As I mentioned in a previous post, I wrote a column about Kent State and popular culture. One of the things I noted was that there were an estimated two dozen songs about Kent State, but only CSNY's "Ohio" had significant commercial impact. Still, I noted that an upcoming Bear Family collection of Vietnam songs includes three: the Beach Boys' "Student Demonstration Time," Barbara Dane's "The Kent State Massacre" and Third Condition's "Monday in May." After the story ran, I have heard from two members of Third Condition and so offer more of the story of how that band and song.
The band included:
Neil Haney lead vocals and organ
Chris Drake vocals and guitar
Allen Dresser guitar
Max Easom drums and vocals
Ralph Citrullo bass
They were students together at Florida State and made a couple of records for the Sundi level, including "Monday in May." You can find more of their musical history here.
The song was written by Charles "Chuck" Robinette, whom Allen Dresser said "worked for the forestry service in Tallahassee. He was quite moved by the event and wrote the song a day or two afterwards." Robinette has long since passed away but his son Nate is a musician, and you can find more about him here.
Chris Drake told me that "Monday in May" was getting played and climbing the charts until CSNY's "Ohio" came out -- and the more famous group's song elbowed "Monday in May" out of the way. Drake said he had not been asked about the song in years, and was surprised to know it was in the CD set.
Still, Dresser said, "The importance of the event is not about a band or a song, but what a complex and troubling time that was for our country."