Big Brother and the Holding Company, part six. 1969-1972

1969 – 1972        The Long Slow Slide Down the Other Side.

2-3 February 1969

7 March 1969   Dale Burkhardt attends a Kozmic Blues Band show and snaps this one.

28 March 1969

The Kozmic Blues Band played at The Royal Albert Hall, so to celebrate, I took a bath.

Queen Victoria baptised the Royal Albert Hall in 1871.   And now we came to play here almost a hundred years later.

The Royal Albert Hall, or, as the London cabbies call it,  Halibut Oil (‘ albut o’l),  is in the north part of South Kensington.

We had a splendid time here which put me in a party mood.

The acoustics in this Hall were originally so bad that people said it was the only place where a British composer could be sure of hearing his work twice. Eric came to see us.

Bob Seidemann, old friend of ours, who did one of our album covers, plus the magnificent Blind Faith album, was there. He looks like this now. He didn’t then.

I thought about the people who had spoken and played in this space: Winston Churchill, Wagner, Verdi, Elgar, Rachmaninoff.

In 1969, engineers installed sound bafflings that were known as “mushrooms” or “flying saucers,” and the sound was vastly improved.

Suzy Creamcheese was so sweet to me in so many ways. She took me out to Hampton Court and gave me the royal tour. Suzy, thank you forever.

29 June 1969

20 July 1969          Snooky Flowers and I saw this event on television as it was happening.  The Chelsea Hotel, NYC.

8 August 1969       660 Great Highway        Tyrannosaurus Rex and Tongue and Groove.

December 1969   At a Stax/Volt party in Memphis with Janis Joplin, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Al Jackson, Jr., Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn and Booker T. Jones who is now a San Rafael resident. Duck Dunn died today, 13 May 2012, in his sleep in Tokyo. He was seventy.

25 August 1969

17 October 1969       Austin

18 October 1969   Hemisphere Arena  San Antonio        Sharrie Gomez and I doing a Macy’s ad.

24 October 1969       I’m listed as playing on this recording, but I’ve never heard it.

Talking god and the universe with Janis and Richard Kermode.

Richard came out of that Hammond B3 jazz scene in Buffalo. A lot of great players including him.

15 November 1969  This was a huge California demonstration against the war in Viet Nam.

19 November 1969   Fillmore West      Steve Miller had to cancel this show so Big Brother played it billed as Mumble, Fumble, Jumble and Dumble.

29 December 1969                  Geary Theatre               415 Geary Boulevard                 San Francisco

Janis said, “I don’t look good in this photo, so I’m putting it in just for you.”

Anthony Edman took this photograph of the Carol guitar.

7 February 1970     Encore Theatre    Burlingame  California

13 February 1970      Pepperland

20-21 February 1970   Great Highway   Rhythm Dukes       Jerry Miller          Bill Champlin

27 February 1970     Alaskaland Civic Center        Fairbanks   Alaska

5-7 March 1970        Keystone    San Francisco

They had some wonderful shows here, but the place was right next door to the police station in North Beach.

13-14 March 1970   New Orleans House   Berkeley         Horses in Tiburon.

20-22 March 1970    Family Dog at the Great Highway     Kaleidoscope       Devil’s Kitchen

28-29 March 1970      Lion’s Share        San Anselmo     California

4 April 1970   Fillmore West     Janis joins us for this one.                       James Gurley.

This photograph seems to be very heraldic of the 1970s. My overheated imagination sees mistrust here, matters gone awry, loss of faith, paranoia, alienation, loneliness. Am I being carried away ? Probably. Was it a weird time ?  It certainly was.   Richard Kermode  Linda Gravenites  Janis  George Ostrow  Bobby Neuwirth

7-9 April 1970                       Matrix

12 April 1970  Winterland        Kathi McDonald   Nick Gravenites   Mike Finnegan  David Shallock     We had a GOOD band.

23-24 April 1970  Inn of the Beginning  Cotati California            James Gurley.   He’s big, huge.

