Tag Archives: Jimi Hendrix

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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Left-Handed Voodoo Child

It was the summer of 1966 and we milled around outside Club Pavalon dance hall in Orillia, waiting to see well-known US soul singer Wilson Pickett (Mustang Sally, In The Midnight Hour, Land of a Thousand Dances). But he never showed, the show was cancelled, and we left. Back to the pool hall for me, I suppose.

In that same year, Pickett would sometimes have an up-and-coming young fellow playing guitar for him, and I can’t help thinking how cool it would have been to see this guitarist at Club Pavalon in Orillia, which, by the way, was owned by Hobo’s father.

Below is Wilson Pickett in New York in May of 1966, just a few months before he missed his gig in Orillia. The left-handed guitarist beside him is none other than Jimi Hendrix.

 Hendrix would go to England later on that year and begin to set the world on fire.

Hobo Makes The Habs Telecaster Sing

You may have seen Hobo’s comments on here, and I’d like to tell you a little about this guy. Hobo (Paul) is an old friend, going back 45 years or more, and he was the one guy in our little group who had a real and very cool talent – he was and is a guitar player extraordinaire.

I remember him playing in school assemblies as a young teenager, nailing Purple Haze, and over the years he grew to become one of the best lead guitarists in different bands on the downtown Toronto club circuit. He made the guitar sing and sizzle, he had a presence about him on stage, and I was very proud of him.

I still am, but you know what I mean. I was an aimless punk walking around in circles, and my friend was a rock and roll guitarist.

He and I would sometimes get together and spend hours or all night talking about music and the Habs, and you can tell by some of his comments that he’s very opinionated but also very intelligent with what he says. And Paul’s been a Habs fan for pretty well as long as I have, which is a bit now.

The photo above is of his 1967 Fender Telecaster which was originally clear wood but he painted it red to look more like the one Muddy Waters had. You can also see a small Habs sticker on it, and Paul would delight in pulling out this Habs guitar and strapping it on when he was playing Toronto clubs where Leaf players would go.

When I own the team, which should be soon now, I’m going to ask Hobo to play the national anthem on his Telecaster, like Hendrix did with The Star Spangled Banner.

Hopefully he’ll say yes. I’m sure he will.

Why Do I Waste My Time Writing About Pierre Curzi?

I sit at my computer in Monterey, California, a lovely place and home of the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, where America saw the Who explode, Janis Joplin take female rock to another stratosphere, and where Jimi Hendrix set the world on fire, and I read that a Quebec politician named Pierre Curzi feels it’s some kind of conspiracy that the Montreal Canadiens haven’t had a lot of French-Canadian players playing for them lately.

Why do I even bother to respond? A million Habs fans shoot back – do you want more French players, Monsieur Curzi, or do you want a winning team? Does the team choose the best available, or does it choose more French-Canadian players?

I’m not coming up with anything new here. We know the answer. Give us a winner, plain and simple. I’m so sick of these hard-core Quebecers who feel the province and culture is at risk because the Montreal Canadiens aren’t icing talented members of the French tongue. Winning a Stanley Cup means winning a Stanley Cup, regardless of the makeup of the team. As long as they shoot and score and kick the bejeesus out of the enemy, who cares?

Yes there’s a shortage of great French-Canadien players wearing the uniform. But it’s not on purpose. Gives us some, we’ll take them. C’mon, Curzi, give us some.

Maybe in another decade in another country, Pierre Curzi would be paranoid about Jackie Robinson breaking the colour barrier and destroying an all-white baseball league and white culture. Or if he lived in Russia, North American hockey players hurting Russian way of life. Or would he be opposed to women getting the opportunity to vote or make a decent buck in a male-dominated society so many years ago?

I know people who are paranoid like this guy, but it’s because they did way too many drugs when they were younger. Is this the case, Pierre?

Professional sports general managers everywhere must be chuckling heartily while reading this politician’s blabberings. His ignorance of how teams try to build contenders is staggering.

If I was a French-Canadian Quebecois, I’d be mighty embarrassed about Pierre Curzi. This guy is not representing a wonderful and unique culture, not by a long shot.

