24 April 2011


Anyone who says he understands women is missing a great deal.


I was born in California because my mother wanted me to be near her.


Was it a good thing that Noah made the Ark? Hard to say sometimes.


Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after tomorrow.


Happiness is good health and a short memory.


A life spent making mistakes is better and more industrious than a life spent doing nothing.


Catholic women are allowed to avoid pregnancy by mathematics, but not by physics.


Hamlet in Brooklyn:   To be…or fageddaboudit.


He never gave anyone a break and he didn’t have a kind word to say about anyone for forty years. No one measured up to his standards, except for him. You’ve got to admire a man like that.


California is a great place to live if you’re an olive.


Thank god for Congress. Otherwise we wouldn’t have a lot to laugh at these days.


If you’re going to try cross-country skiing, start with a small country, like Monaco.


The only way I’m going to hear heavy breathing is if I run around the block.


Peace. That brief scary interval between this war and the next.


Mas vale tarde que nunca. It’s as hard to be late as it is to be on time.


Thanks to improved freeway systems worldwide it’s possible to travel everywhere and not see a damn thing.


Republicans think they know more than you ought to.


Barry Bonds and anyone else should be able to take any drug they want to. I mean, come on, he’s just a baseball player. Leave the poor guy alone.


Now Donald Trump is going to run and Sarah Palin is urging him on? Perfect.


Jack Teagarden and I played on the same tiny stage once. Okinawa, Japan.


Eat whatever you want. Just don’t swallow it.


If Jesus was Jewish, why did he have a Mexican name?


If you really take care of yourself, eat the right foods, get to sleep early, rise early, you could end your days being taken care of in a nursing home and living far longer than you really should.


I never had a sense of humor. What got me started in this whole business is that at an early age I could do a perfect imitation of Porky Pig.


Some, maybe most people become more interesting when they stop talking.

(Thank you, Dale Burkhardt, for this image.)


There is nothing so absurd but that some crazy musician has played it.


If you want to act like a man, act like a good man.

(Photo: Max Clarke)


Big Brother and the Holding Company play like King Kong one night and Fay Wray the next.


At my age, every new person I meet reminds me of someone else.


Rub a dub dub

Three men in a tub

And that’s on a slow night     (sign in a San Francisco bath house)


I don’t go to the gym. If I’m going to die, I want to be sick.


Bad spellers of the world Untie!


Happiness and even unhappiness are temporary, and often imaginary.


I stopped reading newspapers and I feel so much better now.


At one point I did a lot of gigs with Peter Tork. He’s so famous my grandmother has seen him on television.


Sex is no one’s business except for the one and a half people involved.


See how long you can go without thinking of yourself.


The other side also has another side.


The shortest distance between two points often has orange cones on it.


Watch out for number one, but really watch out for number two.


I have spent a lifetime reading the classics and I am not even going to have enough time to read all of those. Why would I read a best seller?


She stayed longer in five minutes than most people do in three days.


Belief in the hereafter is not what I’m here after.


I wonder how much of what I say is actually true.


Frank Sinatra? How to explain what another age found miraculous? Nat King Cole and Ray Charles, from almost his same era, could each of them sing a jazz standard far better than he could. What was all that fuss about?


If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.


A loud, screaming baby with a full diaper cannot with total honesty be regarded as a thing of joy and beauty.


A lot of things don’t happen at the right time and some don’t happen at all.


In books with mirrored covers, there is seldom much reflection.


I was so shocked to be born that I didn’t say anything coherent for almost a year.


Every morning I read the obituaries. If I’m not there, I pick up my guitar and start practicing.


I know two tunes. One of them is Piece of My Heart, and the other one isn’t.


It’s difficult to be sad when you’re eating pasta.


My eyesight is getting worse, so everything is starting to look more beautiful to me.


Those silly songs that get stuck in your head for days? Some people are like that.


If it’s just too crazy to say it, you can always sing it.


People who think they know everything are very annoying to those of us who really do.


Try to discount as much as you can both praise and blame.


If you go to Russia, take food and toilet paper. They have those things there, but it may take a while to find them.


A clear conscience is often the sign of a short memory.


A wise person is always beginning.



I’ll see you next week.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Enough Is Enough.

17 April 2011

Doris:     I’m a Jew. l was born a Jew. Do you hate me because of that?

Harry:     And if our parents converted to Catholicism a month before you

were born, we’d be Catholics. They’re clubs. They’re exclusionary. They foster the concept of “the other”…so you know who to hate.

Doris:     That’s enough!

Harry:     A question: lf a Jew gets massacred, does it bother you more than

if it’s a Gentile or a black or a Bosnian?

Doris:     Yes, it does. l can’t help it. lt’s my people.

Harry:     They’re all your people.

Doris:     Burt is right about you. You’re a self-hating Jew.

Harry:     l may hate myself, but not because l’m Jewish.

(Deconstructing Harry: Woody Allen)

President Obama needs to talk with Israel about the creeping settlements in “The Holy Land,” a misnomer if there ever was one. If any other nation were doing what Israel is to her neighbors, Israel would be the first to accuse. The occupation of Palestine –illegal, inhumane, and inconsistent with Jewish values –has lasted forty-four years and is only augmenting daily, yearly. Israel seems to think that the rest of the world is too preoccupied or too stupid to see that she is making an immoral land grab in The Middle East, and then blaming the people she robbed from when they finally protest in senseless and suicidal violence. This is a cowardly, calculating, cynical game and it’s time for it to cease.

The United Nations Security Council made a resolution condemning the Jewish settlements. The United States with characteristic lack of resolve, voted against the measure. Germany voted for it and Benjamin Netanyahu called the German Chancellor to complain. Angela Merkel replied,“How dare you? You are the one who has disappointed us. You haven’t made a single step to advance peace.”  Yes, it was Germany, and, yes, if anything she understated the case.

Prime Minister Natanyahu is not going to move from his present position. It is up to the other nations of the world to point out his egregious wrongdoing in this “settlement” matter. There are many Palestinians who have the keys to their houses, houses that they can see everyday, houses that Israel has taken from them and given to Israelis. Do you think this hurt is going to disappear just because many clever words have been used to disguise it? How would you like it if someone took your house and gave it to someone that you really don’t like?

There is a lot of unrest and revolution in The Middle East right now. Things are in flux. This is a good time to correct some wrongs that have existed a long time. The United Nations is considering a vote to welcome Palestine as a member whose territory includes all of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. This may happen in September. Thoughfful fair minded Jews and concerned people everywhere know that Israel cannot keep encroaching on other peoples’ lands and goods without some kind of reckoning happening. Anyone with a brain, but especially with a heart, knows that there is something seriously wrong here, and that wrong will be corrected one way or another, no matter what specious arguments are put up to defend the status quo.

Israel has settled hundreds of thousands of her citizens inside the West Bank and East Jerusalem and acknowledges that she will have to withdraw from much of the land that she now occupies there. In the United States, The Republican Party, the deny evolution, deny climate change, deny Obama citizenship Republicans, are siding with Israel. Doesn’t this tell you something? Why are they siding with Israel? Because they believe every word in the “Bible,” and the Bible says that the Jews are God’s Chosen People and the Republicans want to be on the right side when The Rapture comes. I repeat. Doesn’t this tell you something?

Two things are sure: Israel has a right to exist and Palestine needs to be an independent state. I hope that when the time comes everyone can think clearly and make the right choices, and stop doing evil in “God’s name.” It would be best if Israel and Palestine could work this out by themselves and I fervently hope they will.

We wrote our own songs, played jazz and rock and roll, had a lot of gigs, cut a record. My first band The Cool Notes, with Jim Como who is now a studio player in London, and Marty Bonin who is probably a general in the United States Air Force by now.

Here’s to people who make toasts. And to beautiful women.

Janis Joplin and Peter Albin in our satin and velvet phase.

Jim Wall, Mary Bridget Davies and Ben Nieves surrounded by restless natives.

Vicenza, Italia.

That’s a loooonng engine under there. A straight 8, or a V 12.

Jym Fahey, the Snake, charismatic, musical, Irish Spring. Lucky Charms.

This was such a pretty place, Anapolis, Maryland. Peter Albin and Tom Finch.

Out of the Sighs, 2005. Graphite on paper.

Elise Piliwale. We had her birthday weekend and went to see Rock of Ages and the next day we heard Amy Goodman in San Francisco. It’s so much fun being with Elise. She has a vivid sense of humor, she’s sweet and very lively. Oh, yes, and an IQ of 144 doesn’t hurt either.

Janis Joplin in fine fettle.

My first groups were vocal ensembles. I love to sing those C Am F G7 songs.

Actually, I love to sing anything. Even thoughts that I have as I am walking down the avenue.

