Friday, December 11, 2009

Thee Image and The Miami Rock Scene, March 1968-April 1969












The recent discovery of some "lost" Grateful Dead gigs at Thee Image in Miami on April 12-13-14, 1968, springing from an AP Wire Service story about an Easter Sunday "Love-In" at Greynolds Park in North Miami Beach (right, from the Colorado Springs Gazette of April 15, 1968), pointed out the paucity of prosopographical analysis of Thee Image and the psychedelic rock scene in Miami in the late 1960s. I am attempting to rectify the gap with this post.


Overview
Thee Image was Miami's biggest and best known psychedelic rock club, even though it was only open for about 13 months. It was located in a former 32-lane bowling alley at 18330 Collins Avenue, just North of Miami in Sunny Isles Beach. It was principally operated by a band from Tampa, FL, originally called The Motions, who had changed their name to Blues Image in an homage to The Blues Project. Blues Image were reputedly hip Florida's best live band, with twin drummers and a funky, swinging sound. Besides helping operate the club, they were the house band and apparently played just about every weekend there, whether or not they appeared on the bill.

Thee Image opened on March 15, 1968 with The Mothers of Invention, and the last gig that I can find was April 26, 1969 with Ten Years After. The club had three stages and multiple rooms, along with a wall of Ampeg speakers, so it wasn't just a converted building. The club seems to be remembered fondly by performers and fans, but there is very little in the way of photographs or live tapes, and only a few posters circulate.

Visiting bands were impressed with the Blues Image, but Frank Zappa suggested that they would have to go to New York or Los Angeles to make it, and Eric Burdon invited them to Los Angeles, so in Spring 1969 they closed Thee Image and moved to Los Angeles. They briefly backed Burdon and went on to some success with the hit single "Ride Captain Ride" in 1970.

Background
The one really interesting source on the late 1960s Florida rock scene was a multi-page site by one GL Sullivan, full of fascinatingly detailed information including detailed line drawings. This site is no longer accessible on the web, so while I will quote from it liberally, any information on links to his material would be very welcome.

The South was slow to open itself to psychedelic rock, not due to lack of interest from young people, but due to the more conservative nature of the region and police hostility to long hair, drug use and draft resisters.  Miami, while very much part of the South, was also primarily a resort town and a destination for many people from the Northeast, and it had the relaxed informality of most seaside communities. While not necessarily hippie friendly, and while not yet quite Margaritaville, it was less conservative than other port cities in the South, so its not surprising that Miami was one of the first places in the South to attract a critical mass of hippies.

The World, Biscayne Blvd at NE 142nd Street
According to Sullivan
Previously in South Florida, before The World had opened in 1967, the only concert venues had been Code One and Tiger's Den (Masters) in Ft. Lauderdale and The Place
in North Miami. The World, sponsored by radio station WQAM and hosted by DJ Rick Shaw, was built in an old National Guard Armory hanger building off of Biscayne Blvd.
at NE 142nd St.  Admission was $1.75. 
It was total Psychedelia. There were 5 or 6 stages high up over the dance floor.   Black lights, strobe lights and oil/slide light shows were everywhere.   The house band was The Kollektion, a Super Group made up of members of the best local bands in South Florida, such as the Mor-Loks, the Shaggs, Sounds Unlimited and Dr. T & the Undertakers. 
Several bands would play every Wed., Fri. & Sat. nights, with a host of national acts, such as:  Spirit, Spencer Davis Group, Iron Butterfly, Mitch Ryder, Wilson Pickett, Moby Grape and Wayne Cochran.  Today, the building is a warehouse.
I only have a few performance dates for The World:
  • May 3-4, 1968 Iron Butterfly/The Seven Of Us/Echo
  • May 10-11, 1968 Clear Light/Blues Image/Bangles
Based on the bands mentioned by Sullivan, the venue probably did not last beyond the middle of 1968. As the rock market evolved, Miami hippies first needed a cooler place, which they found at Thee Experience, and then a bigger place and The Blues Image helped put together Thee Image. Sullivan:
The World had started to become too big and many of the local "hippies"  needed a smaller, cooler, hipper more private place to hang.  Soon, Thee Experience opened up a few blocks down the road, in a biker bar. The better San Francisco and West coast bands were playing there, instead of The World. 
Then, Thee Experience had booked the Mothers of Invention to appear.  The club was too small, so they found an old 32 Lane Bowling Alley on Collins Ave. and opened up Thee Image.  The Mothers of Invention opened thee Image on March 15/16, 1968 and the rest is history.   
Thee Image was the ultimate experience.  There were 3 stages with black lights and day glow paint everywhere.  A shop sold all your psychedelic needs.  And, of course there was the Meditation Room...   The house band was the Blues Image.   It was open Fri., Sat., & Sun. nights, with the admission price between $2 and$3, depending on who was performing. The  list of famous bands that performed there was endless, including: 
the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Loving Spoonful, the Velvet Underground, Country Joe & the Fish, Big Brother & the Holding Company, The Yardbirds, TheTroggs, Procol Harum, Ten Years After, The Electric Flag, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, James Cotton Blues Band (James jammed with the Blues Image until the Sun came up), Cactus,
Elvin Bishop Blues Band, Savoy Brown and the US premiere of Magical Mystery Tour... 
Often, the band would put on a free concert Sunday afternoon at Greynolds Park.  Today,  the building is a  Publix  supermarket...
As near as I can tell, the operator of the initial, smaller Thee Experience club was one Marshall Brevetz. Brevetz was also involved with the Blues Image in the operation of Thee Image as well. Its hard to be certain what role he played, but it seems that Brevetz was more of a manager and booking agent, and Blues Image were more involved in the daily operation of the club.

I have no idea which "West Coast" bands played Thee Experience, and I would very much like to know.

Rock Band Performances, Miami, FL March 1968-April 1969
It is reasonable to presume that Thee Image was open every weekend, with Blues Image and/or regional bands, but these are the dates I have been able to uncover. Anyone with additional information or memories (real or imagined) is encouraged to Comment or email me.

March 15-16, 1968  Thee Image, Miami, FL Mothers of Invention/Blues Image

March 23, 1968  Thee Image, Miami, FL Lovin Spoonful/The Bangles/The Kollection/Blues Image
Note that The Kollection were the house band at the competing club The World.

April 5-6-7, 1968  Thee Image, Miami, FL Country Joe and The Fish
There is a poster for the week of April 5-14.

April 8-9-10, 1968 Thee Image, Miami, FL Yardbirds/Blues Image/The Kollection/The Bangles
This was a rare Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday billing for the Jimmy Page-era Yardbirds.

April 11, 1968 Thee Image, Miami, FL Cream/Blues Image
As numerous Commenters have observed, Cream played a surprise show at Thee Image on this date, and apparently rattled the walls.

April 12-13-14, 1968 Thee Image, Miami, FL Grateful Dead
April 14, 1968    Greynolds Park, Miami, FL Grateful Dead/Blues Image
I have discussed these shows at length elsewhere.

April 19-20-21, 1968  Thee Image, Miami, FL Grateful Dead/Blues Image

May 3-4, 1968 The World, Miami, FL Iron Butterfly/The Seven Of Us/Echo

May 10-11, 1968 The World, Miami, FL Clear Light/Blues Image/Bangles
May 10-11, 1968 Thee Image, Miami, FL Procol Harum/Fantasy/The Kollection
Note that the two "House Bands," The Blues Image and The Kollection, are playing at their "opposite" clubs this weekend, a sign that the bands and promoters were cooperating.

