Tuesday, November 14, 2006

On anyone that lives in a vault

Bill Graham is perhaps the West Coast’s most famous concert/band promoter/manager. He basically built up the 'West Coast' music scene in the states single handily. He was born in Berlin and came to America during the war alone, sent by his family, many of whom were sent to Auschwitz. He was a great man who loved music and unfortunately died in a helicopter crash in 1991.

There’s this excellent book called Hotel California which is the story of this 'West Coast' music scene. Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills & Nash, the Eagles, Gram Parsons, Tom Waits, Randy Newman are all the major actors in this great event where popular music’s power centre shifted from New York City to the sunny suburbs of LA and a place called Laurel Canyon (name-checked in a few of Neil Young’s songs). It's a riveting read and a great book on this period of music which is sometimes neglected by most musical writers.

As with almost everything in music it all ended in too much sex and drugs and rock 'n roll and the once idealistic hippy singer-songwriters became bloated druggies and drifted away. But Bill Graham stayed on and continued to promote bands.

Anyway the reason I am telling you this is because he kept souvenirs from every single show he ever worked on. He had a massive collection of tickets, posters, T-shirts, audio and video recordings which can be bought online at Wolfgang’s vault, a website set up to sell this stuff.

They’ve just started something called Vault Radio where they have over 300 concerts which can be audio-streamed through the internet to your computer, and for free! (you do need to register though) Namecheck a 1960s and 1970s band and they will be on there, the complete alphabetical list can be seen here. Some random highlights include:

Bruce Springsteen at Winterland, 12 November 1978.
Bob Marley & the Wailers at Oakland auditorium, 30 November 1974.
Crosby Stills Nash and Young at Filmore East, 6 June 1970.
Led Zeppelin at Filmore West, 10 January 1969.
The Band at Boston Garden, 14 January 1974.

Check out Vault Radio now, and thanks to my friend Paolo and his blog for alerting me to this, this is something all classic rock music fans should check out. You see, this is why the internet is great.

It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)


Paolo Vites said...

hey! so you can read italian! that wolfgang is a gas, innit? :-)

James K said...

I'm half English half French so I can kind of understand Italian when it is written down in front of me.

There's so much on there that I want to check out and those posters and t-shirts are all great.

Anonymous said...

Dont touch WIKILEAKS, faked DEMOCRACY!!!
Hih you hear me??

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