Sunday, September 30, 2007

Happy Birthday Robin Sylvester!!!!!!

Coming to Mill Valley Film Festival:

The Trips Festival

Eighteen months before the Summer of Love, a handful of San Francisco performance artists, filmmakers, musicians, entrepreneurs and futurists planted the seeds of countercultural happenings. The result: the Trips Festival, a mind-blowing three-day multimedia rock show featuring guerilla theater, light shows and music by the Grateful Dead. For many celebrants, the event—replete with LSD-spiked ice cream—proved a transformative experience that would radiate throughout the culture. Filmmaker Eric Christensen shows how the Trips Festival became the blueprint for Burning Man, raves and much more. The festival inspired its presenter, Bill Graham, to book his first rock show at the Fillmore Auditorium; its producer, Stewart Brand, would go on to create the seminal Whole Earth Catalog and pioneering online community the Well. Narrator Peter Coyote likens this hip happening to “the proverbial lightning bolt that hit the primordial soup ... just the right spark to create a new life form.” Get on the bus.... World Premiere

Saturday, September 29, 2007

30 years ago yesterday- check out a nice memory over at

Thursday, September 27, 2007

first 2 Bobby 60th Birthday books look great! Folks whose messages & pictures are in those 2 will receive an email of their page in the next few daze.
still some room left in the last book for messages/pictures!
Email me any messages or pix you would like to have added!
Thanks to everyone who has sent stuff!

WLOY Auctions Autographed Guitar For Charity
2007-09-27 12:15:38.037,
Story by: Michael Tedder
Loyola College's WLOY is auctioning off an autographed Epiphone Les Paul to raise money for the Middle Grades Partnership. The Baltimore-based college radio station worked with music venue Ramshead Live! to obtain signatures from a variety of luminaries. Artists that put their John Hancock on the guitar include: Lindsey Buckingham, Bob Weir, Zakk Wylde, Peter Frampton, Breaking Benjamin, Joe Satriani, Michael Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies and Keb' Mo'.

The Middle Grades Partnership provides access to private school resources and teachers for promising public middle students. Last year, WLOY raised more than $10,000 in recovery aid for Xavier University in New Orleans. As part of the campus-wide Year Of The City initiative, the Loyola College student body focused on volunteer work within their own community.

"We realized that we were all fortunate to be able to attend college, but for some of Baltimore's youth, the reality is that they will never even graduate high school," says station general manager Tim McGee. "The Middle Grades Partnership was selected with the goal of helping Baltimore City youth overcome the barriers preventing them from fully embracing the educational opportunities that this community has to offer."

Bidding for the guitar will begin October 12 on eBay.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I'm baaaack!

Pictures by Minkin of last night's Sweetwater party may be viewed at

Marin musicians play a last round at Sweetwater, which might reopen at new site
By Paul Liberatore
Article Launched: 09/25/2007 05:30:59 PM PDT

It ended just as it began 37 years ago - with music. Only this time, music shared the evening with memories.

Monday night was the historic last show at Sweetwater, a semi-private guest list affair that was the swan song for the beloved roots music club at its landmark 153 Throckmorton Ave. address.

With its familiar maroon awning and guitar logo, Sweetwater has been a point of pride in Mill Valley, part of the little town's rock 'n' roll heritage.

As a procession of prominent Marin musicians sat in with a house band, the finale felt less like a wake for what had been and more like a celebration of the past and perhaps a promise of the future.

In any case, everyone, it seemed, had a Sweetwater story.

Folk music legend Ramblin' Jack Elliott opened the show with a rendition of "Me and Bobby McGee." Afterward, with his guitar slung in a soft case over his shoulder, he came off stage and wandered into the crowd, thinking about his late wife, Jan.

"This is where I met her," he said, making himself heard above the din, and then, pointing, as if he could still see her: "She was right over there."

Mark Fishkin, founder of the Mill Valley Film Festival, now in its 30th year, recalled memorable concerts the festival


had hosted over the decades in the intimate, living-room-like club.
"This is a sad day, but it brings back a lot of good memories," he told me. "Thirty years ago, I stood beside this stage and watched a show. Tonight, I thought, gee, this is the last time I'll ever do that."

Sitting in a place of honor in the back of the club, Sweetwater's longtime general manager, John "J.B." Baracco, gazed contentedly over the crush of dancing, heat-generating bodies, clearly enjoying a set by the blues guitarist Mike Schermer.

