Finding a poster or a set of posters associated with a particular band or performer is easy at Classic Posters. Whether you are seeking to collect a set of posters and handbills for a particular band or performer, or looking for a single poster for a concert held on a specific date at a venue where a band or performer appeared, by using the Classic Posters Search by Performer Index you will have access to a comprehensive database of classic posters printed to advertise the appearances of more than 500 bands and performers at music venues throughout the United States and Canada in the 1960s and 1970s. Each Classic Poster collection by band or performer presents a directory of live performance dates, places, and thumbnail poster images so that finding posters is both quick and easy.
The following section presents a chronology of the debut performances at San Francisco rock music venues by nine local bands: The Charlatans, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Grateful Dead, Big Brother & the Holding Company, Sopwith Camel, Country Joe & the Fish, Steve Miller Blues Band, and Moby Grape. The extraordinary posters that promoted their early performances are among the best, most rare, and most collectible examples of psychedelic poster art.
Formed in San Francisco in the summer of 1964; sometimes called the first acid rock band. Charlatans Mike Ferguson and George Hunter produced a rock concert poster to promote The Charlatans’ June 1965 performances at the Red Dog Saloon in Virginia City, Nevada. This poster — known as “The Seed” — is said to be the first “psychedelic” concert poster.
Featured Posters for the Charlatans (click on images for full description):
Featured Posters for Jefferson Airplane (click on images for full description):
Note: QMS played its first paid gig for the Christmas party of the S.F. comedy troupe “The Committee.” Drummer Greg Elmore and guitarist Jim Murray were added to fill out the original band. It was a band without a name, Cipollina recalled: “Jim Murray and David Freiberg came up with the name. Me and Freiberg were born on the same day, and Gary and Greg were born on the same day, we were all Virgos and Murray was a Gemini. And Virgos and Geminis are all ruled by the planet Mercury. Another name for Mercury is Quicksilver. And then, Quicksilver is the messenger of the Gods, and Virgo is the servant, so Freiberg says ‘Oh, Quicksilver Messenger Service’.”
For more on QMS, see John Barthel’s interview with David Freiberg at: www.penncen.com/quicksilver/freiberg/interview.html
Featured Posters for Quicksilver Messenger Service (click on images for full description):
Featured Posters for Grateful Dead (click on images for full description):
Note: At the urging of her friend, Chet Helms (Big Brother’s manager), Janis Joplin traveled to San Francisco from Texas on June 5, 1966 and auditioned for band members on June 6 at Stanley Mouse’s Henry Street studio where the band was living. At the group’s first Avalon performance with their new vocalist, Joplin reportedly sang only two songs during the whole set, sitting out lengthy freak-rock interludes atop an amplifier, banging a tambourine. Later, Joplin asked for a better microphone and got band members to lower their amp settings to showcase her vocals.
Featured Posters for Big Brother and the Holding Company (click on images for full description):
Note: “...We played a few cover tunes from folk-rock to blues like every other band did and we had our own brand of improvisational music. It was psychedelic/rock noise on the one hand and an attempt to rock classical style passages on the other hand ... We used a VW bus and then an ambulance to take equipment around. In less than six months time we were offered a record contract from Kama Sutra Records and asked to go to New York to travel with the Lovin Spoonful ... We arrived in the Village on the corner of McDougal and Bleeker in front of the Night Owl Cafe, Allen Ginsburg and one of the Fugs, greeted us with hugs and kisses. I bet that didn’t happen to many bands. We were the first hippie band out of the Bay Area. We opened at the Night Owl Cafe with Lothar and the Hand People. It was to get weirder as we toured the coast playing second bill to the Spoonful and promoting our hit record ‘Hello-Hello’ ...”
From: Norm Mayell’s website: www.sopwithcamel.com/norm.html
Featured Posters for Sopwith Camel (click on images for full description):
Featured Posters for Country Joe and the Fish (click on images for full description):
Featured Posters for Steve Miller Blues Band (click on images for full description):
Featured Posters for Moby Grape (click on images for full description):