Sunday, April 25, 2010

6230 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, CA The Kaleidoscope 1968 Performance List

(The poster for the April 8-11 shows at the Kaleidoscope in Hollywood. h/t Ross for the scans)

The Kaleidoscope was a psychedelic rock venue run by the management of the band Canned Heat. It was only open for about 6 months in 1968. It had some memorable posters and some memorable bands, but it was one of many unsuccessful efforts to create a viable Fillmore type venue in Los Angeles.

The Venue
The well-known 1968 iteration of the Kaleidoscope was housed in a built in 1938 by one Earl Carroll, and named the Earl Carroll Theater. The theater, at 6230 Sunset Boulevard (at Argyle near Vine) in Hollywood, featured two concentrically rotating stages at the center of the venue.  Right on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, its purpose was to display naked women: at the time, it was illegal to have naked women in motion, but not stationary women on a moving stage. By the 1950s,  the venue was a TV studio (Queen For A Day was filmed here), and by the early 1960s it had become The Moulin Rouge. By about 1965 it became The Hullabaloo (the TV show of the same name was broadcast from there). The Hullabaloo (also known as Dave Hull's Hullabaloo) was an industry showcase, so bands played every night.  Many of these bands played for free, and even headliners just got scale.  There was also an after hours set from 1-4:00 am, played by many aspiring bands (for some great photos of the incarnations of the Earl Carroll theater, see here).

Skip Taylor, the manager of Canned Heat, had been interested in running his own venue for some time. In early 1967, he attempted to book shows at a building on 1228 Vine Street, but they were stopped by an injunction and the project was put on hold. The circular poster became more famous than the abortive venue.

By Spring 1968, Canned Heat was a popular band with a successful single ("On The Road Again"), so Taylor was in a better position. Taylor, William Morris agent John Hartmann and Gary Essert took over the lease on former Hullabaloo (Taylor and Morris had been agents together at William Morris). It was presumably easier to take a venue that presented music and dancing already than to create a new one. Since Taylor and Hartmann were Canned Heat's manager and booking agent, respectively, the band played the venue often.

The unique design of the Earl Carroll Theater meant that The Kaleidoscope, as a rock venue, had  a unique stage set up that allowed acts to set up prior to performing, and then rotated into place. A new sound system brought the Kaleidoscope up to Fillmore standards. However, the venue only held about 1,000 people, and it was not able to become a profitable venture.  Kaleidoscope shows were advertised by posters, some of them quite interesting, but not every show appears to have featured a poster. Like many LA venues (and contrary to contemporary San Francisco ones), the Kaleidoscope was probably open many nights with only local bands, or other entertainment like films.

The Kaleidoscope 1967
April 14-16, 1967 The Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles  Jefferson Airplane/Grateful Dead/Canned Heat
This original weekend was supposed to be at a building on 1228 Vine Street (at La Mirada near Fountain), but a last second injunction stopped the show. For the weekend the show was moved to the Embassy Ballroom in the Ambassador Hotel, at 3400 Wilshire, which also housed the legendary Coconut Grove Ballroom. The Embassy Ballroom was jokingly referred to as "The Banana Grove." The hotel considered keeping the Ballroom open as a sort of psychedelic outpost, but chose not to.

For 1967, this was quite an inspired booking. Jefferson Airplane had just released Surrealistic Pillow and "Somebody To Love" was climbing the charts, while the Grateful Dead were underground legends who had just released their first album. Canned Heat were unknown to all but a few Los Angeles club goers, but they were an excellent live band.

April 21-23, 1967  The Kaleidoscope at Ciro’s, West Hollywood The Doors/Peanut Butter Conspiracy/UFO
The next weekend's show was moved to Ciro’s, a club at 8433 W. Sunset Boulevard (at Olive, near La Cienaga), in West Hollywood, just outside the Los Angeles City Limits.  I don't think it was a coincidence that the substitute venue was in unincorporated West Hollywood, outside of the Los Angeles city limits.

Ciro's had been a glamorous Hollywood nightspot in the 40s, but struggled to find a niche in the 60s. The Doors were a popular, rising band, but not as huge as they were about to become. Peanut Butter Conspiracy were also popular, although they were on the decline. UFO is unknown to me. There were other rock shows at Ciro's after this, although I don't know how many. Its possible that some of them were promoted by "The International Kaleidoscope," which was the name on the initial poster, but the Kaleidoscope name seems to have been mostly dormant until March 1968.

8433 W. Sunset Blvd is now the site of an equally legendary club, The Comedy Store.

The Kaleidoscope 1968
The Kaleidoscope opened (or re-opened) in Spring 1968 at the former Earl Carroll Theater, at 6230 Sunset Boulevard, in Hollywood proper (Hollywood agreed to be annexed by Los Angeles in 1910 in order to insure an adequate water supply). I have a feeling there were a few Kaleidoscope-promoted shows on the Sunset Strip between April 1967 and March 1968, however.

