When The Mamas & The Papas first dropped LSD, they decided to take a trip of a different kind. With their head’s full of acid they came up with the plan that a designated member of the group would close their eyes and jab a finger at a globe.
There is more than a hint of a suspicion that the designated pointer might have had more of their senses left about them than they were letting on because, as opposed to winding up in the frigid tundra or some industrial town, they happened to pick out paradise on earth: The Virgin Islands.
A coterie of West Coast hippies soon flew out to the idyllic island including a five-year-old MacKenzie Phillips, the daughter of chief songwriter John Phillips and Susan Adams. For the next few weeks, they camped on the beach, drinking rum out of halved coconuts, and pushing credit cards to the sort of limits that only Takeshi’s Castle contestants usually have to endure.
At first, owing to justified financial concerns, Cass Elliot had not been able to join her bandmates and Californian cohorts on the trip, but eventually, she managed to secure a job at one of the Island’s restaurants. Determined not to arrive empty-handed she allegedly traversed her local L.A. boroughs before boarding the flight and managed to secure a quart of liquid LSD to take along with her.
Now, a little bit of research places a quart’s worth of LSD at around 1million hits of acid at a standard dosage during that heady potent era. That sounds like an awful lot of acid for 15 people in what turned out to be only about a five-week stay on the peaceful island.
However, during that roughly five-week stay tripping balls in paradise, they managed to concoct some of their greatest songs. While record-keeping was not a high priority for the vacation, so the details of tracks that they triumphantly conjured on the island are very hazy, the classic ‘Creeque Alley’ in reference to the famed Caribbean landmark is certainly one that came from the trip.
The aforementioned track contains the classic line “Greasin’ on American Express cards/It’s low rent but keepin’ out the heat’s hard.” As well as a reference to the bubbly lead vocalist of the group in the line, “And no one’s getting fat except Mama Cass,” which she unflinchingly allowed to make it to the final cut of the 1967 record Deliver.
When they had exhausted the uses of paradise. They bought a car and made their back across the ocean and embarked on the long old drive back home to California where a studio and the glory of being one of the most defining bands of the sixties awaited them.