"This is why I've been here for the last 30 years," he said, grinning. "There's nothing like live music in a small club."

Downstairs, in Sweetwater's rickety, low-ceiling basement, its walls papered with peeling concert posters and yellowed newspaper reviews of long past shows, famous and not-so-famous musicians hung out together, waiting their turn on stage, tuning guitars, picking out songs on a battered old upright piano, reminiscing about a place they could scarcely believe would be gone when the night was over.

"When we first moved to Marin in 1970, this is the first place we ever played," remembered Chris Rowan of the Rowan Brothers, sinking into a comfortably worn couch with a sigh.

"I'm ashamed it came to this," his brother, Lorin, chimed in, referring to the club losing its lease in a less than amicable parting of the ways with its landlord. "In this town, this place is our connection to our history. It is our history."

Dan Hicks, who's been part of Mill Valley's history longer than Sweetwater has, hadn't quite come to terms with his feelings over losing a club where he recently sang jazz tunes on leisurely Sunday afternoons.

"I think the impact will hit home for me when I walk by this place and there's just nothing there," he said.

On stage upstairs, Sweetwater mainstay Heather Combs was singing a fitting song for the occasion, getting the audience to join in on the chorus, "Let's raise a glass and toast the good times."

With that, Sweetwater owners Becky and Thom Steere came up and thanked their staff and their many supporters, their voices breaking with emotion.

Paraphrasing the Grateful Dead, Thom said, "It's been a long, great trip. Sweetwater has been a piece of the fabric, the quilt of Mill Valley."

His remark was a reference to the iconic, circular mandala quilt that was conspicuously absent from its place on the right side of the stage, leaving its outline on a bare, barnwood wall. It had hung there seemingly forever, until one morning last week, when thieves broke in and stole it, taking a symbol of Sweetwater's homespun image.

Oddly, the evening's surprise performance came not from a musician, but from lawyer Doug Ferguson, the club's attorney. He announced from the stage that he and the Steeres were nearing approval on a lease for a building in downtown Mill Valley that will be the home of "a new, slightly less funky Sweetwater."

He wouldn't say where the new edition of the club would be, only to say that if you had a good arm, you could hit it with a baseball. He told the crowd that the Steeres must raise $250,000 in move-in costs, and he called for help from generous investors.

"I think we're going to have a great time making the new Sweetwater," he said. Thom Steere said he hoped to open Jan. 1, "but that depends on a lot of things."

In the meantime, not everyone was lamenting the loss of the existing building, which is stuffy, poorly ventilated and lacking in basic creature comforts, even working bathrooms. Performers and patrons alike had to use porta-potties on the sidewalk outside.

Mill Valley's Bob Weir, fingering an electric guitar as he waited to follow Sammy Hagar on stage, mentioned a gig he played at Sweetwater just last week with former Grateful Dead bandmate Donna Jean Godchaux.

"It was so hot I was close to having a heat stroke," he said. "I think I might like the new place better."

Contact Paul Liberatore via e-mail at

I guess the last time I checked in here was right before I headed over to Sweetwater for Donna Jean's show.
a great night! More in a little while- I am in the middle of all kinds of projects right now but I'll try to bring everything up to date!
I was bummed Kemmie wasnt able to sprint across the Bay to see Donna Jean with me. Scott had planned a camping trip and was leaving at 3 am and stayed home to pack up. I was solo but barely out of my car when I ran into friends. A clean bright port a potty was on the sidewalk in front. Though Donna wasnt due on stage for another 1/2 hour, the place was pretty close to being totally packed. In fact, the show was sold out. Lots of folks just hung out on the sidewalk in front.
. No rail or side stage for me but I found a friend in the back corner and stayed there most of the evening. Several sources were informed that there would be a Bobby sit in. All the signs were there that this was happening- most notably was the amount of old GD 'family' spotted around Mill Valley. By now, you can see pictures that Betty Cantor, Mountain Girl & JP Barlow were at the show. No matter how many times I see any of them around, I still feel like I'm bumping into familiar charactors from a book I read in my childhood. At some point in the night, my son called me to tell me he was coming to Sweetwater to pick up some baseball tickets from me. It was pretty weird to step outside and find my kid standing next to Mountain Girl & John Perry. I soooo wanted to tell him that that guy across from him wrote the lyrics to Cassidy .
Jase and I were in role reversal mode.

