album cover of LEVEL 1 Peace of Mind by American Zen

America’s First Buddhist Rock Band.

Join the journey to Nirvana.

The Hippy Coyote Richard Del Connor with Flute in San Diego, California.
Let’s jam!
The Hippy Coyote playing his Rickenbacker 4000 bass in the recording studio.
That was a great take!

American Zen is a 4-piece rock band featuring The Hippy Coyote on vocals, flute, and acoustic guitar.  He performed his first rock’n’roll gig as an electric guitarist (Fender Mustang) in 1966 at the age of 12.

During the early 1970s Coyote hitchhiked across Canada and the United States.  He experienced many lifestyles and met many other travelers and “Conscientious Objectors,” and fellow scientists.  During those two years in Newfoundland he learned to fish, hunt, trap and live in the cold wilderness.  He saw the ‘northern lights’ in the arctic circle and ate a lot of seal…

THE RICH power trio featuring The Hippy Coyote
The Rich were the best power trio band in Los Angeles in 1980.

Unable to earn a living performing in San Diego during the early 1970s, Coyote became a recording engineer and recorded his own first completed album in 1975.  This psychedelic rock album features other musicians who have been successful over the decades.  Shaolin Records is hoping to release this album in 2019.

Photo from Venice Beach rehearsal of THE RICH in 1979. Bill Stewart, Richard Del Connor, Dann Link.
Bill Stewart and Richard Del Connor of THE RICH

In 1978 Coyote moved to Los Angeles from San Diego, California.  He moved in with the guitarist and drummer into a house in barrio of Venice, California.  They were THE RICH.  A power pop trio featuring Coyote on Rickenbacker bass and lead vocals.

In 1979 THE RICH recorded Live In Venice.  This album shows what Los Angeles punk rock could have become.  Bill Stewart got a $25 an hour job at Fox Televison and Vinnie Lauria spent the next few years writing guitar books for Mel Bay.  Richard Del Connor kept putting together original rock bands until in 1984 he launched the Coyote in a Graveyard rock opera.

Screenplay album cover Coyote In A Graveyard by Richard Del Connor The Hippy Coyote
Birth of The Hippy Coyote

In 1984 Coyote wrote the rock opera, COYOTE IN A GRAVEYARD.  This romance in a looney-bin was heralded by Stephen Spielberg and Michael J. Fox.  New World Pictures optioned the screenplay and Coyote was in the movie business.  He graduated the UCLA Motion Picture Program in 1987 while working for MTV, and making music videos and commercials.

In 1991 we start the American Zen story.  Coyote fell in love with a Shaolin Records intern.  They decided to have a baby and move to Utah… This is the LEVEL 1 = PEACE OF MIND album story.  This rock opera has all the songs in the order they were written.  Coyote, being a California long-hair hippie Buddhist… was not received well by the Mormons.  LEVEL 1 = PEACE OF MIND tells the story of raising a newborn, dealing with prejudice, having trouble with employment, and being a Mr. Mom.

Album cover for LEVEL 1 = Peace of Mind by American Zen
Got Zen?

Get the album, LEVEL 1 = Peace of Mind by American Zen.  Join the journey as Coyote battles for independence, freedom, creativity, and self-expression… while changing diapers.