Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Freight and Salvage 1968-69 Performers: Unknown Performers

Earlier this year, we published an extensive list of performers at Berkeley's Freight and Salvage during 1968 and 1969, covering the first 18 months of the club's existence, as part of our ongoing Berkeley 60s Music project. Despite our best efforts, we were not able to identify every performer, and we published a list of performers unknown to us. Many correspondents wrote in--some of them the "unknown" performers themselves--and I published the information in a previous post.

Above is a recent photo (August 2009) of the building at 1827 San Pablo Avenue that housed the original Berkeley Freight and Salvage, now Berkeley Auto Body. The Freight has moved, first to 1111 Addison (the "Middle Freight") and now to a brand new venue. Below is a list of performers from the first 18 months of the Freight who are not known to us. They are known to someone, however, and hopefully we will find out more.

Please note: this entire post makes little sense unless you have looked at the original Performances list. Listed below are the performers, as spelled in the Calendar or Berkeley Barb, their first scheduled performance date, and any identifying information about their style of music. Anyone with further information about who these performers might have been, where they where from, and anything about their music is urged to Comment or contact me.

Dementia 8.2.68: improvisational theatre troupe
Don Copeland  8.5.68
John Dillon 8.11.68
The Maelstrom 8.11.68
Bryson Collins  8.12.68: “Crayon Encounter”
John Schanck  8.13.68
Kazz 8.18.68
Neo Passe String Band 8.26.68
Mike Scott 8.27.68
Fowler, Krech Paul X 9.10.68: Poets Theater Workshop
Bob Georgio 9.10.68
Quarter Dozen String Band 9.21.68
Ken Carter 10.18.68
Gil Turner 11.24.68
New York Slew 12.6.68
Jim Lynch 12.26.68: Country and Western
Tim Ryan 2.3.69
Joe Friedman and Barry Aiken 2.5.69: Classical Blues
Julie Meredith 2.13.69
Dallas Williams 2.14.69
Tom Maddox 3.17.69
Genny Haley 3.20.69
Kevin Barry 4.7.69
Salt Creek 5.8.69: Country Rock
Rusty Elliot: 5.19.69
Bob Parsons 6.4.69
Gary Solaman 7.16.69
North Country with Chris Kearney, John Schank 9.4.69
Steve Young 10.17.69
Tim Williams 10.22.69
Solari and Carr 11.13.69: “hip vaudeville”
Renaissance Catch Singers 12.10.69

Freight and Salvage 1968-69 Performers: Update

Earlier this year we published our attempt to identify every performer at Berkeley's Freight and Salvage for 1968 and 1969. We did a fairly good job (if I do say so myself), and it fit in nicely with our project to document the Berkeley music scene in its entirety from 1966 to 1969. Of course, once something is published on the Web, all sorts of new and fascinating information arrives in the mailbox. A full update of the Freight and Salvage Performance List remains in the future. However, at the end of the list we made a list of performers unknown to us, and asked for help in identifying them. I have been fortunate to have many details filled in, in many cases by the performers themselves, and I present them here.

A word of caution: if you haven't read the complete list, it won't be clear why I am simply filling in certain performers. The ones listed here are performers that were unknown to me at the time of publication (April 2009), but whom I have now found out about. Of course, when I list their first Freight performance it refers to the first performance listed on a calendar or ad.

A word of constraint: This post will not correct and update every entry in the Performance List, but that remains ongoing. Thanks to those correspondents who have given me information, and we will be providing a full update of the listing when the decks clear. In the meantime, this post should serve as an interim list. Anyone with additional memories, insights, corrections or revelations should feel free to contact me or Ross, or (better yet) post a comment.

