WHISKY A-GO-GO SHOW LIST 1966-1970
Latest Update: June 9, 2011
Copyright © 2004-2011 Ross Hannan and Corry Arnold. All Rights Reserved.
Whisky-A-Go-Go Show List 1971-1975
The Whisky A Go-Go, 8901 Sunset Blvd at Clark, West Hollywood, CA
The Whisky A-Go-Go became the principal hangout of Sunset Strip musicians and hipsters in the 1960s - and it was hip enough for Dustin Hoffman's character Benjamin to be seen running out of The Whisky in the 1967 film The Graduate. Johnny Rivers was the first sensation to come out of the club, soon after it opened (on January 11, 1964), and that is when the club initially started the whole ‘trend’ of having a mini-skirted girl dancing above the crowd in a cage. Somehow, the Whisky became the cool place for bands to play.
The Whisky always had two or three bands playing, but they were not always billed. Often the unbilled bands were simply local bands, but it being Hollywood and all, sometimes unbilled local groups acting as the house band went on to become hugely famous. Bands all apparently got union scale, regardless of their status. At times, the billed bands couldn’t make it, and another band was substituted. While this is common in nightclubs, what was uncommon about the Whisky was that the band substituting could be just as good or better, and possibly even better-known, than the band it was replacing. These listings are generally from advertisements, and at times they overlap or conflict with other performances by these groups. It was not uncommon for a group to be booked for a week at the Whisky and then to skip a night for a larger gig. It appears that the Whisky was open six or seven nights a week, with local groups playing when no one well known was billed.
I have included some notes about the specific line ups of each group at the time they played, and some interesting remarks about some of the lesser known groups, but I have not attempted to relay every fact about every group, particularly with respect to recordings. I have assumed that anyone interested in this sort of list does not need a primer on Janis Joplin or Led Zeppelin.
Thanks to everyone who contributed and commented on this list. Most especially, the detail and accuracy of this list would not be possible without the formidable contributions by Jerry Fuentes and Mark Skobac (and a shout out to John Einarson, David Biasotti, Nick Warburton, Brian Williams and of course Ross Hannan). This list represents the best of my knowledge at this time. All additions, corrections and insights gratefully received.
Chapel Hill, NC June 2009
January 16-28, 1966: The Rascals, The Enemys (Jan 21 thru 28 only)
The Whisky had been closed for renovation from January 1, but reopened on January 13 with The Rascals.
The Rascals (aka The Young Rascals) were a slick, musical New York band who seamlessly remade themselves into a jamming Fillmore type band. The Rascals remake of Good Lovin' (originally recorded by LA’s The Olympics) was on its way to a national #1 at the time. The Enemys were just one of the many bands that recorded and released a version of Hey Joe (this time on MGM). They were produced by Danny Hutton and the arrangement provided by Cory Wells who would later join Hutton in Three Dog Night.
February 4-20, 1966: Paul Butterfield Blues Band, The Leaves
The Butterfield Blues Band
was America’s premier white blues band. The twin guitar attack of Mike
Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop established the blueprint for every multi-guitar
band in the sixties and seventies. The group’s groundbreaking debut album on
Elektra was released in October 1965.
The Grass Roots may have played some of the next two weeks with Butterfield as well, according to Mark Naftalin’s comments in the Mike Bloomfield biography If You Love These Blues (Miller Freeman Books 2000). A version of the Butterfield Blues Band’s epic East-West, recorded during this period at the Whisky, was included on the group’s East West Live CD (Winner 1996).
Butterfield was scheduled for one week and (per an LA Times note from Feb 13, 1966 discovered by Mark Skobac) held over for an extra week.
The Leaves, originally from the San Fernando Valley, had had a hit with Hey Joe (played live by every Hollywood group).
The Plymouth Rockers, who released a 45 produced by David Gates on Warner Brothers and a couple of 45s on Valient, also played at the Whisky during February.
February 22-March 10: 1966 Love, The Leaves
Love, featuring guitarist and singer Arthur Lee, had been the hippest group in Hollywood for some time. Love may not have played until Friday, February 25.
The Leaves were held over from the Butterfield run (per the Feb 20 LA Times), so they definitely played throughout the week.
March 1-17, 1966: Grass Roots, Hardtimes
The Grass Roots’ initial records were concocted in the studios by performer-producers P.F. Sloan and Phil Barri. A Bay Area band called The Bedouins had been drafted to be the “live” Grass Roots, but other than some vocals by singer Bill Fulton, the touring line-up had almost nothing to do with the first Grass Roots album (featuring the hit Where Were You When I Needed You).
Hardtimes were a San Diego group getting their first taste of LA. They released a number of singles, including a cover of Fortune Teller, in 1966 and 1967 before entering the studio to record their one and only album Blew Mind. They would evolve in to LA band TIME (Trust In Men Everywhere).
March 18-24, 1966: Beau Brummels, Grass Roots
The Beau Brummels were a San Francisco group, but they preceded the whole Fillmore scene. They had a hit in 1964 with Laugh, Laugh.
April 1-7, 1966 Otis Redding
Rhino released an Otis Redding album recorded at The Whisky in 1966, and it is likely the performances were from this week. Bob Dylan apparently attended one of these shows, and proposed writing a song for Otis (reputedly Just Like A Woman).
April 28-May 8, 1966 The Gentrys
Ross Hannan found a newspaper ad advertising this engagement (which also featured Andy Warhol’s Plastic Inevitable at The Trip). Presumably the Gentrys also played on the nights below when other bands played, but I am uncertain who those bands might have been.
May 3, 1966 Grass Roots, Buffalo Springfield
The Buffalo Springfield had only been performing in public for a few weeks at this point.
May 9, 1966 The Doors (audition)
The Doors, then playing other, lesser clubs in Hollywood, have a successful audition and by June they become the “house” band for the next few months, playing every night regardless of whether other acts are booked.
May 11-22, 1966 Johnny Rivers, Buffalo Springfield
May 23-27, 1966 Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band, Buffalo Springfield, The Doors
Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band were from the High Desert area around Lancaster, and were known as the heaviest blues band in Southern California.
May 28-June 1, 1966 Love, Buffalo Springfield, The Doors
The Van Morrison list has Them starting a residency on May 30, with Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band opening, sometimes with Frank Zappa sitting in with Them and The Magic Band. Them had June 1, 1966 (Wednesday) off, so Love perhaps headlined that date.
In general, local bands (famous or not) often played somewhat different dates than were advertised, depending on other commitments. The Whisky was a hang-out, and at this period people under 21 were still allowed in, and in any case the club only played Union scale wages, so a major act could skip a night of a bill with little consequence, as long as they stayed in the good graces of owner Elmer Valentine.
June 2-18, 1966 Them, The Doors
Strange as it may seem today, Van Morrison’s moody but dynamic performances as the lead singer of Them were a significant influence on Jim Morrison’s Lizard King persona as lead singer of the Doors.
Springfield and The Association were probably second billed in the subsequent
weeks, along with The Leaves and The Grass Roots. During this month, Them, The
Doors, Buffalo Springfield are all regular performers almost every night,
although the other groups named appear as well. On the last day, Them and The
Doors play together for the last set, including a 25 minute In
Hour and a 20-minute
Typically the Whisky booked 3 groups at this time, although they did not always advertise all of them. Every band performed at least two sets. On Saturdays and Sundays, all groups typically played a 4:00 pm all ages show, allowing in under 18-patrons.
June 22-July 10, 1966 Gene
Clark and The Group, The Locos, The Doors
Gene Clark had left The Byrds in March 1966 due to his fear of flying. This was a rare performance by Gene and his band The Group, featuring Bill Rinehart (ex-Leaves) on lead guitar, Chip Douglas (ex-Modern Folk Quartet, soon-to-be Monkees producer) on bass and drummer Joel Larson (ex-the ‘original’ Bay Area Grass Roots).
July 16-23, 1966 The Turtles, First Review, The Doors
The Turtles, from nearby Westchester, are now dismissed as a trivial pop band (with lead singers Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan colluding with Frank Zappa to trivialize their history), but in fact the group were first-class musicians who played excellent contemporary folk-rock. Irrelevant Trivia: Ross’s daughters (Jessica and Elinor) had goldfish when they were children. The fish were called Mark and Howard after Volman and Kaylan. They eventually escaped (the fish not the children) to be replaced by Gomez and Lurch.
July 27, 1966 Johnny Rivers, Chambers Brothers, The Doors
The Chambers Brothers had been part of the Los Angeles folk scene at the Ash Grove, but the multi-talented group had since moved to Cambridge, MA and had remade themselves as a sort of psychedelic soul outfit. The initial single of Time Has Come Today was recorded around this time, although the longer, more famous version was not recorded until 1967.
August 1-4, 1966 Johnny Rivers, Chambers Brothers, The Doors
August 7-9, 1966 Johnny Rivers, Chambers Brothers, The Doors
August 10, 1966 The Doors, (possibly) Love
Elektra’s Jac Holzman sees The Doors this night. It’s not clear who else was on the bill, but Jerry Fuentes thinks it was Love.
August 11-21, 1966 Love, The Doors
On August 21, The Doors are fired one night when Morrison misses the first show entirely (not for the first time) and although the band drags him back from his hotel he is not really in a state to perform. His obscene rant on The End causes club owner Elmer Valentine to fire the band, who by this time has already signed with Elektra.
