1970... the coming of the "Stalk-Forrest Group"...
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I don't know of any gigs in January 1970 - do you?
I don't know of any gigs in February 1970 - do you?
I don't know of any gigs in March 1970 - do you?
I don't know of any gigs in April 1970 - do you?
Band was billed on tickets as "Stalk Forest"...
The ticket lists the following four names in this order: Jefferson Airplane, Stalk Forest, Roxy, Glen McKay's Headlights. It also says the gig was scheduled for 7pm in the gym.
This is interesting because the gig was held outdoors on the athletic field. I can only think they got wind of the size of the proposed audience who would want to attend, and realised the security problems that would cause.
17,000 "Fly" With Airplane: Mini-Woodstock Peaceful Event
About 17,000 people jammed onto campus Friday night to hear a five-hour concert featuring the Jefferson Airplane.
The crowd, creating a smaller and less-together Woodstock atmosphere, sat on the athletic field and watched three groups and the Airplane perform on a makeshift platform.
First-aid and an ambulance were on duty throughout the evening to treat victims of various incidents. Two non-students were treated for drugs. There were also two assaults, one on a professor, and a rock-throwing incident.
Security estimated handling 6,500 automobiles Friday night. As the concert ended, University Police directed a constant stream of five-lane traffic leaving the campus for a one hour and forty-five minute period. The cars of the many outsiders jammed campus roads and lots filling almost every available space.
At one point, an almost solid line of parked vehicles lined the campus loop road. All three campus entrances were kept open throughout the night to handle the flow. Security guards were stationed at all entrances to direct traffic on and off the congested Nicoll Road.
At least 200 calls complaining of excessive noise were received from the surrounding community.
The campus remained unusually crowded throughout the weekend as both Carnival and Alumni Weekend attracted more visitors. Carnival continued through yesterday with a multitude of rides and amusements on the library mall.
Alumni Weekend brought SB graduates from as far back as the class of '61, here. The weekend was topped with an Alumni dinner hosted by Acting President T.A. Pond and President John Toll.
from "The Statesman" (4 May 1970) by Ronny Hartman
Also of interest is the review said that the show was "three groups and the Airplane" - therer are four names on the ticket (Jefferson Airplane, Stalk Forest, Roxy, Glen McKay's Headlights) and I initially thought these comprised the full bill for this "mini-Woodstock".
However, I soon discovered that "Glen McKay's Headlights" was actually the name of Jefferson Airplane's travelling light show, and not a band as such, so maybe I'm still missing one actual band name...?
The running order can only be guessed at. Looking at the ticket, you'd have thought "Stalk Forest" were second highest billing, but Buck is on record as having said this:
The outdoor Airplane show we definitely played. I remember it being very cold, and I was very ill with a fever and a bad cold.
We were hours away from the Airplane, I don't think I even stayed for their set...
So it looks like "Stalk Forest" might have opened, and band running order printed on the ticket was purely aesthetically pragmatic - it was arranged for layout reasons: "Glen McKay's Headlights" being too long to fit on the first line...
I don't know of any gigs in June 1970 - do you?
The above ticket stub comes from a great MC5 gig list site:
Could this have been the last gig with Andy Winters?
What a gig this would have been. Stalk Forrest Group on the same show as Led Zep, The Allmans, Iggy, Janis, Ted Nugent, Cactus, Buddy Guy etc - also booked, but not mentioned on the ad, were The MC5. Not bad for $6.50!!
The gig was cancelled on Wednesday 12 Aug by Boston Mayor Kevin White... The story is here:
Also above is an advert for the rescheduled gig with Led Zep at the Boston Garden on 9 Sept 1970 (with no SFG, unfortunately...)
Incidentally, Joe Bouchard once said that the band enticed him to join with tales of an imminent gig they were going to play with Led Zep but which subsequently never happened, and this sounds like it might have been that very gig.
If that's true, then my best guess for when Joe joined would obviously be before this gig was shut down on 12 August, so I think we're looking at something like the end of July and the first week of August for Joe joining SFG.
That's officially speaking, of course, because Albert has said that they recruited Joe into the band before Andy Winters was gone, because the experience with Les Braunstein had left them worried about being left in the lurch with committments to fulfill and a missing bandmate...
Stop Press: OK, regarding my posited dates above, it looks like I was trying to apply logic to something that was operating outside logic. Here are some recent (Jan 2015) Facebook posts on the subject:
This is an interesting ad. When Albert called me up in the middle of the night in August of '70 asking me to join the band he said "you gotta come right away because we're opening a tour for Led Zeppelin!"
Of course I said I'll get there as soon as I finish my last production at the Vineyard Players. I was the musical director. So I drove through the wickedest Labor Day traffic I've ever seen from Martha's Vineyard to Great Neck LI.
