Norman Rogers Quill

Quill Phil Thayer

Quill Phil Thayer

Born on January 20
Quill Phil Thayer
Promo photo of Quill’s appearance on The Dave Garroway Show, two months before Woodstock. Left to right: Jon Cole, Roger North, Dave Garroway, Norman Rogers, Phil Thayer, and Dan Cole.

Phil Thayer played both keyboard and sax for the band Quill, the band that opened day 2–August 16, 1969–of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. Since day 2 was the first day of rock music that weekend, Quill lays claim to the first rock act at Woodstock.

Unfortunately, that gold coin is only a Woodstock footnote. As as unfortunately,  so is Phil Thayer.

Quill Phil Thayer


Of the “million” people around Bethel that weekend, my guess is that the event did not drastically change their lives. Yes, they could forever claim the first-hand experience of an historic event, but an historic event only to those who wanted to listen.

Put in perspective, we were not in Gettysburg in July 1863; on the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941. Such horribly historic events changed the lives of all Americans whether they wanted them changed or not. Woodstock was a great wet weekend of music, but did not change the lives of all Americans.

As I’ve found when doing the other short bios for Woodstock’s performers, while many did continue in music, there were those who had never intended that music would be their lifetime path or those for whom life pushed them off the musical path.

Perhaps there were some for whom it was what it was and life went on. 1979, 1994, and 2019 are just years, not anniversaries.

Quill Phil Thayer


Quill Phil Thayer

Quill came out of Boston.  Brothers Jon and Dan Cole were the founders of the band. Their management, Ray Paret and his partner, David Jenks, “introduced the Coles to three musicians …keyboardist Phil Thayer, guitarist Norm Rogers, and prodigious drummer Roger North. Recognition came quickly. By the summer of 1967, the band was gigging steadily.” [ article]

The band’s reputation grew with their own gigs and as they opened for bigger and bigger acts like The Jeff Beck Group, The Who, The Kinks, Janis Joplin, Velvet Underground.

Quill Phil Thayer

A December 1968 Scene magazine article stated that “It is not almost time for Quill. they deserve to succeed not only here but in every mind and acre in the country. Their success will go a long way forward dispelling the cynical distrust so many show toward the “system” inherent in the music business, because Quill is a group founded on honest musical expression instead of plastic promotional vagaries.”

The same piece applauded Norm Rogers (the band’s guitarist) and Thayer for their contribution “to the most amazing simulation of electronic music in Quill’s live performances.”

Quill Phil Thayer


Fate did seem to smile upon Quill when they received an invite to Woodstock.

They got to rub their elbows (and other joints I suppose) with the bigger names that weekend as well as names like Carlos Santana whose Woodstock bump would be bigger than any other band.

“Festival organizer Michael Lang remembers Quill as a “soft-rock’’ band, chosen for the goodwill tour because they played “rather benign rock and roll.’’  [ibid]

Quill Phil Thayer

1.1 albums

Quill Phil Thayer

Quill did not make the movie. Quill did not make the album despite the fact that Cotillion Records, the company that released the famous 3-disc set, had also signed Quill and released their album in 1970.

Less than rave reviews led to Jon’s departure and although the band recorded a second album, Cotillion did not release it.

According to a WoodsTALK blog entry by Bethel Woods Museum director Wade Lawrence, Phil Thayer dropped out of sight after Quill broke up and is presumed to be living in Florida.

Having said that, it seems that Phil may have played saxophone with the Allman Brothers at a Swathmore, PA concert on May 2, 1970 suggesting he continued at least for a time.

And there is a Facebook page for a Phil Thayer who lives in Casselberry, Florida. Of his friends, there is an Amanda Cole listed who is the daughter of Jon Cole (or Dan?).

Quill Phil Thayer


AND…back in late May 2018, some of the Quill band got together for the first time in 49 years at the Dancing Cat Saloon, nearby the original Woodstock festival site. Among them was Phil Thayer. I think he is the middle person with one of the Cole brothers on the left and Roger North on the right.

Quill Phil Thayer

Quill Phil Thayer

2 thoughts on “Quill Phil Thayer”

  1. Phil Thayer is alive and well and living in Florida. He played with Quill at the Yasgur’s Road Reunion this past summer. And that is indeed Phil in the photo.

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