‘Mod Squad’ Star Peggy Lipton on the Monterey International Pop Festival 

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In our Peggy Lipton Interview: “We went to hear Ravi Shankar. I remember I left my body. That was it for me.”

Actress/singer Peggy Lipton co-starred as Julie Barnes in the counterculture television series The Mod Squad from 1968-1973, and earned a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in 1971.

Over a 50-year career, Lipton also acted in numerous movies and TV spots, including The F.B.I., Mr. Novak, The Invaders, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and, in the early ’90s, David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.

Peggy Lipton, who died in 2019, was a big rock fan, and I did this interview with her about her experiences attending the June 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. Her comments follow.

“I was 21 and went up to the Monterey International Pop Festival with my best friend, who I had known since I was 16, Allen Warnick. He was a renaissance man, a decorator and an actor and tight with Jack Nicholson. He later had a part in Chinatown. We were so much on the same page so I felt safe with him.  He was my biggest supporter and booster. Years later Allen even fixed me up with Quincy [Jones, to whom Lipton was married from 1974-89].

David Crosby (l.) of the Byrds and Richie Furay of Buffalo Springfield at the Monterey Pop Festival

“Allen and I stopped at a motel and Stephen Stills and David Crosby were rehearsing in this room. I loved Buffalo Springfield. I used to see them at the Whisky a Go Go and I loved the Byrds. I saw them at Ciro’s and dated the drummer, Michael Clarke. I adored him. One of the reasons I went was because the Byrds were there.

“Laura Nyro played a night at Monterey. Nobody got her. She was my roots. She was doo-wop. When I look back, Lou [Monterey co-producer Lou Adler] really got her. I met Laura and went to her concert. She was my idol. I saw her musically as something that was incredible. I met Laura in 1968 or ’69 at Clive Davis’ house in New York. The first album More Than a New Discovery had been out.

“Monterey reached its climax for me in the early afternoon and there was a light drizzle and we went to hear Ravi Shankar. I remember I left my body. That was it for me. It was beautiful, peaceful and chilled everybody out. Ravi transported me. It was gently raining and he transported everybody. We were all taken there. It was like we were put on a spaceship and driven to another planet.

Watch Ravi Shankar’s Monterey performance

“[After] Ravi Shankar, I relaxed. I was finished with backstage nerves and I got out there with everyone. That’s when it rained and I released all of it. In the crowd I was like everybody else at Monterey. But on the heels of Monterey things were different for me, starting in 1968. Before The Mod Squad, I was anonymous, [but] I felt like a different person when I came home from Monterey. It changed me. I felt we were all on the same page. We’re all going for the same music. And yet there was a loss of innocence. You would hear Love’s ‘Little Red Book,’ a Burt Bacharach and Hal David song, on the radio, and go to the music shop and pick it up as a single. We can’t even do that anymore.

“Besides Ravi Shankar, the other total thrill we had was Otis Redding. He was electric! I think I forgot about Sir Paul [McCartney] during that performance. I secretly hoped Paul would show up. Maybe that’s why I even went, and maybe that’s why I was such a friggin’ wreck. I was so nervous. It was about Paul McCartney. I loved music my whole life and was into the music, but I was there to see Paul McCartney (laughs). Oh my God, I feel so bad now (laughs).”

The interview with Peggy Lipton continues: “I think with the Monterey Pop international Pop Festival everybody was brought together in a very loving way. It still had the stamp of we love music and we want to be around music and we want all of us to be the same. Yes, we can idolize our people but we’re really all the same. Because we are the music.

“And then after that I felt change. Things were consolidated. Like, OK, every weird person I loved now everybody loves them. That’s what I think changed the most, when it became exposed. Jimi Hendrix, Laura Nyro. That’s when it changed. Even though I came back from Monterey with a feeling of love and music, and we’re all on the same page, it was also like, ‘OK. Everyone knows about this. This was not a hidden thing, just a little concert on a hill.’

“This was a major commercial ‘Let’s put it out there.’ And so I felt both. I felt connected more with the music and also it had changed. And it was different for the people at Monterey and the music of Monterey, too. The business changed after Monterey.”

Lipton recorded a cover of Donovan’s 1967 song “Wear Your Love Like Heaven.”

Harvey Kubernik

3 Comments so far

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  1. Mack
    #1 Mack 2 June, 2023, 08:07

    Cool article. We all knew about Monterey. I think I was 16 and living in the NE. I did make it to Woodstock a couple of years later. To see the Beatles. Ha.

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  2. ekw
    #2 ekw 4 June, 2023, 00:12

    When was this interview? She sounds (well, reads) so much a hippie girl of the times!

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  3. Kevasaurus
    #3 Kevasaurus 31 August, 2023, 15:28

    We were in fifth grade together. She was one of the cool kids.

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