Friday, October 29, 2010

The Sons Of Champlin Performance List January-June 1969 (Sons IV)

(a scan of the ad for New Orleans House, from the January 10, 1969 Berkeley Barb)

The Sons Of Champlin were one of the best and most musical of the original San Francisco bands that played the Fillmore and the Avalon from 1966 onwards. Well ahead of their time, they are fondly remembered now, and since the world has finally caught up to them, they continue to perform this very day. This project is an attempt to identify all the performances of The Sons Of Champlin from 1966 to 1969. The previous installments of this series were
This post will look at the Sons Of Champlin's known performances from January through June 1969. Thanks to various people who have helped with this project over the years, including Ross and the old Yahoo Sons discussion group, but most particularly Sons road manager Charlie Kelly. Anyone with additional information, insights, corrections or memories (real or imagined) should Comment or email me.

Sons Of Champlin Performance List January-June 1969
In early 1969, The Sons Of Champlin were a six-piece band. The lineup was
  • Bill Champlin-Hammond organ, guitar, lead vocals
  • Terry Haggerty-lead guitar
  • Tim Cain-tenor sax
  • Geoff Palmer-piano, Hammond organ, vibes, baritone sax
  • Al Strong-bass
  • Bill Bowen-drums
Trumpeter Jim Beem was still associated with the band, but he had been having personal difficulties and was not a part of the group during this period.

In late 1968 and early 1969 the Sons Of Champlin had recorded Loosen Up Naturally for Capitol Records, their first album.  Chief roadie Charlie Kelly said that the double-lp represented their live set at the time (often augmented by a few covers).  Throughout 1968 and 69, The Sons regularly played many smaller venues in the Bay Area, and I have only captured a portion of those dates. I have to assume the Sons worked almost every weekend, or at least tried to, plus numerous weekday shows.

January 10-11, 1969: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Ace Of Cups

January 15-18, 1969: New Orleans House, Berkeley, CA:  Sons Of Champlin/Notes From The Underground (17th and 18th)

January 16, 1969:  Pauley Ballroom, UC Berkeley, CA: Steve Miller Band/Sons Of Champlin/Mad River/Mint Tattoo/Frumious Bandersnatch/Cleanliness & Godliness Skiffle Band/Allmen Joy/Other Half/Little John/The Lamb
“Support the Oakland 7 Benefit Dance” emcee Chet Helms
The flyer for this event is in the A Young Man’s Song cd by Frumious Bandersnatch, but no venue is named. However, the Berkeley Barb lists the event as being held at Pauley Ballroom on campus.  Note that the Sons were also playing at The New Orleans House the same night, but since the New Orleans House was only about a mile from campus, it would have been easy to play an early set at Pauley and then go over to the club. I do wonder if they brought along the Hammond organ, however.

January 24-26, 1969: Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Sons Of Champlin/Initial Shock
Since Chet Helms and the Family Dog had vacated, the Avalon was now being booked by an organization called Sound Proof, which was connected to the group Initial Shock.

January 31-February 1, 1969: Longshoreman’s Hall, San Francisco, CA:  Steve Miller Band/Sir Douglas Quintet/Sons Of Champlin
Aquarius Productions Presents “A Medieval Happening”
Renaissance Faires had started to become popular events, and the one in Marin County was among the first. This event was a sort of indoor "pseudo-Renaissance Faire."  An eyewitness reported that the Duck's Breath Mystery Theater comedy troupe performed between sets, and that Steve Miller’s set was "the loudest [he] ever heard... Miller's Marshall amps, turned up all the way, sounded like gravel shaken in a bucket, but impossibly loud.”

February 14-15, 1969: Dream Bowl, Vallejo, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Blues Helping
The Dream Bowl had been a long time music venue dating back at least to World War 2. It was located near the intersection of Highway 29 and Kelly Road. It was a country venue for much of the 1950s and 60s, but for a few months in 1969 some promoters made a go of turning it into a sort of Napa Valley Fillmore. Like many of these experiments, it made no financial sense but was remembered fondly by those who attended.

February 17, 1969: Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: 
“Happy Chinese New Year’s” A Benefit for Lenay Inc
Mike Bloomfield and Nick Gravenites Jam/Sons Of Champlin/Phoenix/Ace Of Cups/Pitschell     Players
The poorly-reproduced poster is difficult to read. It must have been approximately this date (because of Chinese New Year’s), but it could have been any time from February 17th to 20th (Monday thru Thursday).

February 19, 1969: Fairfax Pavilion, Fairfax, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Beefy Red
Beefy Red was a Marin jazz-rock group from the 1969-70 period, led by San Francisco guitarist Barry Finnerty, later with the Jazz Crusaders.  The drummer was Jim Preston, who went on to join the Sons in March, 1972.  Mark Isham, also a future Son, was a trumpeter in Beefy Red at some point (the group had up to 10 members) but I do not know if he was in the band on this gig.

February 20-23, 1969: Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA: Albert King/Sons Of Champlin/Cold Blood

February 28-March 1, 1969: The Poppycock, Palo Alto Sons Of Champlin/Boogie
The Poppycock was at 135 University Avenue (at High Street), and was Palo Alto’s tiny “psychedelic” club venue. Boogie was a trio that rehearsed at the Sausalito Heliport, along with the Sons and many other groups.

March 2, 1969: Speedway Meadows, San Francisco, CA: All Men Joy/Sons Of Champlin/Initial Shock/Morning Glory/Last Mile
An afternoon free concert, sponsored by the 13th Tribe.

March 8, 1969: Peterson Gym, SDSU, San Diego, CA Butterfield Blues Band/Sons Of Champlin/Taj Mahal
Since March 8 was a Saturday, I wouldn't be surprised if there was another Southern California show the night before (Friday March 7)

March 16, 1969: Speedway Meadows, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA:  MC5/Boogie/Sons Of Champlin
Detroit’s hard-rocking MC5, headlining at the Straight Theater all weekend, used The Sons equipment for this free gig in the park.  Bill Bowen’s drums took a particular beating.

March 17, 1969: Winterland, San Francisco, CA: Jefferson Airplane/Grateful Dead/Sons Of Champlin/Red Mountain “Monster Jam” Benefit for Olompali
I have written about Monday Night Winterland benefit featuring the Dead and the Airplane elsewhere. Olompali was a decrepit Victorian mansion in Marin that housed a hippie commune, and the building had burned down.

March 21-23, 1969: Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Santana/Sons Of Champlin/Dancing Food & Entertainment
Parts of an FM broadcast survive from March 23. To my knowledge, this broadcast (I believe from KPFA) is the best circulating document of the early Sons' sound. Besides their first album material, they do a funky but faithful cover of Fats Domino's "Blueberry Hill."

Santana were just a popular local band at this time, but the killer lineup that would record their first album and star at Woodstock had finally come together, and they were already a great live band. Dancing Food & Entertainment were booked by the Millard Agency, and featured singer Naomi Ruth Eisenberg (later in Dan Hicks and The Hot Licks) and bassist Tom Glass (aka artist Ned Lamont, formerly in The Jazz Mice with Ian Underwood).

March 28, 1969 Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Santa Rosa, CA: Sons Of Champlin/West/Womb/Richie Ross
[update] This flyer turned up unexpectedly on Facebook (h/t Rebecca). West featured guitarist Ron Cornelius (ex-Justice League, later a Nasville producer) and Womb was a North Bay band linked to the group Hedds. Richie Ross is unknown to me.

March 29, 1969: New Orleans House, Berkeley, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Ace Of Cups

April 1 thru 5, 1969: Straight Theater, San Francisco, CA:
Sons Of Champlin/Passion/Marvin Gardens/The Angels Own Band Chorus/Bicycle/Asoke Fakir/Morning Glory/Congress of Wonders/Rush/Last Mile/Glass Mountain
The Straight Theater was at the end of its financial rope. Tim Leary was supposed to headline, and canceled.  Some of the bands may have played on some nights, but it is not certain whether the Sons played at all, on any night.

April 3, 1969: Pauley Ballroom, UC Berkeley, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Ace Of Cups/Country Weather/Phoenix

April 6, 1969: Provo Park, Berkeley, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Lamb/Frumious Bandersnatch/Ace Of Cups/All Spice Rhythm Band
Provo Park (previously Constitution Park) was the downtown park, near the Community Theater, Berkeley High and the Civic Center. Provo Park served the same function for Berkeley as the Panhandle did for the Haight Ashbury, and bands regularly played there for free.

Spring (?) 1969: Native Sons Hall, Sacramento, CA: Sons Of Champlin
A Commenter recalls this show.
I saw The Sons of Champlin in about 1968/69. They appeared at a small 2nd story ballroom in Sacramento (not Sound Factory(.It was *around* 13th Street between I and J Streets (my memory is fuzzy on the exact locations). The band was driving up from the Bay Area and only the rhythm section had arrived by showtime. It was guitar, organ, bass and drums and they jammed until the other members arrived.
Research from Sacramento sources suggests that the venue appears to have been the ballroom in the Native Sons Hall on 11th and J Streets, across from the Elks Building that housed KZAP, Sacramento's first fm rock station.The Native Sons Hall had been known as The  Trip Room at one point in 1966. I have arbitrarily suggested that the date was Spring '69, but until we have more evidence I can't say for sure.

As a side note, regardless of which Sons had been late to the show, the band members were so versatile that any four of them could have made up a solid rhythm section.

April 16, 1969: [Cowell College], UC Santa Cruz, CA Sons Of Champlin/Ace Of Cups/Phoenix
I'm not sure of the venue for this show. Given the newly constructed nature of the UC Santa Cruz Campus (it had only opened in Fall 1965), the Cowell-Stevenson Dining Commons seems the most likely place. This was billed as a  Benefit for “Malcom X College.” That too is a mystery, but UCSC had (and has) a residential college system modeled on the Oxbridge system, and they were opening a new College every year. Fall 1969 would see the opening of the fifth College, whose name was in some dispute, which is why it was called "College Five" for many years (and still is by some stubborn alums). My guess is that the "Benefit" was for a proposed name for the new College.

April 17-19, 1969: Winterland, San Francisco, CA: The Band/Sons Of Champlin/Ace Of Cups
This was a very high profile show in San Francisco, as it was the live debut of "The Band" without Bob Dylan (leaving aside eight years on the road with Ronnie Hawkins, of course). Since the shows sold out Winterland instantly (a venue twice the size of Fillmore West), the opening acts were not needed to sell tickets and would have gotten great exposure. The Sons had been signed to Capitol Records, The Band's label, so they would have gotten the nod because of that connection.

April 20, 1969: Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Ace Of Cups/Freedom Highway
This was an outdoor free concert downtown, known from a dated photo by Kenneth Loh. All three bands were West Pole acts.

April 23, 1969: Nourse Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Linn County/Mt. Rushmore/Kwane/The Last Mile
A free concert presented by KMPX-fm and The 13th Tribe. Nourse Auditorium was a small hall at 275 Hayes (at Van Ness).

April 25-26,. 1969: The New Dream Bowl, Vallejo, CA  Sons Of Champlin/Rose and Amber Whine
The date is known from a poster from Paul Grushkin’s fine book Art of Rock.  This is the latest date I have ever seen for a rock show at The Dream Bowl, and I am not convinced this show actually occurred.

Sometime in 1969, Capitol released the Sons Of Champlin's first album—a double lp--Loosen Up Naturally (SWBB 200 May 69).  Although release dates in the 1960s are always murky, I am positing a release date of May 1969, based on a second hand comment of Bill Champlin’s that the Sons’ first album was released as the same time as the album Chicago Transit Authority (which was released in May 1969). Certainly various Bay Area fans remember being well familiar with the album by the beginning of summer, and it could have been available in April. The album reached #137 on the always unreliable Billboard Top 200 lp charts.

May 1, 1969: Berkeley Community Theater, Berkeley, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Phoenix/Wilderness/Womb

May 10, 1969: Pacific Memorial Stadium, U of Pacific, Stockton, CA Santana/Cold Blood/Sons Of Champlin/Evlin Bishop/Counry Weather/San Paku/ “Pacific Pop Festival” (noon to 7 pm)
Stockton was a prosperous Central Valley town about 90 miles East of San Francisco. The University football stadium was quite small, and probably only held several thousand. Note that all the groups except The Sons were from Bill Graham's Millard Agency.At this time, none of the groups would have released an album (possibly the Sons record was just barely available). 

May 15, 1969: Nourse Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Cold Blood/Country Weather/Cleanliness and Godliness Skiffle Band/Tree Wizard/Behemoth
Known from the extant handbill (above).

May 20-21, 1969 George's Log Cabin, San Francisco, CA: Sons Of Champlin
The Sons played a Tuesday and Wednesday night at an old speakeasy joint on the far Southern edge of San Francisco. George's Log Cabin, at 2629 Bayshore, had a colorful history indeed. The Bar Room was right on the San Mateo/SF County border, and at times the rules for buying and selling drinks were different in different parts of the bar. By the 60s, it was just another bar, and the owners took a stab at making at a rock club (it was later called George's Soul Cabin and Moonrose Forest). (h/t JGMF for finding this listing).

May 23 thru 25, 1969:  Practice Field, San Jose State College, San Jose, CA: Aquarian Family Festival
Ace Of Cups/All Men Joy/Birth/Beggars Opera/Boz Skaggs/Crabs/Crow/Cleanliness & Godliness Skiffle Band/Devine Madness/Denver/Elgin Marble/Flaming Groovies/Frumious Bandersnatch/Gentle Dance/Greater Carmichael Traveling Street Band/Glass Mountain/High Country/Jefferson Airplane/Joy of Cooking/Last Mile/Libras/Lamb/Living Color/Linn County/Mother Ball/Morning Glory/Mad River/Mt. Rushmore/Nymbus/Old Davis/Red Grass, Green Smoke/Rubber Maze/ Rising Tide/Rejoice/Sunrise/Sable/Scratch/Sons Of Champlin/Sounds Unlimited Blues Band/ Sandy Bull/The Steve Miller Band/ Stoned Fox/South Bay Experimental Flash/Throckmorton/Tree of Life/Weird Herald/Womb/Warren Purcell/Zephyr Grove

The Aquarian Family Festival was a free concert put on in conjunction with (and in contrast with) the Folk-Rock Festival at the Fairgrounds, less than a mile away. It is a remarkable and largely forgotten subplot in the history of Bay Area rock festivals in the 60s. A huge and controversial 3-day rock festival, headlined by Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and the Jefferson Airplane, was held at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in San Jose. Some local hippies arranged for fans to hang out at a nearby football practice field near Spartan Stadium, at San Jose State College.

Terms of the agreement with the University required that people could be present only during the performance of music. Because part of the purpose of the concert was to provide a safe place to stay for tens of thousands of people traveling to town to attend another concert being held in town about a mile away at the Santa Clara County fairgrounds, music had to be performed continuously from the start at 12:00pm Friday until the close of the festival at 4:00pm Sunday afternoon. Thus the festival featured 52 hours of continuous music. The crowds were huge, with tens of thousands going in and out every day.

The Aquarian Family Festival was produced in 10 days at a total cost of $968 by approximately 30 people who were volunteers with the Institute for Research and Understanding whose Dirt Cheap Productions unit produced the concert. Assistance was also given by the musicians' cooperative Druid Corporation House and the San Jose Free University. Legal services were paid for by the band Led Zeppelin which did not perform at the [free] festival. A modern perspective on San Jose's Aquarian Family Festival was published in 2009.

