Bay Area Bits
By Jimbo Juanis
Golden Gate Bridge Bummer: As we go to press, it appears that the free Dead concert to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge on May 24th is off. Rock promoter Bill Graham, who had organized the concert (which was to feature Huey Lewis and the News, Tony Bennett, Turk Murphy’s Jazz Band, and others), pulled out when the Golden Gate Bridge District (GGBD) reneged on its promise to close the bridge during the day-time festivities. On top of that, the GGBD wanted Graham to pay for insurance to cover any problems that might occur. Said Graham, “They wanted my professional opinion… to work for free and then, when they disregard my opinion, pay for the consequences. As of now, I’m out.” Graham, however, left the door open if Bridge District reversed itself and closed the bridge. Stay tuned. . .
Trivia: The same Turk Murphy Jazz Band gave Janis Joplin her first professional gig some 23 years ago.
Down in Monterey: 1987 is also the 20th anniversary of the Monterey Pop Festival. In honor of this historic event, the Grateful Dead will be performing at the Laguna Seca Recreation Area outside of Monterey on May 9th and 10th. Bruce Hornsby and the Range and guitarist Ry Cooder are scheduled to perform as well.
Twenty years ago, on June 16th, 17th & 18th, the Monterey Pop Festival was held at the Monterey Fairgrounds, in celebration of the Summer of Love. Organized by Mama and Papa’s leader John Phillips and record mogul Lou Adler, it featured the very best of the international Rock scene: The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Ravi Shankar, The Animals, Otis Redding, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Country Joe and the Fish, and the Byrds, among other groups. It is recognized as the first rock festival and set the trend for other festivals worldwide during the late 60’s. I’ll have more on this historic show for Relix readers in the next issue.
Dylan and the Dead: The word is out that Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead will get together for at least 7 concerts this summer. Although nothing is confirmed at presstime, a series of stadium sized venues is planned.
Dylan rehearsed with the Dead at their studios in San Rafael recently. “Nowhere Man” and “Maggie’s Farm” were among the songs played. Dylan was also spotted at the Dead’s Mardi Gras show at the Kaiser where he was having publicity photos taken with the band. Stay tuned. . .
Get Well Soon: Dino Valenti, Quicksilver vocalist and author of such classics as “Get Together,” “Fresh Air,” and “What You Gonna Do About Me,” was hospitalized recently for removal of a brain tumor. We at Relix wish him a speedy recovery.
Doggy Heaven: Otis, Bobby Weir’s longtime friend and faithful hound, passed away recently. Bobby once said that every hound in Mill Valley was related to this ever frisky Otis.
Lawyers, Guns & Money Dept.: Mickey Hart has filed a million dollar lawsuit against Aspen Records over the recent Olatunji album he produced. Dinosaur guitarist and lawyer, Barry “the Fish” Melton, is handling the case.
China Bound?: At the Grateful Dead’s Chinese New Years shows at the SF Civic recently, Bill Graham announced that the Dead would be going to China to play some dates sometime in 1988. Arrangements with the Bejiing government are going on now. There is also word of some dates in Japan as well.
The Times They Are-A-Changing Department: There is a fine new Jefferson Airplane retrospective album just released. The two LP set entitled “2400 Fulton Street,” is named after the legendary Airplane house across from Golden Gate Park. At the record release party, held recently at the Pierce Street Annex (formerly the Matrix club) Paul Kanter was bounced for smoking a joint.
Meet the Rock A Byes: Marty Balin, John “Marmaduke” Dawson, Dan Hicks, Nick Gravenites, and Pete Sears added their voices to a rock band of puppets called The Rock A Byes. It’s all part of a new feature film, “Meet the Rock a Byes.”
Reunions: Fans of Moby Grape will be happy to learn that the Grape, along with It’s a Beautiful Day, Fraternity of Man, and the Strawberry Alarm Clock, got together for a couple of shows recently. Original Grapes: Jerry Miller, Peter Lewis, Bob Mosley, Skip Spence, and Don Stevenson performed their classics “Hey Grandma,” “Naked If I Want,” “Omaha,” “Fall on You,” and “805,” among others, before fans at the Marin Civic and Cupertino’s DeAnza College. Hopefully, more shows by this great group are upcoming.
