Inkwell: Authors and Artists
green tambourine (barb-albq) Tue 4 Sep 01 16:49
I have been following this interesting topic, and today I just heard "Mona" on KBAC Radio Free Santa Fe on their vinyl segment they always have on at 5:00pm...still being played out in the world...great to hear on the radio!
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Tue 4 Sep 01 17:05
I understand that when John died there was a huge memorial jam in his honor. Where was the jam held? David, did you participate in it?
radiantly surreal imagery (rik) Tue 4 Sep 01 17:27
The beginning of the video goes into John's early influences, with Link Wray mentioned prominently. And there's some nice footage of Wray and Cipollina jamming near the end, closing the circle.
the System Works (dgault) Tue 4 Sep 01 17:32
The jam at the Fillmore? I remember Mr. Freiberg starting the set with "Pride of Man" just like old times. Two drummers I believe, Joey Covington and Elmore? A colleague just walked past my office and saw the glossy photo of Michael Bloomfield I've got on the wall, and said "ya know I was talking to Joe Louis Walker a few years ago and he told me that he and Bloomfield roomed together when Michael moved out here cuz he couldn't handle all the partying with Gravenites and Cipollina." Must have been a real long time ago.
David Freiberg (freemountain) Tue 4 Sep 01 18:37
Okay, let's see - the big jam at the Fillmore. The Drummers were Greg Elmore and Bill Gibson (and I know Mickey Hart was there, too) Mario had gone down to Capitol and remixed Pride 0f Man with John's Guitar aon one channel and everything else on the other side. John's amps were set up on one side of the stage with his guitar on a stand in front of them - his track was to be played through his amps. Bill Gibson would be wearing phones and he would hear the rest of the track. So it was all supposed to start with John's famous "Bwwwwaaaa.... Bwwwwaaaaa". Somehow, the DAT was cued up in the middle of the song, so we all had to stop and start over. Duncan & I looked at each other and thought "It's like John is actually here .. playing a joke on us." Everyone but Mario got the joke. It WAS cool and also a little creepy, hearing his solo come out of his amp. It was a great night.
Hal Royaltey (hal) Tue 4 Sep 01 19:54
Yup ... just about everyone that John ever played music with was there playing in various combinations. And yes ... Mickey was there, albeit very quietly. The final song was Pride of Man with *everyone* on stage at once - there musta been 40 people playing the song. From the audience I barely noticed the glitch David mentions, as the scene was so overwhelming. A very satisfactory sendoff, all in all. John's amp stack and the famous horns were sent off to the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame, though I don't know if they're still on display.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 4 Sep 01 23:35
Since nobody else seemed to have much on Raven, I did some digging and found this quote from John C. that describes the lineup: "That was kind of... my concept of a big band. It was a seven piece band - two keyboards, two drummers, a bass and two lead guitars. David Weber from Copperhead and Andy Kirby were the drummers and Andy did some of the singing. Nicky Hopkins and Hutch Hutchinson were on keyboards - Nicky on piano and Hutch on synthesiser and stand up organ, Skip Olsen on bass who was from Quicksilver, and Greg Douglasss and myself on guitars." Evidently the band formed in January 1976 and played through September the same year... Greg Douglass says elsewhere that they played only three gigs, though somewhere in there they recorded the album that's still available. (Kind of surprising, given the band's brief life span.)
'Got To! (freeform) Wed 5 Sep 01 00:28
So what band did John play in with Pam Tillis? It was in the late '70's. They played at the Shady Grove on Haight Street a few times. Pam doesn't mention it in her resume, only to say she was working in club bands at the time.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 5 Sep 01 07:29
Freelight (or is it Free Light?)
radiantly surreal imagery (rik) Wed 5 Sep 01 07:32
Pam did a lot of stuff she wouldn't cop to after going back to Nashville.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 5 Sep 01 07:44
radiantly surreal imagery (rik) Wed 5 Sep 01 14:03
Wow. That's the first shot of John I've seen that shows evidence of a haircut.
Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 5 Sep 01 19:21
What a cutie he was!
radiantly surreal imagery (rik) Thu 6 Sep 01 10:54
OK Hal, what's your favorite Cipollina band? One of the interesting things about your video is that it clearly shows progression with time. John seems to grow funkier and more secure. Is there a partivular line up that you favor? Besides Quicksilver, of course.
