This is the story of Big Brother and the Holding Company. This is the part where we go up, up, up.
January to June 1968
Linda McCartney took this photograph when she was Linda Eastman and a dear friend of mine.
We became vegetarians together. That way we wouldn’t eat each other.
Not for our health, as Isaac Bashevis Singer might say, but for the health of the chickens.
5 January 1968 Rainbow Ballroom Fresno California
6 January 1968 Sacramento State College Steve Brown captured this lovely image of Janis. I think she liked him.
12 January 1968 Shrine Auditorium Los Angeles
13 January 1968 Barnes Park Bandshell Monterey Park California
16-21 January 1968 Golden Bear Club Huntington Beach California I always liked playing here.
25 January 1968 Fillmore Auditorium San Francisco
26-27 January 1968 Winterland San Francisco John Byrne Cooke, son of Alistair Cooke, Spanish major at Harvard, was our estimable road manager and good friend.
I don”t want to say that John is tall, but here he is hovering over Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, Mimi Fariña and Joan Baez.
John writes western novels, he’s a photographer, and he introduced us to a whole new world when we went East in 1967.
He is now writing a book about his days with Janis in Big Brother, the Kozmic Blues Band and Full Tilt.
John took this photograph of Debbie Green and Mimi Fariña.
Albert Grossman, the schvitzing Svengali, our manager, the gray cloud, and now he’s gone.
28 January 1968 Avalon Ballroom San Francisco
Chet and Lori Helms with Bill Graham. Bill is doing the talking. Imagine that.
2 February 1968 The Cheetah Los Angeles
3 February 1968 Earl Warren Showgrounds Santa Barbara
9 February 1968 Santa Clara County Fairgrounds Santa Clara California
10 February 1968 Community Concourse Exhibit Hall San Diego
16 February 1968 Palestra Philadelphia A “palestra” was originally a wrestling school in Greece (palaistra). In Italian, the word now means “gymnasium.”
17 February 1968 Anderson Theatre New York City
Elliott Landy took some very sweet photographs of nearly everyone at that time.
The lower East Side was a magic place to be in those days.
This restaurant was right next door to where we played.
Colors, smells, enthusiastic people who were personal, direct and kind, rather the opposite of the stereotype of New Yorkers.
Ukrainian easter eggs, Afghan coats, secondhand shops, it was like a giant bazaar.
23-24 February 1968 Psychedelic Supermarket Boston I walked into a store in Boston, asked for yoghurt and the grocer almost spat at me.
25 February 1968 Rhode Island School of Design Providence Rhode Island Yes, folks, there was a time when yoghurt was seen as exotic.
I lived in Paris 1962-1964 and a friend there was feeding yoghurt (“yaourt”) to his baby. First time I tasted it. Delicious. Tastier then… and there.
1-2 March 1968 The Grande Ballroom Detroit Michigan
Back in New York, in Albert Grossman’s office listening to what we did at The Grande. One of those moments of truth.
Bill Graham becomes the king of New York.
8 March 1968 Fillmore East opens. Linda made this poster.
We were living in the Chelsea Hotel, once home of Mark Twain, Eugene O’Neill, Thomas Wolfe and many other heroes of our youth.
William Burroughs lived there. So did Brendan Behan, O. Henry, Virgil Thomson, Larry Rivers, Charles Bukowski, Patti Smith and let’s not forget Sid and Nancy.
Jane Fonda lived there. So did Julie Christie. I visited each of them there. We were just friends. Coworkers, really.
9 March 1968 Wesleyan University Middletown Connecticut Janis is playing Combination of the Two.
15-17 March 1968 Electric Factory Philadelphia I always loved Philadelphia. The people I met there seemed very soulful. Still do.
Visiting the Columbia Records vault, New York City. Lots of treasure there.
And recording at the Black Rock. Columbia Recording Studio. I once did a session here at seven in the morning.
The Black Rock is at 52nd Street and Sixth Avenue.
I was very excited to be on this street and I walked west at night, hearing the ghosts of Monk, Bird, Diz, Bud Powell, Bill DeArengo, Milt Jackson, J.C. Heard, Ray Brown.
I walked 52nd Street whistling the tune they wrote and played here. That middle part is something else.
22-24 March 1968 The Cheetah Chicago
2-6 April The Generation New York City B.B. King inspired us this night with his sacred words and music.
7 April 1968 Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, Richie Havens, Paul Butterfield, Joni Mitchell.
10 April 1968 Anaheim Convention Center
Tuning, always tuning. In the Renaissance they said that if a lute player lived to be eighty, he would have spent sixty years tuning. That’s about right
11 April 1968 We play Summertime on ABC-TV Hollywood Palace.
11 April 1968 Fillmore Auditorium with Booker T and the MGs and Iron Butterfly.
12-13 April 1968 Winterland San Francisco Now we’re home with our friends, practiced, proficient, professional and prone to perilous propensities.
Don’t ask me what that means. Well, actually, I know what it means, but am loathe to elucidate.
This gig at Winterland was recorded.
14 April 1968 Carousel Ballroom
19 April 1968 Selland Arena Fresno
20 April 1968 University of California Santa Barbara
24 April 1968 Straight Theatre San Francisco
26 April 1968 Foothill College Los Altos California
27 April 1968 San Bernardino California
1 May 1968 College Field Chico State College Chico California Chico is close to Paradise. I bet Donna Patterson can come up with a better line than that.
2 May 1968 Carousel Ballroom San Francisco
1968 3-4 May The Shrine Expo Center Los Angeles
3-5 May 1968
3-6 May 1068
10 May 1968 Cal-Poly State University San Luis Obispo California
11 May 1968
12 May 1968 San Fernando Valley State College Northridge California
15 May 1968
Fairly typical set list at this time.
16 May 1968 This doesn’t look like one of James’ usual guitars.
17 May 1968 Freeborn Hall University of California at Davis
18 May 1968 Santa Clara County Fairgrounds Santa Clara Northern California Folk Rock Festival
This was a special gig, quite memorable.
Sunny, beautiful day, Janis relaxed and happy, sitting in the grass with me and the other children.
19 May 1968 Civic Auditorium Pasadena James singing Easy Rider. “And I will even buy you some cardboard fruit.”
21 May 1968 Bermuda Palms San Rafael California I used to play saxophone in this building with a big band.
24-26 May 1968 Carousel Ballroom with the Clara Ward Singers. Five errors ? Dave, Janis, Sam, James and Peter. That was easy.
31 May 1968
9 June 1968 Whisky-A-Go-Go Hollywood
Always so much going on at The Whisky.
13 June 1968 Fillmore Auditorium
14-15 June 1968 Winterland San Francisco
16 June 1968 Fillmore Matrix Benefit
22-23 June 1968 Carousel Ballroom
Owsley Stanley put us on tape many times. SONY has just released his recording of this engagement.
24 June 1968 Burlingame Country Club Burlingame California
26-29 June 1968 Denver
Part five next week. I love you all, you know that, right ? OK, just making sure.