BIG BROTHER AND THE HOLDING COMPANY
Fraternity of Man
Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood CA (Capacity: 18,000)
Fraternity of Man had the hit, “Don’t Bogart that Joint (my friend)”, a stoney, corny and fun song that was appropriately quoted on many real-life occasions. For those who may not understand the term, it means, “Don’t smoke the joint like Humphrey Bogart smoked a cigarette in the movies; letting the cigarette ash burn while it’s dangling from your lips before you take another long exaggerated hit and exhale and then more “Bogarting” – No, this isn’t a cigarette, it’s a joint, and you’re not in a movie – take a hit and pass it on!
Iron Butterfly were instantly-accepted as pioneers and leaders of the psychedelic heavy metal sound; (Iron) heavy (Butterfly) psychedelic, which created the blueprint for most of the “heavy” bands to follow. The baritone vocal gave them their distinct sound and was the precursor to the heavy-metal growl of today.
They performed “In-a-Gadda-da-Vida” which created such a psychedelic imprint that over the years the mere opening of the song was enough to be used all over the world to represent the psychedelic ‘60s or just Hippies in general. That is a tremendous accomplishment! The fact that just a few notes from their song could instantly represent a specific time in history is so awesome that they should get a special award just for that!
So when I read or hear today’s “critics” marginalizing the “musicianship” of Iron Butterfly I have to stand up and set these clowns straight. First off these guys were terrific musicians! Just because their style wasn’t refined like the sterile and utterly “digital” productions of the non-talents of today only shows what could be done beyond the limitations of the studio back then.
Their appeal, along with many, many others, was not solely for their “musicianship”, although again; they were fine musicians – for if we judged all performers that way we’d only be left with a few. It was for their heart. Rock ‘n’ Roll is 90% heart and 10% sweat.
Iron Butterfly delivered and they showed us what was possible and that they were just like us (literally – from San Diego, just south of L.A.) – a talented garage band that were able to touch a psychedelic nerve at just the right time and made it to the Big Time.
Oh, and the lead guitar player, Erik Braun, was only 17!
So, enjoy it for what it was – historic, exciting, fun, cool psychedelic music from a magical time that will never, ever repeat itself.
DA DA DA-DA-DA-DA!
Anyway, I must’ve just been peaking as Iron Butterfly supplied just the right amount of stimuli to set me up for Janis!
This was another historic event, as were all of the concerts of Janis’ short career.
Once again we had pretty decent seats and close enough to have a really good time.
Unfortunately for Janis’ legacy, the songs she’s best known for were ballads, like Benz and McGee, and they don’t even come close to the brilliance of her rock and blues songs. That’s why the “Cheap Thrills” album was among my personal favorites of all my LPs; hard rockin’ and soulful blues – that’s the Janis I connected with.
Big Brother’s seemingly loose but actually solid rock and blues matched perfectly with Janis’ painfully honest delivery that seemed to come from the past and the future at the same time.
Big Brother and the Holding Company and Janis Joplin graced us with nearly all the cuts from “Cheap Thrills” for all the devoted fans that night!
And as with Janis, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix, I was aware that I was witnessing truly rare moments of rock history by true rock legends – but thought it would never end.
Two years and one month almost to the day of this concert, Janis would die of an accidental overdose of uncut heroin about a mile from the Hollywood Bowl stage that we saw her perform this concert.
IB Lineup: Doug Ingle – vocals, organ, Erik Braun (just 17 years old!) – guitar vocals, Lee Dorman – bass, backing vocals, Ron Bushy – drums, percussion
IB Setlist: Selections from their “Heavy” and “Inna Gadda Da Vida” LPs.
JJ&BBHC Lineup: Janis Joplin (vocals), Sam Andrew (guitar), David Getz (drums), James Gurley (guitar), Peter Albin (bass).
JJ&BBHC Setlist: Selections from “Cheap Thrills” LP and others.
Trippy Note: These are two very classic album covers: Cheap Thrills is done by R. Crumb, the iconic and reluctant leader of the whole underground comic scene and the Heavy album art perfectly shows where our heads were at – and that record companies’ art departments were hiring “heads” to do the covers – and it shows! Groovy!