My brother Lee. He’s a helicopter man.

My friend Dario da Rold bought a new Chrysler 200. He’s happy with it, after a lifetime of owning Italian cars. OK, so now we know he’s assimilated.

Mary Ellen Loomis, Butch Brashear and Tom Powers entering this party on Okinawa with a mysterious flourish.

Doing an interview at my house, playing the Hummingbird guitar that Janis gave me.

Henry Kaiser’s lagoon and Hawaiian Village, 1957. Henry Kaiser recently came to sit in with us at George’s in San Rafael, and I think that is the back of a Kaiser there in the photo. My family owned one of these cars. Henry Kaiser, the guitar player, must be a grandson or great grandson.

Taking a rehearsal break at school. Larry Henson, guitar; Jim Como, alto saxophone; Marty Bonin, tenor; unidentified; Sam Andrew, guitar. We played all the time at school, at the beach, at parties, waiting for the bus. This was a real rock band, years before I played in Big Brother.

Lisa is such a great violinist, highly intelligent and very accomplished.

I say I am picking up litter here. My brother Bill says i am trying to look up someone’s skirt. Gee, I wonder who is right?

Assemblage, 1980s.

My brother Dan Andrew and his daughter Diana. I can almost hear Dan purring with pride here.

Janis Joplin getting a hand. Audiences loved Janis. They knew she was real.

Babs Reed, Bill Lawton, Rhoda Watson, Sam Andrew, Vicki Carlson, Bruce Read, Okinawa 1960. Not sure why we are in a lineup like this, but I loved all these people.

This is such a great photograph, isn’t it? Peter Albin.

My sister Lillian, Okinawa.

The Sam Andrew Band. Scott Matthews, Robin Sylvester, Peter Walsh, playing a benefit for The Haight Ashbury Medical Clinic at University of California, San Francisco.

Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, 1954, before it became a one way street.

Ben Nieves and i in Bethel, New York. The great thing about playing music in public is that you have so many things to attend to, plugging in cords, making sure that everything is in tune, knowing how long there is to play, the best shape for the set, what the amp is going to sound like, how closely the technical people are really monitoring everything, that there is no time for terror until the last split second before the performance begins. And then it’s too late. You have to do it.

Ye Royal Axmen. Rahman d’Amato and Tom Finch.

Waikiki from St. Louis Heights, 1957.

“In my neighborhood, if you’re dressed like that, you better be a hotel doorman.”  Fred Willard, Best In Show

Peter Kraemer at Aroma Café, 2011. Peter is unique. In every way.

Frank’s Corvette. One of my favorite shades of yellow. We’ve been through the whole “Hey, what is this, your second childhood?” thing, and it’s still a beautiful car.

Paul Bullis, Erin Homs and Stephen Andrew. One of these people could be the father of the others, and is the actual father on one of them.

Michael Joplin, Sam Andrew.

Laura Gomez on the right. I wrote a couple of songs about her.

Silvio 10 April 2011 (pen and ink).

My sisters and brothers, Paula, Stephen, Lillian and Dan.

Mary Bridget Davies, guitar player.

Jason Andrew, Kirsten Amundson, Lee & Edie Andrew, St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Switzerland’s version of a Woodstock. All healthy and beautiful.

Snooky Flowers at George’s, San Rafael, California.

Nancy Gurley breastfeeding Hongo Gurley and boogalooing at the same time.


I had an art show recently and George Fuller came to see me. We graduated from the same high school in Okinawa, Japan. George and I have been here in The Bay Area off and on for thirty years, and this is the first time i saw him since Okinawa. Odd, since we know many of the same people.

Lee Andrew, Bill Andrew, Sam Andrew, Terra Linda, California.

The Marin Town & Country Club, Fairfax, California, sitting here patiently awaiting a rebirth.

She comes and watches me paint at Aroma Café.

The always beautiful Elise Piliwale.

Kacee is shooting us.

Paula Andrew, my pretty sister. Sweet and smart too.

Joel Hoekstra’s extremely pared down effects board. When Elise and i saw Rock of Ages last weekend, we noted that the guitar player, who had learned his part from Joel, was using many of the master’s mannerisms and movements, especially at the conclusion of the show. Encore showmanship!

Marta is from Belluno, Italy, hometown of Dario da Rold. She does beautiful paintings in a fey, fairy style.

In Woodstock with Kate Russo and Rick Danko.

Chad Quist and Jennie Austin.

Maria Sorrentino, Stefania Vialetto and Ezio Guaitamacchi at my house.

Larkspur, California, near Janis Joplin’s house. If “history” is “herstory,” shouldn’t “hirsute” be “hissute?”

The Porsche.

Gumbai till next week.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Una Bella Giornata, A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood.

10 April 2011

Karen Deamant took this photo of Canned Heat.


Abita di lamé dorato, sandali dorati senza calze, smalto rosso brillante sulle unghie; le chiome rosso fiamma erano raccolte in cima alla testa e sostenute da un alto traliccio di fili dorati. Pensai fra me: “Se questa antenna è provvista di elettrcità, posso sintonizzarmi su Mosca e dire a Putin cosa pensa di lui.

Dressed in gold lamé, golden sandals without socks, brilliant red on her nails; her red flaming hair was tied back to the top of her head and held with an old trellis of golden threads. I thought to myself: “If this antenna is provided with electricity, I can tune in to Moscow and tell Putin what I think of him.”


Karen Deamant, Northern California, 1990.


Wilhelmina and Sam Andrew, my mother and father eleven days before I was born.


La verità è che non aveva aggiunto proprio niente. Aveva semplicemente tolto qualcosa. Quella sera memorabile, aveva bevuto un numero di cicchetti superiore al consueto e, intontita dall’alcool, aveva dimenticato di mettersi le mutandine.

The truth is that she hadn’t added anything. She had simply subtracted something. That memorable evening, she had more cocktails than usual and, numbed by alcohol, she had forgot to put on her underwear.


Credo fatum nos coegisse.

I think fate brought us together.


Hitchcock’s schoolhouse: I worked with Randal Myler on Love, Janis in several cities. When Randal was nine or so, he was an extra in The Birds. He’s the blonde kid with glasses in front of all the other children when they are running from the schoolhouse. Karen Deamant took these photos of a bird in situ and the schoolhouse itself. This is up near Bodega Bay or Marshall in California.


Elise Piliwale, an unusual person by any measure.


It takes about ten years to get used to how old you are.

Packard 1941.


in the end, everything is a gag. Charlie Chaplin.

Peter Albin and the famous fanny pack.


Cogito ergo spud. (I think, therefore I yam.)

Libyan (graphite)


Milioni di anni fa, l’amore era una manifestazione primordiale su questo nostro pazzo globo.

Millions of years ago, love was a primordial manifestation on this our crazy globe.

Karen Deamant, Paul Barbarus, 1990.


Noli me rogare ubi sint claves. Eas nunc nuper habebas.

Don’t ask me where the keys are. You had them last.


Sandra, Lindsey, Susan, Patricia, Penelope, Gary. The Remolif sisters and one errant male.


Sam Andrew, Stacy Bauer, that guy from the movies, Lee Andrew.

St. Cloud, Minnesota.


Experience teaches you to recognize a mistake when you’ve make it again.

Elise diving a drawing lesson to Brittany and AJ Hale.


I ragazzi, che continuavano a vincere, dissero: “Va bene. A dire la verità, preferiamo giocare per terra.”

The boys who continued to win, said: “That’s good. To tell the truth, we prefer to play on the ground.”


Wilhelmina Andrew, née Mann, Bridget Andrew, Sam Andrew, Jr.)


Life is too short to stuff a snail.

Babs Reed. This woman was so kind in high school. I bet she still is. Everyone liked her. She radiated goodness. One of those people, you know?


Emily holding Kieran, Luke, Shane Rollins. The first son Luke is a remarkable child, gifted, really. Kieran has Emily’s nose, though, so there is hope. And Shane’s brain.


This scene looks positively rustic compared to today. Elise’s family are musicians and they have played and sung their beautiful tunes in all of these hotels.


Ben Nieves. Talk about gifted. There was some politician on the radio saying, “We have to save Ohio,” and Elise and I thought that was so funny, but my next thought was, “Ben could save Ohio if he put his mind to it. He can do anything.” Big Brain, Warm Heart, Powerful Combination.


Primavera! Scavallandomi con gli ormoni.

Spring! Cavorting with my hormones.

Ahhh, it’s Spring again. LIFE Magazine 18 December 1944.


