Big Brother and the Holding Company, part nine. 1993-1994

 1993-1994         Waiting for a Bus to Russia.

Hey, I have an idea. Let’s play some music until the bus comes.

Hold on !  Let me get my effects board, or, as I call it, my affects bored.

12 January 1993     Sam Andrew Band Boulder Creek Brewery  Boulder Creek  California     This was one of the great gigs.

James Gurley.

Cinnamon Morgan        Cash Farrar

Anthea Sidiropoulos            Bill Laymon.

Bill Ganaye, good friend, a real brother to me.

Joey Edelman, gifted player, fun to be with. When I go see a film I think of Joey because someone in his family is usually writing or performing the soundtrack.

22 January 1993        Phoenix Theatre      Petaluma     California          Another good one.

Greg Anton was on drums. Always a good thing.

And then Steve Kimock played guitar. He always surprises me, always has a fresh idea. He’s a real original. Steve, Greg Anton and John Cipollina founded the band Zero in 1984 and they’ve gone through the usual permutations since then. Steve lives in Pennsylvania now.

Glenn Walters was in the band.  He was the principal singer with The Hoodoo Rhythm Devils and The Zasu Pitts Memorial Orchestra.  Glenn has an emotional warm tone in his singing. Very beguiling.

28 January 1993     Pahoa       Pahoa is a special place, even for Hawaii.

10 March 1993    Stadthalle   Neuss   (rhymes with voice)    This is a large German egg near Neuss.

Neuss is across the river from Düsseldorf.

Ach, du lieber Augustin, Bonnie Tyler is here in Neuss !   That is so neuss, I mean, nice.   I wonder if I will see her in Moscow when our bus arrives ?

It was great to play in the same band with James Gurley. He was funny, energetic and sharp.

17 April 1993   Big Brother and the Holding Company    JJ’s     San José

Michael Mendelsson took this photograph.

23 April 1993    Big Brother   Boulder Creek Brewery     Boulder Creek  California

Peter Albin is the neussist guy in Big Brother.

24 April 1993     Sam Andrew Band   Caspar Inn   I’m plundering all of the bands. No wonder they stole Cathy Richardson from me.

30 April-1 May 1993   Sam Andrew Band  Winthrop Washington     When we play here, we look out from the stage at a scene like this.

15 May 1993   Last Day Saloon  San Francisco     That’s John Wedemeyer on guitar, one of the best.He has a little trick of playing an arpeggio one half tone sharper than the target chord and then resolving it, which makes for a lot of tension and interest.

Canned Heat, now we’re talking.

James Gurley singing All Is Loneliness.

19 May 1993   Sam Andrew Band      Horizons Sausalito    This used to be The Trident, scene of some rather lubricious activities in the late 60s, early 70s.

Gorgeous place. David Crosby used to sail his yacht right up to the back, tie it up and come on in.

Janis used to hold court at The Trident and drink everyone under the table. No, I mean literally. Under the table. You’d see people down there talking and carrying on.

Horizons is the new name for the Trident. I had a great band in there:  Gary Albright, Diane Dutra, Cash Farrar, Snooky Flowers, Bill Ganaye, Dave Getz, Bill Laymon, Cheryl Little Deer, Natalie Martel (above), Cinnamon Morgan, Kim Nomad, Karen White,

Kim Nomad   Anthea Sidiropoulos

My big star from Tokyo Shiho-san at the Trident (Horizons).

20 May 1993    Big Brother and the Holding Company    Mr. Q’s      Tiburon   California

28 May 1993     Magnolia’s  Santa Rosa   California         I call it a laminate. My wife Elise calls it a lanyard. We’re both right.

Above is a laminate, so called because it has a plastic covering on both sides. It’s laminated.

The  laminate is held by this lanyard. The word comes from 15th century French “lanière,” a thong strap apparatus that held any valuable object, such as a sword, close to the body.

In English, probably the closest equivalent is a “tether,” a way of attaching a valuable object so that it not be lost.  ”Lanière”  became “lanyard” when it crossed the Channel.

