Girl at Lindo Lake © Robert Sommers 2018

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


I posted a Tommy Bolin clip a while back and got a response from Kerry about Bolin's band Zephyr. I don't know much about Bolin except that he was a wild partier and a scorching guitar player. Finnigan knew Bolin.

I was listening to Deep Tracks this morning when a nice Zephyr track came up. Pretty female vocalist who like Tommy came to a tragic end. Both were founding members of the pioneer Colorado band, The Legendary 4Nikators. One of the later Zephyr bass players, Otis Taylor, is friends with  friends, have met him a few times.

Kerry sent this over today:

Back in 1969 I was going to visit my parents in Pacific Northwest. I was pretty much living on the streets in Laguna Beach. I remember the night before I was to drive to Oregon I was at a party in LA and it rained all night. I had a classic 1948 Chevy panel truck, which I was living in at the time. I crashed right in front of the house where the party was at. But I spent the night tripping on acid so I didn't get much sleep. I got up at dawn with only a couple hours of sleep I started my journey to Oregon. In contrast to the night before it was a nice clear day. It had rained so much the night before that the Kern River was overflowing and they were talking about closing the bridge over it, but I made it through.
I drove all day through the Central Valley.

As evening came I approached the Bay Area. I Somehow knew of a concert that Love and Zephyr were having at the Avalon Ballroom that night. I was by myself and a little bit scared of going into the City alone. But I decided to go for it and jumped on the Bay Bridge. Love was always one of my favorite groups, I had grown up listening to them and I had met Arthur Lee in LA. When I got close to the Avalon Ballroom I remembered that there was virtually no parking in all of downtown San Francisco and it was going to be hard to find a place to park my truck, let alone, find a safe place to park. But as I neared the Avalon I saw a empty parking place only a block away!

The next thing I knew I was inside the Avalon Ballroom. It was pretty much the same place it had been a few years earlier but with a little less energy. Somehow you could feel it. The Haight Ashbury days were winding down. From the outside it looked like any office building in the Van Ness St. business area, but as you walked up the stairs you entered the most classic place in the whole world to see a concert. It was the most psychedelic of all the concert halls. It was small, but not too small and it had retained its ballroom look from years past with big chandeliers and velveteen curtains. No bad seats in this place, in fact the only seats in it were a few upstair balcony seats, if you were lucky enough to find one.

I cannot remember much about the concert. I do remember Zephyr and Candy Givens, a powerful singer who was pegged to be the next Janis Joplin, and the great guitarist Tommy Bolin. I somehow thought it was a summer night (ed. It was March) because it was a real warm night in San Francisco and I vaguely remember Love, who were in a latter phase of the band, probably not one of the best concerts I saw of them. Cannot even remember the other group Mad River (although the next day I drove across the Mad River near Eureka, on my way to Oregon)

When the concert was over it was about two in morning. I hung out in the front of Avalon with a large group of stoned hippies that were like me wishing that the concert would never end. The fog was gently rolling in and it was a magical way to end the night.  At the top of the steps was singer songwriter Dino Valente who looked so cool in his leather gambler's hat and turquoise jewelry. He was sermonizing to any stray female to continue the party. I think that I all of a sudden panicked that my truck wouldn't be there and where was I going to sleep tonight?

I got back to my good ole panel truck found my way through the city and crossed the Golden Gate Bridge. I ended up pulling in to Jack London State Park in Napa around four in morning. I slept for about two hours and got up early to avoid paying for a campsite... Abbie Hoffman would of been proud of me! Where did I get all that energy? I was young, dumb, stoned, and happy as a lark....on the road. 


Ken Seals said...

on the road... = no responsibility!
One doesn't have to have lived that lifestyle to think back and remember the carefree days of youth.

Anonymous said...

Brings back lots of memories. I was in Boulder in 67 & 68 and they were one of the “house bands” of that era. I even got to jam with Tommy for about 5 minutes once until he realized that he had smoked all our dope and I was a really lame guitarist anyway. Snotty little prick, bless his heart.

I was never the greatest fan of Zephyr, even though I must have heard them a dozen times. Their keyboard player was great, but Candy’s voice I thought was thin and Tommy had flashes of brilliance between bouts of confusion. There were a couple of other guitarists around then who I thought were better.

I had to look online last night because I had no recollection of Tommy or Candy having anything to do with the 4Nikators. There was an association, but I think they came a lot later. The core of the 4Nikators were a 50’s revival group called Flash Cadillac and became the Nikators later. I haven’t talked to Otis in a couple days, but I’ll get more info, the timeline for that whole period is murky to say the least.