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Tom Forcade

Related: Underground Press Syndicate - sixties counterculture


Thomas King Forcade, known as Tom Forcade, was an underground press reporter and activist in the 1970s. For many years he ran the Underground Press Syndicate (later called the Alternative Press Syndicate), and was the founder, along with several anonymous associates, of High Times magazine.

He died in 1978, an apparent suicide. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Forcade [Aug 2006]


The first time I met Tom Forcade was at the Underground Press Syndicate office in a giant loft on West 17th Street around Union Square Park. Forcade had the place filled with different tents, like some middle eastern bizzare. It was here that me and Forcade formulated our FBI agent trap. We were going to construct a room in the middle of the loft, which, once you entered, you could not get out of!!! Yeah, Forcade and I became fast friends, although Forcade took a few steps back when I told him I dug Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. Forcade always had unsavory associates around him - the dude he had living in the loft was into getting free airline tickets just by doing some social engineering over the telephone.

Forcade was from an entirely different background than me - I was from Brooklyn, he was from Phoenix Arizona, from an ultra-straight protestant family - later on, the only one he would bring his mom around to meet was me, probably cause I was the only one around he knew who wasn't strung out on something or other - and Forcade had been in Air Force Intelligence and knew how to fly a plane, whereas I didn't know how to drive a car. Forcade was a skinny little guy who laughed all the time. I started buying pot from him in one of those tents, at a much lower price than I could get it anywhere else. Eventually Forcade opened up this elaborate pot dealing smokeasy, I don't know what to call it, on Broadway. First you got eyeballed by a TV camera, then you got buzzed into one room and immediately taken to a little cubicle, like in a whorehouse, so that you could not meet any of the other customers. Then, a pretty girl would wheel in a cartful of marijuana and you could take you pick. The rips got on to this operation and Forcade suspected Redbeard, who liked to wear platform shoes. Forcade snatched Redbeard, put him in a van, and put his feet in two cement molds of platfrom shoes. Forcade decided not to kill Redbeard. Redbeard, however, turned out to be a rapist, and is currently serving time for that crime.

Redbeard and I once ripped off Andy Warhol's art deco collection. NOW IT CAN BE TOLD. I had no money back in those days (1973) and had to get appliances for my loft from abandoned buildings. So as I walked down the Bowery just past Great Jones Street I saw that a door was ajar to what I belived to be an abandoned building. I went inside and saw the space heater I was after, but I also saw a lot of other stuff, antiques from the deco era! Dana Beal had just moved into a basement apartment on East 3rd Street and needed furniture. Thinking the stuff was left behind, I had Redbeard bring his van over and we cleaned out the place in broad daylight, without a trace of paranoia, because I believed the stuff was abandoned property. Then I read in New York Magazine that someone had ripped off a warehouse where Andy stashed all of his deco furniture!!!

Andy was hanging out with the Shaw of Iran around this time, so he did not get his stuff back. It was used a furniture and not sold, so Andy was never able to trace it back to the Yippies. He had enough furniture anyway.

Man, when you knew Forcade Jack, you got to drive around in a motherfucking stolen Cadillac. As stated Forcade was from Arizona where the car is king, so Forcade became an accomplished car theif. He would liberate a vehicle and change the VIN numbers through a process I cannot recall. We were going to burn the "Welfare Cadillac" in Miami during the 1972 Convention, however, were prevented doing so by the police. Once, we needed a battery for the Caddy and me and Forcade went to midnight auto supply. I picked a dude on Bleecker and Bowery who had a car and who would come out of his apartment and on to the street with a rolled up newspaper when a black bum or bumette would take a shit in his doorway. I felt he was treating them like dogs so me and Forcade stole his battery.

Forcade had an odd way of dressing, he would always wear white suits and wide brimmed hats, like a character out of the old West, which was where he was from. When I first met Forcade, he took Ann and I to an Orange Julius on West 8th Street and told us: "I want you to know that I am a member of the Weather Underground and am into planting bombs!"

Forcade worked closely with Ron Rosenbaum on undermining the establishment. When Warner Brothers did a hippie movie entitled MEDICINE BALL CARAVAN, Forcade got David Peel and Rosenbaum to come with him in one of his stolen caddies, to harass the Warner Brother's cultural rip offs. Rosenbaum wrote about it for the Village Voice and a blow was struck against the empire.

The front for Forcade's dealing, smuggling and bombing empire was the Underground Press Syndicate, a sort of Dissociated Press of the underground. Each week his collective came out with another issue which was a compendium of the best in the underground press. Forcade attempted to join the White House Press corps but was rebuffed as a security risk, which he was, because given the opportunity he would have blown Nixon's head clean out from between his shoulders. The American Civil Liberties Union took his case but he was never able to get close to Nixscum. Forcade was issued Congressional Press Credentials and he pied a member of a pornography commission. Forcade dug porn and was not what he termed "a movementoid."

Forcade's nemisis was Chic Eder AKA Shit Eater. --http://acidtrip.com/secure/forcade.htm [Aug 2004]

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