Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Tag: carlos santana (Page 1 of 2)

A Mexican, A Jew, And Jerry Garcia Walk Into A Bar…

Men shouldn’t wear white pants. Jeans, slacks, sweats; whatever.


Holy shit, Garcia’s not smoking.


People often forget that Santana is 5’3″ at best.


Oof, fruit plate.


Wait. I think that’s a health salad. This is Marin County in 1978, and that was ground zero for health salad.


When the Nazis orphan you at the age of five, you’re allowed to be pissed off the rest of your life.

Don’t Ever Talk To Me Or My Son Ever Again

Fun fact: the Russian rock show that Bill Graham was telling stories about yesterday? It really happened. Look:

And read.

Steve Wozniak really did pay for it, too, at least the first half-a-million. (The subsequent cash infusions were just Bill Graham embellishing the story.)

Funner fact: If the Woz wants a shoulder-pocket, then the Woz gets a fucking shoulder-pocket.

Back In The U.S.S.R.

You look like Chico Marx.

“Shut up, putz. This is how you open up the conversation? With insults and little jokes? I’ll throw your ass out of here, buster.”

I’m in my own house.

“You think this matters to Bill Graham? I’ve thrown people out of their own houses before. I knew they would cause trouble at the show that night, so I swung by their pads in the afternoon and 86’ed ’em. Never saw it coming. Most thanked me for the professional manner in which I tossed them out a window.”

Why would they thank you?

“I opened the window first. Most promoters wouldn’t do that. John Scher used to buy orphans just so he could hurl them through plate-glass. A real schmendrick, that guy. Not Bill Graham. I go the extra mile The crowd needs? I provide. The artist wants? I get. Carlos Santana needs cocaine in Moscow during the Cold War? I get.

“Phone rings. This is ’86. That schmuck with the splotch, whatshisname, he’s in charge over there. Gorbachev! Gorby, right, Gorby. This guy’s no Kruschev. Wants to open up the Soviet Union a little bit. Not too much. Just a bit. Economy’s terrible and the kids are getting ansty. Figures a rock concert might mellow them out. There’s no bread in the country, so he’ll import a circus.

“I pick up. It’s Gorby. I scream at him in Yiddish for ten minutes and hang up.

“Phone rings again. Gorby again. Now I got him on the ropes! Little nudnik thought he was talking to some moron like Reagan, may he rot in Hell that bastard. Who’s this asshole ever negotiated with? I could get 80% of the door and all the tee-shirt revenue from him with my dick tied behind my back, never mind broadcast fees. Putz.

“At this point, I still do not know why he’s calling.

“He tells me about his idea. Rock concert in Moscow. My mind starts racing. Bill Graham presents The Wall behind the Iron Curtain! Bill Graham presents Bruce Springsteen in Red Square! The Stones. Baruch hashem, the Stones. I might just end the Cold War myself through the power of my promoting.

“Then he tells me about his budget. I end up begging Steve Wozniak for half-a-mil and hiring the Doobie Brothers, Santana, Bonnie Raitt, and Jackson Browne. I didn’t have to pay Jackson because of a favor he owed me about a thing I didn’t tell anyone about.

“We fly in. I got 40, 50 people with me. Lights, production, lawyers, a couple CIA guys I knew through the Dead. Every one of us is wearing at least a dozen pairs of Levi’s, and we peel them off throughout the day in exchange for drinks and Communist blowjobs. Go to the stadium. Dynamo, it’s called. DEE-nah-mo. Place looks like if concrete could take a shit. Gloomiest fuckin’ stadium you’ve ever seen. We ask to see the power supply: it’s a babushka holding an extension cord. We’re gonna have to bring in everything.

“When I get back, I ask Steve Wozniak for another half-a-mil.

“He says yes, but only under one condition.

“What, Steve? Anything, I say.

“I wanna meet the Doobie Brothers, he tells me.

“So I stare at the phone for about a minute wondering if I’m being fucked with. I’ve met the Doobie Brothers a million times. Never that fun. Who am I to judge? Woz wants an audience with the Doobies, then he gets one.

“The show! We’re going to Moscow! I got two passenger planes and a cargo plane for the equipment. Carlos Santana talks to a stewardess about Jesus for the entire flight. The Doobies are drunk and crawling under seats to bite ankles. That one with the hair like a girl and a mustache does it hard, too. Bonnie Raitt has talked one of the pilots into letting her fly. Jackson Browne has accidentally been loaded into the cargo plane. Rock and roll, baby.

