, but I’m not sure. But a year later I found out that I was definitely not enlightened. laughs I used to dance to Indian music, by sitting down; I’d just move my arms. Then I’d dance to rock and roll standing up, and moving with the body and stuff. But one day my body started to move by itself. I couldn’t believe it! So much energy… I was making no effort. My arms are going around, and I’m looking around, “What’s going on here?” I didn’t know what the hell was going on. And then, my spine was moving like a snake. Wow… And then there was a light, in my room – a light! And I’m beginning to see the light. You don’t begin to see the light. The light is there, or its not there. Here it was – a light, man! A light like the sun – in my room. I didn’t close my eyes, because if I closed my eyes it was there, if I opened my eyes it was there.

Fredo: But everybody is, everything is made out of particles of light. So when there is light coming, all of a sudden the light comes through the wall, because even the colors and the whole vision, the whole perception is made out of light

Eddie: This light is inside you and outside you. So you can’t say inside me, outside me – its all the same. Man, this is the source of all life; this is where all life comes from. And if its in me, then it has to be in everybody else. So I’m no better than anybody, and nobody is better than me. We are all the same. Some people are closer to the light than other people, but that doesn’t matter, we are all the same. So from here, down here, until the right rib, I felt a rope, an invisible rope pulling me into the sun, and the sun is pulling me in like a fish. Now I can say, ”I’m not afraid to die.” I can say, “I’m not afraid of going insane”, but my mind is saying, “Man, if I go in there, I might not come out.” But its aaahh… the light is power, man, power; not bliss and this and that…its power! If I go in there, I might burn my brain out, I’ll become insane. Like you see a lot of insane people around ashrams, you know, they’ve blown their minds out. Then I used to think to myself, “Man, this is it, you know. This is my chance. But why does this happen to me now when my life is becoming interesting…” Pow! The light goes out, just like that. Life’s interesting, huh? laughs See, you’ve got to be finished with everything before you can get enlightened. You’ve got to be finished with love, you’ve got to be finished with girlfriends and boyfriends, you’ve got to be finished with family; you’ve got to be completely hopeless. And was I completely hopeless? Uhh…Well I didn’t have any hope in anything, because I didn’t believe in anything. See, I was older than all you guys, huh. So I felt like a dirty old man to have sex with 20 year old girls when I’m 40. So I decided, “Fuck the sex thing, you know. But the drugs, I put the drugs away. So I had nothing to hold me back. But when this thing happened, I was completely free to go. You see other things like love and family and this and that will keep you from getting enlightened. You will choose family, or you will choose love before you will choose enlightenment. Enlightenment means you have to die, physically. You have to die, and then some of you can come back. But you can’t decide that. If you die, you have no choice, either you get sent back, or you stay. So, I didn’t care. I had my chance, I blew it. I had an interest in being around, to see what was happening. And it didn’t matter, doesn’t matter. Its good enough, the way it is.

Kamakshi: What is enlightenment?

Eddie: Enlightenment is when you die… you have to be dead before you can get enlightened

Fredo: You come to the source.

Eddie: Yeah, you have nothing to tell you, you have no allegiance to anything or anybody. You are alone. That’s one thing I realized too, its scary in a way. You alone, in the whole fucking universe, you’re alone with the light. You can’t lie, you can’t say, “I’m not afraid” But you are… There’s no lying, there’s no way to get around it, it’s a moment of truth. Cannot fool the light, man, you can just fool yourself. You are the light, you are light, you are the light – everybody is the light. Only sometimes I feel separate, sometimes I feel – the light’s there, why can’t I join the light? To join the light, you have to be dead. Dead to all those things that people like.

Fredo: You are ready, you don’t need your body anymore…

Eddie: You don’t need anything. You don’t need anybody else, because every man, every woman, has an opposite sex inside them. You are not only man or woman – you are both. So when you join the light, the male meets the female – and they’re joined. They call this the marriage inside. You don’t need anyone outside yourself. Same with everybody, within both women and men. Ladies have male… if a woman doesn’t have any idea what maleness is, she is a very dangerous woman. If a man doesn’t have any idea of what a female is, he is nowhere. We all have some knowledge of what the other sex is.