May 18-19, 1968 Gulfstream Park, Hallandale, FL Miami Pop Festival
Jimi Hendrix Experience/Mothers of Invention/Blue Cheer/Crazy World of Arthur Brown/John Lee Hooker/The Crowd/The Bangals
Marshall Brevetz and Michael Lang, the owner of Coconut Grove's first head shop, put together the Miami Pop Festival at a horse racing track (Gulfstream Park) in nearby Hallandale. Criteria Studios in Miami helped put the sound system together, as they had for Thee Image. The show was a financial disaster, mainly due to bad weather, and the second day was canceled altogether. Hendrix, Zappa and many other unoccupied musicians spent the day jamming in a bar. Lang went on to organize Woodstock.

May 25, 1968 Dinner Key Auditorium, Coconut Grove, FL Vanilla Fudge/Ojus Philharmonic
Jim Morrison’s notorious exposure incident took place here in 1969.

June 7-8, 1968 Thee Image, Miami, FL Vanilla Fudge/Fantasy

>July 2-7, 1968 Thee Image, Miami, FL Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac was booked, but canceled. They hung out in San Francisco this week.

July 14, 1968 Thee Image, Miami, FL Blood, Sweat & Tears/Blues Image
David Clayton-Thomas had already joined, as founder Al Kooper had recently left.

“Summer 68”  Thee Image, Miami, FL Spirit/NRBQ
“Summer 68” Thee Image, Miami, FL Amboy Dukes/NRBQ/Fantasy
“Summer 68” Thee Image, Miami, FL Canned Heat/NRBQ/Blues Image


September 20, 1968 Thee Image, Miami, FL Chambers Brothers

October 5, 1968 Thee Image, Miami, FL NRBQ/Blues Image/Fantasy

October 11, 1968 Thee Image, Miami, FL Blue Cheer

October 14, 1968  Thee Image, Miami, FL John Mayall
 From the Mayall Fan Club. Not confirmed—date approximate, venue assumed.

October 26, 1968 Sports Arena, Miami, FL Cream
Cream was the biggest live rock act in the country at the time. Numerous eyewitnesses say that Cream played Thee Image as well, although exactly when remains in dispute. It was probably considerably earlier than this show. Apparently, unscheduled shows were common at Thee Image, and often sold out by word of mouth. Jimi Hendrix Experience also apparently made a surprise appearance one night as well. This isn't as far-fetched as it might seem--touring bands often used Miami for a kind of time-out, sometimes when they were recording at Criteria Studios as well (update: April 11, 1968 seems like a plausible date, and a photo exists of Cream performing at Thee Image).

November 2, 1968 Thee Image, Miami, FL Canned Heat

November 15-16, 1968 Thee Image, Miami, FL Jeff Beck Group/NRBQ
According to various sources, Jimmy Page jams with the Jeff Beck Group on the first night. I really hope this is true, but of course Led Zeppelin plays Manchester the next night. I still prefer to believe its possible.

November 22-23, 1968 Thee Image, Miami, FL Steppenwolf
The date is from Billboard (Nov 16, 68). Possibly November 30 also.

November 24, 1968 Miami Beach Convention Hall, Miami, FL Jimi Hendrix Experience/Cat Mother and The All Night Newsboys
 
December ?, 1968  Thee Image, Miami, FL Iron Butterfly
According to Sullivan (who was there), guitarist Erik Brann collapsed on stage, and left in an ambulance.

December ?, 1968  Thee Image, Miami, FL Fever Tree/Fantasy

December 14, 1968  Thee Image, Miami, FL Amboy Dukes

December 21, 1968 Thee Image, Miami, FL Blues Image

December 28-30, 1968 Hollywood Pop Festival, Gulfstream Park, Miami, FL
I'm not certain who were the promoters behind this version of the Miami Pop Festival, but I believe Marshall Brevetz played a key role.

December 28, 1968: Jose Feliciano/Country Joe and The Fish/Buffy St. Marie/Chuck Berry/Infinite McCoys/Wayne Cochran/Dino Valente/Fleetwood Mac/Pacific Gas & Electric/Terry Reid
 

December 29-30, 1968:  Procol Harum/Three Dog Night/Steppenwolf/Marvin Gaye/Grateful Dead/Hugh Masakela/Flatt & Scruggs/Paul Butterfield Blues Band/Joni Mitchell/James Cotton Blues Band/Richie Havens/Box Tops/Iron Butterfly/The Turtles/Canned Heat/The Grass Roots/Junior Walker and The All-AStars/Sweetwater/Joe Tex/Ian & Sylvia/Charles Lloyd Quartet
 

February 14-15, 1969 Thee Image, Miami, FL Led Zeppelin/Fantasy
There are interesting descriptions of seeing Zep at Thee Image at the Zeppelin concert site.

February 21-22, 1969 Thee Image, Miami, FL John Mayall

March 1, 1969 Dinner Key Auditorium, Coconut Grove, FL The Doors
In a notorious incident, Thee Image promoters Ken and Jim Collier put on a Doors show at the large Dinner Key Auditorium, apparently a converted airplane hangar. Jim Morrison, quite out of it, reputedly exposes himself to an ugly crowd. Morrison is subsequently indicted for indecent exposure, and the effect is bad for both The Doors and rock music in the South. Since Thee Image were the promoters, contemporary Florida papers suggest that there is pressure on the venue to close.

April 25-26, 1969 Thee Image, Miami, FL Ten Years After
(Note: of the groups referred to by Sullivan above who are not otherwise on this list, the well-researched Big Brother, Electric Flag and Velvet Underground lists do not include Thee Image or Miami, although anything is possible. The Troggs toured America in Spring 1968, and Savoy Brown and Elvin Bishop toured America in early 1969, and Butterfield Blues Band toured constantly, although I cannot pin down exact dates).

(the building on the left is the "Sunny Isles Bowl," opened in 1962, and converted in 1968 to Thee Image. The postcard image is from an exceptional Led Zeppelin site, and includes a photo of Cream at Thee Image)

Appendices: The Blues Image and Marshall Brevitz

It is worth adding a few words about The Blues Image and Marshall Brevetz, some of the principal entities behind Thee Image.

Blues Image

Blues Image were a 6-piece R&B band called The Motions from Tampa, Florida, with two drummers, one of several acts around the country who started playing with two drummers, including the Dead in San Francisco and Clear Light in Los Angeles. There seems to be a good argument to make that The Motions were first in 1966, but in any case none of the bands seemed aware of each other. The Motions moved to Miami because they felt they had a better chance to make it. They changed their name, too, and Blues Image was an homage to Al Kooper and The Blues Project, at that time an ultra-hip band (and rightly so). The best known members of Blues Image today are guitarist Mike Pinera, still rocking it today, and drummer/percussionist Joe Lala, active for many years as a session man and best known for working with Stephen Stills Manassas (not to mention a lengthy acting career).

When Thee Image opened in March 1968, Blues Image were not only the house band, they ran the club. It appears that Blues Image played pretty much every weekend at Thee Image, whether or not they were on the poster. Visiting musicians were very impressed with the group, and both Frank Zappa and Eric Burdon told them that they had to move to New York or Los Angeles to make it. Since Zappa and Burdon were both based in Los Angeles, Blues Image moved to Los Angeles. They released a few albums, enjoyable blues rock for the most part, but clearly somewhat tamer than their impressive live reputation, a typical result of 60s record production.

After their self-titled debut album on Atco in 1969, Blues Image's second album in 1970 was called Open, and it featured the single "Ride, Captain, Ride" a worldwide monster hit. Mike Pinera had actually left the band he helped found by that time, but he went on to play with Iron Butterfly, Ramatam, New Cactus, Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent and many others. After a final album in 1971 (Red, White and Blues Image) the group broke up for good. 

