Sunday, December 13, 2009

May 13, 1975 Keystone Berkeley Lucky Strike (Legion Of Mary)

In a previous post, I pointed at evidence that Jerry Garcia played New Year's Eve shows at Keystone Berkeley under the name Lucky Strike, as the Keystone billings for both 1974 and 1975 listed "Lucky Strike" as the band. I mused that scholars should start looking for Lucky Strike billed at the Keystone.

Lo and behold, here are the Oakland Tribune listings (above) from Sunday, May 11, 1975 for the Keystone Berkeley, and the Hayward Daily Review listings for May 9, 1975 (right). The acts for the week are
  • Sunday, May 11 Kraftwerk/Paul Pena
  • Monday, May 12 Holly Penfield/Spectrum
  • Tuesday, May 13 Lucky Strike/Sunsmoke
  • Wednesday, May 14 Delta Wires/Eola
  • Thursday, May 15 New Riders of The Purple Sage
  • Friday and Saturday, May 16-17 Alice Stuart/The Rowan Brothers
  • Sunday, May 18 Rowan Brothers/Clouds Of Joy

The significant clue here is that according to the Jerry Site, Deadbase lists a Legion Of Mary show at Keystone Berkeley on May 12, 1975, complete with setlist. Now, "Lucky Strike" was booked for Tuesday May 13, but I am now much more inclined to believe that there was a Keystone Berkeley show this week. I would lean towards the May 13 date, under the circumstances.

I grew up in the Bay Area, and read the San Francisco Chronicle "Pink Section" entertainment listings with an eagle eye every Sunday, and I had no idea about Lucky Strike.

(update: Despite the awesomeness of my theory, it appears that it isn't true, and Lucky Strike was a local East Bay Band)

I cannot resist commenting on the other bands.

Kraftwerk/Paul Pena
Kraftwerk had become almost sort of semi-famous behind their 1974 Autobahn album, and did their only American tour. Their show had been booked for Berkeley Community Theater, but poor ticket sales caused it to be moved to the Keystone Berkeley. Kraftwerk is hard to explain if you don't know, and their impact at the time is even harder to comprehend. Suffice to say, America was not ready for Beach Boys influenced German industrial pop. Joel Selvin wrote perhaps his greatest review ever for this show.

Paul Pena, a Keystone Berkeley regular, was a blind guitarist and songwriter who wrote "Jet Airliner" for Steve Miller. He was a strange choice to open for Kraftwerk, but so was everyone else in the East Bay at the time.

Alice Stuart
Alice Stuart had been playing Berkeley and the East Bay since 1964, with a few interruptions (like briefly joining the Mothers of Invention in 1966). At this time, she was probably playing with her electric trio.

The Rowan Brothers
The Rowan Brothers at this time would have been Peter, Lorin and Chris Rowan, then signed to Asylum. I think they had a rhythm section at this time, and played fairly electric music.


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  2. Absolutely fascinating posts. I plan on digging further into this.

    I was wondering ... based on your conjecture re: the 12/75 shows, that they wouldn't want/be able to advertise shows close to a Bill Graham-billed event, thus necessitating the encoded reference ... what might have been the reasoning here? I guess my question is this: who ran the Great American Music Hall, at which Legion of Mary played later this week (5/15)? I wonder if there wasn't a contractual issue there, as well.

  3. Hate to ruin a good theory, but unless Kathie Staska and George Mangrum were *really* into promoting the ruse, it doesn't seem like it holds up. Check out the "Rock Talk from KG" column in, e.g., the Fremont Argus from 1/24/75.

    "Lucky Strike is the best East Bay band that is not yet on a record label. A very easy band to get behind. They are a very together clear sounding group of six young men that play danceable rock. When they play clubs in your area Lucky Strike is a must to see and hear. They play their own material and it is excellent."

    I have been poking around this and the theory really *almost* works. There are many "Lucky Strike" dates that could plausibly be Garcia dates. There are many that couldn't (e.g., November 8, 1974), but maybe Merl and Martin and them would just jam without Jerry. But the above --and evidence that Lucky Strike played other venues, including Winterland-- seems pretty cut-and-dried.

  4. well, that's why its a blog.

    it was fun while it lasted (about 36 hours). Still, I wonder if there was some sort of connection...a band associated with the Coronas who was willing to be pre-empted, or something

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