Hoekstra means “hook street,” down on the corner.

1 September 2011



Joel Hoekstra. We have had a lot of guitarplayers in Big Brother and, at the level they are, there is no best or worst. They are all expert. Chad Quist, Ben Nieves, Tom Finch… they’re all just unbelievable players, but Joel Hoekstra probably works the hardest and works the most. I’ve never seen ANYONE prepare for a gig the way Joel does. I think it’s that Dutch work ethic. He shows up and he knows all the tunes better than I do. Well, that part is not such a feat, but you know what I mean? I’m going to do a painting of Joel. It’s my next project. The man is miraculous. It’s been a privilege to play with and know this guy through several bizarre chapters in our lives.


The color of a chili is no indication of its spiciness, but size usually is… the smaller the pepper, the hotter it is. it’s like dogs, you know? They are all born with the same engergy. The Greast Dane, the Labrador and the black and tan dachsund/Doberman Pinscher. So all of that energy has to be packed into the same body, large or small. This is why large dogs are mellow and small little Dachsunds are insufferable. Poor things. Little tiny peppers full of all that energy and nothing to do with it.


Elise Piliwale in Seattle.

Vince Martell’s guitar.




Sandy Urech and Rick Carroll, Okinawa.


Joel and Natalya, a fabulous singer.


Many Europeans could not afford to travel to the new world, so they indentured themselves to ships captains or established colonies, agreeing to work for a certain period, usually between five and seven years. When their terms were completed the masters provided them with farm tools and seed, so they could start out on their own.


I see that Joel Hoekstra finally got some jeans that fit.


Mercury is the only metal that is liquid at room temperature.


Dear Prudence was written to encourage Prudence Farrow (Mia Farrow’s younger sister) to stop meditating so much. “Won’t you come out to play.” While the Beatles were in India.




Hot water is heavier than cold.


The only three US presidents who ever had to deal with real or impending impeachment… Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton all have names that are euphemisms for penis… Johnson, Dick and Willie.


Benito Mussolini would ward off the evil eye by touching his testicles.


My father when he was a warrant officer.


Dale Burkhardt took these photographs of Janis Joplin.


Elise Piliwale, painting.



Adolph Hitler’s great-great-grandmother was a Jewish maid.


Prince Harry and Prince William are uncircumcised. Perhaps incidentally they are related to Humphrey Bogart.


Larry Henson, the rhythm guitar player in The Cool Notes, my first band, and his girlfriend Gloria Williford.


Joel Hoekstra and Brad Gillis in Japan.


Peter Albin and James St. James Pell.


Augustus Caesar had achluophobia… the fear of sitting in the dark.


Six of Queen Victoria’s grandchildren were married to rulers of countries… England, Russia, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Romania. Queen Victoria’s first language was German.


The Mona Lisa was completed in 1503. it was stolen from the Louvre on 21 August 1911. I could have stolen it in the early sixties. I used to go to the Louvre frequently and the Mona Lisa was there, unguarded, quiet, alone and given no special treatment in any fashion. Everything was very open then.


My gang in high school:, Okinawa: Rick Carroll, unidentified, Tom Powers, Jimmy Grant, unidentified, Sam Andrew (vertical stripe shirt), Butch Brady, Marty Bonin, Ronnie McCullough and Mike Mandel.


My friends in kindergarten on Okinawa.


Warden threw a party in the county joel, I mean, jail, I mean, gaol.


These oxen are at Sturgis, a town we know for other kinds of oxen.


Muhammad Ali and Martin Luther King, Jr.


Isaac Newton was

a.     a high school dropout

b.     an ordained priest in the Church of England

c.     only twenty-three years old when he discovered the law of gravitation

d.     a Member of Parliament.

e.     all of the above.


Sigmund Freud had a morbid fear of ferns.


Interesting how the lead singer HAS to be charming, even though this is supposed to be a “mean” shot. Joel Hoekstra, Night Ranger, or, as his mother would say, Knight Rider.


The view out of our bedroom window.


Elise Piliwale took this photograph of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.


And this one of a mannikin in Thailand.




My band is supplying the rhythm for these autocthonous gyrations.


Attila the Hun was a dwarf. Pépin the Short, Aesop, Gregory of Tours, Charles III of Naples, and the Pasha Hussein were all shorter than three and a half feet tall.


I wrote the introduction to this very interesting book.


Guitar players have to know poses like this. I believe both Berklee School of Music and Guitar Institute of Technology have classes for this sort of thing. Joel Hoekstra and Brad Gillis.


The Sam Andrew Band at Sin-é in New York.


Yes, they really are that beautiful, Teagen and Phyllith, like thpring hath thprung.


Okinawa, 1961.


As a child, Jodie Foster appeared in Coppertone commercials.


Jay Blakesberg snapped this one of Jo Qatana Adell and Daniel Skinner.


A great player, born with talent beyond the ordinary, and, then, he worked very hard too. You can’t beat a combination like that.


