An ad for Far Out ("Louisiana's Head Shop Department Store") advertises "GROOVY CLOTHES FOR GROOVY PEOPLE" — where you'll find fringe jackets, leather vests, fur coats and "Papers and Pipes of All Types." Inside the first issue of In Your Ear!, The Warehouse's in-house zine, you'll also find ads for 8-track tape players, records ("You heard them in person, now hear them every night in your own pad") and psychedelic radio programs, all in between profiles of bands headlining opening night at The Warehouse.
Inside In Your Ear! — published January 1970 for the Warehouse's first gig with the Grateful Dead, Fleetwood Mac and the Flock — Michael Lydon writes of the Dead: "Certainly they are the weirdest, black satanic weird and white archangel weird. As weird as anything you can imagine, like some horror comic monster, who besides being green and slimy, happens to have seven different heads, a 190 IQ, countless decibels of liquid noise fire communication, and is coming right down to where you are to gobble you up."
The first issue's cover art? A star-eyed longhair with lightning shooting from his ears. A cop looks on with a thought bubble: "Hmm... A touch of sun."
"It was an amazing time," says co-editor Karen Olivier. "If ever a generation was defined by its music, it was that one."
The free, long-out-of-print, almost-monthly music magazine (Bill Johnston: "Who knows when it came out. It just came out when it came out") was published more as a safety net to calm the nerves of touring musicians than a promotional rag for The Warehouse.
"It was aggravating. A lot of groups that came in — they didn't get played on the radio," says Bill Johnston, Warehouse founder and In Your Ear! publisher. "I can't tell you all the words I used, but I said 'We have to start a publication.' And (graphic designer and co-editor Ed Crepps) said 'You're right.' I told him what I wanted to call it, he said, 'We can't call it that, but we can call it In Your Ear!.'"
Olivier, who would later go on to work in the art department at Rolling Stone in 1974, remembers illustrating the magazine with Crepps, "the mastermind behind the design," and soliciting articles to print. "I wrote some, and people would contribute recipes, book reviews, all sorts," she says. But the work was pro-bono. "Strictly volunteer," she says. Olivier also came up with contest ideas — "If you donated an 8-by-10 rug, you'd get two free tickets," she remembers. "It was all 'sit on the floor.' The rugs got fairly nasty over time and had to be replaced now and then."
In Your Ear! also published community events and rally information and hosted voter registration drives. "If there was something going on, there was a call to get involved, whether it was political or a concert or just about anything," she says.
Rolling Stone in 1974 wasn't as accommodating. "It was a universe entirely unto itself," Olivier says. "A big deal. They weren't really concerned about anything going on outside of San Francisco and New York City. But I was a peon, so what do I know." — Alex Woodward