Archive for Heroes of Woodstock

By The Time We All Get To Woodstock

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , on August 11, 2009 by 30daysout


By the time I got to Woodstock it was already over.  I went to my very first rock concerts in 1969, and some of the artists mentioned from the stage the incredible groovy far-out gas that was something called Woodstock.  In October 1969 they booked this thing called a “Rock Jubilee” in Houston’s Sam Houston Coliseum, featuring the Byrds, Poco, the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane.  It was supposed to end around 6 p.m., but it went to about 10 and they finally yanked the plug on the Airplane.  Before they did that, Grace Slick from the stage said about Woodstock: “It was a gas, man.  Wish you could have been there.”

Well.  I was about 14 years old so I couldn’t have gotten there on my own, anyway.  Cut to 1970, just about one year later: I’m in 10th grade at Thomas Jefferson High School in Port Arthur, Texas.  One day in September, Janis Joplin (TJ grad ’60) visited the school with a few friends.  They just decided to drop in just before the lunchtime bell.  She had come back to Port Arthur for her 10th year class reunion, and she took the opportunity to visit and show her friends the place, and possibly to show the locals how famous she was.

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30 Days Out Exclusive Interview: Sam Andrew of Big Brother & the Holding Company

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on August 9, 2009 by 30daysout
Big Brother

Clockwise, from top left: Sam Andrew, James Gurley, Dave Getz, Peter Albin and up front, Janis Joplin

This year is, of course, the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival and there is promise of many celebrations to mark the occasion.  One of the most auspicious will be August 15 in Bethel, New York, on the site of the original festival: the “Heroes of Woodstock,” featuring Mountain, Canned Heat, Ten Years After, Country Joe McDonald, the Levon Helm Band, Jefferson Starship and Big Brother and the Holding Company.   This lineup is also touring the country; check tour dates here.

Big Brother was one of the iconic rock bands of the late 1960s, and with the Grateful Dead and the Jefferson Airplane they defined the “San Francisco sound. ”  The band made its biggest splash live in 1967 at the Monterey Pop Festival, and on record a year later with the giant hit Cheap Thrills.

Guitarists Sam Andrew and Peter Albin founded Janis_Joplin_-_Cheap_Thrills-frontBig Brother in 1965 and the band had some success playing around the Bay Area.  Then one day they were introduced to a singer from Texas who would become the group’s frontwoman – Janis Joplin.  She wasn’t yet the force of nature singer she would later become, but it didn’t take long.

Today, Big Brother and the Holding Company is comprised of original members Andrew, Dave Getz and Peter Albin, along with guitarist Ben Nieves and different female singers; Sophia Ramos is the most recent singer.

Even as Cheap Thrills topped the charts and was selling millions, Joplin and Andrew left Big Brother to form the Kozmic Blues Band.  The Kosmic Blues Band – not Big Brother – are the group backing Joplin at Woodstock, and in this exclusive interview with Sam Andrew, he reminds us this will be his first appearance onstage at Woodstock.

30 Days Out: Can you tell me a little about this new tour? Are you going to do full sets or because you are on a large bill do you have to present an abbreviated set?

Sam Andrew: There will be a lot of bands on this tour, so we will do the hits, tunes like “Combination of the Two,”  “Down On Me,”  “Summertime,”  “Ball & Chain,”  “Piece Of My Heart. ”  I’m not sure how much time we will have.

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Everywhere Was A Song And A Celebration

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , on July 19, 2009 by 30daysout


Is the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair, held in 1969, truly a defining moment in human history?  No, but it’s always been a good excuse to have a party.  Many people are probably already sick of the ongoing 40th anniversary of Woodstock this summer – however we could all take a little lesson from a time that was a little more daring and hopeful, and tolerant.  Woodstock will be celebrated most notably at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts on the original festival grounds with the Heroes of Woodstock performance on August 15, however there are many more celebrations planned through the summer and into the fall.

A good new website,, details the celebrations around the world in commemoration of the Woodstock festival.  A free “West Fest” to be in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park this October will have a huge lineup including Country Joe McDonald and Denny Laine (Wings, Moody Blues) as well as members of such bands as the Chambers Brothers, the Byrds and Blue Cheer.  Check out the official website here.

Woodfest ’09 in Davis, Oklahoma, will be on the Woodstock weekend (August 14-15) featuring “tribute” acts to the Beatles, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin and the headliner, Essra Mohawk, who was an opening act back in the day.  More tribute bands will descend on Galt Airport near Chicago the same weekend for A Woodstock Illinois Tribute, featuring the music of Jimi Hendrix, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Janis Joplin, the Who, Santana and more.

And finally, if you haven’t yet encountered the brown acid, try Ang Lee’s movie Taking Woodstock, which will be released August 28.  The film is the story of Elliot Tiber, who was one of the people behind the scenes in the creation of the festival. Tiber is played by deadpan comic Demetri Martin and also features Emile Hirsch, Liev Schrieber, Eugene Levy and Paul Dano.  So even if you’re not going back to the Garden this summer, you have plenty of opportunities to let your freak flag fly.

MP3: “Woodstock” by Matthews’ Southern Comfort

MP3: “For Yasgur’s Farm” by Mountain

MP3: “Roll Another Number (For The Road) by Neil Young

YouTube: “Taking Woodstock” movie trailer