August 24-28, 1966 Jefferson Airplane
Although the Jefferson Airplane were regular headliners at The Fillmore in San Francisco, that did not yet have any significance outside of San Francisco. Jeff Tamarkin describes the measured indifference of Los Angeles to the new San Francisco sound in his book Got A Revolution. The Airplane had released a few singles that were modest hits in San Francisco, and the release of their first RCA album (Jefferson Airplane Takes Off) was imminent.
Signe Andersen was still the singer, but she was pregnant and wanted to leave the group. New drummer Spencer Dryden (who had joined in June) had previously been in the Los Angeles group The Ashes.
August 27-28, 1966 The Turtles
The Beatles were staying in the Hollywood Hills, and some members of The Turtles attended a party after their gigs at The Whisky, which is how this date is known. It seems plausible that the Turtles played the whole week (perhaps Whisky management wanted a band more predictable than Jim Morrison), but I have never seen an ad. There is no reason not to assume that the Turtles and The Jefferson Airplane (above) were on the bill together.
September 1-11, 1966 The Byrds, Daily Flash, The Counts Four
Gene Clark, who had left the Byrds earlier in the year due to his fear of flying, was making an effort to rejoin the group, which only lasted for a few weeks. For most or all of these shows, David Crosby was sick, so Clark effectively took Crosby’s place. According to Chris Hjort’s definitive Byrds chronology, for three nights (September 8-10) The Byrds hired Fillmore light show man Tony Martin.
The Daily Flash were Seattle’s finest psychedelic export. Together since 1965, they played Beatles songs with great harmonies and modern jazz standards with extended electric improvisations. They had relocated to Los Angeles in Summer 66 (stopping off to headline at The Avalon on the way). They were managed by Buffalo Springfield’s managers (which is how lead guitarist Doug Hastings ended up replacing Neil Young for six weeks in 1967).
The Daily Flash broke up in early 1968, leaving behind just two obscure singles. In 1984, however, a compilation LP (of sorts) called I Flash Daily was released, giving a good whiff of the band’s powers. A live version of Queen Jane Approximately was included on the album, supposedly from this date at The Whisky, but I cannot confirm that. In an interview many years later, bassist Steve Lalor said the group rarely played the Whisky, claiming that bands had to “pay to play”.
The Counts Four (whom I know of only from Hjort’s book) played at least some nights.
September 14-24, 1966 Chambers Brothers, Hardtimes
September 27-October 2, 1966 The Mothers
The Mothers have played many other clubs in Hollywood, and had already headlined the Fillmore. Freak Out had been released in June 1966. Locally, the group had always been known as The Mothers, and their nervous record company made them “The Mothers of Invention”.
October 5-15, 1966 Beau Brummels, Daily Flash
October 19-30, 1966 Love, Sons of Adam
There was also an additional act for the ‘All-Ages’ show on Oct 30 (the poster is unreadable).
The Sons of Adam were a legendary Hollywood band featuring guitarist Randy Holden.
October 22, 1966 Buffalo Springfield, Sons of Adam
Buffalo Springfield substituted for Love on this date, and Jim Fielder played bass for an indisposed Bruce Palmer. Buffalo Springfield biographer John Einarson has photos of Fielder playing this show. Fielder would briefly end up as a member of the Springfield (from March to May 1967).
November 1966 UFO
UFO performed for two days according to TeenSet magazine (likely opening for another group).
November 1966 Mandala, Fever Tree
Mandala were a soul-rock band from Toronto that are enthusiastically remembered by their fans. While they wore gangsterish suits and had a James Brown-style soul show, their music was jazzy and progressive, and they used strobe lights for effect; the net effect overwhelmed the audience. Various testimonials from Los Angelenos who saw Mandala at The Whisky suggest they blew away everything in their path (indeed, they apparently drew 1400 people to The Hullabaloo soon after this).
Mandala were very much a “should-have-been” band. They did release a well regarded if profoundly obscure 1968 album on Atlantic (Soul Crusade). Organist Joseph Chirowski left in mid-1967 and ultimately ended up in the group Crowbar, while guitarist Domenic Troiano had the unenviable task of replacing Joe Walsh in the James Gang. Drummer Whitey Glan was an anchor of Lou Reed’s Rock and Roll Animal band, among many other gigs.
Fever Tree were a Houston, Texas group who would much later have a hit with San Francisco Girls, leading to the notion that they were a Bay Area band. In fact, the song was written by their Texan managers, who were considerably older than them.
November 1966 Sir Douglas Quintet, The Sparrow (one week)
Both of these groups had been transplanted to the Bay Area. The Sir Douglas Quintet had escaped Texas due to a pot bust and were based in San Francisco, while The Sparrow had felt stifled by being a cover band in Toronto, and were on their way to San Francisco, where they would end up starving in Sausalito. The Sparrow would subsequently return to Los Angeles and reformulate themselves as Steppenwolf.
November 11, 1966 Daily Flash
Throughout the Fall of 1966, larger and larger numbers of Southern California teenagers drive into Hollywood to hang out on the Sunset Strip. The Strip is the height of cool, and in any case there isn’t that much else to do. The police start aggressively enforcing curfews and other laws, and the teenagers do not respond well to authority. This culminates on the night of Saturday, November 12, 1966 when there is a sort of riot resulting from the police trying to close a club called Pandora’s Box. This event was the inspiration for the Stephen Stills-penned Buffalo Springfield hit “For What Its Worth”, released in January 1967. Ironically, the Springfield were in San Francisco, playing the Fillmore on the night of November 12, but the song is no less telling for that.
The Sunset Strip ‘riots’ were also the inspiration for the 1967 teensploitation movie Riot On Sunset Strip. Given that the movie has a budget of about 11 dollars, it isn’t as bad as you might expect. While the movie is hardly documentary realism—or even convincing—it does give a long-gone snapshot of some of the fashions of the time, and a great Chocolate Watch Band lipsynch.
I do not know who was scheduled at the Whisky the night of the Pandora’s Box riot, although it may have been Seattle’s Daily Flash, who were definitely billed the night before. While excessive unarmed teenage congregation seems comical now, Los Angeles had suffered through the very destructive Watts Riots of August 1965, and the police preferred an aggressive stance.
November 19-20, 1966 The Turtles
November 21-26, 1966 Buffalo Springfield, The Poor
The Poor, from Colorado, featured future Eagle bassist Randy Meisner. Tom Shipley and Mike Brewer provided sogwriting services for the band.
December 1-11, 1966 Jefferson Airplane, Peanut Butter Conspiracy
There is some confusion about the exact dates of the Airplane’s run at the Whisky. Bookings at the Whisky were often subject to change, so it is not surprising that different flyers exist. The last word (so far) comes from Mark Skobac, who found a reference in the November 25 LA Times that says the Airplane’s 11 day run would begin on Thursday December 1.
The Peanut Butter Conspiracy were similar to the Airplane, with harmonies and a female singer. Airplane drummer Spencer Dryden had been in the group when they were called The Ashes.
December 13-18, 1966 The Outsiders
Presumably this is the group from Cleveland who had the classic hit Time Won’t Let Me.
December 18, 1966 Leaves, Iron Butterfly
The Iron Butterfly had relocated from San Diego in the summer and were regulars on The Strip at this point. Iron Butterfly played numerous gigs at the Whisky in November and December 1966 (possibly as many as 36)
December 21-22, 1966 Buffalo Springfield
December 23-31, 1966 The Turtles, Iron Butterfly
January 1-2, 1967 Peanut Butter Conspiracy
January 6-7, 1967 Love
Christopher Hjort, in his detailed chronology of The Byrds (So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star: Jawbone Books, 2009), quotes a UPI report that as a result of City Council pressure on permits (as an outgrowth of the Pandora’s Box “riots”), The Whisky returns to an over-21 policy starting in mid-January. Other competing clubs on the Strip were either closed altogether (It’s Boss, formerly Ciro’s, lost its dance permit) or no longer allowed teenagers (The Trip was now the Latin-flavored New Crescendo, and The Galaxy also excluded teens).
According to Jerry Fuentes’ exceptional research, the Whisky switches from a rock and roll booking policy to a “Motown” - i.e. Soul - entertainment roster. The thinking was that Soul acts would bring in a more adult crowd who were less likely to be unruly. I would be fascinated to learn if other clubs changed their booking policies, and how much influence the police or other non-musical entities had in influencing the Whisky in this respect.
January 12-22, 1967 Smokey Robinson and The Miracles
January 26-February 5, 1967 Jimmy Castor, Young-Holt Trio
Jimmy Castor had been a professional R&B singer since he was a Harlem teenager in the 50s. In the early 1970s he had a hit with Troglodyte.
Eldee Young and Red Holt had been the bassist and drummer in the very popular Ramsey Lewis Trio. At this time, having left Lewis, they recorded instrumental music, which is today widely regarded for some very funky grooves.
February 9-19, 1967 The Elgins, The Olympics
The Olympics were a classic Los Angeles R&B group, who did (among many songs) the original Good Lovin’.
February 23-March 4, 1967 Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker
March 8-16, 1967 Anthony & The Imperials
March 17-19, 1967 Anthony & The Imperials, Peaches & Herb
March 21-26, 1967 Hugh Masakela, Stu Gardner Trio
Hugh Masakela was a South African jazz trumpeter and vocalist who had a surprise hit with Grazing In The Grass (although the Friends Of Distinction version, with vocals, is better known). He would appear bat the Monterey International Pop Festival.
