Chet Stomp News

For Immediate Release 10/14/08

At long last, after 3 years of editing and mixing, 2b1 Multimedia Inc. is proud to announce the release of the Chet Helms Tribal Stomp.” The package consists of four DVD’s and two CD’s from the October 2005 concert in Golden Gate Park. Many have called it “the event of the century”. The collection centers on the life of Chet Helms, his influence on the 60’s and the Family Dog.


What: The Family Dog’s “Chet Helms Tribal Stomp” Memorial concert, sneak preview screening party, Pot Luck.


When: November 7th, 7pm to 12pm.


Where: 2b1 Multimedia Inc. 3075 17th Street, SF (cross street Folsom)


Admission: Free (Open to the Public)


Box Set Highlights: 4 DVD’s and 2 CD’s covering 29 bands, 50 
interviews (including people who worked at the Family Dog), Poster & 
Photo Gallery (The Family Dog), history & liner notes, HD 5 camera 
video, digitally mastered video and audio, outtakes and much more.  
Featuring: Paul Kantner and friends, Blue Cheer, Country Joe, Barry 
“The Fish” Melton, Lydia Pense, Vince Welnick, David LaFlamme, Canned 
, members of Steve Miller’s band with Squid Vicious, Nick 
, Annie Sampson, Zero, Quicksilver Gold, Narada Michael 
, Wavy Gravy, The Charlatans, Terry Haggerty, Jerry Miller, Dan 
Hicks and the Hot Lick s
, Rowan Brothers, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Roy 
, Natural Act, Jeff Blackburn, James Gurley, Faith Petrice, Roy 
Blumenfeld, Stephen Gaskin, Michael McClure, Wavy Gravy.


For Information Contact: Boots Hughston, 415 861-1520

2b1 Multimedia Inc.
3075 17st,
San Francisco, Ca 94110

Published in: on October 22, 2008 at 5:45 pm  Comments (1)  

Mea Culpa

During the past few days I have been gently chided by my Faithful Reader and both of my sporadic ones, which is the most action I’ve had in years so I thank them for that. Their chiding centered on the recent paucity of posts to these pages, if these pages are, in fact, pages at all.

The readers are, of course, right; there hasn’t been much happening here for a while. But I can offer excuse for my apparent slothfulness and laziness in two words: baseball.

On September 17, 1954 my grandfather, a rabid baseball fan, took me to my first major league game at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium. The game featured his beloved, hometown Indians against the hated New York Yankees, whom he considered to be the spawns of Satan. I remember very little about the game, except that Mickey Mantle thrilled my seven-year-old self by cranking a majestic homerun into the right field stands.

But I was hooked, and ever since that hazy, muggy, fall afternoon on the shore of Lake Erie, I have been somewhat obsessive about baseball in general and the Cleveland Indians in particular. (For the relentlessly Politically Correct amongst us, I should point out that the team was allegedly named, in a turn-of-the-previous-century poll sponsored by a Cleveland newspaper, in honor of the fans’ favorite player, Louis Sockalexis, a full-blooded Penobscot from Maine who was known as “The Deerfoot of the Diamond.”)

In any event, I am a full-blooded baseball junkie, especially in October when the playoffs and World Series roll around. Doesn’t matter if the Indians are involved or not; I can always muster enough emotional involvement to feel elated or distressed no matter who is playing.

Since 1959, I have missed exactly three innings of the World Series. It happened in 1978 – Dodgers vs Yankees – when I had to take my nine-year-old son to his youth soccer game. And I have, to my ongoing shame, never let him forget it.

Well, the playoffs end tonight and the 2008 World Series begins at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

So my annual October hibernation shall continue for a while longer.

But, despite the distractions of baseball, political debates and wondering if Sarah Palin would ever appear on “Saturday Night Live” with Tina Fey (she did, last night), I am nearing the completion of “Road Trip, Part II,” the epic story of my journey to Chet Helms’ birthplace to meet his cousin. So please hang in there, or here.

Thank you for your understanding and your patience, both of which I assume you possess in abundant quantities.

Published in: on October 19, 2008 at 9:37 pm  Comments (6)  

I Need A Miracle Every…Like, Three Months Or So

So there I was, sitting at my computer one evening a week ago Saturday, working on what I consider to be the pivotal chapter of the Chet Helms story, when my phone rang.

As is my habit, I let the machine answer, picking up only after I heard a familiar voice. The caller was Marilyn Jones McGrew, an invaluable source with whom I have developed a deep friendship during the past few months. She had been friends with Lorraine Hayman, Chet’s wife, in high school in Los Angeles and they had been roommates when they landed in San Francisco. Consequently, she also had a long friendship with Chet that began well before his involvement with Family Dog.

Now what you need to know about Marilyn is that she is, in the increasingly ancient vernacular, a real ‘trip.’ She’s very smart, very high energy and tends to be a bit excitable and exuberant in conversation. It’s like she’s always about three or four steps ahead of me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to her, “M-a-r-i-l-y-n… I’m getting there.”

(You can read more about Marilyn and see a 1940’s, Hollywood-style photograph of her here:

Marilyn, who lives on a sprawling, non-producing (if you know what I mean) compound in Northern California’s Mendocino County, was calling from Berkeley. She had come to the Bay Area to spend the weekend with a friend. Earlier that Saturday night she and her friend had attended a show at a local art gallery and that’s what prompted her call to me. Well, not the show itself, but rather someone she had met there. Back in the day, Marilyn had an interest in clothing design and her eye was caught by a dress worn by a fellow gallery attendee whose artwork was among those on display. (Actually, ‘fellow’ is probably the wrong word; “a beautiful woman” is how Marilyn described her. But of course you knew what I meant.)

Marilyn approached the woman and asked if her dress was vintage. The woman said she had no idea because it had been a gift and the two of them soon fell to chatting about one thing or another. At some point during their conversation, the name Chet Helms was mentioned. Turns out that although they hadn’t known each other, they had both known Chet. Marilyn then told me a great Chet/Luria Castell story, circa January ’66, the woman in the vintage-or-not-dress had related to her. She told me the woman was researching and writing a book about the women of the Haight Ashbury during ‘That Time’ and had fairly recently spent some time in New Mexico with Luria, one of the four Family Dog founders. She also told me she had mentioned that I was writing Chet’s biography and the woman had said she’d be more than happy to talk to me about Chet.

“And then Lucy said…”

“Lucy?” I said, interrupting Marilyn for a change, rather than the other way around. “What’s her last name?”

“I don’t remember.”

“Is her name Lucy L.?”

“Maybe. That sounds familiar. I have it written down. It’s in my purse.”

I asked Marilyn if she’d mind checking. She put down the phone and was back a few moments later.

“Yes, her name is Lucy L.”

OK, so who is Lucy L.? I mean, besides an allegedly beautiful woman with a certain fashion sense who knew some of the S.F. originals and is writing a book?

I had no idea.

I did, however, know the name because a gentleman named Christopher Newton, a San Francisco native who writes a wonderful ’60s-oriented blog called The Pondering Pig, had published a Lucy L. piece many months earlier about a dream he’d had, a dream in which she was the centerpiece. The writing of this piece was brilliant and it, along with the name Lucy L., stuck in my mind.

Naturally I was anxious to talk to Lucy L. about her memories of Chet, but that would have to wait awhile because Marilyn said she was going out of town on vacation. So I contented myself with calling Luria Castell, with whom I have spoken many times during the past two-and-a-half years, and asking her about the story Lucy L. had told Marilyn a few nights earlier. Although a minor detail or two divurged from Lucy L.’s version of an incident that occured more that 42 years ago (imagine that), Luria confirmed the story. She also told me that Lucy had spent some time with her and they had done an extensive interview for Lucy’s book.

The point of all this is, that more than three years into the Chet bio, I have, thanks to Marilyn Jones and her curiosity about a dress, found a new source.

A miracle? Hardly.

But still very cool and I can’t wait to see where it all leads.

Published in: on October 6, 2008 at 4:39 am  Comments (4)