Tag Archives: Janis Joplin

A Roof Over Their Heads

While in San Francisco I walked around and found places where certain people lived and loved and fried their brains and most certainly held excellent music jams and parties.

A big shout-out to Google for the addresses.

Keep in mind, Victorian houses in San Francisco are all historic landmarks now, so it’s up to the present owners to keep them nice. When the folks I’m talking about lived in these places, I’m sure they weren’t quite as lovely. With different smells that lingered.

I think these homes rented for only a few hundred bucks a month back then, so a gig or two at the Fillmore took care of the rent nicely.

Let’s get started. Welcome to the Haight-Ashbury 1960s rock stars (and one criminal) house tour.

Below, although there’s some debate about this, this crappy looking apartment, at 1524A Haight, only a few steps from the corner of Haight-Ashbury, is apparently where Jimi Hendrix lived at one time. Whether it was before or after the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, I’ve no idea.

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Next (below), just a few houses up Ashbury from Haight at 638 Ashbury (the perfect location), is where Country Joe and the Fish lived and learned licks they’d use at their future Woodstock gig.

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Next (below), a couple of houses up from Country Joe’s pad, is where the Grateful Dead held court (710 Ashbury). This is a big deal for Deadheads!

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Next, directly across the street from the Dead’s place is where the San Francisco Hell’s Angels lived (719 Ashbury). Imagine the parties.

Biker clubhouses aren’t usually this cool, that’s for sure.

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Below, and obviously fixed up over the years, is where Janis Joplin lived, at 122 Lyon. Janis’ place wasn’t as close to Haight-Ashbury as the others, and it probably took her more than 15 minutes to walk.

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About a twenty minute walk away is this incredible place at 2400 Fulton, where Jefferson Airplane burned their incense and had Timothy Leary over for tea and crumpets. I don’t know if they had the run of the entire place, or maybe just a floor or two.

I’m pretty sure that most San Francisco rock stars weren’t filthy rich at that time, although this place looks like the Airplane might have been.

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And finally……in 1966 and ’67, a greasy ex-con found his way to the Haight and began to charm young and batshit crazy runaways, mostly female. Soon after, he and his handful of youngsters made their way to Los Angeles and created their evil carnage.

Yes, this place, at 616 Page, about a 25 minute walk from the corner of Haight-Ashbury, is where Charles Manson and his new friends lived. Nice place, but I’ll bet it wasn’t so great back then.

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Atlantic City Rocked

Exactly 47 years ago my buddy Mike Williamson and I were in Atlantic City to experience the glorious and highly-underrated three-day Atlantic City Pop Festival.

It took place on August 1, 2, and 3, 1969, and we got there a few days early, hung around the boardwalk, smoked dope, and then decided to find a ride to the racetrack 12 miles away, where the big show was about to begin.

Imagine that. A huge, honkin’ rock and rock extravaganza, one of the greatest in rock and roll history, and one that most have never heard of.

I feel it’s kind of my mission to keep it alive.

I didn’t even bring a sleeping bag for some reason, and slept for a few hours every night for a week on hard ground, with my jean jacket as a lousy pillow. But it didn’t matter. I was there for the music and friends and vibes and chicks and drugs. And Orillians are tough bastards anyway.

Janis Joplin was there, and so was Creedence Clearwater, Santana, Procol Harum, Joe Cocker, Mothers of Invention, Jefferson Airplane, Joni Mitchell, the Byrds, and a whack of others. About 30 bands in all, with guitars soaring.

Guitars soaring except for Joni Mitchell, who left crying half-way through her set because no one was listening to her quiet and dignified set.

Skip Prokop of the Toronto-based Paupers told everyone that if they were about to be drafted and sent to Vietnam, they could just come to Canada, where there’s plenty of room.

I met a girl there from Washington D.C. and the plan was for me to go home with her and then on to Woodstock, but it never happened. I was probably too tired and hungry, and most importantly, I had a ride home lined up. She was cute though.