Fredo: Basically we are like female energy and male energy at the same time.

Eddie: Yeah we are both, if we didn’t have both, we’d be monsters. If you were only male, you’d be a fucking monster. If you’d be only female, you’d be a female monster.

Kamakshi: Did you ever go to Koregaon Park, Poona, meet Osho?

Eddie: I was there for 3-4 months in ’76. Surati took me there. I was going to stay in Goa, and she said “Eddie, you don’t want to stay here. Come to my place, I have a nice place”

Fredo: Laxmi Vilas – I lived there also…

Eddie: Surati though wanted to take me to the ashram, I said I’m not going to the ashram. “Oh, you don’t have to go to the ashram…” So I stayed in Laxmi Vilas for about three months, four months. It was a good scene in those days; the whole place was full of freaks.

Kamakshi: And did you go to the ashram?

Eddie: No.

Kamakshi: Not attracted at all?

Eddie: I liked him, as a person. He knew what he was doing, you know. Yeah, yeah, I knew people who knew him in the very beginning when they used to go to Juhu beach and do this “Hoo, hoo…” and all this stuff.

Kamakshi: Dynamic meditation.

Eddie: Yeah, that was a good time because you could talk to him. You could talk to him as you could talk to me, as anybody, but then he became big, big, big. Then you couldn’t talk to him anymore.

Fredo: But it was very strong. In Poona it was very strong. In the beginning when I came there, I wasn’t really sure, you know. I said how could one man be like, like that, you know. It took me ten years to understand that he was actually very simple. Lot of people didn’t look at the simple side of it, you know.

Kamakshi: He did a huge experiment with people, consciousness… He was too ahead of his time; nobody could understand what he was talking about…

Fredo: He was on a different level, you know. Now whatever he said is actually normal.

Eddie: Oh yeah. He was a well read man. He knew everything, I used to see these blobs coming from Germany or someplace. And man, after a little bit staying there and beating each other up… laughter And – Rowr!

Kamakshi: Something came out.

Eddie: Yeah, yeah, something came out. No, they became something

Fredo: Encounter groups. People got into.

Eddie: They used to have encounter. Encounter, where you beat each other up.

Fredo: Sometimes people were heavy and they were fighting…

Eddie: Broken arms, everyday man! Ambulance was coming and taking people to the hospital. Broken legs, broken arms, and the toughest people were the girls, the women. You know if there was something they didn’t like, all of a sudden, they got into the other stuff. The guys are trying to be spiritual, “Come on baby lets…” And the girls are going… laughs Everything was reversed.

Fredo: It’s not like that anymore, Then it was very alive, the spirit was alive, people got into meditation; maybe let’s try that, you know. And people were into that, something new, you know, it was like a total difference.

Kamakshi: You used to run a kitchen where everybody was welcome to come and eat…

Eddie: Yeah, That house is where Jo Banana’s is now (well-known Anjuna restaurant). We used to go there to get our fruits and vegetables. In the morning we’d make fruit salad and some kind of cereal – wheat or something, and eat the two together. Late afternoon, we’d eat vegetables and rice, and sometimes I’d make sweet rice too. We were doing all the cooking, so we didn’t need restaurants or anything. We just did shopping, and I would cook, and then we would eat.

Fredo: Then you would send Jo out to get bananas…

Eddie: Yeah, that’s how we got his name! One morning Spotty Dick… Remember Spotty Dick? Anyway, he said, “I’m going to go get the fruits for the breakfast. I’m going to Jo Banana’s. That’s how he got the name – Jo Banana’s.

Fredo: You used to make food for a hundred people…

Eddie: Well 40, 50, 60…You never knew how many, but it didn’t matter. If too many people came, so we got less…

Kamakshi: You also started the flea market in Anjuna…

Eddie: In ’75.

