Rest in Peace, Craig Hines

Craig Hines, the most significant of my college era friends, has left this mortal world. What can I say in response? What is fitting or relatable? Let me try to help you remember him through some anecdotes I can share from so long ago.

A 20th-century photograph shows Craig Hines inside the Museum of Broadcasting, Chicago.

He was the first person I knew who managed to escape from that slow little town of San Luis Obispo on the Central California coast and land a professional gig in Hollywood. Craig became a radio personality in the 1970s on fabled Sunset Boulevard. His unforgettable voice and edgy personality were bolstered by his on-air name as “Hurricane Hines” at an FM station with the call letters KIQQ (promoted as K100.) The hurricane blew down doors to let me in and I was hired to work at that Los Angeles radio station with the oddly bright lightning bolts logo when I was only 22 years old.

We both were newcomers to “big city” living. On my very first day of employment in LA radio, we shared a night that stole our innocence. No, it’s not what you’re thinking. I was with Craig the moment I discovered somebody had smashed a window to break into my Volkswagen Beetle parked in a multistory garage adjacent to where the K100 studios and offices were located. We phoned into the nearby Hollywood police station. The young cop who stepped out of the squad car was a vivid stereotype from the television cop shows of that era–youthful vigor, a lot of swagger and muscles. He stared at us both with those cold, blue eyes as he told us he was going to haul us both in and throw us behind bars. Why? The cop said Craig and I were well-known for both having sold ourselves for sex on La Cienega Boulevard–a haven for hustlers and hookers.

A photograph reveals the existence of the would-be Los Angeles sexual hustlers
Woody Goulart and Craig Hines in the 1970s.

In reality, there was one terribly ugly thing I did in Hollywood that should have gotten me arrested: It involved a razor blade and magnetic audio recording tape. One day Craig informed me station management demanded I had to edit Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin before that hit song was allowed on the air on K100. If I wanted to keep my Hollywood radio, I had no choice but to slash away the very guts of Stairway to Heaven—arguably one of the most famous and influential rock and roll songs of all time. Like nobody would notice! My butchery of that wonderful song to cut away the Jimmie Page guitar solo haunts me to this day. It was not Craig’s fault; it was solely my own damn fault. I was not surprised when some seriously bad karma descended upon that radio station, which tanked in the ratings while the gods of rock and roll gleefully danced in another dimension.

Craig was a believer in those other dimensions. In fact, his entire life was devoted to attempts at understanding spirituality. Over many decades Craig and I spent long hours on phone calls and in emails repeatedly debating his many fearless explorations into unseen answers about the meaning of human life that went far beyond mere sensory experiences. I would feel happiest now if Craig will be remembered as a role model for embracing beliefs in powers greater than that of mortals. May you rest in peace, Craig.

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