March 29-April 9, 1967 The Temptations, Brenda Holloway
March 13-23, 1967 Gladys Knight & The Pips
April 25-30, 1967 Hugh Masakela
May 5-14, 1967 Martha & The Vandellas
May 16-21, 1967 The Doors, The Byrds
Two of the most famous bands to graduate from the Whisky herald the return of rock to the club. According to Chris Hjort’s chronology, due to an illness to Jim McGuinn, the Byrds do not play on the first night (May 16), and possibly not the next night either.
May 28-June 4, 1967 4 Tops
June 11-24, 1967 The Impressions
The guitarist and principal songwriter of The Impressions was Curtis Mayfield.
June 26-July 4, 1967 Sam & Dave
Sam & Dave are initially booked through July 7, but appear to be replaced by Mitch Ryder and Eric Burdon.
July 2, 1967 Jimi Hendrix Experience
The Experience played a surprise guest set at the Sam & Dave show.
July 5, 1967 Mitch Ryder Revue
This was probably at the very end for the fondly remembered initial iteration of Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels, with Jim McCarty on guitar.
July 6-8, 1967 Eric Burdon and The Animals
Eric Burdon had a new, psychedelic Animals and was doing songs like “San Franciscan Nights”. Despite Burdon’s occasional histrionics, all the evidence suggests that they were an excellent live band. Research by Mark Skobac suggests that the Animals only played through the 8th (Saturday).
July 13, 1967 Buffalo
By some accounts, The Byrds apparently were billed all week, but McGuinn fell sick this night and the Springfield fill in. Jerry Fuentes thinks this event may actually refer to the Byrds dates in May, not a date in July. This is indirectly confirmed by Chris Hjort, whose definitive Byrds chronology does not mention July Whisky dates.
July 14-19, 1967 The Paupers, Youngbloods
The Paupers were a popular but erratic Toronto band with great promise which they never lived up to. Nick Warburton says that a member of the Paupers remembers playing one weekend with the Youngbloods and the next with Johnny Rivers.
The Youngbloods were a quartet from Cambridge, MA. Their first album had been released on RCA in February, although lead singer Jesse Colin Young had had two solo albums before that. The Youngbloods enjoyed the West Coast so much on this summer tour they relocated to Marin County in September, 1967.
Marc Skobac found an LA Times article that indicated the Paupers were playing from at least the 14th to the 19th (Friday through Wednesday), but its not clear whether there were more dates, nor how many dates the Youngbloods appeared with them.
July 21-22, 1967 Johnny Rivers, The Paupers
A mid-July advertisement has Johnny Rivers and The Sunshine Company are both listed in ads as ‘coming soon,’ implying late July shows. Based on the comment from the Paupers I am assuming that The Paupers also played this weekend.
July 23-30, 1967 Johnny Rivers, The Paupers, 5th Dimension
Mark Skobac found an LA Times Review (from July 24) for Johnny Rivers and The Fifth Dimension, and the review says the bill will play through the 30th. So it appears that Rivers played through two weekends, with The Paupers opening initially, and the 5th Dimension playing for the second week. This is hard to be certain about—Johnny Rivers, the 5th Dimension and The Paupers all seemed to have played (and possibly the Sunshine Company also) these two weekends, but the exact configuration is uncertain.
August 1-8, 1967 Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
August 14-17, 1967 Kaleidoscope, Sunshine Company
The Peanut Butter Conspiracy may have originally been booked for some of these days.
The Kaleidoscope were a Los Angeles band featuring 4 multi-instrumentalists and a drummer. Decades ahead of their time, they invented “World Music” before such a term existed. They released 4 albums on Columbia, largely ignored by non-musicians. Jimmy Page, among many other fans, called Kaleidoscope his “ideal band”. The band’s first album Side Trips had been released in June 1967.
The Kaleidoscope’s membership at the time included David Lindley and future producer Chris Darrow. Their history was inordinately complicated by band members’ tendency to tell tall tales about themselves in press releases, liner notes and interviews, a habit the group continued long after the group broke up.
August 21-25, 1967 Moby Grape, Afro Blues Quintet
Moby Grape was one of the best groups to come out of San Francisco, but Columbia’s relentless hype made many fans suspicious, and the band never found its footing. This performance was a few months after the release of Moby Grape’s first album, which Columbia over-hyped by releasing 5 singles at once.
Peanut Butter Conspiracy was initially advertised for August 21-23, but Moby Grape appears to have replaced them.
Afro-Blues Quintet were a Berkeley jazz group featuring vibraphone player and flautist Ulysses S Crockett.
August 26-27, 1967 The Byrds, Things To Come
Things To Come was a famously obscure LA “acid-punk” outfit from Long Beach, featuring Russ Kunkel on drums and Bryan Garafolo on bass, both future LA session men. Things To Come had been the house band at club called The Marina Palace in Seal Beach. The Marina Palace was a forgotten psychedelic club near a Naval base.
August 28-30, 1967 Gene Clark, Things to Come
Gene Clark was making another effort at a solo career. For this rare performance, his backing band included the great Clarence White on lead guitar (a future Byrd) along with John York on bass (another future Byrd) and Eddie Hoh on drums.
August 31-September 3, 1967 The Byrds, Things to Come
September 4-6, 1967 Cream, Rich Kids
Cream, on their first American tour, had just come from two amazing weekends at the Fillmore, and would never play a venue this small again.
September 7-10, 1967 Electric Flag, Rich Kids
The Electric Flag was created by ex-Butterfield Blues Band guitarist Mike Bloomfield as a sort of all-purpose super group. It had many talented musicians and lots of promise, but never put it all together. These shows were among the earliest gigs of the band, right after being billed at the Fillmore with Cream the week before.
September 11-13, 1967 The Visions, Things to Come
I do not know if The Visions were the Mineral Wells, TX punk band.
September 14-24, 1967 Hugh Masakela, Stu Gardner Trio
September 25-27, 1967 Hugh Masakela, Vanilla Fudge, Lee Michaels
It’s possible (and even likely) that the Fudge and Lee Michaels stood in for Masakela. The Fudge, from Long Island, epitomized “heavy” rock, and Michaels, though considerably more talented, ultimately offered similar fare from the West Coast. Michaels had been in various surf bands in the early 1960s (such as The Sentinels) and then relocated to the Bay Area. He had reappeared as a singing organist, playing as a duo, with only a drummer.
September 28-October 8, 1967 Jackie Wilson, The Rainbows
October 9-12, 1967 The Byrds (cancelled)
The Byrds were booked, but did not play. Chris Hjort’s definitive chronology has them recording at Columbia Studios during this week.
David Biasotti (guitarist from the semi-legendary band Maxfield Parrish) does recall seeing The Byrds as a trio at the Whisky. The Byrds were in a trio configuration at this time (Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman, Michael Clarke) and did play a few gigs, so its likely that they played a gig at the Whisky sometime in October.
October 12-22, 1967 Spirit, Deana Martin and the Chromium Plated Streamlined Baby
Spirit, featuring guitarist Randy California, had recently signed to Ode Records. Chromium Plated Streamlined Baby were in fact Paul Grank's trio Head Over Heels renamed whilst they toured briefly with Dean Martin's daughter Deana and later with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.
October 23-24, 1967 Seven Souls
As evidenced by an LA Free Press ad, Pink Floyd had originally been scheduled to perform on these dates. The same ad lists the band as returning to the Whisky on October 31, and November 1 & 2 (a fragile Syd at the Whisky on Halloween 1967 - there’s a thought). Whilst the 1967 Pink Floyd tour of the west coast was to be their first to the United States, it was blighted with a number of problems, not least the visa problems that led to three shows being cancelled at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco (October 30, November 2 and November 3). They eventually made their US debut on November 4 at Winterland (performing with Big Brother & The Holding Company and Richie havens). All five of the proposed shows at the Whisky-A-G-Go had been cancelled, for reasons unknown, some time before the band had even left the UK.
October 25-29, 1967 Eric Burdon & Animals, Spirit
November 2-12, 1967 Bo Diddley, Jimmy Smith
November 15-19, 1967 The Youngbloods, Things to Come
November 22-26, 1967 Procol Harum
Procol Harum, named after producer Gus Dudgeon’s cat, had already had a big hit with Whiter Shade of Pale. The English group was on the tail end of their first American tour, behind their hit single Whiter Shade of Pale. The touring group was the “classic” Procol line-up with Gary Brooker (vocals and piano), Mathew Fisher (organ), Robin Trower (guitar), David Knights (bass) and BJ Wilson (drums). However, the line-up that had recorded the single was a little-known temporary line-up with just Brooker and Fisher.
November 30-December 3,
1967 Five Americans, Hour Glass
The Hour Glass featured Duane and Gregg Allman, then resident in Los Angeles, living in the “Dirt House” with The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Steve Martin. The Five Americans were a Beatles wannabe group from Texas and had a hit with Western Union.
December 5-10, 1967 Them, Blue Cheer
Them no longer featured Van Morrison on vocals, although they performed his material.
Blue Cheer were the loudest and hardest of San Francisco bands, very different from almost anything else coming out of the Bay Area. Blue Cheer actually played a benefit concert at the Santa Monica Civic on December 9 (Saturday night). It was common for bands billed at the Whisky to open a show somewhere else in LA and then go back to the Whisky to play later sets. Them was not billed on December 5 (Tuesday night).
December 10, 1967 The Byrds
An ad in the Southern California Oracle shows The Byrds playing on December 10, but the same ad lists Them and Blue Cheer from the 6th to the 11th. Perhaps the Byrds made a special appearance along with the other groups on December 10.
December 11-13, 1967 Topanga Canyon
The Sweetwater, Steppenwolf bill seems more likely (below), given the firm memories of members of Sweetwater. Possibly Topanga Canyon, who are unknown to me, played as well. It is possible Topanga Canyon that may have some involvement with the Leaves producer Norman Ratner, who bought out an album (Crimson and Clover) of LA covers (Byrds, Doors etc.) by the Topanga Canyon Orchestra.
December 11-14, 1967 Sweetwater, Steppenwolf
According to the Sweetwater timeline in Ugly Things #24, newly formed San Fernando Valley band Sweetwater were booked with the equally unknown Steppenwolf. Sweetwater played really well, and ended up being held over to open for Big Brother the next weekend.
The Sparrow had departed Sausalito for Los Angeles in mid-1967 and broken up. They soon reformed (with a few personnel changes) as Steppenwolf. Steppenwolf appears to have been playing the club almost every night, according to the members of Sweetwater.
December 14-17, 1967 Big Brother and The Holding Company (December 15 and 16 only), Blood, Sweat & Tears, Sweetwater
An ad in the So Cal Oracle has Blood Sweat & Tears opening from the 12th to the 17th, and a different flyer has Sweetwater opening from the 14th to the 17th. This would have been the original line-up of Blood Sweat & Tears, featuring Al Kooper on vocals and keyboards (noted in a Free Press ad as “Al Cooper’s Blood Sweat & Tears”). The original band was jazzier and more restrained than the popular version which would follow.
Big Brother, breaking out nationally behind their Mainstream album, attracted all the record company reps, and the beneficiary was the newly-formed Sweetwater, who were signed immediately. Based on the Sweetwater timeline, Big Brother played on the 15th and 16th (Friday and Saturday). Sweetwater, a unique mixture of folk and jazz, would eventually play Woodstock, but when vocalist Nansi Nevins was injured in a car accident, the band broke up and was never able to capitalize on their early buzz.
The Byrds were booked from December 14-17, but cancelled to play the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach instead.
December 18-23, 1967 Moby Grape
There is some confusion about which days featured Big Brother and which featured Moby Grape. Jerry Fuentes’s research points to the way it is listed here.
December 25-27, 1967 Country Joe and The Fish, Procol Harum
Country Joe and The Fish were already a successful touring act on the west coast and beyond, and this would have been more of an “industry” gig.
December 28-30, 1967 Love
December 31, 1967 Johnny Rivers
January 1968 Hugh Masakela, Steppenwolf
The Steppenwolf timeline suggests they had been playing shows at the Whisky for some time before this, but did not have enough of a name to merit mention in ads.
January 13-?, 1968 Tim Hardin, Lil’ Brown & Africa
January 25-26, 1968 John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Steppenwolf
The Bluesbreakers featured teenage guitar sensation Mick Taylor, as well as a three-piece horn section.
February 1-4, 1968 Sunshine Company, Captain Beefheart
An odd pairing indeed. The Sunshine Company were a moderately successful harmony pop group. Captain Beefheart, once a regular performer at The Whisky, had moved his Magic Band from special to otherworldly. Live performances by this outfit were now rare, and certainly no one was really ready for the group.
Beefheart had just completed a brief European tour. Although it is difficult to be certain, the odds are that this was The Mirror Man, Strictly Personal line-up, with Jeff Cotton (Antennae Jimmy Semens) and Alex St. Claire on guitars, Jerry Handley on bass and John ‘Drumbo’ French on drums.
February 8-11, 1968 Youngbloods, October Country
October Country was a pop group featuring Michael Lloyd.
February 14, 1968 The Hollies
After the show, Stephen Stills and David Crosby escort Graham Nash around LA and hang out for the first time. By year’s end, Nash will leave the Hollies and join the pair in CSN.
February 15-18, 1968 The Nice
The Nice were an English trio featuring Keith Emerson on organ, Lee Jackson on bass and vocals and Brian Davison on drums. They were managed by Andrew Loog Oldham.
February 22-23, 1968 James Cotton Band, The Crumbs
February 24, 1968 Tim Buckley
February 28-March 3, 1968 Eric Burdon & The Animals, Eire Apparent
Eire Apparent was an Irish band, originally called People, that shared management with Eric Burdon and Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix produced Eire Apparent’s 1969 album on Buddha. Guitarist Henry McCullough, later in Grease Band and Wings, was a member of Eire Apparent for their American tour. However, he was busted in Vancouver in February and sent home, so he would not have played at the Whisky.
Legendary record producer Joe Boyd, in his excellent 2006 book White Bicycles, tells the story of how The People came to be signed by Mike Jefferys (Hendrix’s manager). Although it is impossible to do justice to the whole story, Boyd managed a legendary London venue called The UFO Club, and they had a 5:00 am audition slot, which The People had agreed to play for 5 pounds. When Jefferys found out that the 5 am band was Irish, he stayed the whole night just to hear them. The Byzantine agreement between American and British musicians union would have prevented Jefferys from bringing an additional English band on the Hendrix tour, but not an Irish one. As a result, the newly-named Eire Apparent went from sleeping in a milk van in order to play a gig for 5 pounds one month to opening for Hendrix in America the next.
March 7-9, 1968 Hour Glass, Sunshine Company
March 11-13, 1968 Blood, Sweat & Tears
The original line-up of Blood Sweat & Tears, featuring Al Kooper on vocals and keyboards was still intact.
March 14-17, 1968 Spirit, Evergreen Blueshoes
Spirit had released their first album on Ode Records in January.
Evergreeen Blueshoes featured bassist, vocalist Skip Battin, formerly of Skip & Flip and later in The Byrds, along with drummer Chet McCracken and guitarist Al Rosenberg. They later released an album produced by Kim Fowley.
March 21-24, 1968 H.P. Lovecraft, Colors
H.P. Lovecraft was Chicago’s first band for psychedelic export. The Colors were originally based in Chico (in Northern California) where they were a popular regional band called The Boy Blues.
March 28-31, 1968 Lemon Pipers
The Lemon Pipers were from Cincinnati, and were currently riding the charts with Green Tambourine.
April 4-6, 1968 James Cotton Band
April 7-11, 1968 Traffic
This was Traffic’s first American tour, and featured the trio line-up of Steve Winwood, Chris Wood and Jim Capaldi.
April 12, 1968 Spirit, The Collectors
April 13-14, 1968 Spencer Davis Group
After Steve Winwood left
the Spencer Davis Group in 1967 to form Traffic, Davis formed another line-up
with Eddie Hardin (keyboards, vocals) and Phil Sawyer (lead guitar). They were
alright, but never lived up to the initial line-up. Their current album was With
Their New Face On (United Artists).
April 18-21, 1968 Canned Heat, Smokestack Lightning
Canned Heat had just released their classic second album Boogie With Canned Heat on Liberty Records, the album that made them big stars. The single “On The Road Again” was probably rising up the charts. However, after a notorious bust in Denver in late 1967, their manager had to sell the future publishing rights to their songs to bail out the group, and Canned Heat earned relatively little from their success.
Nonetheless, Canned Heat was a formidable rhythm machine in their prime, and this was their classic line-up, with Bob Hite on vocals, Henry Vestine and Alan Wilson on guitar (with Wilson on harmonica and vocals as needed), Larry Taylor on bass and Fito Parra on drums.
Smokestack Lightning was a blues rock band that was popular locally.
April 25-28, 1968 Barry Goldberg Reunion, PG&E
Barry Goldberg, ex-Electric Flag, was now a solo artist for Buddha. PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric) was a blues-rock band in the Canned Heat vein.
May 2-5, 1968 Steppenwolf, Travel Agency
The Travel Agency was probably the group produced by Jamie Griffin (later of Bread) who released an album on Viva (Leon Russell’s label). It is likely that Glad (the Sacramento band previously known as The New Breed and later Redwing) provided support for at least one of these shows.
May 9-12, 1968 The Nazz, Red Beans and Rice
Although The Nazz was an early name for the Alice Cooper, they had changed their name by April. This was the Philadelphia Nazz, featuring Todd Rundgren on lead guitar. Their first album had just come out on SGC Records.
Red Beans and Rice were a jazz-rock band, but I know little else about them.
May 10-15, 1968 Electric Flag, It’s a Beautiful Day
Electric Flag was booked at The Cheetah in Santa Monica on the 10th and 11th, but played both venues on the same night. Chris Hjort reports that Eric Clapton dropped by The Whisky on May 10th to catch the Flag.
It’s A Beautiful Day had been in existence for sometime, but had only recently started performing regularly. This was probably one of their first shows outside the Bay Area. Although the band was performing the material that would become familiar on their first album, at this point, the band did not yet feature a guitarist.
May 16-19, 1968 It’s a Beautiful Day, Three Dog Night
Three Dog Night was formed by veterans of many local Hollywood bands. A contemporary ad in the LA Free Press calls them “Three Dog Knight”.