Prepositions are the most difficult little words to keep straight in any language. People in New York wait “on line,” but in California they wait “in line.” There is no logic to these constructions, so they are very difficult to learn in each language. We turn the lights out, but everything else we turn off. Elise says “Put it up,” a Southernism. I say “Put it away,” but i had to train myself to say that. You “freak out,” you don’t “freak off.” If you say “freak off,” people will notice it right away. Prepositions…they’re murder. They have to be memorized one by one. Even the slightest misuse of one will mark you as a non native speaker.

Tom Finch, Sam Andrew, Lynn Asher, George’s, San Rafael, February 2011.

It’s easy to make a friend. What’s hard is to make a stranger. (Although it was much easier to make a stranger in the 1960s.)

A day is the time it takes the earth to make one revolution on its axis, right? A year is the time it takes the earth to go around the sun once. A month, too, has a basis in nature. But seconds? Hours? Weeks? Decades? Centuries? These are manmade measurements and have no natural basis. Purely arbitary. Notice that in this country our measurement of long periods of time and our measurement of money are metric, but our other measurements, being based on the body, are mostly not. Ten dimes equal a dollar, but ten inches don’t equal a foot. (“Inches” are thumbs and a “foot” is a foot.)

Here are some lovely feet that belong to Rona Walstra Avery and her beautiful sisters.


Paula Andrew, Stephen Andrew, Austin, 1980s.


Janis Joplin at The Magic Mountain Festival. I don’t know why, but I like this shot. Maybe it’s her breasts. They’re perfect. Maybe it’s that typically pensive expression. Anyway, it’s the real Janis.


My friend Sue loves plants. I cannot forbear adding here, even though it has nothing to do with Sue, that Dorothy Parker, when asked to use the word “horticulture” in a sentence, said “You can lead a whore to culture but you can’t make her think.


Lynn Asher has such a great smile.


Okinawa 1947. Concrete proof that I was indeed graduated from Kindergarten. I’m thinking that the man here who is giving me the diploma (a diploma for kindergarten!) is perhaps General Heggenberger who then gave his name to Heggenberger Road in Oakland, that runs by the Coliseum and on into the Oakland Airport. I love the looks of my classmates. Eyes flashing, smiling, eager to step out into life. Years later I came back and graduated from high school on this same island.


Karen Deamant, Karen Lyberger, Victor Skuratowicz and his wife Paula.



Sam Andrew, James Gurley, Janis Joplin, on the water.


My friend Joel Hoekstra plays in this show. He’s on the right middle, with white guitar.


Nick Suntzeff, Stephen Hawking. “Next time I am in San Rafael, and you are around,” Nick writes, “I can give you my schpeel on dark energy. I co-founded one of the two groups that discovered this stuff (and did a lot of work on dark matter), which seems to be everywhere in the universe. and in fact, makes up 73% of everything out there.” This will make for something to chat about over coffee one of these days.


Snooky Flowers and Trina Baucom. Trina said, “Snooky, would you watch my purse while I go to the bathroom?” and Snooky replied, “I’d rather watch your body.”


This Side of the Truth (29 March 2011) oil on canvas (Photo: Max Clarke) Maybe three quarters finished?


Sophia Ramos, Sam Andrew, Topanga Canyon. This was a good audience.


Elise has made our home a beautiful place. An Italian film crew is coming here on Monday to photograph what she has done, Brussels Sprouts and all.

Ezio, Maria and Stefania.


Sue makes that Cadillac look good, doesn’t she?


Bill Rude has a ski magazine, and he was the maître d’ at The Trident during the Glory Years. He knew everybody from Paul Desmond to Bill Cosby to Janis Joplin.


Sam Andrew, KK Ryder, Mark Riley, Todd Zimberg. Under The Rail, Seattle, 1990s.


Elise Piliwale making a film noir, Frankfort, Deutschland.


Elise’s mother, Carla Piliwale, and Joan Piliwale.


Astronaut Dennis Wheelock took this beautiful photograph of Italy. Did you know that Sicily was this big?


My friend Ronnie Campsey’s parents and grandparents, South Texas, 1938.


We were going to the airport one day, and Karen Deamant was kind enough to arrange this beautiful limousine for us. Photo: Karen Deamant.


Elise woke up one morning and said, “There is something wrong with Obama’s mouth. There has been an injury there.” Later that day on the news we heard that he had been banged on the basketball court. Women. They are tuned in to a whole other level. Elise said, “Where did that come from? How did I know that?” and I answered, “Maybe it’s because you were both born in the same hospital, maybe even the same bed, with the same nurse.”


Janis Joplin onstage at The Magic Mountain Festival.


All right, I will learn to read, but when I have learned, I never, never shall.

(British novelist David Garnett at age 4, to his mother.)

Ben Nieves and I in the throes.


Big Brother and the Holding Company as a horn band. That was fun.


Hawaii looking very much like Okinawa. Of course, this is in the 1950s. Neither Oahu nor Okinawa looks like this now.


There was an amazing series of gigs at this Santa Venetia Armory A film of all those concerts would be most interesting. I played in two of these bands.


Sam Andrew was laughing and Janis and Peter were serious.


During the Kozmic Blues Band adventure in Europe, Bobby Neuwirth and i got drunk with the mayor of Stockholm and walked all over town. One of the best guided tours ever.


Money like drugs is a terrible master, but an excellent servant.


Karen Deamant going home.


Snooky takes a break.


As usual, the Jews and Arabs are “settling their differences” in the true spirit of “Christian charity.”


Classmates, Okinawa. We went to school in quonset huts. We lived in quonset huts. A more simple building design would be hard to imagine. Plus, when it came time for typhoons and tsunamis, the building was simply tied down with cables.


Snooky Flowers, larger than life, from Lake Charles, Louisiana.


Kate Russo. Her name means Russian or red in Italian, and she could be all three of these. Good vibrations. Buone vibrazione. Thank you, Kate.


Nothing is said that has not been said before. (Terence 185-159 B.C.)

See you next week!

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Love Story

3 April 2011


Jim Mason, Master of Ceremonies.


Lillian Andrew with red ribbon.


This is what the Supermoon looked like over Biloxi, Mississippi. Where we live in California, we saw NOTHING. Very overcast here still.


Lisa Mills, Pascagoula, Mississippi. Her fingers are beautiful, aren’t they? Lisa has a wonderful singing voice and a charming manner onstage.


Jim Mason sent me this photograph: Rhoda Watson and Sam Andrew, Okinawa. She was my first love. I left Okinawa and left her behind. It took me years to get over her. In some ways I still haven’t. Our story has lasted almost all of our lives. One day I will tell it.


Packard engine 1956. When you could actually see what was under the hood. Now mechanics have to take computer classes occasionally just to keep up with new technologies. I don’t even know where the carburetor is in my car, but then I did. Radiators no longer are in evidence, but the radiator in this car is the largest thing there. Cars are better now. They need less repair and they’re easier to maintain, but I miss the days when I looked at everything and knew what it was.


As Long As Forever Is: I used a little of everything in this sculpture. Papier maché, tape, glue, wood, paint, gesso, plaster of Paris.


This is the real Teahouse of the August Moon on Okinawa.


The Charles River Valley Boys on the bank of the Charles, Cambridge, Massachusetts. John Byrne Cooke, Everett Allan Lilly, Joe Val, Bob Siggins. What a great bluegrass ensemble they were.


The Marin Town and Country Club in Fairfax, California, was a famous venue in the 1940s. Many big bands came to play here, and this was a prime vacation spot for San Franciscans. The place is in limbo now, waiting for someone to come rescue it.


Nusi Dekker is a singer/songwriter with some very interesting opinions, some so interesting that I dare not print them here.


The Moana Hotel 1954. This was when Hawaii and Okinawa resembled each other. Everything was still in proportion on Waikiki. Now it’s megalopolis. Being on Okinawa was like being in Hawaii, but with no tourists. Now, even Okinawa is like West Palm Beach. Vacationland for Japanese tourists.


Erika Andrew-Luzaich and Jason Forland backstage in St. Cloud, Minnesota.


An atoll in the Pacific photographed by astronaut Dennis Wheelock. An atoll is a volcano that has blown its top off, so you get this ring shape. Crater Lake in Oregon is an example of an ancient volcano on land. A caldera was formed by the collapsed volcano and then water filled it. The Bikini Atoll was where a famous nuclear test took place, maybe the first test. And the No Bikini Atoll was a comedians’ routine in the late 1950s.


This is Elise’s friend Tina Lee. She was born in a house in Pascagoula, Mississippi, lived there all her life, married and brought her husband there. Katrina took it all away. Completely destroyed the house. Nothing left. We have one plate that she gave us. That’s all she has left. Now she and her husband David have a shiny new house, but of course it’s just not the same.


This Packard was a V12, six cylinders on each side. A monster. A very good looking monster. 1938.