Tommy Lee Jones and Vice President Al Gore were freshmen rommates at Harvard.


Janis Joplin amazed. She has my jacket on.


Elise Piliwale took this image of a Thai airplane in Ko Samui.


I am going to paint this, or something very like it.


High school friends.


Parasdise where I lived twice.



Jim Marshall had one of the steadiest hands in the photography business. How this could be, given his somewhat outré lifestyle, I have no idea.


Elise Piliwale, an unusual person of great beauty and intelligence… and talent.


OK, and NOW… my impression of Jack Abrahamoff.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Il Fantoccio Faceto

28 August 2011


Don Aters took this one.


And Max Clarke took this one:


Sam Andrew, Sophia Ramos in Arlington, Washington. (Photo: Howard DeNike)


In la Città della Pieve with Szilvia and Veronica e i suoi amici.


Crossing your arms will make you less apt to be approached. (Photo: Don Aters)


Albert King opening for The Kozmic Blues Band at Fillmore East. Don Aters took these photographs too.


No new animals have been domesticated in the last 4,000 years.


Peggy Pettigrew Smith’s glass sculpture, soon to be completed.


Sholem Aleichem was a great Yiddish writer, maybe THE Yiddish writer. I read his stories in German, very close to Yiddish, when I was young. Here he is with his grandaughter Bel Kaufman. Bel wrote a 3 1/2 page short story called Up The Down Staircase, and she was encouraged by her publisher to expand it to novel size. The story was made into a film starring Sandy Dennis and TIME called Up The Down Staircase “the most popular novel about US public schools in history.” Hmmm, well, OK, I wonder about Salinger, but we’ll let that stand. It’s a very good narrative. A Separate Peace?



Clark Walker’s depiction of la Marilyn and the boys of Habana.


Arianna Antinori in l’Aquila.


Sam Andrew Band at The Last Day Saloon, Clement Street, San Francisco. Peter Tork takes a solo.


The fat molecules in goat’s milk are five times smaller than those in cow’s milk.


Three very kind people: Baron Wolman, Victoria Smith and Robert Altman.


Great shot of B.B. King by Don Aters.


This explains a lot:

The farthest point from any ocean is in China.


Dennis Nolan drew this beautiful Big Brother poster.


I played with two of these bands this day. Big Brother and Moby Grape.


The effusive, fuchsia Janis Joplin photographed by Don Aters.


Carl Peachman and friend in the wilds of New Jersey.




The cat popped on its drawers.


Iguanas, koalas and Komodo dragons all have two penises.


Aircraft carriers get six inches to the gallon.


Isaac Asimov is the only author to have a book in every Dewey decimal category.


Should this happen, I am sure that i will have enough presence of mind to remember this:

To escape the grip of a crocodile’s jaws, push your thumbs into its eyeballs. It will let you go instantly.


Dava… sitting in Aroma Café.


Elvin Bishop, Carmen and Don Wehr.


Cum Tacet Clamat (His Silence Is A Scream) Photo: Max Clarke.


And they also keep people away, or maybe vampires anyway. Oh, wait, no, that’s garlic which is as good as ten mothers, according to Les Blank, or maybe even eleven mothers:

Onions are low in calories and a good source of vitamin C, calcium, potassium and fiber. They also help circulation.



Eugene Skuratowicz has managed Canned Heat, John Lee Hooker, Zero and Sam Andrew.


Using cedar shoe trees will increase the life of your shoes by fifty per cent.

Ezio Guaitamachi


A great Robert Altman photograph of two San Francisco characters:

George Michalski and Chet Helms. That wouldn’t be a check in George’s hands, would it?


Left handed ex paratrooper. Photo: Don Aters.


Almonds are a member of the peach family. They are the oldest, most widely cultivated and extensively used nuts in the world.


Kat Patterson, midair.


Before he wrote Bobby McGee. Even before he met my brother Lee, and WAY before he met me or Janis Joplin.


With Laura Joplin, Austin.


Lisa Mills, Peter Albin, Marty Balin, Elise Piliwale and Sam Andrew.


John Wayne and Ronald Reagan were draft dodgers in World War II, but Kirk Douglas was a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and saw action in the Pacific before internal injuries suffered in combat led to an early discharge. Actions speak louder than words.


My parents with my sister Lillian’s daughter Emily Bullis Rollins.


Working on Death Shall Have No Dominion.


Some of the Love, Janis people in Arizona. I see Sophia Ramos, Jim Wall and Joel Hoekstra.


In 2003, we did a show in Central Park with fifteen or so women all doing Janis Joplin songs, and to back them up were members of Big Brother and the Holding Company and the Kozmic Blues Band. Here are Maury Baker, drums, and Brad Campbell, bass, from the Kozmic Blues Band with a Danish singer.


Somehow the foreground of this photograph is so much more interesting than the background.


Mary Bridget Davies’ father had a band in Cleveland. He is second from the right.