May 23-26, 1968 Mt. Rushmore, Rain
Mount Rushmore was a lesser-known band San Francisco, who later released albums on Dot. Rain are advertised as “Direct From England”, but otherwise I know nothing about them.
May 29-June 2, 1968 Spirit, Illinois Speed Press
The Illinois Speed Press were from Chicago, and featured guitarists Paul Cotton (later in Poco) and Kal David (later in the Fabulous Rhinestones). They moved to Los Angeles around this time, under the aegis of producer Jim Guercio (one-time Mother of Invention and later producer of Blood, Sweat & Tears). At the same time, their friends and rivals The Chicago Transit Authority did the same.
The United States of America (see September 8, 1968) were originally booked, but replaced by Spirit and ISP.
June 6-9, 1968 Hour Glass, Word Salad, Smokestack Lightnin’
Brian Williams, at the time a young agent for the bookers Agency for the Performing Arts recalls the June 9 show that Sunday night closing set saw Janis Joplin, Eric Burdon, Vic Briggs and a slew of other top shelf musicians setting in with Greg, Duane and Company - all at the same time.
June 13-16, 1968 Three Dog Night, Smokestack Lightning
June 19-23, 1968 Albert King, Evergreen Blue Shoes
June 24, 1968 Ten Years After, Alice Cooper
Ten Years After was on their first of 28 (count ‘em) American tours.
Alice Cooper, a band at this time and not a person, had relocated from Phoenix the previous year. Although they had a core of fans, their noisy hard rock and outrageous antics on stage made them notorious in Los Angeles and largely unpopular.
June 27-30, 1968 Sunshine Company
The Salvation were also booked to play but members of the “banned” were in Van Nuys jail helping the police with their enquiries after what was undoubtedly a misunderstanding of some type.
July 3-7, 1968 Tim Buckley, Illinois Speed Press
July 8-13, 1968 Taj Mahal, Tim Buckley
Taj Mahal had been a solo folk performer in Cambridge, MA in the early 1960s, and had relocated to Los Angeles by 1965. He formed a seminal, if largely unrecorded, blues-rock band with Ry Cooder called The Rising Sons. They broke up, and Taj reinvented himself as an electric bluesman. While Ry continued to play on Taj’s albums, guitarist Jesse Davis anchored the live band.
July 17-21, 1968 Canned Heat, Fraternity of Man
The Fraternity of Man, later to become infamous for Don’t Bogart That Joint, grew out of a Hollywood band called The Factory. Among other members were ex-Mother Elliot Ingber and future Little Feat drummer Ritchie Hayward.
July 22, 1968 Mothers of Invention, Alice Cooper
Jerry Fuentes research shows the Mothers gig as July 22nd, not the 23rd.
Alice Cooper was now signed to Zappa’s Straight label. The millions of albums that Cooper sold for Warner Brothers in the seventies justified the label’s indulgence of letting Zappa sign every weirdo in LA.
July 25-28, 1968 Siegal Schwall Blues Band, Travel Agency
Electric Flag drummer Buddy Miles sees one of the shows and asks Siegal Schwall guitarist Jim McCarty to join his forthcoming group (the Buddy Miles Express).
July 31-August 4, 1968 Charlie Musselwhite
August 7-11, 1968 Barry Goldberg Reunion, The Rockets
Former Buffalo Springfield guitarist Neil Young sits in during the Rockets sets and eventually takes them as his backing band, dubbing them Crazy Horse.
August 12-18, 1968 Taj Mahal, Youngbloods (15th thru 17th only)
Youngbloods lead guitarist Jerry Corbitt, nervous about flying, refused to get on the plane from San Francisco to Los Angeles for the August 15 show, and the Youngbloods played the gigs as a trio. This was not the first time the band had played as a trio, as Corbitt had been dissatisfied for a while, but it became permanent after this. Jesse Colin Young, at the time the bassist, subsequently switched to guitar.
August 21-25, 1968 Eric Burdon & Animals, A.B. Skhy
A.B. Skhy were from Milwaukee, where they had been known as The New Blues. They had since relocated to the Bay Area.
August 26-27, 1968 The Turtles
August 29-September 2, 1968 Love, Black Pearl
Arthur Lee had broken up the original Love, but continued to reconstitute the group with different line-ups.
Black Pearl featured the former members of the Boston group Moulty and The Barbarians. They had relocated to San Francisco, and now had 3 guitarists (and a two-handed drummer).
September 4-8, 1968 Albert King, Chicago Transit Authority
Love had been booked for this week, but ended up playing the week before.
The Chicago Transit Authority had been relocated to Los Angeles by their record company (CBS).
September 9-11, 1968 Spooky Tooth, Rhinoceros
Spooky Tooth were an English group featuring Gary Wright on organ and vocals, on their first American tour. Live performances in the documentary movie Groupie give a good idea of their sound at the time.
Rhinoceros was a group organized by Elektra Records and producer Paul Rothschild to be a super group of the best musicians in Los Angeles. They were actually a pretty good group, but similar to Moby Grape, the suspicion that they were inauthentic dogged their career.
September 12-15, 1968 Spooky Tooth, Kensington Market
Kensington Market were a Toronto band discovered in 1967 by musical entrepreneur Bernie Finkelstein. By the time of their Whisky show the band included Luke Gibson who had previously led another Toronto band, Luke And The Apostles (who had famously appeared for the one week run at the O’Keefe Centre with the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane when Bill Graham presented the San Francisco Sound in Toronto).
September 18-22, 1968
Buddy Miles Express
Jimi Hendrix, Eric Burdon and Graham Bond showed up to jam for the official debut of The Buddy Miles Express. Jim McCarty had probably not yet joined the group, so Hoshal Wright was likely the guitarist. The Buddy Miles Express had arisen when Miles had taken over what was left of the Electric Flag. Mike Bloomfield had left the Flag in June (replaced by Hoshal Wright) and when Nick Gravenites and Harvey Brooks left in July, Miles (who sang half the lead vocals anyway) took over the band. Organist Herbie Rich’s brother, Billy Rich, then playing in the Oakland R&B band The Whispers, took over bass duties.
An enduring curiosity about the original Buddy Miles Express, as a soul-rock band featuring 4 black musicians (Buddy Miles, Herbie Rich, Billy Rich and Buddy Rich) plus a horn section, is that the core of the group (Miles, the Riches and Wright) were all from Omaha, Nebraska.
September 25-28, 1968 United States of America, The Rockets
The United States of America were a unique enterprise driven by UCLA Musicology graduate student Joseph Byrd, and featuring as vocalist Dorothy Moskowitz (who played with Country Joe McDonald in the 70s). They released one album on Columbia and played a short East Coast tour. However, founder Joe Byrd left the group after some gigs in San Francisco at the Fillmore, so while Moskowitz was still in the group for the Whisky shows, Byrd had left. U.S. of A broke up, and Byrd went on to record the album American Metaphysical Circus as Joe Byrd and The Field Hippies.
October 2-6, 1968 Steve Miller Band, Chicago Transit Authority
Although the Steve Miller Band’s current album was the excellent Sailor, Boz Scaggs and organist Jim Peterman were on the verge of quitting at this point.
October 9-12, 1968 The Byrds, Blues Image
The new model Byrds debut at the Whisky, featuring Clarence White on lead guitar along with Roger McGuinn, John York on bass and Gene Parsons on drums. After a poor performance on one of these nights, McGuinn writes the song Bad Night At The Whisky.
The Blues Image were from Tampa, Florida by way of Miami. Tiring of Tampa, they had moved to Miami and helped open their own venue, the Thee Image in Miami, where they were the house band. In order to make it beyond Florida, artists like Eric Burdon and Frank Zappa (who had played with them at Thee Image) recommended the group move to Los Angeles or New York. The band moved to LA as a result.
Thee Image had two drummers, one of several groups in the sixties who independently traveled down this road. Blues Image had a 1970 hit with “Ride Captain Ride”, after guitarist Mike Pinera had joined Iron Butterfly in late 1969,
October 13-16, 1968 Illinois Speed Press, Initial Shock
Initial Shock was a Bay Area band who had formed in Montana, when some of its members were assigned to an Air Force base there.
October 17-20, 1968 Lee Michaels, Illinois Speed Press
October 23-27, 1968 Velvet Underground, Chicago Transit Authority
The Velvets, with Doug Yule now replacing John Cale, were recording in Los Angeles in between performances in California.
October 28-31, 1968 Three Dog Night, A.B. Skhy
October 31, 1968 Spirit
November 1-2, 1968 Blood, Sweat & Tears, Spirit
Al Kooper was now out of Blood, Sweat & Tears. David Clayton-Thomas, an experienced singer from Toronto, had taken over on vocals. Their best-selling second album, featuring hits like “Spinning Wheel” was not released until early 1969, so the band still did many of Kooper’s songs and arrangements from the first album.
November 3-10, 1968 Taj Mahal, Big Mama Mae Thornton
November 14-17, 1968 Velvet Underground, Cold Blood
Cold Blood was a popular Bay Area band managed by Bill Graham. They played a sort of jamming soul music, with a horn section and long solos.