Me; Honey, do you want to come inside and see the show ???(I had an extra)
My 20 something year old kid: No Mom, NO- I have to get to bed- I don't want to be tired at work.
Me: Are you sure?
Jase: Goodnight Mom!!!- Don't stay out too late, please!!!

Then he gave me a kiss and off he ran. I said "Hi" to another friend and headed back inside. Just in time to squeeze back into my corner. Standing on my barstool (a little scary for a person of my age and width) there was Donna rasiant and Bobby so handsome! They played a few songs - which were beautifully played and sung and the good energy was everywhere! It was over for me after Bobby left...I wouldve enjoyed staying but I too had to work the next morning . It was lovely while it lasted, I'll miss Sweetwater on Throckmorton - seen some great shows and been to some wonderful events there too.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Buzz Editor's Column: Sirius Satellite radio writes new entry in Grateful Dead timeline
By ALAN SHECKTER - Buzz Editor
Article Launched: 09/20/2007 12:00:00 AM PDT

The Grateful Dead's Bob Weir is pictured recently in Sirius Satellite Radio's studios in New York...
On Sept. 7, Sirius Satellite radio, which streams some 120 mostly commercial-free stations for a $12.95 monthly, began beaming its latest, the Grateful Dead Channel.
Not surprisingly, given the band's massive live concert archive and its popularity —The Dead was typically among the leaders in annual concert attendance despite a dearth of hit albums — Sirius called it one of the most anticipated channel launches in its history.

Dead percussionist Mickey Hart, who is coming to Chico's Laxson Auditorium Sept. 27 with his Global Drum group, said he loves it. I trust he's getting royalties from the station, though in a phone interview he seemed unclear, and uninterested, how much that might be.

"I'm over the top with it," Hart said via phone from his Sonoma County home. "I don't sit and listen to Grateful Dead music; all I hear are the mistakes. But the other day I turned it on and started playing (drums) to it. I had two or three hours with it and was just overjoyed, and it was so good and it gave me chills."

The channel features an unending array of live material culled from 30 years of live performances —including complete live concerts each day — as well as occasional new and archival interviews.

For me personally, it's a swell development, like the day they invented something called ESPN or MTV. After attending a Grateful Dead show at the Tower Theatre near Philadelphia in 1976, I dabbled in the traveling musical carnival until it

ended with Jerry Garcia's death in 1995. I never dropped out of society or quit my job to go on the road with The Dead. For us, we were like baseball fans following our team. And with a repertoire of a couple hundred songs, and only about 15 to 20 getting played each night, every game's (or concert's) boxscore was different.
Of course, while many might cringe at the thought of such an idea, a 24-hour-a-day network dedicated to the San Francisco band —"Darned hippies!" they may say — I'd like to point out how far the technology has come for those of us who've embraced Grateful Dead music.

Trading recordings of the band's live recordings can be traced back to the Free Underground Grateful Dead Tape Exchange on the early 1970s. Though it's common now for many bands' fans to record and swap shows, these audio pioneers recognized the uniqueness of each show and recorded them for posterity.

Trouble was, making copies was tedious and logistically difficult. Worse, the quality of audio cassettes, the universal medium for many years, steadily declined from copy to copy. A seventh-generation version of what was once a pristine sound board tape became a hissy mess after it had been copied from cassette to cassette.

Nowadays, folks who still trade live music material do so digitally, of course, so the sound loss has been eliminated. And sites such as and offer giant banks of audio files.

And now, when I'm in my pickup, I not only have ESPN radio, CNN radio and many cool music stations, but I have the ultimate live mix of Grateful Dead music at my fingertips.

By the way, many academic courses have been devoted to the sociology of the Grateful Dead community. And Tuesday it was announced that the University of Massachusetts in November will host the first major university conference on the enduring legacy of the Grateful Dead experience.

Buzz Editor Alan Sheckter can be reached at 896-7771 or

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Busy days here!
Benefit season approaches and I'm elbow deep in making papery items for schwag bags!
Lots of work but I love the challenge and the opportunity to make an occasion more festive.
Also, I'm finishing up Bobby's birthday book. There were so many pictures & messages that there will be 4 books
(volumes 1-4)!!!! Books 1 &2 are ready to be sent to be put in a hardcover. Still touching up the other 2 books. There's almost enough stuff to create a 5th book. If you want to email a picture or birthday message- you need to do ASAP!

