André Artiste

12 June 2011


The original artista: Janis Joplin.

Photograph: Dale Burkhardt


Norton Buffalo and Kurt Crowbar Kangas:

Just by a kind of a fluke, Norton Buffalo played one of his last performances with us, Big Brother and the Holding Company. We happened to have a gig in Paradise, California, where he lived and he very generously loaned me his BEST amp for the evening, and he came down to “sit in,” which, for Norton, meant playing the entire set. He was so musical, so engaging and he made so much more of our music than it would have otherwise been. At another gig, New Geoge’s, San Rafael, I’ll never forget his interpretation of You Send Me, so expert, so musical.


Una artista, Elise Piliwale.


Make a new “to do” list every day from your larger list of projects, goals and things to do. if something gets transferred to the next day’s list ten times, drop it. Try to understand why you are avoiding this task.


Peter Tork, Aviva, Sam Andrew and Kristina Kopriva jamming in Sacramento.


A water moccasin has elliptical pupils like a cat’s. A water snake has round pupils. So, Shana’s? Elliptical or round?


Article VI states that the Constitution is the “supreme law of the land.” If a state law conflicts with federal law, federal law must prevail. This is the “supremacy clause.” This is why a federal judge can declare a state law unconstitutional.


You’re more likely to be killed by a champagne cork than a poisonous spider.


When scientists finally discovered the addictive nature of morphine, chemists found a new refinement of the drug, diacetylmorphine. This long name was soon supplanted by a shorter one. Heroin. It replaced morphine in the treatment of sugar diabetes and other ailments and for years was available over the counter as one of the safe drugs.

Marlene Dupont, Robbie Leeds)


Determine the size of your brain by putting your fists together so your wrists touch and your thumbnails face you side by side.

Jerilyn Brandelius.


We are going to see Don Aters this September at an Artista function and I’m looking forward to that.


Elise Piliwale deciding what film we are going to see. I like RomComs. She likes VamDrams (vampire dramas). We both prefer ShockDocs, documentaries like Inside Job.


Have you heard that notion that all of us living beings have the same number of heartbeats per lifetime? The mouse, the whale, the human? In an average lifespan our hearts beat more than three billion times.


Sherlock Holmes never said, “Elementary, my dear Watson,” and Casablanca Rick never said, “Play it again, Sam.” See for yourself.


In the music racket, performers like to go on last. Well, most people do. I like to go on about 10:30. That’s the sweet spot of the evening. But most performers like to go on last. That means you’re the “headliner,” which sounds like something that would go in a hat.


The heavier the traffic, the less you gain by changing lanes.


In the late 1500s the English faced an energy crisis when their population rose and their forests dwindled. Thus, the English learned to tolerate the intolerable, becoming the first western nation  to mine and burn coal on a large scale.

Ann Pierson.


Shannon Cinnamon McCloud and David Pfaff one morning at Aroma Café.


This is Lucas. I’m trying to talk him into playing a right handed guitar, so that all the rest of his life he doesn’t have to search for left handed instruments. But, you know, some people are just really left handed. Most of us left handers are more or less ambidextrous. Left handed scissors exist, but you’re not going to find them easily, and there are no left handed pianos that I know of. That would be funny, though. The high keys to the left and the bass keys to the right.


Two artistas: Kathi McDonald and Sam Andrew.


Phil Lesh, Creek Hart and Bill Graham.


Liz and Elise Piliwale inhaling the aroma of Tacoma.


Remember when everything was Afghani? Dogs, coats, cars, hash? Here is an Artista wearing an Afghan coat. Now only the war is Afghani.


Peter’s older brother Rodney Albin who along with Chet Helms was a kind of big brother to the band.


Tsuris, from the Hebrew tzarah for misfortune or distress, are troubles. You know? The blues. Gehokte leyber iz besser vi gehokte tsuris. Chopped liver is better than chopped blues. My friends Hook’n Line Brazlo and Shannon Cinnamon McCloud.


Photograph by Francis Frith, a real 19th century master of the art. I found this photograph in Sally Hanreck’s treasures.


A real Artista, Elise Piliwale.


The Saguaro Cactus doesn’t grow branches until it is seventy-five years old.


