Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Fillmore West Lost Concerts: Tuesday Night Auditions 1968-69 (FW Auditions I)


 (This is an extensive update of a previous post, which I have now divided into two parts)

Bill Graham's Fillmore West, formerly the Carousel Ballroom, at 1545 Market Street (at Van Ness), stands as the archetype of the modern rock concert. Although its predecessor, The Fillmore Auditorium (at 1805 Geary Blvd) and its main competitor, The Avalon Ballroom (at 1268 Sutter Street) were actually more instrumental in developing the rock concert, the term "Fillmore West" represents a host of references about the 60s and rock music. Most people, even big rock fans, do not even realize that the Fillmore West and The Fillmore were two different venues. "Fillmore West" and "Fillmore East" represent the two pillars of sixties rock on each Coast.

Shows at The Fillmore West are enshrined in rock history not just because of the fine posters, but because they featured great bands in their prime, like the Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Grateful Dead and Big Brother. While Fillmore and Avalon posters have underground cool, Fillmore West posters present iconic Baby Boomer bands like Santana and CSNY when they were still fresh. For all the attention given to the posters, there are surprisingly few lists of concerts at the Fillmore West, and most of them are lists of the posters rather than the shows. The best list I am aware of is Ross Hannan's list of Fillmore West events, which attempts to add and correct information about which bands performed when, since not every advertised show was played exactly as it was billed. Reading this list is a primer in live rock at its finest, and often all three acts on the bill were exceptional bands, even if they did not achieve stardom.

In our continuing research into 60s rock concerts, however, I have discovered that there were a large number of Fillmore West concerts that have gone almost entirely unremarked in much of the Fillmore scholarship of the subsequent years. Bill Graham opened The Fillmore West on July 5, 1968 (with Butterfield Blues Band and Ten Years After), but at the end of the Summer he instituted a Tuesday night series featuring local bands. The series was called "Audition Night," and three bands would play for a small admission fee ($1.00 or $1.50). The best of those bands would often open a weekend show on Friday and Saturday, sometimes even the next weekend.

The Tuesday night series seems to have gone on almost every week for the life of The Fillmore West, excepting the Summers of 1968 and 1969 when a six nights a week concert schedule was employed, as well as occasional nights when a big act would play a Tuesday. However, although the Tuesday night concerts are regularly alluded to, there are almost no records of which bands played.

By my estimation, there must be approximately 100 Tuesday night Audition concerts, possibly more, meaning perhaps as many as 300 acts played the Fillmore West that we are not generally aware of. If the Tuesday night "winner" also played on each weekend, as appeared to be the case at least some of the time, then there would be approximately 50 or more acts that were part of the "main" Fillmore West schedule that we have no direct evidence of. At the very least, this fact explains the number of lesser known groups who claim to have played The Fillmore West who never appeared on a poster. There were no posters or flyers for Tuesday night show, and the band "added" to the weekend gig was not on the poster, as the artwork had been done and the posters distributed considerably earlier.

With this mystery in mind, I have been attempting to determine what I can about Fillmore West audition shows.  Clearly this will be an ongoing project, but this post will explain the information that I have found.

Fillmore West Tuesday Night Audition Format
The Tuesday night Audition shows did not have posters or flyers that I am aware of, with occasional exceptions. There does appear to have been press releases, probably as part of regular Fillmore West press releases, so the performers would have been announced, but probably only on FM radio and at the Fillmore West itself. As rock music became more important, the Tuesday night shows would sometimes be listed in the paper as filler in the entertainment section, which is how I found out about most of the shows. In 1968 and 1969, however, the shows seem to have been all but unpublicized.

Bill Graham liked playing basketball, and apparently each Tuesday the Fillmore West "team" would play a game at the Fillmore West against another team (such as a radio station) prior to the show. A bit of this is shown in the 1972 Fillmore movie. Afterwards, three bands would play. It seems that everyone did just one set, unlike the normal two sets on the weekend, so it was a relatively early evening, appropriate for a Tuesday.

On weekends, the three billed bands (from the poster) each played two sets. Going back to 1966 at the old Fillmore, a local band often opened the show on Friday and Saturday, playing a single set. This was to encourage and accommodate early arriving patrons, and by extension to encourage the sale of more popcorn and soda. A local band playing a set at, say, 8:00 pm at the Fillmore would still have time to make it over to a nightclub if they were booked for a Friday or Saturday night gig, as many bands would have been. Whatever the proposition, however, there is no guarantee that the best band of each Tuesday night was guaranteed to be the opener on the next weekend. I'm sure it happened of course, and perhaps regularly, but I have yet to see indications of who actually opened which show.

Economic Rationale of Fillmore West Tuesday Audition Night

The Fillmore West was designed as a money making operation, but Bill Graham was also very shrewd about what would now be called "Leveraging His Brand" (had such a term existed then). First of all, each of the three bands was paid Union Scale for a two-hour session. I do not precisely how much this was, and obviously depending on the number of members of the band it would vary slightly, but it was probably a relatively small amount. Thus, it would not take a large crowd to justify the expense of the evening (since bands had to join the union in order to play Fillmore West, some bands may have effectively not been paid at all). By 1969 Graham was aware of the economic limits of the Fillmore West, since the building had actually been sold to Howard Johnson's, and was scheduled to be knocked down and turned into a hotel (although this in the end did not happen).

In late 1968 Graham started both a booking agency and two record labels. One record label was supported by CBS, and was called Fillmore Records; the other label was San Francisco Records, distributed by Atlantic; and the booking agency was the Millard Agency. Thus the auditions were not just for finding opening acts at Fillmore West, which was hardly an impossible task, as Graham had done so for years at the Fillmore without a Tuesday audition night. Tuesdays provided Graham first look at acts for his record company, and immediate indications of the stage act of local bands for his booking agency. The Millard Agency actually played an important role in the Bay Area rock concert scene from about 1968 to 1970, and while it is the subject of another line of research, its worth noting that a lot of benefits accrued to Graham's organization from seeing bands live in a concert setting.

This interesting snippet from a lengthy article on the operation of the Fillmore West, from the May 27, 1971 edition of the Hayward Daily Review, provides a telling insight into the focus of audition night ("Jackson" was Fillmore West manager Gary Jackson). In 1971, much less 1968, recording studio time was expensive and hard to come by. Since the Fillmore West was set up to record every live performance, each audition band effectively guaranteed the Graham organization a demo tape to use in pitching to record executives (for the Fillmore label) or to promoters (for the Millard Agency). If the band was willing to pay for their audition tape--and I don't doubt many were, as recording opportunities were scarce--it was another way to cover the costs of the evening.

Since the 1971 article was part of a lengthy story about the closing of the Fillmore West (the last day was July 4, 1971), the fact that recording and auditions continued right up until the end is a clear sign that Tuesday audition night had many other purposes besides merely finding openers for the weekend shows. While Graham's plans to become a record mogul fell short, one important group came out of the audition night: Oakland's Tower of Power. Although Tower had more success after leaving Graham's label, there was no question they were a ground breaking group that would not have made it without Graham's intervention (read Emilio Castillo's interview here). Graham did not lack for insight--he heard and tried to sign Bruce Springsteen at an audition night in February, 1970 (see the next installment), but the $1000 signing bonus was deemed insufficient. However, while many fine bands came through the Fillmore West auditions, Graham's booking agency (Millard) was a bigger beneficiary than his record companies.

Audition Night Schedule
The Fillmore West had its first concert on July 5, 1968. For the balance of the Summer, the venue was almost always booked six nights a week, just as the Fillmore had been the previous Summer. After Labor Day, the Fillmore West returned to a typical Thursday-thru-Sunday schedule, with occasional exceptions.  A new program would not start the day after Labor Day (Tuesday, September 3), and thus Tuesday, September 10, 1968 was the first Audition Night.

Starting Tuesday, June 17, 1969, the Fillmore West resumes having shows six nights a week, through the end of August. After Labor Day 1969, the 4 day a week schedule resumes. The six night a week schedule does not resume until July 28, 1970, and again ends after Labor Day. Including the occasional Tuesday night gig during the Winter, and accounting for certain holidays, there appear to be 121 available dates for Tuesday audition nights at Fillmore West between 1968 and 1971. The implication is that these events were regular, but I do not know if all 121 dates were actually filled.

Tuesday Audition Night Shows--Known Performances
What follows is whatever trace evidence is available for specific bands who played audition nights. Most of the information comes from entertainment listings or snippets published in Bay Area daily or Underground papers. I have tried to identify each band. I have many more bookings yet to uncover. Anyone with other information or useful speculation is encouraged to put them in the Comments or email me. I'm particularly interested in band members who played these shows, as well as anyone who attended a Tuesday night show.

September 10, 1968 A.B. Sky/Clover/Tounge In Groove Tuesday Night Audition
This date was the beginning of the Tuesday Night audition series, as up through Labor Day (September 2, 1968) the Fillmore West mostly had shows six nights a week. 

A.B. Skhy was a merger of a band from Milwaukee called The New Blues and organist Howard Wales, from Cincinnati. Their debut was released the next year on MGM. Clover was a Marin band that included John McFee and Alex Call, and they would soon be signed to Fantasy. Tongue and Groove featured singer Lynne Hughes. A.B. Skhy and Clover made albums in 1969, so the Fillmore West auditions probably played at least some role in their signing.

September ?, 1968 Santana Blues Band/Devil's Kitchen
Brett Champlin of Devils' Kitchen recalls playing audition night with the Santana Blues Band (announced as such) around this time. Santana Blues Band were a popular band around the Bay Area, and did not need to "audition" as such, so I think this must have been more of a showcase for Talent Agents and record companies. Santana were booked by the Millard Agency, so it was in Bill Graham's interests to promote interest in the band. The lineup at the time would have included Doc Livingston on drums and Marcus Malone on congas (along with Carlos, Gregg Rolie and bassist David Brown).

Devil's Kitchen were a newly arrived band from Carbondale, IL. They remained in the Bay Area for about two years, and at one point became the house band for The Family Dog On The Great Highway (h/t to Bruno).

JGMF could not find a listing in the SF Chronicle for September 17, 1968, so that may be the likely date (assuming Brett Champlin's memory is correct, and there is reason to think it is). 

September 24, 1968 Cleveland Wrecking Company/Mt Rushmore/The Wedge
Cleveland Wrecking Company was a sort of psychedelic horn band, kind of like the Sons of Champlin, who played lucrative dance gigs as well as the hippie rock clubs. They made good money, but were less interested in recording than many other groups. 

Mt. Rushmore had a peculiar, complicated history which we have documented at length. The band had existed since early 1967, but most of its members were now in the group Phoenix. Guitarist Mike Bolan kept the group going, however (with everyone else's permission), and ultimately the "new" Mt. Rushmore released two albums on Dot Records. Their first album High On Mt. Rushmore (let it go, it was the sixties) was released in 1969. The Wedge are unknown to me.

October 1, 1968 Country Weather/Jim Pepper/Phoenix
Although the date is approximated, former Phoenix bassist Jef Jaisun recalled it vividly in a personal email. Phoenix was an established band in the Bay Area clubs, and when Graham established the Tuesday night program, they were quick to sign up. They were sharing the bill with a new band from Contra Costa County called Country Weather, and a singer named Jim Pepper. Pepper had been in a few bands (Free Spirits and Everything Is Everything) and had even had a minor hit with one of them ("Witchie Tai To"), but he was new in town and had no material. Country Weather, who would go on to some local success, were still relatively new. Phoenix's manager made sure to invite a number of record company reps. However, for some reason Phoenix ended up with the opening slot, and most of the crowd and none of the record reps were there, and Country Weather "won" the audition.

Country Weather opened the next weekend's show (possibly Canned Heat on October 4-5, if I guessed the date right), started getting booked by the Millard Agency and developed a solid following around the Bay Area. Phoenix continued to struggle, and although they had a certain following, they never broke beyond their level. Jaisun's description is one of the few detailed memories of a Fillmore West audition, and it describes the meaningful stakes that were in play.

October 8, 1968 Initial Shock/Pulse/Freedom Highway
Initial Shock was from Montana, and had recently moved to the city. Pulse was a light show driven by a lone conga drummer. Freedom Highway were a Marin band, linked to the Sons of Champlin and West-Pole booking, but somewhat younger.

October 15, 1968 Flamin Groovies/Marvin Gardens/Transatlantic Railroad
JGMF found these listings in the SF Chronicle. . The Flamin' Groovies were a San Francisco band who played in a "British Invasion" style, and they have regularly documented their own history. Marvin Gardens and Transatlantic Railroad are familiar from local listings but I don't really know anything about them.

October 22, 1968 Marble Farm/Kwane and The Kwan-ditos/Other Half
JGMF found the listing in the Oct 22 SF Chronicle. It lists "Quadidos" but I think Kwane and the Kwan-ditos (a Latin rock band featuring Todd Barkan on piano) more likely. The Other Half were a legendary Los Angeles band who had moved North, and were probably on their last legs. Craig Tarwarter had taken over for Randy Holden on guitar.

October 29, 1968 Circus/Stonehenge/Dancing Food and Entertainment
Circus is unknown to me, but while there were a lot of 60s bands called Stonehenge, this one may have been the band from Fairfield (in far off Contra Costa). Dancing Food and Entertainment featured Naomi Eisenberg (later an original Hot Lick with Dan Hicks) and bassist Tom Glass (from Ian Underwood's Jazz Mice, also known as the poster artist Ned Lamont).

Per a reference from the Chronicle, this may have been a one-off Monday night (Oct 28) event.

November 5, 1968 Orion/Marks of King/Bittersweet

November 12, 1968 Stuart Little/Whytehaven/Nepenthe

November 19, 1968 Orphan Egg/The Beat'ables/Lincoln Zephyr

November 26, 1968 Celestial Hysteria/Frosted Suede/Collectra

December 3, 1968 White Lightning/Father Grumble/TCBs

December 10, 1968 The Crabs/San Francisco Boys Club Band/Heavenly Tones
The Crabs were a Berkeley Band

December 10?, 1968 Johnny Winter
LightIntoAshes found a biography of Johnny Winter that indicated that he played a Fillmore West audition, arranged by Mercury Records. My understanding is that Winter was booked at the Avalon for the first weekend of December, but the Avalon had folded and he played the Matrix instead. I am assuming December 10, because it seems to fit, but it could just as well be December 3 or 17. "White Lightning" (from Dec 3) may have been a Nom Du Rock for Winter (the idea that White Lightning was really Obray Ramsey and Byard Ray playing Fillmore West is surreal).

January 7, 1969 All Men Joy/Clover/Boogie
All Men Joy were a San Francisco band who did not feature Duane and Gregg Allman. Clover returned (see Sep 10 '68), a common feature of the Tuesday night shows. Boogie was a band that rehearsed at the Sausalito Heliport, a trio that featured guitarist Barry Bastian, bassist John Barrett and drummer  John Oxendine.

January 14, 1969 Ace Of Cups/Indian Head Band/Littlejohn Blues Band
The Ace Of Cups were San Francisco's all women psychedelic band. They were handled by Quicksilver manager Ron Polte, who probably held them back somewhat.

Indian Head Band was fronted by guitarist Hal Wagenet, soon to join It's A Beautiful Day. They featured an operatic female singer, and the group played mostly improvised music in a sort of Indian music style. Littlejohn Blues Band is unknown to me.

January 21, 1969 Crystal Syphon/Sanpaku/Crazy Horse
A hand-drawn flyer for this event occasionally circulates on eBay, and as a result I misunderstood the date (for October 1968). However, Sanpaku road manager Hewitt Jackson has uncovered a better flyer, probably made by someone associated with the Merced band Crystal Syphon, which has the accurate date. The flyer says "$1.00 Jam." This was slightly misleading, in that it wasn't really a jam session, but in 60s parlance "jam" also meant "laid back evening," and it was common to see groups billed on weeknights at clubs as a "jam" (like "Monday Night at The Matrix: Jam with Elvin Bishop), and the implication was that it was a less formal event.

Sanpaku was a Sacramento-based band whose performance history I have documented at length. At this time, Sanpaku was playing regularly at a Sacramento venue called The Sound Factory. Sound Factory proprietor Whitey Davis wanted to manage them, and helped to arrange the Tuesday night booking at Fillmore West. For some reason, Davis was not at the show, however, and after an impressive performance Bill Graham came backstage to meet Sanpaku. When Graham discovered that the band had no manager, he offered his own services on the spot.

Sanpaku also started being booked by the Millard Agency, along with Country Weather, Santana, Cold Blood, Its A Beautiful Day and The Grateful Dead.  Notice that in the first six months of Audition Nights, Graham had signed two groups to his booking agency roster and become manager of one of them, so regardless of whether each night's show showed a net profit, the venture was already paying dividends.

January 28, 1969 Midnight Rovers/Notes From The Underground/Lazarus
Notes From The Underground were a Berkeley band. They had released an album on Vanguard, but they were on their last legs at this point. Lazarus was another Berkeley band. Midnight Rovers (who had replaced Aum on the bill) are unknown to me. It is possible that the Midnight Rovers were the same as the Midnight Movers, who played March 4 '69.

February ?, 1969   Santana/Bronze Hog
The date for this show is speculative, but it comes from a clear memory by Sons Of Champlin road manager Charlie Kelly. This was probably the first show with the ‘Woodstock’ lineup, with Michael Shrieve on drums (along with Santana/Rolie/Brown/Carabello/Areas).  This wasn't exactly an audition, since Santana had played Fillmore West many times, but Shrieve had just joined and the band probably wanted to try out their chops. Kelly, familiar with the earlier incarnation of Santana, reported being absolutely stunned, and was not the least bit surprised when they were signed by Columbia, and went on to conquer Woodstock and the world.

Kelly had gone to the show to see his friends in Bronze Hog, a Cotati band. The crowd was floored by Santana, and promptly left, which wasn't great for Bronze Hog.

February 18, 1969 Day Blindness/South Bay Experimental Flash/Big Foot
Day Blindness were a South Bay trio featuring guitarist Gary Phil. South Bay Experimental Flash was a sort of progressive jazz rock band featuring horn player David Ladd. They had formed in San Jose, but some band members now lived in Richmond.

Big Foot was a Sacramento power trio, featuring guitarist Mike Botham and drummer Reid Neilsen. Neilsen would go on to form the Neilsen Pearson Band and become a successful Nashville song writer.

February 25, 1969 Devils Kitchen/Steve Lock Front/Buffington Rhodes
Buffington Rhodes were from Illinois, but they had spent some time in the Bay Area.

March 4, 1969 Midnight Movers/Elgin Marble/Cleveland Wrecking Company
The Cleveland Wrecking Company were a horn band that played a lot of local dances, but they also played rock clubs. Elgin Marble was a San Jose band. The Midnight Movers are unknown to me.

March 11, 1969 Johnny Talbot and De Thangs/Train/Sable 
Johnny Talbot and De Thangs were a popular Oakland R&B band. They had played the Fillmore as part of soul shows, and they had even opened for the Grateful Dead (March 19, 1967) on a night when they were backing Chuck Berry, who was also on the bill.

