Musician/Artist/ Silk screener. Grew up in Buffalo, moved to LA in '96' and played with seminal punk band The Flesh Eaters (recorded as well as co-wrote some of the album 'Ashes of Time' (2000).Also worked with my band The Alphastares which disbanded when I moved to SF in 2004. I currently perform (bass/guitar/baritone guitar) with Andalusia Rose as well as my solo endeavors as "Alphastare'.
This was one of the many things going on celebrating the 50th anniversary of ‘The Summer of Love’ here in SF. If you saw my recent post on Susanne Ciani at the Berkeley Museum you might remember I shared a photo with some friends including V.Vale. from Re/Search Pubs. This post features him speaking in front of a photo taken by Jim Marshall during the summer of 1967. He is featured in the foreground of the photo and just the look on his face captures the awe and wonder of what it might have been like to arrive at that infamous corner of Haight and Ashbury at that time. While most of those people have moved on in life or have since passed, Val manages to still have that curiosity in life and culture/counterculture and remains in a perpetual state of awe and inquisitive-ness.
The first few minutes of this video is from part of the guided tour of the photos that line the hall in the basement of SF City Hall including a couple of bits of insight to what was happening in some of the pics, such as the story behind the Moby Grape album cover that was censored and how Otis Redding really stole the show at Monterey Pop. There were plenty of photos of The Dead and Jefferson Airplane as well as some great pics of various Hippies and Diggers and counter-culture icons like Ginsberg and Ken Kesey.
Val’s talk was mostly a deconstruction of the photo he was in which provided some really cool behind the scenes info about the original line up of Blue Cheer. Not a lot of people know that Val was a founding member let alone that Blue Cheer was originally a 6 piece (that was news to me too). They just happened to be on the way to Golden Gate Park for a proper band shoot when this was captured.
Enjoy this first hand account of the Summer of Love SF by someone who was there:
SFAC also has a show up called Tiny Bubbles a group show that Val also has a bunch of photos in which is up until August 19th.
Hi there…it’s Wendy here this time. Things have been a bit quiet on the public front of the Andalusia Rose camp, but lots is happening behind the scenes. The past few months have been monopolized by a big move for me from Oakland to Morongo Valley, just outside of Joshua Tree. I’m loving the desert life, full of coyotes, rabbits, roadrunners, spiders and some recent owl sightings! The simple things. The quiet and the dark have been quite inspiring for me, to say the least.
There is a rich artistic and musical community here, and I’m looking forward to deepening my roots in that. I recently attended the Desert Generator Festival at Pappy & Harriets, a 5-band show featuring Earthless, Brant Bjork, Orchid, The Shrine, and Black Rainbows, along with the Rolling Heavy custom van show. We mingled with the stars, including Brant Bjork and Riding Easy Records honcho Daniel…
Just the other day I was talking with my wife about certain aspects of the old music scene we experienced in our youth (circa late 80’s-early 90’s) she on the West Coast (LA area) and me in Buffalo in the heart of the East Coast Hardcore scene. Growing up in LA she got to experience some of the best years of the LA punk scene as it was then and I also got to catch some of the tail end of the early HC scene on the East Coast just as it was becoming overrun with jocks and squares curious about all the energy and noise and tattoos and the punks with the funny colored hair etc. I came across this cd at work the other day and it just illustrates the time perfectly (1993) 2 years after The Year that Punk Broke
This was from a Biohazard cd and it was one of the bands we had just been talking about. I remember when every show I went to after a certain period was dominated by these line-ups of aggro, testosterone driven muscle guys with guitars. I was 18-19 at the time and it was glaringly obvious that there was very little room for girls in this scene and that was a drag. The Riot Girl movement was underway by then but that was also an aggro and exclusive sort of subscene that didn’t fully encompass or embrace all women in indy/punk or the Hardcore movement unless they were openly a part of it. Spitboy were a perfect example of this.
Anyway, I remember being pretty disillusioned around this time about all of it, by 1993 I had pretty much stopped going to shows for fear of being beat up by Nazi’s who by then had infltrated much of the scene and mostly went to shows to start shit. A while before this time I started sneaking into the 21 and over ‘New Wave and Goth-Industrial’ club and experiencing different more interesting music and a much more gender balanced world where I could meet and socialize with girls for once! This was also a more mature scene without all of the BS of the all ages shows. The shock value of the punk stuff by then had worn out and the homogenization of alternative ‘culture’ had begun, so to get into bands with names like Christian Death and Alien Sex Fiend was quite appealing as it put off even the most outwardly ‘alternative’ people around at the time…
I remember one day driving around with a good friend when he popped in a mixtape, one of the things we loved most was driving around listening to cleverly curated tapes made from our recent record purchases. At some point he goes ‘check this out’ and 50 Ft Queenie comes on the car stereo and in my mind put a stake in the heart of the male dominated alternative music world as it was in 93′. It was fast and aggressive and lo-fi but still somehow feminine and sexy and if it wasn’t on Island would have been an indie staple. Either way, for a track like that to make it above ground added much needed color to the sterile post-Nirvanabe era of music saturating the college radio stations at the time. It was, for me, a much needed salve for the previous few years of my disappointment in the scene. PJ was weird and interesting and wrote short catchy songs with odd arrangements that stuck in your head, she was embraced by a wide array of people, even if it took some time.
24 years after initially hearing that song I finally got to see her live with my wife. Her set was mostly new material which I haven’t fully explored yet, so it was pleasant but unfamiliar. She had a very full band including Mick Harvey (The Bad Seeds) 2 drummers and there was quite a bit of instrument switching as everyone up there was a multi-instrumentalist of some sort. The sound at The newly remodeled Masonic in SF was excellent and we were in the balcony as opposed to the floor which was where we saw Diamanda Galas from a few weeks prior (she also sounded great!). We enjoyed the new stuff but she really made it worth it by playing ’50 Ft. Queenie’ ‘To Bring You My Love’ and my wife’s fave “Down By the Water”.
In my post covering this recent set of mine, the video I shot is missing the last 7-8 minutes. Matt who puts on the event had a camera set up as well and he captured the set in it’s entirety. The footage is of a much better quality as well, enjoy!