Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Bank, Torrance CA 1968 Show List

I have done extensive research into rock concert dates in Southern California in the 1960s, but so far only my Whisky A-Go-Go list (attempting to document every show at the Whisky from 1966 to 1969) has seen the light of day. The profusion of entertainment options in Los Angeles creates the paradoxical result that many go unnoticed. As a result, some interesting 60s venues seem to have been all but forgotten, and research can be very difficult. I am posting my current research in its sketchy, incomplete form in the hopes that others will have more to add. I am very interested in any information anyone might have regarding the backers of this venue, the history of the building, its general successes and problems, and of course any corrections, insights and additions to the show list.

The Bank, at 19840 South Hamilton in Torrance, California, about 20 miles Southwest of Los Angeles, is one of the least remembered and most obscure venues in Southern California. Although it was only open for about six months in the second half of 1968, numerous fine bands played there, mostly from San Francisco, suggesting some sort of connections with San Francisco rock promoters or band managers. The posters for the shows, pleasant but unimpressive, still circulate, which has been just about my only source for information about shows at The Bank. A few listings in local newspapers (such as The Pasadena Star-News) confirm some of the poster dates, but I have found no concert reviews, musician’s recollections or groupie memoirs that recall the venue, and all I have is a list of dates.

Update: thanks to Kim's research and a Commenter, we now have some concrete information on The Bank.  It seems that two brothers inherited something like one million dollars, and chose to spend some of it on opening a venue with bands they liked. The posters were done by one Robert Wilson. Wilson and his girlfiend Sheryl got to see almost every show as a result. Sheryl is our principal source, and while she recalls the venue fondly, she doesn't remember the name of the brothers. Most shows at The Bank were thinly attended, except for Canned Heat, perhaps accounting for the lack of memories surrounding the venue. The soundman was a local teenager named Les Schatz, except when groups like The Grateful Dead had their own crew.

Torrance, California is an industrial suburb of Los Angeles, about 20 miles South of LA. Torrance has some beachfront, but the nearby coastal towns of Redondo Beach and Palos Verdes are better known. Torrance extends several miles inland, and The Bank was on the inland edge of town, close to the intersection of the Harbor (I-110) and San Diego (I-405) Freeways. The site of The Bank had previously been a venue called The Blue Law Ballroom, but other than a few rock shows listed below, I know nothing about that venue either, particularly whether it had a long tradition of musical presentations, or was simply a first attempt to make a Fillmore-style venue at the site. According to Google Maps, there is a building on the site (19840 S. Hamilton Ave, Torrance, CA 90502), but I do not know if it is a new building.

What follows is my list of known rock shows at The Blue Law and The Bank. The sources most dates are posters, except where indicated. I have included a few interesting notes about the chronology and history of some bands that played the venue, but I take for granted that anyone reading this post does not need a primer on the likes of Pink Floyd or Canned Heat. Some posters advertise additional theater or film attractions as part of the bills, but I have not mentioned them here, as they are outside my scope and I have even less of a context for them.


December 12-13-14, 1967 The Blue Law, Torrance, CA: Country Joe and The Fish/The Sunshine/Inner Spirit
Inner Spirit was an early name for Spirit (Randy California’s band).

This is the first date I have for The Blue Law. I have no idea if music had been presented before, or what the site may have been used for previously. Oddly, these shows are a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, hinting that the venue was trying to open more than just weekends. Unlike the Fillmore and Avalon in San Francisco, Southern California venues like The Cheetah and The Kaleidoscope tried to stay most nights of the week, even if bands weren’t always presented.

December 15, 1967 The Blue Law, Torrance, CA: Love/Canned Heat/Hour Glass
The Hour Glass was a transplanted Florida blues band featuring Duane and Gregg Allman, currently living in Los Angeles.

This gig is discussed at length in drummer Michael Stuart-Ware’s book about his time in the band Love (Behind The Scenes On The Pegasus Carousel, Helter Skelter Books, 2003). Ware’s description suggests the venue is somewhat small. I have found no other account of the venue, as either The Blue Law or The Bank. Ware recalls

The building was like a rec center, located in the heart of a typical suburban Los Angeles community. The stage had no private rear entrance or dressing rooms, and the groups that were scheduled to perform simply walked through the front door, past the people that had come to see them play, and right up the stage steps (p. 152).
He adds that “the place was jam-packed, but room capacity was only seven or eight hundred, tops.” The context suggests that Love did not play the venue the next night.

May 17-18-19, 1968 The Blue Law, Torrance, CA Blue Law Survival Benefit
Strawberry Alarm Clock/Quicksilver Messenger Service/P, G & E/Sweetwater/Love Exchange/Hour Glass/Things To Come/Albert King/Spirit/Genesis/Touch/Mothers of Invention/H.P. Lovecraft/Triangle/East Side Kids/Copper Leaf/Fair Befall
The flyer suggests this is a benefit for the club itself. Since The Bank would open on the site later, its clear that the club is near the end of the line. The exact reason and date for the demise of The Blue Law is completely unknown to me. However, the fact that some established bands were willing to play a benefit for the club suggests that The Blue Law was an established venue.

Obviously these groups were spread out over the entire weekend. The band Genesis was a local band (featuring former members of Sons of Adam), not the English group.

May 19, 1968 The Blue Law, Torrance, CA: Quicksilver Messenger Service/The Mothers of Invention/Iron Butterfly/LA Smog and Refinery
The flyer says “Rock For McCarthy” and advertises “2pm to 1am Sunday.” This sort of fits in with the above flyer, although not exactly. The flyer says “Blue Law Ballroom”

The first indication of a show at The Bank is a poster for the weekend of August 9-11, 1968.  Given that established bands played there, however, I would be surprised if the arrangement where bands walked through the front door onto the stage was not modified. By 1968, touring bands had more equipment and casual arrangements could be more problematic.

Based on the posters, the pattern at The Bank seemed to feature multiple acts on Friday and Saturday night, often including a substantial headliner, and Sunday shows (often in the afternoon) featuring local groups.