“Upon landing, all of the equipment and Jackson Browne are confiscated by the Red Army and held for ransom. I call Woz and ask him if he’d like to meet Santana. He wires me another half-a-mil.

“You thought the stadium was bad before; it’s worse now. Soldiers everywhere, but they’re not in uniform. Track suits and army boots and AK47’s. I start to wonder if maybe a week before I had a psychotic break. Maybe I’m in the booby hatch imagining all this. Because it can’t be happening. It can’t be real. The one thing–the ONE THING–Bill Graham had INSISTED on was that there be no soldiers. How can the kids groove and get loose with all that heat? I’m screaming at the top of my lungs.

“I want to see Fedesov. He’s the big megilla. He’s the macher. Supreme Soviet, this guy. It’s July, and he’s wearing a giant overcoat. I never saw a hat this fuzzy. He’s not used to being yelled at. Well, they called me, motherfucker. ‘Please, Bill Graham, come help our shitty country with no lettuce.’ I didn’t call them.

“I’m serious about that. Didn’t see a piece of lettuce the entire trip.

“So I’m screaming at Fedesov really letting him have it, and the translator’s frozen in fear. You don’t talk to a Supreme Soviet like this!

“But this guy’s tough. He smiles. Says in English,

“Is no soldiers. Is security.

“I start screaming again. Ten full minutes. I WILL PUT MY ACTS BACK ON MY PLANES AND GET THE FUCK OUT OF YOUR NO-LETTUCE-HAVING SHITHOLE, that sort of thing. I’m giving him the full shpritz.

“He says, no can do. Is security.

“This is gonna kill my show. Guys with rifles all around. Something bad’s gonna happen. What if the kids get rambunctious? The Doobies get the party started. Drunken anklebiters that they are, they can turn any floor into a dance floor. It’s a dangerous situation. I play my hole card, which was seeing if Steve Wozniak wanted to meet Bonnie Raitt.

“It turns out he did, and I bribed Fedesov with half of the half-million. I kept the rest in overhead and assorted fees.

“The soldiers marched out of the stadium, and the kids came in. Jackson Browne, who had been bought back from the Russians, played his songs about California. Bonnie Raitt came out and did her thing in a pair of remarkable trousers. These little Commies had never seen pants like this before. Everybody danced to the Doobies, and then Santana closed. There was no politics, no mishegos, nothing. These kids lost their mind for Santana. Rapture. That’s what it was. The whole place was in rapture. This was something new. They’d never heard anything like it, and Santana felt it and so did the band and everyone backstage. It was a magical moment.

“Santana came offstage, demanded cocaine, and threw his sweaty do-rag at me. The magical moment was over.

“Shocking as this may sound, it wasn’t easy to find rock star-grade cocaine in Moscow in 1986. The Doobies and I had to break into a hospital. I got the cocaine for Santana, but all the Doobies were arrested.

“I call Steve Wozniak and ask him if he wants to meet the Grateful Dead.

“He tells me that he’s met them.

“I ask if he wants to meet them again.

“He sends me a half-million dollars, I get the Doobies out of jail, and we fly home. Three years later, the Soviet Union would collapse. Funny story: Fedesov was executed.”

For what?

“Caught him taking bribes.”


We Were Randos Once, And Young

mickey carlos santana hat

“I heard there was a Rando War going on.”

I really hoped this would have blown over by now.

“I got one, too!”

Mickey, that’s not a rando. That’s Carlos Santana.

“Yup, yeah. I see it now.”

Please don’t say–

“Thought it was one of Phil’s busboys.”

–anything racist. Like that.

“Gimme a sec. I got randos coming out of my ass.”


mickey george lucas


The opposite.

“Not a rando?”

I thought you were deaf. Are you blind, too?

“This is not a rando.”


“It’s Steven Spielberg.”

Close enough.

“I can do better.”

But you don’t have to.

“Found one!”

jerry mickey smiling

That’s Garcia.


You’re awful at this game.

“Sure, but look at all the famous people I know.”

Yeah, okay.

Shadowboxing With The Apocalypse Now

bobby santana bill graham

“This is a big show? Weir, you don’t know from big, you little goyische putz. Bill Graham has put on the biggest shows on the planet! If there was a room to book, and a backroom to run, and a take to skim, then Bill Graham had his shmeckle in the pie. I turned down Woodstock because it was small potatoes, and then I did Watkins Glen with only three bands and everyone paid to get in, which is much better. That festival in India where 170 million people show up? Bill Graham consults.

“But Manila was the big one. The great film director Francis Ford Coppola had cast me in Apocalypse Now, which I found to be a bore. First of all, fuck The Doors. You know that little asshole Morrison used to piss on things? Like a puma. He’d show up, go to the dressing room, piss on the couch. Never seen anything like it. And that keyboardist, the twerp. Would follow Morrison around like an apostle. He would tell me “Jim’s a poet. Jim’s a poet.” Well, the poet just pissed on the carpet again. Bullshit band.

“We’re there forever. It’s a million degrees, and a million miles from home. You ever have Filipino food? It’s great. You ever have Filipino food every day? Not so great. After a while, it’s enough already. The great film director Francis Ford Coppola is losing his mind. Martin Sheen has a heart attack. Two of the Playboy Playmates disappeared into the jungle, never to be ogled again. There was a monsoon. And a typhoon. And a cyclone. There was a hurricane, which is impossible in that hemisphere.

“Enter Brando. He was eight hundred pound of crazy in a four hundred pound sack, and spent his days not learning his lines and fucking with everyone. When Sheen came back from his heart attack, Brando would sneak up behind him and yell “Boo!” So Sheen would turn around and tell him to quit it, and Brando would punch him in the chest, hard. Which was over the line, but this is the great Marlon Brando we’re talking about here. If part of his process was assaulting cardiac patients, then so be it. Movies are about movie stars.

“Morale is low. The great director Francis Ford Coppola refuses to wear a shirt, and it’s man-titty city. Playmates keep getting eaten by tigers, everyone in this country needs to be bribed for everything, and Larry Fishburne has sunk three gunboats. There is one pay phone within a hundred miles, and you gotta win a knife fight to use it. Brando calls for me. Anybody else? Kiss my ass, you come here. Brando? I’ll shlep.

“Great big place, Buddhas everywhere. Go in the courtyard, and there’s two Buddhas on either side, ten feet tall. Sitting in the middle of the courtyard with his back to me: Brando. He’s got his head shaved, he’s wearing robes: it’s like there’s three Buddhas. He motions me to come around, and when I do, I see that he’s got one of the Playmates giving him a shlorp. And Brando goes, ‘You want a shlorp?’ I say no. ‘It’s good shlorp,’ he says, and I get to the point and ask the great Marlon Brando why I’m there.

“And he says, ‘I don’t know, Bill? Why are you here?’ And Hopper will fall for his bullshit, but I fled the Nazis, so fuck this fat asshole dragging me out to his house to watch him get shlorped. I let him have it: I’m yelling and screaming in two or three languages and Brando finally lumbers to his feet and he’s just ‘Bill.’ That’s all he said, ‘Bill.’ Like ‘Okay, I know who you are now.’ Just ‘Bill.’ I loved that.

“Not a total asshole after all, just bored. Paid for the Doobie Brothers and Tower of Power to come over and play a show. It was great: whole cast showed up, Sheen died for ten minutes. We opened it to the public, and I did well on the concessions. We sold a lotta fish balls. Turns out Filipinos don’t buy t-shirts at concerts, but I had some printed up anyway so I could give one to the great director Francis Ford Coppola. The show was a success, and Tower of Power made some very groovy sounds and brought people together and no one got eaten by tigers. While I was shooting the film, my marriage fell apart.”

“Bill, I asked how the crowd was.”

“Stoned and plentiful. Same as always.”

“All you had to say.”

North Star Special, Were You On Board?

Musicians Posing Together

  • Joan Baez was the hippie Courtney Love, but with less self-awareness and fewer corpses.
  • I’m not kidding: bearded Mickey is approaching Slender/Boogey/Candy Man levels of scary.
  • That guy on the left? His name is Isaac Rockandrollowitz and the way he wears his yarmulke makes the girls down at the synagogue swoon.
  • Carlos Santana: hockey fan.
  • This was during a weird time in Bobby’s life, emotionally, and he was given to reciting Shakespeare at the top of his lungs when uncomfortable. In this photo specifically, he’s doing St. Crispin’s Day.
  • Fuck that other guy: he looks like the pothead landlord from Tales of the City.
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