Big Brother history, part seventeen – 2005

clam house

BBHC name printed

Sam Andrew, Ben Nieves Illinois 2011

Ben Nieves

1 January 2005       We played in Cleveland.



Then we went to Europe.


Driving through the Czech Republic, we were stopped at a Hrensko passport control (Zollamt) that looked as if it were in a 1940s film.



Bluesiana Club in Velden, Austria.

Velden, Austria (near Klagenfurt), is 30 kilometers or so from the Italian border and even closer to Slovenia, so Slovenians often came to see us.

With Slovenians and Kacee Clanton, Glenn Halvarsson, Chad Quist and Peter Albin.

1 April 2005   Bluesiana   Velden   Austria        Between Villach and Klagenfurt on Lake Wörther.

Elise took this photograph of the Wörthersee.

4 April 2005    Spectrum          Augsburg           Germany


Halle             Germany

7 April 2005         In Halle, Elise and I visited the Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte, the Provincial Prehistory Museum.

From the early Bronze Age, these are, however, made of gold.

Menschenwechsel.  Human change.  Evolution.

The theme at this museum was the evolution from Neanderthal to contemporary humans as it happened in Germany, right where we were.  We were seeing the history of the same Sachsen-Anhalt region around us.


Some people stay in the same place for millennia. They are happy there, and they keep their families around them.  Remember that dig in England where they ran the DNA testing on bones they found from thousands of years before, and one of the closest matches was to a school teacher who lived right down the road?

We were looking at tools and toys made by ancestors of people who were standing around us in the museum.

For an American, this is an unusual experience because we are new people in our continent, unless we’re talking about Native Americans. My friend Lance who is Navajo must feel something similar to this when he visits a museum in Phoenix.

This Neanderthaler, for example, looks a little like Rush Limpburger.

His thought processes may be a little subtler and quicker than Rush’s, but there is a certain physical kinship.

Handwedge or handaxe (Faustkeil) 200,000 years old. Beautifully made.

8 April 2005  Alter  Gasometer  Zwickau   Germany



Sometimes they sit down on the job.

9 April 2005   Forlì  Italy    Today is Elise’s birthday. She celebrated it by driving us from Zwickau in eastern Germany to Forlì in Emilia Romagna, a long, heroic drive overnight and over the snowy Alps.

Ernesto De Pascale was an old friend of mine.

Figli dei fiori…  flower children

11 April 2005   Teatro Blu     Milano         …nel blu di pinto di blu.


Nowwww don’t tell me you didn’t know all along,   You’re not Donna Read and I’m sho not Don Juan,

ex en Provence

We’re just two losers with good come ons.   But not quite good enough.      (Merci, Thomas.)

The gig was in Hannover, but we stayed in the tiny town of Nienburg.

A shout out to George Michalski, the Elton John of San Francisco.   Hi, George !


16 April 2005     Luzern      In Italian Locarno.  Everything here is in two or three languages.



Burg Satzvey:  We actually played in this castle. I thought, wow, the reverberation will be awful with all that stone, but the sound was quite good.

When the Germans want to play Renaissance Faire, they do it very well.


Now we go to Frankfurt am Main.

19 April 2005     Frankfurt    Das Städel is such a great museum.

They have this beautiful Botticelli there. Botticelli’s model was a woman named Simonetta and, improbably enough, she was the sister of Amerigo di Vespucci, the cartographer and explorer after whom our continent is named. Another coincidence is that the Vespucci lived in Vicenza, a place we visit often, the hometown of Arianna Antinori and Antea Salmaso.

Simonetta was also the model for The Birth of Venus and many other well known paintings from the Renaissance.

Primavera    Many other artists in Florence painted Simonetta but none so well, perhaps, as Botticelli.

In that same small town Vicenza where Simonetta and Amerigo di Vespucci lived, a farmboy was born a little later. He was a worker on construction projects but he showed a great flair for design and architecture.

A nobleman recognized the boy’s talent, gave him a place to live, an education and a name, Palladio  (in honor of the goddess Pallas Athena).

Palladio designed many, many buildings around Vicenza, Padua and surrounding areas. They look very familiar to us. This is the Villa Moro.

The White House and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello are both exact copies of buildings that Palladio made in Italy.

