Big Brother and the Holding Company Hits OB Up for Fund-Raiser

by on November 3, 2016 · 1 comment

in Culture, Education, History, Ocean Beach

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David Aguilar, Darby Gould and Peter Albin during sound check at OB’s THC.

Janis Joplin’s Old Band at OB’s THC to Raise Funds for Toy and Food Drive

By Mercy Baron

A pretty big fundraising event went down in hippie town on October 22nd. It was the arrival and concert of Janis Joplin’s old band, Big Brother and the Holding Company. With two original members, drummer, Dave Getz and bass player, Peter Albin, holding down a solid rhythm anchor, they rocked out to a sold out audience at the old Gallagher’s on Newport Ave, now called, by some strange coincidence, The Holding Company.

I got to have a meet and greet with the band after their soundcheck and then was invited to dinner with them at Bar 1502. The club and restaurant are both owned by local, Steve Yeng, who also owns OB Noodle House. When I arrived for soundcheck, Steve said, “We’ve sold a lot of tickets in advance and expect to be sold out tonight.”

He further told me –

“The name of the place was inspired by the band and I thought how awesome it would be to have them play here and now here they are!”

After letting Dave and Pete know that I saw them play almost 50 years ago as a thirteen year old at the Monterey Pop Festival, we walked over to the restaurant. Pete said –

“We still have great memories of that show and always will. Janis was at her finest.”

ob-bigbro-mb-3Darby Gould now sings lead for them (although they do have a revolving roster of members currently) and she is a veteran of the early 90’s version of Jefferson Starship. She and I exchanged some great rock stories during dinner. She told me –

“I’m still the biggest fan. When I was with Starship, Tommy Shaw of Styx was playing with us and I went up and asked for his autograph. I was only 26 at the time and so in love with him. I asked him to sign my autograph book. I still carry that book and I still ask for autographs from my idols.”

Dave told me, “We just returned from playing in Amsterdam a couple of days ago and they really loved us over there.” When we walked into the restaurant, they started playing Janis on the sound system, Dave seemed a bit embarrassed by that. “Can you tell them to play something else?” he asked me. Several times during our meal, you could tell years of playing had taken a toll on his hearing, as he kept leaning over to me and asking me to repeat things.

ob-bigbro-mb-4It was pretty cool to see young and old stop by our table at Bar 1502 to meet and pay their respect to the band members. They accepted each one graciously.

Yeng turned out to be right later on, when we saw the club was packed. As the band played some great old Janis tunes such as, “Another Piece of My Heart“, “Mercedes Benz,” and “Combination of the Two“, the crowd sang along on every word. It was standing room only.

You could palpably feel the ghost of Janis in the room, but Darby Gould’s vocals, while definitely reminiscent of the legend, held their own as she wailed her heart out on every song. The crowd was mutually responsive as she encouraged the sing a longs.

The band members were precision players, which in the old incarnation of the group, musicianship was something they were criticized for. With some young blood in the band, by way of lead guitarist Tom Finch, that is no longer of concern. When I asked them if any of them had been to OB before, I was pretty surprised to hear Tom tell me, “I grew up in OB!” I never expected to hear that, as they all live in Marin County and with Janis, were always known as a Northern California band.

David Aguilar, of Norton Buffalo fame was the other guitarist last night and the roster of talent he has backed up is no less stellar than Bo Diddley, Bonnie Raitt, Maria Muldaur and Jackson Brown.

Yeng told me that, “We raised $700 at the door and we’ll add another $300 to round that up to $1000.”

The night was a fundraiser for the Ocean Beach Toy and Food Drive which kicks off their holiday fundraising season now.

Here’s the band web site

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Geoff Page Geoff Page November 3, 2016 at 2:14 pm

Wow, very cool, you were at Monterrey Pop. I saw the movie in 1968 and saw Janis sing Ball and Chain and I fell in love. I got a chance to see her in person in 1969 at the Atlantic City Pop Festival but by then she had left Big Brother and her new band was the Kozmic Blues Band. She was terrific, I would like to have met those guys who played with her. Of all the performers who passed young, I always felt Janis’s passing the hardest, what a waste of a great talent. Not trying to take anything away from Big Brother but it had to be hard to be noticed when backing a star that shone with such intensity.

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