Mike and Debby (first Freight show August 9, 1968)
"Debby" was Debby McClatchy, who writes
yes, it was me.  What great memories you have dredged up.Mike was Michael Finbar Heintz, who played guitar and mandolin, I played guitar.  We played the Freight almost once a month in those days.  A generic coffeehouse duo, mostly trad, Irish, and old-time influenced material. Carter Family, fiddle tunes, Clancy Brothers, etc, with lots of close harmonies.  With Larry Fitzpatrick on squeezebox we were also the Sunshine Ceili Band, playing Irish bars in San Francisco.  We left the Bay Area in early 1969 to live and work in Ireland; hence our disappearance from the Freight calenders.

Dave Allen (first Freight show August 17, 1968)
George Ball reports
Dave Allen - a multi-instrumentalist and singer whose solo act reminded me both of Pete Seeger and Jimmy Stewart, although he didn't look like either of them. Also performed in ensembles or street bands, playing whatever instrument was needed.
Wanda Ultan (first Freight show, December 6, 1968), now La Wanda Ultan, still lives in Berkeley.

George Ball (first Freight show, December 7, 1968)
George Ball (for it is he) describes himself as
George Ball (myself) - guitar player and singer. Solo act was comprised of vintage country tunes, original songs, and pop standards. Also enjoyed playing in impromptu ensembles on the Tuesday hoot nights.
Carl Dukatz (first Freight show February 6, 1969)
Tony Marcus reports
Carl Dukatz worked as a guitar repairman at Lundbergs, the well known fretted instrument shop in Berkeley that operated from 1959 on. He later moved to Reno (ca. 1978?), where he had a guitar store (SilverState Music) for some years.
Sunny Goodier (first Freight show March 20, 1969) sang traditional Carter Family sorts of music, often with musical partner Katy Jako (who was partnered at the time to Jim Ringer).

Jose's Appliances (first Freight show April 3, 1969)
George Ball reported that Jose's Appliances
was a trio formed and led by Hank Bradley.  Their signature song was a mock commercial for Jose's Appliances sung to the tune of the Star Spangled Banner, performed a cappella. Dave [Allen] was very mechanically minded and was adept at repairs of cars and all kinds of things, so much so that Hank Bradley made him an honorary member of Jose's Appliances and awarded him the shirt monogrammed "Jose".
Hank Bradley's brother (David) was apparently a member of the trio. An apocryphal story circulates that the name came from some bowling shirts found at a thrift shop. A band was formed so they could wear the bowling shirts.

George Inskeep (first Freight performance June 1, 1969) was an airline pilot who was also a bluegrass bass player, most notably with Vern and Ray.

While I am refraining from a confusing post that corrects and updates every listing--it would be unreadable--I appreciate all the ongoing input, and we will issue an updated listing, sometime in the future.

[Graphic: Freight and Salvage Calendar, November 1969, courtesy of Andrea]

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Joel Beck

In its first issue of 1966, The Berkeley Barb presented a full page comic section by Joel Beck, new to the Barb but well known in Berkeley. Beck, then 22, developed his extraordinary artistic talent in childhood during a three year period when he had spinal tuberculosis and immobile except for the use of his hands. During these years Joel drew constantly and by his tenth birthday his room was cluttered with his own homemade comic books. After his recovery Joel attended De Anza High School where he was asked to participate in the design of the year book. That year the De Anza yearbook won first place in the yearbook competition for the state of California, and that particular yearbook issue came to be known .as "Joel's book". Lenny of Laredo and other books have remained both popular and collectable. Beck would go and produce a number of posters and handbills for The Jabberwock in exchange for a relaxation of his bar tab.

Kevin Fagan wrote Beck's obituary for the San Francisco Chronicle following his 1999 death:

Joel Beck, whose cutting-edge cartoons in the 1960s in the Berkeley Barb and elsewhere made him one of the founding oddballs of underground comics, died in his sleep of natural causes last week at home in Point Richmond. Mr. Beck, 56, had been ill off and on for years from complications related to tuberculosis and alcoholism, family members said, but he was still inking artworks for fans and advertising clients until the end. The quirky, irreverent humor that spilled from his personality into his pen made him a beloved figure in the tiny Contra Costa County community he had called home for the past two decades. When word of his September 14 death got out, people from all over the area began to show up at Point Richmond's Santa Fe Market, where Mr. Beck often hung out, to drop off mementos. Yesterday, the market's front window was plastered with more than 50 cartoons, letters and articles paying tribute to the artist whose 1960s fame continued to make him a legend long after his career waned. "People just keep bringing this cool stuff in. They loved Joel," said market owner Bob Peckham, a longtime friend. "He was different. He had a great wit."

