Steppin' Out

Todd Tolces on the Club Scene

All-Stars Dipped in Gravy

Big deal - so Terrence Hallinan didn't win the District 5 supervisor's race in San Francisco. The man has spirit! Besides putting up a splendid fight against the eventual, winner - Harvey Milk - Hallinan wins BAM's award for Benefit-Of-The-Month: his own!

Early last month, Hallinan posed a question to the not-so-well-known Grunt Records personality Joey Covington: "Where were you in 1967?" Covington couldn't remember. "You were with me, Joey," Hallinan poked him. "We were in the Park, digging the concerts and making San Francisco the greatest city in the world to live in." The young, brisk Hallinan looked out into the Old Waldorf crowd and posed the same question to about 400 people who turned out, perhaps not so much to hear Hallinan's campaign rhetoric as to hear the music that he and Covington begged out of the decade-old closet. They summoned the San Francisco Haight Ashbury Allstars.

How did Terry Hallinan and Joey Covington get all these people into the Old Waldorf? Easy. Just put John Cipollina, Nick Gravenites, Pete Sears, Spencer Dryden, David Cohen, Jarrett Washington, Billy Roberts, and Covington in the same room and somebody's bound to show up... if just out of sheer curiosity. But the people came in droves, with an immediacy likened only to the minutemen's call to arms.

Gravenites, long renown as singer/songwiter extraordinaire as well as the fundamental cornerstone to the Electric Flag, showed an even more potent side on that Sunday the 6th. A stinging, piercing, biting lead guitar, heretofore never heard from the likes of Jolly St. Nick, soared out of his amp and electrified the house. It was a sight and sensation I've never felt before - this big man and this little Les Paul Jr. guitar tearing it up and bringing it down with classic Gravenites boogies like "Please Don't Come To My Party":

If you're the kind who goes to a party
Just to stand up against the wall...
Staring at the people dancing,
Trying to make them feel smaIl...
Please don't come to my party, uh,
PLEASE don't come to my party!

Heavy Gravy Music @ 1975

The accompaniment from Mssrs Cipollina, Washington, Dryden, and the great harmonicist Billy Roberts was all first-rate. And the keyboard-to-bass switchoffs from Pete Sears were blessed wIth boogie fever. But it was Gravenites who led the charge almost every tune.

"Where was I in '67?" asked Gravenites. "Well, I was producing this man over here," he pointed to Cipollina "when he was in the Quicksilver Messenger Service. Me? Well I was playing in a band called the Electric Flag. Now Spencer over there..." and on and on he went.

Gravenites, long revered as one of the most stubborn smoldering fires around (the cat just refuses to quit) is still here. Not only as the San Francisco Haight Ashbury Allstars - who've already changed their name to the Seven Deadly Sins (SDS) - but with his exciting new trio as well. Gravenites has incorporated the deft assistance of ex-Mistressites Skip Olson on bass and Chris Paulsen on drums. The trio will appear 12/9 at the Coffee Gallery, 12/10 at the Omnibus, 12/29 at the Sleeping Lady Cafe (Fairfax), 12/30 at the Highland Dell (Monte Rio), and at the big New Year's Eve Bash at the Placer County Fairgrounds in Sacramento with David & the Foreskins. Meanwhile. The Seven Deadly Sins will appear in full force on December 4 back at the Old Waldorf. Watch for the posters with photos by BAM's Ed Perlstein and artwork by Marty Balin.

And as the holiday season draws upon us, let me illuminate a couple of helpful hints to you, to make the most out of your club outings. First, let's he realistic. Nobody goes to a club to drink. You go to a club to hear the music and raise hell, right? Sure. It just so happens that most clubs serve liquid refreshment anyway, so you're all set, right? Wrong. What some establishments purport to be draft beer may actually be no more than yellow dye #5 in holy water. Does it get you off? Hell; drink enough of anything and it'll get you off. We didn't trust the draft ten years ago, why start now?

The solution is obvious: The Three B's. Buy Big Bottles.

Next, there's the problem of seating. To sit or not to sit. Or rather, to squirm or not to squirm. Most clubs don't even give you a choice - you either squirm or squat or stand. Unfortunately, most of our timely nighteries don't cater to the back or buttocks, but rather spend most of their finance on your ears. Now. that's fine with me - I wouldn't have it any other way, and neither should you. But when was the last time you did your rump a favor? Well, next time, at the risk of having everybody around you snicker and giggle, why not bring a cushion or pillow? If you're really a slick casanova, you'll bring one for your date, too. Your butt will forever be in debt, and you'll feel much better in the morning. Just remember to take it with you when you leave.

Have a cool yule.

[Photo: Old Waldorf ?? session, with (l to r): Jarrett Washington, Spencer Dryden, Pete Sears, unknown, Billy Roberts, John Cipollina, Nick Gravenites, Joey Covington, unknown, David Cohen, Jane Richardson, Boots Hughston: Ed Perlstein.]

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Last updated: 22-Sep-2002