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PETER ALBIN

BIG BROTHER & THE HOLDING COMPANY

 


click Big Brother and The Holding Company - go to San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury mystic triangle


Above, the band on the main path into Golden Gate Park via the Stanyan Street entry. The route would lead to fields of gold, the summer of love, and many hours of verdant, psychedelic music in the San Francisco 'neverland' park. The atmosphere, similar to the Shire the day of the long awaited Baggins Birthday Party, is charged by the akasha patterns that run up and down Stanyan Street. (Photo, Herb Greene)


From An Interview With Peter Albin, Founding Member of psychedelic era band
Big Brother and the Holding Company
~ The DINOSAURS and Fish & Chips

 

Peter Albin

 

DKD   Did you have any idea what you were going to be doing … later, once the group was really taking off?

Peter Albin    No. Not really, but we did aim for that. Before we went to Chicago we thought that we would get a chance to do some recording, but we didn’t know that it was going to be in Chicago. Let me back up a step. Janis had gotten an offer from Paul Rothchild, who later became the DOORS producer and there was a problem that occurred. And there was a misunderstanding.

We thought that when she was approached by him it involved the entire band; it was just for her. So, we had this offer to go to Chicago, and it was kinds like Janis had to make a decision at that point. Really, she could have left the group at that point and gone with Rothchild, who was planning a super group, not around her, but with her; Janis, Taj Majal and some other people down in Los Angeles. And he had promised her things like a house in Beverly Hills, a Cadillac car, that sort of thing. So, we kind of coerced her into going with us by saying, ‘Lets see what happens.’

We didn’t know that Bob Shad, the owner of MAINSTREAM RECORDS was going to be back in Chicago, or that anybody was going to be approaching us about recordings. But he did. And we kind of foolishly entered into a contract with him… for a couple of reasons. Number one, we wanted to record and all the other bands had been doing it. And number two, to kind of lock Janis in. Although we would never have a contract with her, having a record deal locked her into the group. Then we started doing some recording back there and finished up in Los Angeles.


Peter Albin RE 1090's Recital Room
(With Antique Harpsicord):

"Okay, what I remember about the early dances we had at 1090 is they happened in 1965 during the Summertime, Wednesday night, and they cost fifty cents or seventy-five cents, and you were right - we had people from all over. And generally there were between one hundred and two hundred people, but they'd come in and go out. We had some problems, I remember with people from the Sunset~~some young punk kids... they wanted to come and see the hippies."

Peter Albin RE The Uninvited Guests at 1090 Page Street, et al?:

DKD   Well, you know, people loved to knock on my door asking for a tour of the house (an elegant pre-quake San Francisco Victorian home, kept in good condition by the Albin family). Sweet little couples from off the street would comment on the lights… I used to take them all on a tour of the house [non-residential area] – this happened a couple of times a month. They said they wanted to buy the house… asked if it was for sale.
[This was a couple of years before the high rise controversy over the Haight-Ashbury district began.]

PA    That’s funny, that never happened to me. But, we had a lot of people coming in and crashing. I mean, people who shouldn’t have been there. And sleeping in the bathroom – right by where your room was. You know, the big bathroom.

DKD Yes, I remember the night that fellow tried to crash there, after coming up from the Monterey Jazz Festival and he was sneaking into the bathroom to crash, so I told him I didn’t want him to stay there and he left. But he came back later, and so I went down and woke Rodney. I couldn’t believe it. Rodney was wearing a Superman T-shirt.

PA   With a gun!

DKD    Yes! He said, ‘You get outta there!’ ... standing there in his old Superman shirt and boxers, holding that old shotgun.

PA   I remember that one. Now this guy Steve Gordon – do you remember him? Cause I don’t remember him being at 1090. He says that Rodney ran him out also, with a gun. And he knew some people – he knew Chuck, the drummer. Were you there that time? He said he was run out by Rodney. (I mentioned the man in the closet) Well, it wasn’t really a closet, but it was a very small room. His name was Osgood or Osmond, something like that. I can’t remember his name. He was a strange guy. You’d see him once in a while wandering to the bathroom and back again…
A very small room – it was maybe 10 x 7 room. Maybe it had been used as a large walk-in closet or something. He was a brother of Cousin Elmer. Remember him? From Menlo Park/Palo Alto. Cousin Elmer was a member of a bluegrass band and he had this funny, strange deadpan look. He would be the guy telling the jokes. (Osgood) was so introverted. We wouldn’t gifure out how he was sustaining himself. And we never saw him in the kitchen; we never saw him bring food in. And he didn’t go out much. So we couldn’t figure it – you know, he wasn’t eating at restaurants. So what did he do? There were so many people that went in and out of that house…

Peter Albin RE The Origin of Early Rock, Evolving From Peter, Paul and Mary, The Kingston Trio, Joan Baez et al?:

"Well, that was early on before the 60s, I think. But, in the San Francisco Bay Area, when I was growing up, I'd say in 1957, '58, '59 - I was listening to a lot of Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Haley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry and some of the pop - the more pop oriented groups and singers. There were a lot of pop groups who were really pap, you know, milktoast kinda things.

...listened to guys in the mid-50s who I had listened to on KWBR in the Bay Area, the Warner Brothers station over in Oakland. I think it was 1350 or 1320. YES, KWBR was a black station over in Oakland - BLUES. As a matter of fact, I think Pig Pen's father had worked either on that or on KSAN as a blues DJ. As a matter of fact, that's where Pig Pen got all of his blues - from his dad. He had a fantastic collection of 78s and 33s and all of blues. So that's what I was into in '57 and '58, listening to... and gospel music. There's a wealth of gospel music here in the Bay Area - at that time and still now. Real soulful stuff! So when Pat Boone or Jimmy Rodgers or Dean Martin or Perry Como come out with these things I say, 'WHAT? Wait a minute! Turn this on - THIS is what all that is about!' I mean, can you picture Pat Boone doing, Good Golly, Miss Molly? Give me a break!"

 

[60s flash back: Sam Andrews arranged hit songs for BBHC, like 'Piece of My Heart'
during the first Summer of Love in Haight-Ashbury, SF]

 




Quicksilver Messenger Service ~ Shady Grove

 

 

‘QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE’ … "Quicksilver was so slick and subtle that very few realized how good they were, even them, in time to keep them from trying for what they already abounded in." - Ken Kesey, ‘Kesey’s GARAGE SALE’ [under construction]

 

Peter Albin RE Way Dinosaurs evolved and played 'the big fish' songs each member of Psychedelic Rock Groups helped immortalize?

"Well, that's very easy for us, yes. I had been working with Barry off and on, as a substitute bass player with his various groups. He'd just billed himself as Barry Melton ~ Barry 'The Fish' Melton ~ and I'd worked with him before with Country Joe, doing substitute work. So I just worked with him once in a while. Well, he used to work with Harold Acevas, the drummer, who now lives in Reno. He used to be equipment man for Quicksilver. Anyway, he was friends with Barry and we used to do stuff together. We had a guitar player, Bobby Fleurie, who sometimes worked with us and Peter Walsh, and some other players... Bob Hogan on keyboards.

So one night we had a gig, or Barry had a gig, up in Guerneville. So he couldn't get ahold of Harold so he got ahold of Spencer. That was basically the start. We said, 'Screw it. We won't have a guitar player, so we'll just play as a trio.' So he just coined the name, 'We're just a bunch of dinosaurs, old guys, and we try to do some of the old music that we knew together.' So... then we tried to get a hold of some other people. It would be an interesting concept we thought, to get one member from each of the bands that were important at that particular time in the City. Maybe we could do something with that. So we called Gary Duncan and he didn't want anything to do with us because he was involved in some other projects. So Gary didn't want to do it, so we called on John Cipollina, who plays with anybody. You know he's got a million groups he plays with. So the Dinosaurs are one of the many groups he plays with. So that was the basis - the basic group. The basis was John, myself, Barry and Spencer ~ there you have The Dinosaurs." (See: John Cipollina ~ Quicksilver)

 

 

The essential meaning of the number 9 is the bond between all living things, especially the human family. There is a direct channel to the eagle/phoenix, and the power of regeneration. The developed or cultivated frequency yields artistic creativity, renewal, genius, and public service. The misapplied number 9 leans toward charity that should remain closer to home, introversion [Trump IX The Hermit, reversed], and/or disconnect with oversoul. The number 9 usually means sweeping transitions for the inner paradigm, and either self-realization or an important completion at the end of a journey. Many world servers, humanitarians, and heartwarmers have 9 talents or a 9 total prominently placed in their numerological chart.