Hal Royaltey (hal) Thu 6 Sep 01 14:17
That's not an easy question, it's like asking what your favorite meal is, but I'll take a shot at it. I suppose that my favorite Cipollina band after QMS is the original incarnation of Dinosaurs - Barry Melton, John, Peter Albin, Robert Hunter, and Spencer Dryden. Formed in the early 80's when John was still at the top of his game, they had a lot of material to work with, drawing on both Melton and Hunter's songbooks as well as the old standards. The band was new and the members were having a good time exploring the possibilities and variations. They had a strong following and so had access to great venues like Wolfgangs in San Francisco, as well a a lot of touring opportunities. Hunter was an important influence. To me Hunter's songs were always musically rich, but his performing was rather sparse for my taste. Also - and again a purely personal prejudice - an entire evening of RH's music is too much for me. It's too rich, too cloying on the palate. Hunter's songs as part of the mix, backed by two lead guitars (Cipollina and Melton), was sublime. With Hunter on rhythm guitar, Melton and Cipollina could drive each other to greater heights. With Albin and Dryden providing a solid bottom it was perfect. Two other of John's bands are very, very close. One - Terry and the Pirates - is just marvelous rock and roll. I never saw a bad gig from this bunch, whose joy at playing is absolutely infectious. The other - Thunder and Lightning - John and Nick Gravenites - is one of the all time great blues bands. I truly love the blues. Most of the T&L gigs I saw were in the Chi Chi Club, a wonderfully tacky North Beach SF nightclub, with the perfect blues ambience. These choices are purely personal. Dinosaurs after Hunter are incredibly good, as are Dino's after John died and Papa John Creech joined up. Fish and Chips is really just Dino's without Hunter or Merl, and are great fun since they played smaller venues. Zero gave John a jazz-oriented context which stretched him in a new direction. To coin a phrase - it's all good. You can make up your own mind about this: Dinosaurs have one album out, with perhaps half the songs from the Hunter-era Dino's and the other half from the Saunders-era version. Zero has at least one CD out, and Thunder and Lightning have a couple of CD's extant. A CD of Fish and Chip era stuff is available from the Saloon in North Beach where they played a lot.
Hal Royaltey (hal) Thu 6 Sep 01 23:18
Further .. the video does show John's progress over time. We started with a video shoot of the Cipollina Memorial Concert, thinking we'd use that as the basis of a more musically oriented video. Getting all the permissions lined up just proved to be an impossible task, but we'd assembled enough stuff that we decided to make a biograhical video instead. we filmed the interviews, interspersed our clips, and got Antonia to prepare and deliver the narrative that holds it all together. In the end I'm happier with a biography, than I would have been with a simple concert video. John's music is out there on dozens of albums and CD's, but he was such a private person that his personal story is much more elusive. This was a maiden effort for all of us in putting a video together from scratch. Not only did we have to assemble and edit the material, plan the flow, and write the narrative, but we also had to learn to deal with songwriters, performers, and rights organizations all over the country. Some were more difficult than others. We had to buy the rights to some songs from music industry behemoths. Some songs were simply not affordable and parts of the video had to be redone to work around them. The video never would have come to fruition without the unstinting support of Bay Area artists and musicians. They offered up their performances and their songs for a pittance in honor of John's memory. Kelly did the lettering. We'll never make back in sales what we spent to create the video, but we never could have afforded to create it without this incredible support. I think it's the finest tribute that fellow artists could pay to John, and I'm eternally grateful to them all.
the System Works (dgault) Fri 7 Sep 01 10:40
That reminds me of another cultural event, a transition of sorts, where Kelly and Mouse and Cipollina were all involved. It was one of those "ART" benefits for the psychedelic poster artists, at Club 9. Cipollina played, Kelly, Mouse and Griffin signed posters for the price of a cocktail, and a great time was had by all. The owner of the club was heard to say "these hippies sure like to drink!", and started to bill acts that catered to his new discovery. I asked someone who knew whether the black circles under JC's eyes were real or makeup, a few days later, and he gave a wry grin and said "dude. real."
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Fri 7 Sep 01 15:48
So Hal, would you post once more where people can order a copy of Electric Guitarslinger?
blather storm (lolly) Fri 7 Sep 01 16:11
I remember that gig, David!
David Gans (tnf) Fri 7 Sep 01 16:20
This has been a terrific interview, and although the next scheduled event has begun here in the inkwell, there is no reason on earth for this one not to continue. So I'll bring up another subject: MAN. Excellent Welsh band,f ronted by Deke Leonard and Mickey Jones. Heavily influenced by Quicksilver, and if I recall correctly they played (and maybe even recorded) with John a few times. Anyone have anything to say about Man?
the System Works (dgault) Fri 7 Sep 01 16:41
they were great! way to hit the 420 Friday post DG! Right on target.
David Gans (tnf) Fri 7 Sep 01 17:01
From Steve Keyser: There is an excellent article about the band MAN at http://www.jambands.com/feb01/features/man.html For info about the LP John recorded with MAN entitled "Maximum Darkness" check out http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/~staffba3/manl2.html To order the John Cipollina Video "John Cipollina: Electric Guitarslinger" go to http://www.johncipollina.com/guitarslinger.html or send an email requesting ordering information to firstname.lastname@example.org or send a postcard requesting ordering information to Steve Keyser Box 2224 San Rafael CA 94912
radiantly surreal imagery (rik) Sat 8 Sep 01 07:14
I wonder if Hal has any more plans as a videographer. Was this a one-off labor of love, or do you have future plans in the field?
David Gans (tnf) Sat 8 Sep 01 10:54
From Steve Keyser: The video documentary "John Cipollina: Electric Guitarslinger" can be found in the San Francisco Bay Area at: Tower Records - San Francisco, Greenbrae, Mt View Amoeba Music - San Francisco, Berkeley Village Records - Mill Valley Maximum Music - San Rafael Bedrock Music - San Rafael
Hal Royaltey (hal) Sun 9 Sep 01 15:01
MAN did cut at least one record with John, and I'm told that the band was wonderful live. That's part of the trouble with John's music - most of his bands were relatively short-lived. If you didn't happen to be in the right place at the right time, the moment was over and you missed it. The blessing is that most of these bands cranked out at least one album, and that with a little patience and eBay you can often find them. This video was a one-off labor of love for me. I've never wanted to be a videographer or producer. While I value the experience of having done so, I wouldn't want to tackle it again.
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