November 20-24, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Black Pearl
Kaleidoscope, with future El-Rayo X front man David Lindley, had invented World Music some years before the world was ready for it. Jimmy Page considered this configuration of the group (with bassist Stuart Brotman and drummer Paul Lagos) them his favourite band ever, and may have gotten the idea of bowing his guitar with a violin bow from Lindley’s similar efforts in Kaleidoscope (along with that of an English guitarist named Eddie Philips).
November 27-December 1, 1968 Flying Burrito Brothers, Taj Mahal
Moby Grape is listed instead in some advertisements. It’s unknown who really played, although the locally based Burritos and Taj seem more likely.
This would have been one of the earliest performances of the Flying Burrito Brothers. While the early Burritos, led by Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman, are correctly regarded as foundational music for “country-rock”, they were notoriously sloppy in person, thanks mainly to Parsons erratic habits.
December 4-8, 1968 Buddy Miles Express, C.K. Strong
C.K. Strong featured lead singer Lynn Carey. Carey would later join a group called Mama Lion, with bassist Neil Merriweather. Carey was an attractive blonde, and a bluesy belter in the style of Janis Joplin. However, the album cover of the first Mama Lion album, featuring Carey with an actual Lion Cub, passed into legend for, shall we say, her non-vocal attributes.
December 12-15, 1968 Harvey Mandel, Pollution
Harvey Mandel was a well-regarded guitarist in San Francisco (and Chicago before that), who recorded for Mercury Records. Mandel would become better known as a member of Canned Heat and John Mayall’s groups, but he was already well known to other musicians.
Pollution was a powerful horn based band notable for the use of two two black soul singers - Dobie Gray and Tata Vega.
December 17-22, 1968 Terry Reid, Illinois Speed Press
Vocalist Terry Reid was invited to join Jimmy Page’s new group in 1968, but he passed, and instead recommended an unknown vocalist named Robert Plant. Plant’s group had opened for Reid’s group the night before. Reid was under contract to famed British producer Mickie Most (one of the reasons Reid turned down Page’s offer), and Most had high hopes for Reid. The talented Reid played guitar as well as sang, and his debut album was called Bang, Bang You’re Terry Reid, which was mostly cover versions.
The documentary movie Groupie has a good sample of Reid’s live trio at this time, with Pete Solley on organ.
December 26-29, 1968 Lee Michaels, Chicago Transit Authority
December 31, 1968 Johnny Rivers, Chicago Transit Authority
January 2-5, 1969 Led
Zeppelin, Alice Cooper
Led Zeppelin were on their first American tour. The first night at the Whisky was only the band’s fifth show in the United States. The first album had been recorded, but not released, so while Jimmy Page was remembered from the Yardbirds, the group was completely unknown.
According to Alice Cooper, the two unknown bands flipped a coin the first night to see who would go on first. Jimmy Page does not remember that specifically, but agreed that such decisions were often decided this casually between bands.
January 6-8, 1969 Buddy Miles Express, Alice Cooper
Led Zeppelin was replaced the last few days by Buddy Miles as a number of band members got the flu.
January 9-19, 1969 Tim Hardin, Illinois Speed Press
January 22-23, 1969 Lothar and The Hand People, Illinois Speed Press
Lothar and The Head People had been Denver’s hippest (and possibly only) psychedelic band in 1965-66, and had moved to New York in late 1966. Although they had played the Fillmore and elsewhere, they did not release an album until mid 1968. However, a contemporary ad suggests that Bob Seger System replaced Lothar and The Hand People.
January 24-26, 1969 Bob Seger, Illinois Speed Press
Bob Seger, already a veteran of the Detroit scene, released his first Columbia album Ramblin Gamblin Man in early 1969.
January 28-February 2, 1969 Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, Illinois Speed Press
Delaney and Bonnie had a band that regularly played The Topanga Corral and other outlying clubs. It mostly featured studio regulars like Jim Keltner, Jerry McGee and Carl Radle.
Linn County (from Cedar Rapids, IA via San Francisco) had originally been booked, but were replaced by Illinois Speed Press.
February 5-9, 1969 Van Morrison, Flying Burrito Brothers
Van Morrison’s band consisted only of himself on guitar, John Payne (flute and sax) and Tom Kielbania (bass).
February 11-15, 1969 The Crabs, Black Pearl
The Byrds were originally scheduled for February 11-15, and the show was advertised, but the Byrds cancelled.
The Crabs may have been the Bay Area band of the same name. An East Bay Band with a roots-rock sound (as it would be called today), they were popular locally but never recorded. Since Black Pearl was also a Bay Area band, it seems plausible they shared a bill in the event of the Byrds cancellation.
February 19-23, 1969 Linda Ronstadt, Alice Cooper
Blue Cheer was booked for these dates but cancelled.
February 26-March 2, 1969 It’s A Beautiful Day, Elephant’s Memory
Elephant’s Memory were a New York group with a reputedly wild stage show. Their first album had just been released on Buddha at this time.
March 3-4, 1969 Green
Green may have been the Dallas, TX group who had an album at this time on Atco.
March 5-9, 1969 Slim Harpo, Illinois Speed Press
March 12-16, 1969 Cold Blood, Glass Family
The Glass Family were a California trio whose Electric Band album contains a number of good pop-psych cuts.
March 18-23, 1969 Taj Mahal, Smokestack Lightnin’
March 26-30, 1969 San Paku, Aum
San Paku was a sort of jazz-rock group, and Aum was a power trio. Both groups were from San Francisco and booked by the Bill Graham organization. San Paku was from the Sacramento area, and featured guitarist Mark Pearson, later of the Neilson-Pearson group, while Aum featured guitarist Wayne Ceballos.
March 31, April 1, 3-4, 1969 Savoy Brown, Delaney & Bonnie, Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation
Savoy Brown were on one of their early American tours. They were one of the first English groups to prove that you could make it with relentless touring. Their line-up was the six-man Blue Matter line-up which included lead guitarist Kim Simmonds, vocalist Chris Youlden and three future members of Foghat (Lonesome Dave Peverett, bassist Tone Stevens and drummer Roger Earl).
The Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation was an interesting, bluesy group featuring the future Zappa drummer and other English bluesmen. It’s not certain which nights of the week the group played—possibly all of them
April 2, 5-6, 1969 Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, Eric Burdon (2nd only), Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation
Burdon played only this night during Savoy Brown run. It is unclear who Burdon’s band might have been—perhaps he sat in with Dunbar’s group, assuming they opened?
Harold Bronson recalls going to the Whisky in Spring 1969 (not necessarily this week) and seeing a solo performance by Danny McCulloch, former Animals bassist, who had recently released his solo album Wings Of A Man for Capitol (produced by another former Animal, Vic Briggs). Whatever the exact date of the McCulloch show, this is another indication that the acts who actually played the Whisky on a given night were sometimes different than the ones billed.
April 8-13, 1969 Flying Burrito Brothers, John Mayall
Mick Taylor was still Mayall’s lead guitarist, although the supporting cast had changed. The New Musical Express reports (via Chris Hjort’s excellent book Strange Brew) that Turtles drummer John Barbata, ex-Mayall drummer Aynsley Dunbar and Buddy Miles (playing bass) jam into the early hours with Mayall on opening night.
April 16-20, 1969 Dr. John, Glass Family
Although he created his legend as Doctor John, Mac Rebennack was well established as a Los Angeles session man since the mid-sixties.
April 23-27, 1969 Love, Mondo Santanegro
May 1-4, 1969 Shiva’s Head Band, Blues Image
Eric Burdon was booked but cancelled. Burdon did appear to play a few dates with Blues Image during this time, so possibly he was supposed to work with them.
Shiva’s Head Band were regular performers at the Vulcan Gas Company in Austin, TX. Although the group was briefly based in San Francisco in 1968, they had moved back to Austin by this time. It’s not clear to me why they would play a gig at the Whisky.
May 8-11, 1969 Hugh Masekela & Big Black, Chicago Transit Authority, Illinois Speed Press
May 13-18, 1969 Hugh Masekela, Chicago Transit Authority
May 19-25, 1969 Albert Collins, Charlie Musselwhite
May 26-27, 1969 Count Basie
May 28-June 1, 1969 Lee Michaels
June 2-3, 1969 Taj Mahal, Bicycle
Harold Bronson uncovered these dates. There was a Bay Area band called Bicycle, but I do not know if this was them.
June 4-8, 1969 Herbie Mann, Mint Tattoo
Herbie Mann was a popular jazz flautist from the early 60s who dabbled in a variety of crossover jazz styles—latin jazz, soul jazz and light pop. In the later 60s and early 70s, he covered many rock tunes and got airplay on progressive FM rock stations. He was often unfairly considered a lightweight in jazz circles, but he merely anticipated some commercial trends in jazz that became more prevalent in the 70s. His performance on June 7 was released on Atlantic records as Live At The Whisky A-Go-Go. His band for this date was Steve Marcus on tenor sax, Sonny Sharrock on guitar, Miroslav Vitous (later a founder of Weather Report) on bass, Bruno Carr on drums and long-time cohort Roy Ayers on vibes.
Mint Tattoo had broken up in early 1969 when its two main members (Guitarist Bruce Stephens and bassist/organist Burns Kellogg [later AKA Ethan James]) joined Blue Cheer for the New!Improved! album. However, Bruce Stephens was pushed out of Blue Cheer in Spring 1969, and the band rarely performed. It is at least plausible that Stephens reformed Mint Tattoo for a few gigs, and even that Kellogg joined him, since Blue Cheer rarely performed live after 1968.