March 22-23, 1968  Jefferson Airplane/Canned Heat/Fever Tree
Once again, the Jefferson Airplane headlined the opening of The Kaleidoscope. Canned Heat was a much more substantial band, with a hit single and popular album. Buffalo Springfield were initially on the bill but canceled these two nights. Fever Tree replaced them, a band from Houston who would soon have a hit with “San Francisco Girls.”

According to a quote in Paul Grushkin's book The Art Of Rock, a live elephant was positioned near the stage during the Airplane's set.  Let's just say I'm glad this is not a practice that caught on.

March 24, 1968  Benefit for Radio Strike fund for KMPX and KPPC djs
Buffalo Springfield/Jefferson Airplane/Tiny Tim/H.P. Lovecraft/Steppenwolf/Sweetwater/Firesign Theatre/Clear Light/Quicksilver Messenger Service/Peanut Butter Conspiracy/Genesis
This was an afternoon show. The Kaleidoscope used the rotating stage to great effect, apparently managing set changes in 16 seconds.

Disc jockeys on KMPX-fm radio in San Francisco, the first underground rock station in America, had gone on strike. The staff on their sister station KPPC (Pasadena) had joined them. There were a couple of events in San Francisco as well.

The group Genesis was a Los Angeles group, not the English one (whose members were still in school).

March 24, 1968  Buffalo Springfield/Jefferson Airplane/Canned Heat
Evening show

March 28, 1968 Fever Tree

March 29, 1968  The Doors/ Peanut Butter Conspiracy/Bo Diddley/Clear Light
The poster does not include The Doors, but they appeared to have been added. They were so popular that they could have sold out the Kaleidoscope instantly. According to the very thorough Doors site, their appearance was still considered part of the "Grand Opening," and The Doors performance was filmed by an independent filmmaker.

March 30-31 Peanut Butter Conspiracy/Bo Diddley/Clear Light

April 5-7, 1968 Youngbloods/Spirit/Genesis

April 8-11, 1968 Canned Heat/Evergreen Blue Shoes/Travel Agency
This was a Monday to Thursday billing, a sign that the Kaleidoscope intended to be a full time nightclub. Canned Heat were more or less the "house band." Evergreen Blue Shoes and Travel Agency, while not well known, played around Hollywood and both ended up recording albums (the poster is up top).

I suspect the April 11 (Thursday) show was superseded by the KPPC benefit (below).

April 11, 1968 The Doors/Traffic/Canned Heat/Bo Diddley/Kaleidoscope/Holy Modal Rounders/others.  “Super Ball” Benefit for KPPC Strike Fund.
A similar event in San Francisco, for KMPX, also entitled "Super Ball" was held at Winterland on April 3. Traffic was on tour at this time. KMPX and KPPC had made Traffic very popular in California, so the band was very supportive.

Kaleidoscope was a unique band based in Claremont, with great musicians (David Lindley, Chester Crill, Solomon Feldthouse, Stuart Brotman, Paul Lagos) who invented World Music about twenty years before anyone was ready for it. The band had the name before the venue had opened--contrary to what you may read elsewhere, although Kaleidoscope played The Kaleidoscope regularly, they had no specific connection to the venue.

April 12-14, 1968   The Kaleidoscope, Hollywood HP Lovecraft/James Cotton Blues Band/Mint Tattoo
The poster says "First Anniversary." This is accurate (the first show had been April 14, 1967), but I can't help but think that if the Kaleidoscope had ceased altogether after April 1967 they would not be celebrating their Anniversary. This is one of the main reasons I think there were periodic "International Kaleidoscope" productions on Sunset Strip. I do know of a photo showing a Ciro's marquee featuring Canned Heat, The New Age (from San Francisco) and the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. The date can be triangulated to May 12-13, 1967, so I wouldn't be suprised to find out there was an ongoing Kaleidoscope connection.

April 16, 1968 A Memorial For Bobby Hutton
A Black Panther Defense Fund rally, featuring (per the newspaper ad), Bobby Seale and Dick Gregory.

April 19-21, 1968 Quicksilver Messenger Service/Kaleidoscope/Flamin Groovies

April 24, 1968 The Doors
The Doors were friendly with Canned Heat--I believe the William Morris agency booked the Doors concert tours, but I'm not certain--and as a result they seemed to have played the Kaleidoscope when they didn't actually have to. This was a Wednesday night between legs of tours, so the Doors were probably just having a fun show at home.