My friend Michael J. Fox is a public defender in San Francisco and a helluva nice guy.


Robert Altman captured Mickey Hart really looking like Mickey Hart.


Scientists say that hydrogen is the most common atom in the universe.

Frank Zappa says that stupidity is more common and who can gainsay that?

Andrea e Veronica.


Mary Wallace and Peter Levi early one morning at Aroma Café.


Peter Tork setting up for a gig with The Sam Andrew Band.


I’ve known Vesper since she was in the womb. She’s going to be the mayor of San Rafael one of these days. This is her first date. (Photo: Max Clarke)


Peanuts are cholesterol free, and they are one of the ingredients in dynamite. It takes more than five hundred peanuts to make one twelve ounce jar of peanut butter.


Help! A DVD almost as big as a car! (Photo: Max Clarke)


I must have been in a funny mood that day.


Rich Saputo, Topanga Canyon. Rich is a fine photographer and a great human being.


Kate Russo’s friend.


The only real food U.S. astronuts are allowed in space are pecan nuts. This wouldn’t be because they train in Houston, would it? Lots of pecan nuts around Houston. What real food can Russian astronauts eat in space? I bet it isn’t pecan nuts. Maybe it’s something that is found plentifully around Moscow? Some kind of liquid, perhaps?


Is this a great photograph of Tom Finch or what?


Eggplant is a member of the thistle family, keep in mind. “Aubergine” is the word in French and German and it’s “melanzana” in Italian, rather more graceful names for the vegetable. Of course, you could always call it a purple penis plant, but that might not work for the marketing department.


Janis Joplin and John Till.


And this was my family on Okinawa, Japan. Alfred Rogers (second from left, bottom row) was a talented cartoonist and illustrator. He could do anything, It is revealing to me that he is wearing a bow tie here. I often wonder what became of Mr. Rogers?

Tom Powers (first row, left) had integrity, dignity and a sense of fun, AND he was a fraternal twin of Jim Powers. This is a duality you often meet in life, the one who is the straight A student and does everything by the book, and then the other one, Tom, who had powers derived obviously from the fun side, was perhaps a bit looser and more creative?


La bella Szilvia.


In summer, walnuts get a tan.


Tristan Avakian, truly good guitar player.


Vinnie and Carmine Appice. Can you imagine playing with your BROTHER in a rock band? There’s that, and then when I lived in New York, we didn’t say a “Guido,” we said a Vinnie, Carmine, Bruno or Pepi. That was our shorthand for really talented guys from Long Island who, let’s say, were not ignorant of Past’ e Fagiol’, a dish that was basically pasta and beans and was delicious and even iconic. Do I love these guys? Oh, yeah.


Linda e Szilvia.


Well, if I make bail, I’ll see you next week.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company



21 August 2011




Lorenz Hart was fluent in at least two languages, English and German, and he had a devilishly clever way with internal rhyme. Some of his lyrics are Blue Moon, I’ll Take Manhattan, Blue Skies, There’s A Small Hotel, Kalamazoo To Timbuktu, Little Girl Blue, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, and, let’s not forget that song without whcih no cabaret show would be complete, My Funny Valentine.


Anja Zebic took this photograph. Her work is diagonal, energetic and original.


Two Catalans, Manitas de Plata and Pablo Picasso.


This is a Misfit Photos version of Stefanie Keys. Misfit, you’re a great cameraperson.


Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.


The markings on all cats probably go down into their skin, because i have long noted that the where the fur color changes on, say, a cat’s face is remarkably similar to the lines in our own human faces.


One of the most energetic and crisp players ever, Cannonball Adderley. I still play his tunes all the time. He managed to be profound and accessible at the same time, a very difficult trick to pull off.


Gene Ammons, giant ot the tenor saxophone, was a master of the ballad. he had a beautiful tone and he took his time.


I first became aware of Betty Carter on a Ray Charles album, and i still hear the tune Baby, It’s Cold Outside in coffeehouses. Betty has a voice like a trumpet. I have seen her in little tiny bars in New York and large concert halls. She’s that rare thing, an experimental singer, willing to take chances, a real artist.


The master, Erroll Garner. Does anyone have more fun than he does?


You need to know and understand 5,000 words and characters in Chinese before trying to have a normal conversation.


The Kodiak grizzly bear is the world’s largest meat eating animal living on land. The Kodiak can weigh up to five hundred pounds more than any other kind of bear.


Balboa Park, San Diego. i was trying to catch carp while posing. “Multitasking,” they call it now.


Alfred Hitchcock did not have a belly button.


Not sure where I first heard Charlie Christian. I was thunderstruck. Never heard anything like that before.


Etta James. Voice like a knife.


One of the most influential piano players ever. Earl Hines. He routinely played tenths in his left hand.


Never loan anyone anything that you wouldn’t just give them.


The Ouija board is named after the French and German for “yes,” oui, ja.


The taller a swimmer is, the less drag in the water… proportionately. This is why swimmers are tall… mostly.