I have not yet identified any other performers for the balance of Spring 1969. There would have been no Tuesday Night Audition shows from June 17 through September 2, 1969, since the Fillmore West was largely booking major shows from Tuesday through Sunday nights anyway.

[update] ok, I found a few
April 22, 1969 Soul Messengers/Orion/Stained Glass/jam session
April 22, 1969 Vertrek/(unknown others)
Commenter George Robson recalls that his band, Vertrek, played this Fillmore West audition night. He cannot recall the other bands, but he is sure of the date because Led Zeppelin headlined that weekend. Robson does recall that Graham put the band up in a hotel nearby, and they played a half-hour to 45-minute set. Vertrek was a power trio from Red Bluff, CA, a town in far Northern California, past Chico but not quite all the way to Redding and Lake Shasta.

However, another source puts Vertek at Fillmore West on Tuesday May 11, 1971 with Brotherhood Rush and Nevada.

JGMF, who found the listing in the Chronicle of the same day, notes "4/22/69 Vertrek seems more doubtful, since SFC DB had it as Soul Messengers / Orion / Stained Glass, also light show, jam session and basketball game."

May 7, 1969 Fritz/Jack and Linda/Pink Ivorie/Glass Mountain
Fritz, from Menlo Park, had actually been formed as The Fritz Rabyne Memorial Band, named after a shy German exchange student at Menlo-Atherton High School. By 1969, the band featured mostly former M-A students, including bassist Lindsay Buckingham and singer Stephanie (Stevie) Nicks.

The other bands are unknown to me.

May 20, 1969 Weird Herald/Lincoln Zephyr/Dementia
Commenter JGMF found this, noted on his own excellent blog. Weird Herald were a wonderful and legendary South Bay band, featuring the great guitarist Billy Dean Andrus. Dementia was an East Bay theater troupe, and I believe Lincoln Zephyr was a transplanted New Mexico group. 

June 3, 1969 Transatlantic Railroad/Billy Roberts/Bicycle
Transatlantic Railroad was a Marin band. Billy Roberts was a folkie and songwriter, who wrote the famous song "Hey Joe, "  in 1962, although that was not widely known in 1969. Bicycle, usually spelled "Bycycle" on local rock posters, had previously been called Hoffman's Bicycle. 

June 10, 1969 Southwind/Unknown Metaphor/Tree Wizard/Golden Earring
Southwind featured guitarist John "Moon" Martin. Southwind put out at least one album (I had it--it wasn't bad), and Moon Martin had some success in the late 70s as a songwriter ("Bad Case Of Lovin' You" and "Cadillac Walk," most prominently).

The SF Chronicle (from June 9, 1969) specifically mentions that Golden Earring were from Holland. This confirms that this is the very same Golden Earring who were one of the most popular bands in Holland for decades, but only familiar to Americans for their mid-70s hit "Radar Love."

September 2, 1969 Shum-See-Kah/Gentle Dance/This Ole World
This listing was found in Good Times. This Ole World was an R&B cover band, as far as I know, that included electric violinist John Tenney and former Loading Zone guitarist Pete Shapiro.

September 9, 1969 Artichoke Jones/Canterbury Fair/Siddhartha
Ralph J Gleason makes a reference to the Audition Night programs resuming on Tuesday, September 9 in the August 27 Chronicle, but he doesn't name the bands (update: Bruno found the bands who played. I have discovered that Canterbury Fair were a popular Fresno band).

September 16, 1969 Home Cooking/Bronze Hog/Cosmo Quik/Dangerfield
Bronze Hog, based in Cotati in Sonoma County, were a regular band at the town's rock venue, The Inn Of The Beginning.

September 23, 1969    Summerland Blues Band/Free And Easy/South Bay Experimental Flash 
The Oakland Tribune's "Teen Age" section sometimes included press releases for upcoming rock events to fill space, so there was the occasional reference to Tuesday audition nights. The clipping at the top of the post is from the September 17, 1969 edition of The Trib. South Bay Experimental Flash were a jazz-rock band from Richmond, in the East Bay, very active on the club circuit.

The other two bands (Summerland Blues Band and Free And Easy) are completely unknown to me, and I'm an expert on 1969 club bands in the Bay Area. It does point up the difficulty for Fillmore West of finding up to 15 new bands a month, suggesting that some of the groups may have been from out of town. Even from my limited evidence, its clear that some bands played the Tuesday auditions more than once. 

September 30, 1969 Cyprus/Kwane and The Kwanditos/Glad/Terry Dolan
Kwane and The Kwanditos included pianist Todd Barkan, later the proprietor of the great San Francisco jazz club Keystone Korner (which was still a rock club in 1969). 

Glad was a Sacramento band, having arisen out of a group called The New Breed, who would evolve into a group called Redwing.

Terry Dolan, a folksinger from the Washington, DC area, would go on to front a Bay Area club band called Terry and The Pirates.

October 7, 1969 Commander Cody/Gods Country/Sunday
Commander Cody And His Lost Planet Airmen were from Ann Arbor, MI, and had relocated to the Bay Area in July of 1969. At this point, they lived in Emeryville and had started to play around the Bay Area, at clubs like Mandrake's and The Freight and Salvage

An eyewitness reported to me that Commander Cody backed Doug Kershaw when he opened for The Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead on October 24-26, 1969 at Winterland. Since Cody and the Airmen were new in town, they must have come to BGP's notice at this audition. Kershaw was an odd sort of hybrid, a cajun style fiddler who played a rock-country hybrid. Unlike almost any other rock band in the Bay Area (as BGP weren't working in the country circuit), Cody's crew were somewhat familiar with those idioms. 

October 14, 1969 Schon/Kimberly/Tongue and Groove/Richard Moore
It is tempting to believe that "Schon" was Neal Schon (future guitarist of Santana and then Journey), but since he would have been 15 years old at the time, I'm inclined to doubt it. I believe Tongue and Groove returned after a year's absence (see Sep 10 '68 above). 

October 21, 1969 Black Ghost/Fritz/Mendelbaum
Mendelbaum was a band from Madison, WI, who had moved to the Bay Area in June, 1969. Already an experienced road band in the Midwest, they rapidly established themselves at The Matrix and elsewhere. The group included guitarist Chris Michie (1948-2003, later with Van Morrison) and drummer Keith Knudsen (1948-2005, later with Lee Michaels, the Doobie Brothers and Southern Pacific). CBS producer David Rubinson, Bill Graham's partner in Fillmore Records, recorded a demo with the band on September 22, 1969, and a month later the group was asked to audition night (the date comes from Chris Michie's 2001 memoir Name Droppings). According to Michie, "we played better than we ever had before and were asked back several times over the coming months."

While some of Mendelbaum's appearances were on Tuesday nights, they must have opened some shows and by 1970 they even "made the poster", appearing on the May 21-24 bill with BB and Albert King. One reason I believe that bands who "won" the audition did not always open the same weekend is that for this weekend of October 24-25, the Dead and The Airplane were headlining at Winterland, and there were already two other bands on the bill (The Sons and Doug Kershaw), so I doubt there was room for a fifth. My assumption is that a good performance on audition night got a band a weekend opening slot, but not always the next weekend. 

Fritz, from Menlo Park, featured former Menlo-Atherton HS students Lindsay Buckingham and Stephanie Nicks. They had played a Tuesday show back on May 7.

Black Ghost may have been a Fresno band. 

October 28, 1969 Flying Circus/Bob McPharlin/Spectrum of Sound/Euphonius Wail
Flying Circus were based in Mill Valley, and had existed in some form since 1966. The more stable lineup that arose in 1968 featured lead guitarist Bob McFee. Flying Circus shared a rehearsal hall and equipment with another Mill Valley band, Clover (not coincidentally featuring Bob's brother John McFee on lead guitar).

Bob McPharlin and Euphonius Wail are familiar to me from various Bay Area club bills during 1969-70, but other than that I know little about them. Euphonius Wail appeared to be based in Sonoma County; Bob McPharlin seems to have been from San Diego and was based in Marin County (and now appears to be repairing vintage instruments in Harmony, PA).

October 28, 1969 Tuesday Night Auditions at The Fillmore East
In Fall 1969, Graham began running a Tuesday Night audition series at Fillmore East. The Fillmore East series is considerably more obscure than the Fillmore West series, and that's saying a lot. Nonetheless the fabulous Its All The Streets You Crossed blog (which everyone should read) did manage to uncover some critical information.

In the July 31, 1969 edition of the Village Voice, Fillmore East manager Kip Cohen grumbles that his call for bands to play audition night at the Fillmore East met an underwhelming response. In the September 4, 1969 edition it is reported that thanks to the Voice, numerous bands showed interest and the Fillmore East Tuesday night series would commence on October 28, 1969.

A history of the Fillmore East Audition Night series would be a fascinating snapshot of the East Coast scene, but I have been unable to find any information about which bands played.

November 4, 1969 Lamb/The New/Dementia/Young Luke Attraction
Lamb, possibly still a duo at this time, featured guitarist Bob Swanson and pianist Barbara Mauritz, both of whom sang and wrote. Lamb would get signed by Bill Graham's management and record label. Ultimately a full band was added, some albums were released and they were modestly successful around the Bay Area.
Update: Ralph Gleason's column of November 3 mentioned Lamb, The New, Dementia and Young Luke Attraction. However, correspondent Michael B recalls that his Oakland band Peacock played that night. He still has the signed contract, which reveals that the 4-member group was paid $126.49, per the Musicians Union Local 6

November 11, 1969 Gold/Celestial Hysteria/Wisdom Fingers/Shag
Gold was a Berkeley band managed by Ron Cabral, an old friend of Country Joe McDonald's, which is how Joe ended up producing their 1969 single ("Summer Time" on Golden State). The band did record an album, but it was not released until about 40 years later (on Rockadelic).

Celestial Hysteria was a Berkeley based band, and had played the Straight Theater and the North Beach club Deno and Carlo’s (later the Keystone Korner) among other venues.  There apparently had been some record company interest in 1968, and the band recorded some demos, but the band members were minors and their parents refused to sign a contract so the band went no further. The organist was John Barsotti, now a Professor of Broadcast Arts and Communications at San Francisco State University. No doubt Professor Barsotti is a relative of the many Berkeley Barsotti’s who played a critical role in the Bill Graham Presents organization.
According to Professor Barsotti (in an email):
Celestial Hysteria had a male lead singer named Greg Renfro who later left the band and was replaced with a female singer named Mary Lou Hazelwood.  The band also consisted of Buddy Greer on traps, Mark Buvelot on Bass, John Formosa and Jim Logue on Guitar (later a guy named John Allen also on guitar), and I played Hammond organ.  We recorded and played shows from 1967-69…  I believe I am the only member of the band that stayed in the music Industry.
Celestial Hysteria's performance at the Fillmore West seems to have been at the end of their tenure.

Shag was a Fresno band. Wisdom Fingers are unknown to me.

November 18, 1969 Black Diamond/Crystal Syphon/Sideminder/Mother Bear
Lead guitarist Roger Salloom and singer Robin Sinclair were originally from Texas. They moved to Chicago, where they recorded the 1968 album Saloom Sinclair and The Mother Bear (on Cadet Concept). Their second album, 1969’s Salloom-Sinclair, was recorded in Nashville and had more of a country rock sound. The group appears to have relocated to the Bay Area in 1969, where they played local clubs.  Ultimately Roger Salloom returned to Texas and Robin Sinclair became the lead singer of Gold in about 1971 (see November 11, 1969).

Salloom Sinclair And Mother Bear had already played the Fillmore West the previous year (Oct 31-Nov 2, 1968, opening for Procol Harum and Santana), and they were regular names around Bay Area clubs. I think by 1969 Graham regularly tried to book at least one band with some kind of local following, to insure that a certain number of people showed up. Since a number of local bands (like Mendelbaum) played "Audition Night" a number of times, it was clear that every performer wasn't auditioning.
Crystal Syphon were back for a second look. Sideminder were apparently from the Monterey area. Black Diamond are a familiar name from various club bills, but I know nothing about them.

November 25, 1969 Deacon and The Suprelles/Track Stod/Good Humor

December 2, 1969 Arizona/Andrew Hallidie/Canterbury Fair
An earlier listing had San Francisco TKO/Indian Gold/Sunday, but that appears to have changed by the day of the show. Andrew Hallidie invented the cable car in the 19th century, and thus was an important figure in San Francisco, if nowhere else. I doubt there was someone named Andrew Hallidie in the group.
[update: an email from Gene Cross, former lead singer for the Andrew Hallidie band, sorts out the tale. Andrew Hallidie was a six-member band from the Maxwell Park area in Oakland (near Mills College). Cross and Kathy Walsh were the singers, the lead guitarist was Steve Tillotson, Chuck Anderson on organ, Ron Reagan on bass and Karen Ripley on drums. They recorded some material at Funky Jack Studios, and ultimately Cross released an album of the material under his name, which is available at CDBaby, 30 Degrees)

December 9, 1969 Brotherhood Rush/Searchin Sound/RB Funk
All of these groups are unknown to me.

December 16, 1969 Insanity Rules/Lila/Immaculate Contraption 
All of these groups are unknown to me. 


December 23, 1969 Crystal Garden/Dry Ice/Styx River Ferry
The show was mentioned in Ralph Gleason's Chronicle column of December 22 (above). Given the speed at which Gleason had to put together his column, it is not surprising their were many typos and hiccups. Its not impossible that Crystal Garden was really just Crystal Syphon. Dry Ice is unknown to me.

Styx River Ferry was a Berkeley bluegrass band, regulars at The Freight and Salvage. Styx River Ferry were an important bluegrass band in San Francisco, as they helped popularize bluegrass in the City, primarily at a place called Paul's Saloon. The group moved to Nashville in 1972, however.

Styx River Ferry included Woody Herman's daughter (Ingrid Fowler) and banjoist Marty Lanham, now a well known Nashville guitar maker.  In fact, Woody Herman and his big band had opened for The Who at Fillmore West in June 1969. I have to assume that Woody and his daughter are the only father-daughter (and probably the only father and child) combination to perform separately on the Fillmore West stage.

I do not think there was a Tuesday night show on December 30, 1969.

The updated 1970-71 Fillmore West Audition Night list is here.


  1. October 14, 1969: I think is possible that this "Schon" on the bill is really Neal Schon because at that time he play as solo performer....is career timeline said this: Crime Stompers (first rock band during elementary school, early 60s), Mind Inventory (1968-69), solo performer (1969-70), Old Davis (1970) and finally joined Santana in December 1970.

  2. Or maybe it really was Crystal Garden, they of "Peach Fuzz Forest" fame. Or maybe Ralph couldn't keep all those crystals straight!

  3. (1) February 25, 1969: Devil's Kitchen also
    auditioned that night before Santana

    (2) September 9, 1969: Artichoke Jones,
    Canterbury Fair, Siddhartba

  4. I'm Charlie Kelly. Thanks for the mention. I saw Santana on that Tuesday night because I had come to see some friends, a band called The Bronze Hog from Cotati. They had the misfortune to follow Santana as the place emptied out. Very few bands could follow Santana.

    Unless you can find some Santana Fillmore posters from before that show, I would take exception to the claim that Santana had played the Fillmore West "many times" before.

    I was deeply involved in the SF music scene at the time, and that night was the first time I had ever seen or heard of them. If they had played on a previous bill, they wouldn't have needed to audition on a Tuesday night, when every act was virtually unknown. They used the name "Santana Blues Band" at the time, which wasn't entirely accurate. I don't think they played a single "blues" tune.

    The Sons of Champlin did a free show with Santana in Provo Park in Berkeley a few weeks later. Santana quickly rose to elite status among Bay Area rockers, but I would maintain that the first time they came to the public's attention was on that Tuesday night.

    As far as I know only two bands made it from a Tuesday night audition to a weekend bill. Santana was one, Tower of Power the other.

    If you can find the review of the first Santana album in Rolling Stone, the reviewer didn't like it. In his vicious review, he compared Santana with notorious "speed" bands, such as the Sons of Champlin, whom he also apparently detested.

    1. I went to a Sunday afternoon show at the original 'mo in '67 or '68 to see Butterfield and Charles Lloyd. East West just come out(?) After a coupla nondiscript bands played, The Carlos Santana Blues Band came up, as I remember, w/o a keyboard player /ocalist. Or maybe they did have one. The guitarist was the standout. Anyway, this was back when Steve Miller called his band a "blues band" too. After a short set, Graham announced that "these guys are really good. They'll be back". I'm also remembering that this was a coupla three years prior to the first LP being released. So the CSBB played the 'mo at least a coupla years prior the the Carousel/'mo West.

  5. Charlie, its great to have you on board. Nice detail about Bronze Hog--must have been a tough night for them. I see they played again later in the Fall.

    Santana was on the bill plenty of times at Fillmore West in 1968 (http://www.chickenonaunicycle.com/Fill%20West%20Shows.htm), but it was the earlier lineup with Doc Livingston on drums and Marcus Malone on congas. They were good, but nothing like the Shrieve/Chepito/Areas powerhouse.

    I did look, though, and I now see that Santana played FW with Collectors and Melanie on February 13-16, 1969, so the Tuesday show had to be earlier. Perhaps late January?

    I do think that BGP often had a band with a following of sorts on the bill, in order to sell a few tickets. It may also be that Santana was trying out their new lineup, and/or new equipment, and while they didn't "need" to play Tuesday night, it may have been very useful nonetheless.

  6. After reading Charlie's comment, I think the date of February 25, 1969 is wrong (Robbie Stokes of Devil's Kitchen remember opened for them at a "Tuesday Audition" as I say in my previous comment, but he even don't remember if this date is correct). Finally I think Santana, Devil's Kitchen and The Bronze Hog played at Fillmore West "Tuesday Audition" in September 1968 because in his above comment Charlie says: "The Sons of Champlin did a free show with Santana in Provo Park in Berkeley a few weeks later". The date of this Berkeley gig is October 6, 1968 so finally for me September 1968 is the correct date.

  7. Bruno, I think you are correct that the Santana show was earlier than February 25, 1969. However, I discussed this in the past with Charlie Kelly and he distinctly recalled the Mike Shrieve/Chepito Areas/Mike Carabello rhythm section--that was what made the band such a powerhouse--so it causes other timeline problems to set it back too far.

    There are probably lots of Provo Park shows we don't know about. They were free, so there wasn't always much need (or desire) for publicity.

  8. Based on my "Santana Family Tree" in my blog "The San Francisco Sound" Michael Shrieve joined the band only in March 1969 and Jose 'Chepito' Areas only in early May 1969. I talked with Michael Shrieve asking for confirmation of this dates and even though he says he does not remember exactly, he still thinks they are the right ones.

  9. Well, then if that's the case then maybe the Santana shows were later in the year. Santana was an established Fillmore act by mid-1968, so the Tuesday night show wasn't an audition in that sense.

  10. Corry I talked to Brett Champlin, Devil's Kitchen's singer and rhythm guitarist, asking him if he remembered something about this now "infamous" gig at Fillmore West's Tuesday Night Audition. He confirmed that the band was announced on stage still as 'Santana Blues Band' (but he don't remember their line-up) and about the date he don't remember the exact date but "my date" of Sept 68 sounds about right to him.

  11. Bruno, this is great information, but I'm inclined to think that there was more than one Santana performance on Fillmore West Tuesday nights. After all, many bands played more than once.

    Brett Champlin's memory sounds very accurate, and September 68 sounds plausible for a show where Santana was announced as Santana Blues Band. Devil's Kitchen was new in town around then as well.

    At the same time, Charlie Kelly remembered an early 69 Tuesday show with Mike Shrieve where Santana tore the house down. The Sons played with Santana many times throughout the Spring and early Summer of 69, so he remembers when he saw them first.

  12. Corry then you think that there are two different "Tuesday Night Audtion" for Santana, one in about September 1968 with Devil's Kitchen and one in spring or summer 1969 with The Bronze Hog? Well, it's possible....

  13. Corry I spoke again with Michael Shrieve about this gig with The Bronze Hog, and he don't remember the exact date but he remember that he played with Santana at the Fillmore West before Chepito joined them. So maybe Charlie Kelly remember only Mike Shrieve and Mike Carabello (but not Chepito) and if this were the case then the date of February 25, 1969 could also be right because I remember that Mike Shrieve joined them in March but maybe he joined them a few days earlier in late February exactly. What you think?

  14. Bruno, that hypothesis makes a lot of sense.

  15. There's a 2-color poster for a performance of Hair at Terra Nova High School in Pacifica with Celestial Hysteria Nov. 10 ('67?). Maybe that's where they started?

  16. Erik, a very interesting note about Celestial Hysteria. Up until now the earliest date I had seen for them was Dec 19, 1967 at the New Orleans House. What few dates I have for the band are mostly Berkeley/East Bay dates, but that may just be because that is where our research was.

    Pacifica is comparatively far afield, so it does suggest a San Francisco orientation.

  17. Celestial Hysteria did indeed begin in 1967 and took their name from a phrase in Lenore Kandels's "Love Book":

    The lust of comets collide in Celestial Hysteria

    The band was managed in 1967 and 1968 by Ron Cabral who had been in the Navy with Country Joe McDonald and would go on to manage Gold, author books on Country Joe and Jonestown and be head teacher of Opportunity High.

  18. Could the Hair on poster be Darby Slick's band rather than the musical?
    Weren't they on the bill at the Straight the month before?

  19. Erik - I think you are probably correct about Hair being the Slick band. I don't have a date for them at the Straight any time then, but they certainly did play the Fillmore back in August 1967 (supporting the Young Rascals and Charles Lloyd Quartet on 18 and 19). If you have anything on the Straight date, please drop me an e-mail. Ross

  20. We called them Tuesday night jams. A lot of people would show up and jam together.

    Santana played there a number of times. He would walk down Market St. with a guitar case in his hand.

  21. How wonderful to see all this interest in the Fillmore West Tuesday Auditions! Our lightshow, Little Princess 109, auditioned on September 24, 1968, but we can't remember what bands were on the bill. Somebody at BGP must have liked us because we were called back to do a second audition a month later. Next thing we knew, we had our first weekend gig, with Santana, on Dec.19-22! We ended up doing more nights of lights for BGP than any other lightshow of the Fillmore-Fillmore West-Winterland era. We've put together a 55-page illustrated history of our experiences. David Hillis

  22. How wonderful to see all this interest in the Fillmore West Tuesday Auditions! Our lightshow, Little Princess 109, auditioned on September 24, 1968, but we can't remember what bands were on the bill. Somebody at BGP must have liked us because we were called back to do a second audition a month later. Next thing we knew, we had our first weekend gig, with Santana, on Dec.19-22! We ended up doing more nights of lights for BGP than any other lightshow of the Fillmore-Fillmore West-Winterland era. We've put together a 55-page illustrated history of our experiences. David Hillis

    1. Mr. David Hills nice to read about a familiar name from back in the old Howie's days.Were you not from the Fairway Park area and attended James Logan High School (in Decoto of course,be careful) Were'nt you and Bryan Holley son of Mr. Holley ( the coolest art teacher at Banard Jr. High)the ones who started Little Princess 109?I know that there were quite a few other light show companies but Little Princess 109 was an essential part of the Bay Area concert scene.P.S. where did you aquire your overhead projectors from?.. rumor has it that some overhead projectors were missing from Mr. Holley's art classroom at James Logan High School

  23. Is it possible that Midnight Rovers on 1/28/69 and Midnight Movers on 3/4/69 are the same act?

    Also, I show 9/2/69 Shum-See-Kah/Gentle Dance/This Ole World/Lights: San Francisco Light Works, based on listing in Good Times ("auditions - sounds of The City").

  24. Just wondering if anyone here remembers a magazine that came out around the time of the Fillmore closing. The entire magazine was devoted to the Fillmore, complete with pictures of the shows and the full schedule. There was also a poem by (I believe) a writer from the NY Times titled "Blues for the Fillmore". I've been trying to find that poem for years and just came across this site in my latest search. If anybody knows where I can find the whole poem, I'd appreciate it. I remember the first two verses:

    I've got the blues for the Fillmore,
    Wish there was still more to dig.
    Gotta find me a new place,
    To tighten up my soul and wig.

    I've got the blues for Bill Graham,
    Ain't gonna say him no bad.
    Man sure took care of business,
    Gave me the best rock sound I ever had.

    Then the next few verses were a tribute to some of the bands that played there.

  25. Littlejohn Blues Band (1/14/69) would be guitarist Johhny Littlejohn out of Chicago who released his first album on Delmark the previous month. Re Day and Night Blues Band (11/17/70), there was a band by that name out of Detroit featuring singer Rusty Day and drummer K.J. Knight but Knight's autobiography "Knight Moves" doesn't mention a west coast jaunt.

    1. Pete, thanks for this little detail. We will figure out all these bands "one piece at a time," like the Johnny Cash song.

  26. I have been through the Chronicles from July through mid-October, and have a couple of Tuesday auditions to add.

    9/10/68 - first one listed, supporting your surmise that this was the very first one. A.B. Skhy/Clover/Tongue in Groove/jam session.

    9/17/68: none listed.

