In an unlikely turn of events, New York City mayor John Lindsay took a liking to Silver Apples and invited them to perform in Union Square, Tompkins Square, and other city parks. (“He just loved our stuff,” a mystified Simeon Coxe said. “I don’t know why.”) The mayor dubbed their droning, minimalist music “The Sound of New York,” and even commissioned Silver Apples to provide a live soundtrack for the Apollo 11 moon landing on June 20, 1969. They performed in Central Park while video projections showed the lunar module touching down on the surface of the moon. Silver Apples signed to a major label that had no idea how to market them, so the duo wound up on the oddest assortment of live bills. “They hooked us up with Jethro Tull, MC5, Procol Harum, Blue Cheer, 1910 Fruitgum Company, T. Rex, Tiny Tim,” Coxe said, “the whole spectrum.” Play-House of the Ridiculous director John Vaccaro recalled, “We used to see the Silver Apples at Max’s all the time. God, the sounds they made were just fantastic.” Simeon Coxe said that the Play-House people would always come to their Monday night residency, take acid, and watch the group play. “After a while,” he said, “John asked if we would be interested in doing an insane musical—right up our alley! What a beautiful but bizarre bunch of folks.” The musical was Cock-Strong, starring Ruby Lynn Reyner, and it ran in early 1969 at La MaMa.
From Chapter 18 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore