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Stinson Beach Music Scene Time Line: 1960s to the Present

The Beats, Garcia and Grisman, Old & In The Way (1964-1975)

August 30, 1964 – Fundraiser for the Grand Opening of “The Atheneum,” scheduled for June 1969 in Stinson Beach.  The event is billed as “Jazz on the Mountain” at the Tamalpais Mountain Theater featuring the Vince Guaradli Trio w/Bola Sete, the John Coppola Fred Mergy Band and Malvina Reynolds. Stinson Allied Arts theater group had planed to build an Atheneum near the White Gate Ranch overlooking the Pacific. Sponsored by Stinson Beach Art Foundation, the Atheneum was to have 2 theaters, an administration building, gallery, art research library, and recital hall and more. This fundraiser was part of a week-long music fest which was originally planned to occur once every year. Artists named were: Eleanor Kent, Dan Totheroh, Mae Clarke, John Korty, Arthur Willson, Geary Olds, John Edmunds, Mark Huntley, and Richard Stanley. This was apparently the only event as there is no record of follow-on events/fundraisers.

December 1965 – The 3rd Acid Test by Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters (with Mountain Girl as a key member) is planned for December 11 at Stinson Beach, but at the last minute is moved to Muir Beach to confuse and avoid disruption by law enforcement officials.

1966– Clive Davis of Columbia Records discovers Janis Joplin singing at a bar -- most likely the Red Whale (see description below) -- in Stinson Beach. He then produces her first record with the band Big Brother and the Holding Company, which is released on Columbia Records in 1967.

1968-1972 – Musician Larry Zee lives in Stinson Beach, first in a room above the local grocery store (then called Ed’s Superette), later in the Dodge House across from the entrance to the Stinson Beach State Park, then in a house up the hill.

1969-71 -- Peter Weston lived in the Calles with his wife Judith (“Hawk”) and daughter Belle. Peter owned Pacific High Recording in San Francisco from 1968-71. Among the albums recorded or mixed there were:

“Blows Against the Empire” and “Mexico” (1969) - Jefferson Airplane

“Aoxomoxoa” (1969) and “Working Man’s Dead” (1970) - The Grateful Dead

“Shady Grove” (1969) – Quicksilver Messenger Service

“Lost in the Ozone” (1970) – Commander Cody

The Joy of Cooking and the Charletons also recorded their first albums there.

The Westons moved to Bolinas in 1971 where shortly thereafter Peter died of an apparent suicide.

1970 - House concert given by singer/songwriter and folk musician Rosalie Sorrels at 155 Calle del Mar, home of Gino Sky, future book author (author of the books Appaloosa Rising: The Legend of the Cowboy Buddha (1980) and Coyote Silk (1987).

1970 - Richard Loren, famous rock musical act agent, moves to Stinson Beach from the East Coast after burning out on high profile music scene after serving as the manager of the Jefferson Airplane (which had been residing in nearby downtown Bolinas) and the Doors (based in Los Angeles). After a one year hiatus, he moves in with David Grisman, then a record producer, at a house on Sacramento Patio with a house designed by a student of famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. (Loren’s wife, Elaine Doss, becomes the house den mother, also raising the two children of David Grisman.) Fire Chief George White tries to bust their 4 pot plant garden, but they get anonymous "mercy call" warning them, so they escape detection and legal prosecution.

Autumn 1970 – Singer Janis Joplin dies at the age of 27; her ashes are scattered at Stinson Beach per her request.

1970 – Peter Rowan moves to Stinson Beach from Mill Valley, where he had been playing in bands such as Seatrain and Earth Opera. Also recently been spending time playing with bluegrass legend Bill Monroe. He moves into a house on Calle del Ribera and pays $100/month in rent. He ends up writing one song inspired by Stinson Beach: “Riding the Rainbow in the Sky,” which was never released on a record.

Late 1970/early 1971 – Chris and Lorin Rowan record their first single as the “Rowan Brothers” for Columbia Records entitled “All Together.” They move to Sacramento Patio in Stinson Beach in January 1971

1971- Jerry Garcia moves to Stinson Beach with Mountain Girl, living up on the hill at the highest house (at that point in time) in the community, which was dubbed “Sans Souci,” which can be translated into the phrase “no worries.” At the time, he is raising three children: Trixie, Sunshine and Annabelle. He starts picking the banjo back up again – his original instrument – and also brushes up on the pedal steel guitar as he is also playing with the New Riders of the Purple Sage at the same time.  It is his pedal steel on the new Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young hit “Teach Your Children.”

8/27/71 - Jerry Garcia and others play at the club known as “The Red Whale,” which is located where the current Stinson Beach Water County District is located on Highway One just past the turn off for Calle del Arroyo. It would later be renovated and renamed “The Brigg.” Still later, it would be renovated again and renamed the “Over the Hill Bar and Grill.”

1971/1972 – A Billboard appears on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles that quotes Jerry Garcia saying this about the Rowan Brothers: “There are a couple of kids in Stinson Beach, they sound really fresh. They could be like the next Beatles.” As a result, record producers and artists such as Van Morrison and Bob Dylan are spotted in the Stinson Beach/Bolinas area, checking things out. One rumor has it that the only time Jerry Garcia met John Lennon was during this time period in Stinson Beach.

1971/1972 – Steve Miller of the Steve Miller Band is a renter in Seadrift.

Autumn 1972 – Jerry Garcia & David Grisman play bluegrass music several times, with Jerry practicing his banjo whenever he can after they bumped into each other at Ed’s Superette as Garcia was buying cigarettes.

January 1973 – “Old & in the Way” is formed. The band includes Jerry Garcia, Peter Rowan, David Grisman, John Kahn with Richard Green and John Hartford as initial fiddle players, before superstar Vassar Clements of Nashville becomes the permanent fiddle player. After playing at “Avila's Barn,” Jerry Garcia names David Grisman "Dawg" after he saw dog following Grisman on the beach at Stinson.  

1973 - Goldie Rush starts Round Records above Ed’s Superette in 1973; she had a Telex, which was quite modern for the time.

9/30/73 - Old & in the Way does a fundraiser for the Stinson-Bolinas Pre-School at the Stinson Beach Community Center.  

1974 – Mark Stein, bass player, moves to Calle del Sierra from the streets of San Francisco, where he owed thousands of dollars in parking tickets and where he used to perform with Norton Buffalo and John McVie (Fleetwood Mac). That same year, the Jack Bonus Quartet is formed. Bonus played saxophone, and the drummer was Keith Glanz. They were a jazz junk band.

1974 – Commander Cody is living in Seadrift in Stinson Beach.

1974-- Beat poet Laurence Ferlinghetti frequents the deli known as the “Sea Witch,” located next to the Stinson Beach Post Office; writer Richard Brautigan, a Bolinas resident, is often seen hitch hiking in Stinson Beach on his way back and forth to San Francisco. (Brautigan dies in 1980 at his haunted Bolinas home.)

1974/75 - “Mad Hatter Catering” is created in Stinson Beach by Robin Ahlgren, Andrea Ahlgren Shirly, Daisy Denton and Mary JoMienoff after posting a note at Ed Superett’es bulletin board. Their first customer was Bill Graham, with their first gig was at the Cow Palace: a Pink Floyd concert. The company went on to cater food for artists and bands such as George Harrison, Bob Marley, The Band, B.B. King, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Jackson Brown and Tower of Power.

1974-1976 -- Gino Sky and Larry Zee (banjo and other instruments) perform regularly at The Brig (with writer

Robert Creeley in frequent attendance or doing sound) They were occasionally joined by singer songwriter Rosalie Sorrels. Other Beat Era poets such as Robert Creely, Philip Whalen, Richard Duerden (who lived in Stinson Beach in 1968-1969) and William Everson (known as “Brother Antoninus” and lived in Stinson Beach ~1974) also read and perform at The Brig, or at Gino’s house, sometimes backed up by Peter Rowan, who often played exotic drone instruments similar to a Sitar. Writer Annie Lamott also makes occasional appearances at some of these shows.

 

From the Rowans to Rounder Records; Pablo to The Edge  (1975-1985)

1975 – Julie Spencer Productions releases Record “Song in the Waters” (The Whale Song) by Jim Roberts featuring Teresa Burns

1975 – Lionel Alford, a drummer/trap drummer moves to Stinson Beach. He was a noted studio musician and music teacher, and resides in various locations in Stinson Beach until 1980.

1975 – Keith and Donna Godchaux, who now also live “up on the hill” in Stinson Beach, release the record “Keith and Donna” on local record label Round Records, featuring Jerry Garcia.

