Tag Archives: Performers

Canadian Bassist Brad Campbell

Canadian Bassist Brad Campbell

Canadian Bassist Brad Campell

Brad Campbell played at Woodstock as part of Janis Joplin’s Kosmic Blues Band. Of course, like all musicians, he’d had things happen before and many things following.

Canadian Bassist Brad Campbell

Last Words

Canadian Bassist Brad Campell

Though little known in the US, the first big band Brad Campbell would play with was the Canadian band, The Last Words. The original group was comprised of Graeme Box (lead guitar), Ron Guenther (drums) and Noel Campbell (piano).

According to a Barbed Wire Design article, The Last Words began in Clarkson, Ontario in 1961 as the The Beachcombers.  Began and ended after two gigs.

Then, liking Ronnie Hawkins, they became the Nighthawks.

In 1964 Noel Campbell left the band, but before leaving invited brother Brad to join. Brad played bass.

Now they were The Smamokins band, but that soon changed to The Last Words.

Canadian Bassist Brad Campbell

I Symbolize You

Their first single in 1965, The Laugh’s On Me / She’ll Know How, for RCA Canada received very little air play, but in 1966 they hit the Canadian charts with a Columbia release, I Symbolize You / It Made Me Cry.

In late 1966, they released their last charted single, Give Me Time / Drive A Mini Minor, again on Columbia.

Bill Dureen left the group in 1967 and the remaining members continued with three others until 1968. Next was joining “The Paupers” with Skip Prokop (Lighthouse).

Canadian Bassist Brad Campbell

Janis Joplin

In 1968 he went to New York.

He auditioned for Janis Joplin and she instructed her agent Albert Grossman to hire Brad.

He the Kosmic Blues band in late 1968. He’d eventually join Janis Joplin’s Full Tilt Boogie Band.

A Know Your Bass Player article wrote: To my ears, the Kozmic Blues Band and Full Tilt Boogie Band, with bassist Brad Campbell, were the perfect match to advance Janis’ groundbreaking artistry after she departed Big Brother & The Holding Company.

Throughout I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama (1969), Pearl (1971),  and tracks on the archival In Concert (1972) [Campbell} fortified Ms. Joplin’s forays into soul and rhythm and blues on such classic tracks as “Try,” “Move Over,” “Half Moon,” and “Me and Bobbie McGee” with harmonic and rhythmic passages evocative of the Motown, Stax, and Atlantic Records session masters – who, at the time, were his peers.

Canadian Bassist Brad Campbell

Post Janis

Brad returned to Canada after Janis’s death.

He’d married and begin a family.

Canadian Bassist Brad Campell

Over the past two decades he has played with several bands, one of which was Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. Campbell played banjo and did vocals for Lawson from 1993 to 1994 and played on their album Never Walk Away.

His All Music credit list.

Brad lives in Milton, Ontario.

Canadian Bassist Brad Campbell

Quill Roger North

Quill Roger North

Quill Roger North

If I asked for a show of hands if you’ve heard of the band Freak Mountain Ramblers,  my sense is I’d see few hands.

When doing tours at the Museum at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, I always ask, “Who was the opening act on Saturday?” Most Woodstock fans know that Richie Havens famously opened the festival on day one  because of his famed impromptu composition, “Freedom,” but only the most obsessive Woodstock fans (yes, my hand is raised) know the name Quill.

I was there that Saturday afternoon when Quill opened day 2 and I took a picture. I wasn’t up close so I decided to put my borrowed binoculars up to the lens of my borrowed 35 mm camera and see what happened. This is what happened:

Quill Roger North

Quill Roger North

New England roots

The band  came out of New England, fertile grounds for musicians who became well-known far beyond that area: the J. Geils Band featuring Peter Wolf, Skunk Baxter (Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, Ultimate Spinach), Jim Hodder (Steely Dan), and others.

An excellent piece by Wade Lawrence, the Director & Sr. Curator at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Museum stated that “Brothers Jon and Dan Cole began performing their own songs around Boston in 1966, creating Quill in 1967 when they brought in keyboardist Phil Thayer and drummer Roger North from the band Catharsis (both classically trained musicians) and guitarist Norm Rogers from Morning Star Blues Band.”

Quill Roger North

Woodstock

Quill Roger North

Woodstock Ventures hired the band not just to play at Woodstock but to be good-will ambassadors playing music for free for the Bethel community and local “institutions” in the days leading up to the festival itself.

Unfortunately for the band, none of their 30 minutes set

  1. They Live the Life
  2. That’s How I Eat
  3. Driftin’
  4. Waitin’ for You

…make the album or movie. This shortened clip of “Waitin’ For You” shows the band’s great energy.

Such exposure could have done for them what that exact exposure did for Santana. Joe Cocker, and Sly.

Here’s their whole set (slide up to the 7.02 mark)

Cotillion Records released an album (Quill) but Jon left the band. A second album was recorded, but went unreleased.

Quill Roger North

North heads west

Following Quill’s breakup, north played with Odetta a bit and then with the Holy Modal Rounders–the west coast version.

He now lives in Portland, Oregon and currently plays in the Freak Mountain Ramblers.  A popular band that was inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame in 2018.

