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