Friday, January 18, 2008
Get it while you can
If Janis Joplin had lived, she would have been 65 on January 19. I was a huge fan of hers back in the 60s. That's my ink drawing of her that I did sometime when I was in high school.
I’ll bet you she would have wandered back to Austin occasionally, maybe to play at La Zona Rosa, or more likely at Threadgill’s where she had some history. Kenneth Threadgill hooked up with Janis before she got famous, gave her an opportunity to sing on his stage -- her first job singing! [LINK] She remained his close friend, and even went way out of her way, at great expense and hassle, to sing at his 70th birthday party (just 3 months before she died). They held the party out in a field that is about a mile from where I live now. [LINK] Back in 1970, I didn't live here though, I lived in Florida.
She appeared on the Dick Cavett show a few times (Dick Cavett was delightful, wasn’t he? He seemed so straight-laced, that was his schtick, but was really pretty savvy and not at all clueless), and I love those interviews. I recorded one of them by holding the mic from my cheesy reel-to-reel tape recorder up to the dinky mono TV speaker. Well, crap quality was all we could get... kind of like YouTube these days... the quality is crap but the material is *there* at least.
I finally got to see her play at the Atlanta Pop Festival 1969. I was there with a bunch of friends and my mother as well. My mother was not there to watch me, she was there for the party, just like the rest of us. Here she is at another rock festival later that year. Note the boots in the window. We were having some down time, resting, reading, playing the guitar or otherwise getting prepped for the shows. That weekend she managed to get backstage by telling the guard that she was Janis Joplin’s mother! She was always dressed in bright patterns, stylish vintage thrift store stuff, and accessorized with fascinating and beautiful old or handmade jewelry pieces. Anyway, the guy fell for it! Then he ran her off when he figured out that she had fooled him, and she didn’t get to see Janis or anyone else back there, but she did have that little story to savor. I saw Janis' show, then she came out later and joined Johnny Winter on stage (one of my favorite guitar players, and in his prime one month before Woodstock). He was hugging her (with his guitar still strapped on) and they were spinning around so that I thought sure they were both going to tumble into the crowd.
Janis, here's to you, heart and soul, you are remembered.
Mural at top from wall of Cheapo Disks, Austin, TX
Tags: Music - Austin - Texas - Texas Music - Janis Joplin