Rock the Kasbah – Bill Murray

I am excited that the new Bill Murray film, Rock the Kasbah, will release to movie theatres on October 23rd. My interest has built since I first saw the trailer. According to Bill Murray he modeled his role on two legendary concert promoters, Ron Delsener and the late Bill Graham.

I met Ron Delsener at the last King Crimson concert, July 1, 1974 at the Schaeffer Music Festival in Central Park. He was very personable with me that day. I still have his business card he gave me as we discussed the possibility of a future interview (never materialized, unfortunately).

I have noticed that the movie hasn’t been getting great reviews but I don’t base my movie choice primarily on what the movie critics report.

Here’s the trailer:

 

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“Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution”

I’m thinking strongly about attending the Bill Graham museum exhibition later this year at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. It starts May 7th and runs through October 11th, 2015.

Bill Graham, ca. 1972; © Baron Wolman, courtesy of Photofest

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6436350/grateful-dead-bill-graham-museum-exhibit

I place a significance on the live concert experience. I thank Bill Graham for formulating live music as an art form. Many music promoters follow in his footsteps with the venues they manage, the fans they cater to and the artists they present to use live in person. But none will ever equal his achievements to the art of presenting live music and supporting humanitarian causes on a macro scale.

Through rock memorabilia, photographs, ephemera, and psychedelic art in the form of the iconic Fillmore concert posters,Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution explores the momentous cultural transformations of the 1960s–1980s through the lens of rock & roll. The year 2015 marks the thirtieth anniversary of Live Aid and the fiftieth anniversary of Graham’s first-ever concert, as well as the Grateful Dead’s live début. Commemorate these events by celebrating a true pioneer who helped revolutionize rock into the global industry it is today.

Live at the Fillmore East & West – John Glatt

I peer inside the hallowed halls of The Fillmore East and The Fillmore West, musing about the unique concert stories each bedrock music venue can unearth. Thankfully these sacred tales and more have been brought to light by author John Glatt in his new book, Live at the Fillmore East and West: Getting Backstage and Personal with Rock’s Greatest Legend

John Glatt’s book begins with a foreword by Joshua White who founded the legendary Joshua Light Show. The rock music history that unfolded had a unique illuminated art as its backdrop from the art of Joshua White and his team. I was fortunate to witness this light show at The Fillmore East in June of 1969 at a Jeff Beck Group show I have written about on this blog.

Should you wish to know more about the Joshua Light Show and the team that provided the lighting I refer you to the book, Live at the Fillmore East A Photographic Memoir by Amalie R. Rothschild.

I view John Glatt’s book as a companion piece to Amalie’s publication. If you combine John Glatt’s first book, Rage & Roll : Bill Graham and the Selling of Rock with Bill Graham Presents: My Life Inside Rock And Out by Bill Graham and Robert Greenfield you will own the definitive core knowledge that laid the foundation for the art form of the rock music concert.

I am eager to acquire John Glatt’s books to add them to my rock music concert library. I am certain his books will be a valuable read of depth and insight. These books are certain to provide invaluable knowledge about how Bill Graham conducted business with the famous rock musicians in the day.

Will You Welcome From My Heart, Santana

Ten years ago I was in the midst of purchasing every album in the Santana catalogue for my music collection. It’s very rare that I collect every commercial recording by an artist. When I purchased the Santana album, Milagro I discovered how pivotal this recording was in Carlos Santana’s evolutionary growth.

Cover of "Milagro"

Milagro was dedicated to the lives of Bill Graham and Miles Davis, two instrumental figures to Carlos Santana.

Here is Bill Graham’s introduction of Santana:

Good evening, thank you for being with us. Welcome to a very, very special occasion. Some years ago some of us heard and felt a very special sound, about the joy of loving, the joy of giving and thank God it’s with us this evening. Will you welcome from my heart, Santana.

 

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San Francisco Music and Art Scene – R. Crumb, Jim Marshall, and Stanley Mouse

I was thinking about San Francisco today.I often transport myself there.  The music I played in the car today was recorded in San Francisco at Bill Graham’s Fillmore Auditorium in 1968, Cheap Thrills, Big Brother & The Holding CompanyThe album cover was drawn by underground cartoonist, R. Crumb. The liner notes for the remastered edition has photographs by the late Jim Marshall.

File:Cheapthrills.jpeg

I was browsing my Facebook stream this afternoon when I happened upon a very cool picture posted by Robert Altman.

There was a photo from a 1985 book on the San Francisco music scene of famed poster artist Stanley Mouse taken by the great rock photographer Jim Marshall. The copy of this book is from autograph collecter Matt Tadevich. Mouse took the time to add his touch.

I love the synergy of San Francisco’s music, Janis and Big Brother, Bill Graham, R. Crumb, Stanley Mouse, Robert Altman and Jim Marshall, who figures in both references.

Bill Graham’s 81st Birthday Bash

I wish we lived in the San Francisco area. I would attend this concert at The Fillmore. Bill Graham’s legacy as a concert promoter and an activist/humanitarian can still be felt with great power and light. I am thankful that the Bill Graham Memorial Foundation keeps his vision alive.

I’ll be there in spirit. I am going to dig down deep and make a contribution to the Bill Graham Memorial Foundation. It’s a worthy cause to support.

You can get this Bill Graham Bobblehead doll for any donation of $50 or more. Click  here to give.

Bill Graham Bobblehead

Rock Music Photographers, A-Z, Graham Nash

Graham Nash is a best known as a singer and songwriter. He has pursued a parallel career as a photographer, collector, and digital imaging pioneer.

His photography book, Taking Aim: Unforgettable Rock ‘n’ Roll Photographs Selected by Graham Nash was curated into an exhibit at the Experience Music Project in Seattle, Washington 2010 http://www.empsfm.org/exhibitions/index.asp?articleID=1422#photos

© GRAHAM NASH, 1970
© GRAHAM NASH, 1972
© GRAHAM NASH, 1972

Fillmore East Poster and Handbill Art

Bill Graham had east coast poster artists who he commissioned to design posters and handbills for The Fillmore East concerts. The most notable poster artists were Helen Hersh and David Byrd.

 

The poster and handbill for the  first concert at The Fillmore East, March 8, 1968, Big Brother with Janis Joplin, Tim Buckley and Albert King.

Helen Hersh

David Byrd

I was living on a multi-media commune outside Manhattan when several of my schoolmates from Carnegie-Mellon were opening the Fillmore East at the old 2nd Avenue Theatre in the East Village with Bill Graham from San Francisco. Manager Kip Cohen called to say they needed a poster artist and they all thought to call me, as I was the one visual artist amongst a group of theater graduates. At the time I was interested in crystal matrices and used a hex grid to create the hair as a mass of psychedelic photons in orange, yellow-green, magenta and black. Unlike the San Francisco Fillmore, we did not do a poster every week, but only for major stars like Hendrix. Film positive painted from behind in acrylic.

The Fillmore East 40 Years On

NYC - East Village - Fillmore East: Allman Bro...
Image by wallyg via Flickr

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the closing of The Fillmore East on June 28, 1971. No rock hall echoes stronger in the music of our heart than Bill Graham’s legendary venue in the East Village section of NYC.

The concert that closed The Fillmore East is equally, if not more historic.  The Allman Brothers Band headlined that night, with J Geils Band as the middle act and Albert King as the opening act. Guest stars who joined The Allman Brothers Band and the other scheduled acts on stage that night included Mountain, Country Joe McDonald, Edgar Winter’s White Trash with Rick Derringer and The Beach Boys. I listened to the entire concert which was broadcast live over WNEW-FM 102.7.  The concert went from 8 p.m. on June 27th until 6 a.m. in the morning of June 28th.

This tile was a gift to the Fillmore East employees

 

There were 40 albums recorded live at The Fillmore East from 1968 through 1971. Considering there were 111 main concerts during that time frame (more if you count both early and late show events) 40 concerts was close to 1/3 of all shows that were performed there. You can see the complete list of live Fillmore East albums, sorted A-Z by recording title on this Wikipedia page, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Live_at_the_Fillmore_East_albums

Many people associate The Allman Brothers Band At Fillmore East as “the” recording that captured the music live of the last night. Truth of the matter is that only when the deluxe edition of  this dual CD was released did we get to hear two tracks from June 28th, “One Way Out” and “Midnight Rider”. According to Peter Wolf, lead singer of the J Geils Band who performed that night, “the Allman Brothers started at around four in the morning. At dawn, they were still playing “Crossroads,” or something like that.” (Graham and Greenfield, 2004).

The late, great photographer Jim Marshall took the photographs for the cover of  The Allman Brothers Band At Fillmore East in the alley next to Capricorn Recording Studios in Macon, Georgia. (not in the alley of The Fillmore East as many, including myself, always thought).  This is my favorite pose by the band that Jim Marshall’s unique lens captured.

There are several definitive sources of information available about The Fillmore East. I refer you to my reference section at the end of this blog post.

As we get closer to celebrating the real 40th anniversary of the closing of The Fillmore East I will update this blog post with any potential celebrations and events. Trust me  I plan to take part as fully as I can in those events.

Reference

My favorite Web site about The Fillmore East is the The Fillmore East Preservation Society. I love this Web site and the freaks who put it together!

An immensely satisfying book about the Fillmore East authored by Amalie R. Rothschild who worked for the  Joshua Light Show and was the official photographer for The Fillmore East. Her camera captured many intimate moments as they occurred during those exciting three years. Live at the Fillmore East,  A Photographic Memoir, http://www.amazon.com/Live-Fillmore-East-Photographic-Memoir/dp/1560252790


Amalie R. Rothschild’s Web Site http://www.amalierrothschild.com/Allman/index.html

Bill Graham and The Fillmore East are synonymous. This is a well written autobiography and collaboration.

Bill Graham and Robert Greenfield, 2004, Bill Graham Presents, My Life Inside Rock and Out, Da Capo Press, Cambridge, MA

Eddie Money’s Comeback in 2011

Eddie Money (album)
Image via Wikipedia

The year was 1977. I was the record department manager at Caldor’s Inc. a discount department store chain. My CBS Records account rep, Paul Hughes laid a “promo” copy of Eddie Money on me. Paul said to me, “Our A&R people are giving this record high marks. Give it a spin and let me know what you think when I see you next week.”

I took the record home and dropped it on my turntable. I liked what I heard immediately. I started hearing “Two Tickets to Paradise” and “Baby Hold On” on WNEW-FM radio from various disk jockeys.  I told Paul the following week, Eddie Money sounds strong. He of course said, how many copies do you think you might order for your department? I told him 50. They sold mildly at first. But I sold Eddie Money stronger the next year when he broke as a Top 40 artist.

Eddie Money has recorded some of my favorite songs.  I was pleased to learn from photographer and intense music fan Jay Blakesberg that Eddie Money was planning a comeback in 2011 with a new recording. Here is one of the photographs that Jay took of Eddie Money in San Francisco for possible promotional use. You can see Jay’s memories of the day he spent with Eddie Money here and more photos of Eddie Money here 🙂

Copyright Jay Blakesberg

It’s important to also note that Eddie Money was discovered in  San Francisco by Bill Graham’s organization. Bill Graham played an instrumental role in Eddie Money’s career. The following video, “I’ll Get By” is a moving tribute to the memory of rock impresario Bill Graham who we lost tragically in 1991. Love the youthful picture of Bill Graham that starts/ends Eddie’s video 🙂

It’s very difficult to single out what Eddie Money track is my favorite but if push comes to shove its Eddie Money with Ronnie Spector signing as a duet on  “Take Me Home Tonight”. I base that decision on the dynamics of the recording and the MTV video that pushed the track to Eddie’s highest chart positions at #4 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The tribute to the Phil Spector sound, Eddie on Sax, Ronnie Spector’s unique vocals and strut 😉 all combine to make a masterpiece of rock and roll. I grew up with The Ronettes on AM radio. The Ronettes are one of my two most favorite 60’s girl groups, The Shangri-Las being my most favorite :).

Just Like Ronnie Sang…Be My Little Baby

Take Me Home tonight will also be a new movie in March 2011.

Take Me Home Tonight Movie Trailer

Eddie Money’s bringing it in 2011 and I couldn’t be happier for him and his music career!