Big Brother and the Holding Company history, part 25: January to June 2013

The 11-13 January   Autograph show    Los Angeles

Laurie Jacobson    Elise Piliwale      Lauren Dow

Jimmy McNichol had the table next to ours.

Karen Lyberger


Jon Provost  (Timmy from Lassie)

Jimmy McNichol and Elise Piliwale

Laurie Jacobson

Ellyn                 Laurie

Elise Wainani Piliwale

Jimmy McNichol and his sweet mother, the only one who managed to bring an Airedale to the show.

I loved this couple, Valerie Dugan and her attorney.

This artist has a strong, interesting style but no idea of how to do a likeness. Peter looks like Ron Howard.

23 January 2013        Interview for PBS at our old house in Lagunitas.

Back Camera

Amy Berg, Alex Rodriguez  and Olivia Fougeirol

Julie Haas

David Niehaus

Here I am rehearsing in this same room forty-seven years ago.

Rita Bergman and I lived in this little cabin out back. The Sons of Champlin later used it for firewood.  Thank you, Sons.  Well, at least they didn’t cut the redwoods down. I’m going to write about your using my cabin for your firewood.

Elise Piliwale and Bjorn Berg

Olivia Fougeirol




2008 jan 12 Slick

24 February 2013        Benefit for Slick Aguilar       Great American Music Hall       San Francisco

slick sign

We arrive at two in the afternoon to load an amp in there and get a hotel room.


There was Adrian, already standing in line, happy as could be.

elise car

It was so good being with Elise. We loved being in San Francisco for recreation, even though she had worked at St. Francis all night the night before and all night this evening too. I walked her to work right from the gig, after we watched a bit of the Oscars.  This was a sweet moment.



The equipment people are already hard at work. This is supposed to be an acoustic gig, but I saw a lot of amplifiers going in there.


The Great American Music Hall is a beautiful place. I believe that Boz Scaggs owns it now. We have played there many times over the years and every time was good.


After loading in, Elise and I walked up Polk Street and looked at the sights.


This is Polk and Pine from our hotel window. In the 1960s, I spent a lot of time at this intersection, because a friend of mine had a clothing store and the Palms nightclub was right across the street… all at this same intersection.

Prairie & Donnie

Prairie Prince and Donnie Baldwin were kind enough to propel the band this evening, or as Donnie put it, to add some “color.”

BBHC soundcheck



She was taking a lot of photographs.


Country Joe was the Master of Ceremonies.


Marty Balin sounded so good. His voice is better than ever and his songs are interesting.


Min Min Anderson, helpful and sweet as always.


We’re doing this for Slick and sending him positive thoughts.


I’ve known Keith for so long. We’ve seen each other for about five minutes a time over the last thirty years. He has a great sound on the sax and he played with Tommy Castro for a long time.

Darby & Sam 24 Beb 2013

I love Darby Gould. She sings so well, she’s a professional, she’s good natured, and, darn it, she’s just a beautiful woman.


This looks like a Frans Hals portrait, doesn’t it?   Chris Smith played keyboards with us and he did a great job.

Big Brother GAMH

BBHC performing GAMH

The way the gig looked:   Chris Smith, Sam Andrew, Darby Gould, Prairie Prince, Donnie Baldwin, Peter Albin

Snooky 24 Feb 2013

Old friend Snooky Flowers.  Snooky and I were in the Kozmic Blues Band.


I’ve played with Peter Albin for forty-eight years.

auto guitar

We signed a guitar for the benefit auction.

Sam Darby

Steve Keyser’s version of Darby and me.


Pete Sears


Great American Music Hall is right next door to this place.


The view from our hotel room.


And a little later…


Next morning, after Elise got off work, we had a little breakfast.

Elise 25 Feb 2013

She orders for us.



Then I have an interview at Merle Saunders’ Fenix in San Rafael.

Claus Bredenbrock


This is for German television with “autor” Claus Bredenbrock who asks intelligent, thoughtful questions.


Sol does the sound for the interview.


1 March 2013            San Diego  and  Tijuana

Back Camera

There was a very interesting exhibit of board games at the airport.

Elise elevator

Elise found us a beautiful hotel, the Westgate, in downtown San Diego.

lobby from stairs

This was across the street from where I did Love, Janis in 2001.


That’s where I met Kacee Clanton, Sam Monroe, Beth Hart and many other good people. I shot this photo of Kacee in front of a building that doesn’t exist anymore.

Fox Theatre building

It all changes fast. I tried to look for a hotel that my grandfather managed about the time I was born. It was in the old Fox Theatre building, which is no longer there either.


elevators symphony

This block is now the Copley Symphony Hall building.  My grandfather’s hotel is in there somewhere, but I couldn’t find it.


I used to draw this statue every day when I lived in San Diego twelve, thirteen years ago.


The statue is a copy of an Etruscan motif and it was made and cast in Florence.