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

2976 College Avenue, Open Theater, Berkeley, CA 1965-1966 History

The Open Theater  in Berkeley is most famous for debuting Big Brother and The Holding Company, and for being one of the incubators of the Trips Festival, which we have covered elsewhere. Indeed, another blogger discovered a listing in the Oakland Tribune Theater section that listed one of (if not the) first advertisements for "Psychedelic Music" at the Open Theater. Following the lead of this blogger, I reviewed the Theater Sections of The Oakland Tribune for 1965 and 1966, and managed to piece together the brief, but interesting history of the organization. I apologize in advance for any serious Theater scholars who have stumbled across this, as my focus is more on the musical side of the venture.

The Oakland Tribune first mentions the Open Theater on July 21, 1965. Founders Ben and Rain Jacopetti had formed a group called the Berkeley Experimental Arts Foundation "for the presentation and study of new art forms and trends". After opening on September 30, 1965, the Open Theater began presenting shows every weekend, and sometimes on weekdays as well. The first listing above (under the heading Little Theaters, from the Sunday, November 7, 1965 Tribune) was typical of their Fall 1965 offerings. There was new theater on Fridays and Saturdays, and on Sunday they had "Sunday Meeting," a spontaneous meeting. Sometimes music was advertised, as presented by either Ian Underwood or The Jazz Mice, Underwood's trio.

It was the Sunday Happenings that seemed to be one of the precursors to The Trips Festival. According to Charles Perry's 1984 book Haight Ashbury: A History, there was apparently  multi-media performances, with lights and nudity (too much nudity for San Francisco's Broadway), music by Underwood and others, an Art Gallery featuring contemporary art, and so on. The bass player for the Jazz Mice was artist Tom Glass, known also as Ned Lamont, and a painting of a huge comic book-style painting of his graced the lobby.

In January, the open theater begins to shift somewhat more towards music. The second (split-up) entry is from the Sunday, January 9, 1966 edition of Oakland Tribune. The Sunday night happening is followed by an apparently musical performance by Day Wellington and The Poor Losers. The next weekend is January 14 and 15, when The Loading Zone and Big Brother make their debuts, in evenings of "rock and roll and theatrical improvisation".

The weekend of January 21-22-23 was the Trips Festival, in which the Open Theater participated. They surely contributed some multi-media, and Ian Underwood's Jazz Mice played the first night. On the Saturday night (January 22), Underwood and others presented an avant garde musical performance. The last day of the Trips Festival, however, the Open Theater has its Sunday Meeting as usual, although perhaps some of the regular participants may have been a little worse for wear.

The last clipping is from the Sunday January 23 edition of the Tribune, noting the Happening, and also upcoming musical events. They are

Thursday January 27, 1966
Ramon Charles McDarmaid and Don Buchla, Movies by Bruce Baille
Don Buchla had constructed the Thunder Machine for Ken Kesey's Pranksters, a sort of electronic percussion device.

Friday, January 28, 1966
Performances by Congress of Wonders and Ned's Mob, introducing new material.
Congress of Wonders were a comedy trio, also regulars at the Open Theater, who did hip comedy and performance art (they later released a few albums). Ned's Mob are unknown to me.

Saturday, January 29, 1966
Rock and Roll dance featuring The Loading Zone
This would have been The Loading Zone's third performance, to our knowledge, the first two having been two weeks earlier at the Open Theater (Jan 14) and then at the Trips Festival (either Jan 21 or 22). The Loading Zone was based in Oakland.

