Part One: We’re going to Illinois

3 July 2011


Backstage in Thailand: Sophia Ramos, Alan Sadd, Sam Andrew, Elise Piliwale, Eugene Skuratowicz.


The infinity character on the keyboard is called the lemniscate.


Sleeping bees.


It is wise to be ignorant of things not worth knowing.


If you have a new car, get the brakes checked once a year. With a more mature model, every six months.


At 151 West 34th Street and Broadway (Herald Square), New York, on 8 November 1902, Macy’s opened its new flagship store becoming “The World’s Largest Store.”


Stela Mandel and Fred Nocella, good artists.


This is the day we found Sopia Ramos who is standing all the way on the left. For some reason, the man who is kneeling center decided that he wanted a lot of women to do “Janis Joplin” songs for his Summer Stage series in Central Park 2003. So he assembled these fine singers and then put Big Brother and the Holding Company and The Kozmic Blues Band together to accompany them. The afternoon worked well and we met some wonderful people. Sophia came on, sang Ball and Chain, and stopped the show. i just couldn’t believe how good she was and I hired her for our next gig. Milini Khan, Chaka Khan’s daughter, is here, bent knees near center. Simone, Nina Simone’s daughter, is second from right. It was so much fun working with all these people, not to mention being reunited with some of the Kozmic Blues Band guys for the first time since 1970.


i was surprised when I started getting old. I thought it just happened to other people. I bet dying is like that too.


On a tombstone:

Invicem Res Bona Est Non Plus Dentharpagarum.

(On the other hand, the good news is no more dentistry.)


Margaret and Michael Joplin.


Truman Capote was born Truman Streckfus Persons. His mother was a sixteen year old beauty queen. His best friend growing up was Harper Lee, the fair haired tomboy, who would later write To Kill A Mockingbird.


How Susan Zelinsky keeps from being bored backstage.


Quizzify (to cause to look odd). If this word were stretched across two triple word scores in Scrabble, it would total 419 points, including the 50 point bonus and the double letter bonus for the z.


Sam Andrew, Lisa Battle, Kate Russo.


Bruce Conforth has on his Facebook page a list of events that the media are more or less ignoring. This is one of them:

Members of Congress continue to mention Christians as a threat to national security. For example, during a recent congressional hearing, U.S. Repreentative Sheila Jackson Lee warned that “Christian militants” might try to “bring down the country” and that such groups need to be investigated. Fanaticism and fundamentalism must be closely watched no matter what comforting and familial masks they may wear.


Human beings and the two toed sloth are the only land animals that typically mate face to face.


At 88, on Christmas day 1977, Charlie Chaplin died of “old age” at his estate in Switzerland overlooking Lake Geneva. March 1978, a Pole and a Bulgarian took Charlie’s coffin with him in it and demanded a ransom of $ 600,000. The Pole, who was the brains of the operation, stayed on the phone with Charlie’s widow Oona so long that police were able to trace his call, and the two geniuses were arrested. The Bulgarian was given a suspended sentence, and the mastermind of the kidnapping was jailed for four years.


I love this. The man with the theodolite, the deer, the banjo, the Martin guitar. This is the real Woodstock.


When a Senator dies, the governor of the state fills the vacancy by an appointment, but the Constitution (Article I, Section 2) requires that members of the House be chosen “by the People of the several states.”


Seals can sleep underwater and surface for air without even waking.


Pieter Brueghel did a painting (Childrens’ Games 1560) showing children of his time playing at spinning hoops, patting mud pies, tossing jacks, dressing dolls, teetering on stilts, shooting marbles and other activities. Many of these games were thousands of years old then. Hide and Seek, as I see from watcihing my cat play it, is older than humans.


Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.


“You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.” President William Howard Taft said this in a speech in 1909, but this line has been credited to the revolutionary Robespierre (1758-1794), Napoleon, Josef Stalin, Richard Nixon, and several other rascals.


