Big Brother history, part three, July to December 1967

July to Decmber 1967

1 July 1967     Avalon Ballroom    Big Brother and the Holding Company   Quicksilver      Mount Rushmore      Horns of Plenty

“Big Brother and the Holding Company ?”        How did you get a name like that ?  Well, on a beautiful spring day in 1965, Chet Helms held in his hands two legal tablets full of quirky, eccentric, purposefully puerile names.  Names like Tom Slow and his Sarcastic Grand Mo. Or Country Schmo and The Knish. Or Quicksilver Military Service. The Grapefruit Head. The Jefferson’s Bear Pain.


On one legal tablet, Chet had the name “Big Brother,” no doubt prompted by a recent reading of  Orwell.  On another legal tablet page, Chet had the words “The Holding Company.”   ‘Holding ?’  Why Holding ?  “Holding” was slang at that time for “possessing,” as in, “Hey, man, are you holding any drugs ?”


So, on one yellow tablet Chet had “Big Brother” and on the other he had “the Holding Company.”   “Big Brother ?”   “Holding Company ?”  “Big Brother” was big government. “”Holding Company” was corporate government. Corporations weren’t people yet. Their ‘free speech’ hadn’t yet become protected by the Supreme Court, which was still an honorable institution.

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“Big Brother ?”     “Holding Company ?”      Very political.  Country Joe and The Fish were a political group, but their name was non political. They should have had our name and we should have had theirs.  Country Janis and The Fish would have been something to consider, even if we didn’t have Janis yet.

chick street

James Gurley said, “Hey, how is a name like Big Brother and the Holding Company going to fit on a marquee or a record label ?”


And I thought, “You mean there’s going to be a marquee… and a record label ?”

2 July 1967         Mount Tamalpais          Marin County, California.

I had a difficult time driving down off Mount Tamalpais after this gig. We had a 1955 Cadillac hearse which was unwieldy anyway, and I didn’t know Marin County yet, and especially Tamalpais, so I had a fun time negotiating all those curves, peaks and valleys after cocktails and cannabis.



4-6 July 1967         Fillmore              Bo Diddley        Big Joe Williams     Quicksilver       Big Brother


Circle bill

7-8 July 1967    Circle Star Theatre     San Carlos    California    Theatres in the round, such as the Circle Star, can be quite tricky. Westbury Music Fair on Long Island is another one. When they begin revolving there is a slight jerk that you should be ready for or otherwise you could spill your Bombay martini.

a quick

14-15 July 1967               Continental Ballroom grand opening.

We’re playing Cuckoo here, a song that became Oh, Sweet Mary on Cheap Thrills.


20-21 July 1967  Avalon Ballroom      Big Brother and the Holding Company     Mount Rushmore


23 July 1967   Straight Theatre    San Francisco  Grand Opening   Big Brother and the Holding Company  Freedom Highway    The Phoenix    Wildflower    The Grateful Dead  Mount Rushmore  Quicksilver Messenger Service   New Salvation Army Band   Mother Earth  Country Joe and The Fish   The Charlatans   Blue Cheer

The Gurley man

blue girl janis

28-30 July 1967     California Hall      San Francisco

Eddy and Josie

Josie and Eddy


31 July 1967        Haight Ashbury Free Clinic Benefit


8 August 1967  Denver Dog   Denver    Colorado  A band at this event played Bye, Bye, Baby. The guitar player even copied my mistakes. First time I heard that.


10 August 1967  Kaiser Dome San Bernardino

a guit

11-12 August 1967  Continental Ballroom   Santa Clara   California

13 August 1967  Avalon Ballroom


16 August 1967  Golden Gate Park

Sharrie Gomez and I doing a Macy’s ad.


Bo and his balalaika

24-27 August 1967           Avalon Ballroom          Big Brother    Bo Diddley        Bukka White        The Salvation Army Banned


28 August 1967  Lindley Meadow   Golden Gate Park



Hunter S. Thompson



We had a shoot in Sausalito at the Heliport with Irving Penn.

This is the way Irving Penn’s portrait of us and the Grateful Dead looks on the wall at The National Portrait Gallery, London.

janis portuguese


1-3 September 1967     Straight Theatre    Haight Ashbury             San Francisco

La Dolphine 1760 Manor Drive

4 September 1967   La Dolphine Estate  Debutante Party   Burlingame  California


6 September 1967

8-9 September 1967  Family Dog  Denver


Truth in advertising

You probably cannot see that Janis and I are committing some kind of nefarious act over there under the tree.

15 September 1967         Canceled


September 16, 1967     Monterey Jazz Festival    Big Brother  T-Bone Walker   B. B. King   Richie Havens   The Clara Ward Singers    Afternoon Blues Show

T-Bone Walker was my guitar hero since I was 14, so I was very excited to see him here.

beauty bear

bear VW

Huntington Beach Realty - 1906

19-24 September 1967       Golden Bear       Huntington Beach   California with Big Mama Thornton.

5  October 1967   The Matrix  San Francisco

at table

6 October 1967  The Ark   Sausalito   California

Man and Woman in Haight-Ashbury District

7 October 1967      Avalon Ballroom

8 October 1967             Santa Clara Fairgrounds              Santa Clara          California


13-14 October 1967     Eagles Auditorium      Seattle   This engagement was canceled, I believe, and we played at The Ark instead.

15-16 October 1967                Avalon Ballroom

20 October 1967           Contra Costa College     San Pablo    California

Miss Sunhine

27 October 1967   Cal State    Hayward    California

28 October 1967        McNear’s Beach             San Rafael         California


28-29 October 1967       Peacock Country Club            San Rafael

31 October 1967   Trip Or Freak  Hallowe’en Ball    Winterland    San Francisco

2-3 November 1967      Fillmore          San Francisco            with  Richie Havens


bear yoga

November 1967           Golden Bear Club            Huntington Beach          California


4 November 1967           Winterland             San Francisco           with Richie Havens  and  Pink Floyd

James Gurley plays an F# minor.

4 November 1967    The Ark         with Baltimore Steam Packet and  Moby Grape

sally by rosie mcgee

Sally Mann photographed by Rosie McGee

Way Beck when

Way Beck in the old days

13 November 1967         Avalon Ballroom           Big Brother and the Holding Company     The Grateful Dead        Quicksilver Messenger Service

16 November 1967           Cubist stock certificate


This event never happened.  In any year.      I wish it would have.

23-25 November 1967     The Family Dog presents Thanksgiving Turkey Strut and Trot at The Avalon.


24 November 1967   California Hall           San Francisco

black hawk

25 November 1967          Avalon Ballroom           Mount Rushmore

1 December 1967   The Matrix    San Francisco    with Sandy Bull  and  Dan Hicks

2 December 1967          1st L.A. appearance, it says.  I didn’t realize that.



17 December 1967

a black and white

18 December 1967             California Hall

19 December 1967       Shrine Auditorium      Los Angeles


20 December 1967            Whisky-A-Go-Go              Hollywood

bird mural


22 December 1967             Turlock Fairgrounds             Turlock           California


25 December 1967                   Sokol Hall                Christmas Party

26-31 December 1967                    Winterland              San Francisco

Happy New Year !          31 December 1967


See you next week?

Sam 1967 TV shoot

Sam Andrew