Back in Orillia I began planning on Woodstock, but a night or two before I was going to go, me and four of my  buddies met a guy in the park who was drunk, leaving his wife, and driving to Vancouver the next morning. So that next morning we all piled into his car and went to Vancouver instead.

I missed going to Woodstock, which I feel bad about, but at least I have Atlantic City, with this kick-ass lineup.

Atlantic City

Below: A couple of years ago, one of the guys we got a ride home with, Brad Emmons (that’s him with the cigarette in his mouth), sent me some Atlantic City photos that I didn’t know existed. I’m on the far left, and Mike is next to me with the yellow and black striped shirt.

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Below, taken from behind the stage, B.B. King doing his thing,

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Here’s To You, Historic Habs

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I saw the Beatles at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1966, and Janis and Zappa in Atlantic City in ’69.

I saw Led Zeppelin in Vancouver in ’73, and Evel Knievel sail over 13 Mack trucks on his motorcycle at the CNE in ’74.

NOn my TV in Orillia I saw the Kennedy assassination in ’63, and Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon in ’69.

And from my couch in Powell River in 2016, I saw the Montreal Canadiens have their lousiest season in 75 years.

The historic Habs.

Something to tell my grandchildren.

And their fifth loss in a row (forget the overall loss tally) was against the Boston Bruins, with good old Brad Marchand scoring one of four Bruins goals as his team rolled over the hometown Habs 4-1.

It’s the Twilight Zone, baby.

It was last year when Marc Bergevin gave Michel Therrien a four year contract extension that kicked in this season, at $2 million per, and which takes him to 2019.

This was the report at the time;

Montreal re-signed Michel Therrien to a four-year contract extension Saturday, two weeks after the Canadiens were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“It really shows the stability that [general manager] Marc Bergevin and [owner] Geoff Molson want to establish with the Canadiens,” said Therrien on a conference call. “We’ve progressed a lot over the past two years and we want to continue to progress. It’s a sign of confidence.”

Continue to progress. Yes indeed.

Oh, you like Michel Therrien and argue that it’s not his fault this team is on the fast track into the depths of hell? Do you think getting Jonathan Drouin is the answer instead?

I don’t want my historic times tampered with. So lose boys. And then charge fans for your autograph on your days off.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot the Bruins 39-24, with their lone goal coming from d-man Mark Barberio. The sharpshooters are still on their extended lunch break.

Next up – Habs in Toronto on Saturday. Imagine.

What A Festival

43 years ago exactly, Mike Williamson and I made our way to the Atlantic City Pop Festival to take in the big three-day event which was held two weeks before Woodstock and was, up until that time, the largest three-day rock festival ever held. We met up with Hobo, whom you might recognize from these pages, so there were at least three big Habs fans in the crowd of 150,000.

There were other Orillians there as well, and we managed to grab a ride back home with some of them in their Volkswagen van.

We paid 15 bucks for our tickets, and readers of a certain age should recognize most or all of the lineup which included Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Creedence Clearwater and a whack of others. (Although Sweet Stavin Chain on the first day doesn’t ring a bell).

I met a girl there from Washington D.C. and the plan was for me to go home with her and then on to Woodstock, but it never happened. I think I was too tired and hungry for any new adventure, and a ride home with friends seemed perfect. Plus I barely knew her.

Atlantic City

Cheering For The Kings I Guess

It’s taken the Los Angeles Kings only nine games to remove the Vancouver Canucks and St. Louis Blues from the playoff picture, and when is it going to get hard for them? If they keep going like this, the major studios will come calling.

I’ve decided that I’m hoping the Kings go all the way. They’re the one NHL city I can almost accept right now, I suppose because they’ve been around since 1967, the first year of expansion, and for me that’s some solid history. Along with Orillian Jiggs McDonald handling the first play-by-play.  (The other new teams were St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Oakland, Philadelphia, and Minnesota).