The Open Theater continued to present performances through early March. They presented a John Cage piece on February 4 and 5 (reviewed by the Tribune) and a few other shows. Ian Underwood was now mentioned as the Musical Director, and per the March 12, 1966 Tribune it appears that Ben and Rain Jacopetti had left, and the Open Theater was under new management. However, by the end of March the Open Theater had closed. Ian Underwood said the Theater group was looking for a different space, but it was not to be.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

October 15-16, 1965: A Busy Time For Country Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald, Mark Spoelstra, Ken Kesey, Lou Gottleib, Malvina Reynolds, Paul Krassner, Jon Hendricks, Tom Paxton, Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti and many, many others who spoke, sang and marched at the VDC organised International Days of Protest.

15 October 1965: Lower Sproul Hall Plaza, University of Berkeley Campus, Berkeley, CA [Morning - 09:00 to 11:30] Joe McDonald with Malvina Reynolds, Carvel Bass, and others [International Day of Protest and Vietnam Day Committee Teach-In]. The Teach-In took place in the grass field that is now Zellerbach Hall. Anecdote from Joe: It was there that I sold the first EP and was put in charge of a small stage in "Lower Sproul Plaza" It had a microphone and I sang songs to the crowd that passed by going to the field where the speakers spoke, among them I. F. Stone and Ken Kesey. Malvina Reynolds came by with her guitar and asked if she could sing and I said yes and she sang a bit. My memory is that no one paid much attention to either of us. The "Random Notes" in Issue 3 of Rag Baby reported that Folk Music on the Peace March was Omnipresent. Spontaneous choruses of the well known Freedom songs and older gospel ("We Shall Overcome", "This Little Light of Mine", "Down by the Riverside"") seemed to break out along the mile plus length of the demonstration. From the sound truck folksingers tried with varying degrees of success to get the crowd singing, but only the first thousand or so could hear. Attempts at singing Phil Ochs' "I'm Not Marching Anymore" (sic) (odd thing to sing while marching) and the liberal song were more or less soli, but the whole crowd knew "Help". In the morning the early demonstrators heard Malvina Reynolds, Joe McDonald, Carvel Bass and other folksingers and that night after the tear gas, the Instant Action Jug Band featuring Paul Armstrong on the jazz kazoo, did world favorites like "Bring It With You When You Come" and songs from the RAG BABY TALKING ISSUE, which was having its world premier at the International Days of Protest. Joe was credited in the Final Program for the International Days of Protest as organizing the folk singers.

15 October 1965: Lower Sproul Hall Plaza, University of Berkeley Campus, Berkeley, CA [Afternoon - 11:30 to 12:00] Joe McDonald with Lou Gottlieb.

15 October 1965: Peace March, Berkeley, CA [Night - Lower Sproul Plaza] Instant Action Jug Band and Malvina Reynolds. The line up of the Jug Band at this event most closely resembled what was to become "Country Joe and the Fish" - the band. In attendance were Joe McDonald, Barry Melton, Bruce Barthol, Paul Armstrong and Carvel Bass amongst others. It is unclear if John Francis Gunning was present. At UC Berkeley, a Teach-In on campus is followed by a march on the Oakland Army induction center. "That evening, some 15,000 demonstrators left the campus marching toward Oakland. Marchers include children, grandmothers, and a busload of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters along with college and high school students. The Oakland and Berkeley authorities had refused a parade permit. As the marchers approached the Oakland city limit they could see about 400 Oakland police wearing riot helmets, brandishing special riot weapons, blocking the way. The march stopped less than a hundred yards from the police line. As spectators and a group of about 100 right-wing counterdemonstrators filled the gap between the march and the police, a previously agreed-to subcommittee held a swirling, confused discussion on what to do." ... [After negotiation, the march proceeded to Oakland Civic Center Park , where the teach-in was continued and another march called for the next day." [Halstead, p. 87; Rorabaugh, pp. 96-97]