April 26-27, 1968 The Fugs

April 30, 1968 Jefferson Airplane/Canned Heat
I believe Jefferson Airplane shared a booking agent (presumably William Morris or an affiliate) with Canned Heat and The Doors, and that is why they shared so many bills. Touring musicians are generally quite friendly with each other, regardless of music (tales of the road, faulty gear and dodgy promoters transcend genres), but groups only played together regularly if there was some affiliation between management or booking agents.  This was a Tuesday night show, and neither Canned Heat nor the Airplane "needed" to play Kaleidoscope, much less sharing a bill.

May 3-4, 1968 Don Ellis Orchestra
This was part of a Friday-to Sunday 72-hour “Film Orgy” (per a Los Angeles Free Press ad), with 11 pm shows on Friday and Saturday night by Don Ellis.

The Don Ellis Orchestra was a brilliant and forward looking big band, playing weird time signatures with electric instruments and generally ahead of its time. Don Ellis, unlike other jazz musicians, wanted to break out of jazz confines but refused to do so by playing simplistic music. Although his music sounds a bit dated now (he is best known for his French Connection soundtrack), it is brilliant and memorable. Since Ellis's difficult charts (in times like 19/4 or 17/8) required A-list players, his Orchestra was mostly made up of first call session men like Tom Scott or Steve Bohannon. As a result, the group mostly stuck to California, as the band members were in the Ellis Orchestra for fun and made their living in the studio.

May 10-11, 1968 Eric Burdon And The Animals
I was stuck on this date, but Marc figured out that Eric Burdon and The Animals played. This was the new, psychedelic Animals, who were based in Southern California at the time.

May 17-18, 1968 Moby Grape/Hour Glass/Mt. Rushmore
Moby Grape had been in litigation with former manager Matthew Katz, so Katz had put together a band of Seattle musicians and booked them as Moby Grape, as a means of asserting his rights to the name (as well as making some money). Such practices were hardly unknown in the music industry, but the post-Beatles rock market made individual members of groups considerably more important than they had been. While most shows by the false Grape were in the hinterlands where people hadn't seen the original band, they did play a show at The Cheetah in Santa Monica (at 1 Navy Pier) on March 29, 1968. Thus the Kaleidoscope poster says ‘The Real’ Moby Grape, a reference to the March 29 Cheetah show.

Hour Glass was a Los Angeles based blues band featuring Duane and Gregg Allman. The Hour Glass had apparently played the venue quite regularly in its previous incarnation as The Hullabaloo (maybe in the 1:00-4:00 am slot), so they were familiar with it. Mt. Rushmore was a San Francisco band.

May 24-25, 1968 Them/Incredible String Band/Sons of Champlin
Van Morrison had left Them two years previous, but they were still an enjoyable live band. Incredible String Band were a unique Scottish folk duo on their first American tour. The Sons of Champlin, a San Francisco band who had not yet released their first album, were on their first trip to Southern California.

May 31-June 1, 1968 Iron Butterfly/Life/Things To Come

June 7-8, 1968  Kaleidoscope/Don Ellis Band/H.P. Lovecraft
H.P. Lovecraft were a Chicago band who would ultimately move to San Francisco.

June 14-15, 1968 Love/Rhinoceros/Taj Mahal
The show was reviewed by Pete Johnson of the Los Angeles Times. He describes a line around the block for Love. He says the band played well on simpler songs but had trouble with more complex material. Love rarely played live, and almost never outside of California, because Arthur Lee didn't like to fly, so its not surprising they were sloppy. Johnson also spoke well of Rhinoceros and Taj Mahal's performances.

Billboard (May 25, 1968) has Oakland's Loading Zone this weekend. However, our latest (as yet unposted) research shows that the Zone was on a National tour and played La Cave in Cleveland that weekend. Thus I am uncertain who actually played this weekend.

A contemporary ad in the LA Free Press (above--h/t Marc), probably from about June 18, lists the summer schedule for The Kaleidoscope:
  • Tuesdays: Rhinoceros
  • Wednesdays: Don Ellis Orchestra
  • Thursdays: Illinois Speed Press
  • Fridays and Saturdays: Dance Concerts
  • Sundays: Kaleidoflics
I'm not certain how closely this was adhered to. “Kaleidoflics” was essentially a 24-hour film festival of classic movies. I suspect that the plan was for the Kaleidoscope to be open six nights a week while school was out, essentially from mid-June until Labor Day.

Rhinoceros was a "supergroup" put together by Elektra, with sports-team like auditions. They were actually a pretty good band, although they had difficulty overcoming the hype.

The Illinois Speed Press were an excellent band from Chicago featuring guitarists Paul Cotton and Kal David, recently signed by Columbia and relocated to Los Angeles (just as were their pals, the Chicago Transit Authority). As a newly arrived band, it would make sense that a Thursday night residency would get them known around town. I don't know how many Thursday nights they actually played. The excellent ISP performance list shows some conflicts.