Kamakshi: How did that come about?

Eddie: Some people came to me and said “Hey Eddie, how come there is no flea market here?” I said, “What’s a flea market?” laughter And they told me, so I went to see the boys at the house. I said, “Do you think we should have a flea market here?” They said, “Yeah that’s a good idea.” I said, ”Giuliano, Giuliano, make a sign – ‘Flea Market’. The next Lover’s day, what’s that called? Valentine’s Day, we had a flea market – that was the first one in ’75. There were some t-shirts, people were wearing them ‘Anjuna Flea Market 1975′

Kamakshi: So it started just like that…

Eddie: Yeah, just like that. Only freaks came to the first few flea markets, it wasn’t a regular thing. Then we’d make another one on some other auspicious day. People gave things away, or it was only free…it was like a party.

Fredo: And there were parties already? In that time parties had started?

Eddie: Yeah, yeah. Not on that scale, not on that big scale that we had later…Yeah, it was usually like dramas, and bongos, people playing guitars, people dancing around a big fire…

Fredo: And then ’76 came and it was like everybody was here. Big music scene…

Eddie: Oh yeah, it grew fast then.

Fredo: We had a stage on Anjuna beach in ’76-’77…

Eddie: That was before any Indian people came, there were no Indians making food in the flea market. No, nothing. There were only freaks.

Fredo: The chai shops…

Eddie: Maybe the one chai shop or something, some neighbour decided to make some tea…

Kamakshi: There’s something about Anjuna, isn’t it? It’s very intense. Some people say it’s the high iron content in the earth here. What is going on?

Eddie: Here? I don’t know what’s going on… laughs… whatever it is; it’s good – for me. I don’t know if it’s good for everybody, but for me its good. If I could think of a better place, I would go there. I can’t think of a better place. It’s not like it used to be, its not as free as it used to be…

Fredo: But before there was no law, everything was.
.
Eddie: See that’s the thing. There’s no boss here, there’s nobody who says you’ve got to do this and you’ve got to do that. Man, its so free – you wake up in the morning, you don’t have to do anything unless you want to do it, you know. Nobody telling you have to brush the floor, you got to do this, you got to…aaaahh. That’s the good thing. And community… You know, if you get hurt or something, there are so many people here who will take care of you, they’ll go out of their way to take you to the hospital or whatever, you know. That’s great. That’s what’s missing in the West in many places, there’s no communal feeling; the neighbours, they don’t dig each other, nobody even knows who their neighbours are, nobody trusts their neighbours. And its nice to have some place where you can trust somebody, you know. And if you can’t trust them, okay, so you find out you were wrong. But so what, you know. There are so many other people around. That’s the communal feeling, that’s why people keep coming back. They want to get out of that living in a room, in a flat, with a lock on the door, blah, blah, blah.

Fredo: In the beginning when we came here, all the doors were open, you could go into any house, there were friends, there were no walls around the houses… No bars on the windows… You would come here and people would say hello to you. “Hello, what’s your name?” And then you were accepted. And then there was this big music scene starting also. And Eddie, he would come to every party, he comes early morning, dancing, and you are in the middle of the party… Everybody, lots of people were living in huts, the beaches were like a village of huts….

Eddie: Yeah, nobody was paying rent or anything like that…

Fredo: Nobody was paying rent, you just buy yourself some bamboo sticks, you had some guys building for you; they did it all for you with coconut rope and palm leaves, you know, everybody found himself a place. Not many people in the houses in the beginning. Vagator was also totally like that. It was like this in ’77 when I came. Everybody, lots of people were living in huts, we were in huts, the beaches were like a village of huts…

Eddie: When people started living in houses, it became a bourgeois scene. It became bourgeois.

Kamakshi: Also trance has flowered in Goa…that’s Anjuna again. It always attracts a lot of creative beautiful revolutionary people.

Fredo: Techno came in the middle of the ’80’s – you had New Wave, you had Punk, and then came Trance. I was organizing many parties. First the parties were all live music, and then all of a sudden at the end of the 70’s there was a big drug scene. We were all smoking, and everything was open, and then people came with cocaine and chillums and joints and after people did too much coke, so they came down on heroin. So in the end, people were tired of looking at musicians on stage nodding out, you know. People wanted to dance. And then started the new era.

Eddie: Acid can be too much for most people, so coke was easier, you could handle coke better than acid.

Fredo: In the beginning was acid…

Eddie: I know, acid; but too many tough trips for some people…

Fredo: You go to the beach, and everybody was on acid, there were 5000 people on acid and people were giving you acid for free.

Eddie: Oh yeah, open your mouth, take some…

Fredo: Everybody was giving to everybody, whatever you want.

Eddie: They didn’t realize what a pernicious drug smack is. Much of what’s in there, once its got its claws on you, man, its hard to get out, you know. They didn’t realize, they said, “Ah, another drug…” Now they are all gone, most of them are dead now. See I knew it from 20 years before, all the jazz musicians were taking smack. Charlie Parker was the big thing, Smack King, so everybody who was into jazz, into Charlie Parker, they went into smack. Got to take smack to be like Charlie Parker, but nobody was like Charlie Parker…

Fredo: There was a book that came out, ‘Junkie’ by Bill Burroughs. So everybody was kind of fascinated by that… And then in ’81, Goa Gil sold his equipment, and we took the P.A. system and the speakers and we started to do disco parties in the beginning. The beginning of techno…

Eddie: Laurent was here, everybody’s favourite DJ was Laurent. He used to make the music go up, you know. Everybody loved Laurent, but then too much sand, too much dust got into his lungs, he couldn’t do it anymore.

Fredo: It was the beginning of techno, we still had Yellow and Blondie and Pat Benaton… Then all of sudden Rajaram came around the end of the 80’s. And then people started to make the music. In the beginning we were just collecting, you know the DJ’s collected the nice music, we moved to different beaches, to Vagator, all over, started to make parties…

Eddie: We were making our own tracks too…

Fredo: That was with Rajaram, when Rajaram came here…

Eddie: No, before Rajaram. We would take the dub track, you know the rhythm track, and then add voices and music on top of it. And that’s how we started making Goa music.

Fredo: No, in the beginning was Rajaram, and then you had these groups like…

Eddie: No, no, no. Rajaram came later…

Fredo: No, he was the first one when we start to make the music, when people start to make the music. Then we had Juno Reactor, we had Total Eclipse, and after that Rajaram, the Infinity Project, and then Bansi and Riktam came here…

Kamakshi: Eddie, You have also been a musician?

Eddie: Yeah, bass player, yeah… dug dug, dug, dug, when bass was like this, not like this. I quit in 1950, I stopped playing…

Fredo: You were in the jazz scene, no?

Eddie: Yeah, before you were born.

Fredo: No, I was born in ’47.

Fredo: What was that place in Denmark?

Eddie: Yeah, yeah outside Copenhagen…

Fredo: What was the name of that place? We were just talking about it the other day. It became quite well known after I left. It was not a big thing when I was there. You mean that place where all the freaks could stay? First was jazz, then became Rock and Roll, then we had New Wave, Punk, and then slowly we got into trance. Actually trance was not really made here. But here in Goa, people were playing the nice kind of tracks, you know… What they had was industrial techno…

Eddie: Yeah, Frontline Assembly…

Fredo: They were from Belgium, Front 2 For 2. Yeah, but they were very tough, like boom, boom, boom. Then all of a sudden people started to mellow out and began to play Goa Trance. The people started to make this music here…

Eddie: Now everybody makes it in their home…People can make any kind of music they want in their home…

Kamakshi: It’s interesting, you know, where I live in Poona, there’s a village not so far away, and every time at weddings and festivals they play trance, its gone into the …

