More on Chet…


I didn’t intend to post 3 Chet Helms entries in a row, but then I didn’t expect to see Chet kick the bucket so damned soon.

No more bumping into Chet at another art gallery opening in San Francisco. No more comparing computer notes at the yearly MacWorld expo. No more rock ‘n roll shows emceed by the guy we called the “Father of the Summer of Love.” No more new Chet Helms photos at DigiFotos.com. This truly sucks.

I found this great photo of Chet wearing a royal crown at a website created by photographer Stefanie Herzer. This website is a collection of photos taken at Chet’s 60th birthday party.

Our friend Lee Houskeeper did a great job writing up press releases about the passing of our dear comrade, which were then used as the primary source of information the major newspapers. It hasn’t been easy….

Just so we can bring this blog back to LOUIE LOUIE, I’ll do a quick little tie-in to bring it all home….

In the 60’s, when Chet lost the option to book shows at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco, he opened up a new club in San Francisco along the coastline of the Pacific Ocean. He called this place “The Great Highway,” and would put on shows called “Family Dog at the Great Highway.” The Grateful Dead was one of the main bands that Chet used to book at this venue on a regular basis. One night in 1969, after the Grateful Dead finished the set, members of the Jefferson Airplane showed up, and there was a bit of jam onstage for the encore.

Jerry Garcia played with Jorman Kaukonen, mixing some rock and roll standards with some surf instrumentals. There were some Buddy Holly tracks, a Chuck Berry song, and then as the evening regressed, Airplane drummer Joey Covington jumped on stage to attempt some late night lead vocals. LOUIE LOUIE was performed as part of a rather drunken medley that included “Twist n Shout” and “Blue Moon.” Archivists of the Grateful Dead musical legacy noted this particular performance as one of the silliest concerts in the history of the band.

Thanks to Archive.org, one of the truly great resources for sharing legally-traded music and movies, we can hear this concert again by going to this website.

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