Marshall Brevetz
Although the Blues Image ran Thee Image, one of the key participants was a promoter named Marshall Brevetz. He seems to have been a big mover and shaker on the Florida rock scene in 1968. He organized two outdoor concerts in 1968 at Gulfstream Park (May 18-19 and December 28-30) in Hallandale, FL. Hallandale is fairly near to Thee Image. The Dead played the Hollywood Pop Festival in December 1968 (Hollywood is a small town near Hallandale). Brevetz worked with future Woodstock promoter Michael Lang on these concerts.

Brevetz, too, was looking for a larger stage than Miami could offer at the time, and he moved with The Blues Image to Los Angeles in April 1969. With the house band and staff gone, Thee Image closed. Brevetz opened a hip Hollywood (California) nightclub called Thee Experience, at 7551 Sunset Boulevard (between Stanley and Curson), with the name a shout out to the prior club. Blues Image initially were the house band at Thee Experience, until they were rapidly snapped up by Atco, just as Zappa and Burdon had predicted (Blues Image apparently backed Eric Burdon for a tour as well, in mid-1969).

In 1970, Thee Experience closed, and Brevetz replaced it with a venue called Thee Club, with his signature "Thee" intact. Thee Club was somewhat ahead of its time, an upscale restaurant and rock club, but the rock market was not ready for it. Still, Brevetz opened Thee Club with an appropriate bang, bringing in the acoustic Grateful Dead to open the venue on August 28, 1970.

Thee Club did not last long either, however, and Brevetz moved on to artist management, where his primary client was Bobby Womack. Womack was successful as a performer, producer and writer in the 1970s, but Brevitz died in 1986, and his intriguing career was cut short.

(update: a very interesting Forum thread mostly populated by Miami folks has some very interesting memories about Thee Image, and is well worth a look)

82 comments:

  1. Spent many a day enjoying Miami Beach back in the day! I distinctly remember seeing Hendrix at Thee Image. Are my memories clouded? Could he have played there when he was in Miami? BTW, Greynolds Park on Sundays was a blast!!

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    1. hello,and yes the park was a blast..

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    2. Jimi was at Miami Bch Convention Center and at Gulfstream aka Miami Pop Fest. 2. He might have stopped in but don't believe it was announced.

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  2. Kiki, just because your memories are clouded doesn't mean they're wrong! Jimi Hendrix was well known for dropping in to play all sorts of places with little or no warning, so it would make perfect sense that he played a stealth gig at Thee Image. Do you recall if he played with The Experience or with another band?

    Part of the reason I wrote this post is because there is so little mention (in print or on The Web) of the Miami rock scene. Do you recall any of the bands you saw in Graynolds Park?

    thanks for Commenting
    Corry

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  3. I attended several of the above shows. A friend saw Led Zeppelin at Thee Image and thought they were better than anyone playing at the time. There is no mention of The Place or some of the free Grove shows. Hendrix also played at the Jai-Alai Fronton.

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    1. Zep did play as the New Yardbirds. Seems less than 300 where there as I was right in front of the stage. Did not do drugs at that point in my life and WOW what a show. Was totally blown away. Never heard anything like that in my life. Totally outstanding!!!

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  4. Howard, what was "The Place," and where was "The Grove?" Do you recall any bands who played there?

    There seems to have been a lot of terrific concerts in Miami in the 60s, and yet they have gone almost completely unnoticed. The memories of people who were there (even if they are a bit vague) seem to be about all we have left.

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  5. Frank said:

    As a parent this period was a nightmare; however as I looked back over the years, I realized that my son, in his generation, was no different than I had been in my teen years. He grew, we matured, and today not only am I proud to be his Dad, but not ashamed to say that I love him and that he is my best friend.

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  6. I was at Thee Image only once, to see a movie not a concert. I think it was "Magical Mystery Tour", but it could have been "Yellow Submarine". We all squeezed onto the floor, probably the meditation room. I'll never forget the girl, but I draw a total blank on the film and what date I was there. Any help?

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  7. So, I can't even believe all this information is here. I spent so many nights at Thee Image and at Greynolds Park love in's. I remember seeing--and then drinking with--Country Joe and the Fish at a small motel jazz bar--Ranchers-- that usually featured the Ira Sullivan Quartet ( I still know the bass player from that time). I was underage with a fake id--those were the days...I think I saw every band that came to town then. How amazing!

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  8. Wow. I think I have an Ira Sullivan album (on cd)on Atlantic.

    Thanks for the kind words.

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  9. I used to have the Ira Sullivan--Horizons? album on vinyl--long gone though. Ranchers was torn down long ago but all the jazz players that came to town would go there and jam after their gigs. I discovered the place after a MB concert that included Herbie Hancock playing work from his album Speak Like a Child ( I can't believe I remember all this--I was a super precocious teen when it came to music). Did you know that Bob Dylan played MB as part of his Blonde on Blonde tour? It was my first concert. My dad took me and dropped me off...too funny. Oh and Nico played with the Velvet Underground at that Image gig--I remember. South Florida got so much great music during that time. It was amazing.

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  10. DH said

    Did everyone forget about Pirates World? Must have been the summer of 69 (maybe 70) Saw Led Zeppelin two nights in a row! Better than that was Jeff Beck. Had a lead singer with him strutting all over the stage. No one knew who he was but blew us away. Later found out it was Rod Stewart. It was the drummer for Iron Butterfly that passed out at the Image. Almost finished the solo on Godda da vida but hit the floor so hard they had to call the ambulance!
    Some great memories...

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  11. Wanted to comment on Pirates World! Boy, that was a great place. Used to go with a huge gaggle of friends and spend endless hours. I miss those days:(

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  12. Wanted to comment on Pirates World! Boy, that was a great place. Used to go with a huge gaggle of friends and spend endless hours. I miss those days:(

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  13. Thanks for the comments on Pirate's World, which if anything was an even more obscure venue than Thee Image.

    What would you estimate was the capacity of Pirate's World? Big place, small place?

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  14. A footnote for DH: The Jeff Beck Group shows at 'Pirate's Cove' in Pirates World Amusement Center was on July 18-19, 1969 and Led Zeppelin shows was on August 22-23, 1969.

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  15. The concert area at Pirates World was inside the large amusement park. Maybe 2,000 people? 100 feet of floor space between the stage and a row of wooden bleacher seats that faced the stage. Totally open air, don't even think there was a roof over the stage.
    Seems like a lot of the big names were booked at the Sportatorium after that .

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    1. Remember Ozzy with B. S. What a show! Do remember that far end of the hall a bunch of people dressed as witches and such. left after seeing them...to much ahhhh...input.

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  16. You actually spell Marshall's last name Brevetz. He was my uncle, my mom's brother. He died in 1986, not in the 70;s.

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  17. Thanks for the heads up, Michelle. I fixed all the spellings and the date as well.

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  18. I had a pretty steady gig at Thee Image with my bands Poison and The New Breed Blues Band. We acted as house band a half dozen times or more plus the Greynolds Park thing for free.

    When the club started you couldn't hear the bands well because the stage was so wide. I got Gus Rubin from Ace Music to loan me a pile of Standell amps to show the owners what more equipment would do to help the sound. The Standells promptly blew up. Gus shit a brick.

    Nevertheless the next time I showed up to gig there was wall-to-wall unbreakable monster Ampeg amplifiers to play through. What a difference that made. Somebody was listening.

    It was a great club and I played all over. The light show was just as good as the Fillmore West. The Blues Image could knock you on your ass when they got hot.

    One night Frank Zappa came out from backstage while I was playing Hammond and singing. Maybe I sounded bad or maybe because we had brass (horns). I dunno.