T-Bone Walker was well known in San Antonio when I was 14. His music was everywhere.


Houston Person, a good man and a good sax player.


Louis Jordan is one of those musicians, like Chuck Berry, who transcend their time and place through humor and a kind of universal appeal.


Never buy a car you can’t push.


Frank Sinatra said that rock and roll was only played by “cretinous goons.” Not a bad name for a band. You know, sometimes I feel that way and I PLAY rock and roll. On the other hand, and I am sorry to say this sincerely, I always thought that Frank Sinatra was a middling singer. Not nearly up to the stature of such balladeers as Ray Charles, Nat King Cole and a man who could truly sing a ballad, James Brown. Sometime, just for the fun of it, listen to Frank Sinatra sing That’s Life and then listen to James Brown sing That’s Life. For anyone with ears, there is no comparison. Judge not that ye shall not be judged.


Lieutenant Sam Andrew and his three boys: Lee Andrew, Sam Andrew, Bill Andrew, Albany, Georgia, 1948.


Paul McCartney’s mother was a midwife.


The word “alligator”  comes from “el lagarto” which is Spanish for “the lizard.”


Sydney Bechet was a child prodigy. He played clarinet with all the main bands in New Orleans when he was 10 and 11. He went to Europe and found the soprano saxophone there. He had a big wide vibrato. In the late 1950s, when i was playing clarinet, Sydney Bechet had a hit with a beautiful tune, Petite Fleur. We played that tune in my first band.


My friend from Lille, France, Lucie Baratte.


Joe Turner had a loud voice. He didn’t need a microphone. He was a bartender and would sing from the bar with the band and he was loud enough. Six feet two, and over 300 pounds, this was Big Joe Turner from Kansas City.


To protect your eyes from strain, make sure the computer screen is just beyond arm’s length. This is a rule that I violate regularly.


Elise and some italian guy.


Bats are voracious insect eaters, devouring as many as six hundred bugs per hour for four to six hours a night. Bats are also important plant pollinators, particularly in the southwestern United States.


John Lee Hooker was an informing spirit of early Big Brother and the Holding Company. When I first heard Peter Albin play, he sounded like John Lee to me. I knew John Lee Hooker, not as well as I would have liked, but I knew him. Richie Kirch, a friend of mine and a fine guitar player, performed with John for years.


I love this photograph. There is something so archetypal about it. Dexter Gordon did the music in Round Midnight, remember? He always had a strong style. He acted in the film, and he was a good actor too.


King Oliver and Louis Armstrong used to play solos in thirds, solos that were so well thought out and executed. What a great band that was. Lil Hardin-Armstrong was the piano player and devil’s advocate. She talked Louis into leaving King Oliver and striking out on his own. Always follow the woman.

Chercher la femme.


You can’t always back out of what you drove forward into, but you can always drive forward out of what you backed into. This note is for Ben Nieves who drove us out of an impossible impasse in Rome. Truly expert and skilled driving.


Full of energy, aims to please, she’s a marvel, Stefanie Keys.


Mr. Clever. Cole Porter was an aristocrat. He never liked anyone to know that he actually worked at his craft. This is a very XVIIIth century outlook and he carried it off. Cole was born to privilege, wealthy, upper class, and as an adult he suffered a horrible horseback riding accident, which could be why you have his Yale Whiffenpoof song on the one hand, Let’s Do It, and then Beautiful Primitive Indian Girls on the other. Not to mention a song that I have always loved: Everytime We Say Goodbye. Cole Porter could write Don’t Fence Me In and Just One Of Those Things in the same afternoon. Fare Thee Well, Mr. Porter.


With Simone Bargelli in Città della Pieve.


There are almost no Buddhists in India, nor have there been for a thousand years.  Buddhism was founded in India about 2,500 years ago, but it was uprooted from that country between the seventh and twelfth centuries of the Common Era. There are many Buddhists in Sri Lanka, Japan and Indochina, but few in mother India. There’s a Buddhist in Nashville, Tennessee, quite close to me, actually, my brother, Dan Andrew.


C’era una volta un americano di nome Grant Jacobs, fotografo comico di grande talento.

Once upon a time there was an American named Grant Jacobs, funny photographer of great talent.


Look at these two, are they cool or what? Leon the Lion and Fats Waller. As much style as Fats had in his playing, and that’s saying a lot, he had that much style in his life too. “I mean your pedal extremities really are obnoxious.” Now, how many people do you know who could end a song with a sentence like that? And make it work? Fats Waller was a true artist, one of the greats.


Sonny Stitt. In the 1970s, from Brooklyn to Manhattan, i used to walk for miles with Sonny Stitt melodies in my head. i loved the man. Still do.


Big voice, BIG VOICE, LaVern, yes, that’s how she spelled it, Baker. Regal and very funky and loud at the same time. When i was in the back seat and loving and feeling and everything was real, that was LaVern Baker that we heard on the radio. She was an aristocratic princess and she wasn’t taking  any grief, guff, or garbage from anyone. This was a woman with a high IQ and she knew what to do. A pioneer of copyright battles too.