June 10-15, 1969 Junior Walker
June 16-18, 1969 Blues Image
June 19-28, 1969 Buddy Rich, Jerome
Buddy Rich had been a leading Big Band drummer since the late 1930s, and had played lengthy stints with Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James and others. In 1966, after a six-year run in James’s group, Rich defied all industry trends and formed his own big band, even though the only remaining big bands were associated with established bandleaders. However, Rich’s phenomenal drumming and contemporary charts, including jazzed up arrangements of songs like “Up Tight” allowed his 17-piece band to play rock clubs along with the typical Las Vegas style gigs. Rock had brought back the drum solo—for better or worse—and Buddy Rich could play rings around any rock drummer. Rich’s current album would have been Mercy, Mercy on World Pacific.
Rich recorded the Whisky gigs on June 21st and 22nd, and seven tracks were included on his 1969 album Buddy & Soul (on World Pacific). The Pacific Jazz cd release (2000) included 4 additional Whisky tracks. Amidst some very sophisticated jazz arrangements, Rich included two cheesy arrangements of Doors songs (“Soul Kitchen” and “Hello I Love You”), which did not exactly cry out for polyrhythmic Big Band treatment.
One ad has the group “Rock Of Ages” opening. I know nothing about either Rock of Ages or Jerome.
July 2-6, 1969 Love, Smokestack Lightning
July 9-13, 1969 Cat Mother and The All-Night Newsboys, The Flock
Cat Mother was formed by ex-folkies in New York City. Their first album was released on Polydor in 1969. They shared management with Jimi Hendrix. Jay Ungar (performer of the Civil War documentary theme “Ashokan Farewell”) was among the members.
The Flock were a unique band from Chicago, featuring Jerry Goodman on electric violin and vocals, fronting a soulful horn section. There was no keyboard player, and Goodman’s violin was the principal soloist of the horn section, so The Flock evoked both R&B and progressive rock. The Flock were on Columbia. Columbia had signed four groups from Chicago (The Flock, Aorta, Chicago Transit Authority and Illinois Speed Press) and released all their albums around the same time (Spring 1969) to make it seem like Chicago was “happening”.
Laurel Canyon resident John Mayall was a big Flock fan, and he wrote the liner notes to their second album (released in 1971). His notes begin by saying “the date tonight is July 9th, 1969. I’m sitting in the Whisky A-Go-Go, and The Flock are making their West Coast debut at last”, as he begins his effusive praise of the band.
July 16-20, 1969 Flying Burrito Brothers, The Churls
July 23-27, 1969 Sir Douglas Quintet, Smokestack Lightning
The Flock cancelled and were replaced by Smokestack Lightning, although a copy of an ad on the Chris Hillman site has Frost opening.
July 29, 1969 Mountain, Merryweather
Mountain had just begun performing, although guitarist Leslie West was a rock veteran with his Queens band The Vagrants. This would have been one of the band’s earliest gigs (note that Woodstock is less than three weeks away), and N.D. Smart was still the drummer.
Merryweather was a Canadian group that had relocated to Los Angeles in mid-1968. Nick Warburton writes (in a personal email) that:
Merryweather featured Canadians Neil Merryweather and Ed Roth who had played in Toronto bands, The Just Us and The Tripp between 1964-1967. Merryweather played in the final Mynah Birds line up with Rick James in mid-1967 (long after Neil Young had left) and Roth subsequently played with Rick James in late 1969 with a group called Salt 'N' Pepper. Two of the other guys in Salt 'N' Pepper were Canadians Dave Burt and Coffi Hall, who had also been in Merryweather. This could have been one of the band's final dates before Roth, Burt and Hall left Merryweather to join James's band and was the same month the double LP 'Word of Mouth' came out.
July 30-August 3, 1969 Mountain, Flamin’ Groovies
The Flamin’ Groovies were a San Francisco band who never had a strong following in San Francisco, but remain, to this day, popular in Europe. This would have been the original line-up with Roy Loney.
August 6-10, 1969 The Ventures, Hank Shifter
August 12-17, 1969 Junior Walker, Texas
August 19-24, 1969 The Bar Kays, Colosseum
‘Colisseum’ may have been the English progressive jazz, rock group Colosseum, featuring drummer Jon Hiseman and organist Dave Greenslade.
August 26-31, 1969 John Mayall, Zephyr
John Mayall was now fronting an acoustic ensemble (with Jon Mark and John Almond), who recorded the great album Turning Point.
Zephyr, the pride of Boulder, Colorado, featured guitarist Tommy Bolin.
September 5-7, 1969 Savoy Brown, Keef Hartley Band
Savoy Brown, still touring America relentlessly, was promoting their new album A Step Further. Keef Hartley was John Mayall’s former drummer, and he fronted an excellent band with guitarist, vocalist Miller Anderson. Their current album was Halfbreed.
English bands were comparatively rare at the Whisky until 1969, but now they appeared regularly. English bands and their management had figured out that relentless American tours could pay off in a big way, and a good showing at the Whisky could play a big part.
September 9-14, 1969 Terry Reid, Spooky Tooth
Reid’s first Columbia album featuring his own material had recently been released. Spooky Tooth, already on their second American tour, supporting Spooky Two, would soon fall apart. Bassist Greg Ridley had already left a few months earlier to join Humble Pie, and while the group put out a third album (The Last Puff) in 1970, they soon gave up (only to continue to reform again in the 70s).
September 15-21, 1969 War, Condello
Chicago R&B legend Baby Huey was originally booked but cancelled.
War was a local group recently discovered by Eric Burdon, who probably played with them on this gig.
September 22, 1969 Kim Fowley, Gypsy
Kim Fowley is a Hollywood legend, whose career is too memorable and trivial to encapsulate briefly.
September 23-28, 1969 Dr. John, Albert Collins
Dr. John (Mac Rebennack) was on his way to record the album Remedies. His backing group included Doug Hastings on guitar (who had played the Whisky as a member of Daily Flash and Buffalo Springfield (in July 1967), Don MacAllister on bass (also from Daily Flash) and Richard Crooks on drums, along with a few other players.
September 29-30, 1969 Happenings, Chicago Transit Authority
October 1-5, 1969 Dunn and McCashen, Smokestack Lightning
October 8-12, 1969 The Move, Gypsy
The Move were the legendary British group on their sole, brief American tour. In fact, the tour consisted of only 3 cities (Chicago and Fillmore West were the others). The line-up was guitarist Roy Wood, vocalist Carl Wayne, drummer Bev Bevan and bassist Rick Price. Wayne would quit soon afterwards, to be replaced by Jeff Lynne. The subsequent line-up of The Move became the foundation of The Electric Light Orchestra.
Bassist Rick Price, having recently replaced Trevor Burton, got dosed at Fillmore West, and ended up tripping for the only time in his life (welcome to San Francisco).
October 13-14, 1969 The Zombies, Armageddon
The Zombies had broken up in late 1968, but thanks to Al Kooper (then a CBS producer) their final album Odyssey and Oracle was released in the States and became a big hit behind “Time of The Season”. However, according to Mark Skobac the 1969 Zombies was a bogus group that featured no members of the original group.
Armageddon was a Los Angeles band whose sole, self-titled album was released in 1969 (on Amos Records). A few members of the group had been in the Amarillo, TX group Kitchen Cinq. Skip Battin apparently was their bassist at some point, but was either about to or had already joined The Byrds.
October 15-19, 1969 Blodwyn Pig, Tim Rose
Blodwyn Pig was formed by guitarist Mick Abrahams soon after he left Jethro Tull in late 1968. They were touring in support of their debut album Ahead Rings Out.
October 21-28, 1969 Chuck Berry, Five-Man Electrical Theatre
The Five Man Electrical Theatre were almost certainly the Five-Man Electrical Band, an Ottawa group previously known as The Staccatos. Around 1972 they had a big hit with the song “Signs”.
October 29-November 2, 1969 Velvet Underground, Collectors
The Velvet Underground were playing an extended run of shows in California, mostly in San Francisco where their music was not well-received.
The Collectors were from Vancouver, but were more structured than the bluesy psychedelia typical of Vancouver bands. Their second album Grass And Wild Strawberries was an extended soundtrack to a play, and was not particularly received. The Collectors evolved into the popular Canadian group Chilliwack.
November 3-4, 1969 War, Gypsy
November 5-9, 1969 Illusion, Match Box
November 10-16, 1969 Little Richard, Illinois Speed Press
E.J. Lazar, a Chicago musician, recalls seeing Little Richard with Illinois Speed Press opening. He recalls it being Saturday night (which would have been 11.15.69). Although the ad only has Little Richard, I have assumed that Illinois Speed Press played most or all of the week. As a Chicagoan, Lazar recalls seeing the Speed Press very clearly.
Lazar also recalls leaving the club after the show and seeing Janis Joplin and Johnny Winter seated together at a table.
November 20-23, 1969 The Kinks, Gypsy
The Kinks had been locked out of touring America since 1965, as a result of a reputed fistfight between Ray Davies and a senior member of the American Musicians Union. The issue was finally resolved, and The Kinks were on their first American tour, supporting their great album Arthur. The Whisky was far and away the smallest place the group played on the tour.