Heck, I’m just trying to find a team to cheer for. And it wasn’t going to be Philadelphia.

So why not L.A.? And besides, they win by default  because I could care less about the other teams playing and I like going to Los Angeles. It’s that simple. I thought I might be cheering for the Rangers because the Big Apple is so great, but I haven’t seen many Ranger games, and the ones I have seen, I forget.

And of course, L.A. has magnificent palm trees.

The L.A. Kings were born when the Sunset Strip, a few miles west of the Fabulous Forum, was filled with long haired youth toking and provoking and often forgetting underarm deodorant. The Doors and Janis Joplin blew it out at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, the streets were abuzz, crowds gathered at the Troubadour and Pandora’s Box and at the theatres to see Dustin Hoffman seduced by Ann Bancroft. Things were hopping, and definitely, the players from that first year in LA were in their new city at a very cool time.

Although I suppose being on the hockey team got in the way of a lot of things.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were my favourite baseball team back then, but I see in checking the Dodgers 1967 season that they finished 28 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals, so I guess they sucked at that time. But regardless, palm trees grew behind the outfield walls at Dodger Stadium and the team once boasted the sensational pitching duo of lefty Sandy Koufax and the righthanded Don Drysdale, who were even more important than palm trees.

L.A.s a good place with great weather. It hardly ever rains, unlike where I live. It’s on the ocean, and there’s some nice neighborhoods, and of course some not-so-nice neighborhoods. I’m sure you’ve seen both in the movies. Also, the freeways are ridiculously packed and drivers on regular streets are on their horns to the guy in front of them about a millisecond after the light turns green. I know about this quite a bit.

But aside from that and a few other things, (okay, a lot of things), it’s a lively and interesting place to visit. I think it always has been. Humphrey Bogart liked it.

For me it would be fine to see the Kings go all the way. Why not?

Keep it going, Kings. Go Dodgers. Go Habs, next year!

 

 

 

 

We Interrupt This Habs Blog To Bring You A Special Message

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Exactly 40 years ago today, my buddy Mike and I were in Atlantic City to experience the glorious and highly-underrated three-day Atlantic City Pop Festival. It was August 1,2, and 3, 1969, and we got there a few days early, hung around the boardwalk, smoked dope, and then decided to find a ride to the racetrack 12 miles away, where the big show was about to begin.

Everyone, whether they know it or not, knows the music of many of the bands who were there. Any time you’ve ever heard classic rock at weddings and bars, on TV or movie soundtracks, or wherever your travels have taken you, then you’ve heard bands from this festival that compares favourably with Woodstock which happened two weeks later. Only Atlantic City didn’t have rain and mud.

And the lineup:

Janis Joplin was there, as were Creedence Clearwater, Santana, Procol Harum, Joe Cocker, Mothers of Invention, Moody Blues, Joni Mitchell, the Byrds, Johnny Winter etc, etc. About 30 bands in all. (Joni Mitchell left crying half-way through her set because no one was listening, and Skip Prokop of the Toronto-based Paupers told everyone that if they were about to be drafted and sent to Vietnam, just come to Canada, there’s plenty of room.

I didn’t even bring a sleeping bag for some reason, and slept for a few hours every night for a week on hard ground, with my jean jacket as a lousy pillow. But it didn’t matter. I was there for the music and friends and vibes and chicks and drugs.

I would’ve liked to have been at some of the other festivals. People talk about Woodstock, and soon the 40th anniversary of the historical event that defines a generation of baby boomers who had had enough of formality, politicians and the man, and spread the message of love, drugs, body odour, laziness, ego-tripping, social ladders to climb, and many low-lifes.

And Monterey in 1967  at the fairground, where Janis, the Who, and Jimi Hendrix broke big in North America like a tornado hitting a corn field. After Jimi lit his guitar on fire, the Who smash their guitars and amps, and Janis wail like a banshee with the blues, music took on a whole different meaning after that. All of sudden, things began to get serious. No more Herman’s Hermits. This was the real thing.