15 October 1965: Army Terminal, Oakland, CA [Night 11:00 to 11:45] Joe McDonald.

The following day (October 16), the marchers return. (About 100 had remained in the park overnight). When the two to five thousand protesters reach the Oakland City line, they are stopped by police. The police ask the protestors to sit down in the street to avoid violent confrontations. Poet Allen Ginsberg chants "Hare Krishna" at the front of the march. The Hell's Angels motorcycle gang appears, rips down banners, and attacks protestors, yelling, "Go back to Russia you fucking communists!" The police attack the Angels. When the Angels threaten to attack the next peace march, Ginsberg, Kesey, and Pranksters subsequently visit the home of Angels president Sonny Barger to discuss the situation and share some LSD with Barger and his friends. By dawn the two groups had chanted together. [Barlow. Intrepid Trips: "Allen"; LAT, 10/17/65]

16 October 1965: Lower Sproul Hall Plaza, University of Berkeley Campus, Berkeley, CA [Morning - 08:30 to 09:00] Joe McDonald

16 October 1965: Lower Sproul Hall Plaza, University of Berkeley Campus, Berkeley, CA [Afternoon - 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm] Joe McDonald, Tom Paxton, Mark Spoelstra

Monday, 14 September 2009

Open Theater, 2976 College, Berkeley, CA

The Open Theater, at 2976 College, was a venue for “Happenings” that would now be called Performance Art. The directors were a Berkeley Drama School dropout named Ben Jacopetti and his wife Rain. Among their innovations were a light show that featured significant (if arty) nudity. When the performers auditioned for Tom “Big Daddy” Donahue’s psychedelic nightclub Mother’s on Broadway (home of Carol Doda and numerous topless clubs), Donahue rejected the show for having too much nudity.

The Open Theater seemed to be only open for a year or 18 months, but it was an important part of the scene, as the Open Theater was a big part of the Bay Area underground prior to the Fillmore. Berkeley comedy duo The Congress of Wonders got their start as part of the Happenings and Gary “Chicken” Hirsch (later in Country Joe and The Fish) sometimes played in the house jazz group. George Hunter and Alton Kelly artwork graced the lobbies. Thus the fact that Big Brother’s first public show (on January 15, 1966) was a benefit for the Open Theater seems only fitting. Charles Perry in his book Haight Ashbury - A History (Vantage 1985) has a brief but excellent history of the Open Theater.

Peter Voulkos Studio, 1306 3rd Street, Berkeley, CA

Peter Voulkos was a an accomplished potter and artist who taught at the University of California, Berkeley from 1959 until his retirement in 1985. In the early sixties he shared at studio on Shattuck around Ashby with Jimmy Suzuki and another guy "that was going blind from Glaucoma". Jesse Cahn remembers when he first visited Peter Voulkos' studio in 1961 or 1962 "really big canvasses .... already decorating in Ballentine scotch bottles and girlie pix...".  Later Voulkos moved the 3rd Street off-Gilman studio ... "with poker and basketball and ....well.... you can imagine". Voulkos died February 16, 2002 in Bowling Green, Ohio - his art, and in particular his ceramic, are highly collectable.

On November 27, 1965 Voulkos hosted a performance by the Mystery Trend, a group from the San Francisco Art Institute scene and one of the founding father bands of the whole San Francisco Scene. The line-up of the Mystery Trend included San Francisco ceramicist Ron Nagle (vocals, clavinet), Bob Cuff (guitar, vocals), Larry Bennett (bass), and John Luby (drums, vocals). By all accounts named after a misinterpretation of the Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" line, "the mystery tramp", the Mystery Trend's musical legacy was the Verve single Johnny Was A Good Boy b/w House On The Hill released in March 1967. Subsequent archive releases include an EP released by the nice folk at Sundazed in 1996 and and album of studio recordings put out by Big Beat in 1999. Ron Nagle went on to perform with the Durocs and will be putting in a performance on September 24, 2009 for the opening of the "Somethin's Happening Here" exhibition at the Museum of performance and Design in San Francisco.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

The Canyon Shows

The tiny out-of-the-way town of Canyon, CA can be found in the hills behind Berkeley (between Berkeley and Moraga). Canyon was a peculiar outpost for avant-garde filmmakers like Robert Nelson, and there were many Berkeley connections, not least folk singer Paul Arnoldi who was a regular on the Bay Area "scene" was a local resident. The two known concerts in Canyon in 1967 were held outdoors, one in a Eucalyptus Grove and the other at a private school.

