ROCK N’ ROLL SOLDIER STEVE “THE HAWK” HARNADEK: DENNIS THOMPSON
I just heard on Monday of the passing of Steve “The Hawk” Harnadek. A friend caught the write up in the Detroit Free Press Obits section on Monday July 27th, and called me about it.
This is a sad day for me. Steve was my best friend during the early MC5 days. We would slip out of the MC5 house on tens of occasions to have some good fun. Just the two of us, but sometimes Michael would go with us. We especially loved going to the Stooges house for fun and games. We had to get out of the MC5’s band house at times just to get away.
So today I got hit with the concept of the shifting sands of personal priorities. I was feeling a bit angry that morning and afraid. Afraid of losing my father.
Boy, you can plan for the day, like a to-do list, or whatever, but indeed, you cannot plan for outcomes. No matter your intentions, be they good, bad, or indifferent, the capricious vector of random chance will lead the way of your day.
Everyone I know and work with was kind of depressed and feeling blue this day. Strange…& Never fails. If your expectations are rigid and inflexible, you will experience pain when they do not arise as you planned. Better to stay loose, rolling with life’s punches.
The level of your inner peace and serenity is in direct proportion to your level of expectation. A man in the pursuit of peace will always expect the unexpected. At all times.
Ever prepared for that dismaying phone call, or that unannounced visit from a relative or friend, or bad news such as a good friend passing away. Steve was an essential part of our crew. He constantly kept me laughing to the point of tears.
He had great little quips like “Strictly weird”, and “O-mind”, (meaning a person was totally out of it smashed.) He watched our backs like a bodyguard. He worked his ass off. He was a joy to be with. I will miss him dearly. Our crew consisted of the Five, John Sinclair, our manager, Steve and two or three road men. Last but not least, Jessie Crawford, (our Spiritual Advisor).
Actually, Jesse was really our great friend and all around helper and made us laugh all the time. His main gig was to introduce the band on stage. “Brother’s and sisters, the time has come for each and everyone of you to decide if you are going to be the problem or the solution, It takes five seconds, etc…”
After introducing the band we would run on stage to a huge roar from the crowd and then Jessie would run and get behind me and the drums. I would break 10 to 20 sticks per show, (to drummers, they were 2B size) and Jess would hand another stick to me the instant I broke one. Thanks Jessie wherever you are. So, like today, we had a 10/12 man gang.
Here is a good Steve, Wayne & Dennis story. It was in the rolling hills of San Francisco Marin County where we were staying a few days at the famous Dr. Timothy Leary’s home. “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out” was his mantra. He passed away in 1996.
He was gracious enough to put us up while we were on tour there. Sorry we drove you and your wife nuts Doc. The three of us were in a rented Mustang and we were high on multiple choice drugs headed back to the Doc’s house from a night of mischief on the town. We were driving on a twisting two lane road populated with all these expensive homes. I was in the back seat and we were all laughing and joking around.
Then I got this goofy idea..
“Hey Steve.” (he was driving and I was in the back seat) “You gotta sing “Mary Had A Little Lamb” in falsetto and I’m gonna put my hands over your eyes and Wayne will tell you how to turn.” Insanity a-go-go right?
So he starts singing “Mary had a little lamb…” in this high pitched, squeaky falsetto voice and would get in a couple words and then he started to laugh hysterically. I took my hands off his eyes and shouted, “C’mon man! Get it right!”
So we do it again and he almost made it through the whole tune, and then he drove straight off the road. The next thing was “KABOOM!!!” We were parked 30 feet below the road we were on in this guy’s garden! Fortunately we landed square on all four wheels. BABOOM!! CRASH!!!
The guy comes runnin’ out and says “What the f**k is going on here!” “I’m calling the police!” he screamed. We were stunned for a minute but the LSD was so good we all started to laugh again. Talk about crazy…
Well, the cops come and we bullsh*tted our way out of any type of ticket. We sobered up enough to put on the dog. We were very good at this type of instant changing. Actually I think we were all changelings.
We told him the car’s lights went out and we couldn’t see for a few seconds and before we could stop we went over the cliff. We all acted shook up and scared.
We told him who we were, (The MC5) and dutifully put him on the guest list plus two for the ballroom show the next night. The officer called a tow truck for us.
The poor guy’s garden was totally ruined, and he threatened to sue us. He never did. I think we gave him a hundred bucks. We made it back to Dr. Leary’s house in one piece and laughed a long time about our adventure.
This was my Steve.
So, be on guard incessantly. Just calmly at the ready. Let your will try and control the day. Any day. You will pay. Trust this. There are costs attached to everything.
The less you cling to this material world, and the less addicted you are to sensual, emotional and physical instant gratification, the freer you will be. Anger needs to be tamed. Anger needs to be recognized, and addressed. The same with fear. Fear of all bents and persuasions.
These two menacing and all pervasive human antagonists are always poised backstage to come to the fore, and lead your show. Anger turned inward creates depression.
We really need to understand ourselves and our personal relation to fear and anger. Let your imagination be your guide. Taking an in-depth honest approach to your demons gives you the power to see a hell of a lot more clearly than to assume all is well. It is not. Not one of us alive is not in some way struggling with these two ogres.
Listen to yourself. Quiet down and rest your thoughts with some silence each day. Upon awakening, tell yourself the day is going to be a good day no matter what happens. Practice this continuously on a daily basis. You will be amazed at how the bare practicing of letting anger and fear go, will smooth the rough edges and balm your inner soul.
Some will say this is the age of sedation. Doctors in this country are very quick to provide a prescription drug to relax you, alleviate your sadness, your depression. Do cats and dogs need Prozac? Do cows need Zoloft? Do birds require a minimum of 1000 milligrams of Oxycontin to get through their extremely busy day of all that flying and food foraging? You can answer that one.
The older I get, the less I presume to know. But I can tell you this, drugs and alcohol are not the solution. They are a symptom of the problem.
Emerson said it best. “Simplify, simplify, simplify!” Oh, what divine wisdom he befell. Hell, it’s just too simple to be true.
Steven ‘Hawk” Harnadek, 61, passed away July 19, 2009, at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. Cremation arrangements entrusted to J. Gilbert Purse Funeral Home, Adrian.