Freewheelin Frank photographed by Larry Keenan

Freewheelin Frank & Michael McClure, photo by Larry Keenan

McClure’s place, San Francisco

Michael McClure introduced me to Freewheelin. They were doing a book together for Grove Press and needed a cover shot. Frank was the secretary of the San Francisco branch of the Hell’s Angels. He would dictate the book to McClure who would type the words. I like Frank very much; he was always good to me. He gave me a Hell’s Angels protection card, just in case. He would invite me to parties, drive-in movies, etc., but I was too afraid to go.

Freewheelin Frank, photo by Larry Keenan

McClure’s place, San Francisco

see description above.

Freewheelin Frank, Michael McClure, & George Montana, photo by Larry KeenanFRANK, MICHAEL & GEORGE
San Francisco 1966

Hell’s Angel Freewheelin Frank, Michael McClure and George Montana are rehearsing at Michael’s place for a local performance. They would put music to McClure’s poetry and play and sing their hearts out. It was in sessions like this that McClure’s “Oh lord, please buy me a Mercedes Benz” was developed as a political song, which Janis Joplin then turned into a pop song.

Freewheelin Frank, photo by Larry KeenanBOTH FRANKS SURVIVE
Oakland 2000

McClure called me up and said, “Do you want to see Freewheelin, come on over.” Freewheelin Frank and I had not seen each other in almost 35 years. The last time I saw him, I photographed him for his book cover in 1966. I brought the cover photograph over to McClure’s, as a gift for Frank. At one point I said, “Hey, let’s do a survivor photo,” and handed Frank the photo. I shot it digitally.

Freewheelin Frank, photo by Larry KeenanFREEWHEELIN FINDS A ZEN MASTER
Oakland 2000

When Hell’s Angel Freewheelin Frank left the Angels they made him tattoo over his Hell’s Angels tattoo, as shown in this photograph. Frank spent five years in Soledad Prison for arson before this photograph was made. While he was in prison, McClure sent him a book by Zen master Shunryu Suzuki Roshi to help him clear his head. Frank told me the book by the Zen master saved his life. He said that he has been living in the mountains by a waterfall for over 10 years. With this knowledge, I set up this photograph and shot it with my digital camera.

Freewheelin Frank & Michael McClure, photo by Larry KeenanMICHAEL McCLURE AND FREEWHEELIN FRANK
Oakland 2000

Michael McClure and former Hell’s Angel Freewheelin Frank (Frank Reynolds) are posing for me at McClure’s house. It has been over 35 years since I have seen them together.

Larry Keenan’s book of Beat Generation photographs, “Postcards from the Underground” is published by City Lights Books.

Larry’s vast online gallery of Beat & counterculture photos is located here.

To learn more about Larry Keenan, see Larry’s bio & list of Beat publications & exhibitions.

These photographs & descriptions are © copyrighted by Larry Keenan. All rights reserved.

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