June 21-22, 1968  The Byrds/Crazy World Of Arthur Brown/Frumious Bandersnatch
The Byrds at this time featured their Sweetheart Of The Rodeo lineup. The album had been recorded but not yet released. The Byrds consisted of Roger McGuinn, Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman, Kevin Kelley and non-member Doug Dillard (on banjo).

Frumious Bandersnatch were from San Francisco.

June 25, 1968 Rhinoceros

June 28-29, 1968 Muddy Waters/Sons of Champlin or
June 28-29, 1968 Electric Flag/Smokestack Lightning/Illinois Speed Press
Sons road manager Charlie Kelly clearly recalls his first road trip, which was bracketed by two weekends at the Kaleidoscope. He recalls opening for Muddy Waters, then going to play a few shows in San Diego (at the Hippodrome), then returning for a long weekend with Canned Heat. The weekend of June 28-29 is only a guess. The poster (above) advertises something quite different (Electric Flag etc).

There are a couple of ways to resolve these scenarios. One is simply that the Kaleidoscope was open several nights a week anyway, and while Muddy Waters and the Sons didn't play June 28-29, but they did play around that time, such as July 2-3. This causes some problems with the Sons touring schedule, but I won't go into that here. A more likely scenario to me was that Electric Flag canceled. Mike Blomfield's last performance with the band was June 7, and though he was replaced by Hoshal Wright, the appeal of the Flag was dimmed without Bloomfield, and that lineup played few shows. I think Muddy Waters replaced Electric Flag, and the Sons were added to the booking (this wouldn't rule out either Smokestack Lightning or ISP or both playing as well).

July 2-3, 1968 Peanut Butter Conspiracy
This was a Tuesday and Wednesday. Peanut Butter Conspiracy's presence does not exclude the possibility of Kaleidoscope and/or Don Ellis playing on their respective nights, but it does suggest that the LA Free Press ad may have been more aspirational than accurate. It does indicate that for the Summer, at least, the Kaleidoscope was probably open six nights a week.

July 4-5, 1968 Canned Heat/Sly and The Family Stone
San Francisco's Sly And The Family Stone had been together for about 18 months.  After playing many club shows and releasing a mostly ignored first album, their January 1968 single "Dance To The Music" let the world know that psychedelic soul was on the march. Everyone who saw Sly And The Family Stone during this period was absolutely knocked out by them. 

July 6, 1968 The Doors/Spirit
Spirit, then a rising underground band in Los Angeles, were listed on the poster along with a variety of other (possibly whimsical) entertainments. The Doors headlined the Saturday night show. They had headlined the huge Hollywood Bowl the night before, so their presence at the relatively small Kaleidoscope could not have been advertised.

Marc reports that Chad Stuart (of Chad & Jeremy) played as well, as the contract was for sale on eBay.

July 9-11, 1968 Canned Heat/Sly and The Family Stone/Sons of Champlin
According to Sons road manager Charlie Kelly, Canned Heat played only one song (“Refried Boogie”) for all six sets throughout the entire second weekend.  They were recording a live album (ultimately released as Living The Blues).

July 12-13, 1968 Big Brother and The Holding Company/Rhinoceros
A photo exists of The Kaleidoscope, and this bill is visible on the marquee. It is the only photo I know of the Kaleidoscope incarnation of the building.

July 17, 1968 Don Ellis Orchestra
Billboard (July 13, 1968) says that Don Ellis will play Wednesdays at the Kaleidoscope for an “indefinite” engagement. This seems to confirm the LA Free Press ad. Of course, the peculiar nature of the Don Ellis Orchestra favored set residencies in Hollywood, unlike an ambitious band such as the Illinois Speed Press.

July 19-20, 1968 Love/Rhinoceros
This was probably the last performance by the original configuration of Love.

July 26-27, 1968  The Hook/Sweetwater/Fraternity Of Man
All three of these groups were local bands. I am missing performers for most of the next several weekends. The presence of these three good but not famous bands suggests that The Kaleidoscope was having trouble competing financially for headliners.

August 8, 1968 Canned Heat
Canned Heat kicked off a four-day around the clock film weekend festival, advertised in the Free Press. August 8 was a Thursday, so this seems to be another sign that the Kaleidoscope was having trouble booking headline acts.

August 16-17, 1968 Muddy Waters/Sons of Champlin/Genesis
The Sons of Champlin did not play this show. I do not know if this was because the Sons plans changed, or the show was canceled outright.