August 9-10-11.1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: PG&E/Illinois Speed Press/Sons of Champlin/Freedom Highway
Sons Of Champlin and Freedom Highway were both associated with West-Pole Management in San Francisco, who also managed Quicksilver Messenger Service. Numerous West-Pole groups played The Bank in its brief tenure.

P, G & E was a Los Angeles blues rock band (formerly The Bluesberries), and Illinois Speed Press had recently been signed by Columbia and relocated from Chicago to LA. Guitarist Paul Cotton, later famous in Poco, was the main singer and writer for the ISP.

August 16-17, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: The Fugs/Mt. Rushmore
Mt. Rushmore (who had two albums on Dot Records) were another San Francisco group managed by West-Pole.

August 18, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: Gravity (afternoon show)

August 23-24, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: Pink Floyd/Black Pearl
August 25, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA : Black Pearl (afternoon show)
Black Pearl was an obscure San Francisco band, featuring former members of New England’s Barbarians.

August 30,31, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: United States of America/Taj Mahal
The United States of America were a very forward looking band featuring experimental composer and UCLA ethnomusicologist Joseph Byrd and singer Dorothy Moskowitz. They released one obscure album that has grown in stature over the decades, and made one brief tour before they split up. This was probably one of their last shows.

September 1, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA jam/guest bands (afternoon)

September 6-7, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: Moby Grape/Fair BeFall
September 8, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: Fair BeFall/Gravity (afternoon show)

September 13-14, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: Lee Michaels/All Men Joy
All Men Joy were a San Francisco band, and did not feature Duane and Gregg Allman. Lee Michaels was also based in the Bay Area at the time.

September 15, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: All Men Joy/Gravity

September 20, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: Quicksilver Messenger Service/Sons of Champlin/Love Exchange
September 21, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: Quicksilver Messenger Service/Sons of Champlin/Ace Of Cups
Quicksilver, The Sons of Champlin and the all-women band Ace Of Cups were all San Francisco West-Pole bands.

September 22, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: jam

September 27-28, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: John Mayall/Chicago Transit Authority/Mug-Wumps
John Mayall’s group was a quartet featuring guitarist Mick Taylor.

The Chicago Transit Authority, like the Illinois Speed Press, had been signed by Columbia and relocated to Los Angeles. They had not yet released their first album.

September 29, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: John Mayall/Maze/Flash Gordon (afternoon show)

October 4, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: Country Joe and The Fish/A.B. Skhy Blues Band
The A.B. Skhy Blues Band, featuring the fine organist Howard Wales, had recently relocated from Milwaukee (where they were known as The New Blues) to San Francisco.

October 5, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: The Hook/A.B. Skhy Blues Band
October 6, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: Shakey Jake and The All Stars
The poster for the October 4/5/6 weekend says at the bottom “Next week-Canned Heat and Spirit, ” but a later ad in the LA Free Press does not have Canned Heat and Spirit, suggesting the bill was changed.

October 11-12, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: Charlie Musselwhite/Shakey Jake and His All-Stars/Pollution
Harmonica player and singer Charlie Musselwhite, who had moved from Chicago to San Francisco in 1967, was yet another Bay Area band that played The Bank. Ron Polte, the head of West-Pole and Quicksilver’s manager, was a former Union organizer in Chicago, so he had many connections to all the Chicago>San Francisco transplants (Musselwhite, Mike Bloomfield, Nick Gravenites, Harvey Mandel, etc), even if he did not manage those artists. The constant stream of San Francisco bands at The Bank managed by West-Pole or socially connected to Ron Polte suggests a close association between him and The Bank’s owners or managers.

October 13, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA jam plus films

October 18, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: Grateful Dead/Cleveland Wrecking Company
Cleveland Wrecking Company were a well regarded San Francisco-area band. They were a 7-piece band (founded at College of San Mateo) that played jazz rock. They mainly played dances, but they also played a few Fillmore-type gigs as well. Although they played original material, they never recorded and apparently never had plans to do so.

October 19, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: Big Mama Thornton/Cleveland Wrecking Company
October 20, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA
Free Clinic Benefit (bands not named)

October 25-26, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: Sweetwater/Black Pearl
October 27, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA
films/jam KPFK broadcasting live

November 1, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: Three Dog Night/Alice Cooper
In a slight deviation from the norm at The Bank, there are two local headliners on Friday night, with a different lineup on Saturday and Sunday.

Three Dog Night had recorded their first album for ABC Records, and probably released their first single (“Nobody”), but their album had not yet come out. They were still playing local gigs around Southern California to establish themselves.

Alice Cooper—at the time, the name of the band, not lead singer Vince Furnier—had only changed their name from The Nazz in March 1968. By November, they were affiliated with Frank Zappa, but their debut album on Zappa’s Straight Records would not be released until the next year. Sheryl recalls that the Alice Cooper group lined up at the entrance to The Bank and shook hands with each arriving patron, as if they were on the receiving line at a wedding.

November 2-3, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: Alice Cooper/Mint Tattoo/Pollution
Mint Tattoo were also a San Francisco-based group, although the principal members were actually from Sacramento. Guitarist/vocalist Bruce Stephens and bassist/organist Ralph Burns Kellogg went on to join Blue Cheer in 1969, and both recorded in a number of obscure but interesting settings over the next few decades. Kellogg (1946-2003) was a successful engineer and producer in Los Angeles in the 1980s under the name Ethan James, for groups like The Minutemen and Black Flag.

November 8-9, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: Ten Years After/The Collectors/Floating Bridge
This bill was a unique instance at The Bank where none of the acts were California-based. Ten Years After were on the second of their 28 (count ‘em) American tours, the Collectors were from a suburb of Vancouver (Chilliwack, BC) and The Floating Bridge were a highly regarded band from Seattle.

November 15, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: Canned Heat/Linn County/Flamin Groovies
Sheryl recalls Canned Heat playing the club at some point, and that it was the best attended show in the history of The Bank, so they definitely played some weekend.

Linn County were from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, but they too had relocated to San Francisco in 1968. They released three albums on Mercury. The Flamin’ Groovies were a San Francisco band as well, but their neo-British Invasion stylings were never popular in the Bay Area itself.