Tamra Engle. Is there anything she can’t do?

(Photo: Shelley Champine)


Elise took this photo of the butterfly in The Throckmorton Theatre, Mill Valley.


Did you see Sarah shoot the reindeer? She had no idea what was going on, had to be coached through the entire ridiculous process, missed the first time and then made a dramatic victory sign when it was over. What a charlatan.


My “cousins” Ronnie and JL Campsey. We’re not really related, but our mothers were best friends through life. 1945. I see Ronnie every time i go to Long Island.


A musician friend. Interesting, isn’t she?


Frank Bertolli in his Corvette. Very yellow this car. Beautiful.


Shiho, who is a big star in Japan, sat in with us at Bethel, New York. Sophia Ramos graciously gave Shiho the space to do her thing and she sang well.


Joan Getz and Nancy Parker: I always think of Nancy as Nancy Parker even though she has had a plethora of names by now. I’ve known her as long as i’ve known Peter Albin. Maybe longer.


I was with Snooky Flowers in Paris when he acquired this saxophone.


Discussing The Kozmic Blues Band. Janis Joplin and Richard Kermode. 1969.


We have the most talkative cat in the world. She’s a chatterbox.


Dawn and Joel Eisenberg. Lilli Heart took this, a classic photograph.


Waikiki Beach from Queen’s Surf 1956.


Here she is swimming off Maui and right into our dreams.


This is Fairfax Creek. She overflowed her banks one night and destroyed Tom Finch’s recording studio and several of his guitars.


Helicopter made in Dallas. Look at that design. Unusual.


Graphite. Let Fall The Tear Of Time.


My friend Rozman is from Malaysia. He was born very bright and then he had the advantage of a British educational system, so he is well informed also, but mainly he is a lot of fun with a ready laugh and a joy in living rarely equaled. Malaysia is a curious country, split in two, with a large exanse of South China Sea in the middle. Singapore sits on the edge of the west part of Malaysia and the east part shares the island of Borneo with Indonesia. How’s that for a cosmopolitan mix?


Elise Piliwale took this photo of our loquacious feline.


In 1846, John Fremont called this opening Chrysopylae, Greek for Golden Gate, almost a hundred years before there was a bridge here. This small gap in the Coast Range is the reason for San Francisco’s variety of microclimates, and why Mark Twain spent the “coldest winter he had ever felt here one summer.” The sun bakes the Central Valley in the summer, the heat then rises and draws in the cold ocean air through this one aperture in the mountain wall, so August in San Francisco is foggy and it freezes tourists from Ohio who have been thinking about Sunny California and are wearing shorts and sandals.


Mexican folk art. I don’t know why the artist wrote INRI backwards. INRI stands for Iesus Nazarethi Rex Iudaeorum (Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews). This phrase caused no end of trouble in the Middle Ages, and, indeed, Sarah Palin’s “blood offering” probably owes a something to it.


Musician friend from the Midwest. She’s got that Bettie Page thing.


Mick Taylor and I don’t know the woman’s name, but she was very sweet. Mick played with The Sam Andrew Band one night in Seattle at The Paramount.


Okinawa. I put this chapel/temple on a site for Okinawans and received the strangest responses. People used this building for all manner of purposes not strictly religious, unless you take a very broad view of what religion is. I wager that many a child has been conceived in churches or cemeteries, which seems only fitting somehow. Close to the baptismal font and close to the final destination for us all.


Elise Piliwale and Karen Lyberger in Milan.


My sister Lillian with her daughter Emily Rollins.


Mickey Fischer was so happy to find this zither. He comes and plays it to me at Aroma Café while I paint. It has a beautiful sound and it evokes old Vienna. The strings to the right are tuned in fourths or fifths and the strings on the left are stopped as those on a guitar are, and so play the melodies. This is a classic zither made in the 1950s, but Mickey is a luthier and makes all manner of exotic instruments, including zithers.

Christian, Asher Malachi and Kari Borle, my niece. Either they have gone to Europe, found a time machine, and become royalty, or else this is a very good Cindy Sherman type photograph.


Peter Albin back then. Great swinging bass player. Everyone always says that Peter is the nicest guy in Big Brother. I can’t help but feel a little offended when I hear this, but I try to bear up under the strain.


Interesting cigarette advert from 1939. Today I don’t think you would see the phrase “New methods developed by The United States Government and the States.” Is this a tip of the hat to Southern sensibilities, since tobacco growing was centered in the Carolinas? I stay up at night worrying about things like this.


This is Venice. She comes to see me once a week at Aroma Café, and always seems very interested in what pigments I am using.


Note the god’s eye (ojo de Dios) on the Standel amplifier.


Intimate hairdos: A customer in a beauty salon “Pussycut” in Tel Aviv that specializes in pubic haircuts.


Sign on Okinawa sent by Jim Mason: This could apply to many places, even to many pubic places.


Assemblage, 1980s.


Steve Keyser at one of my art shows, San Francisco.


My brother Dan and his family: Diane, Pat, Dillon Bird, and Kelsi Jeffreys.


Did you see this? Hilarious.

The President’s Speech


Auf Wiederschreiben!

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company



27 March 2011


Memphis 1970. Waiting to go on and do our very first Kozmic Blues Band set. Terry Clements, tenor saxophone; Brad Campbell, bass; Marcus Doubleday, trumpet. Is there a big drama here, or is it just a feel that the camera misinterpreted?


Elise Piliwale in Honoka’a, Hawaii, 2004. Namaste.


Shelley and Dave Champine, 23 March 2011. Photo: Tamra Engle. I love these people.


And of course I love this design.


Lee Andrew and Bill Andrew, Albany, Georgia. In Georgia they pronounce “Albany” Al (as in Albert) BINNY. Accent on the second syllable.


El Artista Peter Albin.


Tamra Engle, Sam Andrew and Andrew Perrins’ fabulous poster. (Photo: Shelley Champine)

In the glass you can see a shapely limb that belongs to the photographer.


Vulpina, sculpture, 1980s.


This is what a Buddhist looks like. My brother Dan.


Credo, or should I say, Non Credo.


What are they’re talking about? Guitars. My father and Rhoda Watson, Okinawa, 1960.



Lillian Andrew with her doll.

Teressa, talented and beautiful.


Ben Nieves and I are getting ready for a summer of touring, so he’s working on his technique here.


Satchel Paige. This is the man who said, “Don’t look back, they may be gaining on you,” thus inspiring a Bob Dylan album title. Woody Allen named his son Satchel.


Joan Getz and Nalva Nobriega. Joan is a singer with her own style and Nalva is an excellent piano player from Brazil.


Tom Finch with his daughter Makena. When Tom and I were on Maui, we went to Makena Beach, which was a kind of pilgrimage.


James Gurley and I lived on Makena Beach off and on for a couple of years, as I have noted elsewhere. People on that beach often wore less than this.


The entire island of Saipan was evacuated during the recent tsunami, but there was very little damage there. Same with Okinawa to the northwest. Both islands escaped almost unscathed. Odd because they are so low lying, especially Saipan.


Tracy Outlaw came to visit me on her birthday. It was so good to talk to her.


Erin Homs and her father Stephen Andrew. Can you tell they’re related?


Sarah Palin is reportedly on the outs with Roger Ailes.

That’s a real heartbreaking headline, isn’t it?


Three guys in Austin: Anthony, Michael and Chris Vitale.


Janis! Take it to the bridge!  (Mary Bridget Davies on the right.)


Jason Castle took this photograph.


I’ve known the guys in Canned Heat and Vanilla Fudge for a long time now. They’re family. It was so good to be with them in Hawaii.


La guapura la tenemos todos, hay que dejar que salga! dice Elizabeth.

(Handsomeness, we all have it, we just have to let it out, says Elizabeth.)

Well, yes, but I would say that Elizabeth has a little more “guapura” than most of us.


James Gurley and Michel Bastian in the 1980s.


Sophia Ramos and Sam Andrew, Ko Samui, Thailand.


This is what Sicily looks like. Well, part of it anyway.


Mary Bridget Davies and Ben Nieves. I like Mary’s pink top.


Kacee Clanton, San Diego, 2001 (Photo: Sam Andrew).


Joel Hoekstra looked like this ONE TIME in his entire life, so, of course, we have to see that here, and let’s not forget his Nightranger guitar.


Chad Quist trying to blend in in Frankfort, Deutschland.


Ben Nieves. There’s a fine line between…oh, never mind.

She plays the violin so well.


A backstage scene. Snooky Flowers, John Byrne Cooke and Janis Joplin.


Elise Piliwale doing her young mommy modeling.