Guadagnava molto facendo divertire la gente, ma la sua più cospicua fonte di introiti era il gioco.

He earned a lot by making people have fun, but his most conspicuous entrée was card playing.


“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”    Franklin Delanlo Roosevelt, second inaugural address, 1937.


The Sam Andrew Band, Houston, Texas. Clayton Dyess (on the right) played with Dizzy Gillespie.


John Cipollina, maybe at The Santa Venitia Armory, 1967.


During conscription for World War II, there were nine documented cases of men with three testicles.


Calling card, 1860.


Julie Knight, Christopher Skura, Muir Woods, California.


A decibel (dB) is a logarithmic measure of sound intensity. Zero dB represents the quietest sound that a normal human can hear. A jet airliner 500 feet overhead is about 115 dB, and rock music? Maybe 110? It varies. In the right circumstances, even Lawrence Welk or Burt Bacharach or Barry Manilow, they could ALL be too loud. it’s all relative as we used to say in graduate school. Any music you don’t like is too loud. Isn’t that one of the defining characteristics? Mozart was too loud. Beethoven was definitely too loud. Wagner was agony. They were all too loud. I am proud to carry on this tradition.


Sam Andrew and Ike Turner, Ko Samui, Thailand.


Character is how you act when no one is looking.


Kate Russo and Josie.


Wilhelmina Andrew and Sam Andrew, one year.


Samantha at Aroma Café, 2011.


Rabia Yamazawa, 2011.


Elephants perform greeting ceremonies when a member of the group returns after a long time away. The welcoming animals spin around, like Deadheads, flap their ears and trumpet like Louis Armstrong.


In Egyptian texts, the name Kush alternates with that of Nubia to designate the region extending southward from Aswan to Khartoum. The name Nubia is from the ancient Egyptian word for gold, nub, which abounded there.


A syzygy occurs when three astronomical bodies are aligned. The “zygy” part is a “yoke,” actually the very same word, through Latin “jugum” as in “conjugal.” “Syzygy” is a “with yoking,” rather like the word “synergy,” which is a “with energy.”


At 23rd Street and Broadway, Booth’s Theatre, 8 November 1880, Sarah Bernhardt made her American début. Edwin Booth, America’s greatest tragedian, wanted the USA to hold its own dramatically. He bought a house at 16 Gramercy Park, had Stanford White remodel it, and then made it into The Players Club, a salon for the New York theatrical world. “Sic semper tyrannis!” Which Booth said that? And why?

Our manager Albert Grossman lived in Gramercy Park. He and Janis Joplin and I used to sit in his large bay window during the summer twilight and plan our futures.


Sam Andrew, Janis Joplin, James Gurley, 1968.


Ich mag das hier am liebsten!

(I like this one the best.)  Michaela oder Micaela, wie du willst.


E non preoccuparti se non hai l’aspetto del giovane fusto. A lei piacciono gli uomini maturi.

And don’t worry if you are not a hard body. She likes mature men.


The president can decide not to act on a bill, neither signing it nor formally vetoing it. If the president does not sign and return a bill within ten days of receiving it (not counting Sundays), the bill becomes law.


Lisa Mills and Sam Andrew at Aroma Café. June, 2011.


“Though I am in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me.” Vincent van Gogh.


This is only one of the many beautiful things that van Gogh said and felt. His letters to his brother Theo are a testament to the human spirit. Vincent was such a good person, a remarkable man, who, if he had never painted at all, would still be one of the most interesting and passionately interested people who ever lived.


Male boars form harems.


Singers we love: Zelinsky, Christenson, Keating, Morris, Paige, Asher.

La crème de la crème de chez nous. The best of the best where we live.


Bis später, ja? Hasta luego.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Part Two: back from Ohio.

26 June 2011


Part Two: the Ohio journey:

Columbus, Cuyahoga Falls and Warren.


I catch the Marin Aiporter from the San Rafael, California, Transit Center.


