Well, hello, everybody !
July to Decmber 1967
This is the continuing story of Big Brother and the Holding Company.
The third of twenty-five chapters.
1 July 1967 Avalon Ballroom Quicksilver Mount Rushmore Horns of Plenty
“Big Brother and the Holding Company ?” How did you get a name like that ?
2 July 1967 Mount Tamalpais Marin County, California.
I remember I had a hard time driving down off that mountain after this gig. We had a 1955 Cadillac hearse which was unwieldy anyway, and I didn’t know Marin County yet, and especially Mount Tamalpais, so I had a fun time negotiating all those curves, peaks and valleys.
Anyway, on a beautiful spring day in 1965, Chet Helms held in his hands two legal tablets full of quirky, eccentric, purposefully puerile names.
Names like Tom Slow and his Sarcastic Grand Mo. Or Big Bother and the Folding Company. Or Country Schmo and The Knish. Or Quicksliver Military Service.
4-6 July 1967 Fillmore Bo Diddly Big Joe Williams
7-8 July 1967 Circle Star Theatre San Carlos California
Theatres in the round can be quite tricky. Westbury Music Fair on Long Island is another one. When they begin revolving there is a slight jerk that you should be ready for.
On one legal tablet, Chet had the name “Big Brother,” no doubt prompted by a recent reading of Orwell.
14-15 July 1967 Continental Ballroom grand opening.
20-21 July 1967 Avalon Ballroom Mount Rushmore On another legal tablet page, Chet had the words “The Holding Company.”
Holding ? Why Holding ?
23 July 1967 Straight Theatre San Francisco Grand Opening Freedom Highway The Phoenix Wildflower Grateful Dead
Mount Rushmore Quicksilver Messenger Service New Salvation Army Band Mother Earth Country Joe and The Fish The Charlatans Blue Cheer
28-30 July 1967 California Hall San Francisco
“Holding” was slang at that time for “possessing,” as in, “Hey, man, are you holding any drugs ?”
31 July 1967 Haight Ashbury Free Clinic Benefit
8 August 1967 Denver Dog Denver Colorado A band at this event played Bye, Bye, Baby. The guitar player even copied my mistakes. First time I heard that.
10 August 1967 Kaiser Dome San Bernardino So, on one yellow tablet Chet had “Big Brother” and on the other he had “the Holding Company.”
11-12 August 1967 Continental Ballroom Santa Clara California ”Big Brother ?” “Holding Company ?”
13 August 1967 Avalon Ballroom ”Big Brother” was big government. “”Holding Company” was corporate government. Corporations weren’t people yet.
16 August 1967 Golden Gate Park The Supreme Court was still an honorable institution.
Sharrie Gomez and I doing a Macy’s ad.
24-27 August 1967 Avalon Ballroom Bo Diddly Bukka White The Salvation Army Banned
28 August 1967 Lindley Meadow Golden Gate Park ”Big Brother ?” “Holding Company ?” Very political.
Country Joe and The Fish were a political group, but their name was non political. They should have had our name and we should have had theirs.
Country Janis and The Fish would have been perfect.
We were not “political” at all in the Berkeley sense. We were political just by being who we were. Our politics were non proselytizing, spiritual, private.
Joe MacDonald had a difficult time understanding this then and he may still.
So… “Big Brother ?” ”The Holding Company ?” For a group of people like us ?
We had a shoot in Sausalito at the Heliport with Irving Penn, master of photography, another not overtly yet intensely political artist.
This is the way Irving Peen’s portrait of us and the Grateful Dead looks on the walls of The National Portrait Gallery, London.
1-3 September 1967 Straight Theatre Haight Ashbury San Francisco.
4 September 1967 La Dolphine Estate Debutante Party Burlingame California
6 September 1967
8-9 September 1967 Family Dog Denver
You probably cannot see that Janis and I are committing some kind of nefarious act over there under the tree.
Talk about truth in advertising.
15 September 1967 Canceled. Anyway, so Chet put the names together. Big Brother and the Holding Company.
James Gurley said, “Hey, how is a name that long going to fit on a marquee or a record label ?”
And I thought, “You mean there’s going to be a marquee… and a record label ?”
September 16, 1967 Monterey Jazz Festival T-Bone Walker B. B. King Richie Havens The Clara Ward Singers Afternoon Blues Show
T-Bone Walker was my guitar hero when I was 14, him and Charlie Christian, so I was very excited to see him here.
19-24 September 1967 Golden Bear Huntington Beach California with Big Mama Thornton.
5 October 1967 The Matrix San Francisco James Gurley’s question was prescient. Big Brother and the Holding Company has always been a difficult fit.
On marquees, on record labels, on book titles, philosophically, spiritually… a difficult fit.
6 October 1967 The Ark Sausalito California
7 October 1967 Avalon Ballroom See ? The version below might fit us a bit bother, I mean, better.
8 October 1967 Santa Clara Fairgrounds Santa Clara California
13-14 October 1967 Eagles Auditorium Seattle This engagement was also canceled, I believe, and we played at The Ark instead.
To make the name Big Brother and the Holding Company fit on a poster, we have to squeeze it, so that our name is smaller. Boo, hoo.
15-16 October 1967 Avalon Ballroom
20 October 1967 Contra Costa College San Pablo California
27 October 1967 Cal State Hayward California
28 October 1967 McNear’s Beach San Rafael California
28-29 October 1967 Peacock Country Club San Rafael
31 October 1967 Trip Or Freak Hallowe’en Ball Winterland San Francisco
2-3 November 1967 Fillmore San Francisco Richie Havens
? November 1967 Golden Bear Club Huntington Beach California
4 November 1967 Winterland San Francisco Richie Havens Pink Floyd
4 November 1967 The Ark Baltimore Steam Packet Moby Grape
13 November 1967 Avalon Ballroom Grateful Dead Quicksilver Messenger Service
16 November 1967 Cubist stock certificate.
Lisa Law took this one in San Geronimo Valley not far from where I am sitting now.
This event never happened. In any year. I wish it would have.
23-25 November 1967 The Family Dog presents Thanksgiving Turkey Strut and Trot at The Avalon.
24 November 1967 California Hall San Francisco
25 November 1967 Avalon Ballroom Mount Rushmore
1 December 1967 The Matrix San Francisco Sandy Bull Dan Hicks
2 December 1967
14-17 December 1967 Whisky-A-Go-Go Hollywood
17 December 1967
18 December 1967 California Hall
19 December 1967 Shrine Auditorium Los Angeles We became acquainted with Connie and Renee Pappas somewhere along here.
They were good friends and the next time we played the Golden Bear or the Shrine, they had a party for us at their house.
20 December 1967 Whisky-A-Go-Go Hollywood
22 December 1967 Turlock Fairgrounds Turlock California
25 December 1967 Sokol Hall Christmas Party
26-31 December 1967 Winterland San Francisco
31 December 1967
Happy New Year !
Part four next week. See you then.
Big Brother and the Holding Company Alain Bertrand painted this. Notice the billboard down the street to your left.