November 16, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: Harvey Mandel/Linn County/Flamin Groovies
Harvey Mandel, an exceptional guitarist, was one of the white Chicagoans who played authentic blues, like Mike Blomfield and Paul Butterfield. He had relocated to San Francisco as well. Besides recording for Mercury, he would later work with Canned Heat and John Mayall.

November 17, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: jam (afternoon)

November 22, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: Bo Diddley/Fur
November 23, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: Bo Diddley/Notes From The Underground
Notes From The Underground were a Berkeley Folk-Rock group. They released an album on Vanguard.

November 30, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: Spirit/Harvey Mandel
This gig was mentioned in the entertainment listings of the November 30 Pasadena Star News. As the 30th was a Saturday, its reasonable to assume that the same bill played the night before.

December 6, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: Love/Three Dog Night/Fair BeFall
December 7, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: Love/Three Dog Night/Middle Earth
A handwritten Three Dog Night tour diary shows 3DN playing both nights (for $500 each night), varying a bit from the poster.

December 8, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: The Turtles/’KPFK Live’
I don’t believe this indicates that The Turtles were broadcast live on KPFK (although it would be great if they had been, as the Turtles were reputedly a fine live band).

December 13-14, 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA: Grateful Dead/Magic Sam/Turnquist Remedy
The bare outlines of the story of The Bank in Torrance end here. A clue to the club’s fate comes from the poster for the show. Half of it is taken up with an entreaty:
The Police can only close us
with YOUR fear.
Please help us, the Music,
and yourself.
Bring friends to The Bank.
Come clean, be safe be happy
This plea suggests that police pressure had led to enough drug busts that it affected attendance, a common fate of rock ballrooms in the 1960s. The poster advertises a movie on Sunday afternoon, December 15 (The Return of Flash Gordon), but I have to assume the venue closed after these shows.

Unlike many Grateful Dead shows, there were no known tapers at the December Grateful Dead shows. Uniquely, however, there was a tapir (really). 

Thanks to Kim, Sheryl, and all the Commenters who helped out. Anyone with further information or recovered memories (real or imagined) is encouraged to Comment or contact me.


  1. Hi Corry, love the information on The Bank you have put together. I've been putting together a myspace for The Bank. I live close to where the building still stands. I've actually added all your information you have here giving you credit of course. If you don't mind I'd like to use your info and start this space up and include the bands that played at this venue. Take a look at the space via the link. Let me know your thoughts.

    1. Hi, I remember going to the Blue Law in the summer of 67, but I cannot remember who we saw. I do remember all the black lights in the ceiling and you could buy paints and brushes and paint the floor. Fun times.

  2. Kim, yes its fine to use the material. Let me know if you uncover anything interesting, like who actually ran the venue. Do you have a current photo of the building? I'd love to post it, if you've got one


    1. hey Corry, I went to the bank once, and it was Bo Diddley and Magic Sam, and I still have the hand bill out in a box in the garage, as I recall... remember driving over a bunch of railroad tracks to the venue.

    2. Corey I used to go to the bank for every show I'd pass out fly Flyers so I can get in and I was in school I think I only missed maybe one or two shows back in the days. Remember seeing Chicago there that was such a great show Terry Kath play absolutely wonderful guitar of his he can make that car at Guitar do anything without pedals. Of course Three Dog Night boys like their house band. Chuck Negron is still a friend of mine and his beautiful wife Ami

  3. I'll snap some photos this weekend and post them on the space and include you with any updates. Thank you again!

  4. I was at the 10/4 CJ & Fish show. I also saw Sweetwater and Black Pearl there, and would love to figure out what date that was.


  5. Steve wrote:
    >>I also saw Sweetwater and Black Pearl
    >>there, and would love to figure out
    >>what date that was.

    That would be October 25 or 26, 1968 Steve. The show was advertised by a Robert A Wilson poster and handbill featuring some large birds (eagles or whatever) on a light blue stock. Like most of the Bank posters, these are very collectible - although artistically they leave rather a lot to be desired in my opinion.

  6. I've managed to find a few Bank posters and posted them on my myspace (under Photos) including the one in question. Must have been a fun place. Too bad I was only 11.

  7. I too a look at Kim's MySpace site and was astonished to find a benefit poster from what appears to be May 1968:

    Firstly, I have never seen a copy of this poster in all my years of collecting. Of particular interest to me was the reference to "The Blue Law". Whilst the Mothers of Invention were in Florida at the time of the shows, the Quicksilver Messenger Service were in town playing the Cheetah.

    A really interesting find.

  8. The first Bank show appears to have been earlier than discovered to date. I have the following additional shows:

    July 19-20, 1968: Charlie Musselwhite (a Randall Berendt poster exists).

    August 2-3, 1968: Barry Goldberg Reunion.

    November 27, 29-30, 1968: Spirit, Harvey Mandel, Blues Image (note the addition of the Wednesday and Friday shows, and Blues Image). A poster by "Buffalo" exists.

  9. A band called The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, according to their web site, played "The Blue Law" on Feb. 9-10 1968. They have a nice sound. Check out their "complete listing" under Concerts.

  10. I have a concert promotion poster featuring Pink Floyd and Black Pearl playing The Bank in Torrance, dates listed, but through research I have done I estimate the date is 1968. Anyone out there have the same?


  11. The date is August 23-24, 1968 as mentioned in the article by Corry. Your poster is, like nost Bank posters, resonably rare. Ross

  12. Hi, I worked 4-5 shows at the Bank as a performer with Black Pearl. The band had been in CA for one month before second billing the Pink Floyd Show and others with Sweetwater and the Greatful Dead. We were playing during the closing weeks because I remember the police stuff only to well. They intimidated the audience to extinction. Great showroom, Stage had all white carpeting and sound system monitors which was rare. Great owners to. Tom If I can be of help about the Bank

    1. Hi Corry
      I went to The Bank several times and remember seeing Quicksilver MS, Harvey Mandel, Spirit, Sons of Champlin, Magic Sam, Bo Diddly, and The Grateful Dead there. At the Dead show, one of there crew had a brown bag full of Acid and was throwing it out to the audience from the front of the stage. I didn't have any, but my friends did. I was the driver. When we were leaving the place was ringed with police in riot helmets and we had to walk through to get to our cars! I didn't see them grab anybody so I think they were there to intimidate us. That may have been the last show.