In Germany, they call this die Pfeiffenschnur, the whistle cord. It’s a way of keeping a valuable and much used object close to hand. It’s a lanyard.

The poet Sydney Lanier’s name may have come from “lanière.”

This is my friend Joanne Lasnier (pronounced lanyé).  She may have a lanière or a lanyard hanging somewhere in the branches of her family tree.

29 May 1993    Caspar Inn   Caspar     California     You don’t see “Caspar” spelled with an ‘a’ everyday, or maybe ever.

The reverse of a laminate.

James Gurley,  Moto-Man.

Tab Benoit                                     Mark Riley

4 June 1993   Cedar Inn Tavern   Washington      Mark Riley played guitar on this gig. He was so good.  Crosscut Saw.

Lips was the bass player in the Sam Andrew Band, Texas Division.  Gary played guitar with us. We had fun. Can you tell ?

One of those hot nights in Houston.

17 June 1993    The Sam Andrew Band   Houston  This wouldn’t be where we were watching the television during sound check and saw OJ driving in his White Bronco, would it ?

J’Net Ward, one of the owners of Liberty Lunch when I was there.

Liberty Lunch seemed like a huge tent to me. It was like playing in the circus.

Cowboy jitterbug at Liberty Lunch.

24 June 1993  Liberty Lunch   Austin       Roky Erickson came down and walked around the place during sound check, and I was hoping he w0uld sit in.

25 June 1993  Sam Andrew Band  Marble Falls   San Antonio    It’s true, I’m not big on nostalgia. To be nostalgic, you actually have to remember something.

One of the reasons I started writing this history, in fact, was so that I could actually begin to remember what has happened to all of us in the last fifty years.

James Gurley’s guitar… one of them anyway

Serendip was the old name for Ceylon, which was the old name for Sri Lanka.  Horace Walpole had the happy idea of coining the word “serendipity” for unexpected wondrous things that could happen.

Bill Ganaye, Ed Earley, Bill Laymon, Dave Getz, Kim Nomad.

14 August 1994   Caspar Inn   Caspar  California

6 September 1993   Sam Andrew Band opens for Big Brother and the Holding Company.   Hog Farm  Laytonville    California

Snooky Flowers   Sam Andrew   Kim Nomad   Peter Tork   Bill Laymon

Do you remember the band Spinal Tap. Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest and Michael McKean playing Derek Smalls, Nigel Tufnel and David St. Hubbins ? Well, Spinal Tap still tours and they play all those great songs like Sex Farm, Jazz Odyssey, Big Bottom, Hell Hole and let’s not forget Lick My Love Pump.  Their support band when they tour is the Folksmen, played by Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest and Michael McKean.

Often, when the Folksmen are performing, the audience is yelling at them to get off so that Spinal Tap, the same guys, can come on. I thought maybe this would happen to The Sam Andrew Band while we were opening for Big Brother, but our audiences were more polite or perhaps more stoned, or perhaps more enlightened ? Anyway, we had a couple of encores. They liked it.

19 September 1993   Greenpeace

1 and 2 October 1993   Smiley’s  Bolinas    There’s a nice feel to the place, isn’t there ?

Anthea Sidiropoulos at 19 Broadway Fairfax.

We played all of these tunes.

Snooky Flowers.

2 October  1993      Sam Andrew Band    19 Broadway   Fairfax     California

The 19 Broadway in Fairfax was my laughing place, as Brierley Hill in the Midlands was the home place for Robert Plant.

4 October 1993      The bedroom at the Landmark Hotel, room 105, Los Angeles, California.           Photo:  Howard Sounes.

8 October 1993  Once again the Sam Andrew Band opens for Big Brother and the Holding Company.      Grant’s Pass    Oregon

Michel Bastian

On this tour we stopped in at a radio station with one or two old friends to do some interviews.  I really am as tall as Rich Kirch, but his pompadour is totally dominating this image.

See?  Richie is just showing off there in the background, pretending he is taller than I am. How annoying.  I notice that Brian Auger is beyond caring about this sort of thing. Oh, well, he’s a genius and speaks French to the audience when he’s in Paris. Plus, he sits down a large part of the time, and so doesn’t have to compare himself to an arrant coxcomb like Richie.

20 October 1993   Sam Andrew Band   Last Day Saloon  San Francisco

2 November 1993  Munchies    Houston   I played this one with Detroit Dave, Lips and Gloria Meehan.

There he is again, playing my guitar, always with the pompadour. Richie Kirch, one of the great raconteurs of rock, played with John Lee Hooker for years.

18 November 1993

8 December 1994   The Bruce Latimer Show   Pacifica   California    Bruce is a master of graveyard humor. He has a droll, deadpan delivery that is sepulchral and silly.

Cash Farrar   Kim Nomad   Sam Andrew   Diane Dutra   Debi Romek

10 December 1993    Peri’s Silver Dollar    Fairfax     California

The Sam Andrew Band  December 1993   Snooky Flowers, Aviva, Peter Tork, Sam Andrew, Dave Getz, Kristina Kopriva, Ingo York, Joey Edelman.

11 December 1993   Sacramento    Aviva plays with soul and expertise.

Sacramento, are you ready, ’cause we’re going to tear this building down.

Thank you, Will Gunter. You did a lot of good for a lot of people.

16 December 1993  Munchies  Houston  Hey! Beethoven’s birthday.  If you’re going to be born, don’t do it in December. Do it in May.

Clayton Dyess, real musician, he played guitar with Dizzy Gillespie.

Fraternizing, or is that sororizing?, with Lips who is a wonderful person and a sensational bass player.

17 December 1993      Hoi Polloi     Houston       “Hoi Polloi” is Greek for the many, the masses.  James Gurley used to use this phrase as a synonym for “the elite.”   He never really believed me when I pointed out that that “polloi” is like “poly” and means many, as in polygamous or polymorphously perverse.  Both of us were too lazy actually to walk across the room and look in the dictionary.

19 December 1993    The Boatyard  Houston       Nuri Nuri, DJ in Houston.  Nuri Nuri sat in with us on bass now and again and he did a good job.

23  December 1993  The Continental Club  Austin    Marcia Ball came to see me at this one. I was too shy to ask her to sit in. Dammit.

This didn’t happen, but it was fun talking about it.

5 January 1994     19 Broadway    Fairfax   California

11 January 1994     Jazzed    San Rafael    California

9 February 1994   Last Day Saloon.

30 April 1994    Maritime Hall    San Francisco

2 May 1994   Chet Helms Tribute

Barbara Hontalas, beautiful, very feminine, intelligent and capable, helped us coordinate all of these engagements.


15 May 1994      Kristina Kopriva and George Michalski are the soundtrack for this Roast.

Kristina Kopriva, la magnifica.

12 May to 11 June 1994      George Michalski, the Elton John of San Francisco, came with me on this tony tour.

George Michalski                       Barbara Liu

5 June 1994                       Vancouver                  British Columbia

10 June 1994    Redwood Run    Willits    California

4 July 1994                    House of Blues

9 July 1994   Big Brother and the Holding Company     Pozo Saloon   Paso Robles   California


July 1994   Mercury Lounge        New York City      I liked this place. They were generous and smart here.

15 July 1994     Fez was downstairs from Time, a cool place. Mingus played at Fez. So did I.

Lenny Kaye played with Patti Smith, Eric Ambel played with Joan Jett, and I played with Janis Joplin, so I wanted to call this concert The Submissive Dudes.

3 August 1994      Groove Fest    Pinellas Parkway   Clearwater   Florida             Where I met the love of my life, Elise Piliwale.

At this event, Elise was playing violoncello and harp, but at home she played the piano.

So, instead of reliving the 60s, I began to live the rest of my life with Elise.

20 August 1994      Forestville        California

27  August 1994     University of California at Davis  California

15 September 1994      Sam Andrew Band   Manny’s Car Wash   New York City      I played here once a year for five years. Loved the place.

Jynx Lynx    and I see Jym Fahey back there too.

20 September 1994        Visa for Russia.     They let a guy who looks like this in, so you know things have loosened up a bit.

Believe it or not, this is the way to handwrite “Sam Andrew” in the Cyrillic alphabet. The printed alphabet is quite close to Greek, but handwriting is something else. St. Cyril was Greek and when he wanted to translate the Bible into Russian he needed an alphabet so he created one from his native language with a few additions for the nonce. This is similar to how Modern German was principally the work of Martin Luther when he translated the Bible into German, and to how Modern English takes its departure from the King James version of the Bible.

3-10 October 1994   Steps To Parnassus   Moscow

Aeroflot… lots of Russian men standing around on the plane chain smoking and drinking glasses of vodka straight down.

4 October 1994     Landmark Hotel  Los Angeles     Room 105        The bathroom sink.       Photograph:  Howard Sounes.

Moscow !   We met many musicians from all over Europe, great performers.  This was something like Russian Idol, only not as cheesy, because Rupert Murdoch didn’t have anything to do with it.

Russians are highly intelligent and they know how to party.

See those great looking guys in the back ? They are Bulgarians, Communists. This is what Communists looked like in 1994. They were Communists about as much as we were Capitalists.

We made some good friends in Moscow.

Margarita Perova.

There’s Bonnie Tyler.    I thought she might show up here.

Thank you for the post card. I never dreamed about receiving it. It makes me feel glad. I hope that when you come to Russia you will be in Moscow and it will be possible to see you on the concerts. But if you are going to visit Russia in winter you must take cold weather into consideration. Much snow, ice, so take many warm clothes.

Pravda… Truth.              (See ?  All those letters are Greek too.  The forms are slightly different.)

Friends and lovers.     Thank you, Russia.

My name C3M in Russian sounds like Sem or even Syem. They palatalize everything. “Not” is “nyet.”

The name of this event, Steps To Parnassus, gave me quite a start when I first heard it. It’s a very meaningful phrase to me.

I talked about this before in part seven of this history. Steps To Parnassus. Gradus ad Parnassum.

This is the title page to my first counterpoint book, a classic. Gradus ad Parnassum means Steps to Parnassus, the name of our event in Moscow.

Palestrina was the master of counterpoint in the sixteenth century, and we have been following him ever since.

Beethoven, yes, he was young once too, made many notes in his copy of Gradus ad Parnassum, notes that are still lucid and useful.

Everyone who plays or writes music uses counterpoint whether consciously or not. It’s rather like the man in Molière who found out he had been speaking prose all of his life.

The formal study of counterpoint, like that of perspective, is endlessly fascinating.

Haydn, Beethoven and Mozart used the same counterpoint textbook that I did, Gradus ad Parnassum.

So, we are in Moscow at an event that honors Johann Joseph Fux by using the title of his book.

I brought my Gradus ad Parnassum with me to Russia.

When we drove in from the airport to downtown Moscow, James, who was from Detroit, said, “They have cars here !”  Maybe he was expecting horse drawn troikas ?

20 November 1994              The Fillmore

Everything but the kitchen sink… oh, wait, no, that’s there too.

16 December 1994      The first of many beautiful letters from Alan Wilson, genius polymath residing in Kyoto.

18 December 1994              Veterans Memorial            Santa Rosa

25 December 1994      Love letters and advice from Russia.

Croton on Hudson.   Tom Finch, Houston Person, Halley de Vestern.

Bernard Purdy, master drummer on so many 60′s, 70s sessions, came to see us in Croton, but we were too intimidated to ask him to sit in.  Damn and damn.

31 December 1994       Eastlake Zoo     Seattle         Happy New Year !

Part ten is coming up. Thank you for being here. Yes, thank you always.