    Frank climbed up under the front of the Hammond and rested just his little pointed head right at the end of the cabinet. All I could see was a dis-embodied Zappa face with that rats nest of hair, the goatee and Jimmy Carl Black looming over him in the background. I thought they might just kick my ass for fun. But I managed to remember the words and what a memory of that evening that left me!

    And if anybody knows where my favorite groupie "Paulette B" wound up please let me know. I don't care if she got old and fat like the rest of us, I would just like to say thanks.

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  19. rlee, thanks so much for sharing your recollections. Everybody from back then says that the Blues Image were just a tremendous live band, and their albums simply never did them justice. I know that they were one of the first bands with two drummers, and it knocked everyone out.

    The Zappa story was hilarious. Here's to hoping that Paulette B has google and reads this also.

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  20. Got lots of info to clear up for ya. That previous guy, it was Magical Mystery Tour, not Yellow Submarine. I went to the event but forget if we played that night or not.

    The earlier question about "The Grove" may have just been a generic reference to the fact that before it became so heavily commercial Coconut Grove itself(the town) used to allow us hippies to set up a free stage at Bayfront park and play on Sundays. Believe me a cloud of smoke hung over the entire park all day. A lot like the free concerts we put on at Greynolds park in the north end of Miami.

    It was something cool in the beginning with all of us stoned eating at Lum's across the street from the park and then guys started banging on congas and the music would start at the water's edge while folks threw frisbees and played with their dogs. Miami was cool as heck. Not like the South where I rode under a blanket on the floor of the car when we went through redneck towns. I used to have hair once upon a time.

    There was a freak called "Star" wandering around Bayfront Park with his pet goat on a leash, while Star waved a magic wand and minced around in a white monk's cape. Pretty weird, I thought.

    I had free tickets to go to see The Doors at Bayfront Auditorium but frankly I was afraid Jim Morrison would get terrifically pissed off if a crowd of ex-winos showed up and put the shine on like they were the real deal. I was, let's say a bit sceptical about a few newcomers to the scene shall I say. Uh-oh, did I say something wrong?

    You asked who else played Miami well here's two more: Real early on I saw Simon and Garfunkel over at the Coliseum, which was still an active bowling alley and dance hall on Douglas Road in Coral Gables.

    I guess somebody thought the kids from Gables High would be into the soft folk stylings of the pair who had just invented "folk rock" with The Sounds of Silence. Douglas Road after all wasn't too far from "The Flick" coffeehouse where my pal Vince Martin sang and played 12 string. There was lots of room for folk in the Grove scene. As a precocious teen I had booked a few folk festivals at my prep school up in Boca Raton, drawing from all the talent in the Grove at the time.

    The other band I saw at the Coliseum a little later, I believe late '67 was Spirit with Randy California. Spirit was pretty successful right from the start and their stage show sounded pretty slick as I recall. Good gear except Randy was to my astonishment playing a $40 Sears DanElectro Silvertone single pickup guitar---the very same model I first learned guitar on. Boy it never sounded like that when I played mine!

    Simon and Garfunkel on the other hand just pulled out a couple of wooden bar stools and sang duets. I remember you could hardly hear them and they both looked a little scared and man were they young looking.

    There's endless amounts more but I am taking up too much space. Did I get to the part about how me and Hendrix were both in different road bands and started jabbering one afternoon about guitars and amplifiers? Nobody believed me because I told everybody my new friend (when they ask tell them my name was James Hendrix, he said) was playing an upside down Fender JazzMaster-a white one- at his gig in Fort Lauderdale with Wilson Pickett. I was just about the only white boy there so nobody would back me up. I told him to quit playing for black folk and go get the whites.

    "You will just about fry their brains with your guitar stylings," I told him. "I have never heard chord voicings the way you phrase and your stage presence is just what white kids would love to see." Believe me I saw a lot of white kids trying to be black and Jimi did it better.

    The other day I saw somebody posted pictures of Jimi with the Isleys and Wilson Pickett too and there was that dang Jazzmaster! Thank God for the internet, it lets you play the tape back and prove what you said sometimes.

    Peace. Out. Rick Lee.

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  21. Rick, thank you so much for all these memories. I was trying to peek through the keyhole of time with what little information I could glean about Thee Image and the Miami rock scene in the 60s, and then you came along with a complete picture. Trust me, you aren't taking up too much space--these kinds of memories are what this blog is all about.

    Spirit was supposed to be a really great band from the very beginning (they certainly were later). Its amazing to hear that Randy was playing a really basic guitar.

    Its also fascinating to hear about the free concerts in Bayfront Park in Coral Gables, and the concerts at the Coliseum (is that the Miami Coliseum?). Your recollections are great--drop by anytime.

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  22. It was Bayfront Park in Coconut Grove, not Coral Gables. The Grove was a tiny waterfront bedroom community on Biscayne Bay five miles south of downtown Miami and a half mile east of Coral Gables.

    The Grove was the kind of place where a friend might be renting a stone artist's cottage previously used by Timothy Leary. It was the kind of place a penniless Jimmy Buffet would immortalize in a song about petty theft to steal food at the famous Grove Mini Mart (hey I did it first).

    The Coliseum building was just the Coliseum in Coral Gables, not in Miami. It was huge, a multi-floor building with bowling alley on one level and if I got the story straight a second level was a ballroom back in the early boom days of Coral Gables.

    Older people used to have these enormous venues to go hear big bands like Glenn Miller once upon a time and the Coliseum was apparently quite a ballroom back in the 20s and 30s.

    The place was all ways looking for ways to increase its usefullness to the community once the big bands faded from the scene. I am sure others know of countless projects the elephant sized building was put to use providing.

    Coral Gables itself in 1925 was once a cutting edge real estate development with grandiose projects like the Coliseum and The Biltmore Hotel (which had canals and gondolas imported from Italy).

    I used to go swimming in a Coral Gables swimming hole that was once just a rock pit used to provide stone for buildings. Then somebody built a massive Mediterranean temple to the gods of sun, fun and swimming and Esther Williams the swimming star would do laps there and show off the good life. From rock pit to an imaginary swimming pool on the Italian Riviera. Only in Florida, kids.

    George Misner was the prime architect for all this Mediterranean Italianate madness of design. His forte was barrel tile roofs and sweeping lavish estates fit for kings.

    Growing up in Coral Gables and/or Palm Beach one might be excused for feeling a bit smug from all the high living. I wouldn't know as I left town and went on the road to be a wandering minstrel during the soul and Psychedelic days of the 60s.

    I allways found the best cure for all that high living was a joint and a swig of cheap rot gut. And it was necessary to put together a hot band to blow minds. Minds must be blown. With some friends. Don't forget the part about friends.

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  23. On reflection I seem to have scrambled up the names of the two architects prominent in building in the Mediterranean-Spanish style. It was George Merrick primarily in Coral Gables and Addison Mizner primarily in Palm Beach. There was no George Misner, lol.

    Oh well, gotta keep the record straight as those days of glory still set the bar pretty high. Architecture and music are both wonderful things and sometimes the bands of the 60s wound up playing in buildings designed by architechs of earlier times. It was part of the charm of the times.

    I played the Roseland Ballroom in St. Petersburg with Donny Hathaway back in 1968. It had been a white bastion of swing music and switched over to soul music when the inner city consumed it. Donny of course went on to record "Where is the Love" with Roberta Flack in 1972.

    By the way there was a popluar song about Coconut Grove by John Sebastian of the Loving Spoonful written in 1967. A lot of stuff happened in the area that year as you know now. I actually first met Joe Lala of the Blues Image in Tampa in 1967 while I played a small club near MacDill Air Force Base.

    Joe knew the guys I was gigging with and he loved the sound I was making on the guitar. I was playing with broken 45 record chips for guitar picks and it made the notes cry and moan. It was partly because I couldn't afford guitar picks.

    "It also chews hell out of the strings so eventually I have to find another way to get the notes to sustain," I told Joe. "I'm breaking strings all night and that ain't cool." We didn't know about overdrive pedals or Marshall stacks back then.

    Mike Pinera got a great stage sound out of his rig in his early days at Thee Image. Before the club put in walls of Ampegs Mike had his Fender 410 Super Rever souped up with 100 watts instead of 60 and he added a 2x15 Fender Showman cabinet under it to get the sustain and punch he wanted. It was pretty loud for a home made rig.

    This was before Carlos Santana took an even smaller Fender Princeton and souped it up to 100 watts and basically invented the Mesa Boogie concept. At least it was before I got close enough to try to steal ideas from Carlos like I stole them from everybody else.

    In the earliest days getting "your sound" was pretty critical as every gig needed different volume to keep the club owner happy. The amps were mostly crap and would blow up a lot.

    My equipment conversation with Hendrix when he was still a teen was evidence of the undeniable urge to have a competitive sound on the bandstand. The sound Hendrix got at the Armory in Fort Lauderdale while with Wilson Pickett was fantastic. I was dying to know what he had and that's why I cornered the young player between sets and I complimented him so highly before picking his brain.

    His rig sounded like a ballsy version of Steve Cropper of Booker T and the MGs. Very gritty and very cutting. I wanted to know real bad how he did it. The guy actually danced with his guitar as the notes came out. It was hypnotic and I told him so.

    "It's an ancient 410 Fender Bassman," James (Jimi) told me, standing there in a mohair suit looking like new money. "Guys that play bass are junking these as they have poor bottom compared to a new closed cabinet setup, but they are fantastic for guitar," he said. "It is so loud I can carry this big old place without going over five on the volume knob." I was impressed as heck by everything about this guy. God he was handsome and I usually don't notice that particular detail about guys.

    I soon found a used Bassman amp over at Ace music but I didn't have the extra bread to scarf it up. I was already into Gus Rubin for various purchases needed just to keep working and money was pretty tight.

    Had to keep a little for "essentials" ---wink-wink, nudge-nudge, he said.

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  24. Anyone remember Nebas on Collins near Thee Image? This was the quintessential hippie scene of my memories!
    Great drugs to be had by all!

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  25. Rick and Kiki, thank so much for the great memories. It adds so much to the post.

    Rick, I think you've got a really good blog inside of you, waiting to come out...

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  26. Here's another tidbit for ya: Every summer the 4H kids would have a cow and pig contest at the South Florida 4H youth fair held 10 miles south of Miami way out in the sticks on Kendall Drive. So I go out there to eat some corn dogs and smell the odors of the farm just for kicks and who is playing to about 50 people in the "youth tent." Jefferson Airplane! I do not remember if Grace had joined the band yet---I kind of doubt it because when she did the band became a much much bigger deal. I doubt they would have been standing on a stage made of hay bales playing during a period between cake contests and the rodeo if Grace had already hit with "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love."

    I, being as you now know very interested in sound, paid a lot of attention to the wonderful bass work of their bass player. I don't mean to be unkind but they really didn't sound very good as a road group, however. Their amps and PA were not really memorable. Not like seeing Steppenwolf at Thee Image where I simply never heard better sound live ever in my life.

    Factoid: on Magic Carpet Ride that weird echo crash at the beginning before they start playing is the guitar player whacking the side of a Fender outboard reverb chamber box. He grabbed it and gave it a good whack and bingo---there was that weird sound.

    Anyway after the Youth Fair I went home, got dressed and went out and played Young Rascals covers and such at "Lenny's Tangerine Lounge" on Federal Highway up in Fort Lauderdale.

    The point is there was music and fun everywhere in the strangest places in South Florida. Of course Thee Image was an ex-bowling alley. What else would you expect?

    Everything was there, you just had to stretch a bit to find it. Did you know The Rolling Stones cut many a side across the street from Ace Music at Criteria Studios in North Miami? I used to hang out in Hialeah at TK studios where KC and the Sunshine band cut most of their sides.

    And the Grove was an unbelievable hippie place to take a trip and watch the sunrise come up over the municipal yacht marina at 5am. The biggest difference between San Francisco and Miami was Miami never got organised and man was it a hot place to spend a summer.

    Too hot to stay outside or you got fried from all that heat. Golden Gate Park on the other hand was perfect if you had the summer off from school.

    The coolest times to be had in South Florida were usually spring break up in Fort Lauderdale. The temperature was perfect.

    There were more music bars to gig at there than you could shake a stick at. And Fort Lauderdale itself was a trip with hotrods everywhere and cute girls running around in bikinis. Jeesus there was a lot of rich kids in Ft Lauderdale and Palm Beach.

    Sure I loved psychedelica, don't get me wrong, but it would be just as much fun to go beach bar hopping on Lauderdale strip , finish up with some southern soul music at the Armory and the next night hit Thee Image or The Castaways on Miami Beach.

    The area was pretty awesome on so many fronts. I think in many ways it competed quite well with the LA/San Francisco nexus.

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  27. Rick, I have been ruminating on your fascinating description of seeing the Airplane at a 4H Club Fairgrounds-type event. The interesting part is that it had to be the Surrealistic Pillow Airplane, since the previous incarnation (with Signe Andersen) never toured outside of the West Coast. The Airplane toured all over the country in the Summer of 1967 (particularly July), so it was likely then.

    One interesting thing about the Airplane was that they were the first SF band to have a genuine Top 40 hit, so they in fact did play the sort of "teen" gigs that were typical fare. The record company and some radio station probably booked them into the gig, and they have simply forgotten about it. The show was probably booked months in advance, and they were already too big for the 4H club by the time they played it, and they never had to play those kinds of shows again. An amazing recollection to think about.

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  28. Well OK. Jack Casady was wearing a headband I definitely remember that. And they looked none too pleased to be roped into the gig I got that from their hurried embarrased demeanor. It was a hoot and they were cracking up laughing at how ridiculous it was with all the howdy doodies gaping at their attire. Priceless.

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  29. Hilarious. It's also possible that the Airplane were flown in and used borrowed equipment, so the second rate sound may have been because they didn't have their own gear. I assume there was no light show or anything like that (it was daytime, right)?

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  30. I could barely squeeze in the tent it was so small and those hay bales were strewn all over blocking the view. There were bright lights and I could see they were sweating as they worked the tiny narrow stage with their amps piled up behind them.

    They did not suck, they were just working under god-awful conditions and were pros all the way trying to get the energy up. The energy was in fact, enormous.

    It was most likely early evening when the most kids would have been at the fair looking for music after the livestock judging was winding down.

    No light show but does Surreal count?

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  31. Another concert with a date this time, perhaps?

    How about the Janis Joplin concert on a flatbed trailer on the University of Miami football practice field? November 15th, 1969. In the evening. Kinda informal I recall.

    I had heard Janis had had mixed reviews with her new band at Woodstock in August. I didn't go to Woodstock but my wife did. Janis was now out on the road trying to work out the kinks and try out new stuff. It was cold and she said she was freezin.

    I understood why she would try a move toward the Otis Redding type band she had that night with a horn section and all but on the other hand it had all been done before by black bands. I was informed some of her new direction was being helped by Nick Gravenites but it wasn't impressing me because I lived slept and breathed soul music myself.

    There were better white soul bands right there in Miami and Fort Lauderdale like Wayne Cochoran and the CC Riders and Tommy Strand and the Upper Hand. Still I loved seeing Janis and hoped she had a great time in South Florida. I believe she eventually fired that band from that show and tried yet another band instead... But the gig was a good effort to experiment a bit as The Grove is right across the street from the U of M campus so it wasn't like she was among strangers.