Speaking of Berthadaze, belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Maile!!!!

And here's a few pictures of my birthday boy saying "Hello" and sadly, "Good Bye" to Mill Valley's Sweetwater Saloon & Village Music record shop.


Paul Liberatore: Whither Sweetwater?

Article Launched: 09/06/2007 08:23:39 PM PDT

You may be wondering why Sweetwater is still open.
I got back from a two-week vacation and wondered the same thing.

Originally, the beloved Mill Valley club had reached an agreement with its landlord to leave at the end of August. That date was subsequently extended until the end of September.

Apparently, the owner of the building was so anxious to get Sweetwater out so he could begin remodeling and renovating that he neglected to get all the necessary permits from the city. So the club was allowed to stay open for another month.

As it stands now, Sweetwater is booked through Sept. 22, with Mother Hips playing the last scheduled show. Owners Thom and Becky Steere are planning a couple of semi-private farewell concerts on Sept. 23 and 24, and that will be it - no more extensions, no more month-to-month lease arrangements like in the past.

"A lot of people don't believe we're closing, but it's a done deal," Becky Steere said. "We have to be out by the 30th."

The Steeres will be allowed to take everything with them - the decades of rock memorabilia, the photos of Elvis Costello and Bonnie Raitt and John Lee Hooker and Jerry Garcia and all the greats who graced the Sweetwater stage over the past 30 years.

All that

stuff - even the bar and the barn wood on the walls - will go into storage until Sweetwater finds a new home.
"We're not going to go away," Becky vows.

The Steeres are determined to reopen Sweetwater somewhere in Mill Valley, and they've been looking at a number of sites, including the former Greenwood gift shop on Miller Avenue.

Village Music's John Goddard tells me that his landlord would love to see Sweetwater move into his old space on East Blithedale after he closes at the end of the month.

The Village Music building needs some work and is hampered by a low ceiling that's not ideal acoustically, but a sound engineer for the Grateful Dead checked it out and concluded that it could work well enough for live music.

There would be something sweetly synchronous in Sweetwater replacing Village Music. And it would be nice for the club to have a sympathetic landlord. But we'll see.

One prediction is that a new Sweetwater could reopen somewhere before the end of the year, but the Steeres aren't so sure it can happen that soon.

"I highly doubt it," Becky Steere said.

In any event, this interim period gives people who want to preserve Marin's rock and pop musical heritage a chance to talk about what they'd like a new performance space to look like.

A couple of weeks ago, while my partner and I were visiting Cambridge, Mass., we spent an evening listening to music at Passim, the legendary folk club on Harvard Square.

Originally called Club 47, Passim was the epicenter of the '60s folk boom. The subterranean space nurtured the early careers of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Taj Mahal, Maria Muldaur, Shawn Colvin, Suzanne Vega, Tom Waits, Jackson Browne and a long list of others. As it approaches its 50th anniversary, it's still doing that for a new generation of musicians.

A nonprofit organization, Passim is a little brick-floored room below street level that seats only 125 people. Owner Bob Donlin says, "Music comes out of the walls in this place," and I could feel something sweetly spiritual in its cool underground atmosphere as we descended the stairs and found our seats before the show.

Passim has no bar and no booze, only a small vegetarian restaurant in the back. The wait staff doesn't serve while musicians are on stage, so you don't have to suffer through all the noise and distraction that is so annoying while you're trying to listen to music in a bar.

A couple of young singer/songwriters performed the night we were there. We could see them and hear every note and every lyric. I can't remember a more pleasant evening in a club.

"The music is our No. 1 priority," manager Matt Smith told me. "We're all about the listening experience."

I came away thinking that there is really no reason why Marin County, with all its wealth and sophistication, can't have its own version of a listening room like that.

I can't tell you how many people have e-mailed me, asking what they could do to keep Sweetwater alive. Perhaps something modeled after Passim is the answer.

As a nonprofit folk music and cultural center, it supports itself through individual and group memberships and donations, corporate sponsorships, fundraising campaigns and celebrity and legacy benefit concerts. Baez, who first sang there when she was 17, returns for a show next spring.

In addition to the folk club, Passim has an historic archive, a children's program and a music school offering classes in guitar, fiddle, mandolin, harmonica and the like.