The Kinks were up against the huge Rolling Stones shows at the Forum, but the shows nonetheless were packed with fans and fellow musicians. The Kinks were their usual erratic selves—one reviewer says Ray Davies let brother Dave sing most of the songs one night. Fellow Brit Mick Jagger showed up for the late show the last night.
November 26-30, 1969 Whisky A-Go-Go, West Hollywood Lonnie Mack, Eric Mercury
December 3-7, 1969 King Crimson, Gypsy
King Crimson were riding
the buzz about their exceptional debut album In The Court Of The Crimson King.
Greg Lake was the vocalist (and bassist) and lyricist Pete Sinfield played
Mellotron on some songs, adding a strange air to their sound. However, this
legendary line-up broke up soon after the American tour ended, shortly after
these shows. Greg Lake went on to ELP and Robert Fripp put together another
version of King Crimson.
December 10-14, 1969 Bobby “Blue” Bland, Smokestack Lightning
December 15-16, 1969 Grand Funk Railroad, Humble Pie
Grand Funk Railroad came out of Flint, MI and were immediately popular on the festival circuit soon after their 1969 debut. However, they were never popular in California.
Humble Pie had formed when Peter Frampton (the Face of 1968) and Steve Marriot had left popular “Mod” bands (The Herd and The Small Faces) to play ‘serious’ music. Their first two albums were heavily influenced by The Band and American soul music.
The 2002 CD release Humble Pie Live At The Whisky-A-Go-Go ’69 (Castle Records) shows a slower, more soulful side to the group, which was typical of their current album Town and Country (the CD cover suggests that the Pie played the Whisky from December 2 to 6, but I do not accept that date, since the group was booked at The Fillmore West).
December 17-21, 1969 Sir Douglas Quintet, Timber
December 22-23, 1969 Bread, James Gang
Bread, soon to become enormously popular with a series of soft-rock ballads, was made up of experienced LA studio professionals.
The James Gang, out of Ohio, were an extremely hard rocking power trio. Pete Townshend called Joe Walsh his favorite American guitarist. Although “Funk 49” is now only heard on Miller Beer commercials, it does Walsh (and Townshend) proud.
December 24-28, 1969 Bread, Smokestack Lightning
December 29-30, 1969 Lee Michaels
December 31, 1969 Johnny Rivers
The sixties at The Whisky ended as they started, with Johnny Rivers headlining.
The amazing Mark Skobac researched a list of 1970 Whisky shows, included here without comment (well, except when I have a comment).
January 1-4, 1970 Love, Kaleidoscope
January 7-8, 1970 Fleetwood Mac, Litter
January 14-18, 1970 Chicago Transit Authority, Gypsy
January 19-21, 1970 BB King
January 21-25, 1970 Ten-Wheel Drive, The Allman Brothers
Although this was the first appearance of The Allman Brothers Band in Southern California, Duane and Gregg Allman had played the Whisky many times as The Hour Glass (see November 30, 1967).
February ?-15, 1970 Dyke and the Blazers, Head Over Heels
February 18-22, 1970 Blue Cheer, Bangor Flying Circus
Blue Cheer only performed rarely after 1969. Presumably, this line-up featured guitarist Gary Yoder (formerly of Oxford Circle and Kak). Bangor Flying Circus were a Chicago group.
February 25-28, 1970 John Mayall, Old Blue
March 1, 1970 Salt and Pepper, Old Blue
March 4-8, 1970 Golden Earring, Eric Mercury Birthrite
Golden Earring were a popular Dutch group.
March 11-15, 1970 Keith Relf’s Renaissance, Salt and Pepper
Renaissance featured former Yardbirds Relf and Jim McCarty together with Keith’s sister Jane, and would later evolve into a group featuring singer Annie Haslam.
March 16-18, 1970 Savoy Brown, Devil’s Kitchen
Devil’s Kitchen was a San Francisco band (although originally from Carbondale, IL) featuring guitarist Robbie Stokes.
March 18-22, 1970 Charlie Musslewhite, Juice
March 24, 1970 Iron Butterfly
March 25-29, 1970 Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, Blue Rose Band
April 1-5, 1970 Sha Na Na, Big Foot
April 8-12, 1970 Manfred Mann, Blue Mountain Eagle
Manfred Mann was probably fronting his excellent though little remembered Chapter 3 line-up.
April 15-19, 1970Billy Preston, Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids
Flash Cadillac replaced Fever Tree.
April 22-26, 1970 Argent, Catfish
April 29-May 3, 1970 Linda Ronstadt, Goose Creek Symphony
Goose Creek Symphony were from Arizona.
May 5-10, 1970 Elvin Bishop, Taos
May 11-17, 1970 Georgie Fame, Head Over Heels
May 18-20, 1970 BB King, Chariot, Joy of Cooking (May 20 only)
May 21-24, 1970 Ambergis, Joy of Cooking, Hard Meat (May 22-23 only)
May 27-31, 1970 Gypsy, Shag
June 1-2, 1970 The Five Stairsteps, Pegasus
June 3, 1970 Southwind, The Five Stairsteps
Southwind, originally a University of Oklahoma rockabilly group called The Disciples, moved to Los Angeles in 1968, recording their debut album for the small Venture label. By 1970 Southwind had moved to Blue Thumb, where their second album (Ready To Ride) was released. Guitarist John ‘Moon’ Martin was the best known member of the band (he wrote the Robert Palmer hit Bad Case Of Lovin’ You), although he was not the principal lead vocalist. Other members were bassist Jim Pulte, organist Phil Hope and drummer Erik Dalton.
June 4-7, 1970 Southwind, The Second Coming
The Second Coming may have been a Chicago band formerly known as Buddy and The Citations.
June 8-14, 1970 Second Coming, Maximum Speed Limit
Maximum Speed Limit may have been a Berkeley band.
June 17-21, 1970 Buddy Miles, Chariot
June 24-28, 1970 Fever Tree, Rigg
July 1-5, 1970 Kings, Toe Fat
Toe Fat featured future Uriah Heep organist Ken Hensley.
July 6-7, 1970 Mott The Hoople, Toe Fat
July 8-12, 1970 Crow, Crucible
July 18-19, 1970 Sir Douglas Quintet, Love Ltd
Love Ltd replaced Tony Joe White.
July 20-22, 1970 Terry Reid, Yes Indeed
July 23-27, 1970 Buddy Miles, Head Over Heels
July 24-25, 1970 Cactus
It’s not clear if Cactus replaced Buddy Miles as the headliner on these nights.
July 29-August 1, 1970 Johnny Rivers, 3rd Ave Blues Band
August 5-9, 1970 Rhinoceros, If
August 12-16, 1970 Fleetwood Mac, Mason Proffit
August 17-23, 1970 Little Richard, Illinois Speed Press
August 26-30, 1970 Barry McGuire, Flamin’ Groovies
The Groovies replaced Rotary Connection
September 2-5, 1970 John Mayall, Bacon Fat
September 6-8, 1970 Buddy Miles, Second Coming
September 9-13, 1970 Chicken Shack, Second Coming
September 14-15, 1970 Bunions Bradford Band, Second Coming
September 16-19, 1970 The Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, Second Coming
Originally The Amboy Dukes and then Crabby Appleton were advertised.
The Flying Burrito Brothers were introducing new singer Rick Roberts, having fired Gram Parsons in late June. John Einarson reports the detail (in his fine 2009 book Hot Burritos) that The Burritos did not perform on the first night (Wednesday September 16) because Chris Hillman hands were sore from karate lessons.
September 20, 1970 Flying Burrito Brothers, Second Coming
September 23-27-Crabby Appleton, Demian
Crabby Appleton was a band featuring guitarist Michael Fennelly. According to Fennelly, the band hung around the Whisky a lot, and had to periodically play gigs there to pay off their bar tabs.
October 1-4, 1970 Ronnie Milsap, Redbone
October 6-11, 1970 Boz Scaggs, Bush
October 14-18, 1970 Clouds, Ask Rufus
October 19-20, 1970 Mungo Jerry, Head Over Heels
October 21-25, 1970 John Mayall, Hammer
October 26-27, 1970 New York Rock and Roll Ensemble
October 28-November 1, 1970 Skid Row, Pollution
Skid Row was an Irish group, featuring guitarist Gary Moore.
November 4-7, 1970 The Beach Boys, Flame
November 11-15, 1970 Black Sabbath, Ashton Gardner & Dyke, The Glass Family
November 16-20, 1970 Simon Stokes and The Nighthawks
November 18-22, 1970 Juicy Lucy, Teagarden & Van Winkle
November 25-29, 1970 Canned Heat, The Earth Disciples
December 2-6, 1970The Illusion, Atlee
Atlee was probably singer Atlee Yeager.
December 7-8, 1970 Bobby Bloom
December 9-13, 1970 Humble Pie, Edward Bear
December 24(?)-27, 1970 Quatermass, Dunn & McCashen
December 30-31, 1970 Flying Burrito Brothers, Longbranch Pennywhistle
Longbranch Pennywhistle was a duo featuring Glenn Frey and J.D. Souther. The bill played through January 3, 1971.
Whisky-A-Go-Go Show List 1971-1975 (or Whisky-A-Go-Go-Go)
In Search of the Whisky-A-Go-Go
Copyright © 2004-2009 Ross Hannan and Corry Arnold. All Rights Reserved.