“Hangnail” has nothing to do with “hang,” but everything to do with “angst.” Middle English “ang-” = painful = Hangnail, a painful nail.


“Kangaroo” means “I don’t know” in the language of an Australian aboriginal tribe. Captain Cook approached natives of the Endeavor River Tribe (there’s a suspicious tribal name for you) to ask what that strange animal was, and the poor guy said, “Kangaroo,” “I don’t know.”  You ever wonder how many other things were named this way? What if someone approached you and asked, in her aboriginal language, “Hey, what is that?” (referring to, say, a bus) and all you could say is “I don’t know. What are you talking about? I don’t understand your language.” Then she would call that bus an “I don’t know” forever.




A castrated rooster is called a capon. A castrated bull is called a steer. A castrated horse is called a gelding. Oh, yes, a castrated human is called a eunuch or a castrato, as they called them in the Catholic Church. A way of preserving that beautiful high voice. Contralto is the name of this vocal range. Many children were lost to us because of this bizarre Catholic custom, children of great talent and beauty. The Jews cut off a little tip of the penis’ foreskin, but… castration? i mean, come on. Isn’t that a rather drastic form of birth control? Even if it is in the service of high art?


Nat King Cole: One of the greatest jazz piano players ever. If he had never sung a word, Nat King Cole would still be a giant in the history of jazz, but he did sing… really so much better than anyone. He had a smooth delivery and a very sophisticated style. So far beyond anyone else who sang any of the same songs he did. That includes… so many people. Let’s just leave it at that.


The OTHER soprano sax player, John Coltrane. He and Sydney Bechet really came into their own when they switched to soprano sax. Monsieur Bechet did Petite Fleur and it sent his career off in a whole new direction. Same for Trane. He did My Favorite Things on the soprano saxophone and, all of a sudden, everyone’s grandmother could dig what he was doing. Here he is with his big boss tenor.


First time I heard Ray Charles, he sounded just like Charles Brown. Driftin’ Blues. Ray copied that exactly. He also copied Nat King Cole. And then he learned his own thing. Did he ever. The Great High Priest. The Great Ray Charles.


Can anyone sing a ballad better than Ray Charles? Listen to Just For A Thrill and then tell me someone who sang it better than that.


The more comfortable you make your subject, the better the portrait will be.


Robots in Japan pay union dues.


The Looney Tunes theme song is actually called “The Merry-Go-Round Is Broken Down.”


Art Tatum was good. He was almost too good. Baroque, Rococco. Ornate. Genius. Just stand back and listen.


One of the great blues players, Charlie Parker, from Kansas City, liked to play in E (C# for the alto). Most horn players eschew this key, not Charlie.


Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis. Extravert and introvert. Louis had that big sound, even in the high notes, big, big, big. Miles was introspective, more careful. The two trumpet men of the twentieth century.


Good evening, madam. Shall i get you a cab?

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Arlington, Washington, and Edmonton, Alberta.

14 August 2011


Howard DeNike and Gordon Bowker. I went to school with these guys fifty years ago and am proud to have them as friends. They came to see us in Arlington, Washington, about an hour north of Seattle.


Sophia Ramos, la reina de la escena, the queen of the scene. Everybody loves Sophia, especially me.


Tom Finch came along to play guitar with us. This is his 42nd birthday. We had a good set in Arlington.


Skip Taylor and Larry Taylor in the lobby of our hotel in Arlington. They are not related, but Skip manages Canned Heat, Larry’s band.


Dale also from Canned Heat with his sweet wife. Dale is a great player as all of the Heat brothers are.


Even Harvey Mandel who has a huge appetite for a beautiful tone on the guitar.


We played these tunes in Arlington and it was so good to hear Sohpia sing them again.


Skip Taylor was in a good mood the whole weekend. i don’t think i’ve ever seen him so happy and loose.


Tom Finch in Edmonton, Alberta. The crowd was very enthusiastic.


With Tom Constanten. Elise and I used to play in a band with Tom, but now he’s playing with Jefferson Starship.


Never try to hop a train that is moving faster than three seconds per standard car length.


The Romans called coal the “best stone in Britain,” and they made beautiful jewelry from it. Roman priests honored Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, by burning coal in the perpetual fire at her shrine in Bath.


Cathys Richardson and Curtin.


Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Janis Joplin and Sam Andrew at a Stax/Volt Christmas party in Memphis.


Dr. Seuss pronounced his name so it would rhyme with “rejoice,” or to put it more correctly, he pronounced the “eu” in his name like the “eu” in Deutschland.


James Gurley, Harley Man.


The African elephant has ears shaped like Africa. The Indian elephant has ears shaped like India.


Camille with a nice smile, Mike Somavilla and Elise Piliwale.


Albert Brooks’ real name is Albert Einstein.