  14. Thanks for the kind words. I do have a fairly complete list of Shrine shows for 1966-69, but I haven't gotten around to writing it up.

  15. I worked for the Blue Law and The Bank during a couple of my high school years, passing out flyers, thus earning free passes for every weekend. Great shows, great people. One guy I remember that worked there was named Richard. Really nice guy. I dealt with him most of the time. I am not sure what he even did. Manager maybe?

    I had all the posters, but alas, all gone now, except for one flyer that happened to survive. My friend and I met Big Brother and the Holding Co. there one night. The main 2 guys. They were in town for a show at the Hollywood Bowl the following weekend. We were invited to Janis' birthday party, but were too scared to go...

  16. By 1968 there was also a door next to the stage. I don't remember whether it was new or not, but the bands' arrival was always pretty casual. They would get there before most of the guests, so it didn't much matter which door they used. The door by the stage would have been more convenient, though, and they could park their trucks or vans just outside that door. They'd have to go around to the front door or the ticket booth to get access.

  17. P.S. "Buffalo," who drew the posters, is Robert A. Wilson (Bob Wilson) who I was dating at the time. We were married a year later. We used to go to the Bank each week to bring the posters and hear the concerts.

  18. Tapirgal, thanks so much for these details. Do you have any idea of the names of the operators of The Bank? It has remained a complete mystery so far.

  19. ok, I just figured out you already posted a lot of your Bank memories on the Blue Law Blog. Great stuff. (I get a lot of interest from the taper community, but this is the first sign of interest from the tapir community!).

  20. I ran across this site looking for some old posters of my club...yes, I named the bank and was one of 4 original principals. a lot of your information and suppositions are incorrect.... You may contact me by email.. and I will give you my phone number for a chat...(I was 22 at the time and none of the others were over 23)

  21. Thomas, this is fascinating to find out. I'd love to get the real story. Can you email me at corrarnold at

  22. Jim Burrows of Laguna Beach and I came up with the Idea of the Bank..his wife inherited a 1/4 mil which got it rolling ...we initially were looking for an old empty bank in the LA area we found a great old bank but its location was not great and it was too small for the groups we intended to have. A real Estate agent brought our attention to the Blue Law was going out of business...we could take over the lease...I didn't care much for the location...but Jim was the money man..and we were in a rush to put something together there it was... a fairly new red brick warehouse..ready to roll....Jims brother inlaw came in later as he also had an inheritence (so it was brother inlaws not brothers..that had the Money..we were all 21-23 at the time) there was no connection to San Francisco... the SF bands were the center of the Musical FM universe at the time

    1. You must know Bill Acker then. Do you know what happened to him. Lost touch, would love to know where he is.

    2. Bill is living in North Florida.

  23. ps ... for clarity.. the bookings were thru SF agents ..but they had no ownership interest in the Bank.......(the center of the FM Musical Universe at the time was SF.) beach boys or mo-town crap need apply..thank you

  24. Hi Thomas! I would love to add any of your stories concerning The Bank (The Blue Law)and or pictures of the venue. I have a myspace devoted to The Bank that Corry and Sheryl (tapirgirl) contributed too (another thank you for the info both of you!) This venue should not be forgotten about. So many big names played there. Anything you have would be greatly appreciated.

    Kim Reynolds

  25. Thanks so much for posting this. It has brought back a lot of memories for me. I attended quite a few shows from the Fall of 1967 through early Summer, 1968 at the Blue Law when I was in high school. To the best of my recollection, I did not attend any shows after it became The Bank because I moved out of LA in September, 1968. It was my favorite club because it was cheap and it catered to blues-based acts.

    I remember that the club was a large warehouse space—no seats. As you entered the building from the west side, the stage was to your left (North). The room was longer (NS) than wide and the space was very large. Even if 200-300 people were in the room, the crowd seemed sparse. I can remember acts there on either Friday or Saturday nights—those were the only nights I attended. I saw at various times Steppenwolf, Iron Butterfly, Charley Musselwhite (I saw him and his band more than once—he seems to have been booked there a lot.), Canned Heat, and Paul Butterfield. I know that Love and the Mothers of Invention played there, but I saw them elsewhere, not at the Blue Law. I also remember that there was a light show done with an overhead projector onto a screen. I don’t remember that any tickets were sold—I think that you just paid admission at the door and possibly got your hand stamped with UV ink so that you could return. I don’t remember that there was any food or beverage concession there either, though I could be wrong about that. Smoking was, of course, allowed. My recollection, too, is that there was a curfew of sorts that meant that bands had to stop playing at a particular time—it was not a noise curfew because the club was in an industrial area pretty far from any houses. I think it was part of the deal of getting along with the Torrance Police, who to my recollection, were tolerant of the club in the sense that they did not hassle anyone once they entered the building.

    --Rich Myers

  26. Rich, thanks for this very interesting eyewitness account. Given what little we know about the demise of The Bank, it sounds like the Torrance police changed their tune late in the game.

  27. It may be that the club became more identified with the "drug culture" of the times, but that is just speculation on my part. Other than Steppenwolf, the acts that played the Blue Law were quite apolitical, so there really was no "agitation" factor from the artists against the police, at least not compared with what was happening on The Strip.

  28. Thomas: Wasn't Pete Hamil from Missoula one of the "owner" investors? I met him in St Augustine Florida in 1966. I met him at the Bank in the summer of 1968 for a concert. I think it was Pink Floyd. We were in an upper office conference room and there was an elevated walkway from which we watched the concert. It was an open venue without any sense of "muscle" or control. Greta place. That was 43 years ago and counting....

  29. Rich, really nice description. I hung out at the Blue Law back in the day. Saw some awesome bands and had great times. One of the best things about the place was that the huge cavernous concrete room was entirely blacklit and we used to bring fluorescent paint with us and paint designs and posters on the floor and walls. (also ourselves and our clothing) One night some of the Moody Blues were there and actually painted "The Moody Blues" on the floor in the most beautiful swirling and psychedelic lettering. I LOVED this place but few people I knew even heard of it because few of the people I knew from Torrance were actually in to the whole hippy thing. People I knew in Hollywood just thought Torrance was the boondocks. I was so happy to find this post because it affirmed for me what I remembered.