People recall the Isle of Wight, and John Lennon’s ‘Live Peace in Toronto’, and here and there and everywhere. But no one talks about Atlantic City. The lineup was as good as Woodstock, there were only 125,000 folks there instead of half a million, and it didn’t rain like Woodstock, where people played in ther mud. And going to the bathroom at Woodstock meant going anywhere. Must’ve been tough to impress the chicks when you’re squatting with your pants down.

So I’m using my Habs blog to tell as many people who read this that Atlantic City was a historic event in its own right, and when you hear soon that Woodstock is celebrating it’s 40th birthday, please keep in mind that the one Mike and I were at in Atlantic City, two weeks before Woodstock, deserves a place in history books too.

That's me on the left in white, about a year after Atlantic City. I'm with another buddy, Frank. I wish I had a picture of Mike from this time but I don't. Poor hippies didn't have cameras.
That's me on the left in white, about a year after Atlantic City. I'm with another buddy, Frank. I wish I had a picture of Mike from this time but I don't. Poor hippies didn't have cameras.

Gaston Was Won Over By A Bunch Of Street People

It all started when I took Gaston to Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco. I had been there as a teenager for a short while, when the streets were alive, and wanted to see it again. The Haight is where it all began, beginning in about 1966 and lasting several years until people like Charles Manson, hard-core bikers, and drugs like crystal meth ruined it. It was ground zero for the hippie movement. Bands like the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Janis Joplin created their music in the neighbourhood. And 1967’s Summer of Love had its roots there.

Even today, some of the atmosphere exists. There are still head shops, psychedelic clothing, and young people roaming around with guitars and trying to re-create what they missed because they weren’t born 40 years ago.

Gaston, however, wasn’t impressed. He would shout out at long-haired guys, asking them if they were a boy or a girl. He’d tell them to get a job, and they smell, and all kinds of embarrassing things. But then, a transformation occurred. Gaston saw that everyone smiled at him, gave him bits of pizza, and embraced him, all of which the little bugger wasn’t expecting. Now, when you look at the photo of Gaston below, you’ll see how he’s a changed man.

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What A Long, Strange Trip It’s Been. Part Two

The drive back from Vegas has been very cool, in a non-weather sort of way. We fought traffic through LA to take close-up pictures of the big old Hollywood sign up on the hills, and shortly after, cruised the Sunset Strip. The Strip brings back slightly unsettling memories for me, as it was there in 1967 when I was busted for breaking the 11 o’clock curfew for those under 18 that was instilled at the time because of previous riots, (I was only 16 and all alone) and I was thrown in the slammer for seven days and deported back to Canada.

This time, though, things are much different, as I’m all grown up and married and have some money for food and shelter, and we hopped back in our car and drove through Beverly Hills, down to Santa Monica, spent the night in Malibu and walked along the beach the next morning, gawking at all the beach homes belonging to the filthy-rich who may or may not have made their money legally. After that it was up to San Francisco where we gazed at Alcatraz from the marina, and then over the Golden Gate bridge heading north. The only time I heard from Gaston in the back seat during this whole trip was when we passed the turnoff to San Quentin penitentiary and he got all excited because he felt homesick and started to think about those Christmases and such that he’d spent there with all his old pals. Who says you can’t go home again?

There were other highlights. Salinas, from the pages of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, that Kris Kristofferson and Janis Joplin sang about in Me and Bobby McGee. “And somewhere near Salinas, Lord, I let her slip away.” There was the Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood that I went in again to see after 40 years, the place I was at just before I got busted in 1967. There was the greaser bar in the Napa Valley that is now my favourite juke joint. Just wash your hands afterwards. Actually, it’s not my favourite juke joint. It was really a piece of shit.

And there were all the beautiful palm trees throughout the trip which I have major affection for.

Now we’re nearing home, rain, reality, and the cat. I’d like to turn around and go again.