|The Steve Miller Blues Band at the Matrix on the weekend of December 20-23, 1966|
Some of the musicians who lived in the house had a jug band called The Instant Action Jug Band, so named because they could spring into action at any time when the Jabberwock had no other performers. The membership was kind of fluid, since if anyone had another gig or a date they didn't play. According to Joe McDonald and Barry Melton, the future founders of Country Joe And The Fish, Miller not only stayed with them, but actually played with the Instant Action Jug Band as well. Miller was sold--he made plans to return to Berkeley.
Miller's new band rehearsed over Thanksgiving weekend in the unlocked basement of Wurster Hall, the UC Berkeley Architecture building. According to Miller, he rapidly had a band that knew 25 tunes, “in tune and tight.” He found a gig for his band at a Berkeley coffee house on Telegraph Avenue (near Bancroft) called The Forum.
As December wore on, however, Miller began to run out of money. His gig at The Forum, however, lead to a paying gig at the Avalon, and the princely offer of $500 made sure he would not be forced to return to Chicago. To celebrate, Miller rented a room on College Avenue, and took his band to dinner and a movie.
|The Datebook listings from the San Francisco Chronicle of December 16, 1966. The Steve Miller Blues Band and guitarist Steve Mann are opening at The Matrix. This was the first published listing for the Steve Miller Band|
The Steve Miller Blues Band was booked at The Matrix, probably as a result of being seen at The Forum. In any case, once they were on an Avalon poster, even as an opening act, the Matrix could book them. Steve Mann was an astonishing fingerpicking blues guitarist, a successful session musician and a personal mess, with numerous health problems. Those who saw him play way back when--and that includes people like Jorma Kaukonen--say he was one of the most talented players in the Bay Area.
January 6-7, 1967: Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA Quicksilver Messenger Service/Miller Blues Band
Dick Personett seems to have returned to the Midwest fairly quickly. Around this time, Miller replaced Personett with Berkeley bassist Lonnie Turner, whom he’d met at The Jabberwock on the previous year’s scouting trip. At the time, Turner was the bassist for a Berkeley band called Second Coming. It's not certain when Turner actually joined.
February 17, 1967: New Orleans House, Berkeley, CA Steve Miller Blues Band
February 18-19, 1967 The Matrix, San Francisco, CA Steve Miller Blues Band
Sometime in February of 1967, Miller flew out keyboard player Jim Peterman, also from Madison. In an interesting interview with Nick Warburton, Peterman explains that he came out and played some shows in February to see if he would fit in. It's not precisely certain which shows he played, but I assume he would have had some warmup gigs at a place like the Matrix before playing more high-profile shows like the Fillmore. The audition was a success, but Peterman wanted to finish his last three months of college at UW, so he did not join the band until late May.
February 19, 1967: California Hall, San Francisco, CA Country Joe and The Fish/Steve Miller Blues Band/Mime Troupe
February 26, 1967: Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA BB King/Moby Grape/Steve Miller Blues Band [added]
March 5, 1967: California Hall, San Francisco, Steve Miller Blues Band/Orkustra/Dino Valenti/SF Mime Troupe/The Committee/Richard Brautigan
The Communications Company was a sort of "newspaper" and printing press that printed a lot of broadsides in the Haight on behalf of the Diggers.
March 10-11, 1967: Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA Quicksilver Messenger Service/Steve Miller Blues Band/Daily Flash
“Phoenix Dance” Benefit for Aid to Vietnam and Mississippi
March 30, 1967: Berkeley Community Theater, Berkeley, CA Jimmy Reed/John Lee Hooker/Charles Lloyd/Miller Blues Band
April 1, 1967: Main Auditorium, San Francisco State College 6th Annual Folk Festival Buffy St. Marie/Greg Ohrlin/Patrick Sky/Steve Miller Blues Band
April 1, 1967: Girls Gym, San Francisco State College 6th Annual Folk Festival Dance Chambers Brothers/John Hammond and The Screaming Nighthawks/Steve Miller Blues Band
|An ad from the April 6, 1967 Sf Chronicle for the Steve Miller Band at the Rock Garden.|
April 4-9, 1967: Rock Garden, San Francisco, CA Steve Miller Band/The Only Alternative and His Other Possibility with Kay Olsen/The Orkustra
The Rock Garden was a short-lived attempt to have a Fillmore style venue at in the neighborhoods. Now the venue is largely only remembered for some exotic, circular posters.
April 14-15, 1967: Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA The Doors/Miller Blues Band/Hajibaba
April 21-23, 1967: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA Steve Miller Blues Band
May 5, 1967: Stockton Ballroom, Stockton, CA Steve Miller Band/The Plague
An obscure poster for this event has turned up. The Stockton Ballroom was a small ballroom that still exists. The show was presented by Green Grass
May 13, 1967 Wurster Hall, UC Berkeley Steve Miller Blues Band
This was part of a campus event called The Beaux Arts Festival. Wurster was the new UC Architecture building. It is doubtful that the current configuration could handle a dance concert, but I assume the building was less full then.
May 15, 1967 Both/And Club, San Francisco Steve Miller Blues Band
The Both/And was a jazz club at 350 Divisadero, near the Haight. Rock bands sometimes played there as well, particularly on otherwise empty Monday nights like this one.
May 28, 1967: Provo Park, Berkeley, CA Steve Miller Blues Band, Mad River, Purple Earthquake
Bands played for free in Berkeley's main city park (at Grove and Allston), similar to how they played for free in Golden Gate Park.