    1. yes yes this is just how i remember it. 5 or 6 of us would drive to the Bank, one of us would pay to get in and then they would open the many EXIT doors and jam them with paper so the rest of us could sneak in--sorry==but it added to the thrill. Such great bands, mostly I remember Sweetwater and Taj Mahal. It was a big space, great for dancing, but still so intimate between the performers and audience. the black lite, light show, and painting ourselves and the painted floors were the coolest thing of all!

  30. Thanks, Linda. I checked in with a couple of my other HS buddies and my HS girlfriend reminded me of the "awesome strobe lights." She was absolutely accurate in that recollection, and I had forgotten about that. I do remember the fluorescent paint and the floor painting. I was not then a face-painting kind of guy, so I don't remember that part. One of the things we were trying to figure out is how we knew to go there on a given weekend. Was the club advertised on the radio (KPPC?) or in newspapers? When the club became The Bank, I know that a sign was erected that advertised the acts, and you could see it from the freeways (405 and Harbor). I don't remember any sign for the Blue Law.

    1. I lived in Manhatten Beach and we knew about the bank because of the "hand outs" ie mini posters. Actually I think a friend (Kevin)might have worked at a print shop because he always had a stack of the things and handed them out at school (Aviation HS in Redondo Beach)

  31. Rich, thanks for your recollections. What you're saying is that somewhere out on Flickr or Snapfish or something there must be a photo of the upcoming acts from The Bank, taken from someone's car on the 405 or the Harbor Freeway. Amazing.

  32. No, Corry, I am not saying that a photo exists of the sign. Remember, in the late 1960s, everything was analog so nobody could casually take a photo of the sign from the freeway with a cell phone. A Polaroid, yes (if you remember such). The club's location was to the west of the freeway interchange--I used to get there off the Harbor Freeway at the Torrance Blvd. exit, if my memory serves. The sign that I remember was like a movie theatre marquee sign on a very tall pole telling who the acts were. The Blue Law had no such sign.

  33. Sorry, I misspoke. What I meant to say was that a photo could have been taken, and might be buried in someone's Flickr account.

  34. We just took a lot of the music of the late 1960s for granted--it really didn't seem like history in the making to me at the time. There didn't seem like much of a reason to save flyers and stuff, much less take photos of the coming attractions.

  35. OMG...Corry, I was just given this link by my old friend record producer/manager David he was celebrating the release of the boxed set of a new collection of Taj Mahal masters and we were reminiscing about his guitar player the late Jesse Ed Davis........

    I and my older brother worked for both The Blue Law and The Bank - running the snack bar that ran along the left side of the building across from the stage. My older brother Clark got the job from the "job office" at Palos Verdes Hight school..and because he needed help, got me at job as well....I was 15 or 16 at the time..... The original owner of The Blue Law was a local medical doctor who loved music and wanted to put together a club where young people could safely hang out and listen to music......He was a nice old bearded gentleman.....and was always kind and considerate.

    At first he had the support of the local police, but that soon changed and they started harassing both the patrons and the employees......Because we were such "straight laced" looking kids, my brother and I were pulled over by the local cops many times, we soon got to know each other by name, and they would not harass us, and let us go.....but other people were not so lucky.....I remember the the acoustics were horrible and the music was so loud that our ears would continue to "ring" from the weekend, through Wednesday.....! Then the Blue Law suddenly closed (I had heard that the Doctor, got pulled over and roughed up by the cops, and he decided that it was not worth it anymore), and when it was re-opened as The Bank. I remember that my Brother and I both just "showed up...told the powers that be, that we "ran the snack bar" and they told us to go ahead and continue on " ! !

    I remember trips during the week to Smart & Final to purchase hot dogs, buns, and soda canisters....(they had soda fountain type dispensers) and I think we had "popcorn" .....At some point (when it was "The Bank", the owners asked us to purchase ice cream and serve and sell that as well.....), which would have been great, except that when it became The Bank, it seemed that the place was run by a "commune" of that there was always about a dozen people living there during the week and no matter how much food and supplies we purchased, by time Friday night came, most of our stock was already gone...eaten by the residence......

    When it became The Bank, the owners build a huge "sound and lighting booth" in the middle of the building....elevated about 10 feet up and build a better stage with monitors and a much better sound system.......Oh yeah, and a "light show".......and strobe lights that would not stop ! Acoustically the place was still flawed and sound bounced all over the place....But is was still the best place to watch and hear bands.

    Because of the loud sound, the strobe lights incessantly flashing in your eyes, my bother started developing bad headaches and left the job to me......I told the owners

  36. I remember that Pink Floyd played there a number of times....I remember this because each time the band would live in their truck, parked in the club's parking lot.....which thrilled the local police. I also remember this because Roger Waters (and I was and still am a huge fan of his music) was one of the most outrageous assholes I have ever met in my entire life in the entertainment business (and I have met EVERYONE ! )....And this was not just my opinion, as the entire group and their crew agreed....needless to say there was always "tension" when they played.....There were dressing rooms, which were located behind the snack bar....and the entrances to them were from behind the snack bar...(not the most optimum design)...But it was great because I got to meet everyone in the bands and became friendly with many of the artists and their crew....Ron Nehoda. R.I.P was Taj Mahals' road manager and he was always great....(I later reconnected with him when my roommate became Gary Wright's drummer and Ron was Gary's tour manager working for Dee Anthony) . The Floyd road crew were also all great......Harvey Mandel, Charlie Musselwhite, Taj Mahal, Glen from PG&E....many were great to deal with and some were not. I became friendly with many of the guitar players...and actually got the idea for my next business from them...That being finding and re-selling vintage guitars....During the late 60's and early 70's you could find me at nearly every Pinnacle concert at the back stage doors of the Shrine Exposition Hall, with at least one or two vintage fenders or gibsons......During that time period, there was not a top guitar player that I had not sold a guitar to).....and in doing so, got back stage and into the shows for free !

