Going up for sale soon and just the tip of the iceberg really on what I am holding: The Steven Hager Archives.
Need to find a landing spot while I can still function, and where it will be put to good use.
1963 to 1969
Letters, drawings, short stories, artwork and memorabilia, including the only complete copy of The Tin Whistles, created in 1968. The material covers the emergence of garage rock and hippies in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Few realize the first real psychedelic anthem was The Finchley Boys “Only Me,” never released and written early in 1966, a song that deployed eastern-tinged scales and feedback to great mystical effect. The band was whisked out to San Francisco and momentarily adopted by the trailblazing Cockettes as “the next big thing.” Written by 15-year-old Mark Warwick, “Only Me” was never the same after Warwick left the band. Champaign became counterculture mecca in part because John Cage was living and working there, creating his most impressive ceremonies. Bob Nutt and Irv Azof (of Live Nation fame) became promoters for the local teen rock bands, which included the Knight Riders, for whom I played bass. Also includes documents involving the entrapment case a State Narcotics Taskforce put on me, a case never successfully prosecuted, just held over me for two years waiting in vain for me to cave and go State’s Evidence against my counterculture cohorts. All underground newspaper publishers were subjected to similar ops, unless they were created by the FBI’s Cointelpro in the first place.
Exile to Sweden, thanks to a low draft number, where I lived out my down-and-out in Stockholm fantasies, bought an antique used typewriter and began churning out philosophical musings, some of which involved CIA penetrations on the deserter movement, a wing of which was connected to LSD trafficking. The most notorious dealer had been jailed just prior to my arrival. Penniless, and on a one-way ticket, I bluffed my way through customs wearing a skimmer, carrying a silver-tipped cane, and wearing an improvised outfit out of a bygone era. “I’m here to inspect Stockholm University to see if I want to attend,” was all I told them. I ended up as an extra in the film on Joe Hill and nearly scored a speaking role as the costume crew took a liking to me.
College journalism, first at San Francisco City College, then playwriting at the University of Illinois. My one-act play was invited to the prestigious National College Theatre Festival and garnered a standing ovation. My plays were heavily influenced by Anton Chekhov and Samuel Beckett. Then it was back to journalism as I picked up a Master of Science degree from the University of Illinois. My thesis project was an examination of the recently created anti-abortion movement, which included a visit with the founder of the movement in St. Louis, Phyllis Schafly.
Professional journalism begins, first at Showbusiness Newspaper, the seedy underbelly of the theater business, led by the notorious Leo Shull. A procession of magazine jobs followed before arriving at the Daily News, where I began writing about hip hop in 1980, collecting massive interview recordings from the major creators and then publishing the first history on the subject while landing a film deal with Orion, which became the groundbreaking “Beat Street.” From there I began interviewing leading figures emerging in the art world, including Jean Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf and published the influential “Art After Midnight” so hated by someone at St. Martins Press they shredded thousands of copies only to see the value rise astronomically in a few years. It remains the best document of the East Village art scene.
Started working with High Times and rose to Editor-in-Chief in a few years, while launching a parade of movements, starting with the hemp movement, the medical marijuana movement, the home cultivation with Dutch seeds movement, the Sea-of-Green cultivation technique that transformed indoor cultivation, and led the emergence of Amsterdam as the world cannabis capital. I also founded a legendary garage-revival band, the Soul Assassins, who began performing at major rallies. Began doing college debates with the former head of NYC DEA, and ended up visiting 400 colleges, and videotaped nearly every debate. Switched from taping interviews to recording everything on video, especially the ceremonies. After creating numerous events, like the Cannabis Cup, WHEE!, the Stonys, the Doobies, the World Marijuana Film Festival, I assembled video crews to live mix four-camera shoots in anticipation of streaming events on the internet. Wrote a screenplay based on my garage rock days titled “The Runaways,” and planned a $100k production but failed to raise the funds although a successful reading was staged at the Living Theater to much applause. I launched a parody of “Survivor” titled “Cannabis Castaways” that became so popular it crashed the website repeatedly. The focus of many events was injecting a dose of clean spirituality into the cannabis freedom movement and deploying 420 as the spearhead on that effort.
The video crews were needed to document my belief that holding peace ceremonies could foster a template for passing responsible cannabis culture down to the next generation and prove the case of religious use. I planned to send this case to the Supreme Court using the video as evidence, along with my investigations into the history of religion, and how cannabis’ essential part in creating most religions had strangely been written out of history. In 1990, I wrote the first national magazine article explaining how the CIA killed JFK, and then assembled the greatest investigative journalism team High Times money could buy, a list that included Paul Krassner, Dick Russell, Peter Gorman, Mike Ruppert, Dan Hopsicker, and Robert Anton Wilson. Strangely, both campaigns created immense pushback from the bosses at High Times, although it took them years to figure out a way to declaw and erase me.
Created “The Tin Whistle” blog now with millions of views, and self-published a series of books on culture, politics and cannabis, including “Killing Kennedy,” “Killing Lincoln,” “Hip Hop Archives,” “1966,” “Cannabis, Magic & Religion.” Since zero of my original script of “Beat Street” was used (too much sex and drugs), I rewrote it as “Looking For the Perfect Beat,” and hope to see it produced some day.
Released a book of my songs with lyrics and chords. Made numerous short videos and built a Youtube site with millions of views.
I own the rights to all my journalism, books and video, including all work I did with High Times, and have the largest archive of High Times related material, including maps to where all the bodies were buried, and the keys to understanding why my investigative journalism, as well as my campaign for spiritual rights may have upset the powers-that-be.
Not long after my departure, High Times began losing millions of dollars annually.
Meanwhile, I became a specialist in navigating the fake conspiracy network which I call the Tin Foil Hat Patrol, something deployed to discredit legitimate deep state research.