Charlie Brown Artman is not a Montana musician. He did, however spend a couple of months in Missoula during the fall quarter of 1966.
Listen here: Charlie Brown – Earl Durand (1966)
Charlie released one album on Smithsonian Folkways in 1966: Teton Tea Party with Charlie Brown
During Charlie Brown’s (aka Charles Artman) travels he befriended mountain climbers in the Tetons of Wyoming. The Teton Tea Parties were initially led by Billy Briggs in the Jackson Hole area (later led by Charlie in Berkeley) and consisted of all night folk music playing events for climbers and musicians that would later reach “mythical status as a sort of mountaineering Woodstock”. This album, recorded in 1966, features anecdotes about, and inspirations from, his travels. The songs are accompanied with dulcimer, banjo and, even, musical saw (like in “Down in the Valley” on which he also yodels).
The following are Kaimin articles that detail his time in Missoula.
Montana Kaimin – Wednesday, October 12, 1966
Charlie Speaks of Cabbages
By Geogianna Kavanagh
“I become a green cell in a plant. That’s how we all are–we’re all green cells in a plant together.” So said Charlie Brown Artman in describing his sensations while under the influence of LSD. Artman’s talk skittered from one subject to another and back. He professes belief in Christianity and referred several times to “J.C.” He is much enamored of LSD, said it had done more for him than anything else and that 20 percent of the students at the University of California at Berkeley had taken the “acid.” Good and bad, according to Artman, are relative to the goal you are seeking and whatever role you are playing. He has also come to believe in staying away from agriculture barns in Bozeman after losing about one third of his shoulder length hair to five MSU students recently.
Charlie Brown’s dress was not conventional. He wore tight twill pants patched at the knee by a tailor of undisputed amateur status, a shirt with full zippered pockets across the front giving him a lumpy paunch, and a circular water-repellent taffeta cape. Around his neck he wore a primitively fashioned cross on a crude chain and a thong strung with oddments such as sheep bones and peach pits. His other jewelry included a thong strung with bells that was tied around his waist.
Before and after his talk, Artman sang in a deteriorating Grand Ol’ Opery style, accompanying himself on the zither. Students were draped on all available wall and floor space and as the evening wore on, he found himself speaking almost directly into the feet of students spread full length on the floor in front of him.
The crowd of about 1,200 students waited an hour for the geared batman to appear. Announcements by Tom Behan, ASUM president, and Lee Tickell, Program Council Chairman, kept the group informed on progress in getting the speaker out of jail. Reports of charges varied. Tickell said Artman was arrested for driving without a license and with invalid plates. Behan mentioned driving the wrong way on a one-way street, while the defendant said it was speeding.
Montana Kaimin – Charlie to Stay Awhile
By Georgianna Kavanagh
He’ll probably stay around for awhile yet. Charles Brown Artman plans to stay in Missoula, at least for a few days. He must get his truck licensed before taking it out on the highway again, and besides, there is that matter of his $54 bail money.
Artman was in the Kaimin office yesterday and elaborated a bit on his past and present activities. He is a guest in a private Missoula home, which illustrates his usual way of life–living on money and goods given to him by others. He attended Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, as a freshman and later spent “two summer sessions and almost two semesters” on the Berkeley campus of the University of California. He quit there, he said, so he could begin to study and learn.
Much of the education he says he is now getting comes from talking with people, observing them and trying to figure our why they act as they do. He also reads books by those he considers to be great thinkers.
He listed three such books: a volume on orgonomy by Wilhelm Reich, a contemporary of Freud; a scientology book by L. Ron Hubbard; and works of Emmanuel Swedenborg, a 19th century scientist who, Artman said, spoke with angels who taught him and showed him the world of the spirit.
He does a lot of thinking with Indians, too, having taken part in a Shoshone sun dance after fasting for three days and nights and munching peyote.
Yesterday, Artman was seen around the campus in the company of several new-found friends, walking or sitting in the Lodge talking quietly. He also digested the Kaimin coverage of his appearance, which he considered unfair. He said he found Missoula quite hospitable and had found several new friends here. He said he was prepared to stay awhile in our new jail and actually seemed disappointed that he hadn’t been retained there.
