The Call for Chet Helms video

OK, having written 3 entries in a row about Chet Helms, an unlikely topic for the LOUIE REPORT, I think I’ll go for the 4th and final entry .. at least for the month of June. After this, we’ll go back to the regularly scheduled program normally seen at the LOUIE REPORT.

My friend James MacLeod has volunteered to coordinate video clips of Chet Helms for the eventual tribute, wake, or whatever celebration takes place to honor this humble man. Details are still being worked out on exactly how Chet will be honored, but James has agreed to find some video clips that can be used for the public memorial. As James has been working some insane work hours these days, I’ve agreed to help James with this task. I’ve created a virtual email account that is merely a filter to send email to the both of us.

So, if you have any videotape or film footage of Chet Helms from any period in his career, please let us know. Perhaps it’s a videotape of a nice speech by Chet at some rock and roll show. Maybe it’s some old 8mm footage of Chet dancing, smiling, or otherwise enjoying life with his friends during a Family Dog event. Perhaps on that videotape of a big San Francisco event, you were able to shoot a little bit of Chet Helms, smiling like a bearded Cheshire cat. I’m sure someone also has that “Antiques Roadshow” episode on PBS that acknowledges the value of a Family Dog poster autographed by the top dog himself. We’re looking for more footage than we can possibly handle. We want to be overwhelmed by Chet Helms material. If you have some old film footage that’s never been transferred to video, now’s the time to go digging through the closet. We have facilities that are willing to transfer this material free of charge.

So, if you have ANY Chet Helms footage on video or film, please send an email to:
chet-video @ rantical.com. You can also call James MacLeod at (415) 516-5762.


On Sunday, I had a job at the Monterey Blues Festival, shooting video footage of John Lee Hooker’s daughter Zakiya. I couldn’t help but think of Chet while I was at the Monterey Fairgrounds, as it was the site for the very first Chet Helms concert I ever attended. The Tribal Stomp of 1979 was truly an amazing event, featuring The Clash, Big Mama Thornton, Robert Fripp, The Nick Gravenites- John Cipollina Band The Blues Project with Al Kooper, Dan Hicks & His Acoustic Warriors, The Chambers Brothers, , Peter Tosh, Maria Muldaur, Lee Michaels, and The Dumi Marimba Band, to name a few. For me, it was one of the greatest concerts I ever attended, and it was all quite an adventure just for me just to get there. I remember hitching a ride at the last minute to get to this show, carrying my backpack and sleeping bag for this big event. The whole thing was like a non-stop party for 3 days, and I loved every minute of it.

Years later, I talked to Chet about this festival, which I guess was something of a bust financially. He may have lost some money on this thing, but he certainly knew how to throw a party….

3 comments to The Call for Chet Helms video

  • james henry beckett

    ilove chet and all he did….i worked for him the last eight years…feel free to call me….i worked with james at the maritime….415-424-2651….thank you

  • james henry beckett

    i worked with chet for the last eight years….i love him for all he did and stood for…i worked with james at the maritime hall for five years..thank you

  • james henry beckett

    chet helms was the most caring and sharing man to contribute to the music scene in san francisco and around the world..his name means unconditional love and understanding….there will never be another as wise and understanding as chet.he inspires me everyday i live and breathe.i dedicate flower gardens to his memory.peace and love to all.

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