Fredo: …into the locals here. Yeah, In Bombay, for Ganesh festival where you have trance DJ’s playing on these big trucks, and everybody is dancing. An Indian friend of mine just came, and he said listen to this. Sounded like a trance group. He said it was a Bollywood singer, about 45 years old standing there in a sari, with the music just like perfect trance, you know. But you know something, even on television, people talk about trance, that it’s destructive and this and that, but then on the commercials many times boom, they have this music. Its something subliminal, you know, it works on your heartbeat…

Eddie: Oh the speed’s too slow, unless you have the heartbeat of a child though, while he’s asleep or something…

Kamakshi: Do you feel the Goa Spirit will survive the commercialization? Also the authorities have such a problem with so many of the things here, they harass the tourists, they try to stop the parties, the markets… Do you feel it will survive, become more resolute?

Eddie: Anything that makes money survives. The market survives, yeah?

Fredo: It became an industry – the techno, the clothes – Trance Fashion

Kamakshi: Yeah, its actually an organic part of the Goa experience. I get surprised that they want to crush what people come here for. You could go just about anywhere if you want to just go to clubs, but this kind of clobbering…the authorities seem to have such a problem…

Eddie: But some things like we were talking about, you can’t buy with money. You can’t buy neighbours, good neighbours with money you know. You can’t buy nice scenes with money; you have to have people who think like you do. Like when some people ask, “Who’s your family? Where’s your family?” I say, “My family is in Goa.” I mean, my brothers and sisters, they wouldn’t understand what I’m doing. “What are you doing? You’re not making any money. You’re living in India like a bum.” But people who are in India already, they know what I’m doing, because they’re doing what I’m doing. So its more my family than my blood family.

Fredo: The Goa family…

Eddie: Yeah. Okay, sometimes there are bad people, I understand, rip offs and all that, but… Rip off Harry – this was one of my favourites – but he never ripped me off. laughs

Kamakshi: What have been some of the defining moments in your life?

Eddie: What’s that?

Kamakshi: What have been some of the defining moments in your life? You’ve done so many things; you’ve pioneered Anjuna in some way…

Eddie: Yeah, yeah, yeah, you have to read my autobiography laughter

Fredo: Its about your life? Every detail in your life.

Eddie: Yeah, but you have to read my book, it’s on the Internet. I would never go to an analyst, I would never go to a Guru, never go to anybody. If I was insane, I’d just keep it to myself, and see it through, see it through, see it through. Or write a story about it. So, some of my insane trips are in the book too. I didn’t like to follow anybody. But everyone’s got 10 fingers – who am I gonna follow? Where would I be without this hand? Ten finger Eddie? laughs

Fredo: Trumpet Steve used to call me Fast Finger Freddie.

Eddie: See, a lot of people don’t like to meet other people, I like to meet a lot of people, you know. People walk into a restaurant, if every table is taken by people that they don’t know – they will leave. They won’t sit at a table with people they don’t know. Me, I’ll sit with anybody, I’ll talk to anybody. That’s why we are here, to meet other people.

Fredo: Ah really?

Kamakshi: You still do this show every year?

Eddie: I do three times a year, sometimes more. But this year, something screwed up and right now its too cold to do a show. I don’t like to do a show with the whole audience sitting there freezing, you know, because I do them outside. Or even if I do them at Xavier’s, its still outside – there’s no walls or anything. I like to do the shows; some of the shows that were recorded are on the website – www.8fingereddie.com One of my best shows was, you know children are very sexual before the age of 5, they are very sexual. One of my shows is about my early experiences, my sexual experiences before I was the age of 5. That was a good one, everybody was so quiet, they were listening. I thought man, this is falling down, but they were quiet because they were remembering things they did when they were three, four five, you know…

Kamakshi: But that’s natural, no? First it’s by yourself, and then it’s with other kids, and then the opposite sex…

Eddie: See, we didn’t go to school till we were 6 or 7, so we were alone; you’re pretty cool when you’re alone. So I started inspecting my body. You find out, oh this feels good when you press over here, or this feels good, or it feels good when you @!$%#. So you make all kinds of discoveries, sexual too. People don’t talk about @!$%# like that; I was talking about it in the show. One woman here, she’s an entertainer too. She was saying, ‘Oh I wish I could do what you do, just talk about anything I feel like talking about, but I can’t do that, I’m a woman, you know. And she does shows; she makes a lot of money, in Holland, in Europe.