There is some uncertainty as to which groups exactly played.  Most of these groups were club attractions in the East and South Bay scenes, but not Fillmore headliners . Two stages were constructed so that bands could set up while another was playing, in order to fulfill the obligation that people could be present only when bands were playing. According to the website of one of the organizers,  however, Steve Miller played a nice blues set, and the Airplane showed up Sunday morning (May 25) and played an extended set. At the end of Sunday afternoon, as the Festival stage was being broken down, Jimi Hendrix dropped by, hoping to jam, just as the stage was being dismantled and never got the chance.

June 5, 1969: Thee Experience, Hollywood, CA: Sons Of Champlin
Thee Experience was a sort of “upscale” rock club at 7551 Sunset (at Curzon). It was run by Marshall Brevitz the former operator of Miami's Thee Image. Although a popular musicians hangout, the concept was some years ahead of its time, and the club was only open for about 8 months in 1969.

June 6-7, 1969: Rose Palace, Pasadena, CA: Joe Cocker/Sons of Chaplin/E.T. Hooley
This was Joe Cocker’s first tour of America.

June 8, 1969: Speedway Meadows, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA: Janis Joplin/Sons Of Champlin/Linn County/Crazy Horse/Elvin Bishop/Cedro Wooly/Alice Stuart and Minx/Victoria/Kwane and The Kwan-ditos

June 8, 1969: Unitarian Center, San Francisco, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Bycycle /Freedom Highway/International Press/Indian Gold/Ace Of Cups/Mark of Kings/Dementia/Dr. Zarkof/Phoenix/Freedom/Interplayers Circus/Douglas Waugh/Morning Glory/Kevin, Gino and Cynthia Benefit for The Fellowship Church at the Unitarian Center
The Sons returned to San Francisco for this benefit and the preceding afternoon free concert, having driven up from Los Angeles right after the Pasadena shows. Keep in mind that Interstate Highway 5 was not statewide at the time, and they probably had to maneuver the truck over The Grapevine and up Highway 101 along the Coast, a formidable task indeed.

The church was on Geary at Franklin. The poster for the event is featured in Art Of Rock.

June 14, 1969: The Fun House, South Lake Tahoe, CA Sons Of Champlin/Santana/AB Skhy
The Fun House was the new name for The Sanctuary, which had opened in the Summer of 1968. By Summer 1969, the always remarkable Lake Tahoe scene had gone from three venues to one. Kings Beach Bowl in North Shore had effectively closed. On the more crowded South Shore, the American Legion Hall had been damaged in a Winter snowstorm, so it too was out of commission. However, Legion Hall operator Jim Burgett had taken over The Sanctuary, a converted supermarket a little nearer to the Lake, and changed its name to The Fun House.

The Fun House was open 7 nights a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and Burgett's band played almost every night. Amazingly, Burgett's band also played six days a week at Harrah's Lake Tahoe, just across the Nevada border. However, Burgett also booked San Francisco rock bands, particularly on weekends, so many Fillmore and Avalon regulars played The Fun House. By 1969, however, the headliners who had played Lake Tahoe in the previous Summers (like Jimi Hendrix or the Grateful Dead) had moved to more National markets, but bands like The Sons still found Lake Tahoe a lucrative booking.

The date has been approximated from the Santana timeline.  Its not clear if the bill was for one or two nights.  Based on the Santana timeline, the show (or shows) was somewhere between June 1 and June 14.  Various eyewitnesses (including Charlie Kelly) remember a hot set by Santana, and then the Sons being shut down by the cops because of “suspicious activities.” However, Jim Burgett, who promoted the show, recalls few problems with the police and suspects that any band who was shut down would simply have been running overtime.

By summer 1969, Jim Beem had returned on trumpet, although he did not stay long. He may have also played a little bit on the album. However, I haven't been able to determine his exact tenure. For one month in mid-1969, John ‘Fuzzy’ Oxendine, from the band Boogie, had played drums alongside of Bill Bowen, but I do not know exactly when. According to Bill Champlin (on his site), the extra drummer lasted 4 gigs because Bill Bowen was unhappy with the arrangement.

June 20-22, 1969: Family Dog On The Great Highway, San Francisco, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Elvin Bishop/Congress of Wonders
Chet Helms opened his new Family Dog venture on June 13, 1969. It was located far from downtown, at the Playland Amusement Park at Ocean Beach, on 660 Great Highway. A San Mateo Times article from June 10, 1969 about the opening of the new Family Dog, with Jefferson Airplane headlining, lists the (hitherto unknown) bill for the second weekend that featured the Sons.

June 29, 1969: St. Elizabeths High School, Oakland, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Little John/Post Raisin Band
An Oakland Tribune article in the June 28, 1969 “Teen Age” section describes this forthcoming event. It was a benefit for one Chris Cormier, who was apparently part of the staff at St. Elizabeth’s. St. Elizabeth’s was a private High School in Oakland, but for some reason it had quite amazing groups in 1968 and 69: Quicksilver, The Sons, Ace Of Cups, Blue Cheer, Loading Zone, Mint Tattoo and more.

For the final installment of this series (July 69-February 1970), see here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Sons Of Champlin Performance List June-December 1968 (Sons III)

(A scan of the flyer for The MFU Be-In on June 23, 1968 at El Camino Park in Palo Alto, featuring The Sons Of Champlin)

The Sons Of Champlin were one of the best and most musical of the original San Francisco bands that played the Fillmore and the Avalon from 1966 onwards. Well ahead of their time, they are fondly remembered now, and since the world has finally caught up to them, they continue to perform this very day. This project is an attempt to identify all the performances of The Sons Of Champlin from 1966 to 1969. The previous installments of this series were
This post will look at the Sons Of Champlin's known performances from June through December 1968. Thanks to various people who have helped with this project over the years, including Ross and the old Yahoo Sons discussion group, but most particularly Sons road manager Charlie Kelly. Anyone with additional information, insights, corrections or memories (real or imagined) should Comment or email me.

Sons Of Champlin Performance List June-December 1968
In mid-1968, The Sons Of Champlin were still a seven-piece band. The lineup was
  • Bill Champlin-Hammond organ, guitar, lead vocals
  • Terry Haggerty-lead guitar
  • Tim Cain-tenor sax
  • Jim Beem-trumpet
  • Geoff Palmer-piano, Hammond organ, vibes, baritone sax
  • Al Strong-bass
  • Bill Bowen-drums
As the rock market started to expand beyond San Francisco, the Sons had begun looking farther afield. After a difficult road trip to Los Angeles (where the Sons supported the Yardbirds on May 31-June 1), the band decided that they needed two roadies who could drive.  David Harris moved on, and Charlie Kelly joined Steve 'Tooth' Tobin (aka Tollestrup) in the road crew. Kelly's descriptions of life on the road with the Sons on his own site are well worth reading, and a unique slice of 1960s rock life with a largely unseen perspective.

As a side note, the term "roadie" is somewhat anachronistic. In the 1960s, roadies were typically called "crew" or "equipment men" (the Grateful Dead called them "Qwippies"). In London they were often known as "band boys." I am not certain of the precise etymology of the term "roadie," but for narrative simplicity I  will stick with it here. Furthermore, in the days of small crews--the Sons typically had two or three crew members--the veteran Kelly was more like "first among equals" rather than "road manager," but as a practical matter it's easy to consider him the road manager as well.

In the Summer of 1968, The Sons Of Champlin signed with Capitol Records. The Sons persuaded Capitol to let them record a single and distribute it for free. Thus, the single "Jesus Is Coming" had gotten a little bit of play KSAN-fm, and anyone who wrote and asked for it received the single for free. In one sense, the Sons anticipated Internet marketing before it had been invented, but as often occurred with the Sons they arrived at a room that was not yet built.

