Thursday, January 7, 2010

March 20, 1967 Club Fugazi, 678 Green Street, San Francisco, CA Grateful Dead (album release)

It has been established for some time that Warner Brothers Records had an album release party for the Grateful Dead's first album at a North Beach venue called Fugazi Hall, at 678 Green Street. Up until this time, I had been unable to uncover any other information about it. However, Ralph Gleason of the San Francisco Chronicle attended the Monday night party, and wrote about it in his March 22, 1967 column
In Antonioni's Blow-Up there's a wonderful moment in a rock club scene when guitarist Jeff Beck first belts the amplifier and then wrecks his guitar at the frustration at the problems of electronics.
Monday night's part [sic] for the Grateful Dead was aborted when the power failed and the set was chopped short. So everything you see in the movies isn't fantasy.
Whatever the cultural dynamics of the 1967 Grateful Dead playing in a tiny hall for a weird mixture of record company promotional staff and a few lucky hippies might have been, it seems to have been cut short.

Club Fugazi
Club Fugazi is a theater in a building that was called Fugazi Hall. It was originally an Italian social club. Its construction was financed by John Fugazi, one of the founders of the Transamerica Corporation insurance company. In the 1950s and early 60s, Club Fugazi was a common venue for readings by Beat Poets, and it was even mentioned in Allen Ginsberg's poem "Howl."

For the last few decades, Club Fugazi has been the home of a long-running San Francisco stage show called Beach Blanket Babylon. This show is impossible to explain to non-residents, so I will skip it. Suffice to say, the section of the street in front of the theater has formally been named Beach Blanket Babylon Boulevard, so the address is now technically 678 Beach Blanket Babylon Boulevard.

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