    As I said, I remember Pink Floyd playing there more than once and there were so many soon to become "big name" acts that played at those two clubs....I remember when artists would cancel, either Black Pearl, PG&E, Sweetwater, Pollution or Canned Heat subbing in at the last they played there a lot. Steppinwolf played there a number of times as well...I remember because Mike Monarc was up there with Roger Waters as "assholes of the year". John Kay was great...Pollution and Black Pearl would always bring in quite a few people and I became friendly with Smitty and Tata from Pollution.....and later was involved with helping supply them with songs to record, when at Warner Bros. Music.

    Eventually the local police, in fear of all these "long haired hippies" over running the South Bay, started cracking down.....When the shows would end, there would be a half dozen cop cars spaced up and down the streets to pull people over and harass them.....Eventually between the cops, the frustration of the food supply being raided and nearly empty so that every Saturday, I would have to replace the food, I had already purchased for the weekend, even with all the great music, I too got tired and eventually quite....About a week or two later I had heard that an undercover cop made a bust in the club and something was found up in the sound/lighting booth and that club was closed......! It never re-opened and a chapter of my life closed with it.

    I used to have a collection of nearly every one of the show posters, but somehow they were miss-placed or thrown away.....I think I have one or two still somewhere and I will see if I can find them.

    I hope this helps......Wow, it has been a long time ago and those were such great memories.....thanks for the "digging" !
    stephen craig aristei

    1. Hello Steve! The blue law was excellent, a big warehouse, great light show where the bands would be playing while flash gordon film be-hind stage projected with lots of effects. iron butterfly, 2 drummers, one on each side playing identical trite patterns. All under black lights, mayall and charlie musslewhite playing their hearts out. There was a band that had a slide guitarist who sat to right of band who was so good: does anyone remember which group that was? Did we sit on the floor or were there chairs up front. I guess there were no chairs! alan gibbs who lived in p.v.e. then

  37. Stephen, thank you so much for these fantastic memories. As you may have already discovered, there is an updated version of this post.

    One of the original workers at The Bank got in touch with me, and i interpolated some of the many great comments too. I'm looking forward to any sudden flashbacks you might have.


  38. I have a poster advertising Pink Floyd and Black Pearl playing at The Bank in Torrance. The dates on it are August 23 and 24. From what I've read I'm thinking the year was 1968. Does anyone know what this poster could be worth, if anything? You may contact me at about it. Thanks

  39. It would be worth around $500 in very good condition.

  40. I played drums in the group Middle Earth, with jazz fusion guitar pioneer, Bill Connors, on December 7, 1968 with Love. I still remember that a twenty bill I received in payment was counterfeit! I have a copy of the poster for that week.

    1. Leo, what a great 60s rock and roll story. Opening for a legendary rock band, with a future legend on guitar, at a long-forgotten venue, and getting paid with a counterfeit bill. It's like a scene from an Indy movie with Jon Heder and Parker Posey.

      Did Three Dog Night play on the bill? I wonder if they got paid with fake twenties? Thanks so much for this.

    2. yes 3 dog night did play at the bank i was there

  41. I played in Hunger and The Touch a number of times at The Blue Law when they first opened till the last gig before they closed. The owner was really friendly and wanted a place that people could enjoy the bands and dance. We had the biggest crowd when we played with Lee Michaels and Canned Heat.The dressing rooms were small but private because they were behind the snack bar. I remember sharing the room with Canned Heat between sets.We joked and shared stories about
    the worst gig we ever played. I told Al ( the lead player)
    I was almost electrocuted when somebody spilt some water on the stage and I became the ground when I switched the amp on.Luckily the guys saw what was going on and turned the amp off. Al said he was in Europe and some guy grabbed his leg and pulled him off the stage and nearly broke his leg.That night we laughed.I believe he died of an overdose about a year later.
    We played with a number of bands I remember. There was famous bands and local bands alike. The Eastside Kids, The Caretakers, Sweet Water, Buffalo Springfield,The Doors, Hour Glass( became Allman Bros) The Mothers with Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart. Even though we didn't have a hit record we were popular and well respected by our peers. Hunger was on the rise to success with excellent backing and were playing hugh venues.Back then too nobody had the idea that super rock concerts would bring in big money. It was in it's absolute infancy. That's why so many bands would be playing in one concert or club.
    It was a time in rock and roll history that will never be repeated again and I'm glad to say I was part of the kaleidoscope years even though we never became legendary.

    1. PapaJohn Morton . . Just read your comments. I remember seeing "the Touch" @ the Blue Law. I will always remeber 2 things: you had a wall of Acoustic 360 Amps with the turqiose blue middle section and the precision music quality the band had when performing. You had an uncanny way of building up the music to a fever pitch and then cut it off in an instant. I have talked about The Touch a lot over the years. Really enjoyed growing up in Gardena and going to the Blue Law/Bank. Thanks for the memories. DrBubba33 . . . Now 64 & Hardcore !!!

  42. I remember sitting on the floor, under the black lights and drawing with my chalk when an amazing guy on a guitar started playing and we all stopped and stared at the stage...does anyone else remember Jimi Hendrix playing at the Blue Law or I guess as it was really, the bank?

    1. i only went to two venues, the shrine and the bank when i saw hendrix it was at one or the other,after that everything goes hazy

  43. went to 6 or 8 concerts there, you got free ticket if you bought a album, album was 3 dollars, crazy great beautiful times

  44. We moved So. to Oceanside before it was The Bank, but as a 16 year old going to Narbonne HS in Lomita, I saw Blue Cheer there. My ears have never recovered.
    Canned Heat, Steppenwolf, and Iron Butterfly are a few I can remember.
    I don't recall Hourglass, but a few years later, in a hall much like The Blue Law in Greenville, NC called The Music Factory, I heard Duane Allman tell some goober "This ain't no jukebox, it'll come 'round when it gets around."

  45. Does anybody remember "The Doors" playing at The Blue Law??? I do.... I am shocked that I don't see anything about them playing there! I still love them and can't believe that nobody remember's them being there.... I know I'm not crazy! Please someone help! Thank you!