June 23, 1968: El Camino Park, Palo Alto, CA: Sons Of Champin/Charley Musselwhite/Notes From The Underground
This show was a free ‘Be-In”, sponsored by the Midpeninsula Free University, a South Bay locus for various forms of consciousness expansion. Other cities had largely stopped having free concert/Be-In type events in public parts, but liberal Palo Alto continued having them throughout the Summer of 1968. While free concerts such as this were not the subject of Television news documentaries, like the 1967 events, they were remembered fondly by the local teenagers who attended them.

June 28-29, 1968: The Kaleidoscope, Hollywood, CA:  Muddy Waters/Sons Of Champlin
As Charlie Kelly documents, the Sons Of Champlin asked him to join the crew in June 1968, prior to the trip to Southern California. The group was playing two weekends at the Kaleidoscope, bracketed by a few days in San Diego. Kelly and Steve Tobin drove the loaded equipment truck down Highway 101, and the band (plus manager Fred Roth) flew down to join them.

The Kaleidoscope, at 6230 Sunset (at Vine) in Hollywood, was an attempt by the management of Canned Heat to establish a Fillmore-style venue in Southern California. The Sons, although an "underground" San Francisco band without an album, had already played the club the month before, and presumably had done well enough to be invited back. In 1968, at least, "from San Francisco" was a sort of bona fide for rock bands that made them hip to out of towners, and the Sons were one of various underground bands playing up and down the West Coast who benefited from that. 

July 2-3, 1968: The Hippodrome, San Diego, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Boogie
Kelly’s memoir includes a mid-week stand at The Hippodrome, San Diego’s psychedelic ballroom, located at Front and G Streets.  According to an eyewitness, Dr. John The Night Tripper was the scheduled headliner, but he had canceled.  I have not seen a poster.  Boogie rehearsed at the Sausalito Heliport along with The Sons, and included John “Fuzzy” Oxendine on drums, who briefly was the second drummer with The Sons during 1969.

The dates are inferred as a Tuesday and Wednesday based on other San Diego shows.

July 4-5 (6-9-10-11), 1968: The Kaleidoscope, Hollywood, CA: Canned Heat/Sly and The Family Stone/Sons Of Champlin
Kelly has a lengthy reminiscence of a memorable 10-day trip to Southern California, his first as a roadie, bracketed by two weekends at the Kaleidoscope.  According to Kelly, Canned Heat played only one song (“Refried Boogie”) for all six sets throughout the entire weekend as they were recording a live album (later part of  Living The Blues).

Kelly's memory is quite vivid (and he confirmed some other details in an email), but the story is complicated somewhat by the posters. The poster lists Canned Heat, Sly and The Family Stone and The Sons for July 4-5 and then July 9-10-11, but Kelly only recalls a single weekend with that bill. Given that it was his first road trip, and the other memorable events of the trip, it is not likely he forgot an extra week in Southern California. Thus I have to conclude that although the poster suggests the Sons played both weekends, they in fact did not stick around for the second weekend (they were probably never booked for it).

This scenario, too, is slightly complicated by the fact that Kelly recalls six sets of Canned Heat over the weekend, when it would seem that they should have only played four (on Thursday July 4 and Friday July 5). The Doors and Spirit were booked on Saturday July 6, and by all accounts both The Doors and Spirit played that night. I see two possibilities:
  • The Doors, who hardly "needed" to play the modest Kaleidoscope, may have played a show very late on Saturday night, and a regularly scheduled bill with Canned Heat, Sly and The Sons played earlier on July 6, or
  • Canned Heat, Sly and The Sons only played Friday and Saturday night, but sitting through "Refried Boogie" four times made it seem 50% longer than it actually was.
In any case, for a club like The Kaleidoscope, posters were future advertisements, and could hardly be expected to be precise descriptions who actually ended up performing on given nights. Based on Charlie Kelly's vivid recollections, I'm going with the Sons playing two or three nights the first weekend (July 4-5-6) and returning to San Francisco, leaving Canned Heat and Sly to play July 9-11.

July 20, 1968: The Bold Knight, Sunnyvale, CA:  Sons of Champlin/Ace Of Cups
The Bold Knight was a “teen club” (no alcohol, some kind of age limit) in Sunnyvale, a suburb of San Jose.  It was located on 769 North Matilda Avenue. The flyer for this show features an artist’s rendition of Bill Champlin and Tim Cain.

The Ace Of Cups were a fine band who shared the West-Pole booking agency with The Sons,  accounting for the large number of shows the groups where the bands were billed together. I do not know exactly when West-Pole started booking Sons Of Champlin, but it seems to have been around this period.

July 27, 1968: Berryessa Bowl, Napa, CA: Sons Of Champlin
Lake Berryessa was a large man-made lake created in 1957. Although it was created for water management purposes, Lake Berryessa is also a popular recreational area. The outdoor concert venue was opened earlier in the summer of 68.

July 28, 1968: Frost Amphitheatre, Stanford U., Palo Alto, CA:  Chambers Brothers/Quicksilver Messenger Service/Sons Of Champlin/Creedence Clearwater Revival/Santana Blues Band/Beggar's Opera  Stanford Summer Rock
Frost Amphitheater (capacity 6,900) was a leafy outdoor bowl on the Stanford campus. It was rarely used for rock concerts. This show was a big event in Palo Alto, however. The excellent Cryptical Developments blog has a great description of this 1968 Frost show. The author already had the "Jesus Is Coming" single by this time, so it gives a good time frame for the release of the single as well.

Summer 1968: St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Palo Alto, CA: Sons Of Champlin
Cryptical Developments also recalls seeing the Sons play a Palo Alto church one evening in the Summer. I do not know how often or why they had rock concerts there, but I assume it was some sort of "youth event."

St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church is Palo Alto's oldest church, at 745 Waverley Street (at Homer Avenue), very near downtown Palo Alto. If you're from Palo Alto, you'll care that this church appears in a scene in the 1971 movie Harold & Maude (Harold meets Maude at a funeral).

Summer 1968: Kings Beach Bowl, North Lake Tahoe, CA: Sons Of Champlin/The Working Class
Kings Beach Bowl was a gutted bowling alley in North Lake Tahoe that became a weekend venue for psychedelic rock bands in the Summers of 1967 and '68. The story of Kings Beach Bowl, and its fascinating contrast to the even more remarkable scene in South Lake Tahoe at Jim Burgett's American Legion Hall and its nearby competitor, The Sanctuary, is one I am planning to tell in spectacular detail, but not here.

The Sons would have likely played both a Friday and Saturday night. The Working Class, from Sacramento, were the "house band" at Kings Beach Bowl and played every weekend. By Summer's end, they would evolve into the group Sanpaku. All the members of Sanpaku recall playing Kings Beach Bowl with The Sons, albeit few other details.

August 9-11, 1968: The Bank, Torrance, CA: PG&E/Illinois Speed Press/Sons Of Champlin/Freedom Highway
The Bank was a little known venue in Torrance, near Santa Monica. It had opened the month before, in July 1968, and largely featured San Francisco bands, many of them booked by West-Pole. It was one of many efforts throughout the country to create Fillmore-Avalon type scenes, but like many such places it was overtaken by the rapidly expanding rock market and police pressure.

The Sons were booked again at the Kaleidoscope on the weekend of August 16-18, 1968. However, they did not play the show, and in fact I think the shows were canceled.  

August 30-September 1, 1968:  Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Preservation Hall Jazz Band/Sons Of Champlin
Bill Graham had moved his Fillmore operations to the former Carousel (at 1545 Market St), and renamed it the Fillmore West.

September 1, 1968: Sports Arena, Los Angeles, CA: Steppenwolf/Quicksilver Messenger Service/H.P. Lovecraft/Buddy Miles Express/Three Dog Night/Sons Of Champlin/Black Pearl/Fraternity of Man/West
The Sons Of Champlin were billed for this lengthy extravaganza, but it conflicts with the Fillmore West show. They could have flown down for an early performance, and flown back for the evening show, or else the poster was simply mistaken.

>September 2, 1968: Palace of Fine Arts Festival, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/S.F Mime Troupe/Crome Syrcus/Sons Of Champlin/ Country Weather/Randy Boone/Black Pearl
The Dead and The Sons were billed for the third day of a three-day festival, but both played Sky River instead.  Probably the whole day was canceled (the previous two days did take place).

September 2, 1968: Sky River Rock Festival and Lighter Than Air Fair  Betty Nelson's Farm, Sultan, WA
The Sky River Rock Festival (August 31-September 2, 1968) was the first outdoor rock festival on the model that was immortalized at Woodstock. Numerous bands and other performers played nonstop for 72 hours through all kinds of weather, as the crowd endured the elements in a muddy field. This model was repeated endlessly throughout the Summers of 1969 and '70 all over the country, but Sky River was the first of such events. Originally, the organizers had wanted to have a festival featuring balloon rides (hence “Lighter Than Air Fair”) but Country Joe and The Fish were invited to provide musical entertainment, and the whole event escalated.

Although the 1968 Sky River Festival was held on an organic raspberry farm outside of Seattle, booking agent John Chambless (a former UC Berkeley lecturer in Philosophy, newly-employed at the University of Washington) was a former organizer of the Berkeley Folk Festival. Thus Sky River was dominated by Bay Area bands, and was a sort of Bay Area ballroom band road trip, with a heavy emphasis on Berkeley bands. As word spread at what a fun scene was happening at Sky River, bands rushed to Washington to play. The Grateful Dead, who were not even booked at the Festival, flew up after their Fillmore weekend and played anyway. It appears the Sons Of Champlin did the same. Numerous other bands would have been on the bill on the last day, but no one recalls who played when.

September 4, 1968: Debutante Ball, Burlingame Country Club, Burlingame, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Walt Tolleson Orchestra
Most paying shows for San Francisco rock bands were on the weekends, and I have probably only uncovered a modest portion of the Sons shows from this period. Equally intriguing, however, were the different sorts of shows bands played when they could. Many Debutante Balls in the 1960s featured alternating sets by an orchestra (for the adults) and a local rock band (for their kids). Since rich kids went to the Fillmore just like their peers, some cool bands played debutante balls.

This Wednesday night show was a Country Club ball for Piedmont debutante Suzanne Bradford. The event was mentioned both in Robin Orr's Oakland Tribune Society column (Sep 5) and the Tribune Women's Section (Sep 8, shown here). The members of the Sons had all been in dance bands, and The Sons had played some dances when they started, so they would have been comfortable with the music. Presumably the Sons played a few more covers than they would at the Fillmore. I suspect the Sons road crew were not mistaken for debutante escorts.

September 6-7, 1968: Sound Factory, Sacramento, CA: Linn County/Sons Of Champlin/Charlie Musselwhite
The Sound Factory was Sacramento's answer to the Avalon and the Fillmore, initially managed by Whitey Davis, the operator of Portland's legendary Crystal Ballroom (and more recently, in early 1968, the assistant manager of the Avalon itself). The Sound Factory was at 1817 Alhambra, and it seems to have opened in late June of 1968. The Sound Factory is mostly remembered for some terrific posters in its first few months, featuring some of San Francisco's leading bands. In fact, the Sound Factory continued on for almost a year, but many of the shows remain shrouded in obscurity.

The house band at the Sound Factory in September 1968 was Sanpaku, previously a Sacramento band called The Working Class (see Kings Beach Bowl above), so they probably played at this show as well.

September 9, 1968: Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Steve Miller Band/Sons Of Champlin

September 20-21, 1968: The Bank, Torrance, CA: Quicksilver Messenger Service/Sons Of Champlin/Love Exchange/Ace Of Cups (21st only)

The Sons returned to The Bank in Torrance. Quicksilver and The Sons played two nights (Friday and Saturday), and the The Ace Of Cups, another West-Pole band, also played Saturday night.

Septemer 22, 1968:  Del Mar Fairgrounds, Del Mar, CA: Grateful Dead/Buddy Miles Express/Taj Mahal/Quicksilver Messenger Service/Sons Of Champlin/Mother Earth/Curly Cooke’s Hurdy-Gurdy Band/Youngbloods/Ace Of Cups/Phoenix
This was an outdoor, daytime "festival" held at a horse racing track 20 miles North of San Diego (members of the band Phoenix recall it as "an ostrich racing track"). Just about all of the bands were San Francisco groups, and most of them were either booked by West-Pole (Quicksilver, Sons, Ace of Cups, Phoenix) or socially connected to them (Grateful Dead, Buddy Miles, Curly Cook, Steve Miller).

This was one of the earliest performances for the Buddy Miles Express, and they were billed as "Formerly The Electric Flag."

September 27-29, 1968: Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Flatt and Scruggs/Ramblin' Jack Elliott/Sons Of Champlin/Country Weather

October 6, 1968: Provo Park, Berkeley, CA: Youngbloods/Santana/Sons Of Champlin/Frumious Bandersnatch
Provo Park in downtown Berkeley was the site of many free concerts. Although not quite as high profile as Golden Gate Park, it was an important place for bands to get heard. 

October 11-12, 1968: New Orleans House, Berkeley, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Congress Of Wonders
The New Orleans House in Berkeley, at 1505 San Pablo Avenue, was an important booking for 60s bands trying to play original music. One of the advantages of having played Provo Park for free the weekend before (Oct 6) was that the Sons would be more of a known quantity when they played New Orleans House. At this time, the Sons were a recognizable name, but save for occasional airplay for their "Jesus Is Coming" 45, prospective fans could only hear them in person.

In the Fall of 1968, trumpeter Jim Beem started having personal difficulties and stopped performing with the band. He had contributed a little bit to recording The Sons debut album, but while his absence could be fixed in the studio (by overdubbing), the Sons live sound was thinned out somewhat.

>Fall 1968  Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA:  Ike & Tina Turner/Sons of Champlin
Charlie Kelly remembers this event because Bill Graham threw him out of the Fillmore West during an Ike& Tina Turner show. It is possible that these shows were October 30-November 1969 (billed as It’s A Beautiful Day/Ike & Tina Turner/Alice Cooper).  Since there are conflicts with the Alice Cooper timeline, perhaps The Sons replaced Alice Cooper (then a little-known and much disliked LA band on Frank Zappa’s label).

November 28-30, 1968: Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Quicksilver Messenger Service/Sons Of Champlin/Initial Shock

December 1, 1968: The Poppycock, Palo Alto, CA: Sons Of Champlin
The Poppycock was Palo Alto's pocket sized psychedelic ballroom. Similar to the New Orleans House and The Matrix, it provided a circuit for bands playing original music who could not yet headline at the Avalon or the Fillmore. 

I have inferred this specific date because Charlie Kelly recalled returning from a gig in Palo Alto to catch the final Big Brother show at the Avalon, which would have been on December 1.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Sons Of Champlin Performance List January-May 1968 (Sons II)

(Rick Shubb's poster for the Steve Miller Band and The Sons Of Champlin at the Carousel Ballroom on April 26-28, 1968--h/t Ross for the scan)

The Sons Of Champlin were one of the best and most musical of the original San Francisco bands that played the Fillmore and the Avalon from 1966 onwards. Well ahead of their time, they are fondly remembered now, and since the world has finally caught up to them, they continue to perform this very day. This project is an attempt to identify all the performances of The Sons Of Champlin from 1966 to 1969. The previous installment of this series was
This post will look at the Sons Of Champlin's known performances from January thru May 1968. Thanks to various people who have helped with this project over the years, including Ross and the old Yahoo Sons discussion group, but most particularly Sons road manager Charlie Kelly. Anyone with additional information, insights, corrections or memories (real or imagined) should Comment or email me.

Sons Of Champlin Performance List January-May 1968
By the end of 1967, both Geoff Palmer and his Army buddy, trumpeter Jim Beem, had joined the Sons Of Champlin.  At the beginning of 1968, the band's lineup was
  • Bill Champlin-Hammond organ, guitar, lead vocals
  • Terry Haggerty-lead guitar
  • Tim Cain-tenor sax
  • Jim Beem-trumpet
  • Geoff Palmer-piano, Hammond organ, vibes, baritone sax
  • Al Strong-bass
  • Bill Bowen-drums
January 5-6, 1968: The Poppycock, Palo Alto, CA: Sons Of Champlin
The Poppycock was Palo Alto's pocket sized psychedelic ballroom. Similar to the New Orleans House and The Matrix, it provided a circuit for bands playing original music who could not yet headline at the Avalon or the Fillmore.

January 26-27, 1968: Straight Theater, San Francisco, CA: Sons of Champlin/Mad River/Peace

February 16-17, 1968: Straight Theater, San Francisco, CA:  Sons of Champlin/Salvation/All Men Joy/The Circus

February 21, 1968: Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Blues Project/Siegel-Schwall/Lee Michaels/Youngbloods/Sons of Champlin/Wildflower

February ?, 1968: [venue], UCSC, Santa Cruz, CA: Sons Of Champlin
Charlie Kelly returned from the Army in early 1968, and he immediately got in touch with his old friends. He recalls tagging along for a February gig in Santa Cruz on the UCSC Campus. The most likely venue would be the Cowell/Stevenson Dining Commons, but I don't know that for certain by any means.

March 8-9, 1968: Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Love/Congress of Wonders/Sons Of Champlin
March 10, 1968: Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Blue Cheer/Congress Of Wonders/Sons Of Champlin

March 27, 1968: Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Jeremy & The Satyrs/Sons Of Champlin/Its A Beautiful Day/Creedence Clearwater Revival KMPX Strike Benefit

March 29-31, 1968: Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Jeremy & The Satyrs/Sons Of Champlin/Fourth Way

April 4, 1968: Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Eric Burdon & The Animals/Quicksilver Messenger Service/Sons of Champlin 
April 5-6, 1968: Winterland, San Francisco, CA: Eric Burdon & The Animals/Quicksilver Messenger Service/Sons of Champlin

April 10, 1968: Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Country Joe and The Fish/Cleveland Wrecking Co/Loading Zone/Mt. Rushmore/Sons of Champlin  “Peace and Freedom.” 
This Wednesday night Fillmore show was not a Bill Graham Presents show (although obviously the hall was leased from Graham). I believe it was a benefit for The Peace and Freedom party, an anti-war coalition who were competing in the California Presidential Primary in June.

April 11-13, 1968: New Orleans House, Berkeley, CA: Sons of Champlin/Edsel Boogey (12th and 13th).
I believe that Edsel Boogey was the band later known as Boogie, who rehearsed in the Sausalito Heliport near the Sons. They featured guitarist Barry Bastian, bassist John Barrett and drummer John "Fuzzy" Oxendine, and possibly other players.

April 24, 1968: Straight Theater, San Francisco, CA: Big Brother and The Holding Company/Sons of Champlin/Congress of Wonders/Curley Cooke’s Hurdy Gurdy Band/Indian Head Band/Ace Of Cups/Phoenix
“Time Again to Save The Straight Theater”
The Straight Theater, at 1702 Haight Street (at Cole), in the heart of the Haight Ashbury, was a hippie enterprise through and through, but continual struggles to get open in 1966 and '67 had caused them to miss the boom time of local rock concerts. As a result the venue was continually in dire straits. This ironically titled event was another benefit by local bands who were trying to keep one of their favorite places afloat.

April 26-28, 1968: Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Steve Miller Band/James and Bobby Purify/Sons of Champlin
At this time, the Carousel Ballroom was managed by the Grateful Dead organization. It, too, was a fun place to play that was struggling financially. Tapes of Steve Miller’s sets survive, although not of the Sons. Apparently, the Sons jammed a little blues with Miller on the first night (the poster is up top).

May 3-4, 1968: Straight Theater, San Francisco, CA: Sons of Champlin/Country Weather

May 15, 1968: Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: The Kaleidoscope/Sons of Champlin/Hyler Jones Quartet/Cleveland Wrecking Company/Monty Waters Big Band
This was a benefit for the Peace and Freedom Party and the Dick Gregory for President Committee (Gregory was the Peace and Freedom candidate).

May 17-19, 1968: Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Junior Wells/Sons Of Champlin/Santana Blues Band

May 18, 1968: Family Park, Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, San Jose, CA: Northern California Folk-Rock Festival
Jefferson Airplane/Big Brother and The Holding Company/Grateful Dead/Steve Miller Band/Youngbloods/People/Sons of Champlin/Crome Syrcus/Transatlantic Railroad/Indian Head Band/Mourning Reign.
This was the first day of a two-day festival.  The Sons performed, one of a number of groups not on the poster.  The back of the ticket has the Sons scheduled for Saturday May 18, for a 30-minute set after Crome Syrcus (from Seattle) and before People (from San Jose). They would have gone back up Highway 101 to play their show at the Avalon that night.

Charlie Kelly, still just hanging out with his friends, joined the Sons at the show, and helped out by moving the truck and performing some other tasks. At this point, he wasn't on the crew, just a friend. At this time, the Sons had two road crew members, but one of them didn't drive. Nonetheless, the Sons set out on a brief road trip to Southern California, and the difficulties of having only one crew member who could drive became paramount. 

May 24-25, 1968: The Kaleidoscope, Hollywood, CA: Them/Incredible String Band/Sons of Champlin
The Kaleidoscope was a new rock venue on Hollywood, the former Earl Carroll Theater (at 6230 Sunset near Vine), built in the 1930s. At various times it had housed the TV show Queen For A Day and the rock club Hullabaloo. Canned Heat's management had taken over the venue, and were trying to turn it into a Los Angeles version of the Fillmore.

Van Morrison had left Them two years earlier.  Some of the current members had been in Them with Van, however, and they did much of the classic Them material.

May 31-June 1, 1968: Shrine Exposition Hall, Los Angeles, CA: The Yardbirds/B.B. King/Sons of Champlin
The Shrine Exposition Hall, at 700 W. 32nd St (at Figueroa), was a large open space used for trade shows, not the theater around the corner at 665 West Jefferson st, which is used for the Academy Awards (and is part of the same complex). This Pinnacle Concerts presentation was one of the last American appearances Jimmy Page and The Yardbirds, as the band broke up in July. I believe some bootleg recordings exist of the Yardbirds performances from at least one night.

There must be quite a number of shows from this period, but these are all I have been able to confirm. June to December 1968 will be forthcoming shortly.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Sons Of Champlin Performance List 1966-67 (Sons I)

(The poster for the Sons Of Champlin at The Western Front, October 6-7, 1967. h/t Ross for the scan)

The Sons Of Champlin were one of the best and most musical of the original San Francisco bands that played the Fillmore and the Avalon from 1966 onwards. Well ahead of their time, they are fondly remembered now, and since the world has finally caught up to them, they continue to perform this very day. This project is an attempt to identify all the performances of The Sons Of Champlin from 1966 to 1969 (thanks to various people who have helped over the years, including Ross and the old Yahoo Sons discussion group, but most particularly Sons road manager Charlie Kelly. Anyone with additional information, insights, corrections or memories (real or imagined) should Comment or email me).


The band formed at the College of Marin in San Rafael in early 1966.  The original lineup was
  • Terry Haggerty-lead guitar, harmony vocals
  • Tim Cain-tenor sax, guitar, organ, harmony vocals
  • Bill Champlin-lead vocals, Hammond organ, guitar
  • John Prosser-bass
  • Jim Myers-drums
According to legend, they were originally they were called Hugh Jardin and The Masterbeats, but in order to play their first gig at the College of Marin, the Dean of Students required them to change their name.  On a whim, they called themselves “The Sons of Father Champlin”and the name stuck (for a detailed history of the Sons’ early days, see Alec Palao’s liner notes to the 1999 Big Beat Sons cd Fat City).

According to the web-memoir of Sons road manager Charlie Kelly, typical early gigs were at the Santa Venetia Armory and the Disco Deck (a grounded houseboat). The band did covers like “Midnight Hour,” “Mustang Sally,” “I’ll Cry Instead” and various blues numbers.  John Prosser soon left and he was replaced by bassist Al Strong.

May 27, 1966: Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Santa Rosa, CA: The Front Line/Sons of Champlin/Public Nuisance
This show is the earliest date I have been able to pin down, although the band had obviously played a few other shows around Marin. This was a standard “teen” gig.  This event was probably packed, and much like a High School dance. The members of the Sons were already veterans of this circuit from their time in The Opposite Six and other groups.

The Front Line were a popular Marin band who had been signed by the Los Angeles-based management of Buffalo Springfield (Charlie Greene and Brian Stone), and even recorded a single in 1965. The Front Line had been based in Drake High in Marin, whereas the Sons were from Tam High. Front Line drummer Bill Bowen would end up replacing Jim Myers as drummer in the Sons. Guitarist Gary Phillips was also in the Front Line (ex-Electric Train, later Copperhead and Earthquake). Public Nuisance was a Sacramento band.

June 23, 1966: Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Them/New Tweedy Brothers/Oxford Circle/Sons of Champlin
The Sons got an “audition” at the Fillmore, meaning they played one set to start the evening.  Audition bands were common at the Fillmore, and they did not appear on the poster. At the show, the band was discovered by producer Frank Werber.  Werber had owned San Francisco's Hungry i, and had produced the Kingston Trio, The We Five and other groups.

The Sons were probably playing numerous shows during this period, but I have only been able to pin down a few of them.

July 6, 1966: Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: The Turtles/Oxford Circle/Sons Of Champlin
The Sons were not on the poster, but photographs from this event confirm their presence.

July 29-30, 1966: Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Them/Sons of Champlin
The Sons did well enough at their audition show that Graham booked the band to open for Them, and they made it to the poster. Them lead singer Van Morrison had dug the Sons, and Bill Champlin and him hoisted a few drinks after the first night. Bill Graham blames Champlin for Van’s less than ready state on the second night.

In August, 1966, The Sons of Champlin auditioned in the studio for Frank Werber, and he signed them to his Trident Productions company.  Drummer Jim Myers volunteered for Vietnam, and he was replaced by Chris Howard.  The Sons spent much of the next two months working in the studio, recording for Trident productions. 

October 13-14, 1966: The Ark, Sausalito, CA: Moby Grape/Big Brother and The Holding Company/Sons of Champlin
The Ark was a converted houseboat at Pier 6 in Sausalito. Hip local bands played from 9pm-2am, and there was a "breakfast show" as well, from 2-6am. Assuming these dates to be correct--there are always some confusing questions about dates at The Ark--these would have been among the earliest shows for Moby Grape.

October 28-29, 1966: Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA:  Quicksilver Messenger Service/Blackburn & Snow/Sons of Champlin
The Sons were apparently playing very few live shows during this time, as they were mostly recording for Trident.

Around November, 1966, Chris Howard was replaced by Bill Bowen.  The Sons of Champlin lineup was now
  • Terry Haggerty-lead guitar, harmony vocals
  • Tim Cain-tenor sax, guitar, organ, harmony vocals
  • Bill Champlin-lead vocals, Hammond organ, guitar
  • Al Strong-bass
  • Bill Bowen-drums
December 8-15, 1966: The Ark, Sausalito, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Freudian Slips

December 16-17, 1966: Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA:  Youngbloods/Sparrow/Sons of Champlin
Old friend and future road manager Charlie Kelly, on leave from the Army, saw the Sons of Champlin for the first time (as the Sons of Champlin, rather than just in rehearsal). This was a memorable weekend for him, as he turned 21 during his leave back home, on his way to Vietnam.

The Youngbloods were based in Boston at this time. They would move to San Francisco in the summer of 1967.  The Sparrow were from Toronto (via New York and Los Angeles) and lived in Marin County.  In the summer of 1967, they moved back to LA and reconfigured themselves as Steppenwolf.

December 20-22, 1966: The Ark, Sausalito, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Freudian Slips 

December 23, 1966: Santa Venetia Armory, San Rafael, CA: Moby Grape/Sons of Champlin/Morning Glory/Freeedom Highway/Beat-Ables/Nite Riders/Baltimore Steam Packet/Axoms/Tiny Hearing Aid Company      
“Band Bash” Presented by Ralph and Al Pepe
The band was listed as “Sons of Champlain” on the boxing style poster. All of these groups were local Marin County groups (Moby Grape were completely unknown at this time).


The Sons continued to record throughout early 1967.  Ultimately, only one single was released by MGM, “Sing Me A Rainbow”/”Fat City,” in April 1967.  The cd Fat City (Big Beat[UK] WIKD188-1999] is an excellent document of the music recorded during this period. Meanwhile, The Sons played many gigs at High Schools, sponsored by local station KFRC, but there are few records of these shows. David Biasotti (see below) remembers seeing The Sons at a lunchtime gig at his high school:
An earlier, hornless version of the [Sons] played a radio station-sponsored noon thing in the gym of Woodside High School, my alma mater. I remember vividly that, as they were getting ready to start playing, Terry Haggerty had a guitar strap malfunction & his beautiful fat Gibson Birdland (or whatever it was) just crashed onto the gym floor. Which caused me & my pal to crack up in a snarky way. Once the guy started playing though, our jaws dropped. 
The Sons began to play regularly around the Bay Area. At this time, their sound was oriented more towards the Beatles than James Brown, emphasizing guitars and harmonies. Tim Cain, later a tenor saxophonist, mostly played rhythm guitar during this period. I have only been able to find evidence of some higher profile shows, but I believe the Sons were performing steadily around the Bay Area, mostly at "Teen" venues rather than overtly psychedelic ones.

January 27, 1967: Rollarena, San Leandro, CA: The Seeds/Sons Of Champlin
January 28, 1967: Longshoreman’s Hall, San Francisco, CA: The Seeds/Sons of Champlin/Misanthropes
Both of these weekend shows were presented by Bill Quarry’s Teens ‘n’ Twenties. Bill Quarry was an East Bay promoter of “Teen” shows, who sometimes put on shows in the city as well. The Seeds, from Hollywood, had a big hit with “Pushin Too Hard.” 

March 17, 1967: Rollarena, San Leandro, CA: Baytovens/Sons Of Champlin
March 18, 1967: Longshoreman’s Hall, San Francisco, CA: Baytovens/Sons of Champlin
These were also Bill Quarry TNT shows (the listing is from the March 17 Chronicle)

Spring 67 Gym, Washington High, Fremont KFRC/Pepsi Battle Of The Bands Sons Of Champlin
The Sons headlined a competition between Washington High bands. At the "Battle," The Wakefield Loop beat out Collective Works and The Reason Why. KFRC and Pepsi sponsored many such events at different high schools, with The Sons or Harbinger Complex as the headliners. 

April 14, 1967: Fairfax Pavilion, Fairfax, CA: The Sons of Champlin/The Mourning Glory
Golden Star Promotions Presents

May 19, 1967: Rollarena, San Leandro, CA: Sons of Champlin/Peter Wheat/Sounds of Silver Darkness
The Rollarena (a roller skating rink converted on Friday night for rock shows) was Bill Quarry’s home base. However, the “teen” era of dances was being replaced by the Fillmore ethos, and the poster for this show indicates budding psychedelica.

May 19, 1967: Carpenters Hall, Hayward, CA: Sons of Champlin/Peter Wheat/Garden Of Chaste Refreshment
This was double gig for the Sons and Peter Wheat, both apparently promoted by TNT. The band would have raced up and down Highway 17 (Hayward and San Leandro are only a few miles apart) to play both shows.

May 26, 1967: National Guard Armory, San Bruno, CA: Sons of Champlin/The Sparrow
KFRC played the Sons single, and the sketchy chart information available confirms that “Sing Me A Rainbow” spends at least 4 weeks on the KFRC “Big 30”, peaking at #15 on May 31, 1967.

June 10-11, 1967: Mt. Tamalpais Theater, San Rafael Fantasy Fair and Magic Music Festival
Benefit for Hunter’s Point Child Care Center
The festival was originally booked for the weekend of June 3-4, but it was rained out and rescheduled for the next weekend.
>June 3, 1967 P.F. Sloan/Grass Roots/Moby Grape/13th Floor Elevators/Spanky and Our Gang/Roger Collins/Blackburn & Snow/The Sparrow/Every Mother’s Son/Sons of Champlin/Jefferson Airplane/Mojo Men/Merry-Go-Round
This was the original billing for June 3 (the ad is from the May 21 Chronicle). In the end, the Sons played twice on Sunday, June 11

June 11, 1967 (Sunday) Lamp of Childhood/Sons of Champlin/Captain Beefheart/New Salvation Army Banned/Hugh Masakela/PF Sloan/Marvin Gaye/Jefferson Airplane/The Grass Roots/Steve Miller Band/Tim Buckley
The Magic Mountain Festival was a week before Monterey Pop, and sort of an effort to accomplish the same thing. The open air theater was at the top of a mountain, and the crowds completely overwhelmed the venue, causing the city to ban all future rock shows (save for a few already scheduled).

June 11, 1967 (Sunday-Valley) Sons of Champlin/Spyders/Strawberry Window/Harbinger Complex
Access to the festival was only possible by shuttle bus, so fans parked at the foot of the mountain and waited for the overcrowded shuttle. Some Marin County bands entertained fans in the parking lot while they waited, and it was called "The Valley Of Dancing." The Sons played both the parking lot and the main festival.

June 22, 1967: Bandshell, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA: Steve Miller Blues Band/Sons of Champlin/Ridge Runners free concert
The San Francisco Examiner sponsored free Thursday afternoon concerts from 1:00-3:00pm in the Golden Gate Park Bandshell, with Examiner music critic Phil Elwood as the MC. This was the first one. Supposedly, this was Boz Scaggs debut with the Miller Band, but the dates don't quite line up. The Ridge Runners were a band from nearby St. Ignatius High School.

June 28, 1967: Oakland Auditorium, Oakland, CA: The Young Rascals/ Country Joe and The Fish/The Sons of Champlin/The Sparrow/Grass Roots
The Grateful Dead were added at the last minute to this TNT presentation.  While they are generally thought (according to Deadbase) to have stood in for Country Joe and The Fish, according to handbills it appears more likely they stood in for The Sparrow.  The Sparrow had moved to Los Angeles by this time, where they would soon reconfigure themselves as Steppenwolf.

Due to artistic disagreements between the band and Frank Werber, Werber released the Sons from contractual obligations as of June 30, 1967. Werber would largely drop out of the music business, while the Sons pursued a less commercial and more psychedelic course.

June 30, 1967: Longshoreman’s Hall, San Francisco, CA:  Country Joe and The Fish/Sons of Champlin/Mystery Trend

July 4, 1967: Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Canned Heat/Sons of Champlin/Canned Heat/The Robbs
July 5, 1967: Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Sons of Champlin/Canned Heat/Kaleidoscope
July 6, 1967: Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Sons of Champlin/Count Five/Kaleidoscope

At this time, Canned Heat and The Kaleidoscope were little know bands from Southern California.

July 8, 1967: Terrace Room, San Jose, CA; Sons Of Champlin/Chocolate Watch Band/Velvet Chain
Thanks to a Commenter who added this, the poster of which can be seen here. The Terrace Room was at 1500 Almaden Avenue, and had been previously known as Losers South. The venue was the ballroom of a restaurant called The Hawaiian Gardens.

July 21-22, 1967: Continental Ballroom, Santa Clara, CA: Grateful Dead/Sons of Champlin/Phoenix/Congress of Wonders

July 28, 1967: Litchfield’s Bermuda Palms, San Rafael, CA: Sons of Champlin/Baltimore Steam Packet/Thurston’s Island/Migville Square/The IV Keys
Bermuda Palms was the venue later known as The Euphoria and then Pepperland (on 737 E. Francisco), although strictly speaking it was more like a bar in the same building.

July 29, 1967: Muir Beach, CA: Sons of Champlin/Morning Glory/Charlatans/Transatlantic Railroad
A flyer exists. There was a sort of "party scene" at this distant outpost of Western Marin.

August 8-10, 1967: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Sons of Champlin/Buffum Tool Company
Buffum Tool Company were a five-piece Folk-Rock group from Champaign, IL. Due to a management connection with Steve Miller, they were playing The Matrix for three weeks while living in Miller’s attic.

August 18-20, 1967: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Sons of Champlin/Buffum Tool Company
The Sons may have replaced Howlin Wolf on the Matrix bill.

September 2 or 3, 1967: Cabrillo College Stadium, Cabrillo Junior College, Aptos, CA  
Benefit for SCA at Santa Cruz
Grateful Dead/Canned Heat/The Leaves/Andrew Staples/Sons of Champlin/New Delhi River Band/Second Coming/New Breed/BFD Blues Band/Gross Exaggeration/Yajahla Tingle Guild/People/Jaguars/Art Collection/Morning Glory/Ben Frank’s Electric Band/New Frontier/Chocolate Watch Band/The Other Side/E-Types/Mourning Reign/Imperial Mange Remedy/Omens/Ragged Staff/Talon Wedge & Others.

This was a two-day event on the Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend.  The poster indicated that there was music from 3 to 12pm each day.

September 5-7, 1967: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: West Coast Natural Gas/Sons of Champlin

September 29-30, 1967: Straight Theater, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Sons of Champlin
By this time, the Sons had established themselves as one of the hip San Francisco underground bands. Of course, like all the other bands, they weren't making a dime, but they became a familiar name on the coolest posters.

October 6-7, 1967: Western Front, San Francisco, CA:  Sons of Champlin/Frumious Bandersnatch/Morning Glory/Initial Shock
The Western Front was a new venue at Polk & O’Farrell, run by the original Family Dog proprietors (the poster is up top).

October 27-29, 1967: Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Quicksilver Messenger Service/Sons Of Champlin/Taj Mahal & The Blue Flames
Around this time, Geoff Palmer joined the band on keyboards, vibes and other instruments.Palmer was the son of professional musicians, and could play numerous instruments with style.

November 10-11, 1967:  Family Dog, Denver, CO The Other Half/Sons of Champlin
Chet Helms had opened a branch of the Family Dog in Denver, which turned out to be an ill fated venture. The Sons made their first true road trip to play the venue. According to Kelly, Geoff Palmer apparently did not make the trip to Denver, as he was not yet fully integrated into the band.

There may have been a free outdoor concert at the University of Denver around this time.

November 17-18, 1967: Family Dog, Denver, CO Chuck Berry/Sons of Champlin/New World Blues Dictionary

December 29-30, 1967: Concord Coliseum, Concord, CA Sons Of Champlin
The Concord Coliseum was a long-forgotten venue in Concord, a distant suburb of San Francisco. The venue mostly catered to the local teenagers, but some pretty cool Avalon bands played there as well (the building is now a Petco, and you can read about what is known about the Concord Coliseum here).

There must be considerably more 1966 and '67 shows for the Sons Of Champlin, but this is all I have been able to uncover at this time. The January-May 1968 list is here.