 

PETER ALBIN Re how does a rock star keep his marriage on track with all the tours and pressures of the spotlight as a public figure?

If you want to know how Cindy handled it, she told me that it was very difficult for her, particularly when I went out on the road for a month or two months at a time. That can drive someone crazy because then they have all that responsibility of the home, of bringing up the kids by themselves – it’s tough. So when I had a long trip I would try to get Cindy out for a week-end or a week and I did that one time when I brought her to New York and then another time I brought her out to London. But the moment you bring your spouse on the road with you, you cut your profits in half, if not more.

You just can’t do it ~ you’re not making money then at all. We want to come home with some money in our pockets. Some of the guys would spend a lot of their money on the road. I’d spend a little bit, but most of it I would save. One of the things that I did to keep out of trouble: I had started making model airplanes while I was on the road. I brought a little fisherman’s case with paint, tools and all, and another box with model airplane kits (plastic.) I had started making model airplanes in ’68, and I’d make the wooden models while I was at home and bring the plastic models on the road. It helped me to keep my mind off of other things. There’s a lot of drugs and drinking and stuff and a lot of the guys from the band were going off to the nightclubs and I was either back at the motel or hotel watching TV and making model airplanes or I was being a tourist, cause I did that a lot also. That is another way of keeping your sanity when on the road.

You’re taking advantage of the fact that you’re going to get a paid vacation. You’re working – yes – you’re getting your airline ticket paid, all your food is being paid for by this fun musical business and also you get a chance to see all these many different cities and all the different kinds of things/attractions that make them famous. So I’d go out and be a tourist! A lot of times I would go to the zoos and museums and sometimes I’d go out to shows and see other rock bands but most of the time it was museums and zoos. The London zoo was neat – a very old timey zoo – it reminded me of the Manhatten Zoo – a lot of old wrought iron cages where the animal looked really trapped - it wasn’t like National Geographic at all. But London Zoo, when I was there, was in the process of renovation. They were making some very nice barriers for polar bears and lions.

 

               

 

Part of an Interview with Peter Albin
The West Coast Magazine: Auras and Alchemy II
Intermediate Studies, In Search Of Auras)

 

Jeff Tamarkin wrote about Peter Albin in Relix Volume 15, #3 when the Dinosaurs originally formed and began to rehearse for live performances. In fact, both the Albin brothers foraged into the realm of Bay Area bluegrass and folk music in the early 60s, while Peter was still in his teens. "Born in 1944, Albin got his first guitar at 14. He and his brother Rodney later worked with a folk group called Liberty Hill Aristocrats."

Later on, "Rodney Albin managed a rooming house in San Francisco, the address 1090 Page. Some rooming house this: musicians coming and going day and night, always partying, playing, hanging out. A would-be entrepreneur, Chet Helms, would organize regular jam sessions in the building’s basement. Peter Albin, Sam Andrews, Dave Getz, and Jim Gurley are among the musicians – trying their hand at electric blues and rock – who made the scene ...."

 

Home of Big Brother And The Holding Company, 1090 Page Street

View pix from the Great American Music Hall Tribute in honor of the life of Chet Helms
July 29, 2005


Portions of my interview with Chet are posted here
and in Part 2 The Bus here. More soon.

 

Editor’s note: During my interview with Mimi Farina, she would consistently return to the point Peter Albin made during this last exchange about the impersonal tone of the road. She mentioned numerous times when she was on the road, standing in the elevator and the doors would open to yet another version of the place she just left. She eventually realized the co-created dynamic that could be generated by bringing quality entertainment for those shut off from the rest of society. The performers need the opportunity to engage on a personal level as much as those receiving the performance. BREAD & ROSES soon came into being through her vision. Read more about Mimi Farina.

Big Brother and The Holding Company Star Menu
And The God's Eye
   Great 1090 recipes @ PhilZone Inn   

See Mercury's Children * and Mercury's Children Part II

 

 

Find information about Hurricane Katrina

Crescent City Star Menu and links
The Big Uneasy | A Film by Harry Shearer
When The Levee Breaks lyrics here.

 

                                         

 

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magic spice, Mercury Table, Oracle's Lab, shrmx, Smoothie, Starshine Inn-Star Wars, Tangerine, vittles, Western Inn, Zeppelin Diner

   

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