Around this time, according to the biography of Canned Heat drummer Fito de la Parra (Living The Blues, published 2000), the band showed up for a gig at The Kaleidoscope to find the theater taken over by well-dressed gentlemen who appeared to be members of the organized crime community, and different entertainment was being provided. It seems that managers Taylor and Hartmann had borrowed money to start the Kaleidoscope from these characters, and their failure to make payments lead them to take over the theater. Skip Taylor apparently told Parra "Don't ask; it's better for you if you don't know" (p.100). Parra ads "that was the end of the dream of duplicating Bill Graham's success with The Fillmore."

August 23-25, 1968 Moby Grape/Group Therapy/Genesis/McCoys
I have yet to confirm whether Moby Grape played these shows, but Marc Skobac confirmed that they were advertised in the LA Free Press, so I think they happened.The McCoys were from Indiana, and trying to live down their pop hit "Hang On Sloopy." They made a try at being a psychedelic blues band. Apparently they were pretty good live, but it was hard to live down their past history. The McCoys ended up becoming the "And" in Johnny Winter And.

August 30-31, 1968 Staple Singers/Genesis
Marc Skobac confirmed that this was the last Kaleidoscope show to be advertised in the Free Press, followed by a Sunday, September 1 showing of the movie Manchurian Candidate. The musical Hair started sometime in September. Its my belief that the creditors of the Kaleidoscope (whatever their affiliations) found a better paying tenant and called their note.

The former Kaleidoscope was re-invented yet again, this time as The Aquarius Theater. A touring production of Hair, the first rock musical, ran for several nights a week for an extended period, starting sometime in September of 1968. Sometime in late 1969 or 1970, a stage version of The Who's Tommy also ran for extended periods. The Aquarius was still used for occasional rock shows, when Hair wasn't playing, or between musicals.

Appendix: Final Notes

Canned Heat Live At The Kaleidoscope 1969
For a variety of reasons, manager Skip Taylor sold a live tape of Canned Heat at the Kaleidoscope, probably recorded in July 1968, to a record company in 1969 and claimed that it was recorded at The Topanga Corral in 1966. The subterfuge about the date was required because in 1966 Canned Heat was not under contract. Since the tape featured Canned Heat's unique take on blues covers, the premise was at least plausible. Subsequent reissues recognized that the album was recorded at the Kaleidoscope, but the date is often listed confusingly and mistakenly as 1969.

The Kaleidoscope, Main Street, Manayunk, PA
Just as their was a band and a venue called Kaleidoscope in Los Angeles that were created without reference to each other, there were at least two other psychedelic venues called The Kaleidoscope.The first psychedelic venue in Philadelphia was a converted movie theater in suburban Manayunk, and it was dubbed The Kaleidoscope. I don't know much about it. The venue opened in early 1967, or perhaps late 1966 (which puts it in the same time frame as a Philadelphia venue called The Trauma, but that's another subject entirely)with day-glo painted walls and black lights. The promoter was one David Carroll, and the venue apparently opened with Philadelphia's own underground stars, The Mandrake Memorial, supported by the Ultimate Spinach, from Massachusetts.  I do not believe this Kaleidoscope was open for long.

The Kaleidoscope, 519 W. Zane Street, Louisville, KY
Louisville, Kentucky was pretty far outside of the rock and roll touring mainstream in the 1960s, but there does appear to have been a psychedelic venue called The Kaleidoscope in Louisville. Based on some obscure but interesting posters, the venue at 519 W. Zane Street was at least open in the Summer of 1968, and Blue Cheer (June 13) and Iron Butterfly (July 30) played there. I know nothing else about the venue or the promoters.

Aquarius Theater Rock Performances 1969
March 28-29, 1969 Jethro Tull/Zephyr/Goose Creek Symphony

March 31, 1969 LA Free Clinic Benefit
Mothers of Invention/Chicago Transit Authority/Illinois Speed Press/Red Beans & Rice/Captain Beefheart/Linda Ronstadt/Jethro Tull/Buddy Miles Express/Southwind/Dillard & Clark

May 26, 1969 Incredible String Band

July 7, 1969 Love/Lonnie Mack
Marc discovered a July, 1969 Billboard article promoting a series of Monday night Showcase concerts sponsored by Elektra Records. Hair was still running, but the theater could be rented on Monday nights. While the theater was too small to turn a profit, by the same token its smaller size and Hollywood location made it a good venue for a high profile record company event. Probably a lot of the people attending these shows were guests of Elektra Records.

This night featured a new lineup of Love, who still had a solid Southern California fan base. Lonnie Mack, although newly signed to Elektra, also had a well deserved reputation as a guitarist.

July 14, 1969 Dillard & Clark/Flying Burrito Brothers/Bread
The Flying Burrito Brothers were actually on A&M, while Dillard & Clark and the newly-formed Bread were on Elektra.

July 21-22, 1969 The Doors
The Doors were the biggest group on Elektra, and one of the biggest bands in the country. They had just resurfaced after Jim Morrison's "indecency" bust in Miami, and their album Soft Parade had just been released four days earlier. The Doors played two shows at the Aquarius on Monday, July 21. They also performed without an audience on Tuesday, July 22, in a kind of "rehearsal" show.  Some of the performances from both nights were issued on various live releases, and both Monday shows plus the rehearsal were ultimately issued in 2001.

I assume most, if not all, of the tickets for July 21 were distributed by Elektra to important people in the industry or friends of the band. The Doors had made their mark at the Whisky A Go Go, just down the road, so a return to Hollywood would have been a big deal indeed. The Doors immediately set out on a tour of major concerts, including the Cow Palace and two major Rock Festivals (Eugene and Seattle).

September 8, 1969 Incredible String Band


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. About Canned Heat, Sons Of Champlin and Sly & The Family Stone gigs on July 4-5 and July 9-11, 1968 I seen the poster on the "Art of Rock" book and cleary that poster have the line: "July 4 and 5th 9pm and 11pm 19" I assumed the gig was July 4-5 and July 19 and 9-11 is not the days but the hours exactly.

  3. The posters were printed long before the shows actually happened. Charlie Kelly, the Sons road manager, remembers the events quite clearly but not the precise dates. The first shows were with Muddy Waters and the later ones were with Canned Heat--in between they went to San Diego.

    Either Muddy Waters/Sons was before July 4, which was possible, or Muddy Waters replaced Canned Heat on July 4-5. For the moment I have Muddy Waters/Sons (intentionally) conflicting with Electric Flag. If someone confirms the Flag shows, I will suggest that Muddy Waters replaced Peanut Butter Conspiracy. We'll see.

  4. There is at least a possibility that the Grateful Dead played some sort of Warner Brothers promotional party at the Aquarius on Sunday, December 14, 1969.

    Dead keyboardist Tom Constanten mentions playing "The Kaleidoscope" on that date.

  5. Re: June 14-15, 1968 Love/Rhinoceros/Taj Mahal
    ....a footnote: during one of this two shows Neil Young sat-in with Love during their song: "Revelation" to shared guitar solos with Johnny Echols.

  6. Just a few things from memory regarding Kaleidoscope in Louisville, Kentucky.

    It was originally called Changes and was located in a very old 3 story opera house. The first floor was an excellent gift/head shop. The exterior was painted brightly with flowers, peace signs, etc. Changes was owned by a dude from California, but I can't recall his name. He built a fantastic house in beautiful Floyd Knobs just across the river in Indiana. I smoke my first there.

    Later, the club was owned by an interesting family trio of wonderful ladies; 3 generations of women running the coolest live music club in the Midwest. I can remember the names Goggie and Debbie, but the third escapes me. Both had a magnificent decor and wondrous light-show by Aurora Borealis (I think)

    You are correct that Iron Butterfly played there, but the most memorable show was Frank Zappa and the Mothers. Local favorites were The Tiffany System and 31st of February who eventually became the Hour Glass, Allman Joy, and of course the Allman Brothers.

    The place was under constant siege by the Louisville Police Department who at one time stole the club's dance license off the wall and tried to arrest anyone who danced. This was foiled by a signal light triggered from downstairs. When the light came on, everyone stopped dancing and sat down.

    The historical building was destroyed by a mysterious fire that most thought was set by the police.

    1. Randy Guest I believe was the original owner of the Kaleidoscope in Louisville. His wife's name was Keiko. Even though I was under age at the time, I was possibly Louisville's youngest hippie-freak and I spent a few enjoyable evenings there as well as having a private party celebrating my 9th birthday there, if I recall correctly. One of the popular local bands at that time who played there regularly was The Waters.

    2. I remember those days. I remember The Waters when they opened for the Doors in Freedom Hall. It was a fantastic show. The lead guitarist broke a string and the bass player took over and overwhelmed the crowd.

  7. Mr. Lizard, thank you so much for revealing this slice of uncollected history of a hitherto long lost venue in Louisville, KY. I love the detail about the signal light--a leftover from Prohibition, perhaps?

  8. Corry342,

    You are welcome. It was a magical place. Other bands that played there included, Tonto's Head Band, which I think morphed into The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Another very popular group from Cincinnati was Sacred Mushroom which featured Larry Goshorn who later joined country-rockers Pure Prairie League.

    The Mother's show was "hip" to coin a phrase from the era. I met Frank and had a nice chat , which was very interesting, meanwhile one of the other band members ran off with the girl I was with.

