By 1990, Jerry James and Mike Acker were no longer involved in the project. Instead, Larry Harvey’s roommate, Dan Miller, had become the chief builder and architect, introducing some building innovations to the Man’s design. Members of the Cacophony Society were also more active in helping with the build, transportation and setup of the Man.
Jerry recalls the 1990 build and burn:
[By 1990] I no longer wanted to participate in the build of the Man, nor the organization of its transport and installation. Dan Miller, Larry’s roommate, stepped forward and built it at the shop of a sound company. I visited the build but felt completely alienated. So many people, so many faces. I was torn since I had been the architect of the Man since its conception, but I could no longer work with Larry. I did want to participate in the burn though, and I was one of many who arrived at the cliffs above the north end of Baker Beach to send pieces of the Man down. The cops arrived while I was involved in hauling the components down the cliff. Remarkably, they agreed to let us build our sculpture if we would then remove rather than burn it. But this time was different—there was blood-lust.
By 1990 the crowd at Baker Beach was so large that many attendees took to crawling along the bluff overlooking the shore to see the show. The crowd was between five and eight hundred strong; estimates by those there vary. The police arrived and wanted everyone to leave. Dan Miller, who had become one of the Man’s builders, decided to negotiate a deal with the police: to raise the Man but not burn him. This was the first time Larry remembers really becoming acquainted with John Law.
John Law was attending the event along with Kevin Evans, P Segal, William Binzen, and others members of the Cacophony Society (who had been promoting the event for a couple of years, and helped in the build of the 1990 Man).
Law became the spokesperson for the faction that advocated burning the Man anyway. He was confident that the police were just making the required show of authority and wouldn’t be back. “That would have been a real underground move… Burn it and get away with it". Larry later recalled. But Larry insists he gave his word, and his father’s ghost would smite him if he went back on it. In other re-tellings, Larry has also noted that those advocating for the burn had no skin in the game… no consequence if things went poorly.
The only fire on Baker Beach in 1990 was Nel Friedman was spinning fire, and David T. Warren was also back doing his fire show with a donation can at his feet.