1 May 1970      Family Dog      Great Highway     San Francisco       I think this is a Randy Tuten poster.

8 May 1970    Merced Fairgrounds    Merced  California

15 May 1970     City Center    Kelowna    British Columbia

Kelowna is a vacation spot in British Columbia, on the east side of the Okanagan Valley.

16-17 May 1970   Strawberry Mountain Fair   Mission    British Columbia

20 May 1970    Pauley Ballroom   University of California      Berkeley

21 May 1970  Pepperland  Bermuda Palms   San Rafael   California       Full Tilt     Grateful Dead

With the amazing Meyer sound system.

The event is memorable for many reasons.

This is a Hells Angels party to begin with, so the money will be straight and the sound system excellent.

There will also be more drugs and alcohol than would seem to be prudent.

This will be the first time that Janis’ old band and her new band will be at the same venue, so everyone is a little on edge.

Not exactly a battle of the bands, but not exactly not one either.  Janis gets into a fight with an Angel and he punches her. She breaks a bottle over his head. This is the peace and love crowd.

22 May 1970    Keystone Korner    Berkeley

29 May 1970   Santa Monica Civic Auditorium

9 June 1970    Diamond Head Crater Festival                 Hawaii

8 June 1970    The Andrews Amphitheater   Hawaii   This place is used for commencement exercises for the University of Hawaii.  I was proud to play here.

My wife is Hawaiian. More Hawaiian blood, as a matter of fact, than most Hawaiians.  Here she is with Grant Jacobs, Richard Hundgen, and I wish I knew her name, she has a lovely smile.

The equipment managers that we had at that time, forty years ago, decided to jump ship and become Hawaiian. They are there still.

And of course our President was born there in the same hospital, Queens Hospital, as my wife. Either there or in Kenya, I forget which. Depends on whom you ask, someone who actually knows something, or someone who is incredibly ignorant and backward. President Obama went to Puniho High School, and so did Jonelle DeNike, here with her husband Howard in Paris, old friends from University of San Francisco days.

This proportion may surprise you. It did me, almost as difficult as realizing that the eyes are half way down the head instead of near the top where children draw them.


10 June 1970    Kahului Armory    Maui   Hawaii

Also called the Pu’unene Armory.

Maui is the island without a military base, so they just had to build an armory here.

My father was in the Air Force, and so I was raised in places like this. Still, it does seem like a rather Spinal Tap place to have a concert.

Remember in Spinal Tap when the lieutenant (Fred Willard), looking at his watch says, “I make it, oh, 1830 hours now, so why don’t you go on about 1900 ?”

And Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer) says, “You mean it’s seventy hours until we play ?”

Steve Keyser.

13-14 June 1970  Portland Music & Art Fair    Portland Oregon

17 June 1970    Convention Center    Las Vegas

19  June 1970   Terrace Ballroom    Salt Lake City   I have a cassette tape of this gig.  We actually played all that music.

26 June 1970   Junction Night Club    Kelker   Colorado

3-5 July 1970     Euphoria    San Rafael      California     Another Randy Tuten poster.

11 July 1970  Sports Arena  San Diego Full Tilt Boogie Band     I remember flying home with Janis, Nick Gravenites, Mike Bloomfield et alia from this one. Bloomers was on a roll. He was ranting in that special Bloomfieldian style about taping two baloons full of lukewarm water to a bathroom mirror and masturbating into the sink. You know, typical inflight conversation. It was something else to have Big Brother and Full Tilt in that same small tight space. Good thing we all loved each other. Of course, in those days you could smoke and the flight attendants wore miniskirts. If I remember correctly, there was even a piano bar upstairs. Seat belts were only for taking off and landing, and sometimes not even then.

17 July 1970  Love Valley Festival   Love Valley  North Carolina       There was a counterfeit Big Brother running around about this time. Maybe they played this one ?

I always thought, “Why in the world would anyone want to counterfeit us, when they could just go ahead and be themselves ?”

I mean, it couldn’t be for the money, because we weren’t making any, so how could they ?

Might as well be yourself, as Oscar Wilde noted, everyone else is taken.

31 July 1970  Phoenix Veterans Coliseum  Arizona

6 August 1970  Peace Festival   Shea Stadium  Flushing Meadows    New York

13-15 August 1970   Fillmore West    San Francisco   Commander Cody     George Frayne, one of my favorite people.  Good artist too.