ASUM President Tom Behan’s most vivid impression of the visit of Charlie Brown Artman is the $400 damage done to tables in the Cascade Room Tuesday evening. Behan expressed great disappointment that students caused so much damage. He said Food Service, Student Union and ASUM officials will meet to decide who is to pay the repair bills.
In speaking of Artman, Behan said, “We had a good laugh on the way back from the jail. He asked me if I’d ever been in jail and I said no, but I’d never had to bail out a visiting lecturer, either!”
Behan explained that he took a check for $50, Artman’s pay for the speaking engagement, to the jail with him and then chipped in $4 from his pocket to meet the visitor’s bail. He hopes to get the $4 back when the bail is returned.
Charges filed against Artman were driving without valid license plates and speeding, Behan said. Having heard that Rod Hoxsey, student body president at MSU, had been pressured to get Artman to leave town, Behan said he had no pressure and that even under pressure he would not ask him to leave as long as he was not a disturbing influence and was not breaking the law.
Behan said he thought Artman was sincere and that students who wanted to do so should have a talk with him. When asked for an opinion of yesterday’s Kaimin coverage, Behan stated “the story was OK.” Concerning the editorial he said, “No comment.”
Montana Kaimin – Tuesday, November 8, 1966
Eggs, Apples, Fists Flew; Peace Marchers Ducked
Jeering Missoula peace-march protesters pitched well aimed eggs, apples, glass and a few fists Saturday at some 63 marchers protesting the war in Vietnam. Several marchers, including John Lawry, UM professor of philosophy, and C. Barclay Kuhn, instructor in political science, parade marshal Joe Kerkvliet and Charlie Brown Artman were struck with fists and signs when the marchers returned to the campus. None of the men were seriously hurt, but Mr. Kuhn lost his glasses, Kerkvliet sustained a bloodied nose, and Mr Lawry said he had a lump behind his ear. Artman thought his shoulder was injured.
Campus and city police, unable to apprehend the assailants, managed to quell the tumultuous crowd and to keep attacks on the marchers at a minimum. Six city police officers escorted Artman and several other marchers to safety in waiting cars after the initial attacks.
Carrying signs reading, “Would Napalm Convert You”; “Love Your Enemies; “Be Good to Those Who Hate You”; “Viet Cong Heroes”; and “Bind Up the Wounds, Buy Medicine.” The marchers walked west on University Ave. Hecklers began throwing eggs, kicking and cursing the marchers and grabbing the signs.
When the marchers turned north on Higgins Ave., city police confiscated several cartons of eggs and warned some hecklers they would be arrested if they continued. When the marchers turned east on Broadway St. and continued south on Arthur Ave., the hecklers were relatively quiet.
One student who refused to give his name, fearing reprisals from teachers, said he took an American flag away from one of the marchers “to get it back where it belongs.”
When the marchers reached the Clover Bowl, the hecklers resumed egg throwing. Several people we’re seen to throw pieces of broken glass. The marchers were protected by five police cars, several uniformed officers and some plain clothes policemen.
Mr. Kuhn said, “The police were very co-operative and helpful.” “The police protection was excellent,” said Mr. Lawry. “They did the best they could and should be complimented.” When the police came to escort him off campus, Artman said, “I was never so glad to see a cop in my life.”
Violence Flares Again
As the marchers dispersed in front of the Lodge, violence erupted again. Two campus patrolmen were unable to control the crowd, so city policemen, waiting on Arthur Ave., were called to help.
Dean of Students Andrew Cogswell said the campus police were authorized to ask assistance of the city force. Since the snowball riots last winter, there has been much controversy about allowing city police on the campus. But both Mr. Cogswell and campus police said the city police had authority to come on the campus in this case.
The marchers originally planned to stop in downtown Missoula and collect medical supplies money for both Vietnam and VietCong people. “It was obvious we could not stop downtown,” Mr. Lawry said, “but I think that was predictable.”
Mr. Lawry said the purpose of the march was to “show people and politicians there are people who are strongly opposed to the war. Some politicians think the people are not concerned.”