Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny. After Peter, our resident morning person, woke us all and Davy returned us all to the right heights -- saying that I was 5í6" when heíd shrunk me the night before and returning me to that height, Mike and Micky ambled off to buy some breakfast from a nearby take-out place before it got crowded. When they got back we ate in the Monkeemobile, Mike growling at us to be "damn sure" not to get crumbs on the seats.
At noon the festivities started. Canned Heat was on first -- a band I hadnít heard much of but what Iíd heard, I liked. They were excellent. Then I saw a familiar-looking man walk out onstage. My breath caught in my throat.
Chet introduced Big Brother & The Holding Company, but I hardly heard his intro as I was just now realizing I was going to see Janis perform . . . LIVE.
They performed "Down on Me", "Combination of the Two", "Harry" (a song Iíd never heard before and loved), "Road Block" (another I hadnít heard), and her signature song with Big Brother -- "Ball and Chain".
"Groovey, man. Theyíre good," I heard Peter say behind me.
"Janis is the best . . . Iíve been a fan of hers for years . . . " I whispered to him.
"Well then get ready to meet your idol cause here she comes."
Janis was indeed walking up to us. "Hello! Are you up next?" she asked.
"No, weíre not on till tonight. Weíre the Monkees. Iím Peter Tork, this is Lenora Dolenz, the rest of our group is . . . " he looked around, "somewhere."
"Janis Joplin. Pleased to meet you." She shook hands with us and I nearly fainted, shocked to be in the presence of my idol, the woman whose songs Iíd sung along with so many times, working on building up my vocal range.
"You were terrific out there," I said, finally finding my voice.
"Thank you. But they didnít get it on tape." She frowned.
"I know," I blurted out before I could stop. I then chastised myself -- of course I knew, Iíd read about it a million times when researching Monterey. But someone who was just backstage for the performances wouldnít . . .
"You heard us yelliní before huh? Man, I wish there were some way to go back in time, make sure we got that on tape."
"Wish I could help ya there," I said. "Of course, I heard that they had a lot of cancellations -- maybe you can perform again, for the cameras?"
"Good idea! Iíll go talk to John. Thanks! I look forward to seeing your performance tonight!" She ran off and I collapsed into Peterís arms.
"You okay Len?"
"Yeah Iíll be fine . . . just a little shocked. I idolized her . . . sang along with her CDs . . . "
"Um, a smaller version of the record -- same shape but smaller than a 45, that replaces records in a few decades," I hastily explained.
"I see. Ah, Country Joe and the Fish. I hear theyíre very anti-war." He found a chair and sat me in it.
I thought back to my favourite song by Country Joe -- the Fixin-to-Die-Rag, and chuckled. "You could say that."
After Country Joe came Al Kooper, followed by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and then Quicksilver Messenger Service. For Quicksilver, I dragged Peter out to the audience area. I wanted a better view of the band considered to be the first Haight-Ashbury area band. He insisted I go backstage again for the last two bands -- Steve Miller Blues Band and Electric Flag, since it was very crowded out there. I complied -- not being much for crowds myself.
There was a break of a couple hours before the evening acts began. Micky and I flew off, invisible, and got some gyros to go for our dinner. After dinner we did a quick rehearsal before Moby Grape started off the eveningís acts. I stayed by the Monkeemobile, tuning the bass, during their act since I wasnít too crazy about their music, having heard a few of their songs on CD. What drifted to me from the stage didnít improve my opinion at all.
I joined the guys backstage to watch Hugh Masekela, who was pretty good but not really my bag. Then came the Byrds. I inched toward the stage, curious since I loved Crosby, Stills & Nash but Iíd never heard the Byrds before.
"My friend Steve, from the Village, is leaving Buffalo Springfield to form a new band with that guy there, David Crosby," Peter said to me.
The Byrds were great. Then the Paul Butterfield Blues Band was introduced again and Mike dragged us away to get our instruments ready since we were on after them. Steve Stills ran up to us by the Monkeemobile.
"Hey Peter!" he cried. "Good to see you, man!"
"Steve! Hey, I want you to meet my roommates. Micky Dolenz, on drums, Michael Nesmith, lead guitar, Davy Jones, percussion, Mikeís steady girl Isabel Evans, who doesnít play a single instrument, and my steady girl, Lenora Dolenz," Peter said cheerfully.
"Your steady girl huh? How long has this been? Here, let me help you with that," Steve said, and grabbed the acoustic guitar from me.
"Well we made it official about six weeks ago but I think we knew long before that," I said quietly.
"Groovey man. Well Iím gonna hang in the wings here and listen to ya play. Peterís written me about being in a band but I wanna hear you guys play!" That said, he placed the guitar with the piles of instruments we had set near the edge of the wings and headed to a far corner of backstage. The previous band was offstage with their instruments by then and we ran out, setting up.
Last updated 03 DEC 98
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