Performing in Moscow, 1995. The name of this show was Gradus ad Parnassum (Steps to Parnassus), a phrase that had a lot of meaning for me. When I studied counterpoint, the first book I used was Palestrina’s Gradus ad Parnassum which was intensely interesting.


A Packard coupé Opéra from King Ottokar’s Sceptre (The Adventures of Tin Tin). He says, “Let’s hurry, my lord…I believe there’s not a moment to lose.”


Where? When? It was funny, though.


Altarwise by Owl Light (graphite). This is the father of a friend of mine.


My brother Lee Andrew.


Sunny Sax Dream




Enso. The eternal circle. This should be drawn in one stroke with calmness of spirit.


Rhoda Watson and Sam Andrew, Okinawa, Japan.


Someone gave Andra Mitrovich this memento of Janis’ return home.


I listen to Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings almost every day. My father listened to this music. His father listened to it.


We played here a couple of years before this. I have a photograph of Diamond Head from the 1950s that brings back a lot of memories.


Danny is a very creative ceramicist and a genius barista at Aroma Café.


Ben Nieves, one of the best guitarists ever.


James, your nimbus is bent.


Sometimes you have to get it where you can.


Watashitachi no kazoku. Our tribe. Sausalito, California. Joel Jaffe might be the only one here who is in focus.


I’m hot. Are you hot?    (Sophia Ramos, Thailand)


These Homs are good looking, aren’t they? Erin Homs, née Andrew, is second from right.


Cathy Richardson, such a great singer. Hey, I see Chris Pimentel back there.


Que tengas una buena semana.

See you next week.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Paul’s Birthday

20 March 2011


Throckmorton Theatre, Mill Valley, California


I’ve always wanted to play here and finally we did tonight at 8:00.


The Throckmorton is in lovely Mill Valley, a town where B.J. Hunnicutt lived in the 1950s, and where the Invasion of the Body Snatchers was filmed, so, you have the sense that anything can happen here.


We were on the same bill with The Jefferson Starship.


They generously loaned us their singer Cathy Richardson.


and the always amiable and very talented Slick Aguilar who played some marvelous Aguilar Guitar with us.


Tim and Nicki Bluhm, new friends.


Big Brother and the Holding Company played this set:

Combination of the Two

I Need A Man To Love


Piece of My Heart

Ball and Chain

Bobby McGee


Darby Gould, Elise and Karen seated on the royal couch where they belong.


Prairie Prince loaned us his drums in a princely manner.


Cathy and Elise copping an attitude.


My friends Zia and Clark came to the gig. So good to see them.


What it looks like backstage at one of these affairs.


Adrienne Pfeiffer herded all the cats here. She even tried to herd some cats here who didn’t belong here at all. Thank you for everything, Adrienne.


This was written on a blackboard, well, a pink board, backstage at the gig. Would you please translate?


Pete Sears came with his daughter who just returned from a trip around the world. She looks like Jeanette and Pete, of course.


Elise and I saw The Adjustment Bureau in the aftenoon before The Paul Kantner Birthday Celebration that night. Emily Blunt is named Elise in the film and there is an extraordinary congruence between her and Elise Piliwale, although Elise was much more beautiful than Emily Blunt at the same age. I have photographic proof of this, and have mentioned it elsewhere.


Zensekai wa Nihon no tame ni inorimasu.

The whole world is praying for Japan.


Tampa, Florida, is in Hillsborough County. In Hillsborough, California, Janis once tried to be arrested so she could get her photograph in the San Francisco Chronicle. She was very angry when one of the equipment managers paid her parking tickets. She didn’t speak to the poor guy for weeks.


After I left Okinawa, Japan, my band The Cool Notes continued to perform. Here they are at a dance on the Island.


Elise, Halle, Deutschland. Halle is in the east of Germany and retains much of its character from the old days. Georg Friederich Händel was born here in 1685, the same year that Bach was born in Leipzig, not far away.


This clever Hawaiian girl has already learned how to work the switch box. Please call me in five years. I have a job for you.


Peter in character with an old friend of mine from San Rafael, and a new friend of mine from Austria.


Head and torso, work in progress.


Laundromat in Zwickau, Deutschland.


I’d love to take all these routes, but especially the one that goes down into México.  (LIFE Magazine, 1939)


Where Are They Now? From Rolling Stone 1986. Remember the film Spinal Tap where the band hears their hit on the radio and the DJ comes on and says, “Well, we’ll put that one in the Where Are They Now file.”


Stephen Andrew with Zeus.


Kate Russo, talented, beautiful, pink.


I made a couple of torsos of fired clay and put them out in the garden.


La chanteuse Marie-Brigitte Davies à Paris.


Our first time in Italy. I loved Milan and this Teatro Blu was charming. Nel Blu di Pinto di Blu. I love “flower children” in Italian, “figli dei fiori.”


Valerie Stoll Schwimmer took this photograph on a walk in Larkspur, Marin County.


Sophia Ramos. Could she be any cuter? Here she is with Militia Vox.


One of those mystery photos. What are they talking about?


My sister with friends: Alicia Collins, Austin City Limits, Lillian Andrew


Lillian, Paula and Dan Andrew (Paris, 1964)


A lot of popcorn there, but not many cookies. Chris Vitale.


The classic Janis signature. It’s a great one. I love the diagonals.


I remember that girl holding the large piece of white paper as if it were yesterday. I am here somewhere but I can’t find me.

Joan Getz on another island, Hawaii, 2006.


Karen Lyberger, Hawaii, 2004.


Two guys in Hawaii wearing Hawaiian shirts. Ewwwwwwwww.


Chad Quist and Rachael.


Ben Nieves destroying a pizza in Hagerstown, Maryland.


Chris and Anthony Vitale who look a little different today.


In the 1980s I was doing a lot of still photography.


You know, they just move together so well, don’t they?


The view out of our kitchen window.


When Mary Bridget Davies is in Paris she gets really wild. That chord looks like a G#11.


The Cleveland PlayHouse, what a great place. The Drury Theatre was only one of many there, and I was able to see a lot of DRAMA here.


Valerie Stoll Schwimmer found this trillium on a walk in Larkspur.


Sophia Ramos barefeet. I always think of Sophia this way because when she first sang with us in Central Park 2003, she came out with a beautiful pair of heels, but when she got to the good part in Ball and Chain, she kicked them off. Very excting. Stopped the show actually.


James Gurley, Wetlands, New York. Hey, did he match his guitar with those drums?


Lillian Andrew and Luke Rollins


My brother Bill’s artichoke flower.


I hope you are well and happy, and I’ll see you next week.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company



13 March 2011

What would men be without women? Rare, very rare and not well done.


“No one sang nor will sing as she. Listen to Summertime or Kozmic Blues and you will understand that this is an unrepeatable phenomenon.”


The main thing that we learn from history is that no one has learned much  from history.


I sailed to Okinawa on this ship. 1946. We were the first American children on the Island. Ever.


Country song title:  She Was Only A Whisky Maker, But He Loved Her Still.


Things that Emily Litella worried about:

1.   Conservation of national race horses

2.   Sax and violins on television

3.   Soviet jewelry

4.   Endangered feces


Makena Beach, Maui. James Gurley and I lived on this beach off and on for two years or so.


It’s easier to get older than wiser.


Rodney Albin, Peter’s brother drew this poster for our first gigs. 1965.



Obesa Cantavit.

The fat lady has sung.


I made this in Sunnyvale, California, 1980s.


LIFE Magazine 1939. There was a real danger at this time that things could seriously go wrong in this country. There was the usual lunatic fringe on the right who didn’t bother actually to look anything up, but, as the birthers do today, would just uncritically accept anything they were told. Leaving aside, for a moment, the question of why it would be bad for Roosevelt to be Jewish, all anyone had to do was consult the President’s genealogy to see how ridiculous this advertisement is. After all, it’s not exactly as if the Roosevelts were unknown. There has always been this kind of Know Nothing, inimical to science, deny climate change, deny evolution side to the Republican Party which would be funny if it weren’t so serious. These people need to be closely watched. Always.


Gravity: It’s not only a good idea. It’s the law.


Sam Andrew Band: Scott Matthews, me, Robin Sylvester, Peter Walsh. 1990s


A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.


My friends love me anyway.


I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.


From the Church bulletin:

A songfest was hell at the Methodist church Wednesday.


Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.


Mary Bridget Davies with Uriah Heep, Austria.


Die? That’s the last thing I want to do.


“We used to hustle over the border for health care we received in Canada. And I think now, isn’t that ironic?” Sarah Palin


Dove eravamo rimasti?

Now, where were we?


We are all who we were in high school.


Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, I’ve lost my electron. The other says,

Are you sure.

Yes, I’m positive.