    Hey Grace Slick even went to the U of M. So did I, do dah do dah.

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  32. Hello Everyone,

    I am writing an article about the 43rd anniversary of the opening of Thee Image in Miami. I am a student at the University of Miami and would love the opportunity to talk to some of you about the shows you saw at Thee Image.

    Please feel free to contact me at my e.mail: l.nemiroff@umiami.edu. I would love to learn about your personal experiences at Thee Image and interview you for the article.

    Thank you!
    Lonnie

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  33. FYI, rleeharvey, Bayfront Park is located in downtown Miami. It was and is Peacock Park in the Grove. Just thought I'ld jog your memory. By the way, I was a junior and senior at Miami Beach High in 1968-1969 and we were well represented at The World, Thee Image and Pirate's World at the time. What a trip it was!

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    1. YES,THANK YOU FOR THE PEACOCK..
      I AM,SGT.PEPPER,AND SPENT A LOT OF TIMT RUNNING AROUND THE PARK,AND THEE IMAGE..

      Delete
  34. the place on nw 7ave and about 135 street--saw the allman brothers with duane, opening band was local skin blues band. another club was the purple onion on 163 about one block west of collins, early psychedelic spot. also the secene near ft lauderdale airport-again the allmans with duane

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  35. This is a little later, but there seem to be people here who would know: what happened with the "Winter's End" festival that was advertised for Miami from March 27-29, 1970? One www site says it was canceled because the speedway owner canceled the festival's lease. There also seems to have been a similarly-named festival in Orlando around Easter 1970.

    Anyway, I ask because the Grateful Dead was advertised and there is a big hole in their itinerary where the festival appears to have been. Be neat to figure out what they were doing that weekend.

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  36. I lived in Hollywood,Fl,moved to Nashville,Tn,which suck in Jan.1969, came down to Hollywood,Fl, April on spring bk,and saw Country Joe and the Fish,The Yardbirds with Jimmy Page,and the Cream did play came in late,they also ran the Beatle movie US premiere of Magical Mystery Tour,before the band came in ,I don't know the date,I have got it down April 17th or 18th,it was a great week of music.I do remember Ginger Baker saying turn off the strobe a scope,it was making him dizzy I guess,any help on the Cream date would be cool.Photos by Cole

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  37. The only Cream show I know of in Miami was held on October 26, 1968 at the Miami Stadium.

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  38. Based on numerous comments, it seems that Cream played an unadvertised show at Thee Image around the time of the Oct 26 '68 show.

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  39. It is tough to see how Cream would have managed a show at Thee Image unless it was also on October 26 when they played Miami Stadium. October 25 saw them play Dallas Memorial Auditorium and October 27 they played Atlanta's. October 28-30 were clear before a show in Philly - so I guess they could have headed back to Miami. The other window is between April 10 (New Haven) and April 19 (Philly) which ties in with Photosbycole's original comment. It has to be worth digging around for this.

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  40. Cream played at Thee Image on April 11, 1968 with Blues Image

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  41. I was a kid from NYC who moved to Ft lauderdale in 1967. I remember hooking up with some kids who took me to Thee Image, not sure but it could have been the Summer of 68. Blues Image and NRBQ were the only bands I remember cause it was the first time I took any drug in my life. It turned out to be LSD and all I remember is the girls I had a crush on in NYC was there and we made out in one of the back rooms...I thought I imagined the whole thing until many years later she confirmed the experience really happened...I miss those days

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  42. Cream played on April 11, 1968 during Spring Break. That also explains the complete week of bookings. I was there. Cream was announced as a "Surprise" booking while we were at the Yardbirds with J. Page.
    Cream played 3 or 4 songs. Traintime, Spoonful and Toad for sure.
    It was incredible. Cream at their peak...Rick Basini

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  43. Rick, that's got to be about the all time spring break lineup: Page and the Yardbirds, Cream, and then 7 Dead shows.

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  44. My mother says she saw the Grateful Dead play at The World. Does anyone remember this? I can't find any concert dates for them at The World.

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  45. zeoligirl. I have looked into your Mother's remark and the idea isn't totally farfetched. The Dead were in Miami from around April 12 through 21, playing two weekends at Thee Image and one free concert at Graynolds Park (April 14). They also mixed Anthem Of The Sun, or tried to, at Criteria Studios (my post about that week is here- http://lostlivedead.blogspot.com/2009/12/greynolds-park-love-in-north-miami.html

    However, the Dead didn't have to be in Philadelphia until Friday, April 26. If they were going to play at Thee Image's competitor, it would had to have been unadvertised and after the Thee Image shows, for contractual reasons (there was a standard rider about these things). But the Dead were perpetually broke, so a stealth gig at Thee World between Monday, April 22 and Thursday April 25, 1968 is very plausible. My money would be on Tuesday April 23.

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  46. Wow Corry. I am speechless. I was part of the Coconut Grove scene during the late 60s, young and still at High School (Coral Gables) from 1966-69. So Thee Image Graynolds Park were part and parcel of my life. I was lucky too because I was the girlfriend of John Blackwell, who was known as Sgt. Pepper.

    I left Miami in the spring of '76 to move to England where I'd been born and sadly left behind some binders which contained a host of posters and things. I expected my parents when they returned to England might have it but it was truly lost. In October Iwas thrown a 'Swinging 60s at 60' party by some friends locally as I was prepaed to forget this milestone birthday. Anyway they asked for some pictures so I raided the photo collections of relations and last evening posted some to my FB page. I knew deep down that this slice of cultural history had to be out there even if only a footnote compared to the West Coast. So thank you thank you. Some of my memories are pretty vague but there is nothing like actual dates to help encourage them.

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    1. well,hello...
      VIVIEN JONES..
      this is sgt.pepper..
      email = john1blackwell@gmail.com ...
      FB= http://www.facebook.com/john1blackwell

      Delete
  47. Muse, thanks for the kind words. All of the best venues generate a lot of vague memories. Here's to hoping for a vivid flashback or two, and happy birthday as well.

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  48. THIS IS BOB ROBBINS BASS PLAYER OF FANTASY, WE PLAYED MORE TIMES AT THE IMAGE THAN WAS LISTED. WE PLAYED WITH THE JEFF BECK GROUP, GRATFUL DEAD, CANNED HEAT, STEPPENWOLF, FRANK ZAPPA, 10 YEARS AFTER, JOHN MAYHALL, SPIRIT, BLUE CHEER, TINY TIM (I HAVE A IMAGE POSTER), 3 DOG NIGHT, IRON BUTTERFLY (WE WERE THERE WHEN ERIC BRAUN PASSED OUT), PG&E, THE REAL MCOYS, THE VELVET UNDERGROUND, WE PLAYED AT GULFSTREAM WITH JIMI HENDRIX, WE WERE THERE AT DINNER KEY WITH THE DOORS BUT WE DIDN'T PLAY BECAUSE OUR DRUMMER WENT OUT ON A DATE, LOVING SPOONFUL

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    1. Steve Ryan ran security and I ran the store - my brother in law did the Tiny Tim Poster and Spirit - I have some of them. We worked the Doors concert too. Jim Morrison was painted with red dots - what was that about? Wish I had kept more of the posters. What happened to Charlie Allen - he was so great!

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    2. Hi Bob,
      Can you recall the dates you performed with the Grateful Dead? Please email me at slipnut01 at gmail dot com

      Delete
  49. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  50. December 7, 1968 Thee Image, Miami FL Iron Butterfly
    According to Sullivan (who was there) guitarist Erik Brann collapsed on stage, and left in an ambulance

    I was there also. What I recall happening. Erik came out on stage wearing only cut-offs. He was bare-footed, with no shirt. He was playing In a gadda la vida and when it came to the intrumental part for lead guitar Erik took the microphone and began to run it across the guitar frets and because he was soaking wet with sweat he shorted out and shocked himself. He collapsed on the floor and the ambulance came. When it happened the entire audience began to cheer. Wild.