I went to high school on Okinawa, Japan, with these fine, interesting people.


Brian Auger, Peter Albin, Sam Andrew and Richie Kirch somewhere in Oregon.


Jerry Miller, Connie and Bob Mosely.


Janis Joplin and Peter Albin doing Combination of the Two.


Elise Piliwale with a Cockette in Seattle.


The Sam Andrew Band: Bill Laymon and Peter Tork. I wish i could remember the women’s names. There were 261 people in the Sam Andrew Band at one time or another. I’ve always wanted to throw a party for them somewhere like, say, The Waldorf Astoria.


Willie Dixon and Gerry Goffin wrote songs that you have heard all your life, songs that are so inevitable that it seems they wrote themselves.


Carmine Appice and Bobby Vega.


There are 350 varieties of shark, not counting loan, pool and lawyers.


There are more Barbie dolls in Italy than there are Canadians in Canada.


Elise Piliwale and Jimi Hendrix.


James Gurley, Michel Bastian and Orion from Mister Gang, Moscow.


Chan Marshall, Cat Power. She sang Down On Me with us.


A real Chinese person doesn’t know what fortune cookies are. They were invented by an American, Charles Jung (Karl Jung!?), in 1918,


Les Dudek and Sam Andrew, Pennsylvania.


“I’ll tell you one thing about journalists, and this has nothing to do with you, baby, believe me. People like their blues singers to be drunk and miserable, and they like for their blues singers to die afterwards too.”   Janis Joplin.


Elise Piliwale, Joan Getz, Marlene Dupont.


Melissa Etheridge and Sam Andrew at The Maritime Music Hall, San Francisco.


A rule I have conspicuously ignored. So far so good.

Never plant three of the same shrub in a row. Always offset. That way, if one dies, it will be harder to notice.


Sounds like a fun night, doesn’t it? By my rule of inflation, that three dollars would be about thirty dollars today… still a good deal.


Len Fico, Sophia Ramos, Sam Andrew and Fito de la Parra.


The first Europeans came to North America to find gold, silver and a river passage to China. Instead they found trees, lots of them. You really have to go East and drive through the forests to understand how dense they are. The people in Jamestown, Virginia, had no gold to send home, so they sent trees instead, shiploads of timber.



Elise Piliwale on the upper west side, Manhattan, 2000.


One of Queen Victoria’s children gave her a bustle for Christmas that played God Save The Queen when she sat down.


Salvador Dalì once arrived at an art exhibition in a limousine filled with turnips.


Jeremy Bentham, an English savant who died in 1832, left everything to the London Hospital with a codicil providing for his body to be at the head of hospital board meetings. His bones were clothed and there was a wax mask for his face, so he attended the meetings for ninety-two years and you can still find him there.


Marty Balin, the one with the talent.


If you think that something is obvious and goes without saying, it might be best just to go ahead and say it anyway.


A close corollary to the above is that you tend to undervalue what is the most valuable in you, that is, something that seems obvious and simple to you may be the best contribution you can make. I have always noticed this in musicians and other artists. What they do best, they think “Oh, anyone can do that.” That’s because that is their gift and so they devalue it thinking that it is natural to everyone else, but it often is not natural at all to everyone. Speak up. Express yourself. Make the world a better place. Thank you for your contribution.


My sister Lillian and her children, Paul Bullis and Emily Bullis Rollins.


Long Island is far from the island of Hawaii, but these people got there.


Snooky in his natural habitat. N’Dea Davenport and Little Queenie. Rather interesting set of human emotions here, n’est-ce pas?


Hans Christian Anderson, author of many famous fairy tales, was “word blind.” Hmm, that’s an interesting way of putting it. Now we usually say “dyslexic.” Why, in my day they just plain said, “He’s a poor speller, really a poor speller.” I am a natural born speller. I always won all the contests. i don’t value spelling at all. it’s like being born left handed or green eyed to be born a good speller, especially in the English language, whose orthography is a nightmare for someone of a logical turn of mind. (Now, watch. Someone is going to write me and say, “But you just misspelled “radiolarian” or “comity.”) It’s the short little words like “the” that are most likely to trip us up, because in the proofreading stage, our eyes glide over this kind of word. Anyway, they are still finding spelling mistakes in Hans Christian Anderson, and i bet this bothers him a lot.


Elise and I sitting right in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.


Greg Rolle, Carlos Santana, Michael Carabello and Neal Schon.


The guitar that Janis gave me. The Nudie sticker is still there forty years and three months after it was supposed to fall off.


Paul Kantner, Don Wehr and Aynsley Dunbar.


The dress code for a gig that we did in the Midwest of all places: Hats were OK, but nothing else.


Talk soon!

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Auburn, California, and Virginia City, Nevada

11 August 2011




Kat Tail Language:

If your cat’s tail curls in the shape of an S, the cat is happy.

If it’s standing straight up, it says “Hello, what’s new?”

If the tail is off to one side, it’s playtime.