  9. I went to a few shows at Changes Unlimited / Kaleidoscope at 519 W. Zane Street, Louisville, KY. Hal Tinney ran the head shop on the first floor. He may have been the man from CA who first ran the club. Steppenwolf was introduced by then club owner Thelma Gross. Randy Guest also ran the club at one point, either before or after the Gross family. I was told that Don O'Dea and Brian Langdon did most of the graphics for the clubs. Danny Bardisa sometimes ran the light show.

    1. Thanks for more info. This was a very cool venue.

    2. Donny O'Dea! Now there's a blast from the past with whom I enjoyed some fine times. He was actually a friend of my mother's who spent some time at our home, first on Duker Avenue when we had The Waters play on our front porch. I was practicing on my drums while my mother was having a party with some folks including Donnie, and I got my hands on a chocolate chip cookie or two that was supposed to be only for the adults. When the record ended that I was playing along with, I kept right on playing, and Donnie looked up smiling and said "Rob's stoned!" I had never cared to partake with the adults in their foolishness, but I enjoyed that feeling at that moment and realized it wasn't so bad after all. Good times!

    3. Hi, my husband Chet Bell just posted 21 Kaleidoscope(Louisville, Zayne Street) psychedelic posters on Facebook. .I used to go there and know Danny Bardisa also Danny O'Dea. The posters have Brian Langdon's name on several.

    4. The Waters are actually playing this Sunday at Stevie Ray's Blues Bar.

  10. Mikesr, thank you so much for the detail that the club used to be called Changes Unlimited--that turns out be the missing link

  11. The Kaleidoscope had a wanna-be actor supporting himself as a carpenter/stagehand by the name: Harrison Ford!

  12. I was the sound man at the club in L.A. These comments about how the club closed might be interesting.

    The only bad thing about the club is that it was losing money hand over fist and the owner’s just didn’t have enough to keep it running. The bank wouldn’t help and we were about to close. That’s when the owners made a deal with the devil. They had found a group that agreed to loan them the money to keep it open, but the interest was steep; steeper than anybody imagined. Before it was over it got downright Machiavellian.
    One day the door to the office banged open and two thugs with guns, yep guns, real ones too, barged in. Word spread quickly and the rest of us immediately went into damage control mode. We started carrying out any equipment that we could get hold of. I smuggled out most of the sound equipment. Janis Joplin was to play that night but we had sabotaged the sound system. In the middle of her set she told the audience that the people who signed the contract weren’t the people in charge. Then she walked off the stage.
    After a weekend of partying at the Canned Heat’s mansion above Beverly Hills we took control of the club. On Monday morning we secretly had all of the locks changed. Of course the police were called and that was pretty much the end.

    1. Terry, thanks for this fascinating tale. Fito Parra alludes to this a little in his book, but of course he wasn't on the scene the night it happened.

      The last date I see for Janis was Big Brother on July 12-13 '68. Were those the shows you are referring to? Who put on the shows afterwards, your crew or the new owners? Or were they just booked shows that didn't happen?

    2. That was a very long time ago and I'm not really sure about the dates. I'm pretty sure that the club closed after the ownership fiasco but I could be wrong.
      I do remember that we put on one show very reminiscent of the Errol Carol Vanities using the rain curtain, both revolving stages, a swing and more. I don't remember when that was either.
      The club was also a full movie theater with 35mm projectors. I remember nights lying on huge foam mattresses watching the movies from behind the screen.

  13. Here is another comment about a night of celebration that turned into a night of horror.
    (Note: These comments are from a series of essays I am writing about various venues where I worked, including the Straight Theater in San Francisco.)

    Pat Paulson was a comedian who had appeared on several television shows including The Smother’s Brothers and Saturday Night Live. It was an election year and we sponsored a Pat Paulson convention at the club. People from NBC were taping it for possible broadcast. It was a lot of fun. There were TV sets on the stage to act as monitors and after all of the hoopla was over I happened to turn the TV’s to a regular broadcast station. That’s when all hell broke lose.
    It was just after midnight on July 5th 1968. We were seeing live shots from the Ambassador Hotel where Bobby Kennedy had just been shot. The NBC crew immediately packed up their gear as the rest of us looked on in shock.

    1. Terry, thanks for including these memories. When your essays get published or posted, be sure to include a link here, or send one to me directly (corrarnold at gmail) and I will paste it into the post.

    2. June 5, not July. Thanks for the look back.

  14. Right. Thanks.

    I might send the essay about the real origin of the Hippy movement. I was there the first time the word was ever used.

    1. Terry
      How is Tex? Still married? Ever go back to DC.

  15. I remember seeing Jimmy Hendrix open for the Jefferson Airplane and I thought it was at the Kaleidoscope. Does anyone have any memory of this? Or, him opening for them at another club in the area?