Guy walks into the bar with a duck under his arm.   Bartender says,

Hey, what are you doing with that pig?

What are you talking about. This is not a pig. This is a duck.

I was talking to the duck.


What does a duck like to eat with soup?



How do lawyers sleep?

First they lie on one side and then they lie on the other.


Actual courtroom dialogue:

Q: What was the first thing your husband said to you when he woke

that morning?

A: He said, “Where am I, Cathy?”

Q: And why did that upset you?

A: My name is Susan.


Q: Did you blow your horn or anything?

A: After the accident?

Q: Before the accident.

A: Sure, I played for ten years. I even went to school for it.


Q: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition

notice which I sent to your attorney?

A: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.


Banyan trees, Lahaina, Maui.


Q: Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?

A: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.


Q: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?

A: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.

Q: And Mr. Dennington was dead at the time?

A: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an

autopsy on him.


Something else I made in Sunnyvale.


Nachschlepper (German) a dragger after, a toady, a hanger on. This word became “nuchshlepper” in Yiddish. Famous and/or wealthy people usually have a few Nachschlepper in tow.


Another country song title: I Gave Her A Ring, But She Gave Me The Finger.


Is life worth living? That depends on the liver.


When you hear something funny, listen for the truth in it.


If you live long enough, you become honored somewhat as a museum is honored.


Wade In The Water, Wade In The Water, Children.


The old neighborhood has changed. The Lewis Family Funeral Home is now called Deaths R Us.


Isn’t Muamar Gadhafy the sound you make when you’re allergic to acacia? Or should that be Moammar Khadafy?


I was walking across the Pont Neuf in Paris when I saw her boating on the river. “Hey,” I shouted, “you’re in Seine.”


Death is not the end where there’s a will.


Dumb saying: Everything comes in threes. Some things come in fours. Some don’t come at all.


Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way.


Death Valley University, more than one hundred degrees available.


Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.


If at first you don’t succeed, you’re about average.


Packard dealership 1927, on Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco.


The trouble with Born Again Christians is that they don’t seem to be much improved the second time around.



Sic Friatur Crustum Dulce

(That’s the way the cookie crumbles.)


This is what our house looked like the second time we were in Okinawa, Japan.


He was a wise man who invented God. Plato


Who says that I am not under the special protection of God? Adolf Hitler


Many a sober Christian would rather admit that a wafer is God than that God is a cruel and capricious tyrant.  Edward Gibbon


Elise’s paternal grandfather Silver Piliwale is literally a Hawaiian National Treasure and there are trails and other geographical features named for him. One of them is Piliwale Ridge.

Silver Piliwale is something of a legend on the islands of Oahu and Maui.


Il mio consiglio a tutti i giovani è: cominciate a dar la caccia alle ragazze il giorno in cui cominciate ad allacciarvi da soli le scarpe e non mettetivi in testa stramberie che alla fine possono rovinarvi fisicamente e moralmente, e, oggi, perfino politicamente.


My advice to all young men is: start chasing girls the day that you can lace your shoes up by yourself and don’t get crazy ideas in your head that in the end can ruin you physically and morally, and, today, perhaps politically.


Easy Street is a blind alley.


People used to take drugs. Now they do drugs. They do everything. Guy says to the barista, “I’m going to do a plain croissant with butter, and then I’ll do a meeting.”


Quote me if I’m wrong.


There are some people who map the universe and search out the stars. I can’t cross Market Street at the right place to get to Grant Avenue.


Note to my accountant:

Haec summa, estne quod merui aut quod debeo?

This amount, is that what I made, or what I owe?


We pass through here. Zzzzzzip! Once and once only. So quick. Who remembers that person six thousand years ago who was so valuable and unforgettable to her friends? She was the light of their lives. Not only is she gone, but they are all gone. All trace of them. Gone. We don’t even know what language she spoke. What did her life mean?


Life is what you make it mean my friend. (line from a Sam Andrew song)


When I die I shall be content to vanish into nothingness…No show, however good could conceivably be good forever…I do not believe in immortality, and have no desire for it.   H.L. Mencken


Le affondai un gomito nelle costole. “Cara,” mormorai con tutta la cattiveria di cui fui capace, “sta’ zitta. Questo è un dramma e le tue risate disturbano il pubblico.”


I sunk an elbow into her ribs. “My dear,” I murmured with all of the wickedness I could muster, “calm yourself. This is a drama and your laughiter is disturbing the public.”


If Shakespeare had been a rock musician, he would never have had the time to write his soliloquies and sonnets. He would have always been in a rent a car between Trasimeno and Padova. And we won’t even mention how long the sound check is going to take.


A piano is a piano is a piano. Gertrude Steinway.


Concordance and harmony over the decades:

Your proposition is indubitably correct!

Good on yer, old chap!

Yes, indeed!

You’re darn tootin’!

You can say that again!

Fuckin’ A, right!

No shit, Sherlock!

I’m wise!

I’m hip!

You got it, bro!

I hear ya!

Tell me about it!

You got that right!

I heard that!

I feel ya!



Illegal aliens have always been a problem in this country.

Ask any Native American.


See you next week!

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

6 March 2011

Todd, the owner of George’s. He is a cancer survivor. Go, Todd!

Lynn Asher and Don Bassey. Isn’t she beautiful? Don is a bass player, so he has a good name for it. He should have played with Count Basie.

(Rim shot.)

Bananas At Large music store to Marin. They should have people autograph the wall here, the way they did at Manny’s in New York.

Elise and Dario da Rold who comes from Belluno, Italy, not far from Vicenza. Dario is a chef e il mio professore italiano.

Dario owns this lovely building and he used to have a restaurant Villa Romana on the ground floor. The Grateful Dead came there every day.

Snooky and Lilli Heart who took many of these excellent photographs.

Barbara Sansone, Dave Rodrigues and Steve Sodokoff.

Tamra Engle, Trina Baucom, Etelka Garami, Elise Piliwale. Tonja Salmon

Elizabeth. Isn’t she beautiful? She has that Ingrid Bergman beauty.

Janis and Dick Cavett who had a crush on her. He used to chase her around the couch. What a guy.

This is what we performers have to put up with. Look what a terrible camera angle this is. These women are beautiful and John Byrne Cooke is handsome but it’s difficult to tell that here. Maria Muldauer, Joan Baez and Mimi Fariña.

The San Rafael Public Library, one of the many that Andrew Carnegie created around the country. Carnegie was breathtakingly ruthless in his business practices. He ground people into little pieces. Then he retired and tried to do good the rest of his life. I have visited his libraries all over the country and have enjoyed them all so much. Life is complicated.

Lilli Heart took this photograph of Terry Fowler and me. James Gurley, Terry Fowler and I shared one woman, not at the same time, I hope. Cheryl Little Deer. Beautiful, confused, alive. Terry was the responsible grown up who picked up the pieces when she died. Terry is a good man and a real friend.

Elise in her Habana de Cuba phase. I will say more about how we are both Island People, but I see it here unexpectedly and delightfully.

Elizabeth at the table. This is some kind of longing for forgotten ancestors here in this photograph that I don’t even now how to express.

Dave Richards’ portrait of Big Brother.

Elise headshot

Chad Quist, Tacoma, Washington. Chad was always so talented. I knew him when he was even younger than this, and he had it all together then. All the guitar chops, compositional skills, knowledge, stage presentation, the whole thing. Chad was on top of it.

Senatus Populusque Romanum. LAuren sent me this. This is the way the Romans saw themselves. The Senate and People of Rome. Romans are witty, fast, liable to break out into song at any minute. They still have that pizazz that made them masters of the world once. It’s always fun when there’s a Roman around. La dolce vita romana.

Not sure what a Roman would make of this. This was an inchoate, revolutionary social change in the making. Probably no one could see it who was not seeing it up close. It was messy, unformed, tentative and very beautiful.

Meanwhile, years later, everything has calmed down, maybe calmed down too much. The Republicans are running everything and they are daily overstepping the bounds of common sense. It won’t be long until they self destruct, and so it goes. Elise and Snooky. February 2011.

Ah, did Nature carve such a noble brow?

Or was that Peggy? She knew how.

The eyes recess, the mouth a barrel,

She sculpts with care, with a verve so feral.

Lester Chambers is an old friend. All of those brothers were so good, amicable. gifted, gentle, happy. Good friends. (Photo: Robert Dries)

Brad Jenkiins. He added so much to our gig at Geoge’s. Played some fine, FINE saxophone, and in general behaved as a gentleman and a wise person. Thank you, Brad, always.

Can you believe how happy and casual Janis looks here? She has on some kind of ribbed top and those silly levis. Long beads and she’s happy and on top of it. This is one of her great moments. Sane, really there.

