“Unfortunately, this song is all too pertinent today. When I wrote it, I was trying to figure out something to do about the kids in Vietnam, a shout-out to our folks. I thought it was terrible that I couldn’t talk to my friends who were over there; at the same time, I also didn’t like the way the teenagers were treating the soldiers, the ones who were just trying to keep their butts alive.
“The song started out with that germ of a thought. I had the guitar lick and the idea but nothing else. So I was riding in a car with somebody one day, and as we went the hill on Sunset Strip we came across a funeral for a bar called Pandora’s Box. The place was being torn down to make way for a shopping center, and they were having this funeral for it. Something like a thousand kids were there, and of course it spilled out into the street. By the time I got there, the mayor of Los Angeles had all of these cops lined up to deal with the situation.
“I saw this and said, ‘Turn the car around! Get me to a guitar!’ I went back to Topanga, picked up my guitar, and there it was. I was so transfixed by what I saw that the riff I had been playing with came out in the song. It took no time at all.
“It’s funny: The riff was very close to something Bob Moseley was doing in Moby Grape. Somebody said to me once, ‘Did you steal that?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know… Ask Bob!’” [Laughs]