18-19 August 1970    The Matrix      San Francisco      No, he wasn’t on the gig, but I love the way he sings, so here he is. Paul supposedly came to the Matrix to see us one time, but when we met him, we asked him about it and he said he wasn’t lucky enough to be there.

26 August 1970       Washoe County Fairgrounds

28 August 1970       Sing Auditorium    San Bernardino      Mary Swope took this photograph.

25 September 1970    Saginaw Auditorium      Michigan

3-5 October 1970               Euphoria            San Rafael           California

4 October 1970   The Landmark Motel  Hollywood        A British writer just interviewed me from the very room.  He mentioned all of the scrawlings on the bedroom closet wall.

Swimming in the pool, yelling up to the rooms, “Hey, come on down ! Bring Mary Jane with you, OK?”

6-7 October 1970    The  Matrix           Blues for an old friend.

23 October 1970    Basin Street West    Omigawd, we substituted for Sarah Vaughan ?    I wonder how that worked ?  I can’t remember, but I do know that Combination of the Two doesn’t sound a lot like Over The Rainbow.

26 October 1970   Lion’s Share     The Drinks Are On Pearl.

Janis left $ 2,500, a lot of money then, for us to have a party in her honor. We did it right.  Music and dancing all night.

27-29 October 1970   The Matrix

30 October 1970   46th Street Rock Palace     Brooklyn

2 November 1970   Harding Theatre   San Francisco

20-21  November 1970   Winterland     San Francisco

5 December 1970  The Birmingham Palladium    Detroit

We all signed this one.  I was with Carol Cavallon when I bought this guitar on 48th Street, Manhattan, across the street from Manny’s.

8-9 January 1971   Fillmore East    Buddy Miles    Sweetwater    I loved the way Buddy looked when he was on the drums.

17 January 1971     Syria Mosque       University of Pittsburgh

18-19 January 1971      Ungano’s       New York City

20 January 1971    Capitol Theatre   Port Chester   New York             Carol Cavallon    Putney  Vermont

29-30 January 1971      ”El Monte” always makes me think of Reuben and the Jets, Frank Zappa.

4 February 1971    Inn of the Beginning        Cotati            California

13 February 1971   Pepperland    737 East Francisco Boulevard   San Rafael   California

Whitey Litchfield, millionaire construction magnate, created Litchfield’s Bermuda Palms in the late 1940s. This was “California’s Las Vegas.” I mentioned before that I had played tenor saxophone in numerous big band rehearsals here, little dreaming at the time that Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton and many other stars of the 1940s had played in that same room.

20-21 February 1971            Pepperland

23 February 1971    Broadcast of television series The Turned On Crisis including an episode with Big Brother: Why Can’t You Hear Through The Noise in Your Ear.

6 March 1971      Shasta College

12-13 March 1971  Friends and Relations Hall  Great Highway  San Francisco    Kathi McDonald.

Also on this gig:   Clover       I see    Alex Call   Huey Lewis     John McFee      Sean Hopper

25 March 1971        New Monk            Berkeley

The New Monk was in Berkeley where Shattuck and University make a T.   2119 University.  It was a funky place.  Freddie Herrera bought it in August of 1971, and it became the Keystone Berkeley in March 1972.   I think that this expression could fairly be called supercilious.   Or even supersillyious.

9-10 April 1971    Friends and Relations Hall     Kathi McDonald, one of the best singers ever… and the funniest.

15 April 1971     Inn of the Beginning   Cotati   California

19 April 1971      Friends and Relations Hall         Hubert Sumlin      Snooky Flowers    Rich Kirch   Freddie Roulette

22-23 April 1971    Bimbo’s    San Francisco

24 April 1971    Peace Rally   Golden Gate Park

Always a good idea.

26 April 1971  Sonoma    WELL !   We know when we’re not wanted.   We left in a huff.   (Actually, it was a Buick.)

7 May 1971   California Hall    San Francisco

17 May 1971       New Monk

21 May 1971   Keystone            Nick Gravenites

28 May 1971     Selland Arena   Fresno    California     B.B. King  Elvin Bishop    Elvin liked to play poker after a gig.