    9/24/68: Cleveland Wrecking Company/Mt. Rushmore/The Wedge

    10/1/68: none listed

    10/8/68: Initial Shock/Marvin Gardens/Transatlantic Railroad

    10/15/68: Flamin' Groovies/Marvin Gardens/Transatlantic Railroad

  27. BTW, even better confirmation: RJG's Ad Libs on 9/9/68 says the Tuesday stuff begins "tomorrow night", so there you have it.

  28. 10/1/68: Country Weather Band/Free Spirits/Phoenix

  29. RJG's Ad Libs SFC19681007p49 gives the 10/8/68 lineup as Initial Shock/Pulse/Freedom Highway, which I think supersedes the info I posted above.

  30. Gaaah ... the Datebook the day-of (SFC19681008p43) gives the initial listing for 10/8: Initial Shock/Marvin Gardens/Transatlantic Railroad

  31. The Examiner, now fully digitized during the relevant period, will yield more. Here's one, image conveniently available at http://jgmf.blogspot.com/2018/09/jerry-garcia-and-friends-sanpaku-at.html: 5/20/69: Dementia/Lincoln Zephyr/Weird Herald.

  32. Per one biography of Johnny Winter, he played a Fillmore audition in early December 1968:

    "[Winter] and his band flew to San Francisco to talk to record executives at Mercury Records...
    “Doug Sahm got Mercury Records to pay our way to San Francisco,” said [bandmember John] Turner. “The [12/7/68] Rolling Stone article came out at the same time. Record labels were calling our hotel room from the East Coast...”
    Johnny and company stayed on the West Coast for several weeks. Mercury Records arranged for them to play a Tuesday night audition at the Fillmore and a gig at the Matrix, a small, hip club near North Beach.
    “The Matrix was owned by Grace Slick’s husband,” said Turner. “Jerry Garcia was there; he was part owner. It was a club like the Scene, although it was nowhere as big or as cool. But it was a cool place to play; there were a lot of record people there.”"

    Winter was scheduled at the Matrix from December 3-5; the Fillmore audition must have been around the same time.

  33. 10/29/68: Circus / Stonehenge / Dancing-Food-and-Entertainment

    1. Also a midnight jam session that night.

    2. And, oddly, this crew is listed as "Opening Tonight" in the Datebook box of the SFC on Monday, 10/28/68. Error, or any chance this was a two-night affair? (No, I haven't checked the list of Fillmore concerts to see what else happened that Monday.)

  34. 11/5/68: Orion / Marks of Kings / Bittersweet

  35. 11/12/68: Stuart Little / Whytehaven / Nepenthe

  36. 11/19/68: Orphan Egg / The Beat'Ables / Lincoln Zephyr

  37. 12/3/68: White Lightning / Father Grumble / TCB's

    1. I find myself wondering if "White Lightning" isn't Johnny Winter.

  38. 12/10/68: The Crabs / San Francisco Boys Club Band / Heavenly Tones

  39. Replies
    1. Thanks so much for all of these. I updated the post.

  40. Credit for the Johnny Winter thing is being given to me, but it belongs to LIA. For the record, and all that. We academics are sensitive about correct attribution, which we receive in lieu of monetary compensation.

    1. Fixed, thanks

      The way I heard it, you get a PhD, agreeing to forego current income, in the interests of foregoing future income.

    2. Yes. "The vow of poverty".

  41. My buddies from Hayward had a light show called Anathema. They first appeared at Fillmore West in July 1969 on a bill with Joe Cocker and The Grease Band who were 2nd billed to Country Joe and The Fish. It was the weekend we landed on the moon and I seem to remember the NSA footage being shown on the light show screen.

    They auditioned on a Tuesday night that had to have been earlier in 1969. Tony Joe White was also auditioning that night.

  42. re:Nov 11, 1969. Wisdom Fingers was a band lead by singer-songwriter Rip Masters on keys and vocals.Given name: Martin Masters. The band featured Lenny Giachello on drums and Geoff Pierce on guitar with Larry Brown on bass. Some gigs were as a trio with organ bass. The band also played at The Family Dog on the Great Highway with Purple Earthquake, and at the wrap party for the cult film "Glenn and Randa" among other appearances around the Bay Area. The band was based in Haight Ashbury with ties to Mill Valley and Santa Cruz. Music was mostly original. East Coast native and leader Masters went on to become a well known rockabilly artist and session player starting in the mid 70s through the present.

  43. According to the Tuesday December 10, 1968, San Francisco Examiner, the line-up for that night's "Sounds of the City" at the Fillmore West were The Crabs, Heavenly Tones, San Francisco Boys Club Band and "John Winter." He is also mentioned as appearing on Dec 10, in an article in the Monday December 9, 1968 San Francisco Examiner noting that the "Sounds of the City" shows would only be held on December 10 & 17 during the month of December.

  44. 10/22/68: Marble Farm, "Quadidos" (I think this is Kwame and the Kwandidos, or whatever that group was), Other Half

    source: SFC Datebook, 10/22/68 p42

  45. 11/26/68: Celestial Hysteria / Frosted Suede / Collectra

    via RJG 11/25/68 p49

  46. 4/22/69 Vertrek seems more doubtful, since SFC DB had it as Soul Messengers / Orion / Stained Glass, also light show, jam session and basketball game

    SFC 4/22/69 p34

  47. 5/27/69: Fritz / Jack and Linda / Pink Ivory / Glass Mountain; basketball was the Fillmore Fingers vs. The Underwhelming Kriste

    SFC 5/27/69 p44

    1. Thanks for all these great research updates

  48. I’m curious about the Crazy Horse appearance. Why would they play at an audition night? Also per the book Shakey, the recording for Everybody Knows began in mid January in LA and this date was January 21st. Maybe they were testing out the trio version sans the rest of The Rockets? It’d be interesting to know why they played and what they played. I’m guessing it was just Danny, Billy, and Ralph.

    1. TJM, I suspect the answer is more mundane. I think it was a NorCal band named Crazy Horse, I even think I have seen them booked around the Central Valley. No one would have heard of Neil Young's backing band at the time, so they wouldn't have known.

      I'd love it if it was the Rockets, of course, but I don't think it was. In any case, I spoke with the Sanpaku guys and they told me about the show some year later, I think they would remembered if it was Danny Whitten etc.

    2. Ahh well that makes sense. And sadly it is much more mundane. I guess they hadn’t publicly used the name so makes sense a different band might have been using it.