BAMMIES: At the Bay Area Music Award show, held recently at the San Francisco Civic, the Kantner, Balin, Casady Band won for best debut album and Jack Casady took top honors for best bassist. KBC performed “America” and “Plastic Fantastic Lover.” Commander Cody, on the mend after a recent auto accident, gave some words of advice to those at the Bammies, “Buckle up your fuckin’ seatbelts!” John Fogerty won best Bay Area musician of the year and jammed with Chris Issak, Merl Saunders, Little John Crisley, and Bonnie Raitt for the show’s star-studded finale.
BENEFITS: Terry and the Pirates played a rare gig recently at San Francisco’s Chi Chi Club. The show, a benefit for the Haight Ashbury Free Lunch Program, was a rousing success. Led by Terry Dolan, the Pirates consisted of John Cipollina, Greg Elmore, David Haynes, and Greg Douglas.
More Reunions: The Rowan Brothers: Peter, Lorin, and Chris, got together recently at Mill Valley’s Sweetwater. They were joined for their second set by Beach Boy, Mike Love, who sat in on accordion.
And Finally: A star-studded benefit for the Rainbow Foundation was held recently at a shopping mall in Larkspur Landing in Marin. There were performances by Maria Muldaur, Kingfish, and the Rainbow All Stars. The All Stars consisted of Merl Saunders, Joey Covington, John Cipollina, Greg Douglass, Peter Albin, and Billy Roberts. They rocked out on tunes: “Green Onions,” “After Midnight,” “Suzzie Q,” “Boogie on Reggae Women,” and Billy Robert’s classic “Hey Joe,” as well as Covington’s Airplane hit “You’re Only Pretty As You Feel.”
Love & Marriage: Best wishes to David Crosby on his recent wedding to long-time love Jan Dance. Crosby was scheduled to perform with the KBC band at the society’s Black and White Ball. CSN are also scheduled to play the Concord Pavillion on August 4th and the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA on August 7th.
Audio Video Department: Jerry Garcia has finished up work on a Grateful Dead video at One Pass in San Francisco. Jerry can also be heard on the new Neville Brother’s LP. He plays guitar on “You’re the One.”
King Meets Captain: Elvis Costello, at a recent solo acoustic gig at the San Jose Civic performed a couple of Dead songs. Against a slide projected backdrop of Van Gough’s sketch, “Skeleton smoking a Cigarette,” Elvis did a medley that included “Ship of Fools” and “It Must Have Been the Roses.”
Dylan: Words & Music: The first ever authorized stage show based on the life and work of Bob Dylan opened recently at the Zephyr Theater in San Francisco. The show, a multimedia celebration, tells the story of the legendary musician entirely through his own words and music. The musical director is Bob Johnson who produced Dylan’s classic sixties albums. During a special preview, to benefit Seva Foundation, Bob Weir sat in for a set with the show’s band.
Kate Wolf Remembered: There was a memorial concert held recently at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, to remember folk singer Kate Wolf, who passed away last December 10th. Performers included: Terry Garthwaite, Nina Gerber, Rosalie Sorrels, Utah Phillips, and Wavy Gravy. This beautiful lady will be missed by all in the Bay Area music scene.
Merl & Friends: Merl Saunders has been playing regularly at Pierre’s, located at the Hotel Meridian in San Francisco. You can catch Merl Thursday through Saturday, 7-11pm. He also performs with his group “The Soma 5,” for a jazz brunch at Justin’s at the Hotel Meridian, Sundays 12-4pm. Merl also performed with his good friend Max Gail at the Summer of Love show at Moscone Center recently. Billed as Max Gail & Friends, the band consisted of Norton Buffalo, Mike Hinton, Gaylord Birch, John Cipollina, Tony Saunders, and David LaFlamme. Max Gail is best known as “Wojo” on television’s Barney Miller.
Music Celebration: The guest list read like a who’s who of the rock music scene for the Third Annual Celebration of San Francisco Music, held April 12th in San Francisco.
Hosted by Les Kippel and Toni Brown of Relix, the illustrious event included: Robert Hunter, Country Joe McDonald, David Nelson, John “Marmaduke” Dawson, Spencer Dryden, John Cipollina, Greg Elmore, Peter Albin, Barry Melton, Greg Anton, Tom Stern, and Greg Harris. Other guests hob-nobbing with the rock stars were artist Stanley Mouse, Paul Grushkin, curator of the SF Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum, Gene Anthony, author of the book “Summer of Love,” Dale Djerassi, producer of the film “68,” and author of “Hey Joe,” Billy Roberts.
A splendid time was had by all.
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