    1. Hendrix opened for Jefferson Airplane at the Fillmore, June 20-24, 1967. I realize that Fillmore was a few hundred miles up the road from Hollywood, but that's where it happened.

      By the time Kaleidoscope opened, Hendrix was huge, he wasn't opening for anybody. It sounds like you saw a great show, you just don't remember it clearly--which definitely means you were there, right?

  16. The east L. A. county working class 'white punks on dope' considered the Kaleidoscope the place to go. They had top liners as well as excellent bands we had never heard of. The 'Bummers' personal favorite was Canned Heat. Sometimes 'Bear' would greet you at the door personally and make you feel welcome to be a part of the whole experience. It was right off the Sunset Blvd. freeway exit so you didn't have to navigate the entire 'Strip' high on whatever. At some point they started screening all night movies after the show so you could come down after LSD trips. We were there when RFK was assassinated, and they somehow broadcast news coverage I recall. The Canned Heat 'Live' album was recorded there as well as at some other venues. It really was 'white punks on dope' weekend Heaven. You could sit or lay on carpeted staircase right below the revolving stage, and one band would be finishing as the next one rotated in already starting to play. The dance floor had what was billed as 'the world's largest' strobe light. I feel blessed to have been a part of that whole experiment and experience. Long Live 'Canned Heat' and 'Bear'. P.S., Taj Mahal played there and turned me on to the 'Blues' which became a life long love of mine.

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. What ever happened to 'The Mandala' Canadian band ? Our 'chicks' loved them. It was the only times they would go there with us. Or was that at Hullabaloo or Aquarius ?

    1. A couple of members of Mandala went on to join the James Gang, in between Joe Walsh and Tommy Bolin (I forget the album titles). It was the lead singer (Roy Kenner?) and the guitarist (Dominic Troiano, not certain of the spelling). Troiano went on to join the Guess Who (replacing the legendary Randy Bachman, I think).

      The organist, George [long-Greek-name] went on to the group Crowbar, I think. They put out an album or two in the early 70s

    2. The 'babes' loved 'Mandala's frontman. Very emotional, dramatic, & theatrical. They didn't really like Arthur Brown's theatrics, but we did, ha, ha.

  20. I worked at both the Hulabaloo and Kaleidoscope during the change over for Gary Essert and others setting up the changeover...... It was so cool seeing Canned Heat all day doing rehersals and going up in the light room up above the stage till this day I have lots of the big circular posters...... the Blacklight Buttons and the Round Tickets which me and my buddies got for working there and we passed out to chicks in line if we thought we may get Laid... I remember seeing Janis Joplin walking around Drunk as could be shortly before show ... The Doors were too much and think I only saw Stephenwof once but Loved em.. Saw Airplane also there were semi housebands Yellow Pages and the Wild Ones and the East Side Kids who were very cool........ I saw the Seeds with Sky Saxon, the Music Machine and even Neil Diamond who at that time was like Hard Rock...Ahh the time I shall NEVER FORGET never got som much Action and felt like I was a King working there and they had Us set up the Teen Fair at the Paladium across the street which was really cool with the best looking Broads you could imzagine and bragging to em tha we worked acoross the street at Kaleidoscope was a ticket to ACTION................ I LOVED CANNED HEAT AND THE BEAR............ OH Were those the DAYS..........HOW I MISS THOSE DAYS!!!!

    1. See my post for August 18, 2021. Email me if you are willing to speak to me about your experiences at the Kaleidoscope. Thanks...JOHNNY B email:

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

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

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

  24. May 10-11, 1968 Eric Burdon And The Animals
    "I was stuck on this date, but Marc figured out that Eric Burdon and The Animals played. This was the new, psychedelic Animals, who were based in Southern California at the time." I have been trying to come to terms with this April/May transition to Zoot Money and am pretty sure it has been figured out:
    May 10 - the elusive New Orleans show by Eric Burdon and The Animals. A report in the LA Times of May 13 (pp 75) says that NO was the first date of the tour, but there had been a "preview" at the WAGG the previous week. This would maybe in the May 7 or 8 window. As for the Kaleidoscope, it was the Troggs that played May 10 and 11 (as cited by the same report).

  25. I recall hearing from a high school friend that he attended the Yardbirds show in 1966 playing at the Hullabaloo that had Ravi Shankar on the same evening. He raved about how impressive Jeff Beck was with the band.

  26. I am in the process of organizing a radio show on wthu radio in Maryland. It is going to chronical the bands and artists that played the Kaleidoscope ONLY. It is going to be streamed at night live and will venture far out from our usual oldies format. I am looking for anyone that might have any of the "set lists" for any of the shows. Which songs were played at a particular show?? I'm Johnny B and check me out at You can contact me at: