Cotati Cabaret, October 31, 1978
Rock 'N' Roll Heaven
Riverside Dodge Car Lot, Roseville, CA, September 29, 1985
Cotati Cabaret, Cotati, California, November 7, 1984


Novato Frank Band page at Bay Area Bands

Cotati Cabaret, Cotati, CA, October 31, 1978

Set 1:
1.Funeral March1:28
2.Honky Tonk Jekyll & Hyde4:25
3.Roll Your Own4:34
4.Working Man Blues4:15
7.Peeping and Hiding3:49
8.You Really Got A Hold On Me4:18
9.Reelin' and Rockin'5:42
Set 2:
1.Rock and Roll Heaven4:53
2.Grow Your Own3:24
4.Where Can I Go?4:30
5.Susie Q4:00
6.Whole Lot of Shaking3:40
7.Bad Loser4:21
8.Wild About My Loving5:56
9.Baby Please Don't Go12:55

Frank Bonomolovocals
John Cipollinaguitar
Barry Meltonguitar, vocals
Greta Rosevocals
Jim McPhersonpiano
Greg Antondrums

Inn Of The Beginning, Cotati, CA, October 31, 1978

Another version, from the same source, as seeded on DimeADozen, 9/05

Set 1
Disc 1
1.Funeral March1:28
2.Honky Tonk Jekyll & Hyde4:25
3.Roll Your Own4:34
4.Working Man Blues4:15
7.Peeping and Hiding3:49
8.You Really Got A Hold On Me4:18
Set 2
Disc 2
1.Reelin' and Rockin'5:33
2.Rock and Roll Heaven4:52
3.Grow Your Own3:22
5.Where Can I Go?4:30
6.Susie Q4:00
7.Whole Lot of Shaking3:40
8.Bad Loser4:21
9.Wild About My Loving5:56
10.Baby Please Don't Go12:46
Bonus: JC & The Pickups

Lineage: MR(Cass) > CD > EAC > FLAC

This is a fairly rare live gig of the Novato Frank Band playing a Halloween show with an all-star line up (John Cipollina, Barry Melton, Jim McPherson (Copperhead), Bobby Vega & Greg Anton (Zero) and Greta Rose (Heart of Gold Band). The band dressed up in their Halloween best (John was a vampire) for the show.

The quality of the show and performance is pretty good. Technically this is neither an audience or SBD, but a "stage" tape. Being a rookie at taping, I got John's permission to tape and then made a stupid move, I taped my mics (Sony condensers) to the mic stands! Under ordinary circumstances I might have been immediately shot, but got lucky becuase the show was taped for a local cable tv show (no idea what happened to the video), so everyone assumed the mics were their for the video taping. Frank did undo one of my mics from his mic stand towards the end of the show.

During the Funeral March, they brought out John's copper coffin and placed it in front of the stage, at which point John popped out. Baby Please Don't Go has a fairly long jam with John using his effects pedals throughout. Mona was played between sets and featured John and a bunch of unidentified people (but none of the Novato Frank Band). John's roadie/assistant Anthony played the drums.

This was previously circulated via a CD Tree a few years ago and posted on as an MP3.

Frank Bonomolovocals
John Cipollinaguitar, hawaiian steel, vocals
Barry Meltonguitar, vocals
Greta Rosevocals
Jim McPhersonpiano
Greg Antondrums
Bobby Vegabass

Cotati Cabaret, Cotati, CA, October 31, 1978

Another version, from a different source, as seeded on DimeADozen, 1/07. "Off JC reel to reel master, uncirculated source."

Disc One:
1.Funeral March (Coffin' Intro) >1:09
2.Honky Tonk Jekyll & Hyde4:28
4.Working Man Blues4:47
7.Peeping and Hiding4:14
8.You Really Got A Hold On Me4:17
9.Reelin' And Rockin'5:36
10.Rock 'N' Roll Heaven4:30
11.Grow Your Own3:16
13.Where Can I Go ?4:57
14.Susie Q4:13
15.Whole Lot Of Shakin'4:06
16.Bad Loser4:25
17.Wild About My Loving5:35
Disc Two:
1.Baby Please Don't Go12:10

1st generation reel to reel > revox > behringer ultra curve pro deq 2496 audio equalizer > amplifiers > tascam audio cdrw750 > cd > computer > plex tool professional XL > wav > flac.

I never understood if this is a great audience recording or a soundboard, whatever it is a really nice recording. This come straight from John's master reel to reel, i copied it when i was living in his apartment back in the 1980 doin' the T&P lp's.... I guess this source never circulated before, cause the one in circulation has a really muddy sound... This is for Commander 9 that asked to me to upload some shows (sorry Andree i did not do it before), and for all the Cipollina's fans around the world... Another uncirculated great one with Elmore and Kimock will follow when this is seeded.

Transfered, remastered & uploaded by 38f on Dime, January 2007.

Frank Bonomolovocals
John Cipollinaguitars
Barry Meltonguitars
Greta Arsen Beereervocals
Jim McPhersonpiano
Greg Antondrums
Larry Ruxnaitisbass

Rock 'N' Roll Heaven

Front cover Front cover

1.They Are Playing Rock'n'Roll in Heaven3:27(Frank Bonomolo)
2.Your Cheatin' Heart4:10(Hank Williams)
3.Ride Out4:59(Greg Anton & Irving Rosenberg)
4.Honky Tonk Jekyll & Hyde5:22(John Cipollina)
5.Baby Please Don't Go4:42(Joe Williams)
6.I'd Do It All Again4:28(W. J. Wilmes)
7.Short Time Fever4:33(W. J. Wilmes)
8.Tired of Giving My Loving All Away6:26(Frank Bonomolo & W. J. Wilmes)
9.Searchin' Blues5:44(W. J. Wilmes & Frank Bonomolo)
10.Who Do You Love3:25(E. McDaniel)

Frank Bonomolovocals
ac. guitar
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 9
2 5 7
John Cipollinalead guitar
steel guitar
rhythm guitar
slide guitar
lead harmony
1 2 3 4 5 6 8 9
3 4
7 10
Middle John Wilmesrhythm guitar
slide guitar
lead rhythm guitar
background vocals
1 2 5 6 8
1 2 3 4
Greg Antondrums
background vocals
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Frank Bonomolo Jr.salad bowl5
Colene Callahanbackground vocals1 2 5
Mario Cipollinabass6 8 9 10
Greg Douglassguitar
rhythm guitar
slide guitar
1 10
Greg Elmoretambourine
4 5
Nicky Hopkinspiano1 2 3 5 6 8
Linda Howardtambourine8
Hutch Hutchinsonbass1 2 3 4 5 7
Ray Isleyguitar9 10
Scott Jossviolin1 2 3 4 6
Steve Kimockguitar8
Jim McPhersonpiano1 4 7
Barry Meltonbackground vocals4
Little Mikemotorcycle3
Ben Perkoffsaxophone1 5 7
Max Perkofftombone1
Greta Rosebackground vocals1 2 3 4 6 7 8
Chris Templetonpedal steel9

The Novato Frank Band Story

Well if anybody could take the blame or credit for the start of the Novato Frank Band, the honor would go to the Grateful Dead's drummer Mickey Hart.

In 1977 in a recording studio in a converted barn, on a ranch in Novato, California, the Novato Frank Band was born. The studio and ranch belonged to Mickey Hart - known as "The Barn" or "Rolling Thunder Studios". It was fast becoming notorious for the various sessions and musicians who were taking part in the mad musical hijinx that was unfolding, including Rolling Thunder, Teacher, Soundhole, Darlene DeDominico and other sessions, featuring John Cipollina, Jim McPherson, Barry Melton, Norton Buffalo, Terry Haggerty, Sam Andrew, John McFee, Bob Weir and countless others.

It really began in 1966 when Frank Bonomolo owned an auto repair business in Novato. It was around this time that the small countryfied horseman town of Novato was being infiltrated by hordes of long hair hippie types.

One group in particular were all driving Ford Cortinas and would stop by the shop for repairs. As it turned out they were musicians which was right up Frank's Alley actually as it turned out it was the Grateful Dead, eventually they became friends, and Frank would join their extended family. In fact it was the Grateful Dead who gave Frank Bonomolo the handle 'Novato Frank'. Mickey Hart and Novato Frank really hit it of. Later when Frank approcahed Mickey about recording some songs Mickey gave Frank an ultimatum. You take me hunting for a wild pig and I'll give you a session. Well with the help of their half man half Hound Dog Pal Johnny Pine. Their hunting trip was a success. Mickey got his pig, Frank got his recording session and that was the beginning of his long addiction to the recording studio. Frank's first assault in the studio ended up with Mickey firing Frank's band with the exception of Bill Middle John Wilmes, his guitar player.

From there, Hart said "So you want to play music huh" and as rumor has it Hart at that moment appointed himself the drummer under the alias Professor Leadfoot made a series of phone calls to bring some serious musicians to come over and do things right and called the project T.S.O.N. (The Sound of Novato). Frank thought to himself "how can I say no", and within two hours the N.F.B. were ready to roll.

The legendary Quicksilver Messenger Service guitarist John Cipollina was the first to join in, bringing with him Nicky Hopkins - keyboards man from the Rolling Stones - for the ride.

Soon Jim McPherson, Steven Schuster, members of the Diga Rhythm Band and assorted family & friends from Mickey's ranch had lent a hand and they went for it. The end result was a limited edition single on green vinyl. John Cipollina did the caligraphy & design on the label and the lettering on the sleeve. The single "Marijuana" and "Grow Your Own" received zero attention from the major labels, reasons cited being "No Commercial Potential" but that didn't deter our heroes they kept it going "Novato style" for 12 years.

Some thought these recordings would never see the light of day - while others thought Frank would continue for for the next twenty years adding more and more sessions until the tapes wore out or Frank lost his mind. Well we're happy to say that, that didn't happen, and if you enjoy this music as much as the musicians did recording it, and as we did putting it together, then all the wait will have been worth it.

Mike Somavilla


Executive producer and spiritual guidance: John Cipollina
Producer: Frank Bonomolo
Co-Producer: Greg Anton
Project coordinator: Mike Somavilla
Recorded from January 1983 to December 1986
Initial recording and mixing: Tres Virgos, Harbor Sound, Prairie Sun and His Masters Wheel
Final mixing: Prairie Sun, Cotati, California by Jim Dean & Mooka Rennick
Assistant engineers: Wes Sharon, Jeff Sloan and Shaun Morris
Mastered at: Eugene Productions, Cotati, California by Jim Dean, August 1994
Front cover artwork: Kevin Haapla
Graphic layout: Jacques-Elie
Liner notes: Mike Somavilla

Back photo courtesy of Bruce W. Jensen
All photos courtesy of Frank Bonomolo except where noted.

Very special thanks to the following who have helped us out or got us in trouble depending on who you are talking to while making this project a reality: Crest of the Wave Productions, Mike Somavilla, Antonia Cipollina, Mooka Rennick, Greg Anton, Kevin Haapla, Bruce Jensen, the Bonomolo family, Papa, Nonni, Laveda, Angelina, Libby, Michele, Leslie, Tessa, Frank Jr, Joe, Makala Clinton, Patrick Meynier, Marc Santori and Legend R.

I'd also like to thank our family, friends and cohorts for without their love, friendship, patience and support we never would have made it this far: The Novato Frank Band, Dan Healy, John Brenis, No Wonder Productions, Steve Keyser, Glen Chase, Jack Ellis, Joey Cassar, Jerilyn Brandelius, Wally Wathan, Avitas Sibannac, Evy McPherson, Charlie Kaiser, Joe Marquez, Robert Wagner, Bill Wagner, Stewart Hiruisto, Elliot Mazer, Natalie Martel, Anthony Redina, Mark Giddens, Dean Teskey, Allen Gibson, Ron Lavinge, Jim Shultz and family, Paul Stubblebine, Dana Chappelle, Huey Lewis, Sweet Jodie, Mike Haney, Harley Davidson Motorcycles, Inn of the Begining, Cotati Cabaret, Marshall Tavern, Garbos, Rancho Nicasio, Sleeping Lady Cafe, The Shady Grove, The Keystone Family of clubs (oops sorry about the piano) and our fans we couldn't have done it without you.

I'd also like to thank Judge Francis Kearney for the gift of my daughter, and I'd like to thank Mickey Hart, I could never thank you enough, not for the music, but for the family of brothers. I dedicate this album to you and to the memory of John Cipollina, Nicky Hopkins, Jim McPherson and Foster Orr, I love and miss you all so much.

God bless you all

Novato Frank Bonomolo

At three o'clock in the morning one day I
received a phone call from a member of
the Novato Frank Band. He was ranting
and raving about his old friend John
Cipollina. He was somewhat trying to
validate his own musical existence while
at the same time challenging mine. It was
thru this conversation that a friendship
developed and an observation about the
Novato Frank Band come to light.

"We were a bunch of colorful mother
fuckers! Our gigs and studio sessions
were like sleep deprivation camp! " he
told me. Well from one look at the
roster of talented musicians that have
been part of the N.F.B. I'm convinced
that there may be some truth to those

Mike Somavilla
The Novato Frank Band
1977 / 1989

Frank Bonomolo, voc, guitar, harmonica, Band Ring Leader
John Cipollina, lead guitar, Terry & the Pirates, QMS
Bill Middle John Wilmes, guitar, Jerry Corbett
Greg Douglass, guitar, Terry & the Pirates, Greg Kihn
Nicky Hopkins, piano, The Who, Terry & the Pirates
Jim McPherson, piano, Terry & the Pirates, High Noon
Hutch Hutchinson, bass, Terry & the Pirates, Bonnie Raitt
Mario Cipollina, bass, Airplay, Terry & the Pirates
Greg Anton, drums, Terry & the Pirates
Greg Elmore, drums, Terry & the Pirates
Scott Joss, violin, Merl Haggard, Dwight Yoakam
Ben Perkoff, sax, Mike Bloomfield
Max Perkoff, trombone, King Perkoff Band
Chris Templeton, pedal steel, Dan Hicks
Ray islay, guitar
Foster Orr, keyboards
Steve Kimock, guitar, Goodman Brothers, Ghosts
Barry Melton, background vocals, Dinosaurs
Greta Rose, background vocals, Ghosts
Collene Callahan, background vocals, Lady & the Boys
Linda Howard, percussion, Transitor Rodeo
Mickey Hart, drums, High Noon
Steve Schuster, sax, Jefferson Starship
Larry Rucksnaitus, bass, Admiral Boogie Band
Tor Dietrichson, percussion, Diga Rhythm Band
Martin Fierro, sax, Shades of Joy, Mother Earth
Spencer Dryden, drums, Terry & the Pirates, Dinosaurs
Doug Kilmer, bass, Nick Gravenites, Blue Cheer
Bobby Vega, bass, Paul Butterfield
Buddy Cage, pedal steel, Bob Dylan, Terry & the Pirates
Don Gaynor, guitar, Ghosts, The Shieks
Kathi McDonald, vocals, Terry & the Pirates
Allen Weintraub, guitar, Screaming Eyeballs
Steve Wolf, bass, Zero
Tif Garcia, guitar, Admiral Boogie Band

CD booklet back cover:

Mickey Hart made my dream come true to the highest degree ever conceivable. Here I was with some of the greatest musicians ever, doing it Novato style. Once I started, I couldn't stop, I was hooked. I never dreamed that the pipedream I'd smoked all those years was coming true. After the "Marijuana"/"Grow Your Own" single was finished Mickey said to me "You caught me a pig and I caught your attention, now the rest is up to you". John Cipollina, Middle John, Nicky Hopkins and myself became the recruiters of a 12 year musical journey of all time, not to mention the inseparable bonding of lifelong brothers.

Frank Bonomolo

Being a member of Novato Frank Band is something akin to a lifetime membership in a street gang. I met and played with a lot of great people in this band. John Cipollina, Greg Anton and Frank Bonomolo have all had profound and lasting effects on both my life and my music.

John has now passed through to The Great Beyond, as have Nicky Hopkins, Jim McPherson and Foster Orr. If I could speak to any of these guys, I would have to ask them, "Does God really have a girlfriend that sings?". We had a lot of fun making this music and over the years the friendships born of our shared interest in freedom and rock and roll have become bastions of depth and permanence in an often shallow and impermamnet world.

There are far too many tales to tell in a few short paragraphs and many of them will never be told, but as long as any of us are still breathing, there will always be another adventure, another tale, and one more song to sing.

Middle John

When asked to write something about the Novato Frank Band, I had no idea where to begin; there were so many misadventures both on and off stage. Words can't begin to express how I feel to have worked with John Cipollina, Nicky Hopkins and the other cast of characters, thinking of those guys never fails to bring a smile to my face.

On of my fondest memories as a professional musician is when the band was hanging out at Frank's auto repair shop, when an elderly woman pulled up in her Cadillac. Frank asks her when the last time she had had the air in her tires changed, she said she hadn't. Frank let the air out, put it back in, charged her ten bucks and sent her on her merry way. He's just lucky it wasn't "my" mother.

Greg Anton

Release History
LabelCat NoCountryFormatDate
Legend MusicLR 101FranceCD1995

Riverside Dodge Car Lot, Roseville, CA, September 29, 1985

CD 1
2.Baby Want You Want Me To Do
3.Who Do You Love
4.Rock 'N' Roll Heaven
5.I'd Do It All Again *
6.Me And Bobby McGee *
7.Ball And Chain *
8.Band intros
9.Reelin' And Rockin'
CD 2
1.Bring It Up
2.Bring It On Home To Me *
3.Dreams *
4.Baby Please Don't Go
5.Ride Out
6.Susie Q
7.Jessie James
8.Searchin' Blues
CD 3
3.Butcher's Boy

Frank Bonomolovocals, harmonica
John Cipollinaguitar, vocals
Barry Meltonguitar, vocals
Greg Douglassguitar, vocals
Doug Kilmerbass
Greg Antondrums
Greg Elmoredrums
Ben "King" Perkoffhorns
Colleen Callahanvocals *

Cotati Cabaret, Cotati, CA, November 7, 1984

Disc 1:
1.Intro > Instrumental8:30
4.Rock 'N' Roll Heaven4:47
5.Short Time Fever9:39
6.Barry Melton Intro > Wine, Women & Whiskey5:42
7-8.//Love Machine//
(jump in and end cut, i guess they had tape problems)
9.Honky Tonk Jekyll & Hyde6:59
10.Ball & Chain *8:39
Disc Two:
1.Tuning & Talking1:00
2.Giving My Love Away6:02
3.I Had Do It All Again8:37
4.Peeping and Hiding7:43
5.Who Do You Love +15:44
6.Get Ready *6:30
7.Bring It On Home *6:06
8.Baby Please Don't Go15:12

Excellent soundboard recording, exciting show.

1st generation reel to reel > revox > behringer ultra curve pro deq 2496 audio equalizer > amplifiers > tascam audio cdrw750 > cd > computer > plex tool professional XL > wav > flac.

Transfered, remastered & uploaded by 38f on Dime, January 2007.

Frank Bonomolovocals
John Cipollinaguitars

Barry Meltonguitarsd1 5 - 10, d2
Greg Antondrums
Steve Wolfbass
Greg Elmoredrums
Jimmy Smithkeyboards
Ben Perkoffsax
Steve Kimockguitars

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Last updated: 28-March-2019