When I was introduced to Shipen he was just about to embark on a journey of survival on the British Island of St. Lucia, staying in the wild away from the tourist areas and hotels and such. I recall that part of his quest was to quit tobacco too. Anyway, Shipen came over to my apartment one afternoon before he left and we had a great get together, drinking bancha tea, and exchanging musical, philosophical, and social ideas.
Over the spring months, John and I became good friends and we wrote some tunes together and talked for hours about community ideals. Around May or so an "Employment as Butler and Housekeeper" scheme in White Plains that my girlfriend and I were hoping to net went belly-up and fell through. I had already given the word to my roommates that I was leaving town so my roommate thing evaporated and I "emigrated" from the West Side across the Hudson to East Orange, New Jersey for my period of exile from New York. The move did get me in closer contact to the other guys in a potentially-happening rock band affair I was having called Sweet Ginger. The rest of the band were all from some place called Livingston, way out west in Jersey, and I wasn't quite ready to abandon that possibility of fame, and do the roots thing and return to England.
In early June, Broadway John managed to get a message to me and invited me to be a part of his experimental musical theater/commune near New Paltz. Thrilled to be freed from suburban New Jersey, I jumped at the idea! So that summer we created the Mushroom Commune in High Falls in upstate New York. One weekend in August, on one of those glorious sparkling, full summer kinda days that feels like it could last for a lifetime, Shipen came to visit the commune. He had recently returned from his sojourn in St. Lucia. He easily assimilated the lifestyle of the commune and set up a lovely blue canvas tent in the field by the river in the midst of the Mushroom village of tents. His was a big 9-foot ceiling teepee-like home, adorned with colourful carpets, iconic images and sounds, incense, flutes, pictures of Avatars and saints. We shared some quiet times together and although he said he would not be staying more than a week, I should be sure to come and visit him if I was ever back in the City.
Thus we continued on week after week. This idyllic "Second Summer of Love" culminated in "sold out" performances in glorious weather on a big field right by Woodstock town over Labor Day weekend and the weekend following, which were the crowning Mushroom experiences. Our gigantic Spaceship-like performance tent was filled to capacity with singers, musicians, dancers, fans and revelers of all sorts. The Mushroom was a grand success.