When I mentioned the nonprofit idea to Becky Steere, she was open, even enthusiastic, to the possibility. If nothing else, it would free Sweetwater from having to have a bar in order to afford the high rents in Mill Valley.

Lucy Mercer, who's done a brilliant job with her 142 Throckmorton Theatre across the street from the soon-to-be-former Sweetwater, told me about a new nonprofit organization she's launched called Mill Valley Live Arts, formed "to preserve the cultural integrity of the arts."

"People are coming out of the woodwork, saying, 'What can I do?,'" she said. "We have to ask ourselves, 'What are our values?' As a community, we have to say that it's important to preserve what we have."

And maybe, by turning a cultural tragedy such as the closing of Sweetwater into an artistic opportunity to create something new and better, we can not only preserve what we have, but actually improve on it.

Paul Liberatore can be reached at

Thursday, September 13, 2007

How awesome is that Stereo?

I was looking through a box of old photos and here is one from my 9th birthday (12/31/1967). I had asked for & received my first vinyl-an album by the Monkees! You can see the cover on the coffee table. I'm dancing with enthusiasm for my parents. My passion for Rock & Roll was just in the beginning stages. No telling how many albums I wore out until I got into 8 track tapes and after that, discs. These days, I'm all iTunes & Sirius but once upon a time there was the thrill of vinyl.

Tomorrow, my "Baby" turns 13! This Summer he discovered Classic Rock.
Scott brought home a digital turntable and Noah spent weeks spinning old vinyl records into the computer.
He's thrown himself completely into music. The times we walked in SF without getting sucked into a used record store are over. Noah has been following along with interest about the fate of Village Music and so tomorrow- after a quick birthday lunch with my other son, Jason (who works in Mill Valley). Noah will take his birthday money and have at it on his one and likely only visit to Village Music!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Rumors and finally a confirmation...that the Bobstar was sitting in with Jelly & Pat Nevins in Mill Valley at Sweetwater.
With total assurance from a friend known for having his "Finger on the pulse", I dashed out and made it to Sweetwater in time to snag a key spot by the stage. Within moments of settling the show began with members of Jelly & Grapefruit Ed opening up with a few Grateful Dead tunes. After just 2 songs Bobby was on stage and what a treat!
I have a couple of phone pix here but wait til you see ones by the local camera kids.



Stars will be on hand to celebrate 30th year of Mill Valley Film Festival
By Paul Liberatore
Article Launched: 09/11/2007 07:38:41 PM PDT

The Mill Valley Film Festival turns 30 in October, and a cluster of stars will be on hand to help celebrate this historic cinematic birthday, a Marin movie milestone.

Actresses Jennifer Jason Leigh and Laura Linney, actor Ben Affleck, Oscar-winning director Ang Lee and Irish director/writer Terry George are among the luminaries adding wattage to the 30th anniversary festival - Oct. 4 through 14.

"Of course we're looking back at our past this year, but we're also looking forward," said festival founder and executive director Mark Fishkin. "That's what the 30th is all about."

This year's lineup of 212 films from 49 countries, including 14 world premieres, 11 North American premieres and 13 U.S. premieres, was announced Tuesday at Dolby Laboratories in San Francisco.

The festival presents two opening-night films: Ang Lee's "Lust, Caution," an erotic espionage thriller starring Joan Chen, and "The Savages," a family "dramedy" co-starring Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

For its 30th birthday, the festival brings its opening night gala back to the plaza in downtown Mill Valley, the scene of many great opening night bashes in the past.

"The Kite Runner," a big-screen adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's best-selling


novel, closes the 11-day feast of films on Oct. 14. After the screening, the curtain comes down with a closing night party at the Mill Valley Community Center.
Ang Lee, a festival fixture and one of its ardent supporters, will be honored with an Oct. 5 tribute that includes clips from his films and an on-stage conversation with him at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center. It's followed by a reception at the Mill Valley Outdoor Art Club.

The festival shines its "spotlight" on Jason Leigh with an Oct. 13 screening of "Margot at the Wedding," a sardonic family drama also starring Nicole Kidman and Jack Black, at the Rafael Film Center. An on-stage conversation with Jason Leigh follows the film.

Terry George also gets the spotlight treatment with an Oct. 10 screening of his new movie, "Reservation Road," at the Rafael, followed by a conversation with the director of such films as "Hotel Rwanda" and "Some Mother's Son." The stars of "Reservation Road," Mark Ruffalo and Mira Sorvino, have been invited to attend.