So, thank you to the little town of Vicenza, Italy, who gave us Simonetta and Amerigo di Vespucci, Palladio, Arianna Antinori and Antea Salmaso.

In Frankfurt, Chad and I walked back to the hotel from sound check.  Find Chad.

In the black room… I mean, the green room.


23 April 2005      Augsburg       This was the town of Augustus Caesar.  Augusti burg. Augsburg.


Hamburg                   There is a wonderful museum here, the Kunsthalle, the art hall.

Tal Wilkenfeld bassist

The Hanseatic city of Lübeck way up north just before you go into Denmark. A Hansa is a trading league or partnership. “Lufthansa” is an “air league.”


Århus     Denmark      This is a school town, bohemian.


25 April 2005    Copenhagen  Denmark     This was a most interesting museum. I like the name Glyptotek. Carving case, which is a way of saying sculpture museum.


When I was here with the Kozmic Blues Band in 1969, I had the most delicious mushroom soup, but couldn’t find it this time. I don’t know why. It’s only 36 years later.

27 April 2005     Randers    Denmark

Peter Albin onstage in Randers, Denmark.

Late at night, after the gig, Elise photographed this building across the street from our hotel.

With Andra Mitrovich

30 April 2005       Bergen          Norway


In the right testicle of Scandinavia, there she is, the town of Bergen.

Look at the venue name, Peer Gynt, Grieghallen. Hall of the Mountain King from the Peer Gynt Suite by Grieg was our theme for years. I still quote the tune in my solo on Blindman.

Andra Mitrovich          Elise Piliwale

It’s not the girl with the pearl earring, but it’s the girl hearing Pearl.

As Charlie McCarthy would say,  Bye, bye, Bergen.

Meanwhile, back in Fairfax…

12 May 2005           Dean Suzuki invited me to give a talk at San Francisco State University.



Photo:                  Polly Belinda Rendall

7 June 2005        Cleveland           This was a wonderful show.

Manet did this one of her.

And she did this one of herself.

Kate Russo

Kacee Clanton lying down on the job and looking pretty darned good while she’s doing it.

23 June 2005   Mountain Festival   Batesville         Arkansas


I know that I do a lot of foolish and dangerous things.

How can I talk about how I sing? It’s something totally instinctive that comes from inside me. I can’t describe my insides.

The only things that count are feelings: and my music is feeling.

Being intellectual raises a lot of questions and very few answers. Your life is full of ideas but you go home alone.

blue Janis





We very seldom play in the south of Italy, so when I walked around the streets of Salerno, everyone looked like they were from Brooklyn or Queens, because “our” Italians generally come from the south.

7 July 2005           Salerno

Una Salernitana      Chad Quist    Sophia Ramos

Don’t say anything bad about Salerno.

DD in Brooklyn

8 July 2005      Sant’Elpidio   This is a lovely place on the Adriatic.

Laura Albergante Visconti



Cesena is a little to the south of Ravenna.


Michael Falzarano     Diana Mangano     Kerry Kearney


11 July 2005   Genova    A beautiful town.

Emilia on drums

Emilia Febbraio a la batteria


Gianna Nannini was here in our hotel lobby in Genova. I had introduced her to the audience in Salerno, although they knew who she was better than I did. She is quite famous in Italy.

Genova is a wonderful town to walk in. Many hills to climb with great views of the harbor and the city.

13 July 2005       Up north in Udine, a beautiful place.



Udine, if not now, when?





14 – 17 July 2005


We recorded this gig and the result was the CD Hold Me released in 2006.

Friday  15 July 2005             Burg Herzberg          Germany

NGS Picture ID:972030

20 July 2005          Louisville        Kentucky

29 July 2005      Great American Music Hall     San Francisco            Still playing for Chet.      This was a great night.

2009 31 dec Nicole Elise Sophia

23 September 2005              Ko Samui          Thailand

Sophia Ramos

Elise in the hangar after we flew around the island of Ko Samui.

With Sophia Ramos    Alan Sadd   Elise Piliwale    Eugene Skuratowicz

Kate Russo    Peter Albin

With Randal Myler

7 September 2005        Louisville

4 October 2005       The entrance to the Landmark Motel        Hollywood.

28 December 2005              Coco’s            Ko Samui            Thailand


Guapísima Rosemarie

Back Camera

See you next week?

Sam Andrew          Sophia Ramos