Kamakshi: You like telling stories, isn’t it?

Eddie: Yeah that was the thing… laughter I like to tell stories, that’s why I didn’t want to do an interview… laughs

Kamakshi: Tell us a story…

Eddie: You are recording all this…

Kamakshi: I am, of course

Eddie: It’s too much to remember… (singing) No, I was so shy when I was a kid, I used to walk down the street, I never looked at anybody. Even my friends from school – if I see them coming, I’d be like I didn’t see them. But on stage, I like to be on stage. Not shy on stage, just shy in life. To me, being on stage is really living. This is not so much…On stage you’re in another world, a world you make up…

Fredo: Tell us a story, a funny story…

Eddie: I don’t have any…

Fredo: Do us the one man show, for 5 minutes…

Eddie: There are all kinds of stories in the autobiography…

Fredo: But you would just stand on stage, and then something came to your head, you said whatever came to your head, you just expressed it.

Eddie: You see, I never believed in love – romantic love. Never believed in it, never will…because where does it go? When it’s gone, where does it go? It was here, and now she doesn’t love me anymore. Where the @!$%# is it, where is it anyhow? It’s all an illusion; it’s all in my mind. I like that feeling too, you know. I’ve invested all the noble feeling into her, you know, she is this and she is that, and she is wonderful, she is sweet. And she’s doing the same thing, making up illusions about me, ”Oh Eddie is such a nice guy, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah.” It’s all illusion though. And then of course it gets broken in the end, it’s popped. But that’s the way it is, nothing lasts forever. But I never got into much. I used to hate it as a kid, you know. I used to like cowboy movies. And here’s this cowboy, man, beating up everybody, he’s a fucking hero, man. At the end of the film, there’s this girl there – da da da… Oh no, man, he can’t overcome the girl. He beat up every guy, but he can’t overcome one fucking girl. I hated it, what bullshit, man.

Kamakshi: So, you’ve had your heart broken, many times…

Eddie: No, never.

Kamakshi: Never?

Eddie: I’m heartless. No, you have to believe in something to have your heart broken.

Kamakshi: But it could be real, even if it’s momentary… Even friendships change, sometimes you hang out with somebody, and then you change, they change; and then you go your own way…

Eddie: Well, I like that feeling, you know, you’re both walking on air. This being in love, being in love, but not love… But being In Love… (sings) It’s a nice feeling, yeah, its nice, as long as it lasts… I used to like it, but now I’m too old for that kind of shit. I love myself, so anyone else who loves me is a rival… laughter You can’t love me like I love me. Who do you think you are? You know the thing is, they say they love you, but if you do something they don’t want you to do… They love me, but I can’t go with another girl. “I want to go with the other girl” “Waaaah…” Man, I don’t want to hear this shit, so…

When you are young, sometimes you have heroes, sports heroes or movies star heroes or something like that. Movie stars, I never liked movie stars. Sports stars, yeah, I wanted to be a baseball player. You know baseball? With the bat and the ball…I used to like any kind of a sport or any kind of a thing where people admired you from a distance. They’re sitting in the stand and going, “Isn’t he Jimmy Fox…” But they don’t come too close, don’t touch me. One day I was waiting for the game to start, and I had the radio on, and I was looking around my room. In my room I had a lamp, it sat on my table, there was a bulb in it, there was a thing over the bulb, and there was a statue of a girl like that. I said, “Wow, that’s mine!” Mine, but what does that mean? It belongs to me, what can I do? What can I do with it? I can hold it, but it’s still separate. If I squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, I might break it, but it’s still not me. What is it, mine? What does it mean, mine? What does it mean what this guy does in the baseball game – these heroes? Jimmy Fox, and this one and that one, Ted Williams… What do I care what they do? Boston Red Sox, if the Boston Red Sox win or lose, what do I care? What does it have to do with me? No one I know is from Boston. And even if they were, what does it have to do with me? NOTHING. The only thing that matters to me is what I do, how I play baseball, not what they do when they play baseball. The only thing that matters is what you do, what I do, what you do…Want to hear any more depressing news? laughs

Kamakshi: Was this depressing?

Eddie: Ah no. When you get down to it sometimes, you know, it sounds depressing when you are getting rid of all your dreams…

Kamakshi: And where do you sell your book from? Where is your book available? Do you sell it?

Eddie: It’s on the net. I don’t want to fuck with publishers and all that, you know. Right now I can just write what I want to write and not have to… “You can’t do it this way, you see, because it won’t sell so good” (in a nasal American twang) I don’t care about selling anything.

Kamakshi: You must have met so many amazing people over the years. Would you like to share some story?

Fredo: Alejandro? Who was Alejandro?

Eddie: Yeah, yeah. I met him before Goa. I met him in a houseboat in Varanasi. I was dancing to the Indian music on the radio, and he said, “Ho ho, you are like my father. My father used to conduct orchestra, he used to put on the music and he would conduct orchestra…” (in a deep gruff voice)

Fredo: He was the king of Goa, no?

Eddie: He had a tough time, too much coke, coka coka. “I love my paranoia” he used to say (in a deep gruff voice) “I looove my paranoia” laughter He used to get paranoia. Oh yeah, there were a lot of original people in those days, huh.

Fredo: Trumpet Steve, Goa Gil… Everybody had kind of a nickname in that time.

Eddie: Yeah, yeah. Me too, my name’s not even Eddie… laughter

Kamakshi: Then what is it?

Eddie: If I say it, you’ll forget it.

Kamakshi: Oh, I don’t forget.

Eddie: What’s your name?

Kamakshi: Kamakshi

Eddie: Are you happy to be alive? Is there anything missing in your life?

Kamakshi: Yeah. But there’s also a lot more than I would have dreamed of ever… Especially here in Anjuna.. I feel more balanced here. I live in Poona, it’s a very special place, it used to be very lovely, but its become so congested with traffic and people. You come here, and its so relaxed, its really easy…

Eddie: Nobody wants to come here; nobody wants to come here… (in a crying sort of voice)

Fredo: Things are changing fast. Before when we came here, it was like everybody had dropped out, now the whole new generation is the opposite, nobody wants to drop out.

FULLMOONPARTY ANJUNA 1977

Eddie: That didn’t last long actually, dropping out. Enough people wanted to get rich. Stay in there and make that bread, man. That was acid, when the acid first hit. “I’m happy; I don’t have to go to work anymore… ” (singing) People were glad to meet me – when they were 20 years old and I was 40. They said “Look, look Eddie. He’s such freak at the age of 40, we don’t have to stop being freaks, man.” They thought by the time you are turning 30, you have to put on a suit and tie and get a job and become straight. They never realized there are other possibilities, you can become a bum, you know.

Fredo: Now people come by planes, before people were hitchhiking and going overland. Now the whole world got more covered, its more easy even in the working atmosphere.

Eddie: Yeah, they were willing to take chances, they were willing to go to India without any money, hitchhike to Delhi – from somewhere in Europe to Delhi, with no money in their pocket, come to India and beg.

Fredo: There was more sharing in that time…

Eddie: Nobody comes overland anymore. You can tell the difference between people who came overland and people who just flew in. Because if you come overland, you had to go through many countries before you get here. You had to get used to Turks, you had to get used to Afghans, you had to get used to Pakistanis, before you get used to North Indians, before you got to South India – a complete different experience. Coming overland then, you met people, and they invited you to their homes, or you had dinner with them, or you did this and you did that, more understanding of what’s going on here, you see. Just flying in, flying out, you don’t see much. In fact, Mrs. Gandhi at that time said, “We have two types of visitors in our country. There are these people who come and they stay, they rent a houseboat, they have binoculars, and they look at everything. And then we have other people, who come here, and they just have sneakers on their feet, and they walk around and meet people. We would like that second type, much better.”