  46. Corry342 . . . WOW what an awesome find. This was my life in 1968/69 as a High School junior/senior. Grew up in Gardena. Started going to shows @ the Blue Law/ Bank in 1968. Attended dozens of performances seeing Steppenwolf, Clear Light, The Touch, musselwhite, P G & E, Illinois Sp Prs, Big Momma Thornton, Quicksilver to many to name. All totally increible for a 16/17 yr old kid. Also saw a lot of shows at the old "Shrine Auditorium". The Who, Iron Butterfly, Fleetwood Mac, Black Pearl, The Collectors, Ruben & the Jets ( Mo's of Invention) Steve Miller Band, Crazy World of Arthur Brown. It was a great time to grow up in the late sixties. Thanks for resurrecting some awesome, unforgettable memories.
    DrBubba33 . . . Now 64 and Hardcore !!!

  47. This is amazing information. In the summer of 1968, I was working at Hot Dog on a Stick at Muscle Beach in Santa Monica. It was my first summer break from UCLA. On my work breaks I would go watch the acrobats practice on the lawn in front of the lifeguard headquarters. I met this most handsome man. He was blond and a great acrobat. As it turned out, he worked for the Barnum & Bailey circus as a clown. He asked me out to go see a group at a warehouse in Torrance. I had my trepidations but I went. I believe it was August but I do not remember the date. We went to this nondescript warehouse. As we walked inside I felt like I was dreaming. I remember, maybe incorrectly, that the room looked like a wear house with bales of hay tossed around. I had never seen anything like it. With the music and the strobe lights I felt like I was in outer space. I have no idea how long we were there or even where we were. On the way home I learned the group was Pink Floyd. Unfortunately, I never saw my clown again. He left to follow the circus. I am thankful for that night. Little did I know that Pink Floyd would become my favorite group of all time. How lucky was I to see them at the Bank.

  48. I grew up in San Pedro which is about 10 miles away from where the Bank/Blue Law was located. In my recollection it was an industrial area not far from the 110 Freeway; probably still within the Torrance city limits but in reality closer to Carson. I was 16 and/or 17 at the time and saw a few shows there but I honestly don't remember if it was called Blue Law or The Bank at the time. I remember it being less like a "Rec Center" and much more like an empty concrete and steel warehouse. My most vivid memory was seeing Blue Cheer there. They were previously unannounced (i.e. not on the poster or whatever) and were announced from the stage earlier in the evening as "special guests from SF". They were likely pimping their cover of Summertime Blues. After one or two other bands played, their roadies started setting up their gear which took them a while. It was a row of double-stack Marshall amps that stretched all the way across the stage. There must have been a dozen of them. When they finally started up and all those decibels started bouncing off of all that concrete and steel it quickly became impossible to hang. It was brutally, painfully loud and we left after just a few minutes.

  49. That sounds about right, those guys were famously loud! My first concert there was to see Quicksilver Messenger Service and my.friend Pete sat up on the stage right in front of the lead players super loud amp, which had a huge tweeter horn on top to help get all of the physcadelic effects he was famous for. My ears were ringing for days and I was 40' away!

  50. That sounds about right, those guys were famously loud! My first concert there was to see Quicksilver Messenger Service and my.friend Pete sat up on the stage right in front of the lead players super loud amp, which had a huge tweeter horn on top to help get all of the physcadelic effects he was famous for. My ears were ringing for days and I was 40' away!

  51. That sounds about right, those guys were famously loud! My first concert there was to see Quicksilver Messenger Service and my.friend Pete sat up on the stage right in front of the lead players super loud amp, which had a huge tweeter horn on top to help get all of the physcadelic effects he was famous for. My ears were ringing for days and I was 40' away!

  52. That sounds about right, those guys were famously loud! My first concert there was to see Quicksilver Messenger Service and my.friend Pete sat up on the stage right in front of the lead players super loud amp, which had a huge tweeter horn on top to help get all of the physcadelic effects he was famous for. My ears were ringing for days and I was 40' away!

  53. I was at The Bank in August 1968 to see Pink Floyd. My brother was in Nazz/Alice Cooper at the time.

  54. I attended one of the 3 Dog Night shows. Just s note that this was really just an empty brick warehouse. No seating. Bring your own blanket and sit on the floor..park style. Stage was constructed in the open ..and people sat around it. Behind the stage they displayed silent movies and overhead projector liquid light show. All was very basic and old school. As I recall...$5 entrance fee at the time....Dale

  55. I saw the Dec 13 Dead show. Fantastic show. Great 360 full circle light show lots of overhead projectors with color wheels doing the oil/water shapes to the music. There were sheets hanging down that we walked through to enter the music zone. All I can remember is Weir walking up to a mic and saying "I hope you all are ready for tonight, because we sure are", first song Lovelight, and that was it. Drugs were still months away for me, it was nothing but Dead, no going back. It was awesome fun!!!

  56. I was at that concert, at least the Friday night one. I do remember somebody from the group coming to the front of stage right before the Dead started. He had a paper bag and was pulling out handfulls of white tabs of acid and throwing them to the audience who were sitting on the floor. I didn't have any, I promise;) The Torrance PD must have gotten wind of that because a whole bunch of them were outside the place after the concert.

  57. Black Pearl was my favorite band, I saw them there at least once- Met some crazy women
    Good old days

  58. My HS band opened for Albert King at the Third Eye in Palos Verdes in 68 or 69. Any info on that club - only open about a year or so.

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  60. Bill, I went to the Third Eye a lot as it was welcoming to HS kids. My band band, Poor Brotherhood played a set or two there as well. I saw Albert Collins there, he was cool.

  61. Ladies and Gents,

    We have been having a Facebook discussion in a Facebook group about clubs in the South Bay. In addition to the Blue Law, the Third Eye and Club Bagatelle were mentioned. Here is a link to a Third Eye article. Personally, I don't remember going there when I was in HS, but I went to a number of what I call "one-off" places to see such LA-based bands as The Seeds, Love and the Mothers of Invention. Thanks in advance for any of your recollections: .