Columbus, Ohio, is a very pleasant city. Lots of wide spaces, interesting architecture and very kind people.


If i would have had more time, or less money, i would have visited Lev’s.


Death Shall Have No Dominion in front of The Rafael Theatre. This work is not only in progress but incipient, inchoate, barely begun. (Photo: Max Clarke)


Mural, Columbus, Ohio.


My father was an officer in the United States Air Force, and he loved Packard automobiles, He worked on them for fun, delight and instruction. He knew all of their insides and outsides. Big Brother and the Holding Company played in Warren, Ohio, this past weekend, and I was fortunate enougn to visit the birthplace of the Packard with Peter Albin and Dave Getz. Beautiful cars with a sense of style and they were well engineered too.


In our latest visit to Ohio, we did these two sets, the same ones we did in Dornbirn, Austria, a couple of years ago. Recycling.


In the Packard Museum, Warren, Ohio.


Ben Nieves, Peter Albin and Cathy Richardson.


We played Summertime in C minor, an unusual key for us. I’m still not sure what happened in the intro, but once we got into it, everything went well enough.


No, it’s not Dave Getz, but it looks like him. This is Rocky and his dog, Poetry.


Poetry, the dog, does a lot of interesting things. She picks up litter and puts it in the dustbin, she dances, she sings.


Ben and I soloing. Cathy Richardson took this photo.


The Packard brothers grew up in Warren, made cars here for a couple of years and then moved on to Detroit.


This is how I feel during the set. Cathy made this photograph.


We’re going to Illinois this week, See you soon.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Part One (part two when we return from Ohio)

26 June 2011



Elise plays Bach, and rock, Scriabin, Händel, Fauré, touché!


The higher the stakes, the more the takes, bluff is enough when it gets that tough.


Every revolutionary is an aspiring dictator.


Gestures that were never meant are sometimes true by accident.


Melanie and Margaret Joplin.


Architecture is visible music, risible music, highly divisible music.


Beauty, yes, and grace, receive a welcome any place.


The French have goût. We have gout. Think that through, think it out.


Arboreal we were, terrestrial we are, celestial we shall be, if we climb that far.


The evil doiing priest honors god the very least.

Less than you, less than me, and I’m an agnostic, don’t you see?


Any free moving liquid in outer space will form itself into a sphere because of its surface tension, because the skin of a sphere has less area of exposure than any other form’s surface. Actually, almost any material in space will eventually form into a sphere for the same reason. The sphere seems to be the universal shape. i am doing a painting now of diatoms and radiolarians, one celled microscopic creatures who live in the ocean, and they have virtually the same forms as galaxies and stars.


Children need models, not critics.



We know less, far less than one millionth of a percent of everything.


An old shoe is comfortable and so is an old friend.


It’s as easy to marry a beautiful, good natured woman as it is to marry an unhappy, ugly one… easier.


We all came from monkeys, but maybe we ought to come a little further.

She’s on her way to her first sleepover.


No one ever mentions that being old is such a good change from being young. Every state of life has its own compensations and releases. Funny how it never ceases. No such thing as a real vacation.


Velden, Austria, a lovely place indeed.


Bumpersticker: If you lived in your car, you’d be home by now.



A whiff of unreason is the spice of art.


We’re thinkers, not drinkers, but probably stinkers.


Cupid is a knave. I wish he would behave. Nadia and Pietro.


The world of art and cheese and wine, oh, ye, gods, what a wonderful time!


Life is a constant surprise, full of truth and full of lies.


Jason Castle at Aroma Café.


German y Nayana no vienen de Habana.


You are the glass through which life sees you and you see life. Keep yourself bright and clean.


When somebody starts to fight, grab your hat and say good night.


God made Adam, said, “I thought I had’em,” and then made Eve. So, he rested, I believe.


Don Graham and Sarah Phelps. i hope this helps.


Nele and Michael Spoerke.

Work is what you have to do. Play is what you want to do.


Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Sunshine.


Gerry Goffin and Ted Perlman.


Howard DeNike, an old friend from University of San Francisco days.


Theory follows practice. First you play it, then you can say it.


Education is the most inexpensive way to ensure a strong nation.


Read the good books first. Life is short.


Elise Piliwale and Paul Bullis in Austin.


This is good. Cousin Ronnie doing as he should.


Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy. Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln.


Bill Andrew and Lee Andrew in the south of France, 1963.


When we did Love, Janis, in San Francisco, Brandy was the stage manager. Everyone loved her.


The crow and the quail walk by, but when they need to, they can fly.


Big Brother and the Holding Company are going to Ohio this week. I’ll send some photographs soon.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Aquí y Allá

19 June 2011



Not me. I go outside:

“The biggest waste of water in the country by far. You spend half a pint and flush two gallons.”   (Prince Philip in a 1965 speech.)


Big Brother and the Holding Company, colored pencil. I have drawn this whirlpool, tornado like figure all my life.


Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi made the face of the Statue of Liberty resemble his mother, noble, wise, maternal.


Dr. Allen Andrew was born in England and he died in the Yellow Fever (Cholera) epidemic in Georgia, 1839.


The earliest Anglo-Saxon term for “shoe” was sceo (to cover) which eventually became in the plural “schewis,” then shooys, and finally shoes.

Dava’s shoes:


Blake Thompson and Kate Russo.


Wynonna Judd was born Christina Ciminella. Christina Ciminella is such a better name than Wynonna Judd, unless you live in the suburbs, and even then, Judd, I mean, come on. Judd?


In 1305, King Edward I (England) decreed that for a standard of accuracy in certain trades, an inch be taken as the length of three contiguous barleycorns. A child’s shoe measuring thirteen barleycorns became known as a size 13.


In the 17th century, the oxford, a low calf-leather shoe laced up the front through three or more eyelets, originated with cobblers in the academic town of Oxford, England.


Kate Russo and Dan Andrew.


The laceless, slip-on loafer is believed to have evolved from the Norwegian clog, an early overshoe. The Weejun loafer was named by a cobbler from Wilton, Maine, Henry Bass, after the final two syllables of “Norwegian.”


Kari and Christian Borle in… oh, you know where they are.


The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket.


My first drummer André Young, Okinawa, Japan. Where are you, André?



This is the origin of the word “pants.”

San Pantaleone’s blood is still liquid in Ravello, Italy, seventeen centuries later. After all of his holiness and suffering, he had the indignity of becoming a stock character in the commedia dell’arte. No one is quite sure how this happened. In the Commedia, Pantaleone was a gaunt, swarthy, goateed character who wore a pair of trousers, tight from the ankle to the knee, then flaring out like a petticoat. Pants. In France and in Shakespeare, Pantaleone was called  “Pantaloon.”


The most built up parts of Hawaii looked this way the first time that i went there in the late 1950s, and, even in 1969 when James Gurley and i used to visit Maui, the place was still very rural.


There was a character in Charles Dickens’ Barnaby Rudge named Simon Tappertit. Other names in Dickens:

Oswald Pardiggle, Paul Sweedlepipe, Doctor Soemup, Mortimer Knag, Augustus Moddle, Quebec Bagnet, Mercy Pecksniff, Morleena Kenwigs, Chevy Slime, Dick Swiveller, Conkey Chickweed.


Ancient Celts called men’s leg coverings “trews,” trousers. but Romans called them “laxus,” slacks.


Heather, Brent and Paul Bullis.


The world is an insane asylum patrolled by people who love guns, badges, power and political expense accounts.


Mari Aaronsouth and Mr. Rob. April 2011.


Teressa’s gigs, and please visit one if you are in the area.