On Oct. 11 at the Rafael, a "centerpiece" screening of "Man in the Chair," starring Christopher Plummer, includes an appearance by director Michael Schroeder and a reception at Gaylord India restaurant in Sausalito.

For the first time, all the honorees will be presented with a new Mill Valley Film Festival Award, a sculpted statuette designed by Mill Valley artist Alice Corning.

Affleck is expected for the Oct. 9 showing of "Gone Baby Gone," which he wrote, produced and directed. It stars his younger brother, Casey Affleck.

The festival takes a look back at its debut year, 1978, when Marin director John Korty was honored with the first festival tribute. Thirty years later, Korty returns with a new digital master of "The Crazy Quilt," the 1966 Beat-era film he shot in West Marin.

Movies about music and live performances strike a power chord this year.

The Marin Symphony teams with the festival on Oct. 7 and 9, performing a new score by Dmitri Shostakovich for a screening of Sergei M. Eisenstein's 1925 black and white silent film classic, "Battleship Potemkin," at the Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium.

Cate Blanchett takes an adventurous star turn as a Bob Dylan-esque rebel rock star in "I'm Not There," a pseudo-biography of Dylan directed by Todd Haynes. Capping the Oct. 7 screening is an evening of Dylan music at the 142 Throckmorton Theatre with Ramblin' Jack Elliott, one of Dylan's earliest influences, plus Dan Hicks, Dylan interpreter Tom Corwin, Bob Weir, Rob Wasserman and John Doe, among other top musicians.

"Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten" looks at the British punk scene through the life of Joe Strummer of the Clash. After the Oct. 12 screening at the Sequoia Theatre in Mill Valley, vintage punk rocker Pearl Harbour headlines a concert at 142 Throckmorton.

"Control" also delves into the darkness of punk rock, telling the sad story of British singer Ian Curtis of the '80s band Joy Division, a suicide at 23.

"The Trips Festival," a documentary by Marin filmmaker Eric Christensen, takes viewers back to the 1960s counterculture happening known as the Trips Festival, three days of guerilla theater, light shows and music by the Grateful Dead.

While "The Trips Festival" documents the counterculture, the politics of the New Left come into focus with "The People's Advocate: The Life & Times of Charles R. Garry," a documentary on the radical Black Panther lawyer.

As for the future, the festival looks ahead with a New Movies Lab, an extensive Children's Filmfest and a California Film Institute Education program aimed at building the next generation of filmmakers and movie audiences.

In a special pre-festival presentation, "Into the Wild," based on John Krakauer's bestseller, will be screened this Thursday evening at the Rafael Film Center.

Actor-writer-director Sean Penn and 22-year-old actor Emile Hirsch, who stars in this film about a young man's journey into the Alaskan wilderness, will discuss the movie after the screening and mingle with film-goers at a reception at San Rafael Joe's.

At Tuesday's press conference, Zoe Elton, director of programming, was asked how she feels about the 30th anniversary.

"After 30 years," she said with a smile, "maybe we've got this film festival thing down."

If you go: Tickets for the Oct. 4-14 Mill Valley Film Festival go on sale to California Film Institute members Wednesday and to the public on Sunday. For tickets, call 877-874-6833.

Contact Paul Liberatore via e-mail at

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Stars pay tribute to Mill Valley record shop owner
Joel Selvin, Chronicle Senior Pop Music Critic
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
SF Chronicle