If the tail is down to the ground or twitching, kitty is in a bad mood.


Holly Howard took a lot of these shots.


I saw Charles Brown, Van Morrison, Bonnie Raitt and Chris Isaak here at a party one night. Charles Brown, from Oakland, California, was the most interesting one. He influenced Ray Charles. Ray’s first records sounded like Nat King Cole or Charles Brown.



With Kyle Rowland, Kat Patterson and Jimmy Cleary. Three very talented people. Kyle who is 18 plays superlative blues harp. He and Jimmy, already a skilled quitar player at age 14, sat in with us on I Need A Man To Love, and they sounded so good. Kat is Donna and Michael’s daughter and she is a gifted dancer.

(Kyle Rowland, Jimmy Cleary)


The Greeks had no word for sugar. When Nearchus, admiral in service of Alexander the Great, sailed down the Indus to explore the East Indies in 325 BC, he described sugar as a “kind of honey” growing in canes or reeds.



Samantha Leoni took this photograph.



The Minnesota Andrews:

Anika Forland, Edie Andrew, Hakan Hall, Jason Andrew, Alyssa Amundson, Harley Amundson, Bryan Anker.



Take twice the money and half the clothes with you when you travel.




Jimmy Cleary doing some great guitar work.


Carmine Appice, Greg Errico and Don Wehr. It was the Seventies. Can you tell?


Jimmy, Kat and Kyle.


Jimi Hendrix, Chet Helms, Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding.



A number is divisible by 3 if the sum of its digits is divisible by 3. For example, 324 is 3 + 2 + 4 = 9. Thus, 324 is divisible by 3.



With Cory Marcus in Auburn, California.


In Mostar, Bosnia.


In the nineteenth century, the British Navy attempted to dispel the superstition that Friday was an unlucky day to embark on a ship. The keel of a new ship was laid on a Friday; she was named HMS Friday, commanded by a Captain Friday; and finally went to sea on a Friday. Neither the ship nor her crew was ever heard of again.



John Bryne Cooke took this photo of Janis playing the autoharp in London.


A review from Vicenza, Italia.


Elise Piliwale in Fairfax, California.



The only way to get the best of an argument is not to have it in the first place.



Ann Rinehart taught me oil painting, and she went to high school with Myra Friedman who wrote Buried Alive In The Blues. AND she taught Margaret Gurley painting, so we have a lot of connections.


With Meliha Nametak-Long in Mostar, Bosnia.


This horse bit my finger, just a little bit, a love nip.


With Elma Schuster and a set list.


We live on a hectare of land (2 1/2 acres) in this small lovely house. Our neighbors are foxes, bobcats and deer.



Kim Nomad.


Stefanie Keys and Sam Clemens.


Janis Joplin, Michael McClure and Bobby Neuworth, the three people who wrote Mercedes Benz.



Elise’s father Lui Piliwale. Saipan.


John Cipollina just about the time that I played saxophone in a band with him in Marin County, California, 1961.


Laura Joplin, Sam Andrew, Michael Joplin.


Zwanda has modeled for me for years. One day she is going to have an art show featuring paintings of her by many different artists.


Alsatians in Texas. The Mann family. Myrtle and Albert Mann were my mother’s parents.


Elise Piliwale’s photograph of the lonely chair.


One of the funniest men ever. Les Paul. Good guitar player too.


Red Dog Saloon, Virginia City, Nevada.


Amazing how in such a short time we are related to everyone. This is the Mann family in Europe.


Shelley Champine at Aroma Café.


Michael Joplin doing his Mel Gibson impersonation.


It is rumored that sucking on a copper penny will cause a Breathalyzer to read zero.


Elise Piliwale documents this overturned chair.


Kathi McDonald, Sam Andrew, Seattle.


Michel Bastian, Sam Andrew, James Gurley at The Fillmore Auditorium.


A horse with a dull coat needs more corn in its diet.


In 1281, the Mongol army of Kublai Khan tried to invade Japan, but they were ravaged by a hurricane (typhoon) that destroyed their entire fleet. in Japanese this typhoon is called “the divine wind,” kami kaze.


Automobile, Virginia City.


Hasta luego.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company



5 August 2011


Tulsa, Oklahoma


Michael Eisenberg playing Helter Skelter.


Cathy Richardson and Peter Albin.


Mary Bridget Davies, Slick Aguilar, Ben Nieves.


Not a very Italian name, but it was near the Rome airport in Fiumicino.


Ben Nieves marching toward Spain in the Mediterranean.


Beautiful land still being Balkanized.


With my friend Bojan in Mostar, Bosnia.


Ben Nieves looming over Dubrovnik.


Mary Bridget Davies and Rick who came to get us at the Dubrovnik airport.


New and not so new.


Ben Nieves and Eso who drove us from Dubrovnik on the coast to Mostar a little inland.


