“I’d guard nuclear weapons by night then party at Haight-Ashbury in the daytime”
movement. Issued on the tiny Accent label, the album failed to find its audience. “They promoted it in the way that they would a Patti Page reissue, because that’s all they knew,” McMahon says of the record company. “It just sank like a stone.”
he continued to gig with covers bands on the West Coast bar scene, before finally moving to hawaii. The tipping point came in 1974. “To make a living, you had to go down to Waikiki Boulevard, put on the white pants and Aloha shirt and play Don ho songs for grandmothers,” he recalls. “Onstage one night, listening to the ice cubes clinking and the old women talking, I had an epiphany. I finished the gig, put my guitar away and got a job overseas.” McMahon became a systems expert in the navy, then spent 25 years as a computer field engineer, playing in “rockabilly/psych jam bands” in his spare time.
Now, though, nearly half a century after first unloading Spirit
Of The Golden Juice, the 71-yearold’s time may finally have come. “If you close your eyes and listen to the lyrics, nothing’s really changed,” he figures, adding that he’s already been contacted about playing more live shows. “People seem to identify with that record. The way this is going, who the heck knows what’s going to happen next?” Rob HugHes Spirit Of The Golden Juice is available again on August 11 via the Anthology label