This is a calico kitty and she needs to be reminded every now and then that she CAN be eaten. She is exploring the window by the computer right now even as I write. Elise eats pussy.

James and I kicking it and happy too.

Elise and I are both island people. Significant events in our lives have taken place on islands. I began kindergarten on Okinawa, Japan. Elise was born in the same Honolulu hospital where  President Obama was born. We joke that maybe they were even born in the same bed with the same nurse. Hey, that’s possible, right? Oh, sorry, I forgot about all you birthers out there, you with your yearnings that the President was born somewhere else. Where was it? Kenya? Idiots. He wasn’t born in Kenya, and Mike Huckleberry, or whatever his name is, who recently stated on a Republican talk show that Obama’s world view was formed by his upbringing in Kenya is as ignorant as the rest of you. President Obama didn’t even visit Kenya until he was in his 20s. He’s an Island person too, brought up mainly on Hawaii and then Indonesia.

This is where Elise’s father lives. Saipan. It’s out in the Philippine Sea, a little to the northeast of Guam. He lives there now. We want to go visit him. He wasn’t born in Kenya either.

Steve Keyser wears many hats, but this one is very small.

The classical image of Janis

The classical image of  Elise.

Katharine Boyd. She’s MOD.

Na’alehu, Hawaii’s beautfiul old theatre. We played here one lovely evening.

This was typical of the old days. She read the paper, he made the set list.

Elise 40th birthday, Baja California. We had such a good time on this trip.

Jerry Miller, red hot, always.

The Gayway. San Francisco. 1939.

Saipan. Elise and I are island people. We have lived on islands, mostly in the Pacific, although I have lived on the island of Manhattan for the longest time I have lived in one apartment in my life. It was a beautiful life too. The loudest sound I heard in that idyllic Greenwch Village was children playing out in the backyard. I love island living.

Looks as if Peter is wearing leather pants there.

When I met Elise, these were her friends, mostly artists at the Ringling art school. Sandy Koop, Danielle Glaysher Cobián, Julie Knight, Elise Piliwale and Kathy McNichol.

This is what radio interviews look like. A small space, an acoustic guitar. The sound is good and tight. Simple.

Ry Cooder in Central Park. This is another man who knows islands.

Neurondon and his beautiful daughter Adyson. Don will take the top of your head off. No, I mean literally. He is a neurosurgeon. I asked him once, “How do you do that? What is it like the first time you do it?” And he replied, “Well, it’s like you practicing backstage at The Fillmore and then you step onstage. You work up to it.” Hmmm. I think there is a slight difference here. I mean, yes, playing Piece of My Heart, for example, is not for the, excuse the expression, fainthearted, but, still, taking someone’s skull off and working on what is lying there? And then putting the skull back together? This is a kind of bravery, courage and downright foolhardiness that I can scarcely imagine, and it calls for a boldness and decisiveness that are way beyond the norm. My friend Don. He’s a scary guy.

Janis ruminating about THE SET. What songs in what order. At least she has an amanuensis, and I can’t believe I just wrote that word.

Lilli Heart is taking some really great photographs these days. Her work has a sculptural quality. Everything looks three dimensional. Peter at George’s last Saturday night, 26 February 2011.

Tom and I, inspired and silly.

Ben and Sophia. Ben is trying to look up Elise’s skirt.

Elise in her modeling days with her cat Murphy and a child.

I love this photograph. Unalloyed happiness. Ann Pierson, Karen Lyberger, Peter Albin.

Janis loves George.

A very typical set of Marin County rocks. There’s a lot of serpentine here.  Some flint. “Jade,” actually chert, some orange carnelian, blue schist. Some granite and basalt. A real mix.

These are all Elise. This is not who she is inside, spiritually, but, hey, that’s OK. Photographs can lie and sometimes it’s even a good lie.

See how much Lynn loves me? She’s probably thinking, “Why the hell did he choose Bb for that song? It’s WAY too high.”

I can’t believe how many amplifiers we used then.

Elise’s step mother on Saipan. The Marianas trench just off these islands is the deepest ocean on our planet, so, really, these islands are very, very high mountains.

The Sam Andrew Band recording in Sebastopol, California, 1990s. Bill Laymon on bass. Bill Ganaye, guitar. Dave Getz, drums. Ed Earley, trombone.

Uh, oh, just about time to go.

See you next week.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


George’s, San Rafael, California, 26 February 2011

27 February 2011

Max Clarke shot this rainbow in Corte Madera, so we knew it was a special day.

Big Brother and the Holding Company played last night with Lynn Asher and Tom Finch at George’s, San Rafael, California. A rare gig near where we actually live.

First set:

Down On Me     D

Save Your Love      F#m

Call On Me     E  major

Bye, Bye, Baby      G

Lucille   Bb

Summertime         Am

Bo’s Bio     Bb

Women Is Losers      C

Turtle Blues     D

Piece of My Heart     (begin  F # minor, main song E major)

Peter Albin was there and David LaFlamme, although David didn’t play. He’s had surgery and is recovering well. Dave Getz played.

Second Set:

Combination of the Two  begins in A

I Need A Man To Love      Em – A7

Bobby McGee   G – A

All Is Loneliness     D

Hold Me    ( D – G – A, we visit all of these key centers.)

Blindman     ( E minor)

It’s Cool     ( key center is C    C diminished, or C 7 raised 9th)

Ball & Chain    G minor

(encore: Do What You Love  B minor )

Mercedes Benz

Trina and Elise were there.

Dave Moss and Linda LaFlamme.

Stela Mandel, Anne Garden and Shannon Cinnamon  McCloud. Stela Mandel is a medical illustrator and one of the loveliest people you’ll ever meet. Anne Garden is an excellent painter, and Shannon Cinnamon McCloud is an old friend who seems to have a light shining out from inside of her.

I am so lucky to know both of these people.

With Dava Sheridan, Trina Baucom, Elise Piliwale and Shannon.

Elise and my brother Bill.

Steve Keyser who used to book Big Brother from 1986 to 1990 . We should have stayed longer with Steve.

Steve Sodokoff, Mr. First Nighter, bon vivant, man about town, mixer.

Barbara, Steve Sodokoff, Dava Sheridan and Lilli Heart, a jewel of a woman.

Elise and Snooky who played all night with us. Snooky’s band will be at George’s soon. He’s my buddy from Kozmic Blues Band days.

Clark and Zia came, Zia who is a writer and a very good singer. I wish I could have arranged a special song where Zia could shine. It’s difficult when you’re in a band that doesn’t rehearse. Clark and I like to talk about girls and cars, so you can see how mature we are. I’d better grow up soon. I’m starting to get that Zero Mostel look.

Valerie Stoll Schwimmer, Glenn Edric Coleman, Elise Wainani Piliwale, and Albert William Andrew. Valerie had me talk on the phone to Tom her boyfriend in Australia. Tom is a pediatric cardiac saxophone playing surgeon who generously loaned me his operating manual for a realistic painting that I did of the human heart. I wish he could have been there last night at our saxophone fest.

It was a good night. We were rusty, but the warm crowd filled in the blanks in our playing, and it was so  good to see these wonderful friends and family.

Laura Gomez on the right. We lived together a long time ago in New York.

After I paint in the morning, I walk up a hill in San Rafael and look at Mount Tamalpais which is about 2,500 feet high, and has snow on it today.

Elise on the day we were married.

Soon the deer will appear here, there and everywhere.

Janis and Peter Tork at Monterey? That’s where it looks like anyway.

We used to work on a Model A when we were in high school. The car seemed so ancient then, twenty-five years old. That would be like someone in high school now working on a 1985 Ford, which seems like a new car to me. Or at least not a very old one.

At Siné in New York. I don’t remember her name. She was lovely.

Martin Fierro. We had a cat Mr. O’Reilly whom Martin called “Meester.” It took me a while to figure out that Meester was really Martin’s name.

Queen Elizabeth probably somewhere in Saudi Arabia trying to fit in with the local mores. I saw her Coronation when I was in the Fourth Grade or so. My teacher said, “This may be the last one, so we should watch it.” This Queen may reign longer than Elizabeth I, and that would be the record for any monarch. Vivat Regina!

Elise when she first came to California. James is there, Peter, Karen Lyberger,  and Dave. They’re playing cards, right? That’s what they do. Elise doesn’t look this way to me, but I have to assume it is she, since who else could be that beautiful?

Elise’s legs.

Bob Dill the Singing Pickle and Mimi Flour shot by John Byrne Cooke. Bob is Zimmerman, of course, the carpenter. Mimi is Fariña, Portuguese for “flour.” I loved Mimi ever since I met her. I wasn’t the only one either.