1975 – Robert Hunter releases the record “Tiger Rose” on Round Records.

1975- Phil Lesh and Ned Lagin release “Sea Stones” on Round Records.

1976 – The Rowan brothers, with Mark Stein on bass and Peter Rowan now part of the group, release the album “Sibling Rivalry.” The single “If I Only Could” reaches No. 54 on the Billboard charts.

1976 – Jack Bonus drops out of the Jack Bonus group, and Lorin Rowan replaces him. The band is renamed “Te Spliffes” and shifts from previous jazz funk to reggae by artists such as Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff.  Lorin and Mark Stein as build up an audience as a band named “The Edge,” filling the The Brigg on a regular basis.

1977 – Commander Cody moves to Stinson Beach.

1977 – David Jenkins (guitar) and Cory Lerois (keyboards) move to Stinson Beach, both members of the band Pablo Cruise. Lerois buys Mountain Girl/Jerry Garcia’s old house, and does a major remodel.

1977 – Julie Spencer Productions releases “Say So Long to Lulu for Me” by Jim Roberts and the Billionaires featuring Peter Allen on piano and who lives on the Patios.

1978 – Average Beach Band is formed by the following artists: Jim Dillon, Peter Walsh (both Stinson Beach residents) and others including Peter Kaukon and Glen Cronkite.

1978 - The Bunkies take first place in the first “Stinson Beach Bong Show.” Russell Tims, Tom O'Conner, Bob Fagan, Danny Walsh, and Marcus White compose the group.

1979 -- Janice Hoiler wins the second Bong Show as “Geraldine the Truck Stop Queen.” Celebrity judges that year were Kendrick Rand, Luigi Alfano, Peggy Pepper, and Shirley Sanford. Acclaimed author and columnist John Grissim MC'd both 1978 and 1979 shows.

1979/1980 – The band “The Edge” is formed by Lorin Rowan, Mark Stein, Jim Dillon, Keith Glanz and Ozzie Ahleve.

February 1980 - Frankie Accardi and Michael Peri move to Stinson Beach, both Dead Heads with tight ties to the band (and who would end up with jobs at Phil Lesh’s Terrapin Station restaurant/club in San Rafael.)

1981 - Commander Cody writes "Two Triple Cheese..." based largely (according to some rumors) on his experience ordering hamburgers at the Sand Dollar, where he also holds court as a regular on the piano in the bar.

1982-1984 – Commander Cody moved up on the hill in Stinson Beach

February 1984 – Frankie starts to work for Grateful Dead ticket sales in San Rafael.

 

The Commander, More Pablo and the Fireman’s Ball (1985-2000)

1986/1987 – Ramblin’ Jack Elliott plays his one and only intimate concert in Stinson Beach in order to impress a woman (Nancy Sullivan), a time period when he was parking his motor home across from the SBCC.

1986 – Michael Knowlton moves to Stinson Beach right next to Ben Chollar, who had a Dixie Jazz Band that featured Peter Allen. Through the early ‘90s, Knowlton would play in jazz groups featuring artists such as Val Agnoli, who was then playing sax and flute before switching to piano, and Jon Francis, who played bass.

1987 – Commander Cody releases a song about Stinson Beach entitled “Midnight at the Strand” on his record “Let’s Rock.”

November 1991 – Clarence Clements and the Red Barn Rockers play the Fireman’s Ball at SBCC

November 1992 – The Edge and Pablo Cruise play Fireman’s Ball at SBCC.

November 1993 – Commander Cody plays at the Fireman’s Ball.

1994-1997 – Commander Cody moved back to Stinson Beach, living on Calle del Embarcadero.

November 1994 - Commander Cody and Lost Planet Air Men plays at the Fireman’s Ball at the SBCC.

1997 – Grateful Dead Ticket Sales is relocated to Stinson Beach.

1997/1998 – Bass player Rob Wasserman of Bob Weir’s band “Ratdog” lives in Seth Kline’s house at the corner of Embarcadero and Arroyo.

 

Big Skin, Audrey and Open Mics; 50th Anniversary of the Grateful Dead (2000-2015)

2000 – Cory Lerois leaves Stinson Beach; David Jenkins keeps his Stinson residence, but also maintains a house in Nashville, TN.

2001 – Martin Fierro (sax player for Jerry Garcia band) performs at the Stinson Beach Grill.