10 June 1971  Fox Theatre   Long Beach

9 July 1971        Harlingen    Texas

August 1971       Release of How Hard It Is

We had a great B3 player on this one, Mike Finnegan, who can sing as well as he can play. He recorded Buried Alive In The Blues with us and we should release that someday. It’s definitely the best version of that song.

Mike went on to play with everyone, including Joe Cocker  performing here on American Idol, another of Rupert Murdoch’s panderings to the lowest common denominator. But, as Mike says, “A gig is a gig.”    Hey, maybe Kacee Clanton was on this one too ?  I think she was.

9 October 1971   Monterey Fairgrounds     Clover        Jon Sievert took this one.

7 November 1971    Trying to guard Kathi.   Can you hear me barking ?

12 November 1971       Winterland

13 November 1971

9-11 December 1971      Inn of the Beginning          Cotati            California

31 December 1971    Many photographs of this guitar because she is gone now, playing the Hard Rock Café circuit.

1 January 1972

14 January 1972

30 January 1972   Curtis Hall    Tampa     Florida      Sam   Lee Bittner   Kathi McDonald   Mike Pendergrass   Peter Albin


13 February 1972      Mama Einstein’s    What do you want ?  I was the only one left.

15 February 1972   Valentine’s party    The Boathouse      Harding Road      San Francisco      You know, out by Lake Merced.

19 February 1972   University of Iowa  Iowa City    Allman Brothers    Vivid memories of partying with these guys. They had a couple of revolvers from the Civil War. Confederate, of course.

26 February 1972    American Legion Hall     Merced     California

19 March 1972    You have to watch these rock writers all the time.   Kathi was our new singer, not Elvin’s.

13 April 1972

22 or 23 April 1972     Dubuque & Court Street Party   Iowa City

Kathi and I went out partying in an old farmhouse, deserted, crackly, in the middle of a cornfield. It seemed as if we were there for days.

25 April 1972      Iowa Wesleyan   Fayetteville     Iowa

29 April 1972                  Upper Iowa             Mt. Pleasant

1-2 May 1972   Ace Beer Garden  Iowa City

June 1972      Pioneer High School    Whittier   California

2 June 1972       Fort Homer Hesterly Armory     Tampa

June 1972    Schererville     Illinois          Blue Oyster Cult.    These guys were great to hang with. Hysterical as a matter of fact.

June 1972     Catholic High School          Niles           Illinois

June 1972    Romeoville Roller Rink           Romeoville        Illinois

15 June 1972      Hersey High School       Arlington Heights     Illinois

June 1972     Grande Ballroom              Detroit

June/July 1972     Louisiana         Life becomes quite fuzzy along about now.   Note that there are often no specific dates for these events.

July 1972      Miami            Spirit

22 July 1972   Marine World   Redwood City    California        I love mingling with wild life, marine or otherwise.

4 September 1972

17 September 1972   A slice of life in the 70s.   If you read between the lines, this pretty much says it all.



9 October 1972   Berkeley Folk Music Festival     Big Mama Thornton     Earl Collins    Silver String Macedonian Band    Frontier


24 November 1972    Marin County Civic Center Auditorium   Quicksilver      Clover      Yogi Phlegm       A Cold Turkey Rock Party

Clover !     Johnny Ciambotti.   John McFee is there.   Mitch Howe.  Alex Call.   Huey Lewis.  Sean Hopper.  Good band.   Alex has a beautiful voice.

And, talking of Marin musicians, this is one who has been an inspiration to me for years: Terry Haggerty.

Somewhere in my personal effects I have a Local # Six Musicians’ Union directory from the 1950s. Terry’s father is in there along with Paul Desmond and many other noteworthy players from that era.

Terry and David Shallock came to my house in Fairfax one day, and they did a smokin’ version of Frosty, the Snowman. It was so great to hear that. Especially in August.

It’s the whole person, though, you know ? Terry is a great guitar player, one of the best, but it’s as a human being that he shines brightest.

Thank you for being here, and I’ll see you in a week.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company