When we arrived in Mostar, Bosnia, there was Stephen Long whom I haven’t seen since the 1990s, when I knew him in Seattle. I met him through Craig Arrowood.  Stephen married a Bosnian woman and they have a beautiful family and life in Mostar.


The Muslims advanced in Europe almost to Vienna and they reigned over this land for centuries.


Ben Nieves practicing in the Bristol Hotel lobby, waiting to go to sound check.


With Lejla and her son. Lejla sounds like “Leila,” but she told me that in Australia people called her Ledgela.


This mosque was atop a hill and there were paintings for sale.


Mary Bridget Davies on the Dalmatian Coast. That shirt is very appropriate for this place.


The people in Bosnia looked very familiar to us.


Bosnia is part of what used to be Yugoslavia.


Imagine that in San Francisco the Chinese threw the AngloSaxons out of the City and into Marin County and the AngloSaxons began firing artillery into the City from the heights of Marin, as the Chinese began to war on the Mexicans and African Americans. This is essentially what happened in Mostar, Bosnia.


After centuries of peaceful coexistence, Muslims, Croatians, Serbians, Catholics, Christian Orthodox peoples all began to war on each other. The entire region went insane in the 1990s.


In 1992-1993, Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence from Yugoslavia which began bombing Mostar. Everyone entered the war sooner or later. Croatians fought Serbians fought Muslims.


Today there are a lot of graves in Mostar with markers like these.


Many beautiful buildings were destroyed and there are bulletholes everywhere.


This high school was built after the madness and insanity had ebbed.


Now there is peaceful coexistence again. In our audience were members of all these groups who warred on each other a short time ago. So strange.


On 26 July, we gave a little lecture and talked with some interesting people  here at The Pavarotti Center


The way the Romans think of themselves: Senatus PopulusQue Romanum. The Senate and People of Rome.


Roman ceiling.


Silvio Berlusconi, the Bunga Bunga man.


This was the first bridge in Rome that Mary, Ben and I crossed, named for the Risorgimento, the unification of Italy in the 19th century.


In la piazza di San Pietro.


Yea, be at peace ye multitudes for verily we have arrived.


Cleveland meets Rome.


Such a peaceful religion.


Make the jump to Binacci.


You’re out on the street looking good.


Petrus Maccaranius, 1817.


Pope Sixtus built the Sistine Chapel. “Sistine” is the adjective for Sixtus.


Catharine means “pure.”


Julius Caesar slept here.


I like the movement in this sculpture.


Il Tevere, the Tiber.


Now you know we just had to have one photograph of the Spanish Steps.


Ben was thinking about buying this underwear.


Augustus Caesar brought this Egyptian obelisk to Rome.


And three photographs of the Coloseum.


Ravenna almost became the capital of Italy because it was on the Adriatic and thus nearer to Byzantium, the new center of the Empire. There is still a Byzantine feel to the city.


Reflecting on the ancient city of Ravenna.


In an alley.


Before the concert.


I love you. I am sincere, you know it. I love you little piggy mine.


Two wild and crazy guys. Three?


Valeria. Her band didn’t get to play.


Antea Salmaso and her Cheap Thrills sneakers.


The dance of the four seasons. This is the floor of a villa found when excavations began for the building of an underground garage.


Ravenna is a good city for walking.


The Byzantine influence.


Rainy weather in July.


Sails of the port.


Arianna Antinori in Brendola. She sang three songs with us, so much fun, so good. The little grove where we played in Brendola felt like Hawaii, warm, lush, fragrant.


Brendola is near to Vicenza, Arianna’s hometown, although she is originally from Rome. I asked this fellow if he knew what his T shirt meant.


Agriturismo. Agritourism. We stayed in this farmhouse feeling building while we were in Vicenza. it reminded me of places we stay in Germany.


My friend Cesare. We did an interview that was like a good conversation.


Lots of flowers in this beautiful place.


Mary is still a real Catholic.


We drove to Toscana, Tuscany, the land that took its name from  the Etruscans, a soft, beautiful, green land. The Green Heart of Italy.


This is Tabernelle Val di Pesa where we stayed at the Hotel Chianti.


A little south and a little west of Toscana, Abruzzo.


Città della Pieve in Latin is Civitas Plebis, City of the People.


Ariana and Antea at our hotel in Città della Pieve. This is near Lake Trasimeno.


I went to a LOT of churches. That’s where the art is.


I watched these men practice soccer for a while marvelling at their ability to do anything in that August heat. Then I remembered that I played football on Okinawa, hotter by far than here. We used to practice in pads and helmets in August.


A lovely little hilltop city.


Aquila where the terremoto, the earthquake, was. Maurizio gave me a little tour of the city. This is our hotel. Amiternum could mean “eternal friend” or “eternal friendship.” Something like that.


Beautiful people in Italy, beautiful people everywhere.


Flying out of Rome…


… and spending three hours at JFK.


We had a lot of fun playing in Europe this time. Ben and I made some significant progress in inventing new arrangements and new styles of ensemble playing.



Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company