Mach nisht kein tzimmes. Don’t make a big deal out of it. Fruit was scarce in Northern Europe, so, to try to imitate the taste of fruit, cooks made a stew of carrots, sweet potatoes, prunes, raisins, slowly cooked to simulate a fresh fruit compote. The recipe and the preparation were elaborate, and so tzimmes became a shorthand for an involved, complicated undertaking. My accountant once said, “Hey, we don’t have to make a tzimmes out of this, do we? You know what tzimmes means, right?” And I replied, “Yeah, blues,” thinking he said “tsuris.” What do you want? I’m just a goy. And a musician at that.


Sixty-four percent of women sleep on the left side of the bed.


Hot water on the left, cold water on the right. Is this universal? Oh, no, not even here in the USA. In French, hot water is C (chaude), so that can be confusing. Never assume that there is going to be hot water in any bathroom you visit. Nor paper towels. Both are a rarity in the world at large, but especially in Japan. In Japan, people hand out napkins on every corner as part of an advertising campaign. Take them every time and put them in your pocket. They will come in handy.


Ben Nieves. True musician.


Irene Scarborough married Sam Andrew in 1860.


Hoc Erat In Votis, 10 June 2011. Oil on panel. Work in progress.


Did you see her in The Grifters? She came from Kansas or somewhere, but she did her apprenticeship at the Actors’ Conservatory Theatre here in San Francisco, a local girl. Mars Attacks, The Kids Are All Right, I love this woman.


Frequentasne hunc locum?

Do you come here often?


Erin Homs in Pittsburgh.


In Genoa, French weavers made a twilled cotton cloth, similar to denim, used for making sturdy work clothes. They called the cloth Gènes, the origin of our word “jeans.”


And not far away in Nimes, France, they made a softer fabric and called it serge de Nimes. When this cloth reached America it was called “denim.” Levi Strauss dyed the denim blue to minimize soil stains and the cloth became very popular with gold miners.


Jack Lemmon was a more than a decent piano player. He could have been a contender.


The person third from the left, Albert Mann, is my maternal grandfather.


Janis Joplin, Brad Campbell, Terry Clements, Marcus Doubleday, Sam Andrew, waiting to go on in Memphis, 1969.


Don Wehr’s Music City was such a great music store. It was on Columbus Avenue, right turn from Bay Street onto Columbus, coming in from Marin County. Everyone went there. Carlos, Neal,  Sly, even James Gurley and I. Don had everything and he was such a great guy. I had the feeling that he came from the Mission culture and he was really plugged into the whole San Francisco scene in a real way. I loved one saying of Don Wehr’s, “You know, I drive along 101 in my car and I say to myself, ‘Hey, everyone else is asleep and I’m working.’ ” That was exactly how I felt about my songwriting and arranging. They’re asleep and I’m working. That’s all it takes, really. An incredible amount of work. So, to anyone who wants to know the secret, the secret is hard work. I worked harder than anyone in my band. I’m not crowing about that. Not bragging about it. It just happens to be a fact.


My nephew Anthony Vitale and Grace Walton, Austin. Anthony is my sister Paula’s son.

People who write books or blogs have a sense of theatre that outweighs their sense of privacy.


Katharine and Amélie at Aroma Café.


What if Hitler’s name would have been Chip? Or Howdy? Howdy Hitler. You think we would have had a World War II with Howdy Hitler?


Here and there.


Now this is presidential material. Clark Walker. He even has a presidential name.


Tibi diem natalem felicem !

Happy Birthday!


The Tuxedo is American, the dinner jacket is English. In Tuxedo Park, New Jersey, 1886, Pierre Lorillard IV didn’t want to wear tails to the annual Autumn Ball, so he had a tailor prepare several tailless jackets in black and persuaded his son and friends to wear them. They did, and the rest is… sartorial.


Joel Hoekstra and Brad Gillis.


Joel once spent a lot of time playing with Beth Hart (right) when they did Love, Janis together in New York.


This is Arianna Antinori. In July we will see her and Antea Salmaso again when we play in Vicenza, Italia.