And he should stay out of the hockey management business.

Blabbering On Until The Puck Drops

There’s not much to be said about the upcoming game six in Montreal. Hell, there’s not even much the Canadiens coaches can say. The players know what needs to be done. They know they have to do all the right things if they’re going to take this to a game seven. They know they have to play the game of their lives, not make any blunders, and don’t do anything to make us mad at them.

All we can do is wait. It’s like sitting in the muddy trenches, waiting for the enemy to appear so we can ruin their day.

So while we wait, I thought I’d just blabber on. And today I’m blabbering about Seattle.

Seattle presently has a team in the Western Hockey League – the Thunderbirds, and of course, back in 1917 when you were just a tot, the Seattle Metropolitans won the Stanley Cup. And between the Thunderbirds and the Metropolitans have been many amateur and minor-pro teams, including the legendary Totems which featured Guyle Fielder, maybe the best player to never play in the NHL. (except for 15 games).

It almost seems like a good hockey town, this birthplace of Jimi Hendrix. And it’s only a couple of hours south of the Canadian border, so it should be a real good hockey town. You’d also think it would make a terrific and natural rival for the Vancouver Canucks if it had an NHL franchise.

But I was reading the Seattle Times last week and the sports page consisted of this:

Page 1 – Mariners news, Seahawks minicamp report, and a column about Oregon college basketball.

Page 2 – Fishing report, and a continuation of the stories from page 1.

Page 3 – NFL news

Page 4 – Baseball boxscores

Page 5 – High school baseball boxscores

Page 6 – Mini report from the Associated Press wires about the NHL, just above Public Notices.

So the question is – if an almost-border city with an area population of 4 million, which has a WHL junior team and once won the cherished Stanley Cup, shows no interest in the NHL playoffs, then why would Gary Bettman think hockey would take off in Florida, Georgia, Arizona, and other such places?

I’d also like to switch gears and wish Bret Michaels a complete recovery. The charismatic rock star, who is such a big part of this year’s Celebrity Apprentice, suffered a brain hemorrhage last Friday in China and is in critical condition.

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.

It’s No Big Deal. I’ve Got A Better Song In Mind

 

“TSN reports CTV has acquired the rights to the Hockey Night in Canada theme song.  The song, which was created by Vancouver’s Dolores Claman in 1968, will now be used in NHL broadcasts on TSN and RDS beginning this Fall. In addition, CTV will utilize the song as part of its hockey coverage during the upcoming Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.”

 

I guess a new song is needed for Hockey Night in Canada.

 

So at this time, June 9, 2009, I would like to nominate Johnny Bower’s “Honky The Christmas Goose” as the new theme song to replace the old.

 

Here’s a little background to make you more familiar.

 

During the 1965-66 season, songwriter Chris Young visited Maple Leaf Gardens to see if any of the Leafs might be interested in becoming recording stars. He talked to cool cat hipsters like Punch Imlach, Red Kelly and the other Leaf rockers, and Johnny Bower, who reminded many at that time as a cross between John Lennon, Frank Zappa, and Bob Dylan, agreed to do it as long as any profits went to charity.

Bower and a bunch of kids including his son Johnny Jr., then became know as Johnny Bower and the Rinky-Dinks, and the rest was history.

The Rinky-Dinks came out with Honky the Christmas Goose, with the flipside being Banjo the Mule. There was no word at the time about if you played either song backwards, there was a hidden message, possibly some meaning of life morsels from spiritual guru Eddie Shack.

Honky debuted on Toronto’s CHUM chart at number 42, and went up against the obviously inferior Beatles and their songs “We Can Work it out” and “Day Tripper.” Sales of Honky exceeded 40,000, and it finally bottomed out at number 29 on the CHUM chart.

The Beatles, for whatever reason, and unfair as it was, did better than the Rinky-Dinks. Some things in life defy explanation.

Early the next day news:
Ron Wilson has his press conference after being announced as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. My prediction is: He’s going to lose his friggin mind after a few months into the season.