Quill Roger North

North Drums

Roger also designed North Drums which have a curved-shape to project the percussion toward the audience.

Quill Roger North

Though only manufactured between 1973 and the early 1980, the drums had developed a admirable following by such drummers and artists as Boz Scaggs, Alan White, Doug Clifford, Billy Cobham, Russ Kunkel, Joe English, and Gerald Brown.

Quill Roger North

Dan Jon Cole Quill

Dan Jon Cole Quill

For no reason other than chance, the last two short bios I had to do for Woodstock performers were the brothers Dan and Joe Cole of Quill. Seeing the chance to save myself an hour, I decided to put the brothers together in one entry.

Thinking about it, there were four sets of performing siblings at Woodstock: Sly, Rosie, and Freddie Stone; Tom and John Fogerty; and Johnny and Edgar Winters.

Maybe I should give Dan and Jon separate entries after all. Later.

Dan Jon Cole Quill

Northfield Mount Hermon

According to a Boston archive articleThe brothers – Jon, born in 1947, is a year and a half older – attended prep school together at Northfield Mount Hermon [Gill, MA], where they effectively took over the school band. During his junior year Jon studied abroad, where his enthusiasm for American blues and roots music brought him a bit of celebrity in southern Germany.

Dan Jon Cole Quill

Ultimate Spinach

Dan Jon Cole Quill

Like the intent of many youthful plans, the direction shifted with time. Dan had begun college at Bard, but left to become an actor. Jon began studying art at the Boston Museum School. The brothers’ love of music continued and they had the opportunity to meet music manager Ray Paret (e.g., Ultimate Spinach) who with his partner David Jenks. introduced the Coles to Phil thayer, Norm Rogers, and Roger North.

Dan Jon Cole Quill

Quill born

Dan Jon Cole Quill

The band became well-known in New England clubs and eventually began to open for “name” acts who came to New England to play. They often played at Boston’s famed rock venue, the Boston Tea Party.

Paret arranged for the band to play for Woodstock Ventures’ Michael Lang at Steve Paul’s Scene in NYC.  They had had a gig in Cincinnati and nearly didn’t make it to New York because of foul weather.  After a flight detour that included a taxi from Philadelphia to New York, the band played.

In a New England Museum of Music article, Dan Cole said of the audition: It went by in a blur, but the upshot was that Michael liked us enough to invite us to play at the festival. We thought we had done well given all of the circumstances, but our drummer Roger North later told me he saw B.B. King in the audience giving us some dour looks over our (my) performance shenanigans. Oh well, Quill was not designed around the blues, even though we played some of that, too. A sidebar to the evening was that Johnny Winter had a promo party after our set and was short some sidemen, so he asked our rhythm section — Roger, my brother Jon (bass), Norm Rogers (guitar) and Phil Thayer (keyboards) — to sit-in and jam with him. Jimi Hendrix later joined them all on stage. It was an exciting day capped by an even more exciting evening, and another step in Quill’s journey.

Lang hired the band not only to perform at the festival but also to do a short “goodwill tour” of area prisons and mental institutions just prior to Woodstock.

Dan Jon Cole Quill

Woodstock

Quill opened the second day of Woodstock. It was a sunny afternoon and after their long walks to Max’s field, the throngs were ready. My memory is that Quill was fine.  Reading about the band today suggests that they were always better in a smaller venue where the crowd could more easily get into their set.

From the Boston archive article:

After the band’s set, a relieved Dan Cole drank some champagne with Grace Slick, congratulated members of Santana on their performance, and wandered for a while in the crowd. Late that night, he jumped in one of the helicopters for the return trip to the motel.

For Jon Cole, who had twin toddlers at home, backstage at Woodstock was no picnic. …he spent a little time with the Who’s Keith Moon and John Entwistle, whom he had befriended at a joint appearance the previous year at the old Boston Music Hall.

Dan Jon Cole Quill

Quill album

Cotillion Records signed the band to an album. They used the advance money to set up their own studio, an approach that other bands found more suitable because they could record at their own pace and with no time constraints. Of course, a DIY approach to recording might not work for a band unused to sound recording. Quill wasn’t and the album did not capture the band at its best.

They did record a second album, minus Jon, but Cotillion did not release it.

Dan Jon Cole Quill

Post Quill

Jon  had decided to become a recording engineer and eventually got out of the music business. He has lived in Hawaii and become a solar-energy expert.

Dan Cole worked as a business consultant after years as an executive with Sony’s professional audio-visual products division. He lives in Portland, Ore.

Dan Jon Cole Quill

Finally

In 2009 when Rhino Records released a six-disc box set “Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur’s Farm” the first two songs of the band’s four-song set were on it.

  • They Live The Life
  • That’s How I Eat
Dan Jon Cole Quill

Dancing Cat

In June 2018, a version of the band did play at the Dancing Cat Saloon in Bethel, NY, 1.2 miles (as the crow flies) or a 1.4 mile walk from the stage they performed on in 1969.

As Wade Lawrence, director of the Museum at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts wroteThey may have only been a bar band from Boston, and the members of Quill may be ambivalent about their time together and their performance at Woodstock, but they made history on Saturday, August 16, 1969 as the first rock band to play at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.

Dan Jon Cole Quill