Is there more to these connections than a writer stuck in Ketchum, Idaho with nothing better to do?
The Internet has afforded amazing opportunity for those with idle time; people who have waited all their lives to spend days in the dark, hunched over, downloading “Knight Rider” audio clips, now have a sense of purpose.
The perception that the Internet is somehow a technological advancement, however, is all wrong. It is, in fact, a new religion, worshipping the irrelevant and obtuse. Only recently have I come to accept this fact of modern spirituality. And more recently have decided to participate in the Great Electronic Prayer myself.
Enter the recent “Wizard of Oz”/Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” phenomenon which has swept web sites faster than a photo of Frank Gifford with a nude flight attendant. According to the theory, pushing play simultaneously on both the video and album produces a startling set of coincidences throughout the experience. Both instrumental and Roger Waters’ spoken performances pair up with the Frank Baum classic, for a spooky vision. (According to people who’ve actually given it a run, the result is pretty downright trippy, though there may be some chemical involvement, as well.)
In my own modern sacrament, I wanted to check this out; unfortunately, I had neither “Wizard”, nor “Moon” on hand. What I had were the Kenau Reeves and Patrick Swayze action surf-noire “Point Break” and Southern rock’s finest dead guys, Lynyrd Skynyrd. I chose the live album “One More From The Road” for the sheer power of the Lynyrd concert experience in Atlanta, 1976. And because it has such a bitchin’ version of “Free Bird” — 20,000 drunk rednecks can’t be wrong.
What follows are the haunting correlations between the two seemingly disparate works of art:
1. Perfectly timed applause as young Johnny Utah (Kenau Reeves) bursts into the FBI Los Angeles headquarters. Soon thereafter, a stern G-man lectures Johnny as the lyric, “We want you to sign the contract” (“Workin’ for MCA”) plays.
2. Special Agent Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey) shoves Johnny Utah on a Mulholland cliff as Ronnie Van Zant croons, “You’re trying to throw a hook on me” (“I Ain’t the One”).
3. Johnny takes the wash cycle learning to surf before love-interest Tyler Endicott comes to his rescue. Lynyrd foretells, “Help me, mister wise man, I’m feelin’ blue” (“Searching”).
4. Johnny later scopes Tyler changing into Daisy Duke cut-offs in the parking lot with FBI-issue binoculars. Between the brilliant country-blues cuts on Allen Collins’s guitar, “Searchin’ to find my mournin’ dove” (“Searching”) eerily accents the moment.
5. As Johnny exhaults in the grandeur of his first wave, Ronnie Van Zant again crystallizes the mood, singing, “When this train ends/ I’ll try again” (“Tuesday’s Gone”) .
6. “Two feets come a creepin’/ like a black cat do” (“Saturday Night Special”) as Special Agent Pappas, clad in garish 80’s, JC Penny’s surf clothes (replete with clam-diggers) sneaks up on random surfer dudes to collect hair samples.
7. Surf party!! As full-on kegger rages, shredders with pirate bandannas perform air guitar and wag their tongues to, “Women, whiskey, and miles of travel is all I’ll ever know” (Whiskey Rock-A-Roller”).
(Note: Unfortunately, no discernible coincidences during the beloved classic “Sweet Home Alabama” havve yet been found. Watch for updates right here on SOL).
8. As real-life surfer Vince Klynn attempts to jam Johnny Utah’s face into the blur of a running lawnmower blade, Lynyrd Skynyrd aptly observes, “This might be all for you” (“Gimme Three Steps”).
9. As Johnny and Pappas, who are both white, plan their next move, Ronnie calls out “C’mon Honky!” to Atlanta between “Gimme Three Steps” and “Call Me The Breeze”.
10. As Bodhi (Patrick Swayze), disguised in a Ronald Reagan mask, leads Johnny and Special Agent Pappas on a high-speed chase through the streets and aqueducts of L.A., Skynyrd proclaims, “I got that green light, baby/ I got to keep movin’ on” (“Call Me the Breeze”).
11. Johnny spins at the last moment firing his pistol into the air, allowing Bodhi to escape from a lofty barbed-wire perch in a moment of anguish and uncertainty. Skynyrd, again with prescient timing sings, “Pull the trigger to the moon” (“The Needle And The Spoon”).
12. After their version of Delta blues classic “Crossroads”, Van Zant asks the crowd, “What is it you want to hear??!!.” The crowd, of course, responds “Free Bird!” Moments after Van Zant yells “I can’t hear you!” At the same moment Bodhi mouths the exact same phrase to Johnny Utah as they skydive into the California groundscape. Whoa. You, of course, can hear neither Bodhi, nor Utah; only the magic of Skynyrd.
13. At this point, during the moving epilogue of “Free Bird” Johnny, Bodhi, and the whole crew of renegade surfer dudes break into a synchronized sky diving segment that moves seamlessly to the subtle keyboard work of Gary Rossington. Hard not to get misty here at the end.
14. Although the album ends about twenty minutes prior to the conclusion of “Point Break”, I believe this was an intended act to heighten tension as Johnny Utah is swept up in a bank robbery, love affair, and a divergence of loyalties.
After review, it is now clear that Ronnie Van Zant actually wrote the screenplay for “Point Break” under the pseudonym W. Peter Illif. He performed the concert in Atlanta as an underground soundtrack shortly before his death in a tragic plane crash. Years later, the script was uncovered and developed into a major studio picture.
In addition, there is a definite alien connection regarding inter-galactic colonization by the Greys for the exploitation of universal boron-mining rights. But we’ll talk to The Man about these matters next time…