Ninjas Vs. Hippies: 1975 Drum Circle Massacre, of 1975
(click to enlarge) (artwork courtesy Matt Maloney — mybigmuddy)
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY in 1975 violence marred the largest ever gathering of drum circle enthusiasts at Hippie Hill, inside of Golden Gate park in San Francisco, CA. It stands as the high water mark for ninja on hippie violence in the long standing embitterment between the two factions.
Organized by a local chapter of Moonies, the event aimed to raise public awareness of the discriminatory “shirt/service” policy practiced by hundreds of truckstop diner’s in the American South and Southwest. The day began with a 15 minute group drum beat performed by an estimated 50 participants all using Ashiko drums purchased for them by an anonymous donor rumored to have been singer Pat Boone. The event was to conclude with a celebratory percussive jam led-on by Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart who had very recently rejoined the band after a several years hiatus. But mid-way through the day, during an est-inspired bongo jamboree, the event would be indelibly marked by bloodshed.
A covert team of blind assasins known only as “The Invisible Fist” revealed themselves from amid the crowd and deliberately executed 43 members of the drum circle and a local housewife who had heard the rhythms and stumbled into the park by chance. The entire spree of violence lasted only an estimated 12 minutes with none of the perpetrators apprehended.
References in popular culture
The events of the 1975 Drum Circle Massacre, of 1975 has seen it have a cultural influence in society which has spawned many references.
- The title track and 1986 Genesis album Invisible Touch was a reference to “The Invisible Fist,” the cadre of ninja assassins on that day, and the song itself featured lyrics inspired by the event including the lines: “Well Ive been waiting, waiting here so long/But thinking nothing, nothing could go wrong/ooh now I know”
- In the spring of 2001 leading drum manufacturer Remo announced a limited edition drum kit labeled the “Good Vibes Assassin” to mark the 16th-year anniversary of the massacre. The “Vibes Assassin” debuted on-stage during a Phish concert at The Webster Theater in Hartford, CT, highlighted with a surprise appearance by former Vice President Al Gore who accompanied drummer Jon Fishman and the rest of the band on a cover version of the Grateful Dead song “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodleloo.”
- The 1981 ABC television show Tie-Dye Ninja about a family of Hippies in suburban Connecticut who house a teenage Ninja as part of an exchange program featured a V.S.E. (very special episode) entitled “Little Drummer Boy.” The plot centered around the character of Steven Rosepopper, the dad on the show, who returns home early from work one day only to be surprised by the return of his long lost half-brother Gene (played by Peter Scolari), a survivor of the Drum Circle Massacre who develops obvious problems with the Rosepopper’s new houseguest Naruto.
- Actor Val Kilmer invokes the memory of Peach Casper, the first victim of the Drum Circle Massacre, during a presentation at the 2006 AFI Spirit Awards in New York.
- Animal motivational speaker Michael Neal refers to the massacre as “the high water mark for ninja on hippie violence” on the articulate and groundbreaking web site SlapClap.com.