Randal Myler wrote and directed Love, Janis, and we all had a good time doing the show.


Especially because Amelia Campbell was doing the “speaking” Janis. She has such a gift for comedy that every line got a laugh. It was like watching Friends.

MoM Balboa Park

Elise and I walked up to Balboa Park.

Sam fishing San Diego 1946

I visited this place with my mother when I was five or six. I’m trying to catch a carp here. Early version of multitasking.

Back Camera

We went to Tijuana then, and Elise and I decided to go this time too.

Tijuana arch

Tijuana has its arch qualities.

Back Camera

And a tinselly temporariness.

Back Camera

Are you coming or am I going?

Back Camera

The green room for a mariachi band on the corner.

Tij mur

The Mexicans are a very artistic people.

Tijuana mural

Trompe l’oeil a la mexicana.

hoy accordeón

22 March 2013       interview at eight in the morning on Friday    Sonoma    California


I drove up to Sonoma, the original capital of California, to do an interview with Mayor Ken Brown of the Bear Flag Party.


Donna was there and it was fun to talk to her and Ken about a gig that Big Brother would play on 20 April, Marijuana Day, at the Sebastiani Theatre.

kurt krauthamer

Kurt Krauthamer and Roy Blumenfeld put this gig together for Sonoma and Kurt played harmonica with us on I Need A Man To Love.


Ken Brown belongs to the Bear Flag Party which refers to a period of revolt by American settlers in the Mexican territory of Alta California against Mexico.


The Revolt was initially proclaimed in Sonoma on June 14, 1846. Though participants declared independence from Mexico, they failed to form a functional provisional government. Thus, the “republic” never exercised any real authority, and it was never recognized by any nation. In fact, most of Alta California knew nothing about it. The revolt lasted 26 days, at the end of which the U.S. Army arrived to occupy the area.


Once the leaders of the revolt knew the United States was claiming the area, they disbanded their “republic” and supported the U.S. federal effort to annex Alta California.


Sonomans are very conscious of being “the first Californians,” and they take great pride in their town and in the Sebastiani Theatre.


9 April 2013     Today is Elise’s birthday and she has a Director of Staff Development seminar in Lodi, California.

sacramento street

We get a motel near downtown and I walk there everyday to visit the library.

mrs. & mr. lodi

Lodi is an interesting city, named for a town in Italy, a lot of grapes grown here.

elise bday

We have Elise’s birthday dinner at this place. We were trying to find oysters, but not a lot of seafood this far inland.

lodi arch

choo choo

The train runs through the middle of town and you can feel Lodi’s agricultural past here.

lodi century past

I like the old downtowns of places like this.

piano Tillies

Every morning before going to the library to study I have a double espresso at Tillie’s coffeeshop.




There’s a science museum for children at Sacramento and Locust, an interesting place.

heart drum

Elise and I listen to our hearts beating on this instrument.

wire recorder 40s

We had a wire recorder when I was ten or so. It used the exact reel spool on the left.

computer insides

So, this is what it looks like inside a computer.


It was interesting watching the kids play with things like this gyroscope.

belt drive

I was studying technology in China while we were in Lodi, so exhibits like this caught my eye. The Chinese invented a belt drive like this.

malia & brett

Malia and Brett. It was quite a coincidence to see them. Brett framed a lot of my paintings in San Rafael.




The kids stormed through the place.

elise & brett

Elise and Brett

malia & maia

Malia and Maya

elise bubble

Elise doing science.

father daughter

Brett has a big family.

sacramento st & lodi ave

We see this billboard after we leave the museum. That’s my old buddy Joel Hoekstra on the left.


lodi tower

Goodbye, Lodi.

sonoma set

20 April      Big Brother and the Holding Company     Sebastiani Theatre   Sonoma  California

Kristina Tom 18 April 2013

Kristina Rehling and Tom Finch getting their harmonies together.

Michael J. Fox

Michael J. Fox, Esquire, public defender, San Francisco, came to our rehearsal. He lives just down the hill from Kristina’s mother, Lynn Giovanniello.

Lynn Giovanniello 18 April 2013

Lynn plays bass viol with the San Francisco Symphony, the Marin Symphony and numerous ensembles in the Bay Area. She is an excellent sight reader, of course, but also has soul and can jam with the best of them.

Lynn Kristina

Mother and daughter. They play string quartets with other daughters. I first knew Kristina as a violinist.

Sandi Freddie Herrera

Sandi and Freddie Herrera. Freddie used to own the Keystones. We worked for him many times.

Valley of the Moon

Sonoma is a beautiful place. The drive from Sonoma to my house in San Geronimo has to be one of the most beautiful in the world. 116 West to Petaluma D Street and then to Nicasio Valley, gorgeous.

Roy Elise

Roy Blumenfeld and Elise Piliwale.  Roy is getting ready to tour with the Blues Project again.


Tom Sam Kristina

Steve Keyser took this one.

Sam Kristina

And this.