    When I first arrived in Ft. Lauderdale in 1968 I met some guys were musicans and were in a band and they asked me to write for the group. I had worked for a radio station in Pasadena called KPPC. I was an Account Exec so when we went to Thee Image I would show my business card and they would let me and my friends in for free and we also got to go back stage to hang with what ever group was performing. One night The James Cotton Blues Band was performing so we got to hang out with James Cotton. My friends in the band I was writing for had some acid and so we turned James Cotton on to his first Acid trip.

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  51. Thank you so much for this column. I was 12 years old in 1968 and a budding little hippie/radical. I distinctly remember jimi hendrix playing at "the World". All of my older brothers were there , but my friends and I could not get in, because we were so young. We sat on the railroad tracks in front and could hear the music and see the light show going on inside. This would have been around the same time as the gulf stream show

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  52. I AM LOVING THIS...
    this is sgt.pepper..
    email = john1blackwell@gmail.com ...
    FB= http://www.facebook.com/john1blackwell

    ReplyDelete
  53. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDsK2MascnA&feature=youtu.be

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  54. Follow-up comments will be sent to john1blackwell@gmail.com

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  55. What a fantastic read this has been. I was a little too young to experience most of this stuff:( But I am surprised I have not seen any mention of a club called "The Barn" which I believe was located next to the Sunny Isles Bridge over the intracoastal. Wayne Cochran and the CC Riders, I think, were the house band. Anybody know anything about "The Barn"?

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  56. What fun it is to read about my teen days in Miami. I lived for those venues and attended nearly every one you mentioned. A couple of girlfriends and I were sort of groupies, but fairly innocent ones. Most notably, we enjoyed experiences with members of the Mothers of Invention and Led Zeppelin. We went swimming in the warm Miami ocean with several bands (we were bikini beach bunnies in those days) and surfed when bands were not around.

    As teens, there was a lot of long make out sessions at virtually every one of those venues. I think the kids of Miami got a lot of kissing exposure and experience at those clubs with the bands playing. Rarely did we end an evening without having met some cute hippie to hang with and party (a very different time before real health scares).
    Don't forget to mention an unforgettable Richie Haven's set at Gulfstream. It might have been a financial disaster, but the bands that did play that day were some of the most incredible and iconic line up to date.

    And Johnny Winters at Pirates World. Picture his white hair streaming in the night breezes with a Pirate backdrop. Just incredible I think I recall James Brown at the World several times.


    One venue that anyone failed to mention was the one-of-a kind-festival at the Seminole Indian Reservation. We went to a motel room with friends beforehand (probably some of the readers of this comment section) and seriously partied down and then went and heard Jesse Collin Young and the Young Bloods at the Reservation, while we watched Seminoles wrestle alligators and wear that colorful Seminole garb. Very psychedelic! Few memories could surpass that strangeness and magic in the bright Florida swampy, mossy terrain. We all wore lots of beads and turquoise jewelry and handmade long patchwork skirts with halter tops. I have not worn a halter top since then.

    Greynolds Park was our weekly gathering and it was so easy to hang out with band guys and get to know them, while imbibing in the "atmosphere" and blowing bubbles that rose in the sunlight. How cool was that stone fort and log boat house? There were a lot of iconic hippy characters that wandered those parks. I remember a man in the park in Coconut Grove who acted like he was a disciple of Jesus. He had the full look, long hair, beard, very Jesus-like and had the robe and a big crystal necklace he would not let anyone touch.

    Eventually, my girlfriends and I moved to LA and continued our band loving lifestyle with the Mothers of Invention for a few years. We hung out at their rehearsal sessions and I eventually had a longer and sweet relationship with one of its members that stretched many years. In fact, we still occasionally write letters and speak 40 years later. I hung out at Frank Zappa's house once and that was a cool experience. Frank was so creative and unique. Jimmy Carl Black passed away a couple of years ago. That was very sad. Don has become a very cool and accomplished organ and electronic synthesizer artist, and Ray Collins is still doing his thing in California.

    Thank you for encapsulating my teenage years in these memories. Those were the unencumbered, free and easy times, with the best of the music scene, rock and roll and surfing. It was about four years where the party just rolled on!

    KK

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    1. http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150117520198741.280457.591023740&type=3

      hi ,check this out.. so cool to read what you say about the big rock pow wow..
      sorry to hear about jimmy carl black..
      all the best,sgt.pepper..

      Delete
  57. This brings back good memories, before Thee Experience, there was a club called Thee What, I had a buddy who played bass in a band there, and I was in 10th grade, 1967. Some local promoters tried to open up a psychedelic night club in Hialeah called The Ozee (SP), which the city council shut down before it opened, however to the promoters credit they were the first to have a rock show at the Miami Jai Ali fronton with a band called The Beacon Street Union. Unfortunately it was a finical loss and they didn't get to do their next show with a then unknown band called Fleetwood Mac, I remember the promoter showing me a promo copy of their first album.

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  60. Sam Hamory asked about The Barn. Wayne Cochran and the CC Riders were indeed the house band. Did you know that Wayne had a terrific bass player? His name was (drum roll...) Jaco Pastorius!

    As for the earlier comment that Bayfront Park is in downtown Miami, not the Grove. My uncle James Cox's father built and owned the Miami News tower later named "the Freedom Tower" when it became a processing point for Miami Cuban immigration. I do know where the downtown Miami Bayfront Park is as it is across the street. Remember the beautiful library they knocked down?

    My childhood friend Richie Peacock's family were into Coral Gables real estate and yes, the "little bayfront park" in Coconut Grove was officialy named after his family. But I only called it Peacock Park after it became a big deal in the hippy era. In the Beat-nik Folkie days it was just a hump of dirt over by the sailboat mooring field at the east end of Grand Avenue. Nobody went there in the 50s. However I screwed up by calling it by its early informal name. You are quite correct. Richie if you are listening what ever happened to that gorgeous red '62 Corvette you used to run at the drags?

    Oh and Hi to the bass player (hey Bob) from Fantasy. It's Rick (Hammond organ) from the New Breed Blues Band. We played side by side on the stage at Thee Image more than once. You guys were opening practically every darn week and got to see even more famous groups there than I did (lucky YOU).

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  61. More information trivia about the famous music park in Coconut Grove:

    Actually according to Wikipedia "Coconut Grove Bayfront Park" was the official city name until 1973 when it was renamed "Peacock Park."

    Soooo, whose memory needs jogging, haha? The fact that I recalled the history of the park purely from memory in my first reply even as to it being renamed for my friend's family well after the hippy era---well score one for this old geezer's memory!

    I may be pretty disinterested in much of what happened AFTER 1970 but as for BEFORE that date in the 1950s and '60s it was quite a different story.

    Anybody remember how great Vince Martin sang and played 12 string (a Martin of course) at The Flick on US1 over by the University of Miami in Coral Gables?

    Anybody have stories to tell about "The Wreck Bar" at The Castaways hotel on Collins Avenue in Miami Beach? That was just off my radar screen as it was a far drive---but I heard tales that the music scene up there was pretty wild. Lots of famous names like "Little Richard" come to mind.

    I also remember a fantastic house band at The Monte Cristo Hotel in Palm Beacfh in 1963-64. Called "The Accents'" I believe the guitar player may have been involved in the recording industry in South Florida during some big dates later in the 60s.

    He and his fellow Accents sure played good. Very much as sharp as "the Young Rascals" up in New York who were playing at The Peppermint Lounge as Joey Dee's backup band "The Starlighters."