  62. LA Times Review of that weekend at the Bank, Dece 17, 1968

  63. We have a large (40"x 60") Pink Floyd poster from the Bank for an August 23 & 24 show. I am unable to attach the picture here, but if you're interested in seeing in reply.

  64. Pink Floyd at the Bank

  65. What brought me to this post was I was listening to an old broadcast of Frank Zappa on the radio from 1968 on either KPFK or KPCC and he mentioned The Bank several times as well as another club that may have been nearby but in Torrance. In fact, throughout the broadcast he mentioned Torrance a number of times. I grew up in Torrance and this immediately piqued my interest. I think it's fascinating that Torrance has such a rich Rock history. I had no idea. Makes me very proud to be from Torrance AND to have techinically been alive during that time (even though I was only 1).

  66. This comment has been removed by the author.

  67. I saw Canned Heat do a lackluster show at The Blue Law, I guess(?). The sound was rough, Blind Owl was acting really strange and The Bear apologized for the poor performance. I can add Love opened for Canned Heat at this show and they were better. I remember it was kind of hard for a Valley Boy to find (even with the sign off the 405) and I remember the cops giving out dirty looks for free.

  68. Bill, John Rapillo here. I played with Richard Mikuls and Jeff Lancaster in The Vomit Bros. at Club Bagatelle (I think) and around town. Great to read your post (and Craig Ariseti's). I remember seeing Jeff Beck band with Rod Stewart. I could swear it was at Blue Law, but my memory sucks these days. Regards.

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  70. I was one of a group who were friends of Jim and his wife in Laguna. We worked at the Bank, helped build out the interior and staffed every show. We built an incredible sound and light show system for that time. Some of the shows were truly epic. The Bank was eventually closed down by the near blockade of the venue by the local police, who would harass and arrest people waiting on line, often planting weed on them.

  71. I was just skimming through all the peoples personal stories about this (these) clubs. I went to the Blue Law and the Bank about 5 or 6 times during 1968 and 1969. I noticed one person saying (s)he didn't remember food or beverages. There was food; but it was like sandwiches, no dinner or anything like that. You could get soft drinks too, but no alcohol--that was the only reason I could be there since I was 16 and 17 during that time, just having got my license and a 63 used VW Bug. I lived in Long Beach, had a friend in Torrance who started High School in L.B., then lived in his Dad's place close to the school in the week, but weekends with his mother in Torrance. I had older friends who would tell me about this band or that, and I'd scrape together the money when it sounded too good to miss. I'd tell my friend in school during the week, so we often met at the shows on Friday or Saturday nights. Saw Ten Years After there the second time. I see all the times Quicksilver was there and am so bummed I didn't get to any of those--never did see them live. I don't recall seeing Living Spirit, but saw Spirit a few times. It was a great place. Nothing else like it was close. There was Hollywood, but most places like the Whiskey you had to be at least 18, and I wasn't that yet. If you were 18 and could get in, there was still a 2 drink minimum on top of the entry fee, and virgin drinks cost as much as ones with alcohol, of course. Made for a far more expensive night, later.

    Went to my first Rock Concert In Long Beach: Buffalo Springfield, Canned Heat, and a few other groups on 5/5/68; Springfield's last appearance. The Shrine Exhibition Hall was the next closest venue I knew of and saw Ten Years After there the first time (Jeff Beck, Black Pearl, Moody Blues, et al.); then I learned of the Blue Law/Bank and caught so many more groups there, Ten Years After again. It was so close compared to everything else in L.A. or farther, and it was doing those "little" shows every weekend. I thought stuff would stay that way. HA!!! Not for long it didn't. The arena then stadium shows got big, quick, and prices along with them, fewer bands, etc. It was a good time.

  72. The Bank, then The Blue Law was our 'go to' for a local Venue featuring top draw talent.I feel lucky to have had this opportunity.

  73. Does anyone know what happened to Bill Acker. He was one of the owners of the Bank. Lived in Laguna. Would love any info, lost touch. Kathy

  74. I saw Country Joe, the Chambers Brothers, Canned Heat, Sunshine Company, and many other groups at the blue law. It was just a warehouse in an unincorporated vacant area near Alpine Village in Torrance. You could always buy tickets at the door. Every 5' florescent light fixture all 200 (+-) were black lights. The south wall was upholstered in florescent posters. Not only could you poster paint in florescent colors on the walls and floors, it was very hard to find an open space to do so. The entire space was ablaze in color. At the canned heat concert a young boy was passing out small round river rocks on which he had painted florescent missives of love and peace... Imagine passing out two pound rocks at a concert in the decades since. The 60's were truly a different world.

  75. I used to go to the Bank during my senior year at RUHS and on one particular Saturday I went when some band called Pink Floyd played. There were very few people in the audience so much so that I recall there being a carpet on the floor in front of the stage, about the same size, and there was enough room to spread out and stretch your legs there were so few people there. This was probably the 8/23 show. I was so impressed with the band that I came back on the 24th to see them again. I went on to become a sound engineer several years later working for everybody from Paul Anka to Frank Zappa. Anybody remember a Hermosa Beach sound company called Tychobrahe? Went to the shows as often as I could afford until it shutdown.

  76. Songs like "Interstellar Overdrive" and "A Saucerfull of Secrets" especially stood out.

  77. I remember working at The Bank...
    Jammed w/ some of the bands... worked w/Family Lightshow.Invented the strobe spotlight...used it frequently.So much to share...

  78. I grew up Torrance and was attending North Torrance High School when the Bank opened its doors. Believe it or not, I never heard of it and never attended a concert. My first concert was in 1968 at the Inglewood Forum for Cream's farewell tour.

  79. I lived in the neighborhood just a little South and East of the Blue Law/Bank (about half mile away) but never attended any of the concerts. Years later, May 20, 1982, as owner of PACIFIC CONCERTS, and in association with KNAC 105.5 I presented the Rockin Rebels at The Cafe Mi Casitas in Torrance (have poster). Pat McHargue and I booked bands into 'The Barn' at Alpine Village later that year. I still have hand outs from shows on July 8, 1982 featuring Victim, River and Obsession and for July 9, 1982 featuring The De Castro Bros and The Keith Welch Group. Dennis De Castro just recently passed away.