Quicksilver Messenger Service was one of the best bands to emerge from the Sixties Haight Ashbury - San Francisco scene. They loaded up their from-the-heart songs with free-form jamming; in gigs at classic venues like the Fillmore and Avalon, they stretched out and improvised, pushing their music in unpredictable directions. Tougher than the Grateful Dead, looser than the Jefferson Airplane, but never managing to achieve the popularity of either; they faded away after 1975. Maybe they just weren't ambitious enough. In the words of guitarist Gary Duncan, "We had no ambition toward making records, we just wanted to have fun, play some music and make enough money to be able to afford to smoke pot". Sadly, today Quicksilver Messenger Service is too often overlooked as an essential classic rock experience.
They made hippie music, simple straight forward lyrics, mostly love songs and some social commentary thrown in (from the freak point of view). Musically loose, plenty of rough edges, rarely over-produced, no slick singer, just a tough dual guitar attack always looking for a little open space to stretch it out as far as they could go. Their personnel sometimes changed based on who was busted on the latest pot possession rap. But the two guitar attack of John Cipollina and Gary Duncan was generally a constant. With the charismatic folk rocker Dino Valente out front, the band had its most recognizable singles "Fresh Air" and "What About Me". However there is much to enjoy in all the bands phases from the heavy jamming of the first albums, through the hits of the Valente folk pop period (spiced up by Nicky Hopkins then Michael Lewis keyboards) and finally sweet cowboyish love songs like "Gypsy Lights" and "Don't Cry My Lady Love"
Duncan, Freiberg and Lewis stretched Quicksilver into the Eighties with the the lost classic "Peace by Piece" where the band experimented with rap music and synthesized drums. Today, Gary Duncan's powerful Shape-Shifting Quicksilver pushes the live sound full circle, with long explorations of rock, jazz, pop and blues - touching back to the endless jams of the sixties at the Avalon and Fillmore.
Listen to Quicksilver, still jazzed after forty years and sounding fresher than ever.
Don't miss this outstanding tribute site!
We've all been wishing upon stars since we were little because we all know
wishes upon stars come true... a wishkitz is your opportunity to give the child
in your life their very own bit of a star to carry in their pocket... for those
moments when a wish would come in handy. Their magical and shiny star will
arrive in a one-of-a-kind colorfully hand painted and hand crafted celestial
box. And like snowflakes, no two boxes or stars are exactly alike. Pick from
four vibrant colors. It's a perfect gift for you or the star in your life... a
guaranteed authentic fragment of a real shooting star. This meteorite fell from
space between 4000 and 6000 years ago. The first record of its discovery was in
the 1570s by Spanish explorers in Argentina. The actual fall is believed to
have been witnessed by local Indians who originally named the area Campo del
Cielo, which means Field of Heaven, an appropriate name for the star strewn
Put a star in the pocket of someone you love... so they can make a wish! A
unique gift for birthdays or just because!
Put a star in the pocket of someone you love... so they can make a wish! A unique gift for birthdays or just because! .
by John Barthel
They said it couldn't be done!
Virtual Duncan does not require your belief in order to function.
In Memory of JOHN BIRD
Gary Duncan with Automatic Pilot
San Francisco's satiric / erotic jazz wave ensemble
Unreleased demos from 1984!
These songs were recorded at the Sammy Gene Music studio in San Rafael in 1984. Gary hung out there with engineer Bob Ohlsson and drummer Sammy Piazza, who did not play on these songs but did play on Dream A Lot. Gary also contributed to the arrangement and production of these songs.
These songs also feature performances by percussionist Pete Escovedo, bassist Frank Zincavage (of Romeo Void), and Automatic Pilot.
Click here for MP3s and streaming audio.
The Jon Hammond Band
When I first started playing as a professional in 1960, that's 45
years ago, Hammond made a lot of Hammond B3 Organs.
There were a lot of B3 players in those days. Hammond also made an
option which attached to the legs of the organ and sat on the floor.
It had keys like a Piano but the keys were about three times the size
of the Piano.
It was made to play Bass. You played it with your feet.
Not everybody had one cause it was hard to play.............. like
riding a bicycle and flying a plane at the same time.
Back in those days when you were auditioning an Organist (and it was
always a B3.....never a Farfisa) the first question which was usually
asked by the Bass player was "Does he Kick Pedals, or....Can the Man
Dance".....meaning Can the B3 player play Bass with his feet which
meant the Bass Player was out of a Gig.
Not every B3 player could "Kick Bass"..............only the Great ones
Jon Hammond "KICKS PEDALS............and "THE MAN CAN DANCE!!"
Jon Hammond "KICKS PEDALS............and "THE MAN CAN DANCE!!"
Nicky Hopkins Page
"Hopkins was undoubtedly one of the most talented piano players to have graced British rock during this era."
The John Cipollina Memorial Photo Page
by Michael Kirschner
"From the time I arrived in San Francisco in 1982 until John's untimely demise in 1989, I attended many of his gigs ... These photos are from those gigs at The Fresno Saloon (later just "The Saloon"), Ms. Keiko's Chi Chi Club, The Keystone Berkeley, Wolfgang's, and other places I just don't remember..."
The Quicksilver Concert Timeline
A great place for the new Quicksilver fan to start is with the outstanding Rhino collection! Almost all the essential music in a well-packaged two CD box set. The other purchase I would definitely recommend is Happy Trails, recorded mostly live at the Fillmores and one of the coolest live albums ever (IMHO). After that you can fill in according to your taste. Although Quicksilver always had solid musicianship and free spirit, there is a noticeable difference in style along the way as members came and went. Get the Rhino collection and go from there!
|Gary Duncan - guitar, vocals|
|John Cipollina - guitar, vocals|
|David Freiberg - bass, keyboards, guitar, vocals|
|Greg Elmore - drums, percussion, vocals|
|Dino Valenti - vocals, guitars|
Big Brother and the Holding Company