Kurt Huget strangling Jen Sterling. Well, that’s what it looks like anyway.

At The San Francisco Theological Seminary, trying to audition for the priest job. I brought along extra clothes, just in case they took me right away.

General Ushijima committed seppuku (or, harakiri, as it is vulgarly known) when he lost the Battle of Okinawa. My father sent me this postcard shortly before we joined him on the Island.

You don’t see an image like this every day.

Kate Russo and Leah Hawkins. Need I say more?

A little Rollins and a big Rollins.

My friend Don Graham out on the beach with his daughter Adyson.

One of the saxophones I played a lot in Sunnyvale, California in the 1980s.

Time Is An Even More Foolish Fancy (Peggy Pettigrew Stewart) oil on canvas (24 February 2011)  Almost finished.

Up on that hill above San Rafael, California.

I saw the Moon Landing at The Chelsea Hotel, New York, with this very funny man, Snooky Flowers.

Charlotte Rampling and Sam Waterston.

Katya Blue, singer, actor, good person.

The way Elise looked when I met her. I loved the way she looked then, and I love the way she looks now.

I don’t want to say that John Byrne Cooke is tall, but here he is, slumping, and still towering over Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, Joan Baez and another vertically challenged person.

See? Kitty likes Brussel Sprouts.

I found this at the very top of a high hill in San Rafael, California.

Cousines, at least that’s the way I think of them. My cousins in Alsace, where we played only last October.   Photo: Lillian Andrew.

Photograph by John Byrne Cooke of Debbie Green and Mimi Fariña.

Richard Kermode, Linda Gravenites, Janis, George Ostrow and I don’t know the other man.

Well, that’s it. See you next week.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


What a kerfuffle!

20 February 2011

No bit of doggerl could do this photo justice.

Canis meus litteras scriptas meas comedit.

My dog ate my homework.

Love is a disease and she is the nurse.

La scala sociale di Hollywood è lunga e vertiginosa.

The social ladder in Hollywood is high and it can make you dizzy.

(Beth Hart learning lines.)

John Byrne Cooke, in his first month with the band, pouring champagne for Janis, New Year’s Eve, at Winterland.

Thelma and Louise. Louise had a Bas Mitzvah in Saint Louis where my friend Ann Rinehart knew her in high school. (Janis & Myra)

Time Is A Foolish Fancy (18 February 2011) Photo: Max Clarke.

“Spain” in Hebrew is “Sepharad.” Yasmn Levy is a Ladino scholar and singer. Ladino is to Sephardic Jews what Yiddish is to the Ashkenazim. Yasmin is related to my accountant and she wants to combine Ladino and Flamenco influences in her music.

Living out loud.

Cavalieri quidem artem amatoriam invenerunt.

The Cavalieri invented the art of love.

Comedy is not an escape from reality. It’s an escape from despair.

(Slick Aguilar & Tommy Smothers)

Riderà bene chi riderà ultimo.

She laughs well who laughs last.

She’s not an organ donor, but she once gave an old piano to Goodwill.

I told Sophia Ramos that this woman got two, TWO, pages in The New Yorker, and Sophia replied (with a little pout), “Well, I got four.” And she did too. I checked.

Good thoughts are like money. Earn them, keep them and that will be your final balance in life.

You can always tell a Texan, but not much.

Labra lege.

Read my lips.

With Bonnie Tyler in Moscow:

Communism is like Prohibition. It’s a good idea, but it puts too much of a strain on human nature.

Darby Slick wrote Somebody to Love and I hope it’s making him rich.

South ? 69 ? Do you suppose that…oh, never mind.

Per quanto sia divertente, non lo è come ai vecchi tempi. Ma a sessantanove anni, che cosa è divertente?

As fun as life is now, it’s not like in the old days, but, at 69 years old, how much fun are you going to have?

Believe me, she’s a metsieh!

(Hebrew “find” A bargain, a lucky break)

Think with the heart and feel with the brain. (With Aviva, great sax player.)

All creative people should be required to leave California for three months every year. (Gloria Swanson)

Mulier iucunda intellegensque vult obviam convenire alicui sexus adversi qui lingua Latina utitur.

Attractive and intelligent woman wishes to meet a Latin speaker of the opposite sex.

Che palle!   (Thank you, Trina.)

What balls!

A poet is a passionate lover of the language of dreams.

(Elise Piliwale, Tony Seldin, The Theatre of Light)

Bach in an hour. Offenbach sooner.   (sign on a music store)

Oh, so you think that’s corny? How about

Bach in a fugue minuets. (Right now I’m playing Haydn seek.)

Photo: Jack Bawden

Life is like learning how to play a musical instrument in front of thousands of people. (Hey, wait, I had to do that too.)

Peter Tork and Bill Laymon, and Snooky’s red hat, with The Sam Andrew Band at Wavy Gravy’s Camp Winnarainbow. We opened for Big Brother! I felt like The Folksmen opening for Spinal Tap.

Sometimes zaftig, sometimes not.

Energy, talent? She had a lot.

Elise in a B movie. Or maybe even a C movie.

Playing a colorful C# diminished chord.

James Gurley, Michel Bastian, Babeth Chosson, Moscow, 1995.

“There is something of a kerfuffle going on over a recent edition of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn.” (I love this word “kerfuffle.” For one thing, it’s got the always funny ‘K’ in it, and it’s meaning is rather indeterminate.) Chaos, quarreling, quirky quixoticism, quackery, queer querulousness, kvetching and kvitching). Kerfuffle. That’s my definition.

Here’s what The Oxford English Dictionary has to say on the subject:

[Variant of Scots CURFUFFLE]

First citation in English: 1946.   (F. Sargeson That Summer)

“I bet it (sc. the domestic row) ended up in a good old kafuffle.”

Nicole Álvarez between time and money.

Elaine Mays took this noirish shot of Janis.

With Janis on Mount Tamalpais, Marin County,1967.

Milini Khan and Simone with Simone’s daughter, Central Park, 2003.

I love the expression on Simone’s face.

I was involved in the Great Folk Music Scare back in the sixties, when it almost caught on. (Martin Mull)

What Elise had to wear to get into Thailand.

I played more nights with Janis than any other musician in her life.

Kate Russo and friends. Dallas.

Couple number one. (The Sam Andrew Band played a benefit for The Haight Ashbury Medical Clinic and these two won the dance contest.)

Janis in a cape and fishnet stockings. This outfit was much copied when we did the play Love, Janis.

Now Ben Nieves and I routinely use only the smallest amp you see there, the Fender Twin Reverb and the amps are already there in the venue when we arrive. To think that Big Brother used to carry these all amps all over the country. Finally someone figured it out. “Ahhhh, backline! If we had amps everywhere musicians wouldn’t have to bring all that heavy equipement on the airplane. An ecological and environmental win/win game.”

Lisa Mills in Pascagoula, Mississippi. I’m going to try to get her to sing with us in California in June, 2011. I hope it happens.

Cycads by the road to Kayauchi-banta, Okinawa, Japan. This was a coral road, probably paved now.

I’m not sure we played this gig. In fact, I’m fairly sure that we did not. Too bad. I went to high school here. Part of it anyway. And then my family  traveled to Okinawa, where I graduated from Kubasaki High School. Janis came from Port Arthur, of course, near Beaumont and Houston. We may have missed that stop also. For some reason my memory is fuzzy here. Maybe she was ill and we had to cancel? Hey, you can’t remember them all. That was 42 years ago. What were you doing 42 years ago on 21 November? Were you born yet?

Elise, Albuquerque, New Mexico, New Year’s Eve, not last one, but the one before that. So, 2009?

Time Is A Foolish Fancy: This is the small version in its drawing stage. Peggy Pettigrew Stewart. Peggy is doing a glass sculpture of Elise and me, and I am doing three portraits (at least) of her. For me, Peggy is difficult to depict. I think I have her essence here. Typically what happens at this stage is that I then proceed and completely destroy the drawing. Then I’m horrified and despressed and then I continue and slowly, slowly regain the original idea, and almost get the painting back to as good as it was on the second day.

There are painters who work alla prima. That is, they begin and finish a painting in one sitting. I am in awe of these people. Work done this way has a freshness that I admire. Virgil Elliott did this painting alla prima.

Lotus Mahon winning the dance contest. Snooky Flowers is doing the solo right now and Scott Matthews is just about to begin his. Can you hear it? The Sam Andrew Band at University of California San Francisco. A good night. Go, Lotus!

This is my niece Emily Rollins and her brand new baby, Kieran, one day old and fully formed. Most new babies look like Winston Churchill. I admit, I’m a proud grand uncle.

Kate Russo playing with Peter and me. Not sure where.

Thank you and I’ll see you next week.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company