Kamakshi: Wow, she said that…

Eddie: Following year she said one of the three major problems of India was the hippie problem laughs

Kamakshi: So much for that…

Eddie: The hippie problem… Though there were lots of hippies coming with no money, and lots of thefts, stealing, getting by…

Fredo: And drugs…

Kamakshi: But also a change in people, change of their perspective, and in their life…

Fredo: Yeah life is changing, it’s not staying the same

Eddie: There were not many couples when we first came…

Kamakshi: Oh yeah?

Eddie: Everybody was on their own; then couples came in, and it became kind of bourgeois (in a nasal whiny voice), “Ah you can’t do like this, you can’t feed all those people, you’re feeding thieves.” I fed everybody, anybody who came, I didn’t care. You steal, I don’t care. It’s your business, you steal, you murder, you do this or that. You need food, you take it. But other people, “You’re feeding all these people, you’re keeping them here, blah, blah, blah..” It became more and more bourgeois; I couldn’t do it any more.

Fredo: People were sharing, in the beginning of the hippie story, everybody was sharing. You just went to people with long hair, even when you traveled in Europe, in the beginning; people were hitchhiking to the North, to the South, to meet other people with long hair, and they took you home, you stayed with them…

Eddie: But there are these other types too, they didn’t like to take something, because they thought if I take something I will have to pay it back. So there would be food, or things to take, I’d say, “Come on, eat, man, eat.” They were afraid to take something, they didn’t want to reciprocate. I didn’t want anything back. But after a while after they stayed for a while, they got into it, because I didn’t have enough money to feed everybody, I was just full out there. I guess people were suspicious, “Why is he doing this? What’s the ulterior motive? What is he getting out of this? Ah he’s an old man, he’s afraid to be alone. And blah, blah, blah…” You know, things like that.

Fredo: In the beginning you had many people, around you…

Eddie: Yeah, yeah. When I would go to town to get a shave, all these people would be like, “Hey, hey Eddie, where are you going?” I’d say that I’m going to the barber’s shop. All the guys were coming because all the girls were at my place, the girls were coming because the guys were there, so…

Fredo: But there were many mothers and kids, and everybody was taking care of each other, very friendly vibration…

Eddie: Ah yeah. See that hand; I was born with that hand. No cuts. This should have been two fingers, and this should have been two fingers. See how much bigger this finger is than this, its two fingers. It should have been split up while I was in my mother’s womb, I guess, but it didn’t happen. I think the strength of five fingers is in three, so strong, this hand…

Fredo: I found a kid in Poona, we have a cobbler in one corner, always a very nice guy, I take him my shoes. You go to other cobblers; they tell you 100-150 rupees. And this guy, the opposite – 10 rupees, 15 rupees, very nice guy. He sits on the corner and he does all this. And I really like the guy, so whenever he says 10 rupees, I give him 20 rupees. And then one day, he says this is my kid. A nice kid, about 8-10 years old, and he says he has a problem. He has his fingers like this, grown together. Then we started to ask some friends, are there any organizations that takes care of this, some NGO. Then one day one friend of mine said you just go to Google, go to NGO Poona. And we saw one in the neighbourhood, in Hadapsar. I phoned and talked to a few people and they said, yeah, we do this kind of thing. They said who’s the guy? I said the guy he’s a cobbler, he’s poor. For these people they do it special. So we got this guy connected, and the people came to see; and now they are going to do the operation. First the kid has to go to school, finish his exams and things like that and next month they’re gonna operate him. But did you have somebody in the family, maybe which had that also?

Eddie: I have four brothers and sisters, they all have ten fingers, I used to keep my hands in my pockets so people wouldn’t notice. ”Why do you only have two fingers on your hand?” (in an old crone’s voice ) I would say, “Why do you have five?”

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