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.

THE BLUE LAW

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 BANK
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.

45 comments:

  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. http://www.myspace.com/thebanktorrance

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  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

    corry

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

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  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.


    Steve tinkersown@ca.rr.com

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  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.

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  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.
    (www.myspace.com/thebanktorrance)

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  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: http://tinyurl.com/yjqbhce

    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.

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  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.

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  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.

    www.peanutbutterconspiracy.com

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  10. I have a concert promotion poster featuring Pink Floyd and Black Pearl playing The Bank in Torrance, CA....no dates listed, but through research I have done I estimate the date is 1968. Anyone out there have the same?

    Kris

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  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

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  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 willsinfo@oco.net

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  13. CORRY342~ AWESOME WORK! ANY INSIGHT TO SHARE ON CONCERTS AT THE SHRINE, L.A. CIRCA LATE 60'S- EARLY 70'S?

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  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.

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  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...

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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!).

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  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)

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

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  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 quick...so 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

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  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.)...no beach boys or mo-town crap need apply..thank you

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  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.
    Cheers,

    Kim Reynolds
    email: irishmanreynolds2@hotmail.com
    work: kim.reynolds@warnerbros.com

    http://www.myspace.com/thebanktorrance

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  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

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  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.

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  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.

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  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....

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  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.

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    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!

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  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.

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    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)

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  35. OMG...Corry, I was just given this link by my old friend record producer/manager David Rubinson.......as 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 sorts...in 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

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  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 minute...so 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" !
    Best,
    stephen craig aristei

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

    http://rockprosopography101.blogspot.com/2010/08/bank-19840-south-hamilton-avenue.html

    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.

    Corry

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  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 pjackson.1216@charter.net about it. Thanks

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

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  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.

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    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.

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  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.

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  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?

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