Tag Archives: Woodstock Music and Art Fair

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


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


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
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Trumpeter Steve Madaio

Trumpeter Steve Madaio

Trumpeter Steve Madaio

Happy birthday Steve
July 18, 1948

For some Woodstock performers I am often surprised how little information I can find. On the other hand, some have so much, it is difficult to limit what I intend to be a short essay about them.

Steve Madaio falls into the latter category.

Trumpeter Steve Madaio

Facebook basics

His Facebook page says that he attended Lynbrook High School, Lynbrook, NY and then the Mannes School of Music in NYC. He now lives in Palm Desert, CA.

Steve played trumpet with Paul Butterfield at Woodstock on Day 3 of that famed festival. He had first joined the band in 1969 on their Keep On Movin’ album. He stayed with the band for there next album, Sometimes I Just Feel Like Smilin'”.

Trumpeter Steve Madaio


That was not the end of his musician’ s path. Not by a long shot!

The Rate Your Music site listed 153 credits for Steve. In addition to the obvious example of Paul Butterfield, a few of the other names listed are: James Cotton Blues Band, B.B. King, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Rolling Stones, Dave Mason, Etta James, Carly Simon, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Martha Reeves, The Temptations, Boz Scaggs, Dionne Warwick, Ace, Bobby Bland, Paul Anka, Richie Furay, Janis Ian, Bonnie Raitt, Freddie Hubbard, Rita Coolidge, Four Tops, Joe Cocker, Eric Clapton, and many more.

Trumpeter Steve Madaio

Steve Wonder

Trumpeter Steve Madaio

National Association of Music Merchants video w Steve speaking about his time playing with Steve Wonder. He played trumpet on most of Stevie Wonders recordings during the innovative and creative period between 1971 and 1976.  Stevie was experimenting with electric keyboards and synthesizers, which Steve witnessed and took part in, including working on the classic album Songs in the Key of Life. 

Ah, those horns on “Sir Duke” !

Hopefully Steve will find his way back to Bethel for a bit of the 50th’s celebration.

AllMusic credits

Trumpeter Steve Madaio
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Mel Lawrence Woodstock

Mel Lawrence Woodstock

Remembering Mel
May 17, 1935 – November 5, 2016

Mel Lawrence already had a long list of credits to his name before Woodstock Ventures hired him to be its Director of Operations for the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.

Mel Lawrence Woodstock

From the top

After a stint in the Army and attending Long Island University (received a BS in Speech Pathology), he moved to Hawaii. There he eventually got involved in promotion with KPOI, a rock radio station. He helped produced many concerts until 1967 when he became the promotion director at another rock radio station, KFRC in San Francisco.

He helped create and produce the Magic Mountain Music Festival (in many ways the first rock festival). A week later assisted with the much more famous Monterey Pop Festival.

In a 2014 Rolling Stone article, Mel said of Magic Mountain, “My M.O. was that I was as crazy as any hippie, but I had short hair so I could talk to corporations and cops.”

The attitude he and the others helped promote there, served them well down the road in 1969: “ I think the basic thing was a consideration for the audience and realizing that there were other options than just sitting them down in a seat and watching a show. And you had to care for their welfare because you’re the promoter.”

In 1968, he co-produced the Miami Pop Festival. Michael Lang was slightly involved with that event and said of Lawrence in the RS article, “Mel was very practical and very creative and very well organized. He was just very unflappable, which was essential.”

Mel Lawrence Woodstock


Woodstock was just one, albeit perhaps the most famous, of Lawrence’s many projects. He also became involved in film:

Year Title Credit
1982 Koyaanisqatsi Associate Producer
1987 Powaqqatsi: Life in Transformation Producer
1988 Without Borders Associate Producer
1989 Île Aye Line Producer
1994 Paha Sapa – The Struggle for the Black Hills Producer/Director
1995 Biker Women Producer
1996 The Amazon Warrior Producer/Director
1997 Legends of the Bushmen Executive Producer
1997 Soul in the Hole Executive Producer
2002 Naqoyqatsi: Life as War Co-producer
2005 Un Retrato De Diego Producer
2013 The Ambassador of Tequila Producer
2013 Visitors Consulting Producer
Mel Lawrence Woodstock


  • Recovery Network (1997-2000) (Producer, Program Director)
  • Iditarod (Original Productions) (2008) (story producer)
  • Shark U (Original Productions) (2008) (story producer)
  • Deadliest Catch (Original Productions) (2008 – 2010) (story producer)
  • Black Gold (Original Productions)(2011-2012) (story producer)

Mel Lawrence died on November 6, 2016. An obituary from the LA Times read: “Big spirit, huge heart and beautiful soul Mel Lawrence left us to soar with the eagles early Saturday morning, November 5th at his home in Santa Monica. He lived a life full of adventurous travel, creativity, and self exploration. The twinkle in his eye and his passionate connection to life will be missed by all of us who knew and loved him. “

Thank you, Mel.

Mel Lawrence Woodstock
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