Tag Archives: Jefferson Airplane

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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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.

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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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Mike Has A Great Chair And Shorter Hair Than Before

They don’t get any better than Mike. We’ve been friends for 40 years, and have fought  the good wars together. Those crazy sixties wars. Those times when sex and drugs and rock and rock were as much a part of our lives as waking up. And it was a time when the team we loved took a back seat for a few years while we spent some serious time on the edge.

Mike was involved in the 1960’s movement as much as anyone. He wore his black hair long, crashed where he could, never shyed away from a good party, and ingested a few things he probably shouldn’t have. These were unsettling times, but he and I got through it, and later on he found himself a nice cool chick who he’s still with today. 

But even though we put the Habs on the backburner for a few years in the late ’60’s, it didn’t mean we gave up or forgot. Not me, and not Mike. He follows the Habs closely, has for more than fifty years, and he knows the game and his team and is pissed off when they lose. You’ll see this by his comments he throws in often.

No one is prouder to own a Montreal Forum chair than Mike. And it’s not just any chair. It’s the one he sat in in his only visit to the Forum, in the late 1970’s.

Here’s a photo of Mike’s chair, and the Bud hat signed by Le Gros Bill, Jean Beliveau. And yes, the spelling of Micheal on the chair is the way it’s spelled.

Mike may have been a mover and shaker during the hippie movement, but you can’t keep a good Habs fan down. And even though he lives in Toronto and has for decades, don’t even think about talking about the Toronto Maple Leafs with him. He can’t stand them, even though they’re just down the road. Are you listening, Ottawa fans-who-used-to-be-Habs-fans?

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