The first show on July 16, 1967 show was a benefit for the local store and Paul Arnoldi hand crafted a cardboard poster advertising the perfomanves of Country Joe and The Fish (who had played a 1:00 to 1:45 afternoon set at the Fantasy Faire in Devonshire Downs - a few hundred miles south), The Youngbloods, Blackburn & Snow and the Notes From The Underground as well as himself. The one off poster has now made its way to the UK and is being held hostage by a renowned collector in the West Country. No doubt efforts will be made to free it at some point. The event ran from 2 pm through midnight and featured dacing amongst the 200 year old trees and the After Dark Light Show. Handbills were also produced for the event and these appear now and again on different coloured paper.

In September 1967 Country Joe and The Fish returned to play a party at a Private School in Canyon. Little is known of the event other than Country Joe and The Fish were joined by the Grateful Dead and Johnny Talbot & De Thangs. If you know of any advertising for this event, or can even specify an exact date in September we would be really grateful. This was a turbulent time for Country Joe and the Fish - they had completed an East Coast tour in August and very early September but by October 6 the Berkeley Barb was reporting that Joe had left the band. This would result in Joe taking off to perform in the Pacific Northwest and the band to play a number of shows under the name The Incredible Fish.

April 19, 1967: 101 California Hall, UCB

Most Berkeley academic buildings had a large lecture hall, and 101 California was the lecture hall for this building. It seated about 400 and April 19, 1967 saw the Friends of Mingus present The Orkustra at 101 California Hall. The Friends of Mingus appear to be as elusive as other shows at 101 Cal.

The Orkustra were of course much better known. The story of The Orkustra, the Magick Powehouse of Oz and Light Shows for the Blind are told by Bobby BeauSoleil. Raymond Dumond of RD Records released Light Shows for the Blind as a beautifully packaged vinyl - and I thoroughly recommend it. So, any information about other shows at 101 Cal Hall, Berkeley - not to be confused with the California Hall over the bridge on Polk and Turk - would be appreciated.

Friday, 4 September 2009

October 15, 1962: Closing of Tsubo's, Berkeley, CA

We have been extensive chroniclers of the story of Berkeley's Jabberwock. This item in Russ Wilson's "World Of Jazz" column in the October 21, 1962 edition of the Oakland Tribune details the exact date of the closure of the Berkeley jazz coffeehouse Tsubo's. Tsubo's was at 2901 Telegraph, and its closure made it available to be turned into the Jabberwock.

Tsubo's brief pre-Jabberwock history is best known for the immortal guitarist Wes Montgomery's album Full House, on Riverside Records. The album was recorded live at Tsubo's on June 25, 1962, with tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin and Miles Davis's rhythm section (Wynton Kelly-piano, Paul Chambers-bass, Jimmy Cobb-drums), recorded right before a Davis date at San Francisco's Blackhawk. The 2006 liner notes to the re-released cd, by producer Orrin Keepnews, reveal that the suggestion to use Tsubo's came from Wes Montgomery himself. Montgomery was staying in the Bay Area with his brothers, and apparently Montgomery had an open invitation to work on Monday nights.

Whether Wes Montgomery worked any Monday nights at Tsubo's besides June 25, 1962 isn't clear. Presumably, with Monday nights regularly open, Keepnews and Riverside Records were able to book the date at the last minute. Whether Montgomery played only one or several Monday nights at Tsubo's, he helped initiate a long string of exceptional music at 2901 Telegraph for the next five years.