I got to the house and I said I'm ready for Zeppelin. Then Albert Bouchard says the tour is not happening. :(
A few days later we got the telegram from Elektra....
This was interesting. I've googled "Labor Day" and apparently it's the first Monday in September, so in 1970 that'd be 7th September, so at last that gives me the date that Joe actually joined the band and as a corollary, marks the end of Andy Winter's tenure in the band.
But there's an anomaly here. If Joe joined on 7 Sept with high hopes of playing a Zepp gig - actually, Joe says he was told by Albert it was going to be a "tour"!! - then how can that be? The 14th Aug Zepp gig had been cancelled by the 12th August - nearly 4 weeks earlier!!
The only way I can make sense of this is that Albert might have erm, let's be kind, fibbed a little to Joe in order to get him to come down...?
Albert responded on faceBook:
I might have done that. Sorry Joe.
Blimey. Incidentally, the telegram Joe alluded to above is the one from Elektra telling them that the album SFG had recently recorded for them was going to be shelved:
A few days after I joined the band at their house in Great Neck we got a telegram (you remember those things?) from Elektra saying we were "off the label". No reasons given, just a short note that we were "off the label". I was royally pissed. But it worked out I guess...
Well at least they didn't send you an invoice asking for the advance back...
I think the first gig I played was in the park in Great Neck in September of 1970. Most all of the songs were Soft White Underbelly songs.
I think Sandy Pearlman might have played harmonica for a song. I sort of remember him being on stage with us, but he didn't seem too comfortable.
But my memory of that gig is definitely foggy. We played on a flat bed truck for free. We were desperate to play anywhere then.
Shortly after that we played a two day gig at Swan Lake in the Catskill Mountains of New York State. That was where we met David Lucas who let us use his jingle studio to make the early demos.
OK - a quick note about the tentative dates of 18 and 19 September I've ascribed to this and the next day's show. This is just a guess. I know the two gigs were on a Friday and Saturday in September. The options are:
If Joe is correct about having joined BOC on "Labor Day" (7th Sept) that rules the first set of dates out, and since we know his first gig was in a Great Neck park, that doesn't leave enough time to learn the songs, play that Great Neck gig and then be able to play these two shows on Sept 11-12.
Thus, the first set of dates it could realistically have been are the 18th and 19th Sept, so I'll go with that for now, but if you happen to know any different, please let me know...
Now, about the gig itself...
Max Bell recorded in his latest Classic Rock piece (March 2012) that the band headed up from Long Island to this private nudist event "in a beat up Chevy van with singer Eric Bloom leading the way on his motorcycle", arriving to find the nudists enjoying a "Swingers" weekend.
The show apparently took place on a tennis court with Stalk-Forrest playing inside an orange plastic bubble"...
Their repertoire is originals like Buck's drug murder 'Then Came The Last Days Of May", Bloom's schmaltzy 'Four Door Blues" and Lanier's nasty 'What A Lovely Face', plus covers of Iron Butterfly's 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida', Grand Funk Railroad's 'Aimless Lady', The Grateful Dead's 'Casey Jones", 'All Along The Watchtower' - even Free's 'Alright Now'.
This was the gig where the band had their date with destiny - well, jingle maestro David Lucas at any rate, who was in the audience.
After the show, Lucas approached Sandy Pearlman in what was described as a "cosmic coincidence" and offered the group some free time in his 8-track Warehouse Studio on 46th Street, NYC.
These are the demos which Pearlman said were "so good we got a deal."
I don't know on which of the two nights the Lucas meeting happened, though... and I would also love to know exactly what demos were recorded and when...
OK - dating this gig as "November" is just a guess based on Albert saying the following in an interview:
Albert: ...there were two Conry's - we played that one on New Years Eve and then I think maybe it was before that we played a week at Conry's... by that time we had played Serge's Cabaret in Wilkesburg PA, we'd played upstate a lot of different gigs...
So, if they'd already played Serge's Cabaret before the 31 Dec 1970 NYE show at Conry's, then obviously it could be any date previous to that date.
I chose November as an approximate guess - and also because I didn't have any other November gigs listed, and it's nice to have at least one...
If you can help with any dating evidence, please get in touch...
The New Years Eve show at Ken Conry's Bar in 1970 marks the occasion the Cult backed Fatima from Istanbul, a Turkish bellydancer who lived in NYC. I believe they played while Fatima danced. She wasn't singing...
They would have played many of the songs from the next January batch in the other Conry's (West) bar. They definitely did In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida at this gig...
I also heard there was an "Auld Lang Syne" at midnight - this business of SFG playing their stuff whilst Fatima danced is certainly intriguing, and makes me think of Hawkwind and Stacia, but with maybe more clothes on...