Bettye LaVette wept as she talked about John Goddard, owner of the Mill Valley record store, Village Music, which closes this month after more than 60 years. LaVette was a forgotten rhythm and blues vocalist with nothing going on when Goddard called her five years ago and asked her to play one of his birthday parties at the Sweetwater.
She has since recorded two albums - the second, "Scene of the Crime," is due to be released next month and was produced by Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers - and found a national audience for herself, success and acclaim she never knew as a younger performer.
"Thanks to John," she told the Great American Music Hall audience on Sunday at a tribute concert to Goddard, "I can send my grandchildren an allowance every week for the first time in my life."
LaVette, whose specialty as a vocalist is raw emotion, was only the most visibly moved of the evening's performers. With Goddard and his wife seated front row center, the entire procession of performers - from rock stars Sammy Hagar and Bob Weir to rhythm and blues pioneers Jimmy McCracklin and Sugar Pie DeSanto - played their shows directly to Goddard.
The Music Hall event was the second live music extravaganza to be thrown in Goddard's honor. Bonnie Raitt, '50s rock 'n' roller Frankie Ford, John Sebastian with David Grisman and others appeared last month at Mill Valley's 142 Throckmorton Theatre and then spilled across the street to the Sweetwater, where the music continued into the early hours.
Obviously, this guy did more for these musicians than give them discounts on records they bought from him. When someone as clearly crusty and wary as LaVette cries while she credits Goddard with igniting her career, it's proof positive that Goddard was more than another record store owner.
The show Sunday featured many of the same performers who, over the years, graced the stage at Goddard's Sweetwater soirees. With an audience full of musicians and other with-it scenesters, McCracklin can perform his 1958 R&B hit, "The Walk," to a roomful of people who get it. Musical director and the evening's host Scott Mathews early on dubbed the house band "Village Idiots" and called the crowd "Village People."
The evening began with the highly energetic DeSanto, a 72-year-old live wire who used to run around the Fillmore with Etta James when they were teenagers. Slide guitarist Roy Rogers sounded like he grew up in Mississippi, not Richmond. McCracklin led the band with exuberance and authority.
Sammy Hagar doesn't play a lot of clubs and admitted to being nervous. "I have been drinking," he allowed. With his own well-oiled band behind him, playing at a volume that suited the small room, Hagar threw together a wonderful four-song set that included "Right Now," a song out of his days with Van Halen that Hagar said he'd given a "California psychedelic" arrangement. He also offered a brand new song he said the band had never performed in public.
Bob Weir - like Hagar, a longtime Mill Valley resident and Village Music customer - was the evening's surprise guest, offering a long, skillful set of improvisations with bassist Rob Wasserman and drummer Jay Lane over a variety of material, from Dylan to the Dead.
But it was the Collins Kids - along with the evening's final act, LaVette - who best represent the Village Music spirit. Lorrie and Larry Collins were child rockabilly stars on '50s Los Angeles TV and made a series of great records known only to a few. They live in Reno and perform only occasionally at rockabilly festivals in Europe. But they are two electrifying performers who have somehow managed to escape the attention of the music business.
Lorrie Collins is a cowgirl queen with a big, booming voice and killer smile. Her brother is a fleet-fingered master of the double-necked Mosrite guitar he learned to play when he was a 10-year-old cast member of "Town Hall Party." Followed by LaVette's intensely wrought, masterful blues singing, the show returned to what Village Music is all about after the star turns by his famous clientele.
E-mail Joel Selvin at
This article appeared on page E - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle
Okay who can translate this?

Monday, September 10, 2007


What a crazy busy weekend for him!

I didnt go to the Goodbye party for Village Music which happened last night at GAMH but thank goodness somebody did! And blogged about it-> click here!!
Earlier in the day, Bobby & family were in Chicago, cheering on racecar driver Leilani Munter (there's a link to her website on the right). Some photos (which are beautiful) may be seen over on
dot org!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sweetwater is proud to present:

Donna Jean And The Tricksters
September 20, 2007 9:00pm $20

Artist Information for:
Donna Jean And The Tricksters

Donna Jean Thatcher (Godchaux MacKay) was born to sing, and over the course of time she’s done so with people like Elvis Presley, Percy Sledge, Boz Scaggs, and Jerry Garcia. Now she has a new band that she’s quite certain is on a creative par with anything she’s ever done. “This band is a perfect fit for me as a singer/songwriter,” she said recently, “and I hope to be doing this for a long time to come. We’re having so much fun with this music!” The Grateful Dead alumna has joined up with six members of the next musical generation – Mookie Siegel (David Nelson Band; formerly Phil & Friends, RatDog), Wendy Lanter (Hope in Time), and Jeff Mattson, Tom Circosta, Klyph Black and Dave Diamond (Zen Tricksters) to form Donna Jean and the Tricksters. Look out! Things have come full circle and anything’s possible. Oh, sure, they’re gonna jam. But the band has seven vocalists and an incredible array of songwriting talent, and DJ&tT is going to make waves in ways you’d never anticipate. Born in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Donna Jean was a vocalist at both Muscle Shoals Sound Studios and Fame Studios, home of the legendary “Muscle Shoals Sound,” on records like Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds,” Percy Sledge’s “When A Man Loves a Woman,” and Boz Scagg’s eponymous first solo album. She moved to San Francisco, married Keith Godchaux, and spent the 1970s as a vocalist in the Grateful Dead as well as the Jerry Garcia Band. After life with the Dead, she and Keith created the Heart of Gold Band with drummer Greg Anton. Following various side trips, she resumed serious focus on her singing in the ‘90s, recording a new Heart of Gold Band album, At the Table, and singing with Phil & Friends and her own Donna Jean Band. But it was at a benefit concert for the Dead’s Rex Foundation in 2006, The Black Tie-Dyed Ball, that she bonded with the Tricksters and decided that she’d found her future. The Zen Tricksters began on Long Island in the early 1980s. Lead by guitar wizard Jeff Mattson, the ZT have played for more than 20 years, establishing records at the legendary Wetlands Preserve and taking part in every Gathering of the Vibes. With Klyph Black on funky, blues-based bass and vocals (and slide and dobro), Tom Circosta on rhythm guitar and vocals, and Dave Diamond on drums, percussion, and vocals, the ZT rapidly became known as the best Dead-oriented band around – and a great deal more. After a substantial career doing session work, Wendy Lanter joined with Tom Circosta to create the band Hope in Time as a platform for their original music. She is a fabulous vocalist, adding angelic harmonies to Donna Jean’s work. Finally, Mookie Siegel (keyboards and vocals) emerged from Baltimore in the ‘80s to become a member of such bands as the David Nelson (New Riders of the Purple Sage) Band, Bob Weir’s RatDog, and Phil Lesh & Friends. Yet this band – a felicitous combination of experience and youth, with skills that cross all musical genres and defy category – is a great deal more than even the sum of its parts. Something happened when they met – and DJ&tT is now (3/07) going into the studio to show you what that was.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Dizzy with possibilities!

It's been a busy week. The kids and I are at back in school.
Many thanks to those who have emailed or snailed Birthday things to me for the Bobby Book.
It's getting bigger everyday but I'm going to need to put it together very soon so no more delays on sending stuff to be included!
Here's some news from The Rex Foundation:
Dear Friends,

Take out your calendars and get on board the Rex Musical Caravan to enjoy great music and connections on the East and West coasts, all in support of the Rex Foundation. The following events bring to life another whole dimension of the Rex Community Caravan, demonstrating how the musical community of performers and fans are helping further what the Grateful Dead started 24 years ago:

Friday, September 14th, Rex Foundation Black Tie-Dye Ball with the New Riders of the Purple Sage and special guests Donna Jean Godchaux-MacKay and Mookie Siegel, and opening with Boris Garcia, at The State Theatre in Falls Church, VA. Join us for the pre-concert reception with great food, including delicacies from the award winning DC restaurant Equinox, mingling with the artists and special guest Dennis McNally.
Thursday, October 4th, Rex Foundation Black Tie-Dye Ball with Dark Star Orchestra at The Fillmore in San Francisco, celebrating the special Dark Star Orchestra Rex Caravan Tour, where all shows between September 26 and October 20 include $1 per ticket sold for the Rex Foundation. Join us for a pre-concert reception with the artists, great food and connection.

Thursday, October 4th, Assembly of Dust with JJ Grey & Mofro, The Roxy, Boston, MA, designating $1 per ticket sold for the Rex Foundation.
October 4th through November 3rd, The Ryan Montbleau Band’s Patience on Friday CD Release Tour includes many shows with ticket sale contributions to the Rex Foundation.
Saturday, November 17th, Donna the Buffalo, Ollabelle and special guest David Gans at the Highline Ballroom in New York City, where $5 per ticket sold will be contributed to the Rex Foundation. Join us for a special pre-concert reception with the performers and great concert seats.

In the Works: Saturday, December 1st, Rex Foundation Benefit, San Francisco

We look forward to celebrating with you to enjoy the music and spirit of the Rex Community Caravan.

Thank you for all of your support!

Sandy Sohcot
Executive Director

Sunday, September 02, 2007

I had a bit of time and thought I'd look at some of my old videos from when I use to trade.
Here's one I havent seen online yet- Bobbby & Company singing the national anthem at the last Giants game played at Candlestick Park.

I'm collecting (via email but snaily could work I guess?) birthday messages & photos from Weirophiles to be put together
into a book (assembled by Apple).

It will get to Bobby by 10/16.
Send pix or a message or both to