2002/2003 – The band “Big Skin” is formed by Chris Saunders, Gary Knowlton, Rick Cole and ultimately Jon Francis on stand-up bass. They begin playing at the Parkside and Stinson Beach Bar & Grill. Peter Allen occasionally sat in on banjo and trombone.

October 2002 – The first jam party is hosted by new resident Peter Asmus (book author and lead guitarist of Sacramento-based band “Space Debris”) at “The Compound,” formerly a residential motel, at the corner of Highway 1 and Arenal Blvd. Among the guest musicians showing up are Pete Harris, guitarist for the Jerry Garcia Band (JGB) and the keyboardist for Buffalo Roam. Space Debris had recently received national radio airplay for their version of the Grateful Dead song “Dark Star” and was recording two new CD’s: “It’s Not Rocket Science” and “Under the Radar.”

2003 – The Parkside Cafe begins a regular Tuesday “Open Mic” along with its lower cost special food specials menu, which eventually evolves to all of the spaghetti, soup and salad you can eat for ~$10. Tony Lewis, who loved to cover Neil Young songs, is the lead organizer. The event becomes a major happening as musicians from throughout the Bay Area show up, with jams often lasting beyond 9 pm. Things get out of control and it is shut down ~2006.

August 2003-March 2009 - Robin Grean moves to Stinson Beach. Her musical credits include: (1971) On Broadway, original cast Jesus Christ Superstar; (1973-75) On Broadway & tours with Bette Middler; (1978) On Broadway in Platinum; (1974) & (1979-81) Touring with Barry Manilow; (1982) Toured with On Broadway show Annie.

October 2003 – Singer/songwriter Audrey Auld moves to Stinson Beach, living ultimately in two locations on Belvedere and one house on Calle del Ribera. She lives in Stinson until 2007.

2004 – Audrey Auld plays here first show at The Chapel adjacent to the SBCC, also playing shows at private house parties, often teaming up with national known guitarist Nina Gerber.  As a newcomer, she writes the song “Ghosts,” as she was struck by how the closeness of the community was impacted by the deaths of many of its members of an aging population.

February 2006 – Space Debris, led by Stinson resident Peter Asmus, performs a set of music at “Stinson Solar Sunday,” at the SBCC, an event which draws both TV and radio coverage and raises seed money for a solar PV system for SBCC. A local resident and philanthropist is so moved by the success of the event that she donates not only $10,000 in funds for solar PV at SBCC, but also equal amounts for community centers in Bolinas and Point Reyes Station.

2007 – Open Mic migrates from Parkside to outdoor stage at “Shakespeare at the Beach.” Actor Peter Coyote of Mill Valley makes an appearance.

2007 – Open Mic moves again to the Stinson Beach Community Center. It lasts about one year until excessive drinking shuts it down.

Summer 2008 – The last music jam party featuring members of Space Debris and other special guests takes place at The Compound. Among the special guests is Bruce Barlow, former bass player for Commander Cody and John Prine, and his wife Pam Barlow, whose heavy metal songs were major hits overseas.  

2010 – Open Mic starts up again at the Parkside, with piano player Jeff Castro serving as the host, and with Michael Knowlton as a steady performer. Among the main regular acts is Rosie Paradise of Stinson Beach, a children performer on keyboards.

February 2012 – John McIntire, who managed the Grateful Dead from 1970-1974 and then from 1984-1990, passes away on Jose Patio. The Grateful Dead song “Uncle John’s Band” was written about him. Peter Asmus and KT Broomhead of KT’s Kitchen move into his house, where they still reside today.

2014 – Audrey Auld moves back to Stinson Beach and continues to perform locally, primarily at The Chapel and SBCC. She is diagnosed with cancer, and welcomes the support the community provides in terms of food, errands and compassion. She ends up writing a second song about Stinson Beach with Terry McArthur of Syndney, Australia entitled “My Town.”

2014 – Rose Paradise releases her CD “Pacific Blue.”

January 23-February 5, 2015 - Approximately 70,000 letters descend upon our tiny Stinson Beach Post Office in requests for tickets to the final Grateful Dead shows July 3-5 2015. The orders were processed by Francine Accardi of GDTS TOO and many others. Over 90% of requests were returned because of the lack of tickets available.

August 2015 – Audrey Auld passes away. She had intended to perform the song “My Town” at this event as a closing song. 

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