Michaela is from Austria. She and her family and friends read, write and speak standard German, of course, but when they are at home they say things like this to each other. Dialect first, then standard German:

Hauptsoch i bin im buffalo und du bist ned da

(Hauptsach ich bin im Buffalo und du bist nicht da.)

The dialect is prettier than normal German and it has a singing quality. Mozart spoke and wrote like this. Perhaps Mozart was just a little bit more playful, not to say scatological, but, still, there was the same singing quality in his Austrian dialect.


Natalie Martel with the Sam Andrew Band, Horizons, Sausalito.


Elise Piliwale in Death Valley.


The original name for the butterfly was flutterby.


Criteria is plural, criterion is singular. Agenda is plural, agendum is singular. The really singular fact is that no one cares about this at all. Most people seem to use the plural of either word in any context.


Don Aters, Jessica Shelden and Sam Andrew, Louisville, Kentucky.


Kate Russo and Dan Andrew, Nashville.


Big Brother and the Holding Company.


Despite the fact that my father was in the Army Air Corps, which soon became the Air Force, when he went to Okinawa in 1945, he sailed on this ship.


If you see a little ripple on the surface of the water in your toilet, jiggle the handle. If this doesn’t make the ripple disappear, it means there is a leak, a leak that can cost you hundreds of dollars. Mend this leak immediately. Until you can make that repair, turn off the water to your toilet. Believe me, it will be worth it.

Mélodie Dupont.


We are all winners just by being here. The long history of the human race is filled with war, famine, fire, destruction of every imaginable kind and a few unimaginable kinds. And that is just the part that we know about. Imagine when we were one celled sea creatures, what a battle that was? The population of the earth was once the size of greater Milpitas. From these people we are descended. We are the survivors. This is no mean feat but it is not something to be smug about. One thing it means is that we are all related, probably much closer than we imagine. To everyone and everything.


i could even be related to this woman, Lillian Andrew.


Or this one, Milini Khan.


Or this one.


I’m absolutely certain that I am related to this one.



La fanciulla ridacchiò, dette al suo compagno una spinta scherzosa e me spiegò rapidamente:

“Huey e io abbiamo partecipato a una gara di ballo al Fillmore. Abbiamo vinto il primo premio! Un magnum di champagne!”


The girl laughed, gave her companion a little nudge and explained quickly to me:

“Huey and I were in a dance contest at the Fillmore. We won first prize! A magnum of champagne!”


My brother Dan’s beautiful daughters, Diana and Kelsi.


During the 1800 election, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, both members of the Democratic-Republican Party, won the same number of votes in the Electoral College, so the election had to be decided by the House of Representatives. The Twelfth Amendment, ratified in 1804, provided that the elctors would vote separately for presidential and vice presidential candidates.


Family Dogs.


Ben, Megan, Adam, Pete. I want all of these people in my band.


And Karen too.


Reality is the sum total of all of our perceptions. There is probably a “real” reality outside of our perceptions, but is there any way of knowing that? Just asking.


James Gurley, Nick Gravenites, Sam Andrew and Kathi McDonald rehearsing, HUN Sound, San Rafael, California, 1978.


No self respecting fiction writer should go to a psychoanalyst. Why waste all that material?


Erasmus (1466-1536) said, “He who lives far from neighbors may safely praise himself.” Thank you, honored scholar, I have completed this mission. Yes, I get the joke.

Mary Bridget Davies.


Very smart move of James to play the bass. Very smart. I should have moved to drums, we should have changed the name, as Bill Graham suggested, and then we would have had a band.


Sophia Ramos and Don Eversley made The Cisco Kid.


If called by a panther

Don’t anther.

(Ogden Nash)


Tomatoes and cucumbers are fruits.

Joel Hoekstra, sometime member of Big Brother and the Holding Company.


Why, it seems like only yesterday that she was singing Piece Of My Heart with us.


Chad Quist. And you wonder why he sings the blues?


A seroma is an accumulation of blood, mucus or water, or all three in an area of the body that has recently been cleared, evauated, made empty. The seroma can take on the quality of a tumor, but it will usually disappear in time.


Pulcher es!  You’re beautiful!

Zia Wesley, Clark Walker.


It’s suich a blast to see all these people at last. The past isn’t past, as William Faulkner said, it’s not even the past.

No novel could be as interesting as witnessing all these changes that we have all seen, my good friends, and we’re not done yet.


See you soon !

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


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