Marvin Gaye had such bad stage fright that he once tried to escape by climibing out of his dressing room.


Chad Quist. We haven’’t seen him in so long he is becoming a mythical figure to us. Come back, Chad!


Sophia Ramos with Robert Downey, Jr. No, really, it’s Tommy Salmorin.


The longest one-syllable word is “screeched.”


Thank you, and I’ll see you next week.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


André Artiste

12 June 2011


The original artista: Janis Joplin.

Photograph: Dale Burkhardt


Norton Buffalo and Kurt Crowbar Kangas:

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


Una artista, Elise Piliwale.


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


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


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


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


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


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

Marlene Dupont, Robbie Leeds)


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

Jerilyn Brandelius.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Ann Pierson.


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


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


Two artistas: Kathi McDonald and Sam Andrew.


Phil Lesh, Creek Hart and Bill Graham.


Liz and Elise Piliwale inhaling the aroma of Tacoma.


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


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


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


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


A real Artista, Elise Piliwale.


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


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

Hauptsoch i bin im buffalo und du bist ned da

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

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


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


Elise Piliwale in Death Valley.


The original name for the butterfly was flutterby.


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


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


Kate Russo and Dan Andrew, Nashville.


Big Brother and the Holding Company.


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


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

Mélodie Dupont.


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


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


Or this one, Milini Khan.


Or this one.


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



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

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


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

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


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


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


Family Dogs.


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


And Karen too.


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


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


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


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

Mary Bridget Davies.


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


Sophia Ramos and Don Eversley made The Cisco Kid.


If called by a panther

Don’t anther.

(Ogden Nash)


Tomatoes and cucumbers are fruits.

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


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


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


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


Pulcher es!  You’re beautiful!

Zia Wesley, Clark Walker.


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

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


See you soon !

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Feather Falls Casino, Oroville, California

5 June 2011

Feather Falls Casino, Oroville, California, 4 June 2011

The Feather Falls Casino is operated by the Mooretown Rancheria branch of the Maidu tribe. Many people who come here have spent some time on beforehand to get their gambling game sharp and ready, but we were here for different reasons.

The Maidu were hunter gatherers and they lived in bark houses. They didn’t farm at all, but prepared ground for gathering of acorns. i always wondered how prehistoric peoples carried water and other liquids. The Maidu made beautiful baskets with weaves that you often have to see through a microscope, and these baskets were water tight works of art.

So, here we are in the Feather Falls Casino Lodge with a new 14 year old guitar player Jimmy. He didn’t stop playing the entire time he was with us. He has the gift and for a teacher he has an old friend of mine who played with Jerry Miller. Michael Dodgen. We’re sitting here on the couch listening to him: Tom Finch, Kat Patterson, Sam Andrew and Stefanie Keys. If you prefer an online gambling environment, take a look at However, if you are not sure how to gamble online or how to really get started playing then you can always see W88 teach you how to play so you’ll be able to get used to it and what it is all about.

Psychiatry is the only field in which refusal of treatment is commonly viewed as a manifestation of illness rather than as an authentic wish.

Peter Albin is making a fair copy of the set list for Feather Falls Casino.

Stefanie Keys, our singer for the Oroville gig. She supports my artistic efforts. (Photo: Max Clarke)

These are the sets we did in Oroville to a very enthusiastic, dancing audience. Good people.

In Janis’ room at our house in Lagunitas, California.

Stefanie and Donna in our giant green room at The Casino.

Tamra Angel or Engle, same thing, former resident of St. Louis Heights, Oahu.

What the room looked like in Oroville.

You should know where the fuses are in your car. In Big Brother and the Holding Company, we use amplifiers a lot and a burnt out fuse is the easiest thing to repair… assumng that we have a new fuse to put back in there. Anyway, find out where the fuses are for your windshield wipers, fuel-injection system, your heater fan. Spend a little time with the manual for your car. It will be more fun doing it in your spare time than on some rainy, dark road one night.