Great Music 30 May 2013

30 May  Cutting Room   NYC

SamCutler Cutting 30 May 2013

We show up at The Cutting Room on 44 East 32nd Street, and there is Sam Cutler, who will read from his book and tell stories about the old days.

Sam still 30 May 2013

I start signing things right away.

Kessler's 30 May 2013

I used to know a guitarist named Josh Kessler, hmmm. I would have asked him to sit in if I had run across him.

sam chealsea

Chealsea Dawn is helping Sam with his book and other merchandise. She’s doing some research on Buddy Miles and I promised I would help her.

Guitarist Cutting 30 May 2013

The Cutting Room is a beautiful place with lots of art, the lighting is good, the people are good, it’s just a great place to play.

Dr. Photo 30 May 2013

Elliot Newhouse, an excellent photographer, is there and I catch him in his identity as Dr. Newhouse.

ben nieves

Ben Nieves played very well on this and all of the gigs.

Cutting couple 30 May 2013

I walk around and try to see what I can see.

elliot newhouse 30 May 2013

Right before our set, in a typical act of kindness, Ben, observing that I am ill, hands me a huge vitamin pill. Little did I know that it was also “high energy,” which means, I hope, caffeine. I swallowed it whole with no water and it went halfway down my gullet and lodged there. The place was so hot that, two songs into the set, after the pill and the extreme heat, I had to sit down… first time ever in sixty plus years of playing, and we still had a great musical conversation. Dr. Newhouse took this photograph which looks very colorful and rather Renaissance like.

Lisa Mills 31 May 2013

Lisa Mills has sung with me for a long time, but she sounded better than ever on this gig. I think she’s just getting started and she started very well.

High Note Amityville 31 May 2013

31  High Note  136 Broadway Avenue    Amityville    Long Island

Flatbush Avenue 31 May 2013

Next day we set out in our van to drive from Staten Island to Amityville, Long Island, which is out there a ways in more ways than one.

Mills Cutler 31 May 2013

There was no green room, so we sat on couches and chairs near the bar for the eight hours until our set began. Such is the life of a musician.

Jim Lisa Ben 31 May 2013

We took plenty of walks and kept up our high spirits.

Comfort Inn 31 May 2013

I should have just rented a motel in this town, which would have been cheaper in the long run than spending on meals and other passtimes.

Crossroads 1 June 2013

1 June 2013         The Crossroads   78 North Avenue    Garwood     New Jersey

Lisa elevator

Garwood was a charming town, slightly gentrified, reminding me of villages in Connecticut or Ross or Larkspur here in Marin County, California.

Crossroads banner 1 June 2013

We played a late night set here. All of the music on these four gigs was good. The band coalesced and Lisa sang so well.

BBHC Staten Island 2 June 2013

2 June 2013      The Dugout Bar    1614 Forest Avenue         Staten Island

Kerry 2 June 2013

Kerry Kearney came to play with us here, and sounded very good on bottleneck guitar as well as the standard model.

Ann S Kerry K m2 June 2013

Ann Sullivan, Kerry’s manager, fanned us in the extreme heat of Staten Island.

Ann Sam Xroads Lisa 2 June 2013

Good feelings, happy times.

janis blues hall of fame

Awards time.

blue moon

gate 3 june 2013

Flying home from Newark to San Francisco.

Fur Peace concert hall


29 July 2013      Fur Peace Ranch       Pomeroy, Ohio

Sam& Elise door Fur Peace

Our honeymoon cabin…

29 June 2013 set One

Jorma signed my set lists.

29 June 2013 set Two

Jorma question

It meant a lot to me to see Jorma thriving and prospering after all these years.  John Hurlbut wrote this question and Jorma asked it. Peter Albin and I liked it that we were here with someone who has figured so largely in our history.

John Hurlbut

John Hurlbut, the factor at the Fur Peace Ranch. Responsible, kind, respectful, capable.


Rabbits a Fur Peace down the road.

changing strings

Changing strings, getting ready for the gig.  Isn’t this exciting?


Don Aters.

jorma don

Jorma and Don.

Elise Fur Peace 29 June 2013

Elise Wainani Piliwale somewhere in the middle of Ohio.

don's nikon

Don’s Nikon.

ben sam 29 june 2013

Don shot this one.

don blonde

Life at the Fur Peace Ranch.

Fur Peace ranch signs

It’s a happy place.

Jim Wall Fur Peace

Drummer extraordinaire and good friend, Jim Wall.

Jorma painting

Kevin Morgan’s inspired painting of Jorma.


What bill would be cooler than Lenny Bruce and the Mothers of Invention?

Don's Leon

Don Ater’s superb photo of Levon Helm.

Carla Piliwale

Carla Piliwale, Elise’s mother, at the Fur Peace Ranch.

Edd Hart

Carla’s husband Edd Hart.

BBHC Fur Peace

We’ll see you in part 26 of the Big Brother and the Holding Company history.