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Sorry, I'm Not Professor Psychedelic

Updated on September 29, 2015

Some Facts About the Famous Mark Tulin

  • Founded the Electric Prunes
  • Born in Philadelphia
  • Died in February, 2011 at 62 years of age
  • Helped to popularize psychedelic music in the early 1960s
  • He was an avid deep sea diver
  • His nickname was Professor Psychedelic
  • He was good friends with The Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan

I'm Mark Tulin, But I'm Not Dead

I received a couple of strange phone calls a few years back. People called me to ask if I was dead. I found this rather peculiar since I seemed to be breathing okay and I was standing upright. But the people were pretty convinced of it, so I decided to google: Is Mark Tulin dead?

To my surprise, there was a Mark Tulin who had died. I read further. This particular Mark Tulin had similarities to me. He was from Philadelphia and he moved to Los Angeles. He was also Jewish. He studied psychology and I was a therapist. He was a real hippie while I was a wannabe hippie. He loved rock music and played the bass guitar while I once played the guitar but traded it in for the accordion and bongos. He liked to write stories and had a good sense of humor. The similarities end there however.

The deceased but famous Mark Tulin was seven years older than me and was a success, while I'm not so much. He was dubbed Professor Psychedelic by his peers because he was one of the founders of that genre. His group, the Electric Prunes, had a unique sound in that era and was popular in California. They contributed to the 1960s music that helped to propel so many changes in our society--both good and bad. Mark Tulin started a garage band with several of his peers. The band would later become the Electric Prunes that made visits to American Bandstand, was in the soundtrack for Easy Rider and appeared on popular variety TV shows. The Electric Prunes were so important to the development of rock and roll that they will go down in the annals of rock and roll history. They played psychedelic rock music and some of their famous songs included "I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night" and "Get Me To The World on Time." They were one of the best bands ever to come out of Los Angeles, and that's saying something.

Mark Tulin was a the bass player for the Electric Prunes and later was in the group, The Smashing Pumpkins. According to the articles he was very well liked. He had a passion for many things and one of his passions led to his untimely death. He collapsed while being a scuba diving volunteer at the Avalon Underwater Clean-Up in Avalon, California. Paramedics were unable to revive him.

Haight Ashbury of San Francisco, the epicenter of the 60's.
Haight Ashbury of San Francisco, the epicenter of the 60's.

The Famous Mark Tulin was My Alter Ego

Reading about the famous Mark Tulin's life I couldn't help but wonder if he was my alter ego. Back in the 60's and early 70's I really wanted to run away from home and go to California. That's where my hopes and dreams were, I thought. I wanted to be apart of the Summer of Love and listen to the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane perform in Golden Gate Park. I wanted to meet a cute, long-haired woman with a flower in her hair and, excuse me for saying this, engage in free love. I wanted to be a total hippie. I wanted to wear bell-bottoms and moccasins and have a big medallion hanging from my neck and saying groovy all the time. I wanted my hair to grow as long as it could without me tripping over it or impairing my vision. I wanted to be in a rock and roll band and sing like Jim Morrison of the Doors or play the guitar with my teeth like Jimi Hendrix. I wanted to hang out in San Francisco and experience the wonderful and beautiful technicolor happenings of the sixties.

But I was too afraid to really leave my secure duplex apartment and family and friends in Philadelphia. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to do the things I dreamed of and something bad would happen to me while trying. One day I did give it a feeble attempt. I was 17 and I got in my car and packed a few things and withdrew some money out of the bank and headed West. For the first few hundred miles it was good but I turned back in embarrassment after suffering an asthma attack in Iowa. I headed home with my tail between my legs and just watched the 60's movement from a distance and with envy. I still collected those big colorful albums with the neat psychedelic pictures but that was the extent of my participation in the 60's.

But the famous Mark Tulin didn't wimp out. He did all the things that I dreamed about. He had the courage and the wherewithal to make it happen. He started a garage band at Taft high school in Los Angeles that grew into an icon of rock and roll and played a pretty mean bass guitar. Although the band never reached the heights of the Beatles or the Stones, they were relevant and an integral part of the sixties culture.

The non-famous Mark Tulin at Venice Beach, California.
The non-famous Mark Tulin at Venice Beach, California. | Source

Maybe My Childhood Dreams Will Come True in My Next Life

I'm a firm believer in reincarnation. I know that my dreams here on earth are not all for naught. They will come to fruition in my next lifetime, I'm sure of that. In my next life, I will enjoy the fame of being a rock star and experience what it would be like to be up on stage and be a celebrity. I'm not naïve, I know that there's a price to pay for stardom, but I'm not afraid of hard work. I promise that I'll stay away from drugs and all the temptations that surround fame and fortune. I will be prepared for success and just enjoy the ride.

I have it all planned out in my head. I will wear expensive sunglasses like Bono and have a posh crib in Bel Air with a dozen classic cars in my garages. I will have many beautiful admirers and have a room in my house dedicated to my guitars while another room that has all my gold and platinum records on the walls. I will be humble and gracious, however. I won't be one of those arrogant rock stars who doesn't acknowledge his fans. I will have a secretary solely devoted to answering fan mail. I will give a lot of my money to charities and help those in need. I will be a rock star for the people, not just an ego-driven narcissist.

I'm 59 years old now and I have moved to California two years ago. There are rock bands around, but nothing compared to the early days of rock and roll where there was so much experimentation and passion and creativity. Things go in cycles and when I am reincarnated many years from now, I'm sure rock and roll will be back like it was in the sixties.

Are there any unfulfilled dreams that you had as a child that, perhaps, someone that you know has fulfilled? I would be interested to find out what that dream was?

Comparing the Mark Tulins

Musical abilities
Mark Tulin
Relatively poor
Relatively unknown
Plays a fair bongo and putrid accordion
Can avoid drowning
Famous Mark Tulin
Was relatively well off
Was well known, especially in rock and roll circles
Played bass guitar with a quiet fire
Was an avid deep sea diver


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