I love to see new guitar players, enthusiastic, gifted, full of promise. Who knows? I could be hiring this guy in three or four years, and I want him to sit in with us before that.

Neutiquam erro.

I am not lost. (Bill Andrew, Okinawa, Japan)

This is in the lobby of our Lodge in Oroville.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue at East 82nd Street, Manhattan, 1874-1880. The original High Victorian Gothic museum structure was designed to fit into the Central Park landscape, but several additions have almost completely hidden the original building. This may be the best museum in the world.

A fire in June? This is the strangest weather that I remember. Unusual meteorology all over the country, and perhaps the world.

Everything is still the same, but maybe just a little different now.

Sam Andrew and James Gurley with a few friends in Kyoto.

Getting ready for the gig at the Feather Falls Casino. This was a good one. We did two sets. The feeling in the band was good. The audience could not have been better and we loved playing here.

Steroids are synthetic derivatives of testosterone, a naturally occurring hormone. Testosterone has two major components: androgenic and anabolic. The androgenic component causes changes in sex characteristics in male humans. The anabolic portion (which can promote positive physiologcal effects) promotes accelerated muscle, bone and blood cell growth. The problem with steroids is that it is difficult to separate the troublesome androgenic portion from the useful anabolic part.

Purim is the Jewish Mardi Gras, the carnival, the kick out the jams time. The megillah (scroll) of Esther is read, the Old Testament narrative of how Esther and Mordecai kept the evil Haman from destroying all the Jews in Persia (Iran). If someone says Haman during Purim, the greggers clack and kvatch to blot out the horrible name of Haman. You remember Megillah the Gorilla? No? From megillah (the scroll) comes ganze megillah, the whole story. Tell me the ganze megillah, or, don’t tell the ganze megillah, just cut to the chase. Have you seen the film For Your Consideration? It’s the story of a southern Jewish family celebrating Purim. One of the Christopher Guest stories.

Engines, you don’t even want to know what’s in them. What? You do? Well, there’s the block itself, the whole frame where everything else goes. Cylinder heads, crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons, wrist pins, timing chain, timing belt, connecting rod bearings, camshafts and camshaft bearings, valves and valve-guide seals and valve springs and, well, I could go on forever. Hydraulic lifters, rocker arms, push rods, oil pump, oil seals, front and rear seals and assorted gaskets … lots of things. And in a Jaguar, which this guy is driving, sheesh, any of that will go wrong in a minute. I owned one. I ought to know.

People who like this sort of thing will find this just the sort of thing they like.

In the 1970s, I lived at West 4th and West 11th Streets in Manhattan. This was such a fine place to live. The loudest sounds in my apartment were children playing out in back. Turns out West 4th Street was quite a monumental location. Gerde’s Folk City, where Bob Dylan did his first paid gig, was at 11 West 4th Street, and that was on 11 April 1961. West 4th Street runs along the bottom of Washington Square. The Whitney Studio Club was at 147 West 4th in 1910 and gave Edward Hopper his first exhibition space, later becoming Ristorante Volare, a bohemian hangout. The Washington Square Methodist Church, a lovely Romanesque place of worship built in 1860, at 135 West 4th, gave refuge to draft dodgers in the 1960s and was known then as the “Peace Church.” Eugene O’Neil wrote The Iceman Cometh and placed it in The Golden Swan Café, corner West 4th and Sixth Avenue. Bob Dylan also performed at the NYU Loeb Student Center, 61 West 4th. So, when you hear the song Positively 4th Street, you won’t be at all negative about this place.

La connobi in occasione di una cena elegante.

I met her at an elegant dinner.

Denuone latine loquebar?

Was I speaking Latin again?

Lee Andrew, Sam Andrew. I’m trying to sell Lee a used helicopter.

Dan and Diana Andrew. Dan was proud of Diana even then, and why not?

Oh, to be transported to this spot for fifteen minutes, oh, let it be granted.