    The two things I recall distinctly about The Accents was the bass player used a Fender Showman Bottom cabinet with JBL 15" speaker which sounded amazing. FAT.

    And they owned some fancy brand of sophisticated German reverb unit. Hooked into the P.A. system it gave the band a studio quality polish as they blew wild tunes in the basement nightclub at the old Monte Cristo.

    Those were some great days (and nights).

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  62. And speaking of "Coconut Grove Bayfront Park" back when it was a Hippy Haven---does anybody else remember "Blood Sweat and Tears" performing for free there after being at Thee Image?

    I remember listening and thinking "how cool that we in Coconut Grove are like Golden Gate Park in San Francisco... Except that we keep having band after band perform here when after all all they had there was the Rolling Stones and George Harrison...hahaha"

    I mean. Miami was in the 60s an amazing place.

    Were ANY of you there??????

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  63. And as for Thee Image who else painted themselves with "day=glo" paint and walked through the lounge area to watch their carcass get lighted up by all the black light florescents there? I recently bought a bunch of black light tubes---let's see what they do...

    I know for a fact that some of you younger girls were painting yourselves day-glo colors... and we all danced to the light show at Thee Image.

    C'mon Miami people. Surely some of you weren't too stoned on acid to remember what went on in those days.

    I went on a lot of trips and still remember EVERYTHING. Oooo. I bet THAT runs counter to all the assumptions that the straights had about LSD.

    And I have some clips of Timothy Leary saying the same thing..."I took 150 acid trips and I am probably the MOST normal person here today, hahaha."

    If you weren't there all I can say is you wouldn't believe how incredible the sunrise over Coconut Grove Harbor looked under acid.

    I woke up one morning at Timothy Leary's old shack (now leased by Paul Ledford my best friend) and "Feather" woke up in their VW Van and gave me an Eagle's feather for breakfast. It was an emotional experience.

    Wish you were there.

    The night before at Paul's cabin my sister and I were on acid and watched an out of control choo-choo train bump around the floor for hours. Paul worked at Hi-Fi Associates in Coral Gables and had a double-twin powered McIntosh Stereo with KLH and AR3a speakers suspended over his fireplace.

    It was a religious experience to hear a recording of Jimi Hendrix play "Purple Haze" on that system.

    But the people in the Grove were what made it all the more mind expanding. Including Michael Lang who later went on to run the Miami Music Festival and of course---Woodstock. Hey guys...anybody still here?

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  64. OK so I am out of control and going on and on about Miami. So What? Still Listening??? Do you care what went on in 1967-68-69?

    Paul Ledford was leasing Timothy Leary's stone cabin in Coconut Grove in around 1967. He had been a top salesman at Hi-Fi Associates in Coral Gables but being an acid head wasn't paying the bills...

    But right around this time Michael Lang who later put together the Woodstock Festival decided he wanted to put on the Miami Pop Festival and Paul was one of his key guys for sound.

    The Miam Pop Festival was Michael Lang's warm up rehersal for Woodstock. It made him zero money but gave Michael a lot of knowledge about what it would take to put on a truly gargantuan music festival. For its time the Miami Pop Festival was second in size only to Monterey. If you didn't know it happened in Miami too bad...

    Paul told me at Michael's behest he went to every recording studio in Dade and Broward county and leased their Altec A7 monitors so he could amplify Jimi Hendrix at Gulfstream Park in Hallendale, just north of Miami in May 18-19th of 1968.

    Jimi was a hit previously the year before at Monterey. And Paul wanted Miami to sound at least as good as Monterey.

    Well people all I can tell you is me and my bass player Jim LaFevre and I went to the Miami Pop Festival and it got rained out. But just before it did for about an hour we sat on the ground at the race track and heard Paul's system as Jimi played the best he ever played...

    And Miami was the place Jimi sounded the best. Thank you Paul. Your work was amazing. That many Studio 7 Altec Lansings all in a row sounded amazing. Jimi's Marshalls sounded amazing. Noel's Sunn amps were amazing.

    The guy in front of Jim LaFevre and me was pounding his head into the racetrack on the downbeat. We let him do it. We understood. OMG it sounded amazing...

    Yay Miami!!!

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  65. HELLO,RICK ,AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR REMEMBERING SO MUCH COOL STUFF..
    YES I SAW THE SUN COME UP OVER THE HARBOR MANY TIMES ON ACID,RAN AROUND WITH LEARY ,SAW ALL THE BEST SHOWS AT THEE IMAGE ,AND THE 15"JBL WAS DRIVING MY BUZZ MORE THAN ONCE..
    BY FEATHER DO YOU MEAN TAMBORINE GIRL,SHERRY STEVENS,OR SOME OTHER FEATHER??
    WERE YOU AT THE BIG ROCK POW WOW ??
    FRIEND ME ON FB http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150117520198741.280457.591023740&type=1&l=cc3f7b0d7a ..

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  66. "Blood Sweat and Tears"ok let me see if MAYBE i can put them in the grove LIKE THIS. now Howard Solomon told me that,"Blood Sweat and Tears recorded their first album" in his club(Cafe Au Go Go,in new york)
    .1969. Howard Solomon became the manager of singer (Fred Neil,FROM THE GROVE),AND MOVED TO THE GROVE.. NOW FRED WAS MARGO'S Neighbor ,SHOWED UP ONE DAY WITH John Sebastian,WHO HAD COME DOWN TO THE GROVE TO LEARN ABOUT SONG WRITING FROM FRED..SO I THINK A LOT OF COOL PEOPLE CAME THROUGH THE GROVE BECAUSE OF FRED NEIL..
    ONE DAY AS I WAS WALKING UP THE SIDEWALK BY THE PARK I RAN INTO FRED,OVER BY THE BIG ROCKS,( NEAR WHERE JOINT JOHN SOLD HIS JOINTS ).. HE PULED A WADED UP PAPER OUT OF HIS POCKET ,AND SAID "THIS IS THE NEW SONG I HAVE WRITTEN.HOW DO YOU LIKE IT? I'L SEND IT OFF TO ATLANTA,AND MAKE A LOT OF MONEY.". I SAID"THAT'S NICE FRED",AND IT WAS..
    IT TURNED OUT TO BE EVERY BODY'S TALKING...

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  67. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  68. I vaguely remember the Gulfstream festival. We thought that the crowd would be so big that the gates would open and everyone would get in free. We went up there and all I remember was it was raining - it must have been Sunday.
    So while I'm here does anyone remember a Steppenwolf concert held at an outdoor stage in Miami? The place was on the bay and the stage was on a platform in the water with the seating like bleachers on shore. The place may have been on 79th St Causeway? We actually paid for tickets and I remember being disappointed because the band sounded awful. I don't know if it was the band's fault or if it was the venue or just bad acoustics. Any memories of this one?

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  69. I grew up on Miami Beach and my friends and I when we where in High School went there all the time. Saw bands like The Yardbirds when Jimmy Page was with them. Three Dog Night, etc. They did not serve alcohol. In some of the rooms you could get dayglo paint and paint on the wall and would glow due to the black lights. Behind the bands was a large screen where they had an overhead projector and would move around color paints and it would show up on the screen. There was a dance floor in front of the bands and you would dance. I went to the famous Doors Concert at Dinner Key Auditorium, worst concert ever, but I can say I was there.

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  70. I was a regular every weekend if I could get three bucks for tickets. My memory might be fading but in response to the post that the cream was at the Imagee?? There was a place on 163 around the corner called the Experience! I think that is where they played.

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  71. I tried to post a picture of the Cream at the Imagee ! Not??? So I made it my profile picture. If anyone wants to copy it and post your welcome.

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