September 8: Happy birthday Phillip Wilson, drummer with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, born in 1941. Continue reading Phillip Wilson
Being in the right place at the right time is luck. Being talented and in the right place at the right time is fate. Baron Wolman is the very talented photographer whose pictures help us know American life far better than had he not taken them.
Rolling Stone magazine
After getting a taste of photography while in the Army, Wolman lived in (the right place) San Francisco. Wolman was no Boomer (he was born on June 25, 1937), but Jann Wenner was when the two met in April 1967. The 21-year-old Wenner wanted Wolman to be the photographer for a rock music magazine Wenner had in mind. Wolman said he'd work for free if he could keep ownership of his pictures. A wise quid pro quo. Rolling Stone magazine would not have been the same without Wolman's pictures. Baron was Rolling Stone's photographer from 1967 to 1970, a short time, but perhaps no better stretch to be a part of the scene Rolling Stone wanted to cover. He says that he "shot his best stuff in '68 and '69...those were the halcyon days." His photos graced cover after cover of the magazine revealing the famous, the emerging, and behind the scene.
Woodstock Music and Art Fair
He photographed, not surprisingly, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair and those photos are perhaps the best of any taken there. While shooting Santana that hot Saturday afternoon, Bill Graham took Wolman's camera to shoot a picture of Baron. No selfies then. His street-sign photo in the wooded Bindy Bazaar, the festivals "merch" area, now graces the entrance to Bethel Woods Center for the Arts--albeit slightly photo-shopped.
“True fashion starts on the street“
After Rolling Stone, Baron Wolman changed direction slightly and started to concentrate on fashion with his Rags magazine. As many knew, fashion trends often begin outside of actual fashion studios when someone decides that "others may think this combination odd, but it looks good" and a year later models are walking the runways with it.
He followed the Oakland Raiders in 1974 and produced Oakland Raiders: The Good Guys (1975)
Learning to fly
Wolman learned to fly and took pictures of California from his plane ( California From the Air: The Golden Coast (1981)) or pictures of Israel (The Holy Land: Israel From the Air (1987))
Santa Fe today
Wolman now lives in Sante Fe, New Mexico and continues to photograph and be a beacon of light both toward the future and from the past. He regularly posts on his musings and observations on his Facebook page. He is also on Instagram.
Quill at Woodstock
The Unknown Band of Woodstock
On my docent tours at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts I relate my small piece of the very large Woodstock Music and Art Fair tale. Musically, my own story begins on Saturday 16 August around noon. I tell guests that the opening band that day was Quill and wait. Not surprisingly and sadly, the guests' faces express ignorance of Quill. That 2017 lack of recognition was true, too, in 1969. The same could have been said for Santana, but we all know what their Woodstock appearance did for them. Quill did not make it to either the film or the soundtrack, but they did make it onto my one roll of Kodachrome film. I experimented and held my binoculars to the lens of my 35 mm camera and jury-rigged a zoom lens. When I eventually saw the slide I was disappointed in its lack of focus and black ring. Today, guests talk about how "cool" the picture looks. Thank you!
Woodstock Ventures had hired Quill not just to play at the festival itself, but as a good will gesture to play for free in the Bethel area before the festival. According to a Wikipedia entry: The basic line up included Roger North on drums, Norman Rogers on guitar and Phil Thayer on keyboard, sax and flute, with brothers Jon Cole on bass and Dan Cole doing the bulk of the lead vocals. Out of this combination, and with the Cole brothers' focus on original songwriting came 'Quill', which was then signed as a group to Amphion Management. The band spent 1967, 1968 and 1969 regularly playing rock venues in Boston, Providence, and New York, as well as many other smaller markets around the Northeast.
Quill at Woodstock
Here's a Youtube link to their performance at Woodstock. There is a long intro with many different stage announcements. Stage Announcements: 0:01 > They Live The Life: 7:11 > That's How I Eat: 16:06 > Waiting For You: 22:03 > Jam: 23:07
More of what others say
According to the AllMusic site: Most of the songwriting was handled by Jon and Dan Cole, who were highly literate and tended to deliver fairly complex pieces that lent themselves to elaborate performances, sometimes involving some heavy audience participation as well -- in 1967 and 1968, amid the psychedelic haze of the era, it all seemed very much of a piece with the times and quite effective, at least based on the accounts of those who were there. Their reputation was sufficient to get them opening act spots for artists such as Jeff Beck, Deep Purple, Buddy Guy, and Janis Joplin, and their appearance at Steve Paul's Scene in New York City earned them a booking at Woodstock, but they never made the cut for the movie, owing to a technical flaw in their footage. They did get signed to Cotillion Records, but the resulting debut album languished in stores without the help of exposure from the Woodstock movie. Jon Cole left not too long after to pursue his own musical horizons, and the remaining members found their effort at a second album rejected by Cotillion. Quill had broken up by 1971 -- ironically, they received perhaps the greatest international exposure of their history 38 years later with the release of Woodstock 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur's Farm, a six-CD set that contained two of the four songs they did at the festival. Roger North is probably the most well-recognized ex-member of Quill, with a lengthy performing career that followed over the next couple of decades (including a stint with the Holy Modal Rounders) as well as his renown, in percussionist circles, as the inventor of North Drums, an unusual and highly specialized design of kit, which he played from the late '60s onward.
Roger North went on to build drums, called North Drums. Here is an interview about that:
Amanda Cole is the daughter of Jon Cole. She has plans to put together a film about Quill. If anyone has any first-hand account of seeing the band or some other Quill-related information, you can contact Amanda via her Facebook page.
Quill at Woodstock, Quill at Woodstock, Quill at Woodstock