Yes, I do know that I am the first human who ever experienced this emotion.

Shane and Luke Rollins, two good looking dudes.

Bill Andrew, Sam Andrew, 1950.

Native American is a weird phrase. I mean, it’s better than Indian, which refers to the Subcontinent, but, still, isn’t Native American a little strange? Wouldn’t you rather be Maidu, Hopi, Miwok, Pomo, Comanche, Navajo, Apache or whoever you are? My mother’s family were mostly Alsatian. I’m not sure they would have been thrilled being called Native European.

“Ragazze,” esordii, “mi pare si possa concordemente ammettere che siamo due tipe allegre e amante della vita. Giusto?”

“Girls,” I began, “it seems to me we can admit that we are two happy people and lovers of life, True?”

Now, THIS is a real guitar player.

Art, Stephen, Liz and Paul. The Stephen Andrew tribe.

I am sure we didn’t look that silly when WE danced.

People I was lucky enough to know at an early age. Some of them were very level headed. Many were Kenyan, oops, I mean, Hawaiian.

I wash everything on the gentle cycle. It’s much more humane.

Nova was a great car name. It meant new. In South America it meant no va, doesn’t go. Didn’t sell.

Saipan. The Japanese tanks don’t quite rust out in the same way that American ones do.

My uncle Harry Andrew, 21.

It is possible to buy a good used car, or even to hear some good used musicians.

Mill Valley, California, the Depôt, painting.

My “cousin” Ronnie Campsey and Shana Crosier-Campsey. Solid gold.

Leslie Feffer. Pepper and spice and everything nice.

Emily Bullis Rollins and Paula Vitale, my niece and my sister checking to see if they’re late for work.

Frederick Law Olmsted was a landscape architect. In fact, he invented the phrase. He designed Central Park, and, I believe, Golden Gate Park as well. Olmsted’s formative experience consisted of two tours of the American South as a reporter for the New York Times. The publication of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” in 1852 had aroused a great deal of curiosity about the South, so Olmsted traveled to Louisiana, mostly on foot.

Olmsted’s second Southern trip was to Texas, where tidy communities of “German” (really, Alsatian) immigrants offered a startling contrast to the squalor of the slave plantations. Olmsted’s insight was that there was a strong link between landscape and social and economic order. A humane system of labor, like that encountered in Alsatian Texas, produced a humane landscape and ultimately a healthier, wealthier one. Below are Albert Mann and his family, direct descendents of the Alsatians whom Frederick Law Olmsted encountered in Texas. Wilhelmina Mann is my mother. Seven years from when this photograph was taken, she gave life to me.

Amazing the people who stick with you through time.

Dandy Barrett and John Farnsworth.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 Third Street, San Francisco, 1994, designed by Mario Botta. This is one beautiful modern building. Botta’s steel-framed structure, clad in panels of cement and perforated brick, seems to turn an eye on the sky. There is a lot of drama here and it all works.

Eddie Izzard looks like a lizard, and I bet they never said that to him in grade school. Funny and fast. Thank you to Mary Bridget Davies for Eddie Izzard.

Be gentle with your car. When you turn the key to start it, resist the impulse to step on the gas pedal. Baby your automobile and it will love you back.

Frater Senior et Societas Sine Nomine.

Big Brother and the Holding Company. Just in case we are ever transported to Ancient Rome, this is our name in Latin.

Could you care less, or could you not care less?

James Gurley, Sam Andrew, Roxie Cinema, San Francisco.

This is how Okinawa is written in kanji (Japanese version of Chinese letters). Oki nawa.

Sophia and Don made a baby Cisco.

Elise Piliwale, charcoal on canvas.

Me, my father, my brother Bill. Nashville, early 1950s.

Kacee Clanton’s grandparents.

Elise Piliwale, NYC